The Ed Show | April 11, 2012
O'MARA: He is troubled by everything that has happened. And I could not imagine living in George Zimmerman 's shoes for the past number of weeks.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW . That was George Zimmerman 's attorney, Mark O'Mara . George Zimmerman has been officially charged with second- degree murder and is in police custody in Florida . Florida State Attorney Angela Corey clearly dealt with the possible claim of self- defense in her decision.
COREY: All murders are homicides, but not all homicides are murders. And Florida 's law clearly says that if there is the affirmative defense of, for example, excusable homicide or justifiable homicide , that should be determined before you go to the degree of the crime. This case is just like many of the shooting deaths we've had in our circuit. If " Stand Your Ground " becomes an issue, we fight it -- if we believe it's the right thing to do. So if it becomes an issue in this case, we will fight that affirmative defense .
SCHULTZ: I'm joined tonight by Dan Gelber , a former Florida state senator and a former federal prosecutor . And Mike Papantonio , attorney, host of " The Ring of Fire " radio show, ands also president of the National Trial Lawyers Association . Gentleman, thanks for your time again tonight. Mike , you first. Let me get your take on what has unfolded here in the last several hours. Where does it stand right now? How hard is it going to be to get a conviction based on what you see?
MIKE PAPANTONIO, HOST, "RING OF FIRE":
SCHULTZ: I think we're having -- OK, go ahead.
PAPANTONIO: The argument, as a matter of law, is whether or not this follows within an immunity that Zimmerman has that a judge can't as a matter of law say, look, this doesn't even go to trial. Preliminary hearing could actually solve that problem. The second issue is very clear, Ed. The second issue is, this is -- a second- degree murder is not a walk in the park where it comes to proof. They're going to have to show there's an unlawful killing. That means that it wasn't justifiable homicide . Second of all, that it was done with a depraved mind. And when you consider what a depraved mind is in Florida , what they're talking about is extreme indifference to human life , malice. Actually, it goes as far as saying that it's a person so lacking in ordinary judgment that their conduct rises to extreme indifference. So this is not an easy charge. This isn't something that's a walk in the park . If you add to that the many defenses that right now that this defense lawyer has, if it goes to trial, when with it goes to trial, with the failures of the police department , the failures of the state attorney's office, in the end, the police department in Sanford is going to be on trial, Ed. This is going to be a classic example of a police department that has some answering to do.
SCHULTZ: OK. Well, Mr. Gelber , the third criteria, there was an unlawful killing of a victim by an imminent danger to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life . He disregarded a lot of things. These are the three criteria. I mean, we could listen to the 911 tapes and he didn't listen to the dispatcher who told him not to follow him, which I think -- I personally believe that the word "intent" is going to come into play here at some time or another. What was his intent when he left the vehicle with a firearm? But Mr. Gelber , from what you can see right now, is it going to be hard, in your professional opinion, to get a conviction on second- degree murder?
DAN GELBER , FMR. STATE SENATOR: Well, second- degree murder, it may be a little difficult, simply because it is a fairly precise intent. It's very likely, though, that there'll be a lesser included of manslaughter, which is a very serious felony in Florida when it's with a weapon. And that's an easier standard. So you may see that the jury is trying to debate the different elements to determine whether or not Mr. Zimmerman committed the crime. Now, remember something -- the " Stand Your Ground " law's going to play a big part of this. Because even if you get past -- even if the state gets past that initial judge hearing, which is what they'll have to do, that " Stand Your Ground " law is still part of the jury instruction that's given to the jury. So they're going to be told as long as Mr. Zimmerman was where he could be lawfully, and he felt reasonable -- and of course, the only other person who was right there is deceased, he's going to have the benefit of that stand your ground instruction. Whether or not the jury buys it or not, at that point, is another question.
SCHULTZ: Here is the prosecutor talking about the venue this afternoon. Here it is.
COREY: Seminole County is absolutely the venue. When we're appointed as prosecutors, we step in to the prosecution role down in Seminole County . So right now, it is the court of jurisdiction, it is the venue. The question was, did we think we'd be able to try the case there, or I thought -- was that your question, Bob ? OK. Did we think we'd be able to try it there? That's a determination that will be made closer to if and when we pick a jury.
SCHULTZ: And there is breaking news. This is at the Seminole County intake center. George Zimmerman arriving at the police facility. This is George Zimmerman arriving at the Seminole County intake center, and, somebody, give me some directions. Is this a live shot or was this moments ago? This is a live shot right now inside the Seminole County intake center. And that is George Zimmerman . That is the only shot that we have seen of him since he has been charged with second- degree murder. So, Mike Papantonio , I asked you the question last night about the 72 hours. It seemed like they had all their bases covered from law enforcement as to how they were going to handle this, and it has come off without a circus. Your thoughts?
PAPANTONIO: She's done a -- this prosecutor has done a very good job, both positioning herself from the standpoint of going forward with trial, by setting this up to where it has a calming nature about the way she's done this. We have a lot to be proud of, of what she's done here. You could tell in her early description of what's taken place, she's trying to defend the Seminole Police Department , the Sanford Police Department . She's trying to say, look, they did the best they could do. She's trying to be -- she's trying to make bridges here. And I 've got to tell you something. As I listen to her and as I listen to where she's probably really heading, I'd have to agree with Mr. Gelber . Second- degree is not -- maybe is not where she's going, but she knows she has the lesser included of manslaughter. It puts this attorney in the position of understanding, if he goes to trial on a manslaughter with a firearm, Ed , he could be looking at 30 years in the state of Florida . It puts him in a tough posture of having to negotiate, number one, and second of all, it puts the prosecutors in a perfect position to say to the jury, you may not buy the second- degree murder, but let me tell you why you should have a conviction of manslaughter. It's textbook. She's done a great job positioning this case.
SCHULTZ: And of course, we will be talking about it a lot. Dan Gelber , Mike Papantonio , thank you for your time tonight. Appreciate it. A new group wants to eliminate stand your ground laws in 25 states across America . More on the arrest of George Zimmerman , next. Rick Santorum told supporters that they'd be better off voting for President Obama over Mitt Romney . Now, he has ended his bid for the GOP nomination. Will he go back on his word and support the Mittster ? Stay tuned.