Thursday, July 11, 2013
Zimmerman Lynch - Judge Gives Jury Option To Convict On Different Charge- After Defense Rests!
Both the prosecution and the defense in the trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin have rested. The Defense's closing arguments stressed the obvious - that the prosecution has provided no evidence whatsoever to prove the second degree murder Zimmerman was charged with, that the evidence points to Trayvon being the aggressor,that the injuries Zimmerman suffered and the forensic evidence all backs up Zimmerman's story.
The prosecution's argument was very different. They apparently took the advice of the lunatics on MSNBC and played the race card for all it was worth.
When it came to perjured witness Rachel Jeantel, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda lectured the jury that if they didn't believe every word she said, they were, you know, racists:
“I had a dream that today a witness would be judged not on the color of her personality but the content of her testimony,” de la Rionda said.
On the other hand, according to the prosecution, George Zimmerman is a liar and a racist and nothing he said should be believed.
At least the prosecution has finally acknowledged what this case was about from day one - not the evidence, not justice but race, pure and simple.
Nor is that all. The prosecution also petitioned Judge Nelson to allow the jury to consider a charge of third degree murder on the grounds that Zimmerman's shooting of Martin constituted - wait for it- child abuse.
Yes, even though Martin was straddling George Zimmerman and pounding his head into the pavement, the prosecution would have it that it was Zimmerman who was abusing Trayvon Martin.
While the judge wouldn't go quite that far, her instructions to the jury were clearly biased towards the prosecution. In her instructions to the jury she allowed them to consider finding Zimmerman guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter, in effect doing the prosecution's work for them. This is particularly egregious because the judge ruled in favor of the prosecution after the defense had already rested. They never had a chance to prepare or defend their client against a a charge of manslaughter, which has a much lower standard. In second degree murder, the prosecution would have had to prove Zimmerman showed ill will, hatred or spite and deliberately set out to kill Trayvon Martin. To get a manslaughter conviction, prosecutors only have to show that Zimmerman killed without lawful justification.
Zimmerman's attorney Don West was outraged:
“The state has charged him with second degree murder. They should be required to prove it,” West said. “If they had wanted to charge him with manslaughter … they could do that.”
I can just imagine the backstage conversations on this, with the prosecution talking to the judge, saying "look, we're having problems with murder two, but we can't just let him walk. There'll be riots all over the place! We have to have a chance to get him on something...can you help us out here?"
By the way, Florida law requires mandatory minimum sentences with additional years added on for crimes committed with a firearm. If convicted of second-degree murder, Zimmerman would be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison. With a manslaughter conviction, he would face up to 30 years.
Actually, given the way the racial politics of this case have been ginned up, Zimmerman would be lucky to survive any jail time without being murdered.
More on this from Professor Bill Jenkins over at Legal Insurrection.