Ever since he shot and killed seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin in February, George Zimmerman has faced death threats and severe criticism from the public. Though he claimed self-defense and was initially not arrested, Zimmerman was charged by Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey with second degree murder in April. He now faces a long and tedious trial process and a possible sentence of life in prison.
Though Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara may be “fearless” and “will come up with the best defense that Zimmerman is entitled to get”1, Zimmerman may find it difficult to avoid jail time due to these five reasons.
1) Florida Special Prosecutor Angela Corey Is Tough On Repeat Offenders
In 2005, Zimmerman was charged with two third-degree felonies, for which he did not serve jail time”. Even though he did not serve time in prison, these felonies may become a serious disadvantage to Zimmerman in the trial. Special prosecutor Corey is particularly unforgiving of repeat offenders. Says Corey, “We promised tough justice and aggressive prosecutions, and we followed through on that”2. Because he has already committed a crime, Zimmerman may have a difficult time of getting away without time in jail.
2) Zimmerman’s 2005 MySpace Posts Show Possible Racial Profiling
Recently, several of Zimmerman’s MySpace posts from 2005 were uncovered, and their information could be used against him. In the posts, he railed against “Mexicans” and wrote about “getting knives pulled on you by every Mexican you run into!” 3Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for the Martin family, will take advantage of the opportunity. “He [Zimmerman] has a history and a habit of profiling people. He thinks certain things about certain racial groups.”4. Zimmerman may come to regret what he wrote in 2005. It could be a key point of debate during the trial if he takes the stand.
3) Martin Was a Minor
It is a tragic occurrence when anyone is shot and killed, but when the victim is not yet an adult, it is heart-wrenching. Vagabond or not, Martin had a long life ahead of him when he was killed. His family and their lawyer will use this against Zimmerman during the trial- it could be the difference between a shorter sentence and a longer one.
4) Zimmerman Didn’t Listen To His Previous Lawyers
In early April, Zimmerman’s two previous lawyers, Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner, withdrew as his counsel because Zimmerman had lost contact with them and was “taking actions related to the case without consulting them.”5 Zimmerman even created his own website to plead his innocence! In such a high-profile case as this, Zimmerman’s actions demonstrate desperation, even paranoia.
5) Zimmerman Disregarded the Advice of a 911 Operator and Followed Martin
Had George Zimmerman waited for the police to arrive, as the 911 operator ordered, instead of continued to follow Martin, Martin would still be alive. Zimmerman precipitated the confrontation between him and Martin. Even if Martin had attacked Zimmerman, the fight wouldn’t have even begun had Zimmerman stayed behind to wait for the police. Zimmerman made an enormous mistake in following Martin after being told by a professional not to- this action could be the difference between his acquittal and his conviction.
George Zimmerman should prepare for some time in prison. Bad decisions he made in the past have greatly decreased his chances of being acquitted. However talented his lawyer may be, Zimmerman will almost definitely be sent to jail.
- Leitsinger, Miranda. “Zimmerman’s New Attorney: Who Is Mark O’Mara?” U.S. News. Msnbc.com, 12 Apr. 2012. Web. 04 May 2012. http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/12/11163332-zimmermans-new-attorney-who-is-mark-omara?lite.
- Alvarez, Lizette, and John Schwartz. “Prosecutor in Martin Case Will Alone Determine Its Merits.” Nytimes.com. The New York Times Company, 9 Apr. 2012. Web. 4 May 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/us/grand-jury-review-skipped-in-trayvon-martin-case.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all>.
3,4. Press, Associated. “Old George Zimmerman MySpace Page Surfaces with Apparent Disparaging Ethnic Comments.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 02 May 2012. Web. 04 May 2012. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/old-george-zimmerman-myspace-page-surfaces-with-apparent-disparaging-ethnic-comments/2012/05/02/gIQA9pMqwT_story.html>.
5. “Zimmerman’s Lawyers Withdraw from Shooting Case.” Cbsnews.com. CBS Interactive, 10 Apr. 2012. Web. 04 May 2012. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57412046/zimmermans-lawyers-withdraw-from-shooting-case/>.