tv John King USA CNN April 11, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
he has advised me that mr. zimmerman is in fact in custody. he is in florida. mr. zimmerman was outside of florida when he heard that charges were likely imminent. >> i'm sorry to interrupt. angela corey, the special prosecutor. good evening, everyone. i am angela corey, the special prosecutor for the trayvon martin case. just moments ago, we spoke by phone with sabrina fulton and tracy martin. it was less than three weeks ago that we told those sweet parents we would get answers to all of their questions no matter where our quest for the truth led us. it is the search for justice for trayvon that has brought us to this moment. the team here with me has worked
tirelessly. i want to introduce bernie delirionda and john guy, my top homicide prosecutors that will lead this investigation. with us also is jim madon from e florida department of law enforcement, dominic pate, one of our special agents in charge, our share riff, john rutherford and our undersheriff, duane centerfit. we appreciate so much all of their cooperation in this. i especially want to thank my two state attorney investigators t.c. olstein and dale gilbreath investigating homicides. allow me to take a moment to acknowledge our governor, rick scott, and his office. attorney general, pam bondy and her office along with our u.s. attorney, bill o'neil for their continuing support and their support of this investigation. we spoke with all of them briefly and informed them of the
results of our investigation and our plan as we continue. i can tell you we did not come to this decision lightly. this case is like a lot of the difficult cases we have handled for years here in our circuit. we have made this decision in the same manner. let me emphasize we do not prosecute by public pressure or petition. we prosecute based on the facts of any given case as well as the laws of state of florida. when they appointed us to this case less than three weeks ago, i want you to know that these two fine prosecutors, despite all that is on their plate already, handling all of the homicides in the fourth judicial circuit, supervising the other young lawyers who also handle homicides, they willingly took this case on and said, we will lead this effort to seek justice for trayvon. we launched an intensive investigation building on all of the work that sanford police
department and the state attorney's office in seminole county had already done. unless you've ever been a law enforcement officers or a prosecutor handling a difficult homicide case, you can no the know what it is like this type of investigation and come to the right conclusion. the supreme court has defined our role on numerous occasions as prosecutors that we are not only ministers of justice, we are seekers of the truth. we stay true to that mission. again, we prosecute on facts and the laws of the great and sovereign state of florida. that's the way it will be in this case. when we took our oath, we pledged not only to look out for our precious victims of all of our cases but also to adhere to the rules of the criminal justice system and the rules of our constitution and statutes that protect a defendant's
rights as well. when we charge a person with a crime, we are equally committed to justice on their behalf as we are on our victim's behalf. we are here to do that on behalf of our victim, trayvon martin and on behalf of the person responsibility for his death, george zimmerman. we will continue to seek the truth. every single day, our prosecutors handle difficult cases and adhere to that same standard, a never-ending search for the truth, and a quest to always do the right thing for the right reason. there is a reason cases are tried in a court of law, not in the court of the public, and not by the media, because details have to come out in excruciating and minute fashion, detail by detail, bit of evidence by bit of evidence. it is only then when the trier of fact, whether it is a judge or a jury, gets all of those details, that then the laws
apply to that and a decision can be rendersed. we will skrup u usually adhere to the law. today, we filed an information charging george zimmerman with murder in the second degree. a okay fee us has been issued for his arrest. with the filing of that information and the issuance of the okay feus he will have the right to appear within 24 hours of his arrest. thus, formal prosecution will begin. we thank all of those people that have sent positive energy and prayers our way. we ask you to continue to pray for trayvon's family as well as for our prosecution team. i want to especially thank mr. crump and mr. parks who have stayed in touch daily on behalf of our victim's family. it is trayvon's family that are our constitutional victims and have the right to know the critical stages of these
proceedings. i will ientertain some question. we have very strict rules of ethics and strict rul of criminal procedure and we will be ad mering adhering to those rules. >> one at a time. >> i will confirm that mr. zimmerman is, indeed, in custody. >> could you tell us where? >> i will not tell you where. that's for his safety as well as everyone else's safety. >> was there one single -- >> we don't discuss the evidence in a case. it would be improper to do so. it was a full investigation, full facts and circumstances that lead us to any decision in any case. >> did he turn himself in or was he arrested? >> mr. zimmerman turned himself in. by turning himself in, was arrested on the capeus that had already been issued. >> why did it take so long to come to a decision? >> well, it didn't take long.
