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Perjury charge against Shellie Zimmerman raises more questions of prosecutorial overreaching (Update: Prosecution misleadingly edited transcript)

Perjury charge against Shellie Zimmerman raises more questions of prosecutorial overreaching (Update: Prosecution misleadingly edited transcript)

Florida prosecutor Angela Corey has come under withering criticism from Alan Dershowitz for overcharging and leaving out important details in the Affidavit of Probable Cause filed in connection with the charge of Second Degree Murder lodged against George Zimmerman.

Corey allegedly responded by threatening to sue Dershowitz and Harvard.  This appears to be part of a pattern when she is criticized.

Now Corey has brought a charge of felony perjury against Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie,  based on testimony during George’s bond hearing with regard to their financial resources.  (Criminal Information and Affidavit of Probable Cause embedded at bottom of post.)

There certainly is a case which can be made that the Court was not fully informed of the financial situation, and that is part of the reason the Judge revoked bond under the standards applicable to release pending trial.

But that bond standard is very different from a criminal charge of perjury, which requires proof of a specific material false statement which the person believes not to be true at the time of testimony.

Shellie was charged under Florida statutes, section 832.02(1) (emphasis mine):

837.02 Perjury in official proceedings.—

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), whoever makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath in an official proceeding in regard to any material matter, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(2) Whoever makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath in an official proceeding that relates to the prosecution of a capital felony, commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(3) Knowledge of the materiality of the statement is not an element of the crime of perjury under subsection (1) or subsection (2), and the defendant’s mistaken belief that the statement was not material is not a defense.

The standard Florida jury instruction on perjury provides:

To prove the crime of [Perjury Not in an Official Proceeding] [Perjury in an Official Proceeding], the State must prove the following five elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. (Defendant) took an oath or otherwise affirmed that [he] [she] was obligated by conscience or by law to speak the truth in (describe proceedings, official or unofficial, in which the alleged oath was taken).

2. The oath or affirmation was made to (person allegedly administering oath), who was a (official capacity).

3. (Defendant), while under an oath, made the statement (read from charge).

4. The statement was false.

5. (Defendant) did not believe the statement was true when [he] [she] made it.

So it is fair to ask, having charged perjury, what is the specific false statement made by Shellie Zimmerman?

The Criminal Information (embedded at the bottom of this post) does not say. Instead, the accompanying Affidvit recites testimony, phone call transcripts, and evidence of money received and transferred. Again, that all is relevant to whether George deceived the Court at the bond hearing.

But nowhere in the criminal Information or Affidavit of Probable Cause is a specific sentence or set of words identified as false with an explanation of why it was false.

I think there is a reason for this. Many of the answers of Shellie were non-committal. Since the prosecution does not specify which statements were false, here are some possibilities taken from the testimony quoted in the Affidavit of Probable  Cause:

Q. Other major assets that you have which you can liquidate reasonably to assist
in coming up with money for a bond?
A. None that I know of.

What are “major assets”? Isn’t that a matter of opinion? Similarly, what does “reasonably” mean? Isn’t that also a matter of judgment, not a fact? The same lack of clarity accrues to “liquidate.” If the alleged funds already were liquid, the funds could not be liquidated again.

Q. I have discussed with you the pending motion to have your husband George
declared indigent for cost, have I not?
A. Yes, you have.
Q. And is – – are you of any financial means where you can assist in those costs?
A. Uhrn, not- – not that I’m aware of.

This question by defense counsel brings into play another conversation — not recited in the Information — as to what was in the pending motion and the discussions outside of court. What was her understanding of who owned the funds, what they could be used for, and whether they were her funds (“are you of any financial means”). If the funds belonged to George or to his defense fund, they were not Shellie’s financial means.

Q: I understand that you do have other family members present with you, and I’ll
ask some more questions of them, but have you had discussions with them of at
least trying to pull together some funds to accomplish a bond?
A: We have discussed that—
Q: Okay
A: —-trying to pull together the members of the family to scrape up anything that
we possibly can.

It’s not clear at all what could be false about this, unless Shellie did not actually have discussions with family members. Again, possible deception, but not a false statement.

Here is the entire segment quoted in the Affidavit of Probable Cause from the prosecution’s examination of Shellie (emphasis mine):

Q. And you mentioned also, in terms of the ability of your husband to make a
bond amount, that you all had no money, is that correct?
A. To my knowledge, that is correct.
Q: Were you aware of the website that Mr. Zimmerman or somebody on his
behalf created?
A: I’m aware of that website.
Q: How much money is in that website right now? How much money as a result
of that website was —
A: Currently, I do not know.
Q: Do you have any estimate as to how much money has already been obtained
or collected?
A: I do not.

Notice the specific wording of the questions and answers. I think the best case for perjury was the response to the question whether “you all had no money.” (added) The way the question was structured, however, the question was whether Shellie previously said that there was “no money,” not that at the time of the question there was no money.

But in the very next question the issue of the website fundraising was raised, and she said she doesn’t “currently” know how much is “in that website right now” or how much was raised “as a result.” The word “currently” suggest that at the moment she was testifying she didn’t know, which may have been correct. Similarly the denial that she had “an estimate” would only be false if at the time of testifying Shellie had an estimate. [see Update below]

It may sound like I’m nitpicking the questions and answers, but that’s what’s at issue in a perjury prosecution.

This Court has held that statements alleged to be perjurious must be of “empirical fact” and not of opinion, belief or perception…. One of the essential elements of perjury in official proceedings is that the person making the statement does not believe it to be true… The questions posed to elicit perjured testimony must be asked with the appropriate specificity necessary to result in an equally specific statement of fact.

Cohen v. State, 985 So.2d 1207 (Fla. App. 3 Dist. 2008)(citations omitted).

Instead of specifying the words which constituted empirical statements of fact that knowingly were false and why, the prosecution presents testimony and then evidence, and only generally and vaguely states that a false statement was made.

I am not excusing the conduct of the Zimmermans as to the bond hearing. I understand why the Judge feels he was deceived.

I am questioning the bringing of a felony perjury charge without greater specificity of the false statements, particularly while the alleged perjurer’s husband is awaiting trial in a highly publicized case.

Just more questions as to how this prosecution is being handled.

Update: Per a commenter, it appears that the above testimony was selectively edited by the prosecution to leave out the following exchange (deleted testimony in bold):

Q: How much money is in that website right now? How much money as a result of that website was —

A: Currently, I do not know.

Q: Who would know that?

A: That would be my brother-in-law.

Q: And is he — I know he’s not in the same room as you, but is he available so we can speak to him, too, or the Court can inquire through the State or the Defense?

A: I’m sure that we could probably get him on the phone.

Q: Okay.  So he’s not there now.

A: No, he is not, sir.

Q: Do you have any estimate as to how much money has already been obtained or collected?

A: I do not.

The deleted transcript language certainly gives a very different context to the issue of whether Shellie knew how much was available or had an “estimate.”  She offered to get the person who knew on the phone, but the prosecution didn’t take her up on that.

Note that in the Affidavit of Probable Cause the prosecution did not use an ellipsis or any other indication to show that words were omitted.

Florida v. Shellie Zimmerman – Criminal Information and Affidavit of Probable Cause (1)

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Comments

Prosecution or persecution?

It’s getting hard to tell, but the Rahm standard seems to be being upheld by Corey: never let a crisis go to waste.

    I R A Darth Aggie in reply to turfmann. | June 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I’m going with persecution, myself.

    Wanna bet the prosecution offers Zimmerman the following deal: plead to a lesser count of manslaughter, and we’ll dismiss the charges against your wife.

    Or we’ll go doubly hard at her.

      That’s how they got Michael Milliken, right?

