George Zimmerman: Set Him Free, Or Charge With Hate Crime?

By John W. Lillpop

The case of George Zimmerman, charged with 2nd Degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, has once again crashed into the news headlines after a period of relative quiet following Zimmerman’s release on bail.

To begin with, a medical report issued by Zimmerman’s doctor based on a physical examination of his patient the day following the confrontation with Martin describes a number of injuries suffered by the neighborhood watchdog.  The nature and severity of those injuries may collaborate Zimmerman’s contention that he was attacked and that he acted in self-defense, and in accordance with Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law.

In fact, as reported at the reference, in part, Legal scholar Alan Dershowitz believes that the case against Zimmerman should be dropped if the doctor’s report is valid:

A medical report by George Zimmerman’s doctor has disclosed that Zimmerman had a fractured nose, two black eyes, two lacerations on the back of his head and a back injury on the day after the fatal shooting. If this evidence turns out to be valid, the prosecutor will have no choice but to drop the second-degree murder charge against Zimmerman — if she wants to act ethically, lawfully and professionally.

There is, of course, no assurance that the special prosecutor handling the case, State Attorney Angela Corey, will do the right thing. Because until now, her actions have been anything but ethical, lawful and professional.

She was aware when she submitted an affidavit that it did not contain the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. She deliberately withheld evidence that supported Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. The New York Times has reported that the police had "a full face picture" of Zimmerman, before paramedics treated him, that showed "a bloodied nose." The prosecutor also had photographic evidence of bruises to the back of his head.

But none of this was included in any affidavit.

Now there is much more extensive medical evidence that would tend to support Zimmerman’s version of events. This version, if true, would establish self-defense even if Zimmerman had improperly followed, harassed and provoked Martin.

A defendant, under Florida law, loses his "stand your ground" defense if he provoked the encounter — but he retains traditional self-defense if he reasonably believed his life was in danger and his only recourse was to employ deadly force.

Thus, if Zimmerman verbally provoked Martin, but Martin then got on top of Zimmerman and banged his head into the ground, broke his nose, bloodied his eyes and persisted in attacking Zimmerman — and if Zimmerman couldn’t protect himself from further attack except by shooting Martin — he would have the right to do that. (The prosecution has already admitted that it has no evidence that Zimmerman started the actual fight.)

This is a fact-specific case, in which much turns on what the jury believes beyond a reasonable doubt. It must resolve all such doubts in favor of the defendant, because our system of justice insists that it is better for 10 guilty defendants to go free than for even one innocent to be wrongfully convicted.

You wouldn’t know that from listening to Corey, who announced that her jobs was "to do justice for Trayvon Martin" — not for George Zimmerman.

As many see it, her additional job is to prevent riots of the sort that followed the acquittal of the policemen who beat Rodney King.
Indeed,  Mansfield Frazier, a columnist for the Daily Beast, has suggested that it is the responsibility of the legal system to "avert a large scale racial calamity." He has urged Zimmerman’s defense lawyer to become a "savior" by brokering a deal to plead his client guilty to a crime that "has him back on the streets within this decade."

But it is not the role of a defense lawyer to save the world or the country. His job — his only job — is to get the best result for his client, by all legal and ethical means.

The prosecutor’s job is far broader: to do justice to the defendant as well as the alleged victim. As the Supreme Court has said: "The government wins . . . when justice is done."

Zimmerman’s lawyer is doing his job. It’s about time for the prosecutor to start doing hers."
Meanwhile, as legal professionals consider the facts reported by Zimmerman’s doctor, Eric Holder’s Department of Justice is weighing a move to charge Zimmerman with a "Hate Crime" which could result in the death penalty for Zimmerman if convicted. See reference 2.

So which shall it be? Drop the charge altogether, or elevate the charge to "Hate Crime" status?

Unfortunately, but true, with the Obama administration and in particular, the Eric Holder DOJ, one simply cannot assume that unbiased justice will prevail.  Indeed, Attorney General Eric Holder has demonstrated a very disconcerting racial bias when it comes to dispensing justice.

Thus, the major unanswered question of the day will be: Is George Zimmerman the perpetrator, or victim, of a hate crime?

Whatever happened to Barack Obama’s campaign pledge to unite the races and move America forward in a post-racism society?