Special prosecutor decides against a grand jury in #Trayvon Martin case

Posted by: ST on April 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Via the Associated Press (bolded emphasis added by me):

ORLANDO, Fla. — A grand jury will not look into the Trayvon Martin case, a special prosecutor said Monday, leaving the decision of whether to charge the teen’s shooter in her hands alone and eliminating the possibility of a first-degree murder charge.

That prosecutor, Angela Corey, said her decision had no bearing on whether she would file charges against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who has said he shot the unarmed black teen in self-defense. Corey could still decide to charge him with a serious felony such as manslaughter, which can carry a lengthy prison sentence if he is convicted.

A grand jury had been set to meet Tuesday in Sanford, about 20 miles northeast of Orlando.

Corey has long had a reputation for not using grand juries if it wasn’t necessary. In Florida, only first-degree murder cases require the use of grand juries.

Corey’s decision means she doesn’t have to rely on potentially unpredictable jurors, said David Hill, an Orlando criminal defense attorney.

“Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she knows there isn’t enough for first-degree murder but she wants to maintain control and charge him with something else,” Hill said. “What does she need a grand jury for? She cuts out the unpredictability of the grand jury. She goes where she feels she has more evidence.”

Corey took over the case last month after the prosecutor who normally handles cases out of Sanford recused himself. That prosecutor, Norm Wolfinger, had originally called for the case to be presented before a grand jury.

“From the moment she was assigned, Ms. Corey noted she may not need a grand jury,” said a statement from Corey’s office.

Well, from this news we know that if the special prosecutor plans to bring charges against Zimmerman, it won’t be first-degree murder, which I suspect even the Martin family attorney knew wasn’t going to happen based on what is known about the case to date.

Doug Mataconis speculates:

As to the first issue, it seems pretty clear from the evidence that has come forward that this is not a First Degree Murder case so there really isn’t any legal need for a grand jury. At most, what we’re looking at here is Second Degree Murder, or more likely Manslaughter, at least as far as an initial charge goes. Given the controversy that has surrounded this case, of course, one would have thought that the prosecutor would have wanted the “buffer zone” of a grand jury so that she wouldn’t be the one responsible for making the sole decision here. But she obviously doesn’t think its necessary.

There is another possibility, of course. Given the nature of the self-defense claim that Zimmerman will obviously raise in this case, she may have feared that a grand jury would have refused to indict based on the evidence, which would have been politically troublesome to say the least. Zimmermann will still have an opportunity to raise the argument of self-defense before trial, but at least this way Corey would be able to have Zimmerman arrested and charged, which would likely go a long way toward cooling tensions in Seminole County.

Or, perhaps he won’t be charged at all – so speculates Tom Maguire:

Applying my “Sauce For The Goose” doctrine, I  infer that a prosecutor can also issue a report in the absence of an indictment.  However, clearing that up would be a great clue as to where this case is headed, because I don’t think the public will stand for an announcement of no charges unless accompanied by a comprehensive report.

So, either this prosecutor will be charging Zimmerman or she will be issuing a report. If the law does not allow her to issue a report except by way of a grand jury, then Zimmerman will be charged.  If the law does allow a prosecutor’s report, then toss a coin or find your answer here.

MY TWO CENTS: Maybe the forensics make Zimmerman out to be a liar.  But what we have seen publicly makes me think we are miles from a path to a conviction.  With that “public info” caveat, I predict no charges.

Corey’s statement is here (via Jeralyn Merrit).

As they say, stay tuned.

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4 Responses to “Special prosecutor decides against a grand jury in #Trayvon Martin case”


  1. Just Curious 2 says:

    Watch all the race-baiters implode if Zim is not arrested. Race riots to begin in 3 hours.

  2. Drew the Infidel says:

    From what is reported this case is over. Al Sharpton did not show up over Easter weekend for the planned “Occupy Sanford” which was supposed to last until charges were filed. He has gone back to his usual routine at MSNBC. No smoke and no fire.

  3. Michael says:

    My guess is the prosecutor will file some type of charge whether it’s warranted or not and take her chances at trial.

    An indication that there was some likely hood that a grand jury might have come back with no true bill.

    No prosecutor wants to be on the sole receiving end of the black hate-whitey race machine.

  4. Carlos says:

    The race baiters and victimized African-American communities are going to get what they want either way.

    If Zimmerman is not charged, they will riot in the streets because of the pure racism of that decision.

    If Zimmerman is charged, tried and found not guilty, they will riot because of the pure racism of that verdict.

    And if Zimmerman is charged and found guilty, they will riot because of the racism displayed by Zimmerman that is so rampant in our country today.

    See? They get to riot no matter what is done because, at the end of the day, it’s not about racism, justice, fairness or anything else, it’s about tearing down that which others not bound by the chains of entitlement slavery have built up. And until those chains are broken, the desire for destruction will always be there because it’s always easier to tear down than to man up.