ast week, Florida prosecutors in the Trayvon Martin investigation released a pile of documents in their second-degree murder case against Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman. The documents include evidence that appears to bolster Zimmerman's argument that he killed Martin in self-defense — including photos of Zimmerman with a bruised and bloodied face and autopsy reports indicating that Martin had scraped knuckles. Some legal experts say the new material amounts to the disintegration of the prosecution's murder case. Should lead prosecutor Angela Corey drop the charge?
Yes. Corey was wrong to prosecute: If the evidence that Zimmerman was battered and bruised "turns out to be valid, the prosecutor will have no choice but to drop the second-degree murder charge," says Alan Dershowitz at the New York Daily News, at least "if she wants to act ethically, lawfully, and professionally." It doesn't matter if Zimmerman inappropriately followed Martin, or even verbally picked a fight — if he couldn't defend himself except by shooting Martin, he had the legal right to do so. It's time for Corey to admit she was wrong.
"Drop George Zimmerman's murder charge"
No. This is why we have trials: Dershowitz's opinion carries some heft, but he wanted the case dropped even before this new evidence came out, says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. "I think he gets it wrong." We haven't seen all the evidence, some we have seen won't make it into the courtroom, and the trial will rest on witnesses as well as documents. Corey is doing her job; Dershowitz and other armchair judges are trying to short-circuit the system with their "rush to judgment based on media reports and sensationalism."
"It's too early to talk about dropping the charges..."
We still haven't figured out the truth: These new reports do help "fill significant gaps in our previous understanding" of what happened that night, says Jonathan Capehart at The Washington Post. But they don't really get us much "closer to the clarity we desperately want." In the end, Martin is still dead, Zimmerman will be judged by 12 of his peers, and "the only unambiguous truth to make out of the trove of documents in this heartbreaking case" is that this tragedy was easily avoidable.
"Trayvon Martin: Documents shed more light but not much clarity"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Attack of the invasive species
- 10 things you need to know today: April 19, 2014
- 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why would a young person today be religious?
Subscribe to the Week