Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Has George Zimmerman Offered to Plead Guilty?

I have just seen the most bizarre interview on CNN by Anderson Cooper with the now former lawyers of George Zimmerman. I see only two possibilities:

(1) Zimmerman had the two worst lawyers in America, who have called their client unbalanced and suggested he was a flight risk in resigning his case.

(2) Zimmerman has without consulting his lawyers called the special prosecutor and offered to surrender and plead guilty.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey promises a press conference within 72 hours. I guess we'll find out then.

The lawyers' press conference this afternoon:

The Anderson Cooper interview with the Zimmerman lawyers:

CNN has an "Oh My God" moment:

I don't disagree but ask a different question:

Q: Why would any two lawyers with an eye to their professional responsibilities say what these two lawyers are saying?

A: If the lawyers thought it the only way to protect their client from jail, in the face of their client offering prosecutors a plea deal.

The tell is that the lawyers say they got a call from the special prosecutor's office telling them about a conversation with their client to which they were not originally privy. Presumably the special prosecutor filled them in.

Another tell, the Trayvon Martin family and their lawyers have been on TV saying they don't believe this is capital case that would need to go to the grand jury, as if pleading out the case for a lesser charge has been discussed with them.

If I am right, Anderson Cooper completely blew his interview with the Zimmerman lawyers by failing to ask the key question.

Update 4/11/2012: George Zimmerman was arrested today and charged with murder in the second degree. Here are the different degrees of unlawful killings under Florida law:

DegreeElements of offenseMaximum penalty
First degree murderPremeditated design to effect the death of the person killed or any human being.Death or life w/o parole
Second degree murderAct imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life.30 years or life
Third degree murderPerpetrated without any design to effect death, by a person engaged a felony or attempted felony (other than those for 1st or 2nd degree).15 years
ManslaughterKilling by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another.15 years

George Zimmerman's new lawyer seems quite deferential in reference to the special prosecutor and spoke not merely of representing his client at trial but also at pretrial conferences. That's consistent with a client desiring to plead guilty to a lesser offense. Of course, no such offer may be on the table.

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