Special Prosecutor Dimisses Zimmerman Grand Jury

 

CBS Miami, The Huffington Post and the usual suspects are reporting that Special Prosecutor Angela Corey [above] has dismissed the Grand Jury convened to hear the George Zimmerman case. “State Attorney Angela Corey has decided not to use a Grand Jury in the Trayvon Martin shooting death investigation,” the official statement states. “The decision should not be considered a factor in the final determination of the case. The Grand Jury, set to convene on April 10, 2012, was previously scheduled by the former prosecutor . . .

Ms. Corey was appointed as the Special Prosecutor on March 22, 2012, by Governor Rick Scott. From the moment she was assigned, Ms. Corey noted she may not need a Grand Jury.

At this time, the investigation continues and there will be no further comment from this office.

Since we all believe that a Grand Jury would indict a ham sandwich, why was the jury dismissed? Well, unless there’s some hint of impropriety surrounding the Grand Jury, dumping it was a smart political move, that’s why. Because George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, isn’t a ham sandwich.

Look, if Corey wanted Zimmerman’s charges kicked, it would have been easy. She could have made a lousy presentation to the Grand Jury, gotten “no-billed,” blamed the jurors and be Tallahassee’s fair haired lawyer.

On the other hand, if Corey wanted an indictment and a runaway GJ “no billed” the case, she’d look like a fool to her superiors for no political gain. By dismissing the GJ, the prosecutor has told us that she believes that the state’s case against Zimmerman—any case—is too weak to trust to a Grand Jury of honest citizens.

Wisely, Corey chose the path of least resistance. A no-thanks from the Grand Jury would have inflamed public opinion. Literally. By leaving the grand jury with ten-foot pole marks, Corey and her keepers dodge that bullet.

So where does that leave George? Screwed, I think.

By dumping the Jury, it appears that Corey sealed Zimmerman’s fate. If Corey were to kick all Zimmerman’s charges, now, after ditching the Grand Jury, it would scream “coverup.” It would be the political blunder of a lifetime and would likely invite the Feds in for a thorough civil rights investigation. No, she’s got to charge him with something.

Intentional murder is off the table. It’s Florida’s practice to require an indictment in a capital case. Not having a Grand Jury means there’s no indictment, and no indictment means there won’t be a capital murder charge. However, lesser charges remain in play.

Corey is now assured that she can prosecute Zimmerman for something, anything, if that’s what she chooses to do. She has control. She’s going to need it. The calls for George Zimmerman’s head on a plate will only intensify. Until they don’t. Which is, I suspect, the whole idea.

 

38 Responses to Special Prosecutor Dimisses Zimmerman Grand Jury

  1. avatarRopingdown says:

    If the FL newspaper web sites are to be believed, it seems that 2/3rds of Florida wants a race riot at this point. That would be the total vote, extremists from both sides.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      It’s not race riot season. I say wait ’til summer.

      • avatarAaronvan says:

        Nah too hot

      • avatarRalph says:

        All the protests so far have been loud and peaceful. I don’t believe that’s going to change. This isn’t the Rodney King case, Sanford isn’t LA, and Zimmerman isn’t a group of white cops with nightsticks.

        But the political fallout, well, that might be enormous.

        • avatarAharon says:

          I don’t think things will go Rodney King extreme regardless of the outcome. BO & EH are symbolically (more or less) in America’s bully pulpit to help shepherd any potential anger and neighborhood destruction that might otherwise possibly occur. I have no idea yet how the White House and political parties will opportunistically play this one during an election year. GZ is a disposable commodity that no group is rushing to defend as one of their own.

        • avatarMadDawg J says:

          “SANFORD, Fla. (AP) – Tensions are rising in Sanford as a special prosecutor nears a decision on whether to charge George Zimmerman with killing Trayvon Martin.

          Someone shot up an unoccupied police car Monday night as it sat outside the neighborhood where Martin was killed. And a demonstration by college students closed the town’s police station earlier in the day.

          Some residents Tuesday said they worry there will be violence if prosecutor Angela Corey accepts Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense and decides not to charge the neighborhood watch captain with a crime. Corey has not said when she will announce her decision, but many in town believe it will be soon.

          Police aren’t saying what, if any, precautions they are taking.”

          I think the “peaceful” demonstrations are starting to move past being peaceful.

      • avatarTom says:

        Long Hot Summer.

      • avatarrosignol says:

        Think she can string it along until Nov 7th?

  2. avatarMatt in FL says:

    From CNN, via clickorlando.com:

    She said previously that she had never used a grand jury to decide on charges in a case that hinged on questions of whether a killing was justifiable.

    “We do a thorough investigation. We make that decision ourselves,” she said.

