George Zimmerman Has Been Arrested and Charged. Now What?

Here's how a second-degree murder trial could play out

George Zimmerman, left, has been arrested and charged in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin (right)Â 45 days after the shooting. (Photo: File)

Yesterday, Florida prosecutor Angela Corey announced that George Zimmerman, the man who killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Zimmerman, 28, turned himself in to police after the charges were announced, and is, according to reports, now in protective custody at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Seminole County.

Details of the shooting and the events that led up to the death of the Miami Gardens teenager are still emerging, as prosecution and defense lawyers prep their cases. It has been more than a month full of protests, petitions and intense media coverage of the case that have led to latest developments. Forty-five days after his death, many watched with thoughts  of relief that the case will finally go to trial and hopes that truths will be exposed.

The questions still remain: What do these charges mean? Will there finally be justice in a court of law? How will this play out for Zimmerman, his family, and the family of Trayvon Martin?

Writer Zerlina Maxwell breaks down the legalities of Zimmerman’s charges as well as what this type of case entails.

It is important to know that there are number of proceedings that need to occur even before we get to a trial with a jury of Zimmerman’s peers.  “Long before we get to a jury is the unique pretrial hearing on the ‘Stand Your Ground’ statute. The defense will file a ‘Motion for Declaration of Immunity,’ ” says BJ Bernstein a trial attorney based in Atlanta (who is not affiliated with this case) in an interview with Ebony.  “Remember, ‘Stand Your Ground’ is not merely a defense but rather [indicates] that a defendant is immune from prosecution or a civil suit. When filed, a judge triggers a hearing before trial in which the judge would determine [whether] there is enough evidence to get beyond immunity.”

That means that a judge will ultimately make the determination if the “Stand Your Ground” law applies to this case and whether Zimmerman is immune to the murder charges as a result. If Zimmerman and his defense were successful in this pretrial proceeding then the case would be over and it would not move forward to a jury trial.

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    This issue about this man Zimmerman is out in the open now and we’re moving forward. I am tired of hearing about how well behaved we are in the media, even black media. That to me is presenting a tone as though we we are just ignorant people wondering the earth waighting for someone to tell us what to do. How ever it has brung out just where some of us stand.i am still holding on to my original position in this fight for justice but don’t think for a second that I am going to turn my head and and allow the so called Justice Department to go un-noticed.

  • dfsdfsdg

    so happy that justice has come for the martin family . all my love and prayers go out to the family and may treyvon rest in peace .

  • Floyd Shelby

    Justice has not come. It only appears that way. The special prosecutor is a shrewd, calculating woman that wants to temporarily quiet the masses and at the same time ensure her re-election. This is all a smokescreen. She went for the high charge of 2nd Degree murder because she knew there was no way in the world it would stick and it won’t. 100% guarantee he will walk. If you read what it takes to convict someone of 2nd degree murder, this situation does not warrant it. There is absolutely no way they will convict him. The people have been duped.

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