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Prosecutorial Fail: Why George Zimmerman Walked

August 13, 2013 By: Keiron Jackman Category: Current Events, Headlines, legal

The State of Florida vs. Zimmerman (Zimmerman) will continue to baffle legal scholars and court observers for years to come. This is a truly historic case. Unfortunately, Zimmerman will be historic for all the wrong reasons. It will be known both as a symbol of justice and injustice. How is that so? Some will point to this case as evidence of the bias that permeates the justice system and others will state the jury has spoken. The sad truth is both sides are correct.  Both sides are correct because George Zimmerman may not have been guilty of second-degree murder but he is guilty of a crime. Notwithstanding the criminal profiling that obviously took place prior to the chase, one could possibly make an argument that the facts and the evidence did not support Zimmerman had any ill-will, spite or hatred toward Trayvon. Nevertheless there was a crime committed and facts show that Zimmerman would be guilty of felony murder. Allow me to make my case.

Simply put, felony murder is an unlawful killing of a human being by a person engaged in the commission of or in the attempt to perpetrate an inherently dangerous felony. Florida lists these dangerous felonies statutorily. To name a few robbery, kidnapping, and aggravated child abuse are listed as dangerous felonies. Additionally a felony murder charge does not require that the perpetrator intend to kill or that the perpetrator personally commit the killing. The only thing a felony murder charge requires is that the prosecutor present evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that shows that the perpetrator either committed a dangerous felony or at least attempted to commit a dangerous felony. Therefore, in this case the prosecutor would have to present facts sufficient to find that Zimmerman intended to commit a dangerous felony, and as a result of that action Trayvon Martin was killed beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution does not need to show that Zimmerman intended to kill Trayvon.

Also evidentiary speaking charging second-degree murder would essentially handicap the prosecution as far as presenting evidence of Zimmerman’s character or prior bad acts. In Florida, a defendant in a self-defense case may present evidence of the victim’s propensity and/or criminal acts in order to show the victim was the aggressor. Furthermore, the defendant may also present evidence of victim’s criminal convictions as evidence of the victim’s character.  On the other hand, the prosecution can only rebut this evidence with reputation evidence of the victim’s good character. The prosecution would not even be able to present evidence of the defendant’s character for the same traits the defendant claims the victim possessed. Had this been a federal case, the prosecution would have been able to bring up the same character traits the defendant put into play, but Florida does not follow such a rule. Thus, a felony murder charge would have been a superior choice evidentiary speaking.

More importantly a felony murder charge will eliminate self-defense as a defense to a killing unlike a manslaughter, first-degree, or second-degree murder charge. Self-defense is not a defense to a felony murder charge. For instance a person who intends on robbing a store cannot use self-defense as a defense if after he attempts to or commits the robbery, the storeowner pulls a gun on him. This is true even if the perpetrator did not truly intend on killing/harming anyone when he entered the store. Neither can a person claim self-defense if he attempts to or commits a kidnapping and the victim fights back. Just think about it. If a perpetrator attempted to abduct a child and the child resisted the abduction, perhaps even with deadly force, could the perpetrator then use deadly force to counter the child’s (or any victim’s) use of deadly force to save his own life? No! Only the victim of a dangerous felony may use (deadly) force. Not the perpetrator.

Florida defines kidnapping as forcibly, secretly, or by threat confining or imprisoning another person against their will and without lawful authority, with intent to hold for ransom or reward, or to commit or facilitate commission of any felony, or to terrorize the victim, or interfere with the performance of any governmental function. The great thing about kidnapping statute in Florida is the inclusion of the word “or,” which means that the prosecution does not need to prove all of the above. Rather the prosecution only needs to show the victim was held for any one of the following: for ransom, reward, to be terrorized, battered, or that the perpetrator interfered with a government function or committed any felony.  Moreover Trayvon is a minor. Minors cannot consent. Thus, Trayvon could not have consented to being held.

Could not the prosecution have presented facts to show that Zimmerman intended to hold Trayvon against his will by threat of force when he confronted Trayvon? Could the prosecution perhaps shown that Zimmerman intended to hold Trayvon for reward – it is an undisputed fact Zimmerman wanted to be a police officer, was training, and was taking the law into his own hands. Could the prosecution not have shown Zimmerman intended to hold Trayvon until the police got there with the hopes of impressing the Sanford Police Department? Could not the prosecution argue that Zimmerman interfered with a governmental function when he failed to adhere to the non-emergency operator after he was told to cease his pursuit of Trayvon because the police were on their way? Could not the prosecution have shown that Zimmerman held Trayvon against his will secretly when Zimmerman refused to identify himself in order to keep him to a bounded area? Do the facts show that Trayvon was terrorized when he was stalked for close to two minutes by Zimmerman in a vehicle and subsequently chased without Zimmerman identifying himself? Yes! As Zimmerman himself stated, “He ran!”