    • avatarRalph says:

      Without a Grand Jury indictment, there cannot be a capital murder case. That’s Florida law. So unless she’s going to prolong the agony and convene a second Grand Jury, we know that Zimmerman won’t face capital murder charges.

      • avatarMike says:

        I live in Florida, in a semi-rural county, and I remember two self-defense shootings in the recent past which both received no charges, and neither was as clear cut as Zimmerman.

        First case—Guy A is headed in to a Circle K. Guy B, outside, blocks his way and says “Hey do you have any weed?”. Guy A says, “No, if I had some I’d be at home smoking it.” (I know the deputy who worked the case), and tries to enter. Guy B punches him. Guy A shakes it off and tries again, only to be punched again. Guy A then goes to his truck, tucks his .45 in his waistband, and heads BACK to the store. Tries to enter again, and is punched a third time, so he draws the .45 and kills Guy B. State’s Attorney said self-defense.

        Second case—Two neighbors in a town near me had an ongoing dispute. One was a drunken redneck commercial fisherman, and the other was a fairly meek fellow. Fisherman had actually assaulted meek man in the past and had a restraining order at one time. Well, it comes to a head when they start arguing over the pigs that Fisherman is keeping in his backyard, which Meekman claims hurts his chances to sell the home(to get away from Fisherman). One day Fisherman is driving home, sees Meekman out front of Meekman’s home, and decides to fire up the argument again. Fisherman pulls into the driveway, starts yelling “I’m going to kick your ass!”, and moves towards Meekman. Meekman pulls his legally concealed firearm and kills Fisherman. No charges in that one either.

        The Zimmerman case is far more clear cut than these two. Zimmerman is going to walk, because his shooting meets the requirement for lethal self defense. Corey has no history of caving to political pressure, and if she charges him she will lose.

        She’s saying an announcement will be in the next 72 hours. That is to allow LE to get ready for riots, and riots only happen if Zimmerman isn’t charged. The Mayor of Sanford has reportedly asked Governor Scott to deploy National Guard to Sanford.

        Zimmerman is going to walk, rightfully so, and MIAMI is going to burn. Not Sanford.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          “She’s saying an announcement will be in the next 72 hours. That is to allow LE to get ready for riots, and riots only happen if Zimmerman isn’t charged.”

          I agree with this assessment, as there are two other details not listed here. The announcement is to be made within the next 72 hours, but more telling to me, “The media will be notified three hours in advance of the news conference as to when and where it will be held — either Jacksonville or Sanford.” Source

          Much less time for the rabble to be roused.

  3. avatarAharon says:

    “So where does that leave George? Screwed, I think.”
    “Corey is now assured that she can prosecute Zimmerman for something, anything, if that’s what she chooses to do.”

    Ralph,

    If GZ gets off with only a minor conviction ‘slap on the wrist’ (or none) will you then post your cornbread stuffing recipe here?

    • avatarRalph says:

      Aharon, you are a breath of fresh air. Thanks for the belly laugh!

      • avatarAharon says:

        TY and umh, you’re welcome. It’s only fair that you post your recipe. We’re entitled to it you know. The earth and all its knowledge (and recipes) belongs to all of us equally. We’re all one great human family. After how good society has been to you and your success, you would be victimizing us by not sharing and we know you don’t want to do that.

  4. avatarMikeS says:

    One can’t help but wonder about the strength of the State’s case…….

  5. avatarJay says:

    Plea bargain?

  6. avatarv.mccann says:

    Dismissing the grand jury doesn’t let her do whatever she wants. She still needs a finding of probable cause. It will just come from a judge, rather than a grand jury. That’s probably not a bad thing.

  7. avatarFrank says:

    One thing I keep seeing NOT really being reported on. What about the dead or alive bounty on Zimmerman’s head? Put out by the black panther’s? I am not saying what happened was legal or not, I wasn’t there. Nor am I saying having bounties on people who escape from prosecution is legal or not. However when bounty hunters are send out by bail bonds agencies, it is never dead or alive. Those bounties are legal. But, dead or alive? Pointy hat types would say that’s proof “they” (whoever the they is) want a race riot. If “they” wanted one, wouldn’t their already be one? Like Ralf said this isn’t LA, and I was living in San Diego when that happened.

    • avatarNCG says:

      The New Black Panther Party, or whatever it is, is not an organization that anyone takes very seriously.

      • avatarJeff Rau says:

        Just because few people take the NBP seriously is no reason to not prosecute them when they commit a felony. Solicitation to kidnap for starters.

  8. avatarJohn says:

    I, like about 99.9% of the people in the country, do not know the truth of what happened that night. But truth left the station a long time ago. Regardless of his guilt or innocence I suggest that George Zimmermann will do time; Florida, Federal or both.