we have many complicated homicides that are thoroughly investigated. remember, the prosecutor's burden under our constitution is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. >> it has been 43 days since trayvon martin -- >> i can tell you that this investigation was underway by both the sanford police department and norm wolfinger's office. the investigation was in full mode. the governor appointed us less than three weeks ago. we took the work which they had done, which was significant. we carried on with that work and arrived at our decision approximately last week. then, of course, following proper florida law and procedure, we had to make sure we had everything in place to issue this capeus and make this arrest. >> yes, sir. i'm sorry. yes, sir. >> what you uncovered that leads you to review his self-defense
under the -- >> that's what will be in court, detail by detail, piece of evidence by piece of evidence, factual evidence, physical evidence, testimonial evidence. that's why we track cases in a courtroom. >> can you tell us whether mr. zimmerman is in the state of florida is there a bonding process? >> in seminole county, i want to thank their chief judge. he was very kind. he informed us they have a bond schedule. when a capeus is issued, there is originally no bond. mr. zimmerman's lawyers will be entitled to request a bond. at which point a bond hearing will be held. bond hearings are a common occurrence. our lawyers handle them every day. that's where that will be determined as to whether or not, no bond, which is the bond set currently on the capeus, will be changed by the court. [ inaudible question ] >> that would be commenting on the facts of the case. we are not going to do that at this time. >> yes, katherine.
>> can you tell us why your investigation led you to a second-degree murder charge? >> well, i don't believe that question is accurate in the sense that when you have a homicide, florida's jury instructions even say that before you can reach a degree of homicide, you have to determine whether a person has committed an excusable homicide or a justifiable homicide. all murders are homicides but not all homicides are murders. florida's law clearly says that if there is the affirmative defense of excusable homicide or justifiable homicide, that should be determined before you go to the degree of the crime. that's the process this case took. the only slight delay was the fact that the governor stepped in and appointed us to take this case over and handle it and we did. >> do you believe sanford police
would have arrived at the same conclusion you did? >> we work together with our law enforcement officers. i have my sheriff and undersheriff here. we work with all of our law enforcement agencies to try to work these cases together. prosecutors are law enforcement as well. we work these cases with our investigating agencies and try to come to as many mutual decisions as we can. this case was in the process when the governor stepped in and appointed us us to take it over. we have continued to work with the sanford police department. we got full cooperation in all of those significant documents and records from mr. wolfinger and bernie and john and their team looked this over and did a lot more work and we came to our conclusion based on the facts in florida aegs law. the maximum sentence of second-degree murder would be life in prison.
is it your desire as the prosecutor in this case to see him go to jail for life? >> we don't make that determination at this time. what we are committed to do is get this case through the court system and then, and if it goes to the trier of fact that's the judge or the trier of the fact of the jury, once there is a decision, we would concern ourself with the sentence? i'm sorry. go ahead. i have not personally been contacted. i do understand he may have retained new counsel in the past couple of hours. >> when he turned himself in, did he have anything to say? >> if he did, i wouldn't be able to comment on it. i want you to know up front, one of the specific things we are not allowed to discuss are the statements of a defendant charged with a crime. again, it is a constitutional protection that you all should be happy law enforcement affords every person charged with a crime. >> is mr. zimmerman in did shall- >> i will not comment on where mr. zimmerman is. he is within the custody of law
enforcement officers in the state of florida. he will be taken when it is appropriate for the appropriate appearance in front of a judge. >> i'm sorry. yes, sir. >> when they arrived at the scene, is that what you are saying -- >> i speak for angela corey and my prosecution team. this is the conclusion we came to based on our revow of the facts in evidence. >> i am not sure they were through with the entire investigation at the point mr. wolfinger recused himself from this case. >> are you confident you have the evidence for conviction? >> we have to have a reasonable certainty of conviction. any time there are affirmative defenses and there are numerous that be asserted before the arev, immediately after, during the trial. we have had them come up in the middle of trial, haven't we, my fellow prosecutors that sit here. we have all faced this before.
