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Tag: george zimmerman

AG Eric Holder to Decide Soon Whether to Charge George Zimmerman in Civil Rights Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

George Zimmerman may have been exonerated in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, but that may change soon.

Attorney General Eric Holder is weighing whether to file federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, who recently was arrested on unrelated domestic violence charges, Huffington Post reports.

Holder said his office is finishing up a civil rights investigation after Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old.

In the past, Holder has referred to the incident as a “tragic, unnecessary shooting death.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


FBI Advises Local Police to Keep George Zimmerman’s Gun, Evidence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Sanford Police won’t return to George Zimmerman his gun and other evidence used at his murder trial after the FBI urged against giving back the weapon, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

It’s a sign that the Justice Department is moving forward with an investigation into whether Zimmerman violated the civil rights of Trayvon Martin, a black, unarmed 17-year-old who was shot dead, The Orlando Sentinel wrote.

The request comes less than a week after a six-member jury acquitted Zimmerman following 16 hours of deliberations.

“The evidence is just in a hold status, pending their DOJ investigation,”  Sanford police spokesman Capt. Jim McAuliffe told the Sentinel.

Atty. General Eric Holder Condemns “Stand Your Ground” Laws


Holder speaking in Fla./from washpost video

By Manuel Roig-Franzia and Sari Horwitz
Washington Post Staff Writers

ORLANDO — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. strongly condemned “Stand Your Ground” laws here Tuesday in a speech to the NAACP that addressed the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin.

The laws “sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods,” Holder said, by “allowing – and perhaps encouraging – violent situations to escalate in public.”

More than 30 states, including Florida, have passed “Stand Your Ground” laws, which allow people to defend themselves with deadly force, rather than retreating, if they feel they are in danger or a serious felony is about to be committed.

To read full story click here.

 

Feds Prosecuton of Zimmerman Case Would Be a Mistake

 Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Trayvon Martin

 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The acquittal Saturday of George Zimmerman in a Florida state courtroom has already brought cries by civil rights leaders for a federal civil rights prosecution. On Sunday, the Justice Department announced it was going to review the case.

Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder of a 17 year old African American boy, Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was an armed neighborhood watch volunteer patrolling in his Sanford, Florida townhouse complex because of his concern about some recent burglaries in the area. Martin was returning home in his gray hoodie from a snack run for some Skittles and a fruit drink. Zimmerman pursued him, at least for a time, a struggle ensued, and Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest during the fight. The evidence was murky, emotional, conflicting, and heart rending.

A nationwide controversy erupted from the beginning over the racial implications of the case and whether and what to charge. The local prosecutor and law enforcement officers were replaced by state officials who chose to charge second degree murder. Although late in the trial they sought an instruction for the lesser included offense of manslaughter, they clearly focused their evidence, trial theory and argument on murder with malice aforethought and intent rather than on manslaughter based on an imperfect and unjustified self defense.

After the not-guilty verdict the charges of racial profiling and counter-charges are flying fast and furious and will undoubtedly continue for some time. My son’s social media is buzzing with a wide assortment of wacky accusations on both sides.

Among the protests has been discussion in the media about a federal investigation and prosecution under the U. S. Civil Rights Act, 18 U.S.C. 245. The Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not bar such a re-prosecution since the state and federal governments are separate sovereignties. Such cases are rare, however, and require a full Justice Department review.

A federal civil rights prosecution requires proof of an intentional interference with a person’s right to enjoyment of public accommodations on the basis of race or national origin. So the question is whether George Zimmerman was motivated by racial animus when he pursued and shot Trayvon Martin. Or more precisely, the question is whether there is evidence and proof of such a motivation.

The case and the cries for federal prosecution bring to mind a case of thirty years ago when members of one ethnic group appealed to the public and prosecutors when they were greatly dissatisfied with the lack of state justice, in their opinion, over the homicide of another young man by someone of a different race.

Vincent Chin, a young Chinese American was bludgeoned to death by a baseball-wielding white man after an argument in a bar in Highland Park, Michigan. The killer was accused of being motivated by his anger over the success of Japanese auto makers and the effect it was having over American auto workers.

