tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC April 11, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
opt in to giving it away. >> you are you. >> i'm me. >> you own you. they don't own us. anyway, that does it for us p.m. i'm dylan ratigan. "hardball" is up right now with chris matthews.ç >>. law and order. lets aplay "hardball's aplay "p" good evening. i i'm chris matthews in washington. we will hear from the prosecutor in the case of trayvon martin. nbc news learned that an gentlemen angela corey will file charges against george zimmerman but it is not clear what the charges will be. the prosecutor is expected to speak at 6:00 eastern time and shortly after that the parents of trayvon martin will hold a news conference that will carry here live, of course, on msnbc.
that will be followed by an interview with parents by the. >> referee: reverend a /* /- reverend al sharpton. for the next hour here on "hardball" we will cover this story from all angles. what charges might the prosecutors bring at 6:00 eastern? the difficulty of em paneling an objective injury that polarized the country along racial lines and what role the protests played in bringing the prosecution, we will expect to hear tonight within the hour in fact. we begin with sanford, florida, in sanford, florida, with nbc's kerry sanders. anything new about what we will hear at 6:00? >> let's just bring folks up-to-date that are just tuning in. earlier today angela corey announced th announced she would be having a news conference at 6:00. pete williams, our colleague is washington wz says law enforcement services confirmed she will announce
charges against 28-year-old george zimmerman. george zimmerman is the man who shot trayvon martin in sanford. it was a rainy night. and the incident develop need what we have seen today. but the initial part of this story is why it has become what it is today. initially in the first seven hours and 50 minutes of shooting through investigation, the sanford police department concluded along with the state attorney here in seminole county that there would not be charges. the community was outraged. specifically trayvon martin's family. his father who lived in the apartment there with his girlfriend hp trayvon's mother who lived in south florida could not believe that police had wrapped up an investigation so quickly and that they allowed the, what they felt was a suspect to leave the police department that night. 28-year-old george zimmerman, who has maintained his right it silence, the only time we
believe he has spoken to the police is the night he was a 9 police department was the night he was being interviewed by authorities. maintained through his attorneys who are now no longer his attorneys, that he was simply defending himself and relied on florida's stand your ground law which allows those who feel they may be in serious bodily harm or may find themselves likely to die, that they can defend themselves, including using a weapon. so that takes us from the background to where we are now, chris. which is we're waiting it hear from angela corey and what she has concluded. she examined or çreexamined th evidence gathered by the sanford police department and along with state agents from the florida department of law enforcement for about 20 days investigated this case. reinterviewed witnesses. found new evidence perhaps and we now know it is going to make an announcement on the charges. we don't know what they are but we do know it won't be first degree murder. that's off the table because she
chose not to go to a grand jury. this florida, when you get a first degree indictment you go to grand jury, so it'll be something less than that. >> kerry sanders, thanks for that report from florida. we will hear more from you as the evening progresses. now former assistant u.s. attorney in the southern district of florida. we will get to him in a moment. right now no willie brown, former mayor of san francisco. mr. brown, i have a great respect for your keen intelligence. this looks like it'll be trial, for not first degree murder but perhaps manslaughter. we will hear at 6:00, exactly what it is. so much of race, culture and attitude, every american citizen involved in watching this case, going before a jury. what are the chances we get through justice here. >> well it'll be very difficult chris. the fact that over the last 45 days, america has been focused on this happening in florida. there have been all kinds of words, uttered, by everybody
from every perch, literally, including yesterday, the united states attorney general saying, very clearly, that if there was evidence of any violation of the law, violation of anybody's civil rights, there would be federal prosecution. and so.ç the attitudes are probably already out there. i don't exactly know how anyone at this stage of the game would think that there could be totally objective people who have never heard anything about this case. on the other hand, it was so outrageous, in terms of the seven hour or so process, that the authorities went through in florida, that prompted all of the rallies and all of the kinds of things that have occurred, in different cities, including that location as well. so chris, this will be very, very difficult. now finally, the lawyers for mr.
