This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
E D I T O R I A L and O P I N I O N
Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman Case Requires Increased Clarity
By: Jerry Brewer
Expert opinion in the tragedy of death cases that are before the courts for prosecution and defense, must be based on the theory that the expert’s opinion will be based and follow the evidence at hand. Regardless of who calls or retains the expert, whether the expert’s opinion favors the prosecution or the defense should be the only rationale in search of the truth. An expert will give what is considered court certified or approved opinion at trial that is based on the expert’s extensive review of all of the evidence on hand and presented; and based on the expert’s professional documented credentials, knowledge, skills, and abilities. The expert will testify at trial and be crossed by the opposing side. A judge or jury will interpret and determine the weight of the testimony, as with regular witnesses. Essentially, all other “opinion” in terms of a court’s trial requirements is not allowed. On February 26, 2012 at 7:09 p.m. in the gated community of Twin Lakes, Sanford, Florida; Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot at very close range (with gunpowder residue present) in the left area of the chest (heart area). The weapon was a semi-automatic (double action only) Kel-Tec 9mm pistol. This weapon was designed and marketed for maximum concealment ability and there was no exit wound of the projectile on Martin’s body. George Zimmerman, 28, a resident of the Twin Lakes community, admitted to shooting and killing Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman met the State of Florida requirements for and legally possessed a concealcarry permit for the firearm. It is a responsibility of a prosecutor to seek the conviction of the guilty, while at the same time protecting the interests of the innocent. The prosecutor must seek justice and not merely a conviction. The burden of proof in a criminal case is on the prosecution to prove each and every element of the
crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. A prosecutor cannot advocate any fact or position known to be inconsistent with the truth. This should not be a selective prosecution or unjustifiable standard, singling out one case from other similar cases not pursued. The accusatory instrument or charging affidavit should clearly set forth the alleged criminal conduct with sufficient specificity. The charging criminal statutes upon which the accusatory instrument is based, should not be unconstitutional from the standpoint that it prohibits conduct that is protected by the United States Constitution such as free speech and to peacefully assemble, among other protected freedoms of presence and movement. In the George Zimmerman case the “affidavit of probable cause” for second degree murder, the investigator/affiant Dale Gilbreath, based his “probable cause” for arrest essentially on Zimmerman observing Martin and “assumed he was a criminal.” Affiant further states that Zimmerman called the police and spoke to the dispatcher. Zimmerman indicated that he (Martin) “was acting suspicious” and asked for an officer to respond. Affiant states that Zimmerman got out of his car and began following Martin and the dispatcher “instructed Zimmerman not to do that,” and that Zimmerman “disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin.... Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued.” Although the civilian dispatcher suggested he “did not need to” do that, it was not an illegal act for Zimmerman to exit his vehicle and follow behind someone to maintain sight as police could be directed in to where the alleged suspect was to investigate the call for service. At one point Zimmerman claims he didn’t see him anymore. Zimmerman, as a resident of the gated community and an active participant in the neighborhood watch program with a documented history of calling in suspicious activity, was legally in a place/location and at a time usual for law abiding citizens. The language as to who confronted who is unclear and speculative. There is nothing illegal in Zimmerman’s preliminary actions, absent any evidence that Zimmerman “forcibly” detained Martin; assaulted/battered him, or otherwise violated any protected right of Martin. The true issue at hand is the first harmful event. The State of Florida believes that Zimmerman “provoked” Martin. Provoke by definition- to anger, enrage, exasperate, stir up, arouse, incite or stimulate to action. The “who threw the first punch” conjecture would in fact be the first harmful event; not mere words, shouting, insults, and related verbal communication or gestures if it were to occur. It became a crime when either one of them assaulted or struck the other- if that even occurred prior to the fatal gunshot. There was no evidence presented to date of a hate crime or similar action at the original scene. In fact, the truth (after an altered media audio clip emerged) was that the civilian dispatcher asked Zimmerman the race of the suspect. What IS known in this case via witness statement(s), is that (Trayvon Martin) was seen, “…and described a black man in a dark hoodie on top of a white or Latino man, punching him repeatedly, "mixed martial arts style."