al alibi is an affirmative defense. this makes a criminal prosecution more difficult. we do everything within our power to take the facts and prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. >> i am curious to get your opinion about this debate about race and justice -- >> i am going to be quite honest with you. i have some people who have lived through our justice system here. they are among the finest people in jacksonville, florida. they represent but a small sample of the people who know that those of us in law enforcement are committed to justice for every race, every gender, every person of any persuasion whatsoever. they are our victims. we only know one category as prosecutors, that's a "v." it is not a "b," it is not a "w," it is not an "h." it is "v" for victim. that's who we work tirelessly
for. that's all we know, justice for our victims. we still have to maintain the constitutional rights. remember our role, ministers of justice. >>. [ inaudible question ] >> any time we take over a case, even from each other, we sometimes reinterview. we thoroughly go through the reports and try to gather more evidence. a lot of the witnesses had already made statements in public, even about have we took over this case. a thorough review of all of the statements made were done. i have the finest prosecution team ever. i know every boss feels that way but these people have the best experience you can ask for. >> i'm sorry. yes, ma'am. >> was there --
[ inaudible question ] >> what's in your mind that you can say about the facts that made you think that that community was -- >> i'm sorry. i thought i articulated very clearly that we don't discuss the facts of a case. that's for a reason. we are law enforcement. this is the criminal justice system. people's rights have to be protected. it is designed a certain way, no the only under the constitution of the united states and the state of florida. we have rules of criminal procedure, florida statutes and rules of ethics. so much information got released on this case that never should have been released. we have to protect this investigation and this prosecution for trayvon, his family and george zimmerman. that's what we will continue to do. >> did you talk to george personally at home? >> i did not.
we do not talk to any defendant that's represented by counsel unless he waves his right to counsel. >> yesterday, the attorneys representing mr. zimmerman or speaking for him said they had recused themselves, because they hadn't been in contact with him. can you shed any light at all on how mr. zimmerman came to turn himself in? >> i cannot. >> is that a coordinated process? >> it is a coordinated process and law enforcement has had this under control since we have gotten this case. there was a lot of speculation about oh, my goodness, does law enforcement know where he is? do we have this under control? this is what we do every single day on behalf of our community. it is what fdle does every single day on behalf of the citizens of this great state. the governor and pam bondy put as many resources as they could on this case. i don't think there was ever a concern that if the decision was made to charge mr. zimmerman, that it would be made in a timely fashion and that law
enforcement would have it under control to take him into custody. >> do you expect the trial to sha be -- >> we don't know that. >> as they said yesterday -- >> what happens with every phone call, a message was taken. i turned it over to bernie and bernie handled it from there. we called his lawyers, because, again, we don't talk to someone represented by counsel pursuant to our rules of ethics. no contact was made between mr. deliarionda. mr. guy is still prosecuting a first-degree murder case where our victim is a marine that was brutally shot. we have brutal homicides that we fight hard for all the time. we will fight just as hard in this case. yes, sir. [ inaudible question ] >> the department of justice, thank you for asking that question, they conduct their own
investigation. i have been in contact with bobby o'neil, our u.s. attorney, tom battle, one of the department of justice people that has helped us with a lot of the civil rights con tetacts an issues. a whole slew of doj lawyers are helping us. they are not working on our part of the investigation. we don't work on their part of the investigation. we always share information with our federal counterparts on numerous cases when and if it is needed. >> you said you don't want to discuss the facts of the case but by the action you are taking, you are basically making the statement that you do not believe there is ground for a plausible defense? will you say that by taking that, by arresting george zimmerman, you are in fasaying standard ground does not apply in this case? >> this case is like many of the shooting deaths we have had in our circuit. if stand your ground becomes an issue, we fight it if we believe it is the right thing to do.