zimmerman fired mr. zimmerman. that not characteristic, but they have done so. that can be interpreted by people observing this and possibly on the jury that there is something seriously wrong with this fellow. >> well, it is an interesting matter. let's go to david wine stein, former u.s. attorney for southern district of florida. welcome to "hardball." we need some almost clinical information right now. what is the array of possible charges that might be brought tonight. >> chris, she could charge him with anything ranging from second degree murder down to cup pabl negligence. they all fall within a degree of each other. second degree murd sert highest charge. that's what we refer to as depraved mind murd perp next charge down from that is a culpable negligence, manslaughter. an action taken with reckless disregard to human life. from there, following other lesser felonies. battery which is whe'hyou atake
an cause injury to somebody. the firearm that he had in his hand. simple aassault, simple battery and down to culpable negligence. >> let me just try something here with you david. and i appreciate you coming on. there is so much debate about what happened, most people come in with the notion that probably what happened is he was following this young man. 17-year-old for whatever suspicious. possibly racial reasons. he was told not to, but he followed him. there was a physical altercation, there blows were thrown. he said he felt threatened for his life. if that's the situation, and there was some kind of fight going on in the midst of the fight he pulled a gun and shot guy, what is the appropriate charge for that. two guys are fighting, one guy pulles a gun and shots a guy. what's the right charge there. >> manslaughter. using reckless disregard for
human life. >> when you shoot at a guy's chest, you know you will probably kill the guy. >> but you don't have a depraved mind when you are going into this. you are using reckless disregard for what will happen with your action. if he is in a place he is allowed to be in and he believes he is in fear for his life, he has a right to use deadly force. but he keep talking about this going to a jury. they may never get it a jury. under the stand your ground statue in florida, the first thing his lawyer will do is filn immunity and get this matter in front of the judge. the judge will have to hold a hearing where he or she, whoever this judge is,ç will have to decide whether or not he was justified in using this deadly force. whether he believes that serious bodily injury would come to him and whether or not based on preponderance of the evidence, not just proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but preponderance of efd, justified in using deadly force and under the law as it stands in can
currently in the law of florida, he is immunized. it may never get to the jury sfwhz so one judge, man or woman, could decide on this man's guilt or innocence under the statute called stand your ground. >> correct. then it goes up to another panel of judges at court of appeals that has to review the decision and find if there is an abuse in discreti discretion. >> is there anything # any way the prosecution can say deny the stand your ground option. or does everyone get their day in court based on stand your ground. >> can chris, keep in mind, there is only two people that know what happened there. one is trayvon and he will never be able to tell us what happened. the other is george zimmerman. then couple that with other evidence collected. whether it is forensic by way of autopsy, whether by going back to the crime scene. sew swhooe is there. by analyzing tapes when george
zimmerman was brought in. by listen together 9/11 calls. talking to witnesses. there's not a way for the prosecution to deny him his day to come in and assert his i community claim if he believes at the time he was in a place he he had at lawful right to be and he feared we is going to suffer from imminent bodily injury. as a result of that he used deadly)á(q >> we know that guy had some kind of jury on the back of his head. he didn't appear to have a broken nose. he may have had a bloody nose cleaned up. but he didn't have a broken nose. we are looking at tapes as he was brought into the police station. suppose there was bleeding at the time from the nose and bleeding from the back of the head. he said, this guy attacked me, i feared for my life. the prosecution came in and said, okay, free him. let me ask you about questions. police felt there was some reason it think this guy was criminally involved. there he is walking bat of us in
handcuffs. they didn't pat him on the back and say, good you saved your life from a dangerous situation. they put him in handcuffs, what does that tell you right off the bat. >> when you approach a scene and sure not there and you don't know what's going on, place based on my 20 plus years in working with officers, they get on the scene and they don't know who they have there. for their safety, they put them in handcuffs. keep them in mind, they put him in handcuffs, put him in custody. not free to life for fourth and fifth amendment rights gok on. but he wasn't physically taken into custody which comes 23450 play. have you the right to a speedy trial. by bringing him in, they didn't trigger the 180 days to start the clock running.ç
>> last question, if the way the stand your ground rule works and in fact you get a right to a preliminary hearing it a judge, not a jury, why do you think the prosecutors gave the go-ahead here. >> because it is the defendant's onbligation to assert this clai. it is not for the prosecutor to determine whether he will assert this claim or not. based on evidence she collected, she believes there was a violation of the law. whether second degree, manslaughter, all the way down to culpable negligence. that is her job and whether she can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. she made that decision. now it is up to george zimmerman whether he will assert this defense. >> the earlier prosecutor said, release the guy under the grounds he will probably be able to win his freedom under the argument of stand your ground. we won't even arrest him or
indict him. she said, no, what? how did this differ from the original prosecutor. >> without knowing what was in the mind of the original prosecutor, and if the statement was what you just said it was, we don't know who what he may have decided. maybe there was a question as to whether or not george zimmerman could assert his rights under stand your ground. right now i'm not comfortable? bringing charges. i will conduct investigation. i will give myself more time. i don't want the clock running. >> when we come back, sound reaction from willie brown. willie willç join us again. the charges coming against george zimmerman, and they are coming within the hour now, well find out what the indictment is. is it second degree murd perp is it manslaughter? what? and will he be able to beat wrap if he goes for the defense of, stand your ground. you're watching "hardball."
