Yep. You know the kind that is provided in public loos at the airport and other public spaces?
Pretty thin isn’t it?
But there is something thinner.
That would be the charging document that Angela Corey, the Florida state attorney released yesterday in the Trayvon Martin case.
First, the definition of second degree murder in the State of Florida is:
(2) The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual, is murder in the second degree and constitutes a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
The charging document falls far short of establishing a basis for this charge.
The Affidavit of Probable Cause (via Legal Insurrection) crushes the claim that Zimmerman called Martin a “coon” on the 911 call and unless “fucking assholes” and “fucking punks” are now race specific, there is no prima facie evidence of a premeditated race crime. However, it is more notable for what it does not do – it does not establish the State’s charge on the basis that Zimmerman evinced “a depraved mind regardless of human life”.
It isn’t just me, noted liberal legal scholar Alan Dershowitz thinks so:
“Most affidavits of probable cause are very thin. This is so thin that it won’t make it past a judge on a second degree murder charge,” Dershowitz said. “There’s simply nothing in there that would justify second degree murder.
Dershowitz said that the elements that would constitute that crime are non-existent in the affidavit. “It’s not only thin, it’s irresponsible,” said Dershowitz.
Dershowitz went on to strongly criticize Corey’s decision to move forward with the case against Zimmerman. “I think what you have here is an elected public official who made a campaign speech last night for reelection when she gave her presentation and overcharged. This case will not – if the evidence is no stronger than what appears in the probable cause affidavit – this case will result in an acquittal.
Smerconish identified the total lack of any mention of the supposed fight that occurred between Martin and Zimmerman prior to Martin being shot. He said he was disappointed that he did not see any mention of that conflict that led to Martin’s murder.
“But it’s worse than that,” said Dershowitz. “It’s irresponsible and unethical in not including material that favors the defendant.”
“This affidavit does not even make it to probable cause,” Dershowitz concluded. “everything in the affidavit is completely consistent with a defense of self-defense. Everything.”
As the Dersh says, these type of documents tend to be thin as the case is still being built at this point – but this one basically says that Zimmerman followed Martin, Martin didn’t like it, Zimmerman ignored the 911 operator, Martin told his girlfriend that he was scared and a scuffle ensued. There is nothing here that establishes a basis for second degree murder. Dershowitz thinks that the presented information actually supports Zimmerman’s claim of self defense. Not a good sign for the State Attorney.
Even though the prosecution says that they don’t bow to public pressure in charging people, there is even evidence that they are. For example, take Martin’s mother’s contradictory statements on NBC and MSNBC in the same day:
In an interview with the Today show’s Ann Curry, Fulton had said, “I believe it was an accident. I believe that it just got out of control and (Zimmerman) couldn’t turn the clock back.”
A spokesman for the Martin family later e-mailed MSNBC-TV to say that Fulton’s comments were “mischaracterized,” and she appeared on MSNBC Thursday afternoon, where she said that “George Zimmerman stalked my son and murdered him in cold blood.”
Of course, we know how objective NBC is. It is hard for me to understand how a direct quote of a declarative statement could be “mischaracterized.” It is more likely that the lawyers for the Martin’s informed them how much statements like that weaken the civil case that will be filed for monetary compensation (the burden of proof is far lower in civil cases – think the civil suit filed against O.J. Simpson by the Brown family and the resulting multi-million dollar judgment) and make no mistake, there are financial motives afoot and a civil complaint will be filed (Martin’s parents have already trademarked their dead son’s name).
There are many who think this is a political prosecution. I’m not sure. I think it is a lazy prosecution in that it is a simple instance of over charging in the attempt to get a plea deal. Given the heated rhetoric and the climate of hate that has been stirred by “community activists”, the State Attorney wants this to go away without a trial. She knows that the racists who are stirring the pot define “justice” as their own desired predetermined outcome, not what the facts say and she wants Zimmerman to plead to a lesser charge, spend a few months in jail in hopes that three or four months from now, Martin’s cold body will have lost its political value and the whole thing will blow over without her having to get her hands dirty.
I have said that no matter the facts or the outcome of the case, Zimmerman will always be guilty in the minds of some, innocent in the minds of others and the cowardice of the prosecution is not going to help
This has no good ending.