so if it becomes an issue this this case, we will fight that affirmative defense. >> how would you say that is affected? >> my prosecutors, and a lot of them are here and i am so proud of them. they have worked tirelessly running this office while we have been working on this case, they fight these stand your ground motions. mr. moody just finished a four-day full stand your ground on a full case. some of them, we have won and we have had to appeal them. the defense is appealed. some, we have fought hard and the judge ruled against us. it is the law of the state of florida. it will be applied. justifiable use of deadly force as we all knew it was still a tough affirmative defense to overcome. we still fight these cases hard. i am not going to comment on the specific law at this time. we are law enforcement. we enforce the laws of the state
of florida. if that law becomes an affirmative defense, just like alibi, insanity, entrapment or many of the other affirmative defenses, we will handle it accordingly. [ inaudible question ] >> seminole county is absolutely the venue. when we are appointed as prosecutors, with he step into the prosecution role down in seminole county. right now, it is the court of jurisdiction. it is it's venue. did we think we would be able to try the case there? did we think we would be able to try it there? that's a determination that will be made closer to if and when we pick a jury. [ inaudible question ] >> you asked about my concerns. i will tell you. there has been an overwhelming amount of publicity in this case that we hope does not keep us from being able to pick a fair and impartial jury.
both the state and the defense are entitled to a fair and impartial jury. we think a lot of facts got put out. that's the problem. when it comes out in front of the jury, they are not allowed to render a decision until everything is in front of them. they are specifically instructed by the judge that they can't form a decision until they have heard everything. it is regrettable that so many facts and details got released and misconstrued. we hope that a lot of it, and the media has helped toning it down a lot and making sure that people understand florida law and the process. we hope that people will continue to do that. >> have you looked closely at how the police conducted their investigation. looking back at the sanford police department, would you say their investigation was thorough? >> i am not going to comment on that other than that they were a tremendous help to us and had already done a lot of witness interviews. they did what the police do. any time you have a shooting
scene and there is a person whose death is caused, the police launch a thorough and intensive investigation. that was done here. before the investigation could be finished, there was a lot of outcry about this case. then, it changed course and we got appointed to take over the investigation. >> based on the details you know of the case, and what happened, do you think it is reasonable to expect there should have been -- >> we have numerous homicides where immediate arrests are not made. so to us it did not seem unusual. i think judgment has to be made when the final decision is reached. that's what we would have hoped the public would have waited for. some people did not wait. an arrest can only be based upon probable cause. we believe that's what the sanford police department is trying to do. if ir that is any sort of
determination as to what they did or didn't do, that will be handled by someone other than our prosecution team. >> last question. >> the name of trayvon martin is at the very beginning. can you shed any more light on the conversation with them? did they express confidence that your process now can bring it to justice? >> i think that after meeting with trayvon's parents that first monday night after we got appointed in this case. bernie was there, john was there. our prosecution team was there. the first thing we did was pray with them. we opened our meeting in prayer. mr. crump and mr. parks were therement there. we did not promise them anything. we specifically talked about, if criminal charges do not come out of this, what can we help you do to make sure your son's death is not in vain. they were very kind and very receptive. mr. delarionda has been in touch
with mr. crump and mrs. fulton and mr. martin. they now know that charges have been filed. they are now hearing as we speak that george zimmerman is in custody of law enforcement in our state. we are very proud of the job law enforcement has done. we are very proud to stand here and tell you that we represent the people of the state of florida. thank you so much. >> you have been watching for 24 minutes now a very important, dramatic and emotional announcement. angela corey is the special prosecutor in florida in the trayvon martin investigation. george zimmerman, now in custody, charged with second-degree murder. that one count carries a maximum prison sentence of life without parole. a minimum sentence of 25 years without parole. mr. zimmerman now being held