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we will have much more on the trayvon martin case and the prosecutor announcement coming up at 6:00. we also have new poll numbers on the general election match-up for president between president obama and mitt romney. for that we go to "hardball" score board. we go toç colorado where obama won. he has a 13-point lead over romney. in the red state obama flipped four years ago, up by 5 in a new poll. 49-44. that's good there for him. now to virginia, a new roanoke college poll, romney is up and i believe he plans it win this time. recent poll in virginia has obama on top. this may be an out-liar. we'll see. we'll be right back. and hurtle us all into space. which would render retirement planning unnecessary. but say the sun rises on december 22nd,
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from the prosecutor in florida. stand your ground law in florida which allows a person to use deadly force if they fear their life is in danger is what protected zimmerman from being charged apparently with trayvon martin's death the night of the shooting itself. but similar laws are in effect in two dozen states nationwide. they are under scrutiny right now following the case. back with us is david wine stein, former san francisco mayor willie brown and also with us now in sanford, florida tonight is the managing editor for grio.com. now back it david again. explain the stand your groundç law, the notion of common law for thousands of years of self-defense. >> this is a recent, the common law self-defense was a defend your own castle type of law. recently in florida they expanded that to allow to you expert protection of yourself in a place you add lawful right to be and not just in your own home. as long as you had a lawful right to be there and you feared
injury of someone or deadly force of used against you or in imminent fear of serious bodily injury you could use that force against somebody else. that is what caused this expansion. >> but in this case, just before we move on t joining us right now, insiation explained himself or claimed to have been in, that is zimmerman, if he was down on the ground and the other fellow, trayvon martin was in fact doing what he said he was doing, if it was decided by the judge he was having his head pounded into a sidewalk, if that's the case, would that be a defense under common notions of self-defense or only under the notion protected under stand your ground? >> they're based -- it's based on the common law principle but because it is applied now in a place outside of your castle where you would normally have no duty to retreat -- >> suppose we didn't have that. suppose we didn't have the new law and it was standard
self-defense, would it work here. >> not necessarily. the same issue is now being presented to the jury, not to a judge. >> let ne two to joanne reid, joanne, your sense of the imminent reality, if there are charge he brought tonight, then weç will have reality here. that the question of whether this will meet all of the good tense of the people who have demanded justice here. will the holding after trial, prosecution of this man, meet that need? meet that demand? >> chris, i think the community is holding its collective breath bb particularly in the nevada american community. they see themselves of having dozens of trayvon martins, dozens shot and killed whether by police, civilian or another black person. and the police not indefendant gating it. and feeling the police don't respect it and put upon by the police here. this is how they show the world what they have been dealing with
with, with the department. so you've got a lost calls here that yes, they want to see a trial of george zimmerman but also want to see this police department and their tactic and their investigations reviewed as well. >> is there a perception that thing that dispe tudisturbed me as a nonlawyer, i'm an lawyer, a young man was killed. his body kept there for several days. i don't know if they made an effort to identify him soar not. a sense of that this guy was a fellon. a criminal. that is my perception of the way he was treated. is that the community's perception? >> that's absolutely the perception, )xçchris. what people in the african "american idomein the african-american community
feel he that trayvon martin was deemed to be the bad guy and that it wasn't thorough. a thorough investigation wasn't done to make sure that person who the police were initially saying was the victim, george zimmerman, who even some witnesses said they were told by officers no, it was zimmerman who was screaming, not the boy who was killed. there was just a feeling in the black community that police didn't bother because they just assumed that trayvon martin was the bad guy in the situation. >> let me go to mayor brown in this. mayor bb this issue of stand your ground, i'm not so sure imready to believe this that a law we might not like, and an nra pushed law, guys that like gun nets hands of civilians, is this seen as a racially distorting or unfair law by its nature or just in this case? >> i think it is by its nature. in fact in the states where you see this law being placed, it is usually in the states where there is a problem from the african-american community's
