What Will Justice Look Like Relative to Trayvon Martin's Death?
It is unclear what will transpire regarding any arrest or charges that may occur as a result of the killing of Trayvon Martin. 17 year old Trayvon Martin, visiting his father and his fiancee in the gated community of Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida, was pursued and killed by a self appointed community patrolman, 28 year old George Zimmerman, on the evening of February 26, 2012. George Zimmerman, the self confessed shooter, has proclaimed self defense.
- Copy of Probable Cause Affidavit for Second Degree Murder filed against George Zimmerman by Florida Special Prosecutor Angela Corey
Details of a version of events on that night have been leaked to the media by unnamed Sanford police sources, details from the statement given to Sanford police by George Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin's version of events, in his words, can never be provided.
Crucial evidence that could possibly prove or disprove the only account given to the Sanford police has been lost due to decisions made the night of the killing, with any number of forensic tests not preformed at the scene.
Procedural questions have arisen regarding the handling of the murder scene and the admitted shooter, George Zimmerman. The lead detective on the scene, Chris Serino, generated charges of Homicide/Negligent Manslaughter/Unnecessary Killing to Prevent Unlawful Act against George Zimmerman on the night of the killing.
Detective Serino's recommendation was overruled by then Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, who has stepped down temporarily, Leads Investigation Supervisor Robert O'Donnell, who is now acting as the Sanford police chief and Seminole County State Attorney Prosecutor Norman Wolfinger.
It can be surmised that Detective Serino felt so strongly about what he felt should have occurred the night George Zimmerman was taken into custody that he swore out an affidavit declaring his disbelief in the version of events George Zimmerman had given to Sanford police the night Trayvon Martin was killed.
That now leaves Special Prosecutor Angela Corey, acting on behalf of the state of Florida, if the decision is made to indict George Zimmerman on any charges, to craft a case from what evidence may be available to her to prosecute George Zimmerman.
On the federal level, the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, has become involved to determine if Trayvon Martin's civil rights were violated on the night he was killed.
Over a month after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Florida agents from the Department of Justice began canvassing the neighborhood where the shooting occurred, on April 2, 2012, in an effort to find witnesses. The Justice Department also went to the scene to assess what might be learned from the murder site. It has been reported their efforts were thwarted due to several nights of rain since the shooting on February 26, 2012.
Due to inept, sloppy police work at the scene the night Trayvon Martin had his life taken from him, numerous former and current police officials, attorneys and experts have all expressed dismay and disbelief at how the scene was processed.
It appears the Sanford police have bungled their job in the Trayvon Martin killing by not collecting objective evidence at the scene, with unnamed police sources choosing to leak the narrative from the Sanford police report that has been attributed to be George Zimmerman's account of events, as if the Zimmerman narrative was some form of support for their decision not to do a complete investigation at the scene.
By it's very nature, a statement from the confessed shooter, George Zimmerman, is a highly subjective source. By not collecting objective evidence that would tend to independently prove or disprove George Zimmerman's version of events, that is a loss for the process meant to aid in making the determination of what happened that fatal night.
The more information that is revealed in relation to Trayvon Martin's murder makes it markedly difficult not to consider an extremely repugnant reality, that being the way things were handled that tragic night on February 26, 2012 may have been by design.
- Copy of letter sent by Benjamin Crump, attorney for Trayvon Martin's parents, to head of the Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice Roy Austin (informing Mr. Austin of concerns regarding Zimmerman family members at Sanford police headquarters the night George Zimmerman was taken into custody)
April 4, 2012 - Agents from the Special Prosecutor's office were in the gated community of Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida conducting their own door to door, canvassing and gathering information to be assessed by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey in relation to the killing of Trayvon Martin.
It is in her purview, as special prosecutor, to bring charges against George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, independent of a grand jury.
A grand jury has been scheduled to be impaneled on April 10, 2012. However, the date had been scheduled by State Attorney Norman Wolfinger, who recused himself to avoid the appearance of impropriety. It was later revealed that he had advised Sanford police not to press charges against George Zimmerman.
It is unclear if the original date set for the grand jury panel still stands.
April 5, 2012 - The Congressional Black Caucus has revealed House Resolution 612, honoring the life of Trayvon Martin and calling on the repeal of the so called Stand Your Ground laws that exist in approximately 24 states.
One of the sponsors of the resolution, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla), has stated the the misguided legislation has turned United States' streets " .... into a showdown at the OK Corral."
The resolution, symbolic but not legally binding, indirectly criticizes the National Rifle Association for pushing Stand Your Ground state laws around the country. It also calls on state legislatures to reject similar legislation and "urges the repeal of the Stand Your Ground law in every applicable state, including Florida."
The resolution could not be considered any earlier than April 16 when the House of Representatives returns from recess.
Since the resolution is symbolic, it is not expected Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor will allow the resolution to come to the floor.
When Republicans took over control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, a procedural rule was passed not to allow the House to consider symbolic resolutions.
This resulted in the Republican controlled House taking much heat for not allowing a resolution to come to the floor to honor the U.S. Navy Seals for their successful mission on May 1, 2011 during the Bin Laden mission.
April 6, 2012 - Armed Neo Nazis, the National Socialist Movement, have arrived in Sanford, Florida for the purpose of, in their own words "to show solidarity with White people", calling themselves a white civil rights organization.
The group has previously patrolled in Arizona on the U.S./Mexico border.
The patrols are to protect "white citizens in the area who are concerned for their safety" in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting last month, says Commander Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement.
The New Black Panther previously issued a $10,000 bounty for the capture of George Zimmerman. Their actions prompted swift response and warning from city officials.
There is no word if officials have addressed the Neo Nazis voluntary armed patrol of Sanford, Florida, with the NSM stating they are there to protect White citizens in Sanford in case race riots break out in the town.
April 16, 2012 - Mark O'Mara, attorney for George Zimmerman, met with his client at the Polk Correctional Facility to have him sign the motion he filed in court to have Judge Jessica Recksiedler ....
.... recuse herself so that a new judge can be appointed before Zimmerman's bond hearing on Friday.
The judge has previously revealed her husband works at the same firm where an attorney had been contacted to represent Zimmerman. The attorney declined, recommending Mr. O'Mara. However, the same attorney is expected to offer legal analysis for CNN during coverage of the trial.
In related news, the Associated Press, along with the Miami Herald and other Florida news organizations, asked that Zimmerman's records pertaining to the death of Trayvon Martin be unsealed, noting the case did not meet the usual standard of exemption to the law.
April 18, 2012 - Judge Jessica Recksiedler, originally assigned to preside at the arraignment of George Zimmerman on charges of second degree murder of Trayvon Martin on May 29, 2012, has recused herself from the case.
Before Judge Recksiedler stepped down, she also would have presided over the bond hearing scheduled for George Zimmerman on Friday, April 20, 2012.
The new judge assigned will be Kenneth R. Lester, Jr., a resident of Sanford, Florida.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Lester is popular among attorneys and is known for acting quickly.
The judge who would have been next in line to handle the Zimmerman case after Jessica Reckseidler could not take on the case because he had previously worked with O'Mara, Zimmerman's attorney.