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Thu Mar 29, 2012, 01:34 AM

How much did George Zimmerman's dad give the State's Attorney's re-election campaign?

How much did George Zimmerman's dad give the State's Attorney's re-election campaign?

On MSNBC this evening, Al Sharpton and Lawrence O'Donnell provided several remarkable revelations about the killing of Trayvon Martin.

First, it turns out that Zimmerman's dad, a retired Virginia judge, apparently belongs to the 1 percent. He now lives in an upscale town adjacent to the scene of the killing, Sanford Florida.

This family tie turns out to be the likely reason George Zimmerman was not arrested, even though lead homicide investigator Chris Serino (spelling?) submitted an affadavit concluding that Zimmerman should be charged with at least manslaughter.

On the Sunday night of the shooting, Chief of Police Bill Lee went to the scene of the shooting and apparently overruled his lead homicide investigator and prevented Zimmerman's arrest. The Chief apparently consulted State's Attorney Norman Wolfinger, who's running for re-election.

The Florida "Stand Your Ground" law turns investigations of shootings 180 degrees from what they are in other states. If a shooter claims "self-defense", the law prevents authorities from arresting him unless they have probable cause not to take the claim of self-defense at face value.

Thus quick consultation by the shooter with legal experts (such as Zimmerman's dad) can get him the "magic words" that will lead to going home with his firearm instead of going to the lockup where he belongs. IMO this is the main reason the "Stand Your Ground" law MUST be repealed--it facilitates corruption of police and prosecutors.

Even if Zimmerman's dad did not talk to the Sanford Police Chief or the State's Attorney the night of Trayvon's death, they would have known that Zimmerman had a powerful and influential father.

My question is, what exactly was the relationship between Zimmerman's dad and the State's Attorney? For example, was he one of the sustaining donors to the States' attorney's re-election campaign? Wolfinger sure stepped in quickly the night of the shooting. This degree of involvement of a State's attorney in a homicide investigation is highly unusual.

WHAT'S YOUR OPINION?

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Reply How much did George Zimmerman's dad give the State's Attorney's re-election campaign? (Original post)
ProgressiveEconomist Mar 2012 OP
grasswire Mar 2012 #1
safeinOhio Mar 2012 #2
safeinOhio Mar 2012 #3
ProgressiveEconomist Mar 2012 #4
onenote Mar 2012 #14
Old and In the Way Mar 2012 #5
Baitball Blogger Mar 2012 #11
freshwest Mar 2012 #6
dkf Mar 2012 #7
EFerrari Mar 2012 #8
Baitball Blogger Mar 2012 #10
gejohnston Mar 2012 #15
Baitball Blogger Mar 2012 #9
ProgressiveEconomist Mar 2012 #12
Baitball Blogger Mar 2012 #13
gejohnston Mar 2012 #16
ProgressiveEconomist Mar 2012 #17
gejohnston Mar 2012 #18
TheWraith Mar 2012 #19
Starboard Tack Mar 2012 #23
librechik Mar 2012 #20
onenote Mar 2012 #21
librechik Mar 2012 #22

Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 01:45 AM

1. AFIK, the State Attorney was at the police station.

That was reported on MSNBC.

The chief of police went to the murder scene on a Sunday night. Unusual.

The State Attorney was at the police station. More unusual.


Another question: who picked George up?

Did the PD give George a ride to his father's house?

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Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 01:56 AM

2. I think there is a public record of

all political donation over $250..

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 02:03 AM

3. Then there is this

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/issue/

"State attorney Norm Wolfinger stepped down from his role as prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case. Wolfinger relinquished his post after meeting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi. He said it was necessary for him to step aside to preserve “the integrity of this investigation,” adding he wanted to avoid “the appearance of a conflict of interest.” He did not explain why his continued involvement would damage the integrity of the case or explain the potential conflict he was seeking to avoid. Did anyone at the prosecutor’s office know Zimmerman or his family?"


you might be on to something.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 02:03 AM

4. Is it online? Is it part of the

Florida Elections state website? Even for non-statewide offices?