The evidence was there. And most important of all the prosecution does not have to show Zimmerman intended death. In fact, the prosecution could legally argue that Zimmerman may have intended good. Zimmerman wanted to rid his neighborhood of suspicious people; but good intentions do not matter when a person holds another unlawfully against their will.

Even if the prosecution could not show the above. The prosecution could show that Zimmerman profiled Trayvon and as a result of his actions, falsely imprisoned him by getting into an altercation with him. False imprisonment is a felony in Florida and self-defense is not a defense to false imprisonment as well. Under Florida law, holding a person against their will for even a mere second is enough to charge the perpetrator with a third-degree felony. For example a false imprisonment results when no felony has occurred and an individual suspects or believes another to have committed a felony (such as a robbery) and the individual holds the suspected felon against their will – a citizen’s arrest. If the suspected felon has not committed a felony and/or no felony has in fact been committed a false imprisonment results. Only sworn police officers are privileged to hold another against their will when no felony has in fact been committed. Thus, in this case if Zimmerman suspected Trayvon of committing a felony-crime and attempted to detain or detained Trayvon for even a mere second, Zimmerman would be guilty of false imprisonment or attempted false imprisonment because ZImmerman is not a sworn officer and he did not have reasonable grounds to believe Trayvon in fact committed a felony.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that the prosecution did not effectively charge Zimmerman. The prosecution did not think the whole case through. Instead the prosecution danced to the tune of the defense. The prosecution charged Zimmerman with an offense that gave Zimmerman an out. He had an opportunity, not only to use Stand Your Ground as a defense, but also an opportunity that allowed him to forego taking the stand all the while smearing the victim in the process.

If this were a false imprisonment, kidnapping, or aggravated child abuse case, Zimmerman would at least have to take the stand if he had any chance of beating the charges. Also evidentiary speaking, Zimmerman’s abusive and violent history would have been allowed into the case. It is even possible that Zimmerman’s alleged molestation of his cousin would have been allowed into the case. Furthermore, Trayvon’s cell phone photos, his school records, or his alleged drug use would have been completely irrelevant. Just think, name one kidnapping case that has occurred where the victim’s past as far as school records or alleged drug use was an issue. For example think about the Ohio case of those three girls. Are we asking about their school records, drug use, or whether they asked for it in any way? No! Why is it different for Trayvon? You don’t need me to answer that question. Just ask Charles Ramsey why he hasn’t received a hero’s reward, but Zimmerman has.

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10 Comments to “Prosecutorial Fail: Why George Zimmerman Walked”


  1. Jim O'Neill says:

    I haven’t seen one pundit or columnist call Zimmerman a hero. I’d like to see some proof of that. I did see some references to Trayvon being a hero. Neither one is a hero. Trayvon’s just a teenager that got caught up in a mess and Zimmerman is an idiot. if there was an abuse charge that was credible he could and should have been prosecuted for that. He wasn’t and the allegations never were brought up by the prosecution, which speaks volumes. You shouldn’t spread hearsay that has no substantive evidence.
    I think we can all agree that either one of two things should have happened because there was,unfortunately, no evidence from the beginning that was sufficently prosecutable. 1. Nothing, because they didn’t have a case and they (along with any prosecutor who saw their case) were only charging him w/ M2 because they felt public opinion was that he shouldn’t go free and the african-american community wouldn’t accept anything else. By the way, every charge has “an out” if the prosecution is inept or has nothing to work with.
    or
    2. Charged him with manslaughter, an easily prosecutable charge in this case that could have resulted in significant jail time for Zimmerman. the problem with Item 2 is that the societal demogogues wouldn’t accept that conviction….so they got what they got.
    Kidnapping is rediculous as the entire event took less than 6 minutes. Certainly a premise that would have been much more difficult that the second degree murder charge to prove. It also smells of desperation (like the “Hail Mary” third degree murder idea) for something else to point to. You can’t blame the prosecutors because they were given no choice by Angela Corey, who’s reputation didn’t help the crediblity of the case to begin with.

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  2. Buckywuckysouthwestjbt says:

    One word, letitgo. GZ was found not quilty, if the prosecution thought they could prove kidnapping they would have included it in the APC.

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  3. Keiron Jackman says:

    I understand your points (yes the community got what they want but it is up to the prosecution to do the charging), however I want to address 2. You have to understand that kidnapping does not have a time limit. Soo it is possible to kidnap a person for 1 or 2 minutes. I would even argue you can do it for seconds. Secondly, you have to let go of your traditional view of kidnapping. When I say traditional view I mean movies and perception. A kidnapping can happen even if the person is being held against their will for any unlawful purpose. So it does not have to be the “traditional” pervert holding a child. Again time is not an element of kidnapping. You also have to remember you don’t have to complete a kidnapping for felony murder to kick in all you have to show is an attempt, which plainly speaking is meeting SOME of the elements of a kidnapping. Thanks for reading and I appreciate your input.