    The race-bait machine demands its pound of flesh and I’m afraid Mr. Zimmermann is on the menu.

  9. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    THe special prosecutor was taped on CNN last week saying she, let me quote her, “wants justice for Trayvon”. Now, that could have been said to STFU the family, or it could be used to indicate bias. Either way, she was stupid for saying it rather than just saying she wanted justice here. period. she just thru Zimmerman a bone for an appeal.

  10. avatarST says:

    “Citing a weak case on the part of the State,the Grand Jury no Billed George Zimmerman today.Treyvon Martins mother issued a statement saying the verdict is a sign that racism is ‘alive and well’ in America.Al Sharpton has called the prosecutor *grossly incompetent*,and a movement is afoot in Florida to fire prosecutor Angela Corey.”

    Call me a cynic,but a headline similar to the above is why GZ will be spending time in jail for *something*.Florida is run by politicians,and those same people realize the endgame for their careers if GZ is cleared.The truth hasn’t left the station so much as left Earth orbit.If GZ is set free,conspiracy theories will come out that would rival Roswells notoriety,the Feds at Obamas direction will start a witchhunt,and Floridas current leadership will be on the street come next election cycle.Is GZ innocent? It would seem justice ,like Trix cereal,is for kids.

  11. avatarDarren says:

    There is also the issue that if Zimmerman is tried for anything, the civil liability shield is lifted. This is probably the least of Zimmerman’s worries as he is likely headed into a penal system he will not emerge from no matter the length of his sentence, but the Martin family’s lawyers know a potential payday when they see one.

  12. avatartdiinva says:

    Ralph:

    The cardinal rule of politics is “Don’t make no waves, Don’t back no losers.” This DA clearly understands this principal. If she can’t get the grand jury to indict the ham sandwich known as George Zimmerman then there is no way that a jury bound by “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard will convict. This case is a political loser.

    Now she has to consider what action will make the smallest waves. All she can hope for is plea bargain after she files some charge that she knows she can’t get a conviction on. Unfortunately for her Zimmerman’s lawyer know this too. There is no incentive for Zimmerman to accept a plea bargain because a jury will either hang or deliver a not guilty verdict.

    So what’s in it for Ms. Corey. Well, if she is a Democrat she already has the black vote. If she prosecutes and fails (which she will) then she will alienate her black voters and piss off the vastly more important Hispanic community. She loses the next election. If she is a Republican then she won’t get the black vote anyway and lose Hispanic votes. Angela Corey has no political incentive to charge Zimmerman.

    Corey is engaging in a legal filibuster while waiting for the noise to quiet down (Sharpton was a no show for a rally over the weekend) at which time she will drop the case. The story will appear in the metro section of the Orlando newspapers.

    • avatarRalph says:

      If she can’t get the grand jury to indict the ham sandwich known as George Zimmerman then there is no way that a jury bound by “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard will convict.

      I disagree with this statement completely. Grand juries are smart. The jurors get to ask questions, some of the questions are penetrating and some grand jurors are a pain in the ass. One “hot” grand juror can mean a no-bill. On the other hand, petit juries are, quite frankly, not smart and in most states not permitted to ask questions.

      I can’t even count the number of cases where heavy criminal charges were brought and successfully prosecuted pursuant to an information rather than an indictment simply because the prosecutor was afraid of a Grand Jury.

      • avatartdiinva says:

        But they will have to overcome “John’s” eyewitness testimony which is very hard to refute. She would need a witness that saw Zimmerman start the fight. If such a witness exists, unlike the movies, we would know about it by now.

    • avatarrosignol says:

      No need to speculate about her affiliation- as with most people of public note, she has a wikipedia entry.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angela_Corey

      Republican, experienced homicide prosecutor, won her last election with 64% of the votes cast.

  13. avatarHenry Bowman says:

    If I were GZ, I’d be in Argentina right now.

  14. avatarV.McCann says:

    I’d be interested to learn how often a grand jury is used in noncapital cases in Florida. Without more information, there’s really no way to speculate responsably about what this means.

  15. avatarSanchanim says:

    I would say they if they chose to do anything would probably charge George with manslaughter and discharging a firearm within city limits, or something along those lines.
    Now if convicted I have no idea how he would serve his sentence. Not that it is right but if he were in general population he might as well stab himself, because someone will do it for him if he doesn’t.
    My hope is what ever happens that rulings, and judgements are explained in detail to not leave any questions behind.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      Maybe not. I am sure that Zimmerman speaks Spanish and he will become Jorge instead of George. He will get protection from his fellow latinos. But then again he won’t be going to jail.

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