t’s never a good idea to go into a courtroom and lie under oath, but it’s an awful idea to lie to a judge. It’s really a terrible idea when you have made said judge so angry he says you lack respect for the law.
Most judges take their jobs extremely seriously. It ain’t no joke, so when Judge Kenneth Lester, who is presiding over the case of George Zimmerman released his written order of why he revoked the accused killer of Trayvon Martin’s bail and returned him to jail, he was scathing in his remarks about Zimmerman and they weren’t complimentary.
The judge who revoked George Zimmerman’s bond did so after he determined that it was “apparent” that Zimmerman’s wife had lied under oath, and clear that Zimmerman “does not properly respect the law.”
The judge sent Zimmerman — the man charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin — back to jail after prosecutors alleged that Zimmerman and his wife conspired to hide from the court about $135,000 Zimmerman had collected in donations to his website.
The Zimmermans spoke about the money “in code” during recorded jailhouse phone calls, prosecutors said. Then, Shellie Zimmerman told the judge during her husband’s bond hearing that the couple was essentially destitute.
“It is apparent that [Shellie] Zimmerman testified untruthfully at the bond hearing,” the judge writes in his order. “The Defendant also testified, but did not alert the Court to the misinformation.”
“Had the Court been made aware of the true financial circumstances at the bond hearing, the bond decision might have been different,” Lester wrote. After finding out about the discrepancy, the judge said he was left with two options: Increasing Zimmerman’s bond, or revoking it.
The judge writes that his considered several factors, most of which weighed against Zimmerman.
Among them, “this is a serious charge for which life may be imposed; the evidence against him is strong; he has been charged with one prior crime, for which he went through a pre-trial diversion program, and has had an injunction lodged against him” for domestic violence. (emphasis added)
“Most importantly, though, is the fact that he has now demonstrated that he does not properly respect the law or the integrity of the judicial process,” Lester wrote.
I’ll leave the expert analysis to the legal minds in the audience, but even a layman can hazard a guess it’s NOT a good thing to tick off the judge who can decide to turn you loose or leave you cooling your heels in jail until your trial begins.
Then the other shoe dropped and George Zimmerman’s week from bad to terrible.
Shellie Zimmerman, wife of George Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon Martin, was arrested Tuesday on one count of perjury, the Seminole County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department said.
Deputies arrested Shellie Zimmerman, 25, about 3:30 p.m. ET, after they were advised by the office of State Attorney Angela Corey that a warrant had been issued.
The affidavit against Shellie Zimmerman charges that the couple had collected more than $100,000 in internet donations and Mrs. Zimmerman transferred more than $74,000 into her personal account during conversations with her jailed husband on a recorded phone line. The Zimmermans spoke in code about the money transfers, but authorities easily determined George instructing Shellie to use the money to pay off personal bills including their America Express and Sam’s Club accounts.
CBS News reported what may have tripped up the Dumb-Ass Duo. ,Jeffrey Neiman, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice, said cash transactions in excess of $10,000 usually trigger a reporting requirement by the bank to multiple government agencies — including the IRS.
“If Mrs. Zimmerman intentionally structured the financial transactions in a manner to keep the offense under $10,000, not only may she have committed perjury in the state case, but she also may have run afoul of several federal statutes and could face serious federal criminal charges,” Neiman wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
Some experts watching the case say Shellie Zimmerman’s arrest may not affect her husband’s chances to convince Judge Lester to release him on bail a second time, but indicates the prosecution is serious about going after George and now has the threat of locking up his wife as a possible bargaining chip.
Wouldn’t it be funny if George Zimmerman gets out of jail at the same time Shellie Zimmerman is going in?
I know I’d laugh.
- New George Zimmerman Credibility Blow? Zimmerman’s Wife Arrested, Charged With Perjury (themoderatevoice.com)
- George Zimmerman’s wife Shellie Zimmerman arrested on perjury charges (thegrio.com)
- Zimmerman case: judge orders new evidence released (thegrio.com)
Marissa Alexander needed the supposed protection of Stand Your Ground if anyone ever has.