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  4. You are a Martian, yes? I ask because nobody from this planet could possibly think that somebody could be convicted under a kidnapping statute because they were walking behind someone and a fight occurred. Under your test Treyvon was also an abductor, possibly more so than George as the case highlighted that Trayvon actually initiated the confrontation. Also, your notion of letting go of the “traditional view” of kidnapping is ludicrous; it reads as a desperate attempt to make an otherwise inapplicable law fit your will- but it doesn’t.

    I’m not sure what is worse, your arrogance in thinking you know better than the team of prosecutors who had the world watching yet didn’t see that charge, or that for someone writing a legal post you have no problem spreading such libelous nonsense.

    As comment two said- let it go; get a (different)hobby. Your side lost, but if you had a better understanding of the law it wouldn’t have come as a surprise.

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  5. This article is incoherent and is just a bunch of blabbering, padding, nonsense. George Zimmerman walked because he did what he had to do regardless of why or how he got into the situation. If some a-hole is slamming my head into the concrete with a broken nose and I had a gun, I’d shoot him to regardless of what race. SELF DEFENSE. THE EVIDENCE PROVED IT. This was nothing more than a kangeroo court pushing an agenda to divide the country. Makes me sick

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  6. 2 Shekels says:

    Well, I still doubt the prosecution could convince the jury of GZ holding the child against his will (verbally or physically). But they still could have convinced the jury of other forms of child abuse. Wreckless endangerment was never mentioned nor involuntary manslaughter of that wrecklessness was never brought up to the jury. This was an easy case for the Defense. Especially after the Prosecution made sure they dismissed the only black juror… we both know what kind of case this was. I’ve seen it happen before. When a defendant has a judge in his family, certain things seem to sway the defendants way… no matter how inept the Defense attorneys are.

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  7. This entire post was ridiculous, but just to address part of it…

    “Could not the prosecution have presented facts to show that Zimmerman intended to hold Trayvon against his will by threat of force when he confronted Trayvon?”

    No, because no such evidence existed.

    “Could the prosecution perhaps shown that Zimmerman intended to hold Trayvon for reward”

    No, because no such evidence existed.

    ” it is an undisputed fact Zimmerman wanted to be a police officer,”

    It’s only in the minds of deluded Zimmerman haters that wanting to be a police officer has been twisted into a bad thing.

    “was training, and was taking the law into his own hands.”

    Only in your imagination.

    “Could the prosecution not have shown Zimmerman intended to hold Trayvon until the police got there with the hopes of impressing the Sanford Police Department?”

    No, because no such evidence existed and it would have been patently insane for them to do so. They disgraced themselves enough as it was.

    “Could not the prosecution argue that Zimmerman interfered with a governmental function when he failed to adhere to the non-emergency operator after he was told to cease his pursuit of Trayvon because the police were on their way?”

    No, because no such evidence existed. All Zimmerman did was look for an address.

    “Could not the prosecution have shown that Zimmerman held Trayvon against his will secretly when Zimmerman refused to identify himself in order to keep him to a bounded area?”

    No, for the same reason that the prosecution could not have shown that Zimmerman was carrying a machete, had planned this for months, or was responsible for killing Kennedy – because no such evidence existed.

    “Do the facts show that Trayvon was terrorized when he was stalked for close to two minutes by Zimmerman in a vehicle and subsequently chased without Zimmerman identifying himself?”

    No, the facts show that Trayvon was never stalked by anyone, and the only thing Zimmerman did is something that is both perfectly legal and usually commendable – reporting someone to the police to have them come investigate. That’s not even close to “stalking.”

    “Yes! As Zimmerman himself stated, “He ran!”

    Newsflash; criminals frequently run when they get spotted or when someone starts paying attention to them.

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  8. whether or not the felony of abduction or kidnapping would apply (this was definitely an illegal detention …) … felony menacing did apply. zimmerman definitely is guilty of murder, and of committing that murder during the commission of another felony : menacing. he was terrorizing martin.

    we heard zimmerman cock his gun while he was on the phone with police. we know about zimmerman’s past history of calling cops on black kids for PLAYING. the guy’s a menace to society

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  9. Kowman Harsh says:

    Hey Kerion Jack***man. If you are a member of the Bar, turn in your bar card. You have been drinking too much Kool Ade. Nothing you wrote makes any sense either factually or legally. So much so that you miss the one statute in Florida under which the state MIGHT have gotten a conviction. However, there was no evidence let alone beyond a reasonable doubt of all the elements of it either. It would have required to prove Trayvon Martin was engage in a crime when he was killed. He was, battery of George Zimmerman, trespassing, loitering and prowling. Don’t like that do you? Neither did the Martin family who the state prosecutors sucked up to and charged the case the way they did.

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  10. Keiron Jackman says:

    Obviously you don’t have a bar card, and you have been drinking too much. Trespassing, loitering and prowling, not even Zimmerman said Trayvon did that. There is a reason you must have 4 years of college and 3 years of legal education before you can be eligible to practice the law. Too bad I don’t require the same to comment. You know I don’t have to approve comments but I do, because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Frankly, I am not afraid to take criticism but sometimes when I see comments like yours I think I should reconsider my philosophy,

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