A medical report obtained states that Zimmerman had a fractured nose, two black eyes, two lacerations on the back of his head due to his head being banged against the concrete- indicated by at least one eye witness.. A thorough autopsy conducted on Martin did not reveal any physical injury other than the gunshot wound and laceration(s) to Martin’s knuckle(s). The gunshot was nearly a contact wound estimated from 1 to 18 inches away. One witness indicates that when he saw Zimmerman after the shooting he told him, “Man, you’ve got blood all over you- you alright?” Zimmerman responded, “… guy beating on me, I had to shoot him” The charge filed against Zimmerman that superseded the decisions of the original investigating jurisdictional authority (Sanford Police Department), was second degree murder. This charged brought forth by a special prosecutor- State Attorney Angela Corey of Florida’s fourth judicial circuit. The special prosecutor was appointed pursuant to Governor Rick Scott. This action appears to have ensued after Sanford police had previously declined to file charges against Zimmerman. This action by Scott essentially removed the jurisdictional decision venue of Seminole County’s (Sanford) eighteenth judicial circuit court. A potential rationale, for this action by Governor Scott, although weak and political on its surface, is the intense national media attention, reporting outrage by some congressional representatives; comments by President Barack Obama, and the presence and vocals of some notable civil rights leaders traveling to Sanford. Media clips were permeating the atmosphere with such phrases by prominent officials that “Trayvon Martin was hunted down like a dog;” as well as the implications of further race related shenanigans against Zimmerman. It certainly did not help that the Sanford city commission expressed essentially no confidence in their police chief Bill Lee’s oversight of their police jurisdiction, but decided to keep him after the case was removed to a “higher” plateau. I would certainly like to have asked Chief Lee why in the world did he stay beyond his own personal beating by a professed lack of confidence when he already had first-account witness to the scene evidence, statements, injuries, and detective’s briefings- that “was” his job. A close examination at the prosecution’s case with what has emerged to date is that Zimmerman is allegedly guilty (charged) of second degree murder because Zimmerman “provoked” Martin; improperly followed him; and confronted him- then shot him. A secondary thought of those desiring a less harsh judicial response was for a charge of involuntary manslaughter. A Sanford police detective summed up his original thought in contemplating a charge by saying that Zimmerman should have just stayed in his car. Records allegedly show that the Sanford police investigator believed Zimmerman was taking a beating from Martin and cried for help 14 times in 38 seconds. Trayvon Martin’s father allegedly stated that the voice screaming for help on the dispatch audio was not his son’s.
A curious thought is if Zimmerman had been assaulted in the alleged same manner while sitting and
waiting in his vehicle- would the same charge apply? Would this static “surveillance” action have provoked the same response by Martin?
The true test of the special prosecutor in this case will be much more than trying to push a charge of murder against Zimmerman by “evincing a depraved mind… without any premeditated design to effect the death” of Trayvon Martin. In fact, an involuntary manslaughter charge would be stretching the envelope based on the charging documents, witness statements, and associated evidence released to date. That charge would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman …”by the act of procurement, or culpable negligence of another without lawful justification (resulted in the death of).” Each of these would be to ignore the evidence of Zimmerman’s injuries (and lack of on Martin- other than the gunshot wound as the sole manner of death), and ignoring the premise that Zimmerman feared for his life and was being badly beaten bloody pursuant to Zimmerman’s and other witness statement(s). Even if Zimmerman had not been a neighborhood watch participant in his community and simply a concerned citizen, would he not have a right to be suspicious at something pursuant to his or her own feelings or perceptions? What is fact is that community had experienced multiple burglaries and thefts, and at least one shooting previously. It is fact that released recorded calls to police show Zimmerman got out of his car that night and followed Martin at some point, and Zimmerman claimed he was on his way back to his truck when Martin attacked him. The secondary issue is the “Florida Stand your Ground Law” passed in 2005. “A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” The death of anyone resulting from violence is a tragedy. The victims are many on both sides of the issues. A court system will examine and adjudicate this case through physical evidence and the evidence of witnesses that are properly vetted at trial for their credibility. A decision will come forth and it is hoped that all or many can find peace beyond the issues and learn something from it. That is our system.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATES
United States of America
—————————— Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates (northern Virginia), a global threat mitigation firm. Website is located at www.cjiausa.org. firstname.lastname@example.org TWITTER: cjiausa Media archives: www.scribd.com/jbrewer31 KEY NOTE SPEAKER: http://www.scribd.com/doc/78656606/Jerry-Brewer-Keynote-Speaker-Press