George Zimmerman To Sue State Of Florida For Up To $300,000 For His Legal Expenses

Author: August 27, 2013 7:30 pm
'Stand your ground' not only allows George Zimmerman to get away with murder, it also forces Florida's taxpayers to finance his defense.

‘Stand your ground’ not only allows George Zimmerman to get away with murder, it also forces Florida’s taxpayers to finance his defense. Photo of George Zimmerman from www.businessinsider.com.

George Zimmerman’s defense attorney, Mark O’Mara told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that Zimmerman will ask the state of Florida to reimburse legal expenses, minus lawyer fees, which are not allowed under state law. What is allowed under the law, are expenses associated with his legal defense, including the cost of expert witnesses and the production of a animated video which the defense produced for use during the trial.

Zimmerman’s attorney said he is still going over the figures, but estimates that the costs will run between $200,000 and $300,000. Florida has already spent over $900,000 in the Zimmerman case, a figure which includes the costs of public agencies and employees used prior to and during Zimmerman’s 5 week trial.

On July 25, shortly after the jury found Zimmerman not guilty of the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin, one juror who served on the Zimmerman trial told media that the jurors believed that George Zimmerman was guilty. She went to say that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law gave the jury no legal means of convicting him. In an interview with Good Morning America, juror B29, who identified herself only as Maddy, spoke out about the not guilty verdict, saying:

“George Zimmerman got away with murder, but you can’t get away from God. And at the end of the day, he’s going to have a lot of questions and answers he has to deal with,” Maddy said. “[But] the law couldn’t prove it.”

Now it seems that the law not only allows people that a jury fully believes are killers to go free, but also ensures that taxpayers are charged for any failed attempts to convict those people.

The fact that Zimmerman can hold the state of Florida financially responsible for attempting to prosecute a killer does not bode well for the future of the American justice system. What happens when the next Zimmerman comes along? Does it make sense to attempt to prosecute murderers, when the long term outcome is that it costs over a million dollars and the killers will go free under the state’s Stand Your Ground laws?

If taxpayers are going to be held liable for the costs of failed prosecutions, it seems nearly certain what the outcome will be. We can expect an even greater amount of political pressure not to prosecute people who gun down African American citizens and claim self defense.

At the same time however, these reimbursement filings may be premature. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Office continues to investigate the Trayvon Martin shooting and Federal charges against Zimmerman may yet be brought forth. What if there is evidence of corruption in the legal system or if the verdict is believed to be faulty in some way? It certainly would not be the first time serious corruption was uncovered in a court system located in the deep south. There is also a growing amount of evidence that Zimmerman had trouble with the law and demonstrated paranoia “all or none” type thinking about minorities, prior to the shooting.

How much Florida residents are willing to sacrifice in defense of the state’s “shoot first ask questions later” law, remains to be seen. Already thousands of people have joined a national boycott aimed at the entire state of Florida. Protests have taken place in nearly every major city in the United States, and there are calls from politicians, celebrities and citizens all across the country to bring an end to “Stand Your Ground” laws. Do average taxpayers want to pay another $200,000 to $300,000 for a case that has become a national embarrassment? Do they really want to have Zimmerman’s back, even as family members disclose allegations of sexual abuse against him? While right-wing fanatics continue to view Zimmerman as a hero, a growing number of voters are fed up with a system that denies justice to the families of murdered children, while rewarding their adult killers. If Zimmerman successfully manages to charge the taxpayers of the state of Florida for his expenses, it may be just the thing it takes to put the final nail in the coffin of the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

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