Dershowitz: Drop Murder Charge Against George Zimmerman
Do we spend a certain amount of time disagreeing with Alan Dershowitz about a variety of issues? We do. However, Dershowitz is by profession a defense lawyer, and thus can see the problems with malicious false prosecution:
By Alan Dershowitz / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
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.
But how likely is that?
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.
There`s a tendency in these political cases for the prosecutors to overreach, and that means that the jury refuses to convict. The Rodney King officers were charged with were charged with ” assault with a deadly weapon” for hitting him with their batons. Under California law, this charge is almost as serious as attempted murder, but it`s also stupid.
If a man in a brawl picks up a big stick to hit someone with, he`s showing reckless disregard for the fact that he might fracture the man`s skull–the gravamen of assault with a deadly weapon is that you might very well kill someone doing that.
But when four men with guns choose to use their batons to arrest a man larger and stronger than any of them individually, it`s clear that they`re going for the less-lethal option. The PR-24 Prosecutor Baton used by LAPD at the time has rounded ends to avoid the possibility of cuts to its target, and, gripped by the side-handle, tends to bounce back with less injury to whoever`s on the receiving end.
In Fundamentals of Modern Police Impact Weapons, it`s reported that
“the spinning action gives the weapon great momentum, more than a rigid stick would have; at the same time, since it is not held rigidly, it will bounce back after maximum hurt has been delivered, but probably before any bone breaks.”
In the Rodney King case, four officers hit King a total 56 times without killing, crippling, or seriously injuring him.
If the prosecution had charged them with a less-serious assault charge, the initial prosecution might have succeeded in convincing the jury.
By the same token, the four police officers who shot Amadou Diallo by mistake were charged with second-degree murder. If the New York prosecutors had charged them them with negligent homicide, they might have had a case, at least against the officer who fired the first shot. But charging police who killed someone by mistake with murder was ridiculous under the circumstances.
George Zimmerman has been charged by Angela Corey with Second Degree Murder, which under Florida law requires a “depraved mind”.
Once again, this is overcharging based on the racial politics issue. If two men had an encounter like this outside a Florida bar, and both were about equally responsible, the winner would be charged with, at worst, voluntary manslaughter, although even in that case a self-defense claim might work.
If Angela Corey takes this to trial, she`s unlikely to win it–unless she can get a largely black jury.