Federal investigation of George Zimmerman continues despite shutdown

October 7, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Good morning:

Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the federal investigation of George Zimmerman will continue despite the government shutdown. The Department of Justice and the FBI are investigating Zimmerman to decide whether to seek an indictment by a grand jury in the middle district of Florida charging Zimmerman with committing a hate crime when he shot Trayvon Martin to death on February 26, 2012.

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida is located in Orlando. To find out more information about the court, please check the website.

I do not know why the investigation is taking so long. Seems pretty clear to me that despite the not guilty verdict, Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin because he was a young black male and decided to hunt him down and restrain him until police arrived. When Martin resisted, instead of quietly and passively submitting to his authority, Zimmerman shot him in the heart at point blank range killing him.

Martin was walking home in the rain after purchasing a can of iced tea and skittles at a 711. He was having a conversation via cell phone with Rachel Jenteal, a friend in Miami, when Zimmerman started following him. Martin was unarmed.

I believe Zimmerman targeted and killed Martin because he was a black kid and that is a hate crime. I do not believe there is any doubt that Zimmerman called Martin a “fucking coon” during his call to the Sanford Police Department that night. State prosecutors appeared to bend over backwards to assure the jury and the public that the killing was not racially motivated when they changed fucking coons to fucking punks. Because of that mischaracterization of important evidence of Zimmerman’s state of mind and intent as well as many other questionable decisions, I have concluded that Angela Corey’s prosecution team threw the case allowing the defense to win.

Why would they do that?

I believe they did it for political reasons. They wanted to create the appearance of a prosecution rather than a real prosecution in order to appease black voters angered by the murder and reassure white voters angered by the decision to prosecute Zimmerman. They wanted the jury to acquit Zimmerman after putting on a dog and pony show so that the governor could say “the jury has spoken, let’s move on.”

The strategy did not work for me. Instead, it convinced me that institutional racism is responsible for the verdict.

I will never forget that the prosecution permitted the defense to improperly elicit opinion evidence from Chris Serino and Doris Singleton, the two Sanford Police officers who interrogated Zimmerman, that he told the truth when he claimed that he shot Martin in self-defense.

That was clear and convincing evidence of racial prejudice, in my opinion.

The Justice Department and the FBI have much to consider in this politically explosive case and that may be why they are taking so much time to decide what to do.

The answer is simple. Seeking justice for Trayvon is the right thing to do. Pray they have the stones to do it.


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Attorney General Eric Holder plans to reduce the incarceration rate

August 12, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Good morning to all our friends:

As I pointed out in my Friday post, Incarceration is the new slavery, we imprison more people than any other nation on the planet.

The numbers are mindboggling. In 1980, we incarcerated 220 people per 100,000. Over the next 30 years, that rate more than tripled such that by 2010, we incarcerated 716 people per 100,000. Among major countries, Russia is a distant second place at 484 people per 100,000. The incarceration rate for countries in the developed world averages around 100 per 100,000 with some countries incarcerating people at substantially lower rates.

The Obama administration is planning to reduce the incarceration rate.

In a speech today in San Francisco before the American Bar Association, Attorney General Eric Holder is going to announce a plan to accomplish that goal.

Reuters has the story:

“I have mandated a modification of the Justice Department’s charging policies so that certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels, will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences,” Holder is expected to say, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks provided by the Justice Department.

The plan also will include provisions for the early release of “inmates facing extraordinary or compelling circumstances – and who pose no threat to the public.”

Remains to be seen how effective this plan will be in a nation where providing the appearance of a functioning government appears to be more important than getting anything done.

Turning to another topic, we are waiting to see whether the Department of Justice will decide to prosecute George Zimmerman. Somehow I missed this article by William Yeomans, titled Can federal charges be brought against Zimmerman?

I think Yeomans does a good job explaining the law and the procedure for deciding whether to prosecute. He served as Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a Justice Department official. He is a fellow in law and government at American University College of Law in Washington D.C.


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