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Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:15 PM

Robert Zimmerman was not a judge


http://www.thegrio.com/specials/trayvon-martin/robert-j-zimmerman-trayvon-shooters-dad-a-magistrate-in-virginia-court-system.php

An ABC affiliate in Florida posted a statement from Kristi Wright, with the Department of Legislative and Public Relations in Virginia, which read:

"Robert J. Zimmerman served as a full-time magistrate from 2000-2006. Please be advised that in Virginia magistrates are judicial officers, but they are not considered "judges" and do not possess trial jurisdiction. More detailed information on the role of the magistrate in Virginia is available on Virginia's Judicial System Website."


"Yeah, well" and "what's the dif" comments will follow, but I see no reason to elevate the public perception of Robert Zimmerman's professional status, which does a disservice to actual judges. I think "magistrate" is the correct term for his lower position, although it takes longer for two fingered typists like myself to compose. Copy and past helps.

48 replies, 11164 views

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Arrow 48 replies Author Time Post
Reply Robert Zimmerman was not a judge (Original post)
Gold Metal Flake Mar 2012 OP
SteveABG Mar 2012 #1
hlthe2b Mar 2012 #5
onenote Mar 2012 #11
HiPointDem Mar 2012 #35
onenote Mar 2012 #46
csziggy Mar 2012 #47
hlthe2b Mar 2012 #2
onenote Mar 2012 #12
Enrique Mar 2012 #3
Rex Mar 2012 #4
notadmblnd Mar 2012 #29
Rex Mar 2012 #32
notadmblnd Mar 2012 #37
tularetom Mar 2012 #6
KansDem Mar 2012 #9
enough Mar 2012 #7
obamanut2012 Mar 2012 #34
ProgressiveProfessor Mar 2012 #8
Gold Metal Flake Mar 2012 #13
ProgressiveProfessor Mar 2012 #18
Gold Metal Flake Mar 2012 #25
DefenseLawyer Mar 2012 #10
Gold Metal Flake Mar 2012 #15
slampoet Mar 2012 #14
Gold Metal Flake Mar 2012 #16
onenote Mar 2012 #19
Gold Metal Flake Mar 2012 #26
ProgressiveProfessor Mar 2012 #20
slampoet Mar 2012 #22
ProgressiveProfessor Mar 2012 #23
Gold Metal Flake Mar 2012 #27
ProgressiveProfessor Mar 2012 #38
Fawke Em Mar 2012 #17
leveymg Mar 2012 #21
ProgressiveProfessor Mar 2012 #24
Gold Metal Flake Mar 2012 #28
leveymg Mar 2012 #30
onenote Mar 2012 #31
leveymg Mar 2012 #36
onenote Mar 2012 #45
leveymg Mar 2012 #48
Gold Metal Flake Mar 2012 #39
obamanut2012 Mar 2012 #33
Raine1967 Mar 2012 #42
11 Bravo Mar 2012 #40
Gold Metal Flake Mar 2012 #41
onenote Mar 2012 #44
snooper2 Mar 2012 #43

Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:19 PM

1. Agreed

No reason to elevate this man.

Also, I've heard him referred to as the 1%, which doesn't make sense, considering: Didn't George Zimmerman live with his father? Doesn't that mean that his father lived in this townhouse community?

That certainly doesn't strike me as "rich". He may have some powerful friends and could have pulled some strings, but I do think his stature is being slightly exaggerated.

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Response to SteveABG (Reply #1)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:26 PM

5. The elder had a townhome/condo in a nearby more affluent area. George was married and living in

the community where this all occurred-- a much less affluent area, according to reports I've read. I don't know that the elder Zimmerman was particularly wealthy, though, nor whether he still owns that particular residence, which might have been a vacation or retirement home.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #5)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:45 PM

11. Median Household Income:

The median household income in Lake Mary, where Zimmerman's father lives, is around $69,500. The median household income in Sanford FL where Trayvon was shot is around $43,500. Obviously, that doesn't tell us anything specific about the value of the home in which Zimmerman lived or the value of the homes in the community where Trayvon was shot. I suspect, but don't know, that Zimmerman's father, who apparently was career military before become a magistrate in Virginia for a few years, has pensions from both his military service and his magistrate service and that his wife, who was a clerk in the court system in Virginia, also has a government pension.