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Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Reply #4)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 02:21 PM

14. someone in my office searched both the florida site and opensecret

and couldn't find anything.

Frankly, I think folks are barking up the wrong tree by focusing on the father. While I've seen him described as powerful and influential, I've also seem him described as a retired "magistrate" from Virginia -- not exactly a big power broker.

To be honest, I don't know enough about the guy to make a judgment, which is why I think that, until someone has information about the guy, speculating about his role can only put at risk our credibility.

I will add that a google search of Zimmerman's father certainly doesn't provide any support for the claim that he is a powerful, influential person. Basically, he's described as a retired Virginia "magistrate." A "magistrate" is the bottom of the rung in the Virginia judiciary. Until a few years ago you didn't even have to have graduated college, let alone law school, to be a magistrate. Compared to actual judges, the pay sucks too -- between $35K and $65K a year.

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Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 02:07 AM

5. A chit got cashed.

A Judge earns a lot of IOUs/goodwill/favors in his position over a career. I'm sure he was QBing the situation with Lee from the beginning and got Wolfinder onboard with how the case would be handled.

I wonder how many times similar cases like this may have happened in the past? I suspect that this was going to be treated as another local cover-up that could be easily managed. But somehow this got amped via the internet and social media...and now the case is beyond their control. It's becoming clearer by the day that there were 2 crimes - a murder of Trayvon and a conspiracy to miscarry justice. This is not going to end well for a lot of peopple, I think.

I've been watching this play out on MSNBC. I have to say, Lawrence O'Donnel's interview of Joe Oliver was one of the most impressive moments I've seen on TV. He methodically took Oliver apart and totally destroyed his credibility as a character witness for Zimmwerman. They ought to show this in Journalism School...he was relentless and control of that interview. Oliver was given any room to spin the interview. I now know why Zimmerman's lawyer bailed on Lawrence the day before.

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Response to Old and In the Way (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 07:55 AM

11. Thanks for the info.

Crime followed by cover up. Yeah, that about sums it up. Lots of secrets in this county.

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Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 02:17 AM

6. IDK, but it's getting worse all the time. Did they think they could get away with that, if so?

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Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 03:35 AM

7. Why would a retired Virginia judge know the ins and outs of Florica's SYG laws?

 

Isn't it more likely Zimmerman himself learned about it in his criminal justice classes?

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Response to dkf (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 03:45 AM

8. Because Florida is the incubator for laws of this kind.

I bet RW criminal justice and legal professionals all around the country track what happens there.

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Response to EFerrari (Reply #8)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 07:53 AM

10. You hit it on the nail.

Seminole County has been a test site for many right-wing ideas that are now making it through the legislature.

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Response to EFerrari (Reply #8)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 05:28 PM

15. SYG existed before florida

Illinois since 1961 and Washington State (by court decisions) since about 1917. There are other states as well.

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Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 07:52 AM

9. You need to check out all of Robert Zimmerman's political campaign contributions.

Also check out where he goes to church, and what political power dogs attend the same church.

From there, determine the civic or community organizations he belongs to.

If he didn't call Wolfinger directly, he contacted someone who did.

Keep in mind that this is the way that things happen in this area.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #9)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 01:51 PM

12. All EXCELLENT points. But I doubt

the "You" to which you address your post is ME.

Hundreds of alleged journalists are covering this story for pay. Let's see whether they address any of your, my, and our questions in this thread about why the Zimmermans have so much "juice" with police and prosecutors in Sanford Florida.

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Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Reply #12)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 02:02 PM

13. Correct.

I was using "You" as in youse people. Meaning, anyone.

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Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 05:36 PM

16. have to disagree with you on one thing

Thus quick consultation by the shooter with legal experts (such as Zimmerman's dad) can get him the "magic words" that will lead to going home with his firearm instead of going to the lockup where he belongs. IMO this is the main reason the "Stand Your Ground" law MUST be repealed--it facilitates corruption of police and prosecutors.

