Another legal review of the Zimmerman affidavit is provided by John Hinderaker at Powerline blog, coming on the heals of a scathing review by Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz, who said there is simply nothing in there that would justify second degree murder Andy McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, writing at The Corner, also found the Affidavit wanting. Mark Levin walks through the State of Florida’s affidavit for probable cause to charge George Zimmerman and doesn’t see probable cause given how 2nd degree murder is defined. The Conservative Treehouse has a great breakdown of the case and the Affidavit.
Hinderaker, who thinks that Zimmerman should be charged with manslaughter, at a minimum, says the Affidavit is on its face a political document, remarkably silly, weak,
The critical question, of course, is: how did the struggle “ensue”? Did Zimmerman attack Martin? Or did Martin attack Zimmerman? This is the key question in the case, and as far as we can tell from the Affidavit, the prosecutor doesn’t know the answer. The Affidavit continues:
Witnesses heard people arguing and what sounded like a struggle. During this time period witnesses heard numerous calls 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 calling for help as Trayvon Martin’s voice.
Presumably that is not intended as a joke, but the prosecutor will have to do a whole lot better if she wants to obtain a conviction. It is perhaps worth noting that both Martin and Zimmerman may well have called for help at some point during the altercation.
Andy McCarthy thinks the Affidavit is clearly insufficient to support a second degree murder charge, and likely is intended to stake out a bargaining position in hopes of persuading Zimmerman to plead guilty to manslaughter. That is certainly plausible. But if the prosecutor isn’t even prepared to allege, let alone prove, that it was Zimmerman, not Martin, who started the fight, one wonders what chance she has of convicting Zimmerman of anything.
“Most affidavits of probable cause are very thin. This is so thin that it won’t make it past a judge on a second degree murder charge,” Dershowitz said. “There’s simply nothing in there that would justify second degree murder.”
Dershowitz said that the elements that would constitute that crime are non-existent in the affidavit. “It’s not only thin, it’s irresponsible,” said Dershowitz.
Dershowitz went on to strongly criticize Corey’s decision to move forward with the case against Zimmerman. “I think what you have here is an elected public official who made a campaign speech last night for reelection when she gave her presentation and overcharged. This case will not – if the evidence is no stronger than what appears in the probable cause affidavit – this case will result in an acquittal.” (New English Review)
On Angela Corey, Lawrence Auster writes:
Florida has an unusual system, which of course the news media have not explained, as though we all knew what a state attorney was. Unlike other states, where each county has its own district attorney, in Florida there are twenty state attorneys each of whom is responsible for a judicial circuit, which covers several counties. But other than the fact that a state attorney is the prosecutor for several counties rather than one, there appears to be no difference between the two offices. A state attorney, like a district attorney, is elected to the office, and has numerous assistant state attorneys, like assistant district attorneys, working under him.
There will be much legal analysis from now through the actual trial. I'm still hoping this will not be a show trial and nothing but the facts will be the policy of the judge.