perspective and there is a problem for a long time. in addition there too, chris, you see it always in the states where there is some liberal interpretation of whether or not you can carry a concealed weapon. this is an additional issue involved in the concealed weapon process. that always has been used in a manner inconsistent justice for african-americans. and that's how it is perceived byç the african-american community all over the nation. >> let me go back it david winestein. in terms of loss of this young man's life, which is the permanent reality that everyone is dealing with, now one you have a neighborhood watch guy. that a good thing to have a neighborhood watch. white people, black people, his tannic, anybody can be a neighborhood watch person. and they are. the second problem so to add to their position. but putt a gun on their belt.
put a gun on this person. then he is not looking for for police, it is it what? what is that person if they have a gone on them while doing neighborhood watch work? then that person confronts perhaps, begins an encounter with someone who may be immediately feeling that they're being threatened or humiliated and there is a scuffle. you put all three together. race, gun, neighborhood watch. a guy that incredibly aggressive in the neighborhood watch role, trouble. in this case, tragedy. i think if you look at all of this individually, chris and look at individual pieces, none of them by themselves created this fire storm. it is the individual pieces put together that created the problem. in the state of florida if you are not a convicted fellon, you can apply for and obtain a concealed weapons permit. that allows you to carry a concealed weapon. you can also be involved in a
neighborhood crime watch. if you want to go out and help your neighbors, assist by looking out your window, walking down the street, keeping your eyes open, that all çdpien. if you're a young man on the way back from the store because you walk down the street get stit els and ice tea, have you a right to walk in that community. what happened is that all three of these elements got bottled up together and created this problem. individually, none of them were a problem and individually is one of the great reasons we love to live here. >> what we don't know yet is what that man, zimmerman said, what is still alive, what he said to the other guy yb younger than him, that may have started a dispute that led to all of this. leading to part of this terrible congestion of hell here. thank you, everybody. prs thank you joanne, mayor broub as as always sir. david weinstein, thank you. you have been a great addition.
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you could save money and be better protected from mayhem like me. [ dennis ] dollar for dollar, nobody protects you from mayhem like allstate. welcome back to "hardball." we're now about a half hour away from the announcement of the florida special prosecutor about the trayvon martin case. nbc has learned she will bring charges against george zimmerman. attitudes about this case vary widely by case according to a new washington post abc poll. here are the numbers. among whites 5% say the shooting was justified. these are judgments people are making about what happened. 38% say the shooting was unjustified, 38% among whites. 56% of the whites surveyed in this poll say they don't know enough about the case it make a judgment. among blacks, just 1% say the shooting was justified. 1% opposed to 5% of whites. versus 80% who say the shooting
was unjustified. and 19% said they don't know nuf to say, just 19% are holding bab judgment. how is this case viewed differently through a racial person.ç managing editor and founder of the grio.com and joined by ron reagan. david, let me talk to you about this. does this result by the washington post polling unit surprise you? does it square with a sense of the way people have talked about this case? >> doesn't surprise me at all. what is driving the passion behind this case for african-americans are the personal experiences. you have to consider that about 50% of all homicides in the united states, the victims are black men. and many of the homicides, there are no arrests made and go unsolved. so trayvon martin for many african-americans represent a family member or someone that -- someone else's family member who died because of a shooting. and the sanford police
department stands in place of many other law enforcement, local law enforcement across the oouts that failed to solve the murder of black men. >> that doesn't quite answer the question of the poll be though david. the polling says, 80% of african-americans polled by the washington post polling unit say the shooting was unjustified. there is a judgment made. not that they don't think it was plorlly investigated or treated coldly as this guy wasn't worthy after proper investigation. 80% saying they know what happened, basically. you a rush to judgment, isn't it? >> it is based off of experiences. i think because they are following the case, i think when you look at the polling on the white side, a lot of folks said they don't believe they have enough information. about african-americans, i think you see a disparity in how african-americans are following this story, as opposed to how white americans are following thisç story.
