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Affidavit: Trayvon Was ‘Profiled’

Affidavit: Trayvon Was ‘Profiled’ Martin Family / AP Photo

Zimmerman due in court again May 29.

While the details surrounding Trayvon Martin’s death are still disputed, the prosecution has filed an affidavit alleging that shooter George Zimmerman “profiled” the teenager as he walked home from buying iced tea and a bag of Skittles. Zimmerman “assumed Martin was a criminal. Zimmerman felt Martin did not belong in the gated community and called the police,” prosecutors wrote. While talking about Martin, Zimmerman said “these assholes, they always get away,” according to the document, which also states that the teenager tried to run home but was followed.

Read it at CBS News

TRAGIC

Trayvon’s Mom: Shooting an ‘Accident’

Trayvon’s Mom: Shooting an ‘Accident’ Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Says charges hold Zimmerman accountable.

Trayvon Martin’s mother said Thursday morning that while she believes that it was an “accident” that George Zimmerman shot and killed her son, she believes the second-degree murder charges will hold Zimmerman “accountable for what he’s done”—even if he is found not guilty. Speaking on NBC’s Today show, Sybrina Fulton said “I believe it just got out of control and (Zimmerman) couldn’t turn the clock back.” An attorney Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, issued a statement on her Twitter account retracting Fulton’s comments.

Read it at Today

EVIDENCE

Affidavit: Screams Are Martin

Affidavit: Screams Are Martin Gary Green, Pool / Getty Images

Zimmerman's arraignment set for May 29.

According to a court affidavit released Thursday, Trayvon Martin's mother identified the screams heard on the 911 tape as the teenager. George Zimmerman, the man who confessed to killing Trayvon Martin, appeared in court Thursday, making his first public appearance since the shooting. Judge Mark Herr set Zimmerman's formal arraignment for May 29, with Herr saying he found probable cause to charge Zimmerman. The affidavit also said "Zimmerman confronted Martin," which contradicts Zimmerman's earlier statements about the night he shot and killed the 17-year-old. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in Martin's death.

Read it at Orlando Sentinel

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George Zimmerman’s New Lawyer

Orlando-based Mark O’Mara has stepped into a blinding public spotlight as the new lead defense attorney for George Zimmerman, now charged with murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Diane Dimond on the veteran criminal defense attorney.

Mark O’Mara has practiced law in Florida for nearly 30 years, and at first
blush it seems he’s made few, if any, enemies along the way. He’s Catholic-educated, a graduate of the Florida State University Law School, and currently presides as president of the Seminole County Bar Association. He loves dogs, and local court watchers call him variations of “straightforward, professional, solid, and a real grownup.”

At first glance the tall, lanky lawyer seems to channel To Kill a Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch in his slow, measured and polite way of speaking. But this sandy-haired lawyer has many layers to his personality.

Attorney Mark Nejame, another Orlando legal hotshot and a past courtroom
adversary of O’Mara’s, had nothing but praise for the man who now stands as
the lead lawyer for America’s most notorious murder suspect, George Zimmerman. After quietly turning himself in to police, Zimmerman was officially charged with the max—second-degree murder—in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, of Sanford, Florida.

“O’Mara is an excellent lawyer, very smart, very measured. very ethical,” Nejame said. “He knows how to deal with the media but not be a media hog.” That can only be a plus in a state where there always seems to be a stream of headline-grabbing court cases in the news.

Indeed, television viewers in Florida are already familiar with O’Mara as
part of the WKMG, Channel 6 news team of legal commentators. Ironically,
O’Mara recently was asked to comment on the Martin/Zimmerman shooting case because he has tried other so-called, Stand Your Ground cases in the past.

Asked by a WKMG reporter (before he signed on to represent Zimmerman) if the controversial law didn’t give Floridians a license to kill, O’Mara conceded in some cases it does. “If you can present evidence, or at least your own testimony, that (you were) in fear that he was going to commit great bodily injury or death, that is what kicks in the statutory protection that you’re allowed to respond with deadly force,” he said, adding, “(Some) people call it the ‘License to Murder’ statute because it doesn’t require actions to avoid the confrontation.”

george-zimmerman-lawyer-dimond-tease

Orlando based attorney Mark O’Mara (left) has just stepped in a blinding public spotlight as the new lead defense attorney for the man sensationally charged with murdering 17 year old Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman (right). (AP Photo)

IN CUSTODY

Zimmerman Will Plead Not Guilty

Zimmerman Will Plead Not Guilty AP Photo

Will seek bail.

