by Mark Horne
I have heard a great many accusations against George Zimmerman, but I haven’t yet heard one that claims Zimmerman never paid his Florida state taxes. The state government pressed charges against Zimmerman. The basis for their pursuing these charges (especially the murder charge) seems doubtful to many, but we have to give the District Attorney some latitude in deciding what to take the trial. Under normal circumstances, the prosecutor has a vested interest in only going to trial in cases that he or she can reasonably win. Of course, when Federal and media pressure is being applied, all bets are off.
But the verdict was clear and there was no room for latitude. Zimmerman was not guilty on all counts.
A lot of people disagree with this verdict. It seems clear to me that the First Amendment allows a person to continue to think that Zimmerman committed murder and to say so. But what I don’t understand is how it is permissible for a government official, especially the one responsible for losing in court, gets to call a citizen and a Florida resident—a person who helps pay her salary—a “murderer.”
But that is exactly what she is doing:
“How would Florida State Attorney Angela Corey describe George Zimmerman in one word? ‘Murderer.’ That’s what an emotional Corey told HLN’s Vinnie Politan when he sat down with her and prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda in Jacksonville Monday to discuss the obstacles they faced prosecuting the former neighborhood watch captain.”
This is not right. Zimmerman has not only been acquitted by the State of Florida, but he was acquitted against Corey’s best attempt to convict him of a crime.
I can understand why Corey would want to do some PR since she pretty much made the case for the defense. But she would be better off moving on to another case. Even a liberal like Alan Dershowitz said that Zimmerman has a defamation case against Zimmerman. I have qualms about the mere words being used to convict her, since I think the First Amendment would allow you to express such an opinion as long as you didn’t misrepresent the facts.
But it is plainly malfeasance of office. Angela Corey is not a private citizen, but she is, for now, a “public person” (to use old fashioned language). As a state prosecutor she is not entitled to go around expressing her personal views on the crimes of citizens who have been declared “not guilty” before the law.
Whether or not Zimmerman sues, Corey’s superiors should publicly rebuke her, at least. Otherwise, we are seeing a precedent set where a person who the state wishes to harm can, even after being cleared by a jury, still be targeted and maligned by the state. This is a serious violation of the basic rules of political liberty. And you know it will be used against conservatives that the states or Federal Government fail to convict.