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Response to onenote (Reply #11)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:13 PM

35. Thanks for that. I wondered about that since the initial reports kept saying Zimmerman lived in

 

a "gated community," which has an upscale image, but the photos showed what looked to me a rather downscale cheap condo/apartment development. Maybe it had a gate, but it didn't look like my image of a gated community.

It seems the Zimmermans don't fit the profile of a family you'd expect to have pull, but Zimmerman seems to be being treated by the police as though there is some kind of pull in the picture. Interesting.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #35)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:57 PM

46. If he has pull through his family, which I tend to doubt, its more likely the military background

of his father than the fact he was a low level judicial system employee (as a second "career") in a small Virginia city a bunch of years ago.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #5)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 04:00 PM

47. His house value is not all that much - market value less than $120,000 now

Though he paid $160,000 in 2004. It is a frees standing house on it's own lot, under 1600 sq. ft. heated space with a two car garage. It must be his primary residence since he got homestead exemption on it this year. http://www.scpafl.org/ParcelDetails.aspx?PID=24-20-29-5NB-0000-1890

It looks like an average middle class neighborhood.

The subdivision where the killing took place was an effort at a middle class townhouse development that managed to get hit by the recession. Frankly, it does not look run down or that it has gone to low class, low end residents as claimed by Zimmerman's buddy Frank Taaffe. The photos I've seen of the neighborhood look as though it is a nice place to live if you don't mind your neighbor being right in your face.

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:21 PM

2. From the VA statute, magistrates are not required to be lawyers--only possess BS degree of some kind

although those appointed prior to 2008 without a college degree were grandfathered in. In fact per (F), magistrates are not allowed to practice law. They are most certainly NOT judges

19.2-37. Magistrates; eligibility for appointment; restrictions on activities.

A. Any person who is a United States citizen and resident of the Commonwealth may be appointed to the office of magistrate under this title subject to the limitations of Chapter 28 ( 2.2-2800 et seq.) of Title 2.2 and of this section.

B. Every person appointed as a magistrate on and after July 1, 2008, shall be required to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education. A person initially appointed as a magistrate prior to July 1, 2008, who continues in office without a break in service is not required to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education.

C. A person shall not be eligible for appointment as a magistrate under the provisions of this title: (a) if such person is a law-enforcement officer; (b) if such person or his spouse is a clerk, deputy or assistant clerk, or employee of any such clerk of a district or circuit court, provided that the Committee on District Courts may authorize a magistrate to assist in the district court clerk's office on a part-time basis; (c) if the parent, child, spouse, or sibling of such person is a district or circuit court judge in the magisterial region where he will serve; or (d) if such person is the chief executive officer, or a member of the board of supervisors, town or city council, or other governing body for any political subdivision of the Commonwealth.

D. No magistrate shall issue any warrant or process in complaint of his spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, parent-in-law, child-in-law, brother, sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, first cousin, guardian or ward.

E. A magistrate may not engage in any other activity for financial gain during the hours that he is serving on duty as a magistrate. A magistrate may not be employed outside his duty hours without the prior written approval of the Executive Secretary.

F. No person appointed as a magistrate on or after July 1, 2008, may engage in the practice of law.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:50 PM

12. Also keep in mind that the position of magistrate was upgraded in 2008

which is after Zimmerman's father retired. Before the "upgrade" a magistrate couldn't even handle traffic tickets.

http://valawyersweekly.com/2008/04/07/magistrate-system-is-upgraded-pay-is-not/

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:22 PM

3. what's the difference

it says the website has detailed information but it doesn't really;

http://www.courts.state.va.us/courtadmin/aoc/djs/programs/mag/home.html

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:24 PM

4. The actual question is, did his position help

get his son out of legal issues concerning assault on a cop? I don't care if his dad was the county dog catcher...did he use his influence to grant favortism for his son by local law enforcement?

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Response to Rex (Reply #4)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 02:33 PM

29. so dad has gone from being a retired Supreme Court justice of the State of Virginia to magistrate

with no power, education or legal background in law? That explains his silly comments in regards to his sons actions.

But seriously, I think they are kkklan members as are many on the Sanford PD and that's why they let Zimmerman get away with it and covered it up. They would have succeeded too if Trayvon's parents hadn't been so vocal in regards to their son's death.

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #29)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:06 PM

32. It does explain his silly comments.

Yeah I wonder about the Sanford PD, they sure were nice to Zimm during his 'detainment'.

