No Grand Jury for Zimmerman

Apparently the Florida special prosecutor says it will not be needed. I don’t know if this means anything, but I would think that if prosecutors didn’t plan to prosecute, they’d want the political cover of having a jurors be the ones to decide that. So if I had to bet, I think we may see charges, in which case this goes to trial.

This could potentially bring Florida’s SYG/CD law into the case, since my understanding is that Zimmerman’s lawyer can motion for immunity, which is decided by a judge using the standard of preponderance of evidence.

18 thoughts on “No Grand Jury for Zimmerman”

  1. Still has to go before the Grand Jury. This means that they have no evidence to even press charges, which would then be presented to the Grand Jury with all available evidence.


  2. Grand Jury not required but standard for capital cases. Manslaughter would not require a grand jury.

    This was about the previous prosecutor saying they were going to go to a grand jury on 10 April. This new prosecutor just does not want to live by the other person’s schedule.

    SYG will be an issue for prosecution. The prosecutor will need to do some serious judge-shopping to do away with it. And I think Zimmerman can appeal a bad SYG ruling to another court. And this is all before the “official” prosecution.

    Who knows what she’ll do. I am quite interested in seeing what the Federal DoJ is going to do ala Civil Rights Denial. They were all hot to trot but then started walking back, presumably after they saw the evidence. But Team Obama went down there. There has to be pressure to do something.

    I still say the dude should have just stayed in his car. Wasn’t like he was saving a cat from a tree or something.

  3. According to what I read, the “special” prosecutor they brought in for this only does grand juries when the law requires it. Otherwise, she’ll bring cases to court by information.

    I have to agree with Sebastian, I think they’re getting ready to charge him and take it to a trial. That would fit with the fact that they’ve asked the city to take all the video, audio, and reports off their website.

    The office of the State Attorney, 4th Judicial Circuit, State Attorney Angela Corey has requested that the City of Sanford remove all reports, videos and audio pertaining to the Martin/Zimmerman case from the website. Their office has provided legal justification for the action and they believe further access to the information will have an adverse effect on their efforts to come to a resolution to this investigation.

    Not that I’m entirely sure what they think that will accomplish. It’s all over the web by now, which means it’s there forever. Taking it off the city’s website won’t keep it from being available to anyone who bothers to look, but maybe it’s just making sure all the i’s are dotted before trial.

    The two biggest questions I have are: a) How much is the decision to prosecute based on the evidence, and how much on politics? and b) Can Zimmerman even get a fair trial at this point, after all the media lies and bad publicity?

  4. I predict that George Zimmerman will walk away from all of this. I have often heard criminal defense lawyers say something to the effect of, “Any good prosecutor should be able to get a grand jury to indict even a ham sandwich.” I take this to mean most prosecutors feel that they can rely upon their grand juries to indict anybody for anything 100% of the time without fail. So, if this idiomatic expression among lawyers applies to this case, then why would the special prosecutor decide not to use a grand jury? One reason for this might be because the special prosecutor feels that all the distortions of the facts from the media coverage has tainted her jury pool too badly by this point.

    1. My understanding (which is based on an AP story, so take that for what it’s worth) is that this particular prosecutor never uses a grand jury unless specifically required by law.

      Corey has long had a reputation for not using grand juries if it wasn’t necessary. In Florida, only first-degree murder cases require the use of grand juries.

      I suspect that a grand jury would have only been involved if she decided she didn’t want to charge him, and then it would have been nothhing more than a political cover.

  5. At this point, it would be impossible to form a jury that will acquit him, and will be much more likely to convict him. Probably 0.00000001% of black jurors *might* be capable of the sort of clinical detachment necessary to sort out facts and decide honestly based on those facts, but black people are pretty much universally aligned on matters such as this. And you can bet your ass any jury picked for this case will have at least one black person on it. And it’s a 50/50 shot that maybe *one* “Archie Bunker” type white guy gets on that jury and blocks a conviction. (I’m talking about the trial jury, BTW, not the grand jury)

    This is all a very good reason for letting a judge review the evidence and decide if a preponderance of evidence is there before letting prosecutors get their way. Or maybe we should only allow Asians on the jury under these circumstances :).