        Lina Inverse in reply to luagha. | June 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm

        Yes, when they got to the point of knocking on his father’s door he clearly decided he had fold. It’s one thing to stand on principle, it’s quite another to do when it will destroy your family.

        I’d say that’s reserved for the really big things like the war between the Communists and the rest of the world, were defecting with valuable information almost always meant leaving your family behind.

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to I R A Darth Aggie. | June 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      No… Obama’s October Surprise will be a Zimmerman acquittal. Talk about energizing his base! Obama can call for calm; he can quell the riots, walking among the disenchanted, messiah-like; he can call for Federal Charges; he can call for national hate-crimes and hate-speech laws. Thus energized, all the Lefties, the liberal Jews, black voters and young people will come out on election day!

      My reasoning is this: obviously, the indictment is an over-reach, and at trial, after all the evidence is out, Zimmerman will walk. Right now, they’re stirring the pot, keeping the story relevant.

      And Corey gets a Federal judicial appointment.

      RickCaird in reply to I R A Darth Aggie. | June 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      That is exactly my point, too. The whole idea is put more pressure on Zimmerman. Corey needs to be disbarred. We did not know before that the prosecution edited the transcript, but they did similar things in the original Zimmerman affidavit. The power of the prosecution is scarey. This is Nifong all over again.

Well, she stated she had “no money” when, immediately after her testimony, she was observed purchasing a Snickers bar from a vending machine in the hallway using money she took from her purse or pocket [the surveillance video is unclear as she turned away from the camera at that moment].

    Let me guess. Michael Bloomberg, Michelle Obama, and Dr. Manny? I should have said “Organic Yogurt Bar” instead of “Snickers”.

If “I don’t know” is considered perjury, then Hillary would still be serving time….

When I saw this yesterday, I was wondering if this wasn’t a tool to pressure Zimmerman to plead out. If it was, then this prosecution team is really trying to make a silk purse out of sow’s ear.

A conviction at any cost I guess.

    Observer in reply to Tim. | June 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    It does appear that the state is trying to squeeze a plea out of Zimmerman by charging his wife. If I were Zimmerman’s lawyer, I think I might be encouraged by this latest development, as it seems to suggest a certain amount of desperation on the state’s part.

      Ragspierre in reply to Observer. | June 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      O’Mara, unless I totally misread him, entertains no such Obamic delusions.

      His client and his wife just cut his legs out from under him.

      He has to do some fancy stepping to convince the judge to keep this out of the trial on the merits…and he has a pissed off judge now.

      If for nothing else than witness impeachment, this is deadly for the defense.

      He had a case that was nicely trending in his direction, and concurrently receding as a “hair-on-fire” news cycle leader. Now, that is gone.

        Just how is Shellie crucial to the Defense’s case? And how is answering a vague question in a vague manner perjury? And precisely how does it remain perjury, when putting the sections of the testimony in question in context with the full testimony, Shellie is seen to be willing to get a good approximation for the amount raised, but the prosecution wasn’t willing to pursue this further?

        Under normal circumstances, I would merely hope that a Defendant is found Not Guilty, when the evidence strongly points to innocence. In this particular case, I hope this Prosecutor goes down in flames, is disgraced, and loses her license to practice law as well.

        Jerome in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm

        Except that Zimmerman’s credibility is not an issue, since all the other eyewitnesses agree with him. Of course, he isn’t required to testify at all, and the prosecution doesn’t have any evidence for any of their claims. Corey is desperate to get a plea to this, because if she has to try it, she is going to have to admit that she charged an innocent man based on nothing but some lies Benjamin Crump told her.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm

        Only you and the goons at NBC think the editing of fully exculpatory evidence is a good thing when pressed against the Zimmermans. I suppose you think expressing support for the defense attorney gets you points with the boss and the other real lawyers on this site.

        This is just harrassment, plain and simple. Anyone can see it, even you. You just can’t admit it.

There certainly is a case which can be made that the Court was not fully informed of the financial situation, and that is part of the reason the Judge revoked bond under the standards applicable to release pending trial.

Yeah, I don’t get this…

So what if they may have had more loot than they may have indicated, the premise for bond I presume was based on more than a dollar amount… it seems stupid that the court and prosecution are just upset that it wasn’t secured by a higher dollar mount.
Its his right to bond period… more money doesn’t mean more rights.

As someone who knows nothing about practicing law, I find this and many other cases scary. It seems guilt, innocence or even the law itself is not the issue anymore.The power of the courts seems more like the old days of England than what we expect here in the USA.

Angela Cory was dumb and vicious for going after Dershowitz, but this move against Zimmerman’s wife shows Cory is ruthless and vicious. She will win at any cost and will destroy all who oppose her. Angela Cory is a disgrace.

Shakespeare was right.

    Ragspierre in reply to Anchovy. | June 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    LAERTES
    I am justly kill’d with mine own treachery.
    (5.2.12 Hamlet)

    Read the second page of the information. The Zimmermans blew open a huge door, and Corey is simply driving a truck through it.

    Was it felony perjury? That is why we call the procedure that follows a “trial”. It tries the case, according to the law.

      Are your arms tired by carrying water for Corey, Gunga-Rags? We know why she is doing this and it isn’t justice.

        Ragspierre in reply to EBL. | June 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm

        Ad hominem, followed by the appeal to popular opinion fallacy.

        How many times must I repeat that this is not a “justice system”? It is a LEGAL system. Without your emotions, you would evaluate this episode differently, I would bet.

          Rags, does Texas have an ethical standard that prosecutors pursue justice? Crazy to think a justice system, with some blindfolded chick with scale and sword, is not about at least attempting to do justice…at least in theory. The point is while we have an adversarial legal system, prosecutors are not supposed to follow that if it violates doing justice.

          And talking about Shakespeare, perhaps someone can stick a leek in Angela Corey’s fat trap.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | June 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm

          I understand your position. It is driven by your emotions around this case, and I understand those, too.

          Time and events will tell.

          But, objectively, we know the Zimmermans intentionally misled the Court. And, objectively, that was a terrible blow to Mr. Zimmerman’s defense.

          That is not Corey’s fault, and she is not abusing her office to charge perjury, according to any standard of which I know.

          God help people prosecuted by Corey.

          I knew this was getting weird when I saw TalkLeft defending Zimmerman this morning.

          Lina Inverse in reply to Ragspierre. | June 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm

          TalkLeft’s primary blogger is a criminal defense attorney and she’s not impressed by stupid prosecutor’s tricks. She’d been dismantling Corey’s excesses since they began.

          Despite being far to the left of most all of us here she has a clear and penetrating take on “the politics of crime” as she puts it. Wish I could say the same for her commentators (who she’s not shy about controlling), but her posts make it a great “go-to” blog for these sorts of cases.

          NC Mountain Girl in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2012 at 1:26 am

          When I was in law school I was taught it was called the Criminal Justice System and that the prosecutor represented the people, all the people, not just the victim or the victim’s family. Indeed the victim has no official role in a criminal proceeding other than as a witness for the state. It’s been a long time since I looked at a criminal stature so I guess I must have missed it when they deleted justice from the entire equation and made the prosecutor the victim’s personal advocate in a quest for revenge.

          From Corey’s statements in this and other cases that is exactly how she sees her role, as the advocate for the victims. Overcharging also seems to be a favorite tool in her quest for revenge on their behalf.

          You can keep your post modernistic pap about all charges being political because this woman’s history speaks for itself. In one term in office every high profile case she has been involved with has turned into a farce. She’s headed for the text books as the embodiment of the career assistant prosecutor who reached her level of incompetence when placed in charge of the office. As an assistant she could rely on her boss for bot, a position that requires common sense and political instincts.

