Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Is Second Degree Murder In Florida Per George Zimmerman

Murder with a Depraved Mind

Murder with a Depraved Mind occurs when a person is killed, without any premeditated design, by an act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind showing no regard for human life.

The primary distinction between Premeditated First Degree Murder and Second Degree Murder with a Depraved Mind is that First Degree Murder requires a specific and premeditated intent to kill.

Penalties for Second Degree Murder
The crime of Second Degree Murder is classified as a First Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 10 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Second Degree Murder, a judge is required to impose a minimum prison sentence of 16¾ years in prison and can impose any additional combination of the following penalties:

Up to Life in prison.
Up to Life on probation.
Up to $10,000 in fines.

Defenses to Second Degree Murder
In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Second Degree Murder are:

Excusable Homicide
The killing of a human being is excusable, and therefore lawful, under any one of the following three circumstances:

When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without any unlawful intent, or
When the killing occurs by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or
When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune resulting from a sudden combat, if a dangerous weapon is not used and the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner.

Justifiable Homicide
The killing of a human being is justifiable homicide and lawful if done while resisting an attempt by someone to kill you or to commit a felony against you.

Self Defense
Also known as the justified use of deadly force, self defense is a defense to the crime of Second Degree Murder. Please view the Florida Self Defense section for more information.

Source: (here)

James C. Collier


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~~Silk said...

I'm worried that they've overreached, and that a jury might conclude that even though Zimmerman's actions directly caused Martin's death, the actual shooting was "accidental", and they won't go for murder 2. Does a charge of Murder 2 allow for a lesser finding by a jury?

I wonder if the Murder 2 charge was political, and I wish I knew if they have evidence to support it.

In my opinion, if anyone had a right under those circumstances to invoke "stand your ground", it was Martin.

Anonymous said...

Very insightful, Silk, it occurred to me as well, that the "stand your ground defence" seemed more applicable to Martin, if the outcome were reversed.

I think the most telling thing about the case is the manner in which charge were filed. The special prosecutor's decision to bypass the grand jury and charge directly is interesting. I live in Texas, and this would have been impossible. In Texas, and many states, no one can be charged with a felony without the case first being true billed by the grand jury. But in Florida, anyone can be directly charged, bypassing the grand jury, for anything other than first degree murder... But I don't think this is the normal practice.

It sort of begs the question, why bypass the grand jury, unless they were worried they might lose it in the grand jury, thereby precluding any possibility of a trial. Unless new evidence has arisen recently, the prosecutor is going to have a hard time convincing 12 people that Zimmerman committed murder. I suspect the state attorney just wants the pressure off their backs, so they would rather lose the case in court than deal with civil unrest by refusing to try the case altogether. If they lose it in court, they can wash their hands of the mess and blame the poor saps who were unlucky enough to be selected as jurors.

I predict either a mistrial, or a slap on the wrist (like the Casey Anthony verdict). What is it with Florida and wild court cases?? There are 49 other states where bad stuff can happen...

atldude said...


You say "if anyone had a right under those circumstances to invoke "stand your ground", it was Martin."...but didn't he? By Zimmerman's account Martin not only did stand his ground, but attacked.

No one know what really happened, but almost everyone assumes Zimmerman is lying. Why is that? The legal community has acted under the assumption he is innocent until proven guilty (ie. he is telling the truth), why can't society do the same?