A lawyer for George Zimmerman, the Florida man who killed the unarmed Trayvon Martin during a neighborhood watch patrol, said his client will plead not guilty to second degree murder charges announced Wednesday. Zimmerman, who is now in police custody in Seminole County, will also ask to be released on bond, said Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s new attorney. Zimmerman was charged by a special prosecutor after more than a month of nationwide protests because local authorities declined to arrest Zimmerman. He is due in court at 1:30 pm EST on Thursday.

Read it at MSNBC

Slow Justice

What Got Zimmerman Charged

Special prosecutor Angela Corey said George Zimmerman was not charged “in response to public demand.” But the arrest in Trayvon Martin’s killing took 46 days—and only came after a public uproar, says Jelani Cobb.

Forty-six days. That’s how long it took for George Zimmerman to be charged in the death of Trayvon Martin.

More than the muted satisfaction that an accused killer was no longer on the streets, more than the vague relief that the judicial system would not ignore entirely the possibility that shooting an unarmed teen might be illegal, this is what I heard voiced when special prosecutor Angela Corey announced that Zimmerman would face a second-degree murder charge. Give it a moment and you’ll begin to hear triumphalist throat-clearing and echoed statements about how this arrest proves the system works, that justice is not immune to the concerns of African-Americans. And the retort, damning as it is unassailable, is simply this: 46 days.

Amid the bounty of ugliness unearthed by the case, and the many more profane moments we’re likely to witness before this is over, what people will remember is that it took nearly seven weeks for charges to be brought against a Hispanic man who shot an unarmed black teen. They will have learned that such a killing warrants only the most cursory of police examinations and that a simple arrest of the assailant requires incessant media attention, massive rallies in Miami, Sanford, New York, Atlanta, and Chicago, the palpable threat of social unrest, and a statement of concern from the president of the United States.

If the wheels of justice grind slowly, the court of public opinion expedites its verdicts. It takes far less than 46 days for a teachable moment to devolve into an airing of fetid undercurrents from the American id. In an instant the case pitched from tragedy to travesty to absurdist spectacle, the judgments coming far faster than the facts. In social media forums we’ve seen debates rage between evidence-proof minds, caulked against the entry of new information or contrary ideas. Between neo-Nazi patrols and black nationalist bounties, between Geraldo Rivera’s ridiculous fashion speculation and the hacking of Martin’s Twitter account we saw Sanford, Fla., become a racial ground zero, the place where our post-racial myths go to die.

Neighborhood Watch

AP Photo

In announcing her decision, Corey was careful to point out that her office “does not bring charges in response to public demand.” Her words only further undermined the regard for the justice system. Prior to the placards, Trayvon Martin was an anonymous black boy, fatally shot and treated as a John Doe in the morgue. There are people in Sanford and in black communities across the country who live with the hard knowledge that in cases like this, public outcry may be their only hope of attaining justice. A mention of Trayvon Martin in these places yields a list of keyword associations: Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant, Rodney King, and a litany of other black men who were abused or killed with little or no consequence. Delve deeper and you run up against the social profanity that was lynching. And therein lies the truth.

Zimmerman Charged With Second Degree Murder Will there be justice for Trayvon Martin after all? Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey said George Zimmerman turned himself in and has been charged with second degree murder.

Trayvon Martin

Zimmerman Charged in Shooting

Zimmerman Charged in Shooting Win McNamee / Getty Images

Prosecutor announces second-degree murder charge.

Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey announced Wednesday evening that George Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was arrested Wednesday and in the custody of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, his new attorney, Mark O’Mara, told CNN. Corey said that it was her duty “to find the full truth” surrounding the February killing that has captured the nation’s attention for much of the last three weeks. Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, spoke out earlier Wednesday, saying, “I know without a shadow of a doubt that justice will be served.”

Read it at CNN

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Zimmerman Trial Will Fix Nothing

There are two problems here: One is that George Zimmerman killed an unarmed kid, and the other is that Florida law allows that to happen, writes David R. Dow.

There are only two people who know exactly what happened on the night of Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., and one of them is dead.