          Lina Inverse in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2012 at 8:50 am

          The only thing I would add to NC Mountain Girl masterful summation is that Corey has conclusively shown how unfit she is for her office by the multiple threats towards and actions againt those criticizing her in her high profile cases (4 that I know of; most recently against Alan Dershowitz and the Harvard Law School, “an error in the victim selection process” as we like to say about civilian self-defense cases)).

          As Harry Truman used to say, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”.

Angela Corey’s litigious overreach reminds me of one Barney Fife.

Midwest Rhino | June 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm

The judge knew the fund was there, and surely knew with national coverage and high emotion, it contained substantial funds. So why would he be satisfied with an evasive “I don’t know”? If the fund amount was pertinent, the judge should have required an accounting of the amount available (despite the wife’s attempt at “evasiveness”).

    Lina Inverse in reply to Midwest Rhino. | June 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    So why would he be satisfied with an evasive “I don’t know”?

    He wasn’t, for as the officially released by the Florida court transcript revealingly shows, selective editing is not only for George Zimmerman:

    Here’s the part quoted above by our host, double checked against the copy he put in Docstoc; I’ve bolded missing dialog:

    Q. And you mentioned also, in terms of the ability of your husband to make a bond amount, that you all had no money, is that correct?
    A. To my knowledge, that is correct.
    Q: Were you aware of the website that Mr. Zimmerman or somebody on his behalf created?
    A: I’m aware of that website.
    Q: How much money is in that website right now? How much money as a result of that website was —
    A: Currently, I do not know.
    Q: Who would know that?
    A: That would be my brother-in-law.
    Q: And is he — I know he’s not in the same room as you, but is he available so we can speak to him, too, or the Court can inquire through the State or the Defense?
    A: I’m sure that we could probably get him on the phone.
    Q: Okay. So he’s not there now.
    A: No, he is not, sir.

    Q: Do you have any estimate as to how much money has already been obtained or collected?
    A: I do not.

    Ummm, is that sort of editing kosher in a prosecution affidavit???

      It is not appropriate.

      While the prosecution is allowed to edit items for clarity, it may not omit any information that by omission would materially mislead the court (as was done here), and if the prosecution were to subsequently come into information which would make their past statements misleading, they are to amend their prior brief/pleading/report.

      My guess is that Ms. Corey will get slapped hard for this.

        Ragspierre in reply to Chuck Skinner. | June 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm

        My bet is O’Mara will never mention any such silliness.

        “Mr. Zimmerman acknowledges that he allowed his financial situation to be misstated in court.”

        O’Mara will be busy plowing much different ground.

      persecutor in reply to Lina Inverse. | June 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      I wouldn’t want to be the prosecutor who uses that kind of tactics to obtain an arrest warrant, especially when as part of discovery the entire transcript has to be turned over and a motion to dismiss can be made with it.

      And I speak as a prosecutor with over twenty years experience.

        Ragspierre in reply to persecutor. | June 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm

        We’ll see, won’t we. I kinda figure the Court has its own full transcript, don’t you?

        I also kinda figure the Court has its own view of the truthfulness and candor of the lady…and it ain’t good.

        But that is not enough to convict her of perjury. That comes…if it comes…via a trial.

        persecutor in reply to persecutor. | June 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

        From my experience, Judges usually only read the transcript or excerpts provided in the moving papers, even if they have the full transcript (which is not always provided by the reporter to the court unless asked to do so)-or at least from experience in downstate NY.

      scooby509 in reply to Lina Inverse. | June 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      She edited the transcript? Wow.

      I’m curious, at what point the judge starts looking at sanctioning the prosecutor?

        persecutor in reply to scooby509. | June 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm

        If the judge is embarrassed by relying on erroneous information, then the judge will be looking to mount a head on the wall of chambers.

        Once your credibility is shot with a judge, it’s a safe bet to say that you’re toast with any judge in that building.

          Lina Inverse in reply to persecutor. | June 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm

          holger danske below says she’s an 4th circuit prosecutor “filing charges in the 18th circuit” (that would be due to her being a Special Prosecutor appointed to try just this case).

          So in the long term there’s no indication she’d be concerned with burning her reputation in the 4th circuit … but one would think this just might have an impact on the two cases she’s now trying there….

          BTW, thanks for your informed insights; IANAL, just someone with a good memory and sufficiently experienced to frequently check primary sources.

      Steelpulz in reply to Lina Inverse. | June 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Shellie was definetely evasive and untruhtful. Try as you might to justify her answers as being “vauge answers to vagure questions”, she clearly had and estimate of the money that the website generated. She was asked what her estimate of that amount was several times and lied each time. she perjured herself.

They must be drowning if they’re trying to grab on to whatever floats.

http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/2012/06/i-changed-my-mind-about-prosecutor.html Angela Corey is disgraceful and I am not afraid to say it (but I do not live in Florida)!

I think a felony perjury charge based on testimony for a bond hearing is a bit ridicules as the issue at stake is non-substantive. Justice was not subverted or delayed in any way shape or form as a result of the testimony. the testimony had nothing to do with the murder charge. If anything I think that they as a matter of law separate out the bond hearing which is not a hearing on the murder from a felony perjury charge as a bond hearing is not a capital trial in and of itself.

Furthermore if anyone should be charged with felony perjury, it should be the prosecutor for submitting a false affidavit when filing the charges. Her omissions in that Affidavit were substantive and to the core of the case pending before the court. If the law were just the prosecutor should be arrested and sentenced to serve a full murder 2 sentence under a hate crime provision if available in FL so she may be made an example of to other prosecutors who abuse the authority of the office.

great unknown | June 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Long past time to start thinking about eliminating prosecutorial immunity. If the courts won’t do it, then by constitutional amendment.

There used to a time in our history when this type of problem was treated with a liberal dose of tar and feathers. Today, this behavior is rewarded with appointment to the Bench, or some higher political office.

(d) The Charge.
(1) Allegation of Facts; Citation of Law Violated. Each count of an indictment or information on which the defendant is to be tried shall allege the essential facts constituting the offense charged. In addition, each count shall recite the official or customary citation of the statute, rule, regulation, or other provision of law that the defendant is alleged to have violated. Error in or omission of the citation shall not be ground for dismissing the count or for a reversal of a conviction based thereon if the error or omission did not mislead the defendant to the defendant‘s prejudice.

Snip

(n) Statement of Particulars. The court, on motion, shall order the prosecuting attorney to furnish a statement of particulars when the indictment or information on which the defendant is to be tried fails to inform the defendant of the particulars of the offense sufficiently to enable the defendant to prepare a defense. The statement of particulars shall specify as definitely as possible the place, date, and all other material facts of the crime charged that are specifically requested and are known to the prosecuting attorney, including the names of persons intended to be defrauded. Reasonable doubts concerning the construction of this rule shall be resolved in favor of the defendant.
(o) Defects and Variances. No indictment or information, or any count thereof, shall be dismissed or judgment arrested, or new trial granted on account of any defect in the form of the indictment or information or of misjoinder of offenses or for any cause whatsoever, unless the court shall be of the opinion that the indictment or information is so vague, indistinct, and indefinite as to mislead the accused and embarrass him or her in the preparation of a defense or expose the accused after conviction or acquittal to substantial
4/2/12 Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure Page 51 of 343

    As I said the other day when this came up in another thread, I think that this will probably qualify for a “malicious prosecution” lawsuit against Ms. Corey. The prosecution can try to make an argument that there were funds available to the Zimmerman’s. That WILL fail, and here’s why:

    The appropriate defense is that a “Constructive Trust” was immediately created for the “sole and only” purpose of DEFENSE of George Zimmerman. That money was thus “unavailable” for use as “bond money” or to be liquidated by Ms. Zimmerman or any other person for any other reason than to pay for defense costs. No lie, no perjury: poof, Ms. Zimmerman wins.