    1. wow – that’s not racist at all. However, I am impressed you did the “math” to justify your conclusion. So, while we are chatting, how was your weekend in Tulsa?

      1. My “math” was clearly a guestimation, as I used words such as *probably* as qualifiers. And there can be no doubt that any defense lawyer would be thinking the same thing while looking for the “Archie Bunker” among the jury pool. There can also be little doubt that it’s *very* unlikely that any black jurors will be emotionally detached enough not to pre-judge. Sorry, but that’s the real world. So what is your problem? And what’s with Tulsa?

        1. As someone who is Black, pro-gun, and reasonably well-informed, I think I am sufficiently “detached”. Moreover, having served on, and been the foreman for, a criminal jury for a serious offense (prior to establishing my permanent “disability” thanks to a JD degree), I think your analysis is incorrect. Much like OJ was acquitted with only 2 Blacks on the jury, Zimmerman will not face an all Black jury. Anyone who shows bias or emotion will be dismissed likely. Moreover, there are plenty in the white community who are emotional and not detached. I think your analysis, instead of guessing at logical proclivities, which is racist, should focus instead on the things that Zimmerman’s attorneys need to lay out for anyone to say, whether or not they like or care for weapons, that yes, there was a reason Zimmerman had to defend himself. Frankly, a Black man from the inner city can relate to this if you frame it the right way.

          1. Dirk, the chances that a black guy like you will wind up on that jury are next to impossible IMO. It is far easier to pick out and exclude the “angry white guy” types than someone like you. And white people are divided by politics, which means roughly 50/50. Black people (in my experience) are very much united in outrage when these situations arise. I stand by what I said before.

            BTW, I was in the worst part of West Philly when the OJ verdict was announced. I remember being relieved to see *EVERYBODY* out on their porches and front steps hooting and hollering for joy that OJ was acquitted. I am certain I would have been killed that day if he were found guilty.

            1. and I was in Ann Arbor for law school and was one of the people cheering when that happened because it demonstrated the rule of law, although I am sure I would have been lynched in a heartbeat if I had gone down certain streets as well. Having lived in W. Philly for my college days (too many days spent in the Rosengarten Reserve Room), I was there when the Rodney King verdict came down and the semi-riot happened downtown.

              I think your fear is misplaced and there are far more “balanced” Blacks out there. One of the cleaning people at my office asked me my thoughs on this case (since I am the only Black attorney in this office). She was far more measured and reasoned than even I could hope for and was actually adamant about Zimmerman’s right to a fair trial and disdain for Jackson and Sharpton. Just as I celebrate Herman Cain, Allen West, and other Black republicans not because of their politics (which I support) but because it demonstrates that we are not monolithic.

              1. and I was in Ann Arbor for law school and was one of the people cheering when that happened because it demonstrated the rule of law

                Oh, well played, sir!

                That’ll leave a mark, alright. :D

              2. Dude, seriously, lynchings of the sort you describe simply don’t happen anymore. Maybe once a decade some cousin humping bumpkins in Texas wil drag somebody with a pickup truck or something like that. But I’ve seen in my lifetime many more racially motivated attacks against white people than the other way around. Then again, I grew up in a 90%+ black neighborhood in Philly so my life experiences are quite different from most.

                1. well, I have seen plenty of attacks on people of color for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. No guns every used, but bats, bottles, fists, mainly for being present when something elsewhere went down and someone wanted to vent on the closest person. Moreover, I can attest to what a hit from a nightstick feels like thanks to a White police officer who stopped me for being in the wrong neighborhood so I believe we can agree that shit happens for no legit reason.

                  1. Not only can I agree, but I can tell you that my experience with white police officers is probably about the same as yours. You see, a couple of white teenagers walking the streets in my old neighborhood at night look very suspicious. And the police thought so, too. I had it coming from every angle.

  6. In my opinion, Rattanavong should get less than manslaughter – something like assault with a deadly weapon. Pineda’s friends admitted that they were all actively looking for unlocked cars to rob. Which means they were willing to smash car windows, if they saw anything worth the effort and risk to steal.

    There is a fine line between letting thugs terrorize homeowners, and letting crazy old men shoot delinquents.

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

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