Marissa Alexander was a 31-year-old, 5-ft. 2-in. mother of three, her baby just 9 days old, living in Jacksonville, Fla., a “Stand your ground” state. Her 36-year-old husband Rico Gray was arrested in 2009 for attacking her and sending her to the hospital, after which she got a restraining order against him.
In a 2010 deposition, Gray said, “We was staying together and I pushed her back and she fell in the bathtub and hit her head and that’s the time I went to jail.” In the same deposition, he admits that this was not his first incident of domestic violence against women, saying, “I got five baby mamas and I put my hand on every last one of them except one. The way I was with women, they was like they had to walk on eggshells around me. You know they never knew what I was thinking or what I might do. Hit them, push them.” He also admits that he and Alexander had “four or five” episodes of domestic violence leading up the August 2010 incident that landed Alexander in prison facing a 20-year sentence.
Alexander retrieved a gun she had in her truck. She returned a fired a shot in the wall. Gray backed off and left. He ran to the police and Alexander was arrested. She claimed she was in fear of her life and cited Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. The same law that George Zimmerman may use to justify why he shot and killed Trayvon Martin and the same prosecutor, Angela Corey would try to put Alexander away.
Facing 20 years in jail, Alexander was offered a three-year sentence instead, but turned it down and why not? She thought she had defended herself from a man whom had previously beaten her and admitted he liked thumping on woman. She had a permit to carry a firearm. Rico Gray was threatening to kill her or have her killed. She tried to leave the premises by going out through the garage, but couldn’t open the door, something Gray admitted in his deposition that he knew she couldn’t get out that way.
Alexander thought she would go free and why not? Since SYG became the law in Florida justifiable homicide from it had been cited as a defense in 93 cases involving 65 deaths and successfully most times.
Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in jail.
Marissa Alexander, whose case brought allegations that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is being unfairly applied, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday after being convicted of three counts of aggravated assault after firing a warning shot during a dispute with her husband.
The case sparked a confrontation between a congresswoman and the prosecutor after the sentencing in Jacksonville, Fla., WJXT-TV reported.
Alexander, 31, claimed she fired a shot from a handgun into the wall to protect herself during a confrontation with her husband, who she said had abused her, WJXT reported. Two children were with him when she fired a shot in his direction, and she was charged with three counts of aggravated assault.
Her attorneys claimed self-defense and cited the state’s Stand Your Ground law, which gives people some protection from prosecution for using potentially deadly force in cases in which they feel their life is threatened.
The law came under nationwide scrutiny during the Trayvon Martin case, when neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot an unarmed teen and authorities waited weeks before charging him.
But a jury agreed with prosecutors that the law didn’t apply because she left during the argument, got a gun and returned to confront him, WJXT reported.
Last week, State Attorney Angela Corey, who is also handling the Zimmerman case, said she personally met with Alexander and reviewed the evidence in the case, WJXT reported. She said she offered Alexander a three-year sentence before trial, despite the case qualifying for a 20-year minimum mandatory sentence.
This is what happens when a terrible law (Stand Your Ground) and an equally terrible practice (minimum-mandatory sentencing) catch up someone in a squeeze play. To the point if Florida is going to have this awful law, it either needs to be applied consistently or scrapped entirely.
Facing 20 years in jail, Alexander was offered a three-year sentence instead, but turned it down and why not? She thought she had defended herself from a man whom had previously beaten her and admitted he liked thumping on woman.
This is certainly not justice. No way is society a safer place with Marissa Alexander locked up until she’s 51 years old.
One can only hope Corey is as equally aggressive and successful in her prosecution of George Zimmerman who actually put a hole in a human being, not a wall, and killed Trayvon Martin.