the stories we put up on the spts grio gets a lot of views and comments. so i think think a lot of -- >> you believe as observer and kmencater, you believe coming out of grio, you believe it is a reasonable judgment that the shoot was unjustified. >> i'm not saying personally as me, i'm saying the readers have a lot of passion of this story. that's why their experience comes from, personal experiences. not so much that i personally believe it. >> so it is based upon a pattern they see. not knowing any more about this particular case but life experience. >> absolutely. >> let me go to ron reagan. anything to do with race, i is all call it the san andre yas fault. your thoughts? >> and it rarely does any good
for anyone we found. we have a hard time having a conversation about race in this country, and the trayvon martin is just revealing that once again, i think. >> personally, i don't know about this. i think that's an interesting point david raised. do you think it's binding here? that the reason so many whites said they didn't have a judgment, excuse me, they are holding back, because they are not picking up onl urnl ingredients, the clues of what give you a sense of what you think happened? >> yeah. that may be a good point. i think a lot of white people are reactingç legalistically. the american community are probably looking that the wholistically. when they are asked, was the shooting justified, the question is was justice done here and the answer it that is a resounding no. >> takes me back it my training, guys. a difference tweenl social justice, which i i think you and
everyone i care about, cares about. and trying to reconcile that to history and faks it and then a sense of what happened between these two people that night. and social justice. in this particular case and we lead. let's go to kerry sanders in florida right now. >> i have breaking news. i can say that law enforcement is confirming to me, i have several sources on this now, that 28-year-old george zimmerman has been taken into custody. i don't know specifically where and we're not going to find out where this happened, just out of concern for his safety. but the head line is the 28-year-old george zimmerman has been taken into custody. now about 28, 25 minutes before the special prosecutor will announce charges against zimmerman in this shooting.
>> do we know that specific charge at 6:00 eastern? >> yes. >> we will. >> we will hear it. i'm not sure we will get the opportunity to have questions an answers because the prosecutor here, angela corey, will have to prosecute a case and she is hard-nosed kind of person who doesn'tçl mnecessarily want to engage in back and forth with media. but the rational and perhaps some of the evidence of how she reached charges and in florida we will get a clans to see the evidence that gathered because of discovery which makes it available for everybody to examine the evidence before the trial even begins. >> that's a report from kerry sanders. george zimmerman has been taken into custody. we don't know in which state or division. thank you to the great ron reagan whob i love having on the show. there was a lot of heat behind this case. something from reverend al sharpton. a lot, in fact, did that heat.
