Did Florida Throw The Zimmerman Case? Travesty Needs Full Review
Did Prosecutor Angela Corey throw the Zimmerman case?
[Speaking Truth To Power]
Over a month ago, a historic miscarriage of justice occurred which uncovered as fantasy the notion that America is now a “post racial” society.
When George Zimmerman was acquitted and walked out of court a free man it reminded us of the American justice system which frees with regularity so many murderers of African-Americans—unless, of course, those murders are also African-Americans.
In the aftermath of this case, many African-Americans are grappling with what this verdict portends for the future, especially, as it related to the welfare of younger African-Americans. Can African-American kids now be summarily executed on the streets, by regular citizens and not just cops, whenever someone feels threatened, or, has a vague suspicion because they are wearing baggy pants and a hoodie?
And, will American courts uphold this sort of unjust inhuman travesty because of the ingrained injustice that has long characterized the relationship between White America’s legal institutions and African-Americans?
There remain many puzzling and disturbing questions that deserve deeper investigation about what happened in the Zimmerman murder trial.
Over the next few weeks, The Black Star News will explore those questions and others in an attempt to perhaps shine some light on what happened in this Florida case. And we recommend that all concerned citizens should continue to demand a thorough investigation into the matter by the Eric Holder Justice Department.
The primary question to be analyzed is: was the failure of Florida’s prosecution in this case just one of incompetence, or, was something far worse and politically putrid at work here?
In a post-verdict column, I voiced suspicions then that this case was probably deliberately botched.
The legal “missteps” here just seem inconceivable for someone with the recent resume, like that of Special Prosecutor Angela Corey. It is doubtful that this level of ineptitude is possible given some particulars here.
Among other things, we saw prosecutors seemly unprepared to challenge the testimony of key defense witnesses; allowing clearly biased people—like Juror B37—to serve on the jury; allowing Zimmerman to testify—via his Sean Hannity Fox News interview—which isn’t subject to cross-examination; mishandling one of the state’s star witnesses: Rachel Janteel; failing miserably to meet the required standard to obtain a second-degree murder conviction, then, throwing in a manslaughter charge at the end of the trial; giving jurors complicated and cumbersome legal instruction—which was clear from the post-trial ABC News Robin Roberts interview comments of Juror B29, etc.
Now, let’s remember, Special Prosecutor Corey is the same woman who convicted 31-year-old Melissa Alexander and 65-year-old Ronald Thompson and obtained 20 year sentences, for both of them, on aggravated assault charges—even though neither of them killed anyone.
In Alexander’s case, this estranged wife fired one warning shot, into a wall, to scare her husband—who she had a restraining order against—to stop him from possibly attacking her. Ms. Corey’s prosecution was successful and Ms. Alexander is serving a 20-year sentence.
In Thompson's case, he fired two shots, into the ground, to prevent a robbery in progress. Again, Ms. Corey’s prosecution of this veteran was successful—although, that case is going through an appeals process.
How can Ms. Corey obtain convictions on Marissa Alexander and Ronald Thompson but fail to get one against George Zimmerman, who actually killed someone? If Ms. Corey really wanted a conviction—and was zealously invested in prosecuting Mr. Zimmerman, as was required here—how does one explain her unperturbed demeanor after losing the verdict in this historic case?
Currently, the list of lawyers and legal scholars who believe something foul happened in that courtroom is growing. In an article written by AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld, New York-based attorney Warren Ingber, who has practiced law for decades, had this to say about the Zimmerman murder case: “I find it personally difficult to believe it was not thrown. I am far from alone in this assessment…this case was a miscarriage of justice.”
And New Orleans Times-Picayune editorial writer Jarvis DeBerry wrote about talking to a local prosecutor who “handled hundreds of homicide cases over his career and that he's never seen prosecutors who want to win make the series of missteps that the Florida prosecutors made. So he's convinced they lost on purpose.”
Several troubling things are being mentioned by these prosecutors and lawyers as to why they say the Zimmerman case was deliberately lost. Why didn’t the prosecutors ask for a change of venue outside of Seminole County, especially, after the multiple recusals of local judges and the district attorney?
Why wasn’t a juror, like Juror B-37, removed given her obvious bias? Juror B-37 is known to have characterized the protests demanding George Zimmerman’s arrest as “riots” and referred to Trayvon Martin as a “boy of color.”
Moreover, during the interview Juror B-37 did with Anderson Cooper on CNN her condescending dismissal of Rachel Jeantel’s testimony because of Jeantel’s supposed poor education and “her [lack of] communication skills" was evident.
And this juror stated she couldn’t understand Ms. Jeantel “A lot of the time. Because she was using phrases I had never heard before, and what they meant."
But aside from Juror B-37’s dim-witted cluelessness—and probable pigmentation prejudice—this last statement speaks to another head-scratching question that is rightly being asked: why was Angela Corey’s prosecution team so inept in preparing Ms. Jeantel, given the importance of her testimony?
Did Special Prosecutor Corey give any though to bringing an African-American lawyer or consultant in to help with preparing Ms. Jeantel to testify? But then again, Ms. Corey said this case wasn’t about race, and, because of White America’s stubborn denials about the prevalence of race in society this shouldn’t surprise us.
Another one of the crucial “mistakes” lawyers point to is the stunning decision prosecutors made in playing Zimmerman’s Fox News Sean Hannity interview. According to legal analysts, under the hearsay rule, Zimmerman’s defense team wouldn’t have been allowed to play the interview. Some have asked if they’re not going to use the tape to expose serious fabrications that can be proven, then why use it?
By doing this, Zimmerman side of the story was seen by the jury—and with the prosecution’s failure to adequately debunk it why would Zimmerman risk testifying?
Now another troubling aspect to this case is the behavior of the authorities in Sanford. Since they had to be forced, through protests, to even issue an arrest against Zimmerman their determination to achieve a conviction is truly dubious.
After all, if they got a conviction that would mean that a serious mistake was made in not arresting Mr. Zimmerman to begin with. And if there is one thing that is true about America’s legal system it is this: the legal powers never want to admit when they have made a mistake.
That is the reason why it often takes many years—if ever—to secure the freedom of those who have been wrongly incarcerated. Was that also at play here? Were Florida authorities afraid that a conviction would make them look even worse than they looked by not arresting Zimmerman to begin with?
Hopefully, the Justice Department is looking into these very questions as well.
Over the next few weeks the Black Star News will be looking a little deeper into these troubling questions regarding the acquittal of George Zimmerman for his unjust killing of Trayvon Martin.