Charges Against Zimmerman on File for Trayvon Martin's Death
- Copy of Sanford police report listing charges of Homicide/Negligent Manslaughter/Unnecessary Killing to Prevent Unlawful Act
Trayvon Martin, a Florida teen from Miami, was killed by a self appointed neighborhood patroller, George Zimmerman, as he walked through the gated community of Retreat at Twin Lakes in the town of Sanford, Florida, returning from the store to the home where he had been visiting with his father and his fiancee, on the evening of February 26, 2012.
One of the first to arrive at the scene after Trayvon Martin's death was Lead Investigator Chris Serino. George Zimmerman admitted at the scene that he had shot Trayvon Martin, claiming self defense. George Zimmerman was taken into custody.
Doubting the veracity of Zimmerman's claim, Detective Serino generated a Sanford police report that listed as charges: Homicide/Negligent Manslaughter/Unnecessary Killing to Prevent Unlawful Act. Upon the rejection of his recommendation, Mr. Serino swore out an affidavit on the night of Trayvon's death, February 26, 2012, stating he did not believe George Zimmerman's account of the events that resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin.
As of today, April 1, 2012, a number of mysteries remain concerning this case, tantamount among those being the process employed to allow George Zimmerman to walk free from the custody of the Sanford police department.
Unknown to the public is why so many high ranking officials were involved in the Trayvon Martin murder case, individuals that, as a matter of routine, would not be involved in such a case. On the evening of the murder, involving themselves in the case were former Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, who has temporarily stepped down and been replaced by acting Chief Robert O'Donnell, who was also involved in the Trayvon Martin investigation in February in his capacity as Leads Investigator Supervisor, as well as State Attorney Prosecutor of Seminole County Norman Wolfinger. Mr. Wolfinger recused himself from the investigation of the death of Trayvon Martin. Governor Rick Scott of Florida has since appointed State Attorney Angela Corey as Special Prosecutor to handle the case.
According to former Florida homicide prosecutor Ken Padowitz, who served for 16 years in the Broward County State Attorney's office, with the Sanford police video showing George Zimmerman being escorted in handcuffs into police headquarters, under Florida's rules of criminal procedure, Zimmerman was under arrest.
While in custody, the Sanford Police Department generated a police report that listed three charges, under a section labeled Offense Section, in relation to George Zimmerman: Homicide/Negligent Manslaughter/Unnecessary Killing to Prevent Unlawful Act.
According to Mr. Padowitz, Florida rules of criminal procedure do not contain any provision for un-arresting anyone taken into custody, which raises what appears to be glaring discrepancies in the handling of the initial arrest of George Zimmerman, among those being what Florida rule or statute was employed to set George Zimmerman free?
No one in authority involved in the Trayvon Martin investigation, from the Sanford police, which has officially relinquished its role in the investigation or State Attorney Norman Wolfinger has ever stated that the initial charges listed by Sanford police in their report the night of George Zimmerman's arrest were dropped or dismissed.
To the contrary, former Chief Lee has appeared on camera on several occasions to state he was unable to arrest Zimmerman, which appears to have been a misstatement of the events of what had previously occurred, that being that Zimmerman had been arrested the night of Trayvon's death on February 26, 2012.
What is now unknown is what Florida rule(s) or law(s) the officials involved the night of the death of Trayvon Martin decided to invoke as their justification for setting George Zimmerman free and if that rule(s) or law(s) would supersede and make irrelevant the need for a formal process that would usually involve filing for the charges listed in the Sanford police report, Homicide/Negligent manslaugher/Unnecessary Killing to Prevent Unlawful Act, to be dismissed or dropped.
If the initial charges were dismissed or dropped, that should be revealed to the public.
Mr. Padowitz has made note of the 'speedy trial' statute in Florida law that states that, beginning at the time of arrest, there is a window of 175 days that must be met to bring charges against the person arrested or lose the ability to press forward with charges in the initial case for which they were arrested.
There is no dispute that George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. He is the self confessed shooter.
It is imperative the re-arrest of George Zimmerman occur in a timely fashion.
The clock is ticking.
April 2, 2012 - The Department of Justice has began its investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin. The Civil Rights Division has begun its task of collecting evidence and information to determine if charges in relation to the violation of Trayvon Martin's civil rights occurred on the night he was killed in Sanford, Florida.
The attorneys for the parents of Trayvon Martin have written a letter to the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, addressed to Roy Austin, deputy assistant attorney general at the DOJ, stating they have new information regarding the handling of the investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin.
They are asking that former state attorney of Seminole County Norman Wolfinger, who recused himself from involvement in the investigation of Trayvon Martin's death, as well as the Sanford police department, be investigated regarding the possible lack of impartiality in the investigation.
In part, the letter to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Austin reads:
.... "we learned that on the night of February 26, 2012, within hours of the shooting in which Trayvon Martin was killed, Sanford Chief of Police Bill Lee met with State Attorney Norm Wolfinger. We also believe that family members of shooter George Zimmerman were present at the police department."
April 4, 2012 - Hal Uhrig has joined Craig Sonner as a member of the defense team for George Zimmerman.
He is a former police officer and has served as a Florida assistant attorney general. He has acted as a legal advisor to the Orange County Sheriff's Office. He has also been an assistant public defender.
Mr. Uhrig gained some notoriety while appearing on the FOX owned Orlando, Florida television station WOFL, providing legal analysis for the station during the murder trial of Casey Anthony in 2011.
Neither Mr. Uhrig or Mr. Sonner have met their client George Zimmerman, only communicating with him by telephone.
In recent days, WOFL aired an exclusive interview it conducted with Robert Zimmerman, the father of the admitted shooter of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman has claimed he acted in self defense.
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States