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Response to Rex (Reply #32)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:19 PM

37. From of the things I've been reading, the Klan is very active in that part of FLA

I googled history of sanford florida + kkk yesterday and, there's several articles mentioning klan activity. Even a pretty infamous event back in the 40's.

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:27 PM

6. Not that the title "judge" really means much anymore

Regular reports of scandals involving judges, wall to wall judge shows on daytime TV, cheap and unethical political behavior by members of the Supreme Court.

I'd really have to think before I addressed a judge as "your honor".

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Response to tularetom (Reply #6)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:39 PM

9. "I'd really have to think before I addressed a judge as 'your honor.'"

Ain't that the truth!

I once had a teacher in high school who taught US history and government. He told us one day that we could criticize the President or members of Congress, but we could never criticize the Supreme Court. Members of the executive and legislative branches were elected and as such prone to "politics." But SCOTUS justices were picked and approved based on the intellect and wisdom and therefore "above politics."

That was 40 years ago, but I remember that lecture like it was yesterday...

Well, Mr. Dunphy (if you're still alive), in the wake of "Bush v. Gore" and "Citizens United" and SCOTUS justices openly attending right-wing fund raisers, you might want to rethink your beliefs...

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:31 PM

7. In PA, there is a vast difference between magistrates and judges.

A magistrate is very far down on the totem pole of local government, and a judge is at the pinnacle, in both power and prestige. In practice, some of the magistrates are barely literate, no exaggeration.

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Response to enough (Reply #7)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:09 PM

34. That's been my experience in my state, too

Magistrates set bail for you and that's almost about it.

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:36 PM

8. The "what's the dif" crowd has been chanting that ever since that came out

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #8)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:50 PM

13. Well, I guess you told them, huh?

They been told. Them that say that since that came out. Also, them. And that.

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Reply #13)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 01:00 PM

18. Well for some ignorance is more than just a position, its a way of life

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #18)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 02:16 PM

25. Yeah, those guys.

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:42 PM

10. I would doubt that even if he had been a former judge in another state

that that in itself would give him very much juice in Florida. I'd be more interested in his current connections, if any. It may be that he has no connections at all. But if he does it's going to be local. Playing the "my dad used to be a judge in Virginia" card isn't going to get you much. It may be apathetic police or some true believer prosecutor who has a soft spot for vigilantes that shoot black kids or all of the above.

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #10)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:52 PM

15. He has juice, and he's squezing it.

Hey, if you grew up in the south, you know the score. There are layers and layers here. There is nothing a certain class will not do or say or deny to prevent a just trial. Because some types of people are more valuable than others, doncha know.

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:52 PM

14. Duly noted. Doesn't change much except it shows the father knows red tape well.

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Response to slampoet (Reply #14)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:54 PM

16. Definately. He has friends, and favors to call in and knows the local levers to pull.

He's also stretching his neck farther and farther.

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Reply #16)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 01:01 PM

19. Zimmerman's father doesn't even live in Sanford. He lives in Lake Mary

which has its own police force.

Its obvious that the Sanford PD is trying to cover something up. But focusing on Zimmerman's father appears to be chasing down the wrong rabbit hole.

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Response to onenote (Reply #19)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 02:17 PM

26. Yes, a whole 'nother world.

Not the same at all. Might as well be two sides of the planet.

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Reply #16)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 01:02 PM

20. Anything at all to back that up?

Its an oft repeated claim but no one has come up with anything other than the father was a registered repuke

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #20)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 01:05 PM

22. The State Attorney was either at the scene or station at nearly 8pm or later on a Sunday night.

That is access to power.

(Assistant State Attorney maybe instead?)

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Response to slampoet (Reply #22)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 01:23 PM

23. So inference only

I am looking for direct links that can be demonstrated, shown and not be argued.

One of the problems in this case is that there was so much bad gouge from all angles, much of which continues to be propagated as "fact". At this point I am looking for unassailable hard facts, which are hard to come by at this point, especially since the current State Attorney is reportedly blocking any further data releases.

Influencing the cops etc is not part of the shooting investigation but the others that are looking into the shooting investigation.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #23)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 02:19 PM

27. At this point we need you on the ground!

How fast can you get there? You might have to put down your keyboard.