    If I were Ms. Zimmerman’s attorney, I would have made a phone call to Ms. Corey already, followed up with a very nice letter stating that failure to immediately withdraw this charge within 72 hours would be met with a civil lawsuit of Malicious Prosecution for abuse of prosecutorial discretion in light of the clear FACTS of the case and Florida Trust law. I would also state very clearly that her employer’s E&O policy will not defend said lawsuit, nor will her employer. She’ll be ALL on her OWN and her assets WILL be exposed, just to make sure that she’s been notified of that fact.

      Ragspierre in reply to Chuck Skinner. | June 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      As I said in response…

      I’m defending a malicious prosecution case right now.

      Texas law tracks Florida law pretty closely, as pertains to the element of the tort.

      “In order to prove a cause of action for malicious prosecution a plaintiff must prove six elements: ’1) the commencement of a judicial proceeding; 2) its legal causation by the present defendant against the plaintiff; 3) its bona fide termination in favor of the plaintiff; 4) the absence of probable cause for the prosecution; 5) malice; [and] 6) damages’.” FLORIDA case law

      Texas…and I reckon Florida law…provides several species of immunity. A law suit on the facts as we know them would be poured out instantly.

      The “constructive trust” thing is apologia. If you asked Mrs. Zimmerman today to define that term, and tell us what it means in terms of her conduct, she would be as clueless as most laypeople would be. The money was clearly in her control, as shown by her movement of funds.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm

        They weren’t her funds, so it doesn’t matter if she had access to them or not. Millions of people have access to monies that are in accounts for the use of other persons or entities. That may well explain why she didn’t know the balance, particularly as funds were continuing to be added to it.

        If Shellie had stated in court that the balance was $50,000 when she last looked at 12 hours beforehand, and additional donations were generous and added another $50,000 that she was unaware of at court, there is no rational doubt that Corey would have charged her anyway.

NC Mountain Girl | June 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm

It takes a rare talent for a prosecutor to outrage both the political left and the right. Corey has managed to do it in her first term in office. First the still pending Fernandez case where she charged a 12 year old with first degree murder, then the Zimmerman case and most recently the Marissa Alexander conviction.

Alexander fired a shot in the general direction of her abusive husband during a domestand got a mandatory 20 years in prison when she didn’t accept Corey’s plea offer. Now the husband who admits to a long history of violence against women gets to raise the sons alone.

Corey is once again outraged that people who don’t know the facts and are ignorant of the law think she blew it. I wonder who she’ll threaten with libel this time.

http://thegrio.com/2012/05/15/angela-corey-lashes-out-at-critics-of-marissa-alexander-prosecution/#s:angela-corey-4×3-jpg

George Zimmerman’s bail was revoked and he was returned to jail, despite the fact that GZ was neither questioned about his financial assets nor did he voluntarily discuss this issue at the bail hearing. Worse, the revocation occurred at hearing with a defined purpose of releasing documents to the public. Defense attorney Mark O’Mara was denied time to prepare a defense and GZ was returned to jail without benefit of a hearing at which he was present.

Now comes the attack on his wife Shellie who testified in court that she did not know how much money was in the Paypal account but her brother-in-law did. She volunteered to call him on the spot. The evidence against her seems to come from recordings taken of conversations with George outside of and at times other than at the court hearings. Seems to me that the court would not have its nose out of joint had it taken the time to get the brother-in-law’s testimony.

    Lina Inverse in reply to gad-fly. | June 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Now comes the attack on his wife Shellie who testified in court that she did not know how much money was in the Paypal account but her brother-in-law did. She volunteered to call him on the spot.

    The offer of which was … conveniently edited out of Corey’s affidavit as I comment above.

    pdxnag in reply to gad-fly. | June 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    I am still wondering why Mr. Zimmerman is held without bail rather than having a bail amount adjusted up. Even at the prior lower amount he did not flee.

    The court could even choose to leave him with a choice, use your money to pay your lawyer or pay a huge bail amount, but not both. The money seems as if it was intended to cover legal expenses and not bail. So, he was broke — and still is broke — unless anyone thinks that the lawyers will not consume the entire balance.

This reminds me of the Ed DiPrete case. When prosecutors crashed and burned in their pursuit of him (it’s a long, ugly story) they went after his son. By then the family was out of money so DiPrete took a plea and spent a year at the ACI in exchange for the state dropping all charges against his son. They finally got him.

[…] And look at this __________________ But there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against […]

[…] William Jacobson that Prosecutor Angela Corey overcharged Shellie Zimmerman when she had her arrested for perjury. …Corey has brought a charge of felony perjury against Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie,  based […]

Prof Jacobson’s careful, dispassionate post does not do enough to convey just how low this this in-over-her-head prosecutor is sinking to coerce some kind of guilty plea out of George. For the most part, there is no check on prosecutor abuse in America. Note that there is no sanction for this prosecutor’s attempts to silence present and past critics. Heck, if Dershowitz keeps criticizing, the Zimmerman kids will probably be charged with having turned in false homework at school or daycare. The charges, the bond arrangements, the coziness with Martin family lawyers — all make this case desperately out of proportion, and now has Corey exposed as a cornered, win-at-all-costs polecat.

Since I’ve been pondering this lately, let me get this out…

“This is a political prosecution”.

Yeah. Duh.

I can think of very few that are NOT “political”.

Use a slightly less pejorative…and misleading…term; in the “public interest” or “public safety”. This is why we have prosecutors.

Prosecutors COMMONLY HAVE TO elect to pursue some cases, and with what resources, and the public interest or public safety…or “politics”…play into those choices.

The criminal law is a POLITICAL construct, of itself. A codified criminal offense is born, modified, and dies in the world of politics.

Also, because a putative defense MAY be asserted, it is NEVER unethical for a lawyer…civil or criminal…to pursue a case. The cause has to be TRIED for the defense to be proven, if it can be.

One more fact; courts are not places where “truth” is determined. They are places where evidence is adduced ACCORDING TO THE RULES OF EVIDENCE. That means that UNLESS you can show something according to the rules, though it is a known fact and TRUE, it doesn’t come before the finder of fact. In that sense, it is like Kabuki theater. Withal, I know of no superior system.

    Lina Inverse in reply to Ragspierre. | June 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Prosecutors COMMONLY HAVE TO elect to pursue some cases, and with what resources, and the public interest or public safety…or “politics”…play into those choices.

    Much of what you say is irrelevant because Corey was appointed as a Special Prosecutor for this single case. This institution is reviled by many for the exact reason I quote from you above: unlike a normal prosecutor who has to weight many things in deciding who to prosecute, a Special Prosecutor has only one case to deal with. Even the Democrats at the national level gave up on the institution after they got a taste of their own medicine when Clinton was in office.

    scooby509 in reply to Ragspierre. | June 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    “The criminal law is a POLITICAL construct, of itself. A codified criminal offense is born, modified, and dies in the world of politics.”

    I think you’re conflating two senses of the term political, though, in fairness, I’m making a *very* fine distinction.

    There’s the process in which the body politic comes to agreements about how to handle its affairs.

    And there are the individual personalities that often dominate the debate due to the frailties of human psychology.

    Criminal law, as well as much law where it is fairly cut and dry, is political in the first sense.

    This case is political in the second sense: Mr. Zimmerman has become the foil for the larger discussion of race, and Mrs. Corey is using the case to advance her career.

      Ragspierre in reply to scooby509. | June 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      “Mr. Zimmerman has become the foil for the larger discussion of race, and Mrs. Corey is using the case to advance her career.”

      Huh. So there is just no question that the decision to prosecute this case was partly about the public interest and public safety? You just default to ascribing the basest motives to Corey…solely. No other possibility.