draught more light on the case. did the protest day after day force the prosecutor to reconsider the case? well, we've seen it happen. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. well, there is. [ male announcer ] it's called ocuvite. a vitamin totally dedicated to your eyes, from the eye-care experts at bausch + lomb. as you age, eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients. [ male announcer ] ocuvite has a unique formula not found in your multivitamin to help protect your eye health. now, that's a pill worth taking. [ male announcer ] ocuvite. help protect your eye health. [ male announcer ] ocuvite. what a bargain! [ female announcer ] sometimes a good deal turns out to be not such a good deal. but new bounty gives you value you can see. in this lab demo, one sheet of new bounty leaves this surface cleaner than two sheets of the leading ordinary brand. so you can clean this mess with half as many sheets. bounty has trap and lock technology
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and take control of your personal economy. this is going to be helpful. call or come in today. fidelity investments. turn here. welcome back to "hardball." as i just heard msnbc news learned moment ago that george mm custody. we don't know where he was taken fwhoo custody or what jurisdiction or what state. but the charges he is facing will be brought it public attention at 6:00 tonight. those arguments will be made at
the top of the hour, less than 21 right now, the announcement will occur. there have been protests in cities around the country with people calling for zimmerman's arrest. the case has gained widespread attention and stoked the passions of money. what role did the protest and media attention, especially tja on this network and networks like it, play in bringing attention to the case now. if trayvon martin was never a national headline, would we see what we see tonight, a special prosecutor's announce many of a prosecution? would there even be a special prosecutor? in other words, did heat lead to light? is a mania guthrie, and zam zachary carter, savannah, thank you, i want it start with you. what role does protest play in bridging action? >> it has played a role here. you only have to look at the initial hours of this investigation, the fact that initially the police in sanford determined that they did not feel they had the evidence to
arrest george zimmerman with the special prosecutor coming in and nbc reporting she will file charges. the fact as you point out that special prosecutor was brought in at all. but once the process starts, this prosecutor will do her level best to put forward a case that she believes in, that she believes she can prove beyond a reasonable doubt without regard to what is happening on the courthouse steps. that will be her goal. it'll be difficult to do. don't forget, assuming these charges are coming, we sl have to pick a jury. a jury of this defendant's peers. so there is no question that what happens outside of the court of public opinion does bleed in and affect the process. >> let me bring in zach carter.ç
from diavid weinstein, this person may not be charged? >> it seems unlikely to me a judge would find that the stand your ground revisions of the self-defense statute in florida will apply. this is concededly a bad law and not good public policy. but there is a savings provision in that law which is entitled use of force by aggressor. what it says specifically is that justification described in the law, that's otherwise available on the law, is unavailable it a person who initially provokes use of force against him or herself. and indeed, if you're at aggressor in a situation, in which you provoked the use of force, then you are actually required under this statute, to flee, if you can. >> what is the aggressor in the case. >> i guess that's the point you were getting to. >> even if he came up and
approached the young man and said, what you are doing here, is that provocation for a fight. >> it is legal provocation if he had a right to be there. if he was carrying a gun he was licensed to carry. but these are the issues of fact that will be determined at this early stage. that's what is interesting about this stand your ground law that provides, it is not just defense at trial, it is immunity from prosecution. is that means there will be this preliminary hearing where the defendant george zimmerman would have to prove by a preponderance of evidence a much lower standard from beyond a reasonable doubt that he was ç justified. it is a beneficial statute to criminal defendants but i think there is a sugt significant question of fact as the professor alluded to as to whether it is applicable here and whether or not zimmerman was the aggressor and provoked this. >> i want to comment on that zachary? the whole question of how do we find out who the agreeser was. it could be a person who says something to someone else or the person who threw the first blow. >> i think what will be critical
is an analysis of the sequence of events that's supported and explained by the 911 tapes. because when you listen to the interchange between zimmerman and the 911 dispatcher, particularly at a point where the dispatcher who seems to be very smart and sensitive and had a sense of who we is dealing with, at a point where it was clear to the dispatcher that zimmerman was pursuing trayvon martin, he says, are you following him? and he said, yeah. and he said he doesn't need to do that. to the extent that he does not break off his pursuit, that he ignored that sound advice. that's critical relevant evidence that could be taken into account in determining whether or not he was 9 aggressor or not and whether or not he forfeited protections under the so-called stand your ground law. as provoking a use of force from
someone defending himself. >> there's a leap there between pursuing and provoking. we will have to find o ut thought o at trial. we are now just 15 minutes away from the prosecutor's decision in the trayvon martin case. nbc news learned, as i said, george zimmerman is already in custody. what charges will he face? stay tuned noor if a few minutes. this is "hardball." kes the righ, but also a caring touch. you learn to get a feel for the trouble spots. to know its wants... its needs...its dreams. ♪call 1-800-steemer. impact wool exports from new zealand, textile production in spain, and the use of medical technology in the u.s.? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average.
