Wednesday, April 11, 2012


The Florida special counsel, charged with the investigation of the Trayvon Martin case, has declined to convene a Grand Jury. This means two things: (1) under Florida law, the alleged suspect, George Zimmerman, cannot be tried for first degree murder and (2) the decision as to what charge, if any, will be brought against him is in the exclusive hands of special prosecutor Angela Corey. She is expected to announce her decision on Friday.

Meanwhile, the federal investigation of the case is ongoing, its apparent goal being to determine whether a hate crime has been committed, effectuating federal jurisdiction, sounding in a violation of the victim's civil rights.


Practicality would suggest a coordination of effort between state and federal authorities, pooling their investigative information, thereby achieving maximum credible results. Technically, each sovereign could bring independent charges without violating the protection against double jeopardy. It seems improbable that the feds would fold up their cards merely because the state has first crossed the decision line. Too much investigatory effort has been expended. But this case is not the norm. It has become a national thermometer.

I opine that the special prosecutor shall promulgate an information charging Zimmerman with voluntary manslaughter.

The lack of specific evidentiary clarity shall be deemed insufficient to sustain a charge of second degree murder, which is a murder not premeditated or planned in advance, but does require the element of malice aforethought. This may be considered a legal reach too far. Voluntary manslaughter, sometimes called a "heat of passion" murder, is any intentional killing that involved no prior intent to kill. Both voluntary manslaughter and second degree murder are committed on the spot, but the two differ in the circumstances surrounding the crime. The evidence at hand could be more consistent with the former, alleviating the state's burden of proof.

The country waits and watches.

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