Isn’t it odd that Angela Corey has indicted George Zimmerman with 2nd Degree murder?
So for all of the protesting and publicity, for the hiring of lawyers, for the multiple televised appearances from civil rights leaders, etc. etc, the State Attorney Angela Corey hands down an indictment, Murder in the 2nd Degree and the crowd roars! But is it all smoke and mirrors? Is someone pulling our chain?
Overview of Florida Voluntary Manslaughter Laws
Florida state laws establish the criminal offense of manslaughter when a homicide, the killing of a human being, does not meet the legal definition of murder. Manslaughter, unlike murder, does not require evidence of the defendant’s premeditation or “depraved mind” with disregard for human life; instead, the state requires proof of either voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.
Voluntary manslaughter describes a homicide intentionally committed while in the midst of a provocation. The prosecutor must show a sudden, unexpected event or circumstance serving as a provocation. As a result of the provocation, the defendant must have felt a temporary anger, heat of passion, or emotion that immediately resulted in an intent to kill or an intent to commit the act that resulted in the victim’s death.
Overview of Florida Involuntary Manslaughter Laws
When a homicide, the killing of a human being, does not meet the legal definition of murder, Florida state laws allow a prosecutor to consider a manslaughter charge. The state establishes two types of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary. While voluntary manslaughter describes an intentional act performed during a provocation or heat of passion, involuntary manslaughter does not require an intent to kill or even an intent to perform that act resulting in the victim’s death.
To establish involuntary manslaughter, the prosecutor must show that the defendant acted with “culpable negligence.” Florida statutes define culpable negligence as a disregard for human life while engaging in wanton or reckless behavior. The state may be able to prove involuntary manslaughter by showing the defendant’s recklessness or lack of care when handling a dangerous instrument or weapon, or while engaging in a range of other activities that could lead to death if performed recklessly.
Example: If the defendant handles a loaded gun without any knowledge of whether the gun is loaded, and he later discharges the gun into a group of people, the defendant’s actions likely meet the recklessness requirement for a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Florida state laws also establish involuntary manslaughter if the prosecutor shows that the defendant used excessive force during self-defense or the defense of another person. The prosecution and defense can look at the facts and circumstances of the killing to determine whether the defendant reasonably believed that self-defense was necessary; if not necessary, the state might proceed with an involuntary manslaughter charge.
Instead of choosing either of these, Angela Corey chose to charge George Zimmerman with Second degree murder.
Overview of Florida Second Degree Murder Laws
In Florida, state laws establish several types of homicide, the unlawful killing of a human being. The state prosecutes homicides as murders and manslaughters — it may be helpful to know the multiple types of murders established by state law and understand the differences among them. In particular, second degree murder lacks the premeditation often required for the prosecution of a first degree murder.
To prove second degree murder, a prosecutor must show that the defendant acted according to a “depraved mind” without regard for human life. Florida state laws permit the prosecution of second degree murder when the killing lacked premeditation or planning, but the defendant acted with enmity toward the victim or the two had an ongoing interaction or relationship. Unlike first degree murder, second degree murder does not necessarily require proof of the defendant’s intent to kill.
State law specifically requires a charge of second degree murder if the victim dies during the commission of one of the felony crimes specified by statute. These felonies include burglary, home-invasion robbery, kidnapping, sexual battery, and a number of other offenses. To establish second degree murder, the prosecutor must show that the victim died as a result of an act committed by a non-participant in the felony. If the defendant or another criminal participant in the felony caused the unlawful killing, state law requires a charge of first degree murder rather than second degree murder. Florida uses this law to deter and punish unintended deaths as a result of felonious activities.
Defenses to Second Degree Murder Charges
• Justifiable use of deadly force to defend against a felony committed against a person or property
• Excusable homicide committed by accident
• Spontaneous or negligent killing that might qualify as manslaughter instead of murder
Above are defense Attorney Mark Omara’s possible defense strategies. Compare the statutes of Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter with the Second Degree Murder Overview and choice is obvious. Angela Corey made a poor decision.
When I think about the reason for this over-indictment it reminds me of the age old adage, “there’s always a little truth in every lie” especially in judicial process. Just as in the Anthony case when the masses were screaming for her blood, the State of Florida handed down an indictment, first-degree murder with possible death penalty. Total overkill.
In order to get a guilty verdict, the jurors must agree 100%. Had Casey Anthony been charged with manslaughter, it would only take 6 out of 12 jurors in order to get a guilty verdict.
Maybe Corey is thinking Zimmerman is just a little bit guilty? Yes, that’s the ticket. She can hand down the over-indictment to please the masses but she’ll prove involuntary or voluntary manslaughter and hope for the best. At least she’ll look as if she tried.
After observing the Florida judicial process over the last 3 years, I question the State, their laws and their judicial process.
When I ask myself how can Marissa Alexander, who shot a bullet in the air to scare off her abusive husband be convicted of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and the same court system allow Greyston Garcia, who chased down a man who stole radios out of his truck and stabbed him to death, walk free on Stand Your Ground Law, I came to this conclusion. The husband wasn’t in commission of a crime unlike Greyston Garcia’s victim who was.
If I’m right, George Zimmerman will be found guilty, jailed and fined because 17 year-old Trayvon Martin wasn’t in commission of a crime when Zimmerman met up with him.
Garcia claimed that his victim swung the bag of loot at him, so therefore he was scared for his life. The “bag of loot” was considered a weapon.
On the other hand, if it’s true, Martin approached and circled his truck while he was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, had he shot Martin then, Stand Your Ground Law would have protected him in a heartbeat, but he didn’t.
But anything could happen, it’s FLORIDA!