without bond, without bail, although his defense attorneys do have the right to seek a bail hearing as soon as possible. we are waiting to hear from the parents, sabrina fulton and tracy martin. we will take you there immediately when they speak. let's dissect what we have heard. martin savidge is in sanford florida, sunny hostin, jeff toobin and mark in florida. you have had a conversation with mark o'mara. what did he tell you? what is his next move? >> i spoke to him in fact while ms. corey was making her announcement. he is with mr. zimmerman. he is already beginning to start his defense and putting it all together. he learned when we all learned about the charge and the fact it was a no-bond and second-degree murder. the next step will be to
coordinate mr. zimmerman going to the seminal county jail where he will be booked and processed like anybody else. like anybody else, he will have a first appearance the following morning. i suggest he will request a bond at that time or it will be put off shortly there after for a bond hearing so that it can be considered by the court. help me understand the specific. the prosecutor said, we will not discuss the evidence. how much evidence do they have to disclose to the court when they file the information, the complaint? >> there is really no information. in florida, we don't do this by grand jury where it is considered by members of the community in a grand jury. the state attorney, in this instance, miss cory, makes a charging decision. they evaluate the evidence, the facts. if they deem there is enough
probable cause to file formal charges, the document is called an information. the information is, in fact, filed by the state. if there is to be a warrant out, that gets taken before the court, before a judge to issue a warrant for the arrest. that's what's apparently happened here. there is not an automatic entitlement, because it is second-degree murder. because it is punishable by life, now, it will be mr. o'mara, on behalf of mr. zimmerman to go to court and argue that a bond is appropriate. there is no risk to the public as there are no flight concerns. another element would be that the risk is not -- that the proof is not evident and the presumption not great. those are legal matters, basically to show that this is a questionable case and, in fact, a bond should be given in that there are terms and conditions
of a bond that can be met. >> jeffrey toobin. >> if i can say one other thing. it is very important to realize that mr. zimmerman has turned himself in voluntarily. you know his counsel will be arguing that strongly. there is no risk of flight because he had no obligation to stay in the country until there were charges filed. he came in according to miss corey, from what it sounded like, had been in contact with the fdle and voluntarily surrendered himself. jeffrey toobin, your observations of what you heard and specifically, she is making what i will call a bold decision. this is the maximum charge she could have put against mr. zimmerman. you can't charge first-degree murder without going to a grand jury in the state of florida. miss corey decided not to do that. she decided to go with second-degree murder which could carry life in prison instead of a lessor charge, as manslaughter. >> she threw the book at him. this is a very, very major
charge. it carries the potential of life in prison. the jury instruction that the jury will receive is, he can only be convicted if he showed a depraved attitude towards trayvon martin's life. that's a tough burden for a prosecutor to meet. she has access to facts that we don't. the missing couple of minutes where in between the 911 call that zimmerman made and the shots being heard on the other 911 call, we don't know what happened there. there may be witnesses that the public doesn't know about. apparently, it was enough to let the prosecutor bring these charges. one larger point i would like to make, that is worth thinking about as we move forward. florida has what's known as the sunshine law. it is the law that says all government activities are virtually open to the public.
cameras are virtually all opened in the courtroom. this trial will be a trial on television. that is something that all of us can think about the implications of that. florida is different. they will have a trial like this. >> jeffrey, i want to tell everyone else to stand by. you see al sharpton speaking. he has with him sabrina fulton and tracy martin, the parents of trayvon martin. let's listen in. >> 45 days ago, trayvon martin was murdered. no arrest was made. the chief of police in sanford announced after his review of the evidence, there would be no arrest. an outcry from all over this country came.
because his parents refused to leave it there. his parents acting out of love and acting out of the basic principals this country is built on decided that they would go to some able attorneys and they went to mr. crump and mr. parks and attorney jackson. [ applause ] they believed in the system and believed that the arrest would be made. they waited until the police chief. let us not confuse the issue. he announced there will be no arrest. that's when attorney crump called us. we were marching in selma to montgomery. that went viral. some of us hit the streets.