      MmmmK…

    Yes trials turn on an adversarial system controlled by rules of evidence. But prosecutors are charged with a different standard than defense attorneys (who are to work zealously within the rules to get their clients acquitted). Prosecutors are supposed to work for justice. That Rags dismisses that as being naive is saddening.

    I am actually frightened how far this country has gotten from that common-sense decency. Bonfire of the Vanities is the reality if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The person who should be in jail is the prosecutor, Corey. Isn’t there a bar in Florida looking at this cluster-F?

Corey allegedly responded by threatening to sue Dershowitz and Harvard. This appears to be part of a pattern when she is criticized.

Angela Corey, let me introduce you to Brett Kimberlin, you two would be a marrige made in hell..

You think perjury should be overlooked by prosecutors?

    snapsbacula in reply to lorenzo. | June 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Would you mind showing us the statement that proves she lied? I have a difficult time calling her a liar when she said “I don’t know.” Did the prosecution show in the affidavit that this statement was a lie?

    JP in reply to lorenzo. | June 13, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    That being a ‘standard’, #44 could be put away for life. He took an *oath to uphold OUR Constitution, not HIS Constitution.

    Perjury: Lying while under *oath

    What would you term his lying eyes?

    I do not see perjury. I see a prosecutor looking for it in a family member as a means of convicting someone else.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to lorenzo. | June 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Following the old adage of people in glass houses being unwise to throw stones, in this case I would give that a big, “YES!”

Has anyone contacted Dershowitz to get his opinion on this latest, the misleading editing of a transcript?

snapsbacula | June 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Ragspierre, you claim to “know that the Zimmerman’s intentionally misled the court”. Would you mind helping me see this perspective by validating each of the following five requirements? I don’t see how “I don’t know” can fit the bill in accusing her of lying.

To prove the crime of [Perjury Not in an Official Proceeding] [Perjury in an Official Proceeding], the State must prove the following five elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. (Defendant) took an oath or otherwise affirmed that [he] [she] was obligated by conscience or by law to speak the truth in (describe proceedings, official or unofficial, in which the alleged oath was taken).

2. The oath or affirmation was made to (person allegedly administering oath), who was a (official capacity).

3. (Defendant), while under an oath, made the statement (read from charge).

4. The statement was false.

5. (Defendant) did not believe the statement was true when [he] [she] made it.

    Ragspierre in reply to snapsbacula. | June 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Sorry. I can’t try the case here. Nobody is ready to do that, BTW.

    The thing I find funny is watching so many here turn themselves inside-out trying to rationalize what the Zimmermans did.

    Tripping down goat-trails and all!

    Back up. This involved the Zimmermans POSITIVELY, AFFIRMATIVELY representing to the Court they were indigent.

    Which was, as is apparent from the hide-the-pea game they were playing transferring the money in his and her bank accounts back and forth, a flat-out lie.

    Now, this means NOTHING WRT Mr. Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence of the murder charge.

    But it damn sure is what it is. That affirmation, under oath, was a lie.

      Estragon in reply to Ragspierre. | June 13, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      Is it your contention, then, that the money collected for legal defense fund via the website was actually discretionary income belonging to the Zimmermans and that they believed this? That it could be used for any purpose they wished?

      Also, the crap about “moving funds” from PayPal to a bank account makes it sound as if she were trying to hide them. There is no evidence of that, and the characterization is designed to mislead. Any prudent person would move large amounts from PayPal, which is not covered by FDIC, to a federally insured institution.

      This is why no one cries when lawyers die.

        Estragon in reply to Estragon. | June 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm

        Oops, I apologize – I had not seen that she had moved money to her sister’s account and back. That certainly gives credence to the idea that she believed she or GZ had the right to move it. They were insane not to consult their attorney regarding these funds before doing this, especially given the scrutiny the case has brought to their lives.

          Ragspierre in reply to Estragon. | June 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm

          Thank you for that level of integrity.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Estragon. | June 14, 2012 at 10:13 pm

          Believing they had the right to move it does not equate to believing they have to declare it as personal income since it was donated for a specific purpose and would not ultimately end up as thier personal “income”. I don’t think one can extrapolate the latter from the former. Keep in mind this couple is in their 20s and not terribly sophisticated. It could easily be that they’ve never contemplated finances, income, earnings, gifts, etc., beyond what is found on a 1040A for a medium-to-low income couple. My sense is that they were acting instintively, circling the wagons so to speak, inasmuch as they had dealt with the government totally squarely only to eventually get the shaft in a major way.

          Ragspierre in reply to Estragon. | June 15, 2012 at 9:55 am

          “That’s what its for”.

          You are willing to lie in support of your CDS. How sad it that.

      zazz in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2012 at 7:36 am

      Ragspierre, you are a regular and respected contributor to this forum, and usually not at great variance with Prof. Jacobson and the other posters. I have been astonished at the defense of the Zimmermans in this situation where they obviously lied to the court.

      I was surprised when Zimmerman was initially not charged with anything (not that I think he profiled Martin, nor do I know what happened that day), and then surprised at how he has been charged. I’ve been astonished at the vehemence of his defenders in even considering that there’s no possibility of a crime. I’m not a lawyer, but I can’t remember the last time an unusual death occurred in my area that didn’t result in an arrest, whether the person was convicted or not. I don’t know how one defends or condemns Zimmerman in the absence of at least a more thorough investigation than was initially performed.

      In any event, on the subject of the strange contortions in this conversation, why do you think people are being so irrational here? You know this community well.

        Lina Inverse in reply to zazz. | June 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

        Maybe this is an issue (problem, I would say) with your area? Where I live, people who use lethal force in plausible self-defense situations are not routinely arrested for real (qualification since Zimmerman was arrested that night; he was released in due course during the initial investigation). And in Missouri we don’t have any of these fancy laws protecting those who use legal self-defense (well, aside from one about civil suits as I recall), our legal standards pretty much follow the national norm. Compared to some the the nation’s worse localities we do have a presumption that self-defense is valid, but again that’s the national norm, not the exception.

        As to why I’ve assumed Zimmerman was in the right, the publicly available information especially before Martin’s family started their PR campaign weeks later all supports his claim of self-defense. That includes the local authorities investigating this most difficult to justify type of case (armed against unarmed assailant) and deciding not to charge, despite the police having a major beef against Zimmerman (he was the activist that forced action in a case where a (white) policeman’s son assaulted a (black) homeless man).

        And I suppose some of it is personal sympathy: I carry concealed, and I can put myself in Zimmerman’s shoes where I might have to use lethal force against an unarmed but potentially lethal thug like Martin gives every indication of being, based on his school suspensions and social media postings.

          SmokeVanThorn in reply to Lina Inverse. | June 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm

          Lina, you are a regular and respected contributor to this forum. I have been astonished at the defense of Angela Corey in this situation where she obviously has engaged in improper conduct.

          In any event, on the subject of the strange contortions in this conversation, why do you think people are being so irrational here? You know this community well.

          I look forward to your response vilifying many who disagree with you.

        Lina Inverse in reply to zazz. | June 14, 2012 at 9:23 am

        I forgot to add that almost all of the above was apparent before Angela Corey held her press conference and charged Zimmerman. Since then we’ve learned enough about her in this case, about her approach, seen the deficiencies in her affidavits filed now against both of the Zimmermans, and learned of her past history, so that many of now assume that any action by her team that looks abusive is just that. Add the insane politicization of the case, all the way up to the White House, and you wonder about our reaction?

        I can see someone holding your and Ragspierre’s positions; what I can’t see is your holding our positions to be entirely without merit (“irrational”).