- Abused Wife Marissa Alexander Faces 20 Year Sentence, “Stand Your Ground” Law Fails Her (hellobeautiful.com)
- Part I: Marissa Alexander Isn’t Really About Stand Your Ground (crimedime.com)
- PARDON Abused Mother Marissa Alexander for Standing Her Ground (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
- Wife gets 20 years for warning shot (theage.com.au)
OFFICE OF THE STATE ATTORNEY
FOURTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT of FLORIDA
ANGELA B. COREY
STATE OF FLORIDA VS. GEORGE ZIMMERMAN
EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, SEMINOLE COUNTY FLORIDA
AFFIDAVIT OF PROBABLE CAUSE – SECOND DEGREE MURDER
Before me, personally appeared T.C. O’Steen and K.D. Gilbreath, who after being duly sworn; deposes and says:
Your affiants, Investigators T.C. O’Steen, and Dale Gilbreath are members of the State Attorney Office – Fourth Judicial Circuit appointed in the case by State Attorney Angela B. Corey, who was assigned in the case under Executive Order of the Governor 12-72.
Investigator O’Steen was previously employed by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and has 35 years of law enforcement experience, including 20 years handling homicide investigations. Investigator Gilbreath was previously employed by the Jacksonville, Sheriff’s Office, and has 36 years of law enforcement experience, including 24 years handling homicide investigations.
Your affiants, along with other law enforcement officials have taken sworn statements from witnesses, spoken with law enforcement officers who have provided sworn testimony in reports, reviewed other reports, recorded statements, phone records, recorded calls to police, photographs, videos and other documents in detailing the following:
On Sunday, 2/26/12, Trayvon Martin was temporarily living at the Retreat at Twin lakes, a gated community in Sanford, Seminole County, Florida. That evening Marin walked to a nearby 7-11 store where he purchased a can of iced tea and a bag of skittles, Martin then walked back to entered the gated community and was on his way back to the townhouse where he was living when he was profiled by George Zimmerman. Martin was unarmed and was not committing a crime.
Zimmerman who also lived in the gated community, and was driving his vehicle observed Martin and assumed Martin was a criminal. Zimmerman felt Martin did not belong in the gated community and called the police. Zimmerman spoke to the dispatcher and asked for an officer to respond because Zimmerman perceived that Martin was acting suspicious. The police dispatcher informed Zimmerman that an officer was on the way and to wait for the officer.
During the recorded call Zimmerman made reference to people he felt had committed and gotten away with break-ins in his neighborhood. Later while talking about Martin, Zimmerman stated “these assholes, they always get away” and also said “these fucking punks”.
During this time, Martin was on the phone with a friend and described to her what was happening. The witness advised that Martin was scared because he was being followed through the complex by an unknown male and didn’t know why. Martin attempted to run home but was followed by Zimmerman who didn’t want the person he falsely assumed was going to commit a crime to get away before the police arrived. Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin. When the police dispatcher realized Zimmerman’s was pursuing Martin, he instructed Zimmerman not to do that and that the responding officer would meet him. Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home.
Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued. Witnesses heard people arguing and what sounded like a struggle. During this time period witnesses heard numerous called for help and some of these were recorded in 911 calls to police. Trayvon Martin’s mother has reviewed the 911 calls and identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon Martin’s voice.
Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest. When police arrived Zimmerman admitted shooting Martin. Officers recovered a gun from a holster inside Zimmerman’s waistband. A fired casing that was recovered at the scene was determined to have been fired from the firearm.
Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Bao Performed an autopsy and determined that Martin died from the gunshot wound.
The facts mentioned in this affidavit are not a complete recitation of all the pertinent facts and evidence in the case but only are presented for a determination of Probable Cause for Second Degree Murder.
By: Investigator T.C. O’Steen, Affiant
By: Investigator Dale Gilbreath, Affiant
Sworn to and subscribed before me
This 11th day of April, 2012
Notary Public, State of Florida at Large
When special prosecutor Angela Corey announced George Zimmerman had surrendered to authorities and would be facing second-degree murder charges in the death of Trayvon Martin my immediate thought was simple. Good. One less criminal roaming free on the streets.
