Friday, April 13, 2012

The Affidavit of Probable Cause

The affidavit of probable cause to arrest George Zimmerman and charge him with Second Degree Murder is a skimpy document, not quite two pages, double-spaced.

It claims a number of things that seem in conflict with not only with the reported facts, including one assertion not supported by the 911 recording that evening.

According to the affidavit: "When the police dispatcher realized Zimmerman was following Martin he instructed Zimmerman not to do that..."

What the dispatcher actually said was "we don't need you to do that."

The affidavit is incredibly vague about the details of the alleged crime, it insinuates much but offers very little in the way of hard facts to support the charge. The standard for probable cause is low so a judge will probably let the prosecution get away with this but this is paper thin.

Alan Dershowitz thinks so too:  

UPDATE: The affidavit mentions information taken from "sworn" witnesses. Was one of them the man who claimed to have Trayvon Martin on top of Zimmerman and Zimmerman yelling for help.

According to Tampa Bay Fox affiliate WTVT-TV, what the witness says he saw could bolster Zimmerman’s claim that he shot Martin in self-defense:
“The guy on the bottom who had a red sweater on was yelling to me: ‘help, help…and I told him to stop and I was calling 911,” he said.
Trayvon Martin was in a hoodie; Zimmerman was in red.
The witness only wanted to be identified as “John,” and didn’t not want to be shown on camera.
His statements to police were instrumental, because police backed up Zimmerman’s claims, saying those screams on the 911 call are those of Zimmerman.
“When I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on top beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point,” John said.
Did this guy tell the state's attorneys office a different story? Was he interviewed at all? In the affidavit the investigators cite Trayvon Martin's mother as recognizing her son's voice yelling for help on a 911 tape. That seems to conflict with this man's statement. And he was supposedly at the scene.

Will this guy be a witness for the prosecution or the defense. If he sticks to the above story, it's hard to see how it won't damage the prosecution's case. 

Dershowitz imagines a possible plea bargin. I can too. Even if Zimmerman was legally justified in shooting Martin, he might well still feel some guilt over his own part in creating this tragedy. That might help induce him to plead to a much lesser charge. He has been vilified as a racist and wanton killer of a young black man. If the incident went down as he reportedly told police on the night of the shooting, if I were him I would want the world to know it. 


Blogger Dannytheman said...

OK, so let's say this thing is thrown out, or he is found not guilty. The Martin family, now that criminal charges have been filed, can now press civil liability charges against George Zimmerman. Even if this case is thrown out Zimmerman's assets can be seized.
Part of the Castle Doctrine law is that in self defense cases, you would be protected from civil liability.
There is a lot of things happening behind the scenes here.

April 13, 2012 at 7:38 AM 
Blogger Dannytheman said...

Remember Mike Nifong? I'm seeing echo trails.
Does this woman running for reelection have anything to do with this?

April 13, 2012 at 7:47 AM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

I've gotta believe prosecutors have a lot more than they've put in that affidavit. If they don't they are going to look beyond incompetent. They'll look like they brought the charge simply to mollify a liberal mob of race baiters.

We'll see.

April 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM 
Blogger CharlieSix said...

If they have only what they put in the Affidavit of Probable Cause, they'll certainly look beyond incompetent. If they have more than they put in the Afficavit of Probable Cause they'll look incompetent as well as possibly abusing their position... Anyone who had to suffer through a logic course in college can see the result. And it is incompetence on the part of those who brought the charge of second degree murder...

April 13, 2012 at 8:33 PM 
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