        Ragspierre in reply to zazz. | June 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

        They have become so wildly partisan that they have left their ability to consider stuff dispassionately behind. I understand the reaction to the outrageous provocations of people like Sharpton and Jackson, and the Mushroom Media. But I don’t get allowing yourself to become another kind of lynch mob.

        People here hate Angela Corey (some of them), and will say anything…no matter how vile or unsupported…about her. She has become a one-dimensional cartoon. Now, I think Corey should be off this case. I might easily not like her if I knew her. But I can still credit her with basic humanity. I can still give her her due, and apparently she IS well-thought of in the LEO and criminal defense communities.

        I can see the Zimmermans as people, too. Not paragons or symbols, of which no evil can be uttered. OR total victims. George, without doubt, was made the target of a racial and ideological lynch mob. And I doubt his conduct was criminal, while allowing I DON’T have all the evidence. But he did kill a human being, if justifiably, and that opens a fella up to a very close look by law enforcement people.

        Now, they’ve managed to screw up, and no mistake. It was unnecessary. But it was TOTALLY them. They were not compelled to act as they did, and EVERYBODY has the ability to tell the truth (well, with the exception of certain pathologies).

        Some people here have identified as simple racists, and some as being fringe thinkers on the edge of the conservative continuum. For them, this case is the fruition of all their fevered fear fantasy. They love it. What’s interesting to me is how little they respect our system, and trust our people.

        Dershowitz. Well, that is amusing. Nothing I’ve read in the Florida criminal procedure supports him. No action by anybody in this case…or in the Florida defense bar…supports him. As I mentioned the other day, a writ of mandamus would bring the George Zimmerman charging instrument to the appeals courts IMMEDIATELY (in law time), if that instrument was an affront to Florida law. But, crickets… Soooo…I deduce from this that Dersh is full of BS here.

        Angela Corey should be removed or step down. But people will hate on whoever replaces her, make no mistake.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2012 at 11:06 am

          One other thing I have to say because it just crawls all over me…

          BOTH attorneys at that hearing did a fairly crappy job of interrogating and controlling the witnesses.

          SOMETIMES a judge will take a fairly active role in directing a witness as to waiting for the question, answering responsively, and not “running” with a question they would like to answer.

          More often, the lawyers have to do it.

          WAY too many compound questions, and failures to listen to the FLUCKING answer…with appropriate follow-ups to get the needed information clear on the record.

          NOT enough objections, either (though it was a preliminary hearing, you are still making a record).

          Lina Inverse in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm

          Let me ask you this seemingly simple question: Do you have any problem with the shift to passive voice in this sentence in Corey’s affidavit on George Zimmerman:

          Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued.

          Now, IANAL, but for obvious reasons I’ve very seriously studied self-defense law, both statutory and case law (although little of the latter for Florida). Something that’s critical in all self-defense law I’ve studied is who initiates the “physical” violence (scare quotes since e.g. brandishing or even showing a gun depending on the circumstances can count as such).

          Florida even has a distinction for who initiates “deadly force” as they put it, one can make a claim of self-defense even if one initiates the physical violence if the other illegitimately escalates it to lethal force.

          My reading of the affidavit, and others, including various lawyers, says that nowhere does Corey claim she can establish who escalated the “confrontation” to physical violence. Which per the above matters rather a lot.

          As a counter hypothesis, it’s my understanding Martin could have legitimately claimed self-defense if he claimed the following happened:

          Zimmerman threatened to kill him, showing his gun in the process. Martin chose not to retreat (his clear legal right in Florida, and should be his right even in duty to retreat states since “you can’t outrun a bullet”) but to attack to prevent Zimmerman’s credible threat of illegitimate lethal force. In the ensuing struggle, “the gun went off” (hardly matters how that happened) and Zimmerman was fatally wounded.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm

          OK, try this as a answer…

          Look at the excerpt from the Florida criminal procedure above.

          Really, you can write a charging instrument with very loosey-goosey language if you hit the elements and recite a few facts to fit. It can be lip-sticked up if the defense has too little info to form a good defense. It is what lawyers would call a “notice pleading”. It puts you on notice in general terms you are in the grease.

          Pouring over a charging instrument for the secret, hidden, Masonic code-words seem to me a vacant exercise.

          As to the worf and woof of the confrontation that night, I just dunno, and don’t spend a lot of time brain-storming it. I also assume I DO NOT have all the information here, because that is how my mind works.

          Lina Inverse in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

          It puts you on notice in general terms you are in the grease.

          Google was no help in trying to figure out what you mean in the above sentence.

          recite a few facts to fit

          Ah, but isn’t that our major point? Corey did not cite key relevant facts, and rather than being “secret, hidden, Masonic code-words” the above cited sentence with it’s strange shift to the passive voice is a sign she has no facts she’s even claiming she can demonstrate about the most critical aspect of the case.

          Of course, as I recall she doesn’t even acknowledge Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense, and maybe that’s related. And IANAL and certainly don’t know what makes such an affidavit deficient, but lawyers I have respect for are saying that it is, on e.g. the basis of it not claiming sufficient critical facts like what I’ve outlined in this thread.

          And that the same holds for Shellie Zimmerman, that Corey hasn’t actually pointed out “she made this statement, ‘blah, blah’, and it is false” (let alone “it is false because […]”).

          If one can be charged, arraigned and maybe even brought to trial on such serious felony charges on such vague grounds in Florida, well, I’m very thankful I don’t live there and haven’t even visited since I went to college. Something I think I’ll continue to (not) do.

          As for the confrontation that night, well knowing I don’t have all the facts (and for that matter never will, since there’s only one surviving witness to the crucial 2 minutes that started the confrontation and ended with Martin on top of Zimmerman), I’ve nonetheless studied it intensely since that could be me as a concealed carrier, if Zimmerman’s claims are true that he was accosted and then assaulted.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm

          Read that carefully…

          https://legalinsurrection.com/2012/06/perjury-charge-against-shellie-zimmerman-raises-more-questions-of-prosecutorial-overreaching/comment-page-1/#comment-346311

          You might also try to find another example of a Florida charging instrument. You are trying WAY too hard to find meaning in that charging instrument, but so did Dershowitz.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm

          This might help, too…

          In pretty much any case…civil or criminal…things develop telescopically, so to speak.

          When I file or answer a law suit, I do not BEGIN to have all the facts that will be developed over time. In civil law in Texas, there’ a pleading called “Special Exceptions” that is used to make a plaintiff flesh out their allegations if they fail to provide the “adequate notice” of our notice pleading requirement.

          But when I file a law suit, I will often plead fairly creatively, knowing that, as things develop, I will have to amend. I cast a broad, general net.

          It is the defendant’s job to discover whatever they need, and my job to provide it when they ask for it. There should be no surprises at trial.

          The charging instrument is, apparently, the big end of the telescope. The defense will, if needed, file for a more finite, elaborate exposition of what is being alleged. They will get discovery. They will depose to pin people to a position, etc.

          Now, there are people who cannot afford a good defender, and we would agree that is a real problem.

Too many conservatives give law enforcement misconduct the benefit of the doubt to the extent of turning a blind eye. Hopefully the Zimmerman case will change some attitudes that need changing.

All together now, O Chorus of Authoritarians: But they have a tough, dangerous job!

My response: Then compensate them fairly for their risk. But hold them accountable.

    gs in reply to gs. | June 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Authoritarian Chorus (again): We have to give law enforcement the tools they need.

    My response: Giving them the tools they need does not mean giving them anything they want. Justice is too important to be left only to law enforcement.
    ******************
    sigh In the interest of conservative unity till November, I deleted a zinger that really sounded good to me…

It is almost like the judge was not even in the courtroom when the exchange took place. He should have known what questions were asked and remembered that the prosecution failed to follow up in finding out how much money was in the fund. Mrs. Zimmerman testified as to who knew the current amount in the fund and how that person could be reached. How in the bloody hell could she be charged with perjury after all of that? These people have gone mad — the judge included! Even I remembered that it was unclear what was in the fund at the time of the court appearance.