Was I happy? No more than Trayvon’s parents were. The only thing that had been resolved was finally Zimmerman would have to answer for their son’s death. There was no satisfaction and if there is such a thing as closure we’re a long way off from that. A young man would still be dead and nothing could ever change that.
A few weeks ago after going ballistic on some poor dumb bastard for saying about the case something that angered me (and I’ve been in an extended state of smoldering anger for a while now), I got an e-mail from a guy asking me why.
I know you’re not going to appreciate this, and I assume you’ll just tell me to fuck off, but your responses to people lately have been filled with an anger and rage disproportionate to anything that has been said by them.
I’d really miss you, but that’s where you’re headed—and, very much on purpose, it seems.
What’s up with that?
I answered: Well, now that’s going to require you to make a choice. Do you want the answer that makes you feel good or the answer that might piss you off?
The thing is, I didn’t want to explain why I was filled with anger and rage. It didn’t seem disproportionate to me in the least. If anything anger seemed they right response to the way Zimmerman’s defenders had tried so diligently to justify killing Trayvon.
More than that, I wasn’t interesting in trying to legitimize the anger. Why do Black people have to shout before they are heard? Why do they have to constantly remind their countrymen they have the same expectations of life, liberty and happiness even if their skin is darker?
I respond poorly to being talked down to, cavalierly dismissed and attempts to “handle” me. under normal circumstances. The circumstances of Trayvon’s death were anything but normal. Bearing witness to how Trayvon was transformed from a sympathetic victim into a caricature of a bad boy who had it coming enraged me. I have been told in no uncertain terms if only he had been more “polite” to Zimmerman he might still be alive. Another malicious little turd wrote as the attempts to dirty up Martin by the scummy likes of Matt Drudge and Michelle Malkin intensified, “If what we’re learning about Martin now is valid it’s very likely he’d have been killed at some point by another Black.”
That’s kind of hard to blow off with a smile and a shrug of the shoulders. Now amplify that with the professional talking heads like Geraldo Rivera, Bill O’Reilly and George Will railing about the high number of Black men who die at the hands of other Black men, co-signed by good Negroes like Shelby Steele and what began as a Hispanic man with a Caucasian-sounding surname gunning down a Black teenager evolved into the none-too-subtle subliminal message that it’s really not such a bad thing Trayvon got shot because if George hadn’t done it, some other hood rat would have.
Sunday night I placed a long-distance phone call to ream out another friend who took me to task after NBC fired a staffer for manipulating an audio tape of George Zimmerman’s 911 calls and how it was so awful and terrible that Spike Lee had mistakenly Tweeted the address of the wrong Zimmerman and Black thugs were beating up White people and yelling, “This is for Trayvon” and wasn’t I happy I was finally going to get the race war Jackson and Sharpton were trying to start and what kind of parent lets their child out at 3:00 a.m. to buy candy and ice tea anyway?
Who needs to hear that kind of crap repeatedly yet be told if you don’t put up with it, you’re the one with the problem? Why is it an Angry White Men are to be taken seriously and an Angry Black Man have to explain WHY he’s mad at the world?
It’s taken something out of me exerting this energy trying to set people straight on why Trayvon was the only victim that night, why he had every right to expect he could go buy candy and ice tea without some vigilante wannabee demanding he explain where he was going and why life doesn’t work like CSI or Law and Order and everything wraps up neat and tidy in the last five minutes.
I could not defend Trayvon Benjamin Martin from those whom wished to destroy him in death as George Zimmerman destroyed him in life any more passionately or fiercely than if he were my son. I get it when I’m asked, “When are you going to let this go and write about something else?”
Truth be told, this story has been a welcome reminder that even though I write this blog in the hopes others will read it, the idea never was to only write about things others wanted to read. The saying goes, “better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self” and it’s absolutely true. When I stop writing about what moves me and start thinking, “Uh-oh. My page hits are way down. I’d better lighten things up.” that is when I’ll know I’ve gone from being honest to simply pandering.
