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Trayvon Martin case won't go to Florida grand jury

By Mike Schneider

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:43 p.m. HST, Apr 09, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. >> A grand jury will not look into the Trayvon Martin case, a special prosecutor said Monday, leaving the decision of whether to charge the teen's shooter in her hands alone and eliminating the possibility of a first-degree murder charge.

That prosecutor, Angela Corey, said her decision had no bearing on whether she would file charges against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who has said he shot the unarmed black teen in self-defense. Corey could still decide to charge him with a serious felony such as manslaughter which can carry a lengthy prison sentence if he is convicted.

A grand jury had been set to meet Tuesday in Sanford, about 20 miles northeast of Orlando.

Corey has long had a reputation for not using grand juries if it wasn't necessary. In Florida, only first-degree murder cases require the use of grand juries.

Corey's decision means she doesn't have to rely on potentially unpredictable jurors, said David Hill, an Orlando criminal defense attorney.

"Let's give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she knows there isn't enough for first-degree murder but she wants to maintain control and charge him with something else," Hill said. "What does she need a grand jury for? She cuts out the unpredictability of the grand jury. She goes where she feels she has more evidence."

Corey took over the case last month after the prosecutor who normally handles cases out of Sanford recused himself. That prosecutor, Norm Wolfinger, had originally called for the case to be presented before a grand jury.

"From the moment she was assigned, Ms. Corey noted she may not need a grand jury," said a statement from Corey's office.

Prosecutors sometimes use grand juries to avoid the political fallout from controversial cases. But Corey was elected by voters more than 100 miles away in the Jacksonville area, so political problems are less of an issue for Corey, Hill said.

Martin was killed Feb. 26 during a confrontation with Zimmerman in a gated community in Sanford.

Zimmerman has claimed self-defense, and Florida's self-defense law gives wide leeway to use deadly force and eliminates a person's duty to retreat in the face of danger.

An attorney for Martin's parents said in a statement that he is not surprised by the decision to avoid the grand jury and hopes a decision is reached soon.

"The family has been patient throughout this process and asks that those who support them do the same during this very important investigation," said attorney Benjamin Crump.

The case has led to protests across the nation and spurred a debate about race and the laws of self-defense. Martin was black; Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.

One of those protests led to the temporary closing of the Sanford Police Department offices to the public on Monday as about a half dozen student activists blocked the entrance to the building.

Police officers took no action to remove the protesters who were part of a group of students who marched from Daytona Beach to Sanford over the weekend.

Citizens wanting to do business with the police department were directed to City Hall.

"The city of Sanford hopes the actions of the students will be as peaceful and orderly as the previous rallies and marches have been," City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. said in a statement.

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peanutgallery wrote:
Someone needs to post a recent picture of Trayvon Martin. The pictures posted by the media try to portray two distinct things: 1 Trayvon was a small defenseless kid & 2. Zimmerman is not Hispanic. Both claims are false. CNN has aired this crapola every day for a month. They have fanned the flames of racism in an unconscionable manor. Any civil disobedience rests squarely on them and the other news outlets and politicians that have shot their mouths off without facts. Including Obama.
on April 9,2012 | 07:28AM
LanaUlulani wrote:

In the Sanford Police report Zimmerman had a Keltec PF-9 Semi Automatic handgun. Trayvon Martin was UNARMED with a bag of Skittles and iced tea. Irrelevant of HOW he looks and/or his skin color, Zimmerman DEPRIVED Trayvon Martin of due process. Zimmerman was also arrested in 2005 for assaulting a police officer WITH VIOLENCE which is a FELONY. On the other hand, Trayvon Martin DID NOT. Zimmerman is the THUG. Not Trayvon Martin.

Such a THUG that Zimmerman shot an UNARMED CHILD IN HIS CHEST in a GATED community which restricts ACCESS. Shame on Zimmerman!

on April 9,2012 | 08:00AM
frontman wrote:
Why do you keep showing a picture of a 12 year old boy when he was 19????? No Grand Jury because it was self defence.
on April 9,2012 | 08:42AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Since Sharpton has collected voice experts who claim the cries for help came from the kid and not Zimmerman there may be some more investigation necessary.
on April 9,2012 | 10:09AM
Graham wrote:
Al Shapton...remember Twna Brawley and the Duke lacrosse team.
on April 9,2012 | 03:00PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Sure do, and so much other nonsense makes Sharpton nothing more than a rabble rouser. Even so, having experts with opinions contradicting Zimmerman's story is important to consider. We're after the truth, not either side's spin.
on April 9,2012 | 04:03PM
IAmSane wrote:
Agreed. What a level-minded comment. It's a rarity on this website.
on April 9,2012 | 05:32PM
jess wrote:
Self Defense... I believe that he was 17, not 19, a very tall 17 year old with not very many current pictures available. This is not a political issue, though many politicians speak on current events, especially ones with so much national attention. This was a tragic slaying of an unarmed young adult by someone who probably shouldn't have been carrying a firearm. Whether you think it's racism or a political ploy, this will probably go to Supreme Court, the Martin family have loads of public & legal support.
on April 9,2012 | 11:06AM
NITRO08 wrote:
Wait a minute one guy had a gun and the other nothing? don't sound like self defence to me.
on April 9,2012 | 07:09PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Now we get a photo of an angelic looking young kid holding a baby. Next he'll have a halo and be touched by the hand of god. Give me a break. Can we get a photo of George Zimmerman healing the sick or working with lepers? That may balance out this media bias.
on April 9,2012 | 08:46AM
kolekole wrote:
Spot onnnnn!!!
on April 9,2012 | 09:11AM
kainalu wrote:
"Stand your ground" - this incident starts and ends there. It's the law that will allow Zimmerman to walk. It's the law that has handcuffed the Sanford Police Department. Two people are alone, one shoots and kills the other then claims "self defense". Because of "stand your ground" - case closed.
on April 9,2012 | 07:42AM
LanaUlulani wrote:

Angela Corey is an amazing prosecutor. She is probably going for murder instead of manslaughter. It was murder. Just like how one of Obama's law enforcement officers who is an officer of the law 24 hours a day, 7 days per week shot a Hawaiian man in his chest thus killing him without due process of law.

Zimmerman deprived the unarmed child of the very thing he is getting (due process.)

My aloha goes out to Trayvon Martin's MOTHER especially. Her life will never be the same due to Zimmerman the thug in a GATED community which restricts access. * See Zimmerna's 2005 assault against a law enforcement officer with violence a 3rd degree felony.

on April 9,2012 | 07:48AM
LanaUlulani wrote:

Angela Corey is probably going for a murder charge.. not manslaughter which is the lesser charge. Zimmerman is a thug and shot and killed an UNARMED child without due process of law. This was in a gated community too which RESTRICTS access. Ironically Zimmerman deprived Trayvon Martin of due process of law yet now Zimmerman has due process of law.

Some people are saying that Trayvon Martin is the thug. NO. Zimmerman was arrested in 2005 for assaulting a police officer WITH violence which is a 3rd degree felony. Zimmerman is the THUG.

He didn't incapacitate the UNARMED child either. He did not aim for his arm or leg. Instead, Zimmerman shot the UNARMED child's CHEST.
on April 9,2012 | 08:05AM
Keith_Rollman wrote:
How would the "stand your ground" law have protected Martin if he had defended himself against the perceived (and very real threat) of Zimmerman with deadly force. Remember it was Martin who was going about his business, when Zimmerman left his vehicle, carrying a gun to pursue him. Who is defending themselves?
on April 9,2012 | 08:10AM
Kalli wrote:
Well Keith, you seem to always be able to find your own little niche. It must be horrible being you.
on April 9,2012 | 09:38AM
Oahuan wrote:
Wish Hawaii had a "Stand your Ground" law.
on April 9,2012 | 08:28AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
We do. It's called the "Like Beef?" law, ofetn used in conjunction with the "Make Big Body" law.
on April 9,2012 | 08:47AM
ballen0607 wrote:
Yeah....let's go back to the Middle Ages while we're at it.
on April 9,2012 | 10:10AM
atilter wrote:
why not???
on April 9,2012 | 07:35PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
The saying goes "be careful of what you wish for, you just might receive it." Do you see how aggressively people drive on Oahu. Imagine if they all had pistols and "stood their ground" by getting out of their cars with their pistols at stop lights to confront those who almost killed them by aggressive driving? Hawaii has one of the lowest murder rates because we have one of the most stringent gun control laws and we are a group of islands so it is impossible to drive across state lines to a gun nut state lime Arizona, Texas or Virginia, buy a gun and bring it illegally into Hawaii.
on April 9,2012 | 07:38PM
kolekole wrote:
Whats up with the star advertiser? Can't they use Trayvon's 17 year old pic . Seems like they are using a pic with a baby as a prop to paint him as a loving, caring, baby loving, 12 year old. Hmmm! Come on guyz,..
on April 9,2012 | 09:10AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
We need to start using a new word - "trayvonning" - to refer to looking younger in very picture that gets taken. You know, like, "shoots girl, saw your Facebook page, you been trayvonning on that camera."
on April 9,2012 | 11:35AM
Toneyuki wrote:
The case has led to protests across the nation and spurred a debate about race and the laws of self-defense. Martin was black; Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.

No, the race hustlers Sharpton and Jackson have led protests and been race baiting using this tragedy. Why did they wait 3 weeks? Also it is very strange that the "news wire" AP would describe Zimmerman in such a way. His father is white? Since when has the news described a persons race by their parents? Why didn't they say Trayvon's father is black? His mother? AP just fanning the flames of a non story.

on April 9,2012 | 12:04PM
niimi wrote:
Even as D I am actually tired of this media circus and I question the media itself for being somewhat one sided without due process. Just let it go. The nation's economy is of much more of a concern to me that Trayvon Martin. In fact, the media in general frenzied like this with that Duke LaCrosse team and it turned out the alleged victim lied about things. That ruined people's lives all over nothing. I'm really one to compliment the Honolulu Star Advertiser for having some restraint and not participating nearly as much as some of the other media outlets.
on April 9,2012 | 05:04PM
thepartyfirst wrote:
Like most issues of today, the "Media" is the culprit. NBC showed their new doctored version the other day but too late the race war flames were wiped-up by the hate mongers and even spurned on by the our great uniter president.
on April 9,2012 | 05:14PM
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