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Official: Charges coming in Trayvon Martin death

George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida, will be charged in the 17-year-old's death, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey will announce charges against the 28-year-old Zimmerman at a 6 p.m. Wednesday news conference, the official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press. Corey confirmed that an announcement on the case would be made in Jacksonville but didn't elaborate. The person said Zimmerman's arrest is also expected soon.

Read the full article at

Second Degree Murder.

Just caught it on MSNBC ACTUALLY!

This is a big deal testing the Castle statutes as well as self defense.

Just remember Donal. You and I walk into a room and I walk out alive....

Well, facts are yet to be determined.


And I just heard on the local NPR that Bloomberg is teaming up with Rev Al and others on a crusade to turn back "stand your ground" laws; here's MSNBC on it:

Which will the national discussion back to ye olde split between some law'n'order folks and the NRA....

My worry is that the prosecutor seems like a certifiable nutjob.  She recently charged a 12 year old boy for murder as an adult.  And, in this case, second degree murder seems like overreach.  Wouldn't manslaughter have been more reasonable?

I think so.

In Florida. use of a gun apparently precludes charges of manslaughter, it raises the degree:

(Wiki, Manslaughter) - (under Florida statute)....Also, under the 10-20-Life system, if a firearm is used in any way then the penalty will be raised to the next degree.[4]


That is apparently in conflict with the self-defense law. My thought when answering though, was that manslaughter was a more appropriate charge based on what I think I know about the case with enough confidence to vote for conviction if I was on a jury. Of course if I was on a jury and heard all the evidence that is actually available I might go further one way or the other.

It may be the "if a firearm is used" part of the Florida law is the OK, let everyone have a gun, but if they use it for crime we will hit them hard, which then magically results in less use of guns by criminals (who are of course, well educated on the legal details of firearm use).

Maybe it gives them room to plea bargain.

I am going to refrain to opine on that as all I know is from legal TV shows and movies (I include big "trials of  the century" as TV shows wink ) and that this kind of thing is often a tactical choice

Speaking of "trials of the century," didya see the "Three Centuries of New York Scandal" issue of New York Magazine last week? There was a lot of thought provoking stuff in it from guest writers.

This from Nora Ephron, on the Scarsdale Diet Doctor case, really struck me as crystal clear pop-culture wisdom:

This is how it is with great murders: At the very beginning, you know only the basic outline, the tabloid headline on the first-day story; so you have the maximum ability to apply your theories, your insights, your own particular life lessons—in short, your narcissism—to what happened. Every murder is a Rorschach, and the Rorschach is at its most powerful before you know too much, before the inconvenient facts get in the way, before the people involved turn out to be people after all.

I did read that, double A.  But thanks for reminding me to apply it. :)

I thought the prosecutor seems a little batshit too Des, only my opinion was formed because she said something to the effect of: "Please keep prayin' for us around the country so we can win our case." Prayer, you'd better more than that with you to win this case.

I have no idea if second degree is over-reach or not, I would love to see the evidence the prosecutor has tho'.  I hope her charge sticks.

BMaz at EmptyWheel was also astounded at the 2nd degree murder charge rather than manslaughter - thinks it will be difficult.

Here's his original post explaining where he thought the prosecutor was going,

 plus his reference to a great explanation at Volokhian Conspiracy of what Stand Your Ground is (hint: it's far from what we seem to assume)

NCD is correct about the statute. It has to be second degree murder when it involves a gun. I hope they keep the trial on the east side of the state and don't bring it over to the Tampa bay area. The Casey Anthony trial picked the jury from here and sequestered the jury in Orlando. It is something as they go to trial.

How come they talk about manslaughter with a gun?

I think you're confusing committing *another* crime while handling a gun.

For example, robbery. Then the charge goes up.

When the crime *is* the shooting, how does it go up?

It would be hard to say Zimmerman approaching Martin is a crime, unless you can prove assault and battery.

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