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there's a live picture we are watching right now. special prosecutor angela corey will make the announcement, as i've been saying in the hour, at the 6:00 hour, a few minutes from now. nbc learned he will bring charges at 6:00 p.m. a neighborhood watch shot an unarmed teenager. he is in custody. we just learned a few minutes ago, from kerry sanders. believe it or not be after all this heat, we will get some sm light. we will bring it to you live from florida at 6:00. light. we will bring it to you live from florida at 6:00.
well couple back to "hardball." just moments away, in fact just about 10 minutes away from the special prosecutor'sç announcement in the trayvon martin case. we have a trayvon martin case. the charge against him are coming now and he has been put into custody already. george zimmerman is under arrest now and we have more on the charges. we're going to ed rendell, the former philadelphia district attorney. he was a great district attorney, and the former mayor of san francisco own attorney. what do you see as a former prosecutor coming here? the options on the table for angela corey? >> first of all, ap is reporting that he will be charged with second-degree murder which would include all of the manslaughter charges. >> what does that mean? >> i think that carries not a life sentence, but a fairly significant sentence.
probably somewhere in the range of 10 to 20 years. manslaughter, provocation, that reduces the degree, and a lesser sentence. i think angela corey made the right decision for one very clear reason. self-defense is a defense. and defenses are jury questions. there is enough clear evidence that george zimmerman committed this crime. there is not issues about if he was provoked, the aggressor, those are jury questions. the prosecutor should bring the case, put evidence in, the defense can do it that,(aod then the jury will decide. it's an easy call and the right call. >> let me go to mayor brown. under the law in florida, the former prosecutor us, you have a
preliminary hearing where you can claim stan your ground and you can just face a judge, you never face a jury. >> that's a problem, and in florida that's also iffy, my guess is you have an opportunity if you don't win at that stage, whether you're the defendant or the state, you'll have the opportunity to appeal to a higher level. i believe there is sufficient information and evidence that causes the prosecutor to wish to proceed. as indicated by the governor, just a moment ago, yes, these are all questions that ought to be put to jurors. no single judge should balk that by concluding without an exhaustive examination of the evidence any differently. >> i think mayor brown is right. no judge has the right to have a opinion for the jury.
they are questions of fact and should only be considered by a jury. >> when do you lose your claim to the right of self-defense. you can have a battle of words. you can say something until a person takes a swing at you. at what point are you culpable for having begun the fight? not being the victim, but the aggressor. >> that's interesting,ç under common law, you have a duty to retreat at any time. secondly you can only respond with deadly force when force of that nature, serious bodily injury is being used against you. and query if a man without a weapon could commit serious bodily injury or death to you. that's a jury question. but chris, the point that was brought up by your last guest, in this statute, if it's stand
and defend, if you provoked it you can't claim stand and defend. in my judgment, when george zimmerman did not follow the police's advice, when he continues to pursue, he was the aggressor and he provoked it. >> that will be tough in trial for his defense. we'll be right back as we await the special prosecutors announcement at the top of the hour. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] imagine facing the day
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welcome back to "hardball." back with ed rendell, in a few minutes the special prosecutor in the trayvon martin will announce what charges will be filed against george zimmerman who is already in custody. will we find out what happened in this case as much as humanly possible and get justice? after all of the protest that seem to be so successful bringing it to this point? >> sure, that's why we have juries. it can sometimes influence the bringing of charges, but inútae end the jury decides. they are the last line of defense, and if you get some that take their responsibility seriously, and i think we will, we'll get the right result. >> i believe it's more appropriately stated by the governor when he says once the matter gets to the jury, if you have persons who take their job
seriously, listens to all of the evidence, follows the instructions very closely, the end result will be one that i think all of us would be pleased with. in my case, i'm without a doubt, i believe something bad should happen to this guy. i don't think you can kill somebody even under this crazy law in florida, and walk away clean. >> particularly someone who had no weapon at all. not a knife, gun, or anything. >> i'm still in that 56%, but we'll continue to watch this thing. my job is to be the 56%. i'm not supposed to make a decision. >> you made a very good point that we don't know all of the evidence. i follow this, not obsessively, but fairly closely. i didn't know the point that you told me today that the tape showed there was a little bit of blood on the back of zimmerman's head. >> thank you,