Like the Zimmerman/Martin case, epithets were allegedly spoken during the events which preceded the killing. This, the protesters insisted, proved that the killing was racially motivated.

Angry protests, supported by the media, led to political pressure on Congressmen, which led to pressure on the Justice Department. Receiving literally thousands of letters, the Detroit U. S. Attorney Len Gilman ordered a re-examination of the record. A young AUSA, John Thompson, did so and concluded that the evidence of race was insufficient for proof beyond a reasonable doubt. His supervisors and Mr. Gilman also reviewed the evidence, came to the same conclusion and recommended no prosecution by the Justice Department.

But politics and emotion at DOJ trumped a calm investigation of the facts, the Detroit USAO was countermanded, and a prosecution was ordered in July 1983. At the time, I was chief of the criminal division at the U.S Attorney’s Office in Detroit.

After five years of intense effort, including a trial in Detroit, a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversal, and a trial in Cincinnati, both defendants were acquitted for the same reason that first AUSA declined the prosecution. Like that of Travon Martin, the killing was a tragedy, but there was not enough evidence of racial motivation to convince the jury that a federal civil rights prosecution was warranted.

I do not pretend to know the evidence of the case as well as the media pundits and armchair trial lawyers claim to. Maybe the state prosecutor did overcharge and should have focused on defective self defense theory for manslaughter. Maybe in his mind and his actions George Zimmerman was wrongly affected in his decision-making and mistaken perceptions about a young black man in a hoodie in the neighborhood.

But I do know that the jury has spoken after hearing all of the evidence. And I still adhere to the jurisprudential truism that the jury is the greatest truth-finder ever invented.

Agree with the verdict or not, there does not appear to be enough evidence of manifestations of a racial basis for a federal re-prosecution. Federal court is not the place to fix every wrong result in state court.

Sometimes, however unsatisfying, a case is just over.

 

Former Federal Official: Fed Prosecution of Zimmerman Case Would be A Mistake

 Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Trayvon Martin

 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The acquittal Saturday of George Zimmerman in a Florida state courtroom has already brought cries by civil rights leaders for a federal civil rights prosecution.  On Sunday, the Justice Department announced that it would review the case.

Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder of a 17 year old African American boy, Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was an armed neighborhood watch volunteer patrolling in his Sanford, Florida townhouse complex because of his concern about some recent burglaries in the area. Martin was returning home in his gray hoodie from a snack run for some Skittles and a fruit drink. Zimmerman pursued him, at least for a time, a struggle ensued, and Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest during the fight. The evidence was murky, emotional, conflicting, and heart rending.

A nationwide controversy erupted from the beginning over the racial implications of the case and whether and what to charge. The local prosecutor and law enforcement officers were replaced by state officials who chose to charge second degree murder. Although late in the trial they sought an instruction for the lesser included offense of manslaughter, they clearly focused their evidence, trial theory and argument on murder with malice aforethought and intent rather than on manslaughter based on an imperfect and unjustified self defense.

After the not-guilty verdict the charges of racial profiling and counter-charges are flying fast and furious and will undoubtedly continue for some time. My son’s social media is buzzing with a wide assortment of wacky accusations on both sides.

Ross Parker

Among the protests has been discussion in the media about a federal investigation and prosecution under the U. S. Civil Rights Act, 18 U.S.C. 245. The Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not bar such a re-prosecution since the state and federal governments are separate sovereignties. Such cases are rare, however, and require a full Justice Department review.

A federal civil rights prosecution requires proof of an intentional interference with a person’s right to enjoyment of public accommodations on the basis of race or national origin. So the question is whether George Zimmerman was motivated by racial animus when he pursued and shot Trayvon Martin. Or more precisely, the question is whether there is evidence and proof of such a motivation.

The case and the cries for federal prosecution bring to mind a case of thirty years ago when members of one ethnic group appealed to the public and prosecutors when they were greatly dissatisfied with the lack of state justice, in their opinion, over the homicide of another young man by someone of a different race.

