Zimmerman in Police Custody
April 15, 2012
Topics: Gun Control;
George Zimmerman has been arrested and officially charged with second degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida. Zimmerman, who had been in hiding because of a $10,000 bounty put on his head by the New Black Panther Party, contacted police and turned himself in after hearing that he was being officially charged. He is now in police custody in Sanford Florida, and is presumably safe from potential vendettas.
Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey stated that there is adequate evidence for his arrest .
Second degree murder is defined as murder that was committed intentionally, but was not planned or premeditated. Zimmerman has stated from the beginning that he acted in defense of his life, which is fully legal in all states.
The difficulty in this case will be to differentiate between murder and self defense. Obviously a murder was committed because Trayvon Martin is dead. The only question will be whether Zimmerman killed him in self defense or not. In the United States, all citizens are guaranteed the presumption of innocence, meaning that the prosecutor will have to prove Zimmerman was NOT defending himself when he killed Martin.
Many legal experts were surprised by the 2nd degree murder charge. It was widely believed that if charges were brought forward, they would be the charge of manslaughter, which is a lesser charge. If Zimmerman is found guilty, Florida law would give him a sentence of about 25 years in prison.
However, the state will first schedule a pretrial hearing in which the judge will determine whether there is adequate evidence to proceed to a full trial. If the judge determines that there is enough evidence to warrant a trial the case will proceed to trial. If the judge does not think the evidence is substantial enough, the charge will be dropped and Zimmerman will be free.
The hearing date has not been publicly announced yet, but Zimmerman’s lawyers stated that it would take place sometime this week.
What do you think? Did Zimmerman commit a crime, or did he simply defend himself? Do you think the state of Florida was right to arrest him? Do you think the hearing will set him free, or proceed to a trial?