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Reply #27)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:25 PM

38. BTDT in the past...but not anymore

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:55 PM

17. A judicial commissioner or a magistrate signs warrants.

Which is ironic considering why we're discussing this.

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 01:02 PM

21. Ever see Night Court? A Magistrate does arraignments, bail, fines. Judge, but not Trial Judge.

Thanks for confirming that Robert J. Zimmerman was a VA Judge. But, don't try to baffle us with this sort of meaningless distinction. It's not relevant to the real issues of abuse of power, multiple standards of justice, and Good Old Boy Networks.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #21)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 01:26 PM

24. Night Court? That wasn't accurate for NY, let alone the real world

VA law (which has been posted) defines what they do. He was not a judge.

Still looking for some hard evidence of networking here such as calls being made. It won't come out in the criminal investigation, but it will come out in the investigation of the criminal investigation.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #21)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 02:20 PM

28. "Thanks for confirming that Robert J. Zimmerman was NOT a VA Judge"

I fixed your post.

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Reply #28)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 02:39 PM

30. They are Judges. They issue summonses, warrants, and protective custody orders. A Judge

can do that, and no one else within the criminal justice system has the legal power do that.

Here's exactly what a VA Magistrate does (from the VALawyersWeekly article linked upthread):

Magistrates make the first call on probable cause for arrest, whether a defendant should be freed or sent to jail after he is arrested, and whether someone should be detained because of mental health issues. They also decide whether to issue search warrants or emergency protective orders.


You are trying to twist a small distinction into a major difference that doesn't exist in the real world. Fail. Fix your own post.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #30)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:02 PM

31. Its not a small distinction.

First, as has been repeatedly noted, a magistrate in Virginia doesn't have to be a lawyer or go to law school. Second, they are not paid anywhere near to what a judge is paid ($35K to $50K compared to $160K to $180K).

Second, the list of tasks that they can perform today is broader than what it was in the years Zimmerman's father was serving as a magistrate. The law was "updated" in 2008 to give magistrates a bit more to do.

http://bellehaven.patch.com/articles/fairfax-chief-magistrate-criticizes-changes-to-system
http://valawyersweekly.com/2008/04/07/magistrate-system-is-upgraded-pay-is-not/

I don't know if you live in Virginia and have had direct experience with magistrates, but I do and have. And the professionals that deal with them regularly (lawyers, prosecutors, police) do not consider them the equivalent of "judges."

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Response to onenote (Reply #31)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:15 PM

36. The issue is not the salary of magistrates v trial judges. It's Good Ol' Boy influence and multiple

standards of justice afforded whites connected to the criminal justice system, as is George Zimmerman, vs. the type of rough justice that's routinely metered out to young black males who aren't so well connected, as was Trayvon Martin. The difference is night or day, life or death. The distinction between the status in VA (where I live) of Magistrates vs Superior Court judges is not nearly so stark.

I don't believe that you can fairly announce that Zimmerman's father isn't a judge because he was a magistrate. That's simply misleading in the context of this case. And, you're smart enough to know what I mean when I say it's misleading.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #36)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:54 PM

45. My guess is that if Zimmerman's father has any influence with respect to cops

in Sanford FL, a city in which he doesn't live in a state in which he never served as a magistrate or in any other official capacity, its more likely to be due to the fact that he's retired military (and maybe that connects him to some local officials) than it is because he served as a judicial paper pusher in Manassas Virginia a bunch of years ago.

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Response to onenote (Reply #45)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 06:38 PM

48. My guess is that they're all members of the Billy Club Boyz Club, George a Junior Ride Along Member

Their exact places in the pecking order really isn't as important as the fact that these events illustrate the way the Club operates. Nobody should poo-poo it or attempt to deny the overriding fact that murder is tolerated provided that it's the "f-cking c--ns" who get killed.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #30)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:34 PM

39. LOL!

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:08 PM

33. Which means they are more buddy-buddy with cops

If you get arrested, you go before a magistrate to have bail set, etc. An attorney friend calls them cop-judges.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #33)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:49 PM

42. *ding* eom.

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:39 PM

40. The Magistrate is going to be PISSED when he reads this!

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Response to 11 Bravo (Reply #40)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:47 PM

41. Lulz!

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Response to Gold Metal Flake (Reply #41)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:52 PM

44. +1

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Response to 11 Bravo (Reply #40)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 03:52 PM

43. That's what I was thinking LOL

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