i remember the night we had the first big rally, 30,000 people. on that afternoon, governor scott asked to meet. he flew in and met and said he was going to appoint a special prosecutor. i will say, publicly, that i did not trust governor scott. i did not trust the appointment. i want to congratulate him and the prosecutor for being what they should be. [ applause ] if we did not get this far, we could condemn them. we must say that despite the fact that we are different political parties, and different political persuasions, that tonight may be america can come together and say that only the
facts should matter when you are dealing with a loss of life. i think the prosecutor and the governor did not make a decision based on public pressure but they decided to review it based on public pressure. they would not be irresponsible enough to proceed with the prosecution based on pressure. had there not been pressure, there would not have been a second look. i this i that that credit should go to the nameless, faceless people, black, white, latino and asia all over this country that put hoods on and said, take another look at this and that look has led to where we are tonight they will attack the big names and give credit to the big names but it is the unknown
people that took their time and money and stood up and said, that could be my son. that could be my grandson. because of a second look, even conservatives on the other side of the political spectrum said, no, we are going to take a second look and do what is right. they charged him with a serious crime. he deserves a fair trial. we do not want anybody high-fiving tonight. there is no victory here. there is no winners here. they have lost their son. this is not about gloating. this is about pursuing justice. we have not won anything. all we have done is establish we must have the right to redress and justice in this country. we will not be gloatinging. we are still mourning with this
family. we will monitor the trial every step of the way and stand by and make sure rights for all are not violated. this is not a night for celebration. it is a night that should never happen in the first place. we are trying to make sure that something happens that this will not happen again. are we happy with the charge? are we happy with the results? i would say that we must say that if americans come together, they can achieve things. i remember as i talked to attorney crump, as we marched in selma, i remember reading 44 years ago a man was asked after they got the voting rights act, how did he feel? he said, we ain't where we ought to be. we ain't where we gonna be. we ain't where we want to be but thank god we ain't where we was. tonight, we don't know where it
will lead but at least we have a shot at this family having the right redress. that is because of first courage of attorney parks and the battling attorney, ben crump. >> reverend sharpton and reverend black, all the clergy, black and white, stand in their pulpits and say, it is about justice, justice, and only justice. we thank you for all those people who went on change.org to sign a petition, not just to think about it but to do something. thank you for your unselfish acts, even though you did not know trayvon martin 44 days ago. you just know that a child had
been killed. a child who was sabrina's baby, was tracy's son, had been killed and you thought that if this was my child, i would sign this petition. so, thank you for signing that petition. and tell all those young people, all the young people, the people who have marched, the people who stood up, who refused to look away. it is for those reasons. those young people that were trayvon's anyone, those high school students that walked down and said that we refuse to stand for this. it was those young people. us old people, we sometimes get complacent and we see so many things, with he get a little jaded. it is the young people who believe. they believe completely in justice, the concept, the idea, the dream of justice. i think those are the people who are sitting here today saying we can make a difference.
we just stamp it right. if we just stand up. if we just stand our ground. we can ma we can make a difference. i have to say thank you as a florida citizen to our governor, rick scott, who came and met with the family that night and said that it is important that we get this right. he said that it is important we get it right. he appointed special prosecutor angela corey, who told you she prayed with the family and said, did not make any promises to us, no promises whatsoever, mr. martin, ms. fulton, attorney jackson, our legal team, didn't make one promise to us, said, we will look at all the evidence, every piece of the evidence and based on the evidence, that she would make a decision, not based
on public pressure, not based on anything else but the evidence. we always believe from day one is if you looked at the evidence fairly and impartially, that you would have to come to the conclusion that he had to be arrested and that this man had to go before a judge and a jury. that is all that tracy martin and sabrina fulton and their family have asked for, nothing more and nothing less. before i bring them up, i do go back, reverend sharpton and reverend brant to the call that has been well-documented now where tracy martin called after, that tuesday after he was told that there was not going to be an arrest.
he was told that. the reason we had the protest and filed 911 lawsuit saying all the young people, reverend brant at change.org, was to get to this point. we had to do that to get to this point. it is because of that there, we can take a short breath, a short bre breath, because we are just now getting to first base. we are on first base in this game of justice. we have to remain vigilant. we have to stretch our muscles, exercise every day to make it to second base. that will be we have to deal with this stand your ground issue. once we pass that, we have to get to third base, which is the
trial. then, after we get to that trial, make sure all the evidence was delivered properly and fairly for both sides, for everybody. then, only then, we can come from third base and bring it on home to justice. that's why we are here. this is only first base. we must remember that. lastly, i say this, that trayvon's legacy cannot be tarnished based on people doing sick things and acting ignorant and resorting to violence or thinking ill-will. we all got to believe in our hearts that we make the system better for what we do and we have got to believe in our hearts that when we choose to do good and if we know somebody who is thinking ill-wil, tel, tell them -- >> we will take a quick break and be back moments from now.