That is not the law. Zimmerman would still be walking around under the old law, just with a different rationale. What you replace SYG with? Duty to retreat is fundamentally unjust for two reasons:
Shifts the burden of proof from the state to you. You have to prove you acted reasonably, which is an arbitrary standard.
Even if you prove your case to a jury that it was a valid case of self defense, the attacker's next of kin can sue you. (although if I understand Wyoming's duty to retreat law correctly, you would be immune from civil action if you prove your case. Many of them do not.)
I doubt he went home with the firearm.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #16)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 01:11 AM

17. That's a pretty BIG thing.

IMO the 180-degree "burden of proof" shift in the Florida Stand Your Ground Law is really absurd. Police are acting as judges and juries on the day of a killing. IMO they should be making ARRESTS on the basis of probable cause to suspect a crime has been committed==probable cause such as a shooting victim who had no weapon.

But "justifiable homicides" have TRIPLED in Florida because now the police must accept any claim of "self defense" unless they have probable cause not to believe the self-defense claim. People are shooting and killling unarmed other people in drunken bar fights, racial profining of their customers, and nonviolent propery crimes, and they are walking off scot-free with their newly-notched firearms in hand.

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Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Reply #17)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:47 PM

18. actually, that is not true

Last edited Fri Mar 30, 2012, 02:28 PM - Edit history (1)

There is always an investigation. Evidence goes to the DA. If the evidence does not match the claim, (unless you have a rich daddy like Zimmerman) you go down. Most of what you read was written by people who did not read the law and have not done any research. Editorials are opinion often fact free. Many claimed that Florida had the first SYG law. Not true. Illinois since 1961. Some states, like Washington State, have been de-facto SYG states even before then.
How many of those homicides were in fact justifiable? Two of them I know are. How many of those claimed, how many were proven not to be, sending the shooter to prison? Under the old law, how many times as the "self defense" defense used? Out of those how many were legitimate self defense but did not meet the jury's arbitrary definition of "reasonable"? How many were convicted because of the wrong race, wrong sexual orientation?
None of these opinion writers or "journalists" bothered to research it. It is not because the want to take guns away, it because they are lazy and don't bother to question conventional wisdom. If you look back, half of them parroted pro Iraq invasion and SS privatization propaganda.

Zimmerman not going to jail had more to do with campaign finance than SYG laws.

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/newsnation/46883285
http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/03/28/453675/sanford-police-recommended-charging-zimmerman-with-martins-death/

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Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Reply #17)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:52 PM

19. Your facts are completely wrong.

IMO the 180-degree "burden of proof" shift in the Florida Stand Your Ground Law is really absurd.

No, it's not. It's innocent until presumed guilty. And there's no real difference in that respect than any other state's laws. Every state requires probable cause.

But "justifiable homicides" have TRIPLED in Florida because now the police must accept any claim of "self defense"

One, "justifiable homicides have NOT tripled. Claims of self defense went from 30 a year to 90 a year. Most of the new claims were still convicted and put in prison. The police do not "must" do anything. Also, the law does not protect lethal force for nonviolent property crimes or anything else of the kind.

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Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Reply #17)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 12:36 PM

23. +1 Well said. That's exactly what's happening.

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Response to ProgressiveEconomist (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:53 PM

20. Here is a newsmeat link for a Robert Zimmerman (retired) in Florida

http://www.newsmeat.com/fec/bystate_detail.php?city=NAPLES&st=FL&last=Zimmerman&first=Robert

don't know if he's "The" Robert Zimmerman. But he contributes a lot to Repubs--never more than $250, though

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Response to librechik (Reply #20)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:56 PM

21. Naples isn't anywhere near Lake Mary FL

Not the same guy.

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Response to onenote (Reply #21)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 01:08 PM

22. Nobody on the contributor list in Lake Mary named Zimmerman

nowadays political money travels in all kinds of ways.

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