And you damn well better believe that if I am sitting in prison I am going to talk in code about how much is in my bank account because the last thing I want is my cellmate to find out what sort of money I have when my wife is alone without me there to protect her. These thugs have friends on the outside who would just love to have an easy target.

Ummm… did no one read about the transfers out of and back into George Zimmerman’s bank account?

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/national/george-zimmermans-wife-shellie-arrested-accused-of-perjury

I find this pretty damning.

    HUTCH68 in reply to Sopra. | June 13, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I agree. My initial take was overreach on the prosecutor’s part, but the article doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

    Now I have no legal experience, but I’d be interested in hearing from Ragspierre, persecutor or Prof. Jacobson on this.

    Could this also have any implications regarding Mr. Zimmerman’s credibility?

      Ragspierre in reply to HUTCH68. | June 13, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      George Zimmerman: “If the bond is more than 15, pay the 15. If more than 15 pay 10 percent to the bondsman.”

      Shellie Zimmerman: “You don’t want me to pay $100.”

      George Zimmerman: “I don’t know.”

      Shellie Zimmerman: “All right, just think about it.”

      George Zimmerman: “I will.”

      Shellie Zimmerman: “That’s what it’s for.”

      Which sort of blows the “Oh, gee, it was an untouchable trust for legal defense, so she wasn’t lying” fantasy all to hell. (As if that had any credibility at all.)

      Seriously, the pretzels people are willing to form into out of pure, partisan passion! Suspending even their basic sense of right and wrong.

        BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Ragspierre. | June 13, 2012 at 10:59 pm

        At this point what is needed is a legal definition of the nature of the funds. What was stated in the request .

        I would think a determination by an independent judge is needed here.

        VetHusbandFather in reply to Ragspierre. | June 13, 2012 at 11:35 pm

        Thanks for pointing this out. In my totally unprofessional/non-legal opinion there still isn’t much of a case for perjury, but your posts have certainly made it more clear to me that the Zimmerman’s were likely misleading the court. People do funny things when they suddenly have a large sum of money at their fingertips, its unfortunate that they didn’t consult their lawyers on the matter before doing anything with the money.

          BannedbytheGuardian in reply to VetHusbandFather. | June 13, 2012 at 11:53 pm

          You have taken the social route here. Sure some people do strange things when they get money but it does not necessarily cover this case.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to VetHusbandFather. | June 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm

          Angela Corey is a legal atrocity. She is abusing the legal system and her authority to achieve a political victory.

          When that occurs, all bets are off. The Zimmermans are greatly outmatched by this bully and her official powers and authority. Desperate people do deperate things, and are easy prey for legal provocations.

          GZ cooperated fully and, IMO, well beyond the call of good citizenship. He didn’t have a lawyer because he didn’t think he needed one. Surely law enforcement will see that he acted in self defense, right? Right? In fact, they took his faith in their system, good will and honest statements and turned them against him. So GZ finally wised up, figured out the game and decided to stop serving as his own hangman. Basically, self-preservation kicked in, and GZ managed it as haplessly as he seems to do everything.

          Lina Inverse in reply to VetHusbandFather. | June 14, 2012 at 10:15 pm

          Surely law enforcement will see that he acted in self defense, right? Right?

          But the weird thing is, they did see that, and declined to prosecute him.

          The real mess started when Martin’s family decided to try him the court of public opinion, not a legal one. That’s what prompted his political prosecution, and now his wife’s, or so I perceive.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Sopra. | June 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Why, and about what, or how, is it damning?

holger danske | June 13, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Professor, the dubious merits as you point out aside, wasn’t Corey’s appointment only to investigate Trayvon’s death? That doesn’t give her statewide jurisdiction on all criminal matters does it? Why is a prosecutor from the 4th circuit filing charges in the 18th circuit on a corollary matter?

I really feel bad for Shellie Zimmerman in all this. What a nightmare.

    seeing_eye in reply to votermom. | June 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I agree. I also feel bad for George and the rest of the Zimmermans. I feel bad too for the family of Martin. They lost a son. But the Martin family does not have half the nation and the State of Florida and the Federal Government after their hides. And that’s the reason I can at least understand why the Zimmerman’s might have felt they needed to sock as much money away from prying eyes. I’m sure they knew that “money” is required to successfully fight against the “powers that be” that were gunning for George and his family.

    That does not mean that I condone what they did. I believe lying is wrong and it’s really stupid to lie under oath. But if I had been in their case, knowing the whole world was against me, I might have seriously considered doing the same thing (but probably would have decided against it simply because of the stupidity). However, I think most of us would be surprised at our actions if we were ever backed into a corner and overwhelmed with so many enemies.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Zimmerman look very Hispanic for a couple of white racists.

Here what I think: the reason that Mrs. Zimmerman’s photo was publicized was to further exacerbate tensions between blacks and Hispanics. Remember, the Organized Left’s goal is to stir up violence between racial groups. They’ve noticed that the Hispanic Leftist usual suspects have been very quiet on this topic and they want that to change.

On a personal note: I continue to pray for the Zimmermans to have God’s protection.

The Zimmermans are not being sentenced to years in jail. They are being sentenced to years in litigation.

    Lina Inverse in reply to scrubjay. | June 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    I get what you’re saying, but litigation refers to civil lawsuits; right now they’re the targets of criminal prosecution, with much higher stakes.

    Plus many of us interpret this as a means to pressure George Zimmerman into a plea bargain to keep his wife and who knows how many other members of his family out of jail (that’s been the pattern in other abusive prosecutions). In which case we could be talking days or weeks if he folds.

      unitron in reply to Lina Inverse. | June 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      “Plus many of us interpret this as a means to pressure George Zimmerman into a plea bargain…”

      It isn’t just conservatives that suspect that the plan all along was to get Zimmerman in front of a judge just long enough to be sentenced on a lesser charge with this case never in danger of being examined by a jury, grand or petit, thus preventing the investigation from being investigated and SYG from being more closely scrutinized.

      Remember, Wolfinger was going to send this to the grand jury. Two days later he’s out, Corey’s in.

        Lina Inverse in reply to unitron. | June 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm

        Errr, but the Stand Your Ground (SYG) doctrine is not implicated in this case. If you believe the Nth hand accounts of Zimmerman, the first act of violence was a punch to his face that put him on the ground, with Martin then getting on top of him. No retreat can be required when it’s not physically possible.

        The same is true if he initiated the physical violence, got the worse of it and Martin escalated it to lethal force per the above (although he could still claim self-defense under Florida law if Martin was the one to escalate). If he initiated the lethal force in the confrontation he cannot make a self-defense plea.

        Now, in the Florida body of law that when passed was labeled “Stand Your Ground” there are a set of things that apply, like Zimmerman can ask for a pre-trial hearing where if he can prove to the judge at the preponderance of evidence level that it was legit self-defense, the charges are dropped. He’s also not civilly liable if he prevails. But these have nothing to do with the SYG doctrine.

          unitron in reply to Lina Inverse. | June 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm

          As I understand it, the whole “if there’s no immediate disproof of self defense you can’t arrest” thing was bundled into SYG when Florida passed it, so since that played a part that Sunday night, SYG gets dragged into this in the public perception justifiably or not, and I’m pretty sure the powers that be want to avoid that.

Where is the Florida Bar on this?