we simply wanted an arrest. we wanted nothing more, nothing less. we just wanted an arrest and we got it and i say thank you. thank you, lord. thank you, jesus. [ applause ] >> secondly, i just want to speak from my heart to your heart because a heart has no color. it is not black, it is not white. it is red. i want to say thank you from my heart to your heart. >> first of all, we would just like to thank everyone once again for being compassion at about this as we were, as we are, as we will be, as attorney crump said, this is just beginning. we have a long way to go and we
have faith, the first time we march, i looked to the sky and i just told myself, when i walk, i will walk by faith and we will continue to walk by faith. we will continue to hold hands on this journey, white, black, hispanic, latino. we will continue to walk. we will march and march and march until the right thing is done. thank you. [ applause ] >> tracy martin there, the father of trayvon martin, gunned down 45 days ago. you heard moments aago from sab brie fa fulton, his mother. with us to discuss the breaking news in this case, second-degree murder facing george zimmerman. sunny hostin and jeffrey toobin and also with us, sheila jackson lee, a member of the house judiciary committee. i will go to you first, congresswoman. you were here some time ago criticizing the state of florida
saying they had dropped the ball in this investigation, asking for the justice department to get involved, which it has subsequently done. on this night, do you believe that justice is being done? >> john, i remember that interview very well. first, let me just say that to trayvon's parents, praying parents, that god has answered their prayers and to all of those that petition, that's what this government is about. i said the investigation by the federal government should not be mutually exclusive to the state doing the right thing. i want to dissect a number of things that the special prosecutor said tonight which generated her appointment because the then state attorney made the decision to be judge and jury and allowed the stand your ground law to be the deciding factor without arrest to arrest mr. zimmerman. special prosecutor corey said
several things, she represents the victim and wants justice and fairness for at the accused, mr. zimmerman. two, she wants to seek the truth. the important thing she said was that the state attorney at that time did not give himself to even think about, was that she is willing to fight what would be the affirmative defense of stand your ground. what the then state attorney did was to allow mr. zimmerman to be immune along with the state of police and they did not arrest. that's all the parents said, president obama, me as a parent. that's all we asked for, was that the case be looked upon that a child was dead in the streets of sanford florida and there should be an arrest. i applaud that special prosecutor that she has charged mr. zimmerman on her own with
her belief it is beyond a reasonable doubt, with second-degree murder. but the main point she made is she is willing to fight the affirmative defense, which mr. zimmerman has a right to petition or to utilize among others by his lawyers. that was the crux of my angst when we were interviewed before, was that the state of florida at that time failed and in that instance, who else could protect the civil rights of americans than the federal government, which, as you know, john, they are continuing their investigation. >> sunny hostin, to the point the congresswoman makes, the special prosecutor in her presentation, she was defending the local investigation at least publicly trying to gloss over any differences saying she was appointed the special prosecutor before they were done and she doesn't know where it would have gone had it stayed in the local hands. was she being polite or is that an honest assessment? >> i think she was being
politically polite. the congresswoman made a very good point. sh he said they were prohibited from making that point. one is immune from prosecution if you invoke the stand your ground defense. she also said before charging, a prosecutor must determine whether or not the homicide is juty fied before you decide on a degree of murder. that tells me they considered self-defense here. they considered the stand your ground defense and whether or not george zimmerman's actions were justified. she determined that they were not. i also think it is clear that there is evidence that angela cory had. charging this case as second-degree murder is significant. in making that charging decision, decide that she has enough evidence to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt in light of the
affirmative defense of stand your ground law, so i suspect that we are going to if this case proceeds to trial learn a lot more about what happened on february 26th. >> sunny, congressman sheila jackson lee, jeff to be obin, s by. 45 days after the shooting of trayvon martin, the man who says he shot him in self defense is in custody charged with second-degree murder. we'll be right back.