Neighborhood Watch Georgia

David Goldman / AP Photo

Angela Corey, the Florida special prosecutor investigating the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, announced this afternoon that she intends to prosecute Zimmerman for second-degree murder.  Because Martin is unquestionably dead, and because Zimmerman indisputably caused his death, the single proposition the prosecution must establish is that the killing was unlawful.

But there is almost no chance the state will be able to obtain a conviction, and despite Corey’s assertion that public pressure did not influence the decision to move forward with the prosecution, the fact that Florida authorities did nothing for six weeks after the killing makes her claim implausible. The decision to prosecute therefore seems more intended to assuage the community’s moral outrage than redress a legal violation.

The problem here is that there are actually two problems: one is what George Zimmerman did, which was to shoot and kill an unarmed young man who had every right to be where he was. The second is that Florida law allows that to happen.

Chapter 776.013(3) of Florida law—the now-infamous “Stand Your Ground” provision—states:  “A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

The so-called Castle Doctrine—named after the quaint British expression that a man’s house is his castle—dates back at least to the early 17th century and permits someone in his or her home to use lethal force against an intruder. American colonists brought it with them, and today, more than half the states have versions of the doctrine. The effect of the Castle Doctrine is to override the duty to retreat. So even if it is perfectly possible for the homeowner to safely escape, the Castle Doctrine means the homeowner does not have to.

Many states have adopted bulked-up versions of the doctrine and done away with the duty to retreat in places besides the home. Others have done away with the duty altogether, so long as the person believes lethal force is reasonably required to protect himself or herself from serious injury.

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Don’t Jump Bail, George!

There’s nothing to gain from jumping bail, writes Mansfield Frazier.

George, you did the right thing by turning yourself in. Whatever you do now, don’t jump bail!

Back in the day, when I was a counterfeiter of credit cards, I, along with other members of my crew, had a saying: “Catchin’ comes before hangin.' ” At the first sign of trouble we’d be off like a bunch of turkeys through the corn, attempting to outrun the long arm of the law. But the law almost eventually catches up with you; they’ve got nothing but time.

Of course, like in the case of D.B. Cooper (the dude who parachuted out of a hijacked 727 near Portland, Ore., back in 1971), law enforcement never likes to talk about the ones who got away. In Cooper’s case they spread the story no one could have survived the fall—but they never came up with a body to prove their theory.

But, George, you’re no D.B. Cooper and if the lawyers who recently resigned as your attorneys of record are to be believed, you’ve already gone hiding away once somewhere out of the state of Florida, holed up, shaking like a puppy passing peach pits. Now that you’ve turned yourself in, if you again go underground, it will throw the most high-profile case of the century (at least so far) into further chaos and turmoil.

George, living life on the lam, is nerve-racking. It doesn’t take long before the last one in your body is shot to hell. Even if you’ve mastered the game of making false IDs so good they can fool law enforcement (a skill you simply haven’t had the time to acquire) you’re still walking around as nervous as a ‘ho in church. Every time a police cruiser goes past, let alone if the cops pull up behind you, your sphincter muscle tightens up enough to make your ass watertight, and you’ll come within a heartbeat of your bladder betraying you.

If you do go running, always, and I do mean always, keep a clean change of underwear in your back pocket—you’ll never know when you’re going to need it.

And buy yourself a dog. That way maybe you can get some sleep, since if the law is closing in you can hope the dog will bark and alert you. Of course, you might not need the dog since your hearing will soon become so fine-tuned you’ll be able to hear a rat piss on cotton at 50 paces. You’ll be hearing things way out of the range of other human beings—you’ll be able to hear dog whistles, and, indeed, things that aren’t even there. It’s called paranoia, but hey, when they really are after you, it really isn’t paranoia, is it?

Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey announces Zimmerman's charges.

video

Trayvon Martin's Parents Plead for Action

George Zimmerman is officially being charged. Watch as the slain teen’s parents parents speak to the public about their son’s memory.

TRAYVON’S DEATH

Zimmerman to Be Charged

Zimmerman to Be Charged Mario Tama / Getty Images

Not clear yet what charges will be.

Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey will charge George Zimmerman in connection with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, sources said Wednesday, but it is not immediately clear what the charges will be. Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, 17, while acting as a neighborhood-watch volunteer, and was initially not charged in the teenager’s death because Zimmerman claimed he acted in self-defense. The resulting public outcry  caused a review of the charges, although Zimmerman has reportedly since been out of communication. Martin’s parents held a press conference Wednesday during which they urged Zimmerman to come forward. Authorities said they knew the whereabouts of Zimmerman, but said that he was not in Florida.