Which while this is not about to become a Trayvon-Free Zone, it won’t be as Trayvon intense as it has been. This blog did not drive the story into the mainstream. The tireless efforts of the Martin family did, but to whatever small way something I wrote helped that effort, I feel I’ve made a contribution beyond signing an online petition.
This story is about to enter a new phase and one that should take it where it should have been in the first place: into a court of law and out of the court of public opinion.
After a month of spin, scenarios, second-hand hearsay treated as the gospel truth, experts, eyewitnesses, spokespersons, talking heads and the dead body of Trayvon Martin batted back and forth along political and racial fault lines, I find myself ready for the story to recede from the headlines.
If I don’t hear anything more about Geraldo Rivera, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the Pseudo New Black Panthers, neo-Nazis, John Derbyshire, the friends of George Zimmerman and those two ambulance chasers that were his attorneys for a few months, I’ll be a happy man.
The networks have been full of “experts” second-guessing whether Angela Corey should have gone for 2nd degree murder and whether she can make it stick. Of course, she has one huge advantage over them: she’s seen the evidence and they haven’t. Prosecutors often are ambitious with the charges they initially file knowing they may have to settle for a conviction on a lesser charge instead.
The story should cool down considerably as the legal proceedings grind slowly on. This should be all be welcomed by the same conservatives who never wanted any part of all this Trayvon talk in the first place. It’s not the sort of conversation they are comfortable with as it brings up issues about race and justice in America, two topics many of us would rather not discuss in the first place.
This was always supposed to be about finding justice for Trayvon and the arrest of George Zimmerman was the first step in the long process of getting it. Him behind bars isn’t the end of the search, but it’s a damn good first step.
But don’t tell me the system worked. It didn’t. The system failed Trayvon and it almost failed his family.
If it had worked as it should have when an armed man kills an unarmed teenager, George Zimmerman would have been arrested and charged over a month ago. Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin wouldn’t had to go through all this hell trying to convince America their son was worth fighting for and we all wouldn’t have needed yet another reminder why race remains both America’s original sin and the most divisive wedge issue of them all. .
There is one often repeated phrase I have resisted repeating here. At least until now. “Trayvon Martin is our Emmett Till.” There is a long chain of broken and bloody Black bodies that link Emmett to Trayvon and as Emmett was a martyr and catalyst for the modern Civil Rights era, so too is Trayvon a martyr and a reminder of the nation’s unfinished business.
- Zimmerman to be Charged in Trayvon Martin Case (thepoliticalbreakdown.wordpress.com)
- Florida State Attorney Angela Corey: Zimmerman Will Be Charged With Second Degree Murder For Killing Trayvon Martin And Is In Custody (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- George Zimmerman To Be Charged In Trayvon Martin Death (mediaanarchist.wordpress.com)
- George Zimmerman Arrested and Charged with 2nd Degree Murder (goodolewoody.wordpress.com)
The updates to the blog have come sporadically this week, but I’ve been on grand jury for the past two weeks and protecting society from the various reprobates, dirty rotten scoundrels and ne’er do wells keeps you busy.
The cliché is a prosecutor can get a jury to indict a ham sandwich. I can assure you that is true and they’ll throw in the cheese and mayo as well.
Which is why I am convinced if Angela Corey, the special prosecutor named by Florida Governor Rick Scott to head up the state’s investigation into the Trayvon Martin shooting wants to indict George Zimmerman she will have no problem getting a grand jury to give her that authority. Whether Corey does or not will go a long way in determining if the facts ever come out.
While everyone waits for the state and feds to wrap up their deliberations of what comes next, the case has become the dominant story in America trumping the Supreme Court hearings over healthcare reform and a visit from the Pope to Mexico. it comes as no surprise at all that the Martin case has divided the nation along the usual political and race fault lines as an analysis from the Pew Research Center reveals:
The Trayvon Martin shooting is the public’s top story for the second consecutive week. But interest in the teenager’s death is deeply divided along partisan, as well as racial, lines. These differences also are apparent in reactions to news coverage of the incident: Far more Republicans (56%) than Democrats (25%) say there has been too much coverage of Martin’s death.