continuing our coverage of dramatic breaking news tonight, 45 nights ago in sanford, florida, trayvon martin was gunned down. the man who shot him, george zirmman, said he did so in self defense but tonight george zimmerman is in custody. the prosecutor at the top of the hour announcing these charges. >> today we filed an information charging george zimmerman with murder in the second degree, a capias has been issued for that arrest. with the filing of that information he will have a right to appear in front of a magistrate in seminole county within 24 hours of his arrest and, thus, formal prosecution will begin. >> moments ago sybrina fulton stepped forward before the cameras here in washington. her reaction. >> first of all, i want to say thank god. we simply wanted an arrest. we wanted nothing more, nothing less, we just wanted an arrest and we got it. and i say thank you.
thank you, lord. thank you, jesus. >> sybrina fulton, trayvon martin's mother moments ago quite emotional. jeffrey toobin, sunny hostin, congressman sheila jackson lee. jeffrey, a legal action. the justice department has a civil rights investigation on going to determine if this is a state crime. if the state files charges, does the justice department continue at full speed or wait until the stoout state prosecution is done before it proceeds. >> in practical terms, they wait. they see how the original case plays out. that doesn't mean they stop investigating, but almost certainly there will be no federal charges filed while this homicide case is being worked through. the florida courts, and there won't be any resolution of the federal investigation until after we see how the florida case is resolved. >> roland, you have been in touch with the family and their
attorney throughout this case. the media coverage has brought front and center at times some quite divisive and ugly issues, questions of race and whether the system was rigged against the 17-year-old black teenager because perhaps he was wearing a hoodie on this day. you heard the special prosecutor say she views everyone as a v, not b being black, not w being white or h for hispanic. rick scott issued a statement understanding the tensions about this case saying no matter what attorney corey determines, i trust in the goodness of all florida citizens to allow our justice system to reach an appropriate conclusion in this case. do you believe, roland, with this announcement that mr. zimmerman is in custody facing second-degree murder, that there will be more faith in the system and maybe less raw emotion, at least for now? >> it is called let's wait and see. african-americans have always said is it a question of justice or is it just us? when you look at the history of this country, that can be easily
answered. and so as attorney krump said this is getting to first base. this is about what now happens in terms of going forward. even when this case is adjudicated, the question is what is next. about the investigation of the sanford police department, about the seminole county d.a., about their actions. but also what has and, john, this is a trayvon martin movement -- i'm sorry, moment that is turning into a movement. so many people have been empowered to deal with the issue of social justice. i'm getting e-mails and tweets from other cases in austin, texas, in atlanta, georgia, and other places as well. it has certainly lit a fire among this generation. we may very well see folks recognize that they should be demanding justice all across this country, not just in sanford, florida. >> congresswoman, to that point, we know in florida there's a debate about their stand your ground law. in other states there will be debates about similar laws. will there be a federal look at these laws?
i know you're a democrat and in the minority, but do you believe there should be a discussion? >> we held the first opportunity for the parents and attorney to come to washington, d.c. to a judiciary committee briefing where there was an outpouring by members of congress. yes, there will be a review of the nation's stand your ground law. we recognize the sovereignty of states, but one of the failures of that law was one, was mr. krump said, the aggressor standard and the immunity standard. that has to be reviewed. even the republican state author of the bill said that it has to be reviewed. but i would also just add very quickly, the federal and state work together. yes, they will probably not go forward, but in instances of james beard in, instances of cases like that coming into my office, this is not only a trayvon moment or movement but it is a question of revitalizing the criminal justice system to really say that justice is blind.
that it addresses all pain, all victims the same way. i think that's what the parents are crying out for. and god bless them, with all of those who supported them. here we are today. we got an arrest on second-degree murder but we now stand quietly and patiently under this justice system to watch and wait for this trial to proceed. >> one more quick break. our breaking news coverage will continue in just a moment.