Read it at The Washington Post

TRAYVON CASE

Ex-Lawyers Worried About Zimmerman

Ex-Lawyers Worried About Zimmerman Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP Photo

Said they are “concerned for his emotional state.”

A day after they held a press conference announcing they had cut ties, George Zimmerman’s former lawyers said they are worried about the neighborhood watchman’s emotional state. Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner said Wednesday that they stepped down as Zimmerman’s legal counsel because he had told the prosecutor they were no longer representing him, and he had stopped contacting them. “Frankly his actions here recently don’t speak of someone who is completely doing very well,” Uhrig told NBC’s Today. “He’s not a bad guy, he might just be an emotional beat-down guy by this process.”

Read it at New York Daily News

DEVELOPMENTS

Prosecutor: New Trayvon Info Coming

Prosecutor: New Trayvon Info Coming John Moore / Getty Images

State attorney will hold press conference in the next 72 hours.

Florida State Attorney Angela Corey, who is handling the Trayvon Martin case, released a statement Tuesday saying she “is preparing to release new information regarding the Trayvon Martin shooting death investigation” at a press conference in the next 72 hours. The official statement from Corey came on the heels of an announcement by shooter George Zimmerman’s legal team, which said it was breaking off its relationship with Zimmerman and hasn’t spoken to him since Sunday. "I'm not sure ... who he's talking to," attorney Craig Sonner said of Zimmerman. Zimmerman created a website Monday to solicit donations to help with legal costs.

Read it at NBC Miami

M.I.A.

Lawyers Drop Trayvon Shooter

Lawyers Drop Trayvon Shooter AP Photo

Say they’ve lost contact with George Zimmerman.

George Zimmerman, phone home. The attorneys for the 28-year-old Sanford, Fla., man who shot unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin in February have dropped their client, saying at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that they haven’t heard from Zimmerman since the weekend. They also said that Zimmerman had an off-the-record chat with Fox News host Sean Hannity on his own initiative. Zimmerman has still not been charged with any crime, but dropped out of sight after Martin’s death became a cause célèbre. He claims that the shooting was in self-defense, and this week set up a website through which supporters can donate money toward his living expenses and legal fees.

Read it at CBS News

LAW AND DISORDER

Cop Car Shot Up Near Trayvon Site

Cop Car Shot Up Near Trayvon Site Joe Raedle, Handout / Getty Images

Sanford mayor says town a "kindling box."

The Florida neighborhood where Trayvon Martin was killed resounded again with gunshots early Tuesday as someone pumped six rounds into an unoccupied police car. The town, Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett warned, has become “a kindling box,” but authorities want to maintain calm and “so far it’s been absolutely peaceful.” ABC News reported that emergency operations centers in three surrounding counties have been placed on the same level of preparedness as for a hurricane. “You plan for the worst and hope for the best,” Triplett told reporters. According to the Associated Press, the cruiser had been parked outside of a Sanford elementary school at the school’s request.

Read it at ABC

Controversy

Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman said he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed.

The Daily Beast Reports

Zimmerman Blows It

Zimmerman Blows It

The man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin has a whole new set of problems after the court found out he lied at his bond hearing, writes Mansfield Frazier.

Stand Your Ground

Shoot First, Learn The Law Later

Law Enforcement

Time to End Racial Profiling?

Zimmerman Apologizes to Trayvon’s Family

George Zimmerman took the stand during his bond hearing Friday, issuing a statement to the Martin family. ‘I’m sorry for the loss of your son,’ he told the court before answering a series of questions about the case.

we-are-all-trayvon-moss

We Are All Trayvon Martin

We must dismantle the fraternity of racism and build an altar of love and justice, writes the pastor of Obama’s former church.

guest-trayvon-wilkinson-teaser

Trayvon Martin Remembered in Paint

Chaz Guest captures the Trayvon Martin tragedy. He talks about honoring Martin's legacy.

Why the Right Is Smearing Trayvon

Why the Right Is Smearing Trayvon

Conservatives are using the teenager’s tweets, hoodie, and school suspension to blame him for his own death—and to show that racism was not a factor, says Michelle Goldberg.

The Man Who Shot Trayvon Martin

The Man Who Shot Trayvon Martin

George Zimmerman, the man who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida, aspired to enter law enforcement.