Vincent Chin, a young Chinese American was bludgeoned to death by a baseball-wielding white man after an argument in a bar in Highland Park, Michigan. The killer was accused of being motivated by his anger over the success of Japanese auto makers and the effect it was having over American auto workers.

Like the Zimmerman/Martin case, epithets were allegedly spoken during the events which preceded the killing. This, the protesters insisted, proved that the killing was racially motivated.

Angry protests, supported by the media, led to political pressure on Congressmen, which led to pressure on the Justice Department. Receiving literally thousands of letters, the Detroit U. S. Attorney Len Gilman ordered a re-examination of the record. A young AUSA, John Thompson, did so and concluded that the evidence of race was insufficient for proof beyond a reasonable doubt. His supervisors and Mr. Gilman also reviewed the evidence, came to the same conclusion and recommended no prosecution by the Justice Department.

But politics and emotion at DOJ trumped a calm investigation of the facts, the Detroit USAO was countermanded, and a prosecution was ordered in July 1983. At the time, I was chief of the criminal division at the U.S Attorney’s Office in Detroit.

After five years of intense effort, including a trial in Detroit, a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversal, and a trial in Cincinnati, both defendants were acquitted for the same reason that first AUSA declined the prosecution. Like that of Travon Martin, the killing was a tragedy, but there was not enough evidence of racial motivation to convince the jury that a federal civil rights prosecution was warranted.

I do not pretend to know the evidence of the case as well as the media pundits and armchair trial lawyers claim to. Maybe the state prosecutor did overcharge and should have focused on defective self defense theory for manslaughter. Maybe in his mind and his actions George Zimmerman was wrongly affected in his decision-making and mistaken perceptions about a young black man in a hoodie in the neighborhood.

But I do know that the jury has spoken after hearing all of the evidence. And I still adhere to the jurisprudential truism that the jury is the greatest truth-finder ever invented.

Agree with the verdict or not, there does not appear to be enough evidence of manifestations of a racial basis for a federal re-prosecution. Federal court is not the place to fix every wrong result in state court.

Sometimes, however unsatisfying, a case is just over.

 

Justice Department Accused of Supporting Anti-Zimmerman Protests After Martin Shooting

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has spent tax dollars supporting a campaign against George Zimmerman following the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Fox News reports, citing a conservative watchdog group.

The Justice Department has a branch, called the Community Relations Service, that handles conflicts over race.

According to documents cited by Fox News, the CRS agency filed a series of expenses related to late March and early April demonstrations.

One filing, for $674, shows federal officials went to a Sanford, Fla, to “work marches, demonstrations and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”

A Justice Department spokesman said the CRS was “fulfilling their mandated mission.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


FBI to Release Interviews in George Zimmerman Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Prosecutors plan to release FBI interviews Thursday in the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The interviews are expected to shed more light on the man who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin while he was walking home from a store in Sanford, Florida on Feb. 26.

The FBI, which became involved following complaints that Sanford Police conducted a racially biased investigation, interviewed Martin’s ex-girlfriend, police officers, gun shop and neighbors, among others.

Zimmerman claims self-defense when he shot Martin on a sidewalk in Zimmerman’s neighborhood.

FBI Considering Hate Crime Charges Against George Zimmerman

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

George Zimmerman may face federal hate crime charges in a case that has stirred controversy and debate over race and guns.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin as he returned home from the corner store with a bag of candy in a Florida gated community last February. Now, ABC Action News reports, the FBI is considering adding hate crime charges to Zimmerman’s bill of reckoning.

Martin, a 17 year old African-American, was wearing a hooded sweatshirt when he was killed. His death, and local authorities’ initial lack of response, triggered a national outcry on behalf of the Martin family and young black men, many who say they face daily discrimination.

A social media campaign lit up the web with photos of people across the country wearing ‘hoodies’ like Martin’s in support of his family and the right of young men to be safe on the street,  regardless of skin color or fashion choice.

Zimmerman could face up to life in prison if convicted.

To read more click here.