African Americans are far more likely than whites to say they are closely tracking news about the Florida teenager’s death. Fully 58% cite news about Trayvon Martin’s killing as their top story, compared with 24% of whites. Moreover, 43% of whites say the story has received too much coverage, compared with just 16% of blacks.
Democrats, regardless of race, are following Martin’s death more closely than are Republicans. Nearly four-in-ten Democrats (38%), including 31% of white Democrats, say the killing of Trayvon Martin is their top story; just 19% of Republicans are following this story most closely. More than half of Republicans (56%) say the story has been overcovered, compared with 25% of Democrats, including 33% of white Democrats.
Overall, 37% of the public say that news organizations are giving too much coverage to Martin’s death; about as many (40%) say the coverage has been about right. Just 14% say the story has gotten too little coverage.
Most Americans would concede there’s been the healing process between Blacks and Whites has come a long way from slavery, Jim Crow segregation and the Civil Rights Era, but every so often a story like Trayvon Martin comes along and tears off the bandage revealing how raw the wounds still are. Corey can take a big step by indicting Zimmerman, but will she? There is so much that depends on what she does.
The progress made toward racial reconciliation by people of good will is always threatened by the animosity from people of bad will Ohio State University joined other campuses where people gathered to peacefully protest the failure of the Sanford Police Department to arrest and charge George Zimmerman.
The sincerity of the students who gathered to seek justice for the slain teenager may have sparked a backlash from someone in disagreement. The morning after the demonstration the administrators of the Frank Hale Black Cultural Center found the words “LONG LIVE ZIMMERMAN” spray painted on the side of the building.
It’s okay that Zimmerman has his own supporters. His family has even set up a website to ask for funds for his legal defense (and no, I’m not going to offer a link). One of his attorneys offered a new (and novel) justification for Zimmerman shooting Martin.
Hal Uhrig, a lawyer and former Gainesville, Florida, police officer said on the CBS Morning News that due to injuries suffered in his fight with Trayvon, Zimmerman had suffered—wait for it—Shaken Baby Syndrome!
“We’re familiar with the Shaken Baby Syndrome. You shake a baby, the brain shakes around inside the skull. You can die when someone’s pounding your head into the ground.”
You know what one of the problems with trying a case in the public instead of a courtroom? A lot of absurd, self-serving, erroneous and just plain wrong ideas float to the surface like crap in a toilet bowl, but this is a whole new level of bullshit.
Imagine you are the parent of a child that died because of Shaken Baby Syndrome and then imagine how furious that parent should be because of some ambulance chaser offering up one of the most absurd defenses since Dan White claimed overindulgence in Twinkies and junk food caused him to kill Harvey Milk. If this is the best defense Daddy Zimmerman’s hired guns can buy Boy George, he’s got some serious problems.
They can also offer up Restless Leg, Dry Mouth and Uncontrolled Flatulence as possible defenses as well and hope they can find 12 jurors dumb enough to buy it. Don’t dismiss the possibility they can.
The cold corpse of Trayvon has been turned in a pinata where everyone can take their turn swinging at and bashing away to extract what they need from him. Every last hardcore racist and casual bigot has exploited Trayvon to pump up their message that young Black males are potentially dangerous and permanently suspicious until they are proven otherwise and its okay to kill them. Safer too.
My diagnosis is George Zimmerman suffers from being an Inflamed Asshole Syndrome and the plan for treatment should be 20 to 40 years in one of Florida’s nastiest prisons trying not to bend over for the soap.
- George Zimmerman to Ask for Donations Online (newser.com)
- Trayvon Martin Case Divides Nation By Racial Identity, Politics, Age, Gender (themoderatevoice.com)
- White Columnist: Be Smart, Avoid Black People (newser.com)