[…] Professor William Jacobson’s Legal Insurrection has much more on the arrest of Shellie Zimmerman on allegations of perjury. […]

[…] Looks like more nonsense from Angela “Nifong” Corey. Related posts (automatically generated): […]

[…] 2200 EDT 13 JUNE 2012: Perjury charge against Shellie Zimmerman raises more questions of prosecutorial overreaching (Update… Share this:TwitterFacebookRedditPrintEmailStumbleUponDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

Thus I refute Ragspierre:

R: “This is a political prosecution”.
>>scooby509 schooled you on that (deliberate?) conflation.

R: It is NEVER unethical for a lawyer…civil or criminal…
to pursue a case.
M: Is this closer to ‘If I don’t try it, someone else will,
or ‘I was just following orders’ ?
M: ‘Never’ is an absolute, an ideal, and we live in a
real world; Sometimes one must simply say ‘No’.

R:
One more fact; courts are not places where “truth” is determined.
They are places where evidence is adduced ACCORDING TO THE RULES OF EVIDENCE.
That means that UNLESS you can show something according to the rules,
though it is a known fact and TRUE, it doesn’t come before the finder of fact.
In that sense, it is like Kabuki theater.
Withal, I know of no superior system.

M:
Withal ? Prithee , my Gentles, take note of
this passage from Willy the Shake’s 12th night:
(After a bully finds his target is no easy mark)
Nay, let him alone: I’ll go another way to work
with him; I’ll have an action of battery against
him, if there be any law in Illyria: though I
struck him first, yet it’s no matter for that.

‘Though I struck him first, yet it’s no matter for that.’

Because it is Law, not Truth, which decides the issue ?

So we come round to a fully inverted perverse position on Law,
because the original purpose of a Trial was to find the Truth.
Before there was Trial by Law, there was Trial by Arms, and
before that, Trial by Ordeal; _I_ do not want fall down that
slippery slope, do you ?

The exclusionary rule was imposed by the Feds on the States,
over some time (1914-1961) and against some resistance;
The common law supplied all the facts to the jury, and
let them decide, before Judges started overruling juries,
and Nullification was nullified.

Of course that is just my opinion, and that of every other reader
who ‘Disliked’ your comments; It must be hard to defend process
in the face of such overwhelming preference for ‘Just the Facts, Ma’am’.

    Ragspierre in reply to M. Report. | June 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    “Also, because a putative defense MAY be asserted, it is NEVER unethical for a lawyer…civil or criminal…to pursue a case. The cause has to be TRIED for the defense to be proven, if it can be.”

    That’s what I said. You didn’t have the balls to quote me. In fact, you lied.

    As to the rest…well… You and the others can “dislike” me til you’re all blue and bloated.

    WTF does that change?

You know, this sounds very like this case, in which the appeals court wrote:

The government presented no evidence — none — that the Joneses intended to evade the reporting requirements. Kyle told Hernandez that he did not know the amount of money he was carrying. Saying “I do not know” is not a deliberate failure to report. After Hernandez insisted on an answer, Kyle said that he would have to guess. [Footnote: Reports on Exporting and Importing Monetary Instruments, 31 U.S.C. §§ 5316 (1986).] Guessing is not a material omission or a misstatement of fact — certainly not one the government can use to steal the money. [Id. §§ 5317(c)(2), 5324(c).]

[…]

Hernandez never should have asked Kyle to sign the form on a guess; rather, he should have had him count it at the second station and report the exact amount. Hernandez, with the connivance of his fellows, showed the only deceit. It appears that the officer’s entire approach was to target the Joneses. They should have taken the family to the side and allowed them to count their money. They should have explained what constituted currency and given them adequate time to complete the form. Instead, they manipulated the Joneses’ confusion into a deliberate failure to report. The officers accepted a guess from Kyle. When it was wrong, they took all of their money — for no harm and no deceit. They had no interest in ensuring that the couple adhered to the law. They wanted a statistic for their supervisor, and they cudgeled the Joneses to get one.

A lack of leadership at the agency allowed this. Its mission statement — which none of the officers could recall at the trial — is to serve the American public with vigilance, integrity, and professionalism. They displayed none of these. The agency says that integrity is its cornerstone; that its officers are guided by the highest ethical and moral principles. A gang of armed security officers bullied this family — a family who cooperated with the officers to their detriment. Our homeland will not be secure by these rascals. They played agency games, abused the people they are to serve, and violated their oaths to support the Constitution.

Eric Holder should appoint Angela Corey to be special prosecutor to investigate the White House leaks. Now.

BannedbytheGuardian | June 13, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Now Shellie needs her own fund. Great -just great. 🙁

The feds will attempt to get Shellie on trying to avoid IRS reporting laws on the bank transfers being under 10k. A set of rules/laws that are insanely convoluted and stupid (and thus easy to break). Its just another chip to get George Zimmerman to plea so Angela Corey, a self-indulgent attention hungry witch if there ever was one.

[…] » Perjury charge against Shellie Zimmerman raises more questions of prosecutorial overreaching (Upd…. Share this:TwitterRedditFacebookEmailPrintDiggStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

[…] But today we are told that lying to a judge is no big deal, and charging Shellie Zimmerman with a crime for (obviously, to anyone whose head is screwed on) conspiring with her husband to hide assets from the court during a bail hearing is just the prosecution being mean. […]

[…] is on Governor Rick Scott.  He should be pushed out in the next election.  His “green lighting” for the […]

[…] More on the Shellie Zimmerman Perjury Charges | Shall Not Be Questioned Looks like more nonsense from Angela “Nifong” Corey. […]

I would be interest to know if there is an entrapment defense here:

1) The state, most likely, already knew the approximate amount raised in anticipation of the hearing;

2) so it didn’t ask to hear from the brother-in-law (since it already knew the amount);

3) the state didn’t pursue the issue with Shellie, such as asking: Would about 135k refresh your memory? etc.;

4) the state already had the tapes and knew of the ‘code.’ Are they going to say they waited until after the hearing to listen to them? That makes no sense since the contents could be very valuable for a bond hearing. If the state knew of he ‘code’ they already knew how much was raised.

Would there be an entrapment defense here?

If the case against Shellie was was so “damning” GZ would have been charged with obstruction. Look at the Casey Anthony case where the eventual conviction was for lying.

O’Mara’s explanation of “fear, distrust, and confusion” probably is very accurate. At the time, it was the Zimmermans against a world. Where bounties were being placed on their heads and an unrelenting media campaign had been underway. The only question is if their actions were illegal — I think not.

Eventually it will come out that:

1. the State, at the hearing, already knew how much was in the accounts and had already listened to the tapes and “broken” the silly “code”;

2. the reason the State didn’t ask the brother in law for the amounts because it already knew those amounts;

3. the reason the State didn’t want the amounts disclosed (whether by the State or the brother-in-law) was because there would then be no “perjury” charges;

4. the other prison tapes, for the four days before the hearing, has many exonerating snippets including doubts about how the money should be treated.

I don’t believe Shellie will be convicted on the sham “perjury” charges as the above comes out and it is shown she answered truthfully to the question of the balances “right now. She testified she didn’t know the current balances but her brother-in-law did and was available to give that information. And the State made it perfectly clear it never wanted those amounts in the first place.

What are your thoughts on the release of the jail phone conversations?

These don’t seem to be relevant beyond the continuing trial-by-press of Zimmerman. If these are relevant, shouldn’t they be evidence at the trial; if they’re not evidence, why are they being released?

I don’t recall any other case (of the top of my head) where the authorities took the defendant’s prison phone calls with his wife and released them willy-nilly. Seems vindictive. Are they going to hack his wife’s email and just release all of these too? Were the transcripts scrubbed for private info (they were talking about bank passwords for goodness sake)?

/Ghosts of Nifong?

[…] and professional articles, all written by lawyers of note:  one by Professor William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, and two by Denver defense attorney Jeralyn Meritt at TalkLeft, here and […]

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