This will be a relatively brief update on two interesting, revealing, and profoundly disturbing developments in this profoundly disturbing case. But first, a reminder: Please be sure to read update 11 which will be posted on Wednesday, 06-13-12. It is the complete transcript of the Special Prosecutor’s interview of “Dee Dee,” accompanied by analysis. What you’ll discover in this update—and Update 11—will, I hope, go a long way toward showing you the character of those prosecuting this case, and the utter lack of real evidence they likely have.
THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE:
As I’ve often noted, this case—if considered on the facts and law—is truly unremarkable. Similar cases are handled every day around the nation and apart from those directly involved in those local tragedies, the rest of the nation remains blissfully unaware. This is a good thing. In those cases, all of the values of the American system of justice—the fairest and most open in the world—are in play, particularly the fundamental presumption of innocence.
But this case is being played out primarily in the political arena. As such, George Zimmerman is not only presumed guilty, there is no possible way he can ever be exonerated. The courts of social justice, racial division, political advantage and political correctness have rendered judgment. There is no possible sentence but Zimmerman’s doom. A new racial category has even been created: Zimmerman is a white-Hispanic. This is necessary to maintain the outrage—and the fiction—that white people are wantonly—and without consequence–murdering black children all the time. It matters not that Zimmerman’s actual racial background is correctly black and (primarily) Hispanic.
Pity Junior Alexander Guy of Orlando, Florida. At the age of 49 he purchased his first cellular phone—only to be given the number George Zimmerman used to make his 911 call, a number thoughtless recycled and reissued by T-Mobile. I’m sure you can guess what happened:
At two o’clock, three o’clock in the morning I kept getting these [calls],’ Guy said.
In all, he got about 70 threatening calls between May 7, when he bought the phone, and May 16, when he gave it to a lawyer — who is petitioning T-Mobile to pay damages to Guy.
T-Mobile refused, saying it gave Guy a new number and provided an account credit.
It also made the sensible decision to retire the number to prevent another innocent party ending up on the receiving end of death threats.
To reasonable people, this might make it just a bit easier to understand that George Zimmerman—or anyone in his position—might be reasonably concerned about his ability to get a fair trial—or to survive long enough for that day to arrive.
THE PRESUMPTION OF ARROGANCE (AND THE ABUSE OF POWER):
Prosecutors, police officers, even teachers, share a number of common understandings. Among them is the understanding that their actions will be criticized, often unfairly. Another, related understanding is that they have to take it and remain professional—and silent. This is particularly true for prosecutors who are entrusted with one of the most awesome powers in our democracy: the power of prosecution, which, if wielded unethically or with malice, destroys like few other powers, for while other governmental officials can ruin financially, the acts of unscrupulous prosecutors can take it all: lives.
I do not know Angela Corey. I know nothing of her as a person or prosecutor, but when Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz spoke to her lack of professional ethics—as I outlined and agreed with in Update 2–I took notice. As the case has progressed, I’ve found her professional actions and public statements to be jaw-droppingly unprofessional, even unethical, and apparently motivated by emotion and politics. As I wrote in Update 9, her actions are already drawing very disturbing parallels with the Duke Lacrosse case. Being accurately compared with disgraced and disbarred Durham prosecutor Mike Nifong is as far from a mark of honor as a prosecutor can obtain.
I had no idea. I’ll let Mr. Dershowitz tell the story, as reported at Newsmax:
State Attorney Angela Corey, the prosecutor in the George Zimmerman case, recently called the Dean of Harvard Law School to complain about my criticism of some of her actions. She was transferred to the Office of Communications and proceded to engage in a 40-minute rant, during which she threatened to sue Harvard Law School, to try to get me disciplined by the Bar Association and to file charges against me for libel and slander.
She said that because I work for Harvard and am identified as a professor she had the right to sue Harvard.
When the communications official explained to her that I have a right to express my opinion as “a matter of academic freedom,” and that Harvard has no control over what I say, she did not seem to understand.
For those not familiar with the proper legal ethics and decorum in such matters, this is extraordinary–and outrageous. Prosecutors must always work to avoid even the appearance of undue influence. So great is their power—they represent the full, coercive powers of the state—that they simply do not threaten people, particularly people who are exercising their First Amendment Rights in criticizing a prosecutor’s official actions.
Professor Dershowitz explained:
Her beef was that I criticized her for filing a misleading affidavit that willfully omitted all information about the injuries Zimmerman had sustained during the ‘struggle’ it described. She denied that she had any obligation to include in the affidavit truthful material that was favorable to the defense.
She insisted that she is entitled to submit what, in effect, were half- truths in an affidavit of probable cause, so long as she subsequently provides the defense with exculpatory evidence.
She should go back to law school, where she will learn that it is never appropriate to submit an affidavit that contains a half truth, because a half truth is regarded by the law as a lie, and anyone who submits an affidavit swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Before she submitted the probable cause affidavit, Corey was fully aware that Zimmerman had sustained serious injuries to the front and back of his head. The affidavit said that her investigators ‘reviewed’ reports, statements and ‘photographs’ that purportedly ‘detail[ed] the following.’
It then went on to describe ‘the struggle,’ but it deliberately omitted all references to Zimmerman’s injuries which were clearly visible in the photographs she and her investigators reviewed.
In these assertions, Prof. Dershowitz—a man with whom I do not always agree—is absolutely correct on ethics and the law. I would never have submitted such an affidavit during my police service because not only did it fail to fulfill the elements of the statute, it did indeed lie by omission. My credibility would have been instantly, and forever more, shot.
Even if Angela Corey’s actions were debatable, which I believe they were not, I certainly have the right, as a professor who has taught and practiced criminal law nearly 50 years, to express a contrary view. The idea that a prosecutor would threaten to sue someone who disagrees with her for libel and slander, to sue the university for which he works, and to try to get him disbarred, is the epitome of unprofessionalism.
Fortunately, truth is a defense to such charges…
If Angela Corey doesn’t like the way freedom of expression operates in the United States, there are plenty of countries where truthful criticism of prosecutors and other government officials result in disbarment, defamation suits and even criminal charges.
We do not want to become such a country.
Corey’s actions might reasonably be thought to reveal a woman emotionally and professionally unsuited for a position of public trust. A prosecutor who cannot take reasoned and well-argued criticism of their work is simply not fit to be a prosecutor. Prof. Dershowitz is correct: He has not attacked Ms. Corey personally, but has argued procedure and the law as interpreted and applied by Ms. Corey. Surely this falls well within the boundaries of speech protected by the First Amendment, and the truth does indeed appear to be on his side.
Few have understood and explained human nature as well as William Shakespeare. And a line from Hamlet (Act 3, Scene II) has come to expose the guilty consciences of and to define those who attack the very people that expose their misdeeds:
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
Angela Corey would seem to be a questionable choice to prosecute a murder case—if adherence to the law and the highest observation of professional ethics are of concern—but a perfect prosecutor for a trial played out in the court of public opinion.