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Zimmerman in Custody, Charged with Second Degree Murder
Aired April 11, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Thank you, Nancy.
Now, Nancy has agreed graciously to remain here with us and join us on our show. We`re going to continue to cover the breaking news.
Tonight, George Zimmerman has been charged with the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and has turned himself in. As I said, Nancy has graciously agreed and always been very supportive of our show and her executive producer, Dean, has been kind in handing her to us to help discuss this issue further.
Here`s the brand new mugshot. He was just booked. Zimmerman has been charged with 2nd degree murder. The prosecutor announced it today.
There he is. Take a look at this tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA COREY, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, TRAYVON MARTIN CASE: 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`s not a B, not a W, not an H, it`s V for victim.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Nancy, thank you for staying on this program. We were having a little technical issues. Can you hear me now OK?
NANCY GRACE, HOST, HLN`S "NANCY GRACE": I can now, Dr. Drew. Thank you for having me.
PINSKY: Right. Fantastic. I`ll just say it again, thank you for graciously joining us and again thank Dean for handing us off to you after the great coverage you just gave.
This is a case obviously that has captivated the country. Zimmerman is in custody. Do you think justice is going to be served? And let me ask a sort of corollary to that, too -- do you think people are going to feel as though justice has been served thus far by finally having this guy arrested?
GRACE: Well, Dr. Drew, I think that there will always be a bad taste in everybody`s mouth that it took 44 days and the naming of a special prosecutor, Angela Corey, in order to get a charge in this case.
Listen, don`t get me wrong, I`m not saying he`s guilty or he`s innocent, because I`ve really got to hear those forensics. I`ve heard the 911 tapes. They`re damning for Zimmerman. They`re awful. But I got to see the forensics.
I think that Angela Corey, by providing this information, the highest charge she could, without calling in a grand jury, goes a long way to seeking justice. This is a decision for a jury. But I see an arrest, a booking and a fingerprinting of George Zimmerman as step one on the road to justice.
PINSKY: Do you think they overcharged him at all? Is this going to be another Casey Anthony situation where people are going to be second- guessing things later? Or is this the right charge?
GRACE: Overcharged? Oh, no. No, Dr. Drew. In fact, I have long said, under a clear reading of the law, intent to commit a crime can be formed in the twinkling of an eye, just like that -- in the time it takes you to pull a gun out of your waistband and pull that trigger, that`s time enough under the law for intent to be formed.
I thought this should have been charged with murder one.
PINSKY: Wow, well, that`s interesting. So, that premeditation would have been in that moment of going, I`m going to get this kid for him punching me in the nose or whatever might have gone on between the two of them.
I have another question for you. I guess in Florida, they have another procedure I believe is called the Arthur Hearing where the next couple of days he will be before a judge and have the opportunity to plead "Stand Your Ground" and they could let him go then. It could happen almost immediately, isn`t that right?
GRACE: Dr. Drew, this is how it`s going to go down: in the next 24 hours, we expect there to be a bond hearing. Under our Constitution, you typically have 22 to 72 hours before you -- you can`t just sit in jail and rot. You`ve got to go to court, somebody has got to tell you what you`re charged with. If you can`t afford a lawyer, you get your lawyer, you give your plea.
His defense attorney, his new defense attorney, O`Mara, has already taken to the air waves and said he will plead not guilty.
All right. Tomorrow, we expect a bond hearing. Typically set around $15,000 in a case of this nature. It could be higher, it could be lower. We`ll see, it`s according to the judge.
Then they will hear exactly what you said, an Arthur Hearing in Florida, where the defense now has a burden, an affirmative defense to show "Stand Your Ground" was the basis for Zimmerman`s action. At the time, the judge can go, yes, you fall under "Stand Your Ground". You`re out of here.
Kicker, either side is disgruntled with the ruling can then appeal that decision.
GRACE: If it goes forward, I predict that it will, then there`ll be a discovery process and jury trial. There will be a change of venue in this case.
PINSKY: Let me ask you something I`ve been meaning to ask you, Nancy. And, you know, the way this went down with this guy being Zimmerman that is, being sort of chummy with the cops, and we saw how he was handled rather gingerly, his dad is a magistrate of some type, I think his grandfather was a police commander, or something.
Do you think there`s cronyism going on here?
GRACE: Blah, blah, blah.
PINSKY: But do you think that`s why there was that 44 days, anybody else, black or white, would have just been charged that night?
GRACE: You know what? I`m always suspicious when it takes a long time for charges to come down. There have been various issues out of that same police department in the past. But in this particular case, I don`t see there`s any other way to look at it.
You know when you are asked to leave a case, you recuse yourself off the case like the state attorney did in this case, and they bring in Angela Corey, you got a problem, all right? Unless there`s next of kin, there`s a blood relation and you recused for that reason.
When there is the appearance of impropriety, there is a problem. In this case, the state`s attorney stepped aside and they brought in another prosecutor, Angela Corey. And I think that`s the only way we would have ever got a charge in this case.
PINSKY: I think it`s interesting. They`re trying to be more Catholic than the Pope, as we say.
But, Nancy, I have another question. And when Angela Corey flashed that V for victim sign, I had a lot of intense feelings watching that. I actually thought of you because I know you`ve been the family of a victim yourself.
What does this mean to other victims and to people who have been victimized and family members of victims? Isn`t this a deeply emotional issue we`re looking at here? Aside from the other race issues and so much else stirred by this case -- as somebody who`s been close to these kinds of experiences, didn`t this have special meaning for you today?
GRACE: As a matter of fact, it did, Dr. Drew. When she said that, I thought o of -- I immediately flashed back to going to the courthouse for the trial of the man that murdered my fiance, just before our wedding, many, many years ago. And so much of it is a blurry haze to me, Dr. Drew. That`s more your field than mine.
But I remember bits and pieces of it. I remember seeing Keith`s bloody clothes on the counsel table. I remember the sound of my own feet walking out of that big courtroom.
And when she said V for victim, I remember probably 10,000 times I wrote up notes on a case that I was looking at and I`d always write shorthand, V for victim. Yes, it did hit home with me.
PINSKY: Wow. Yes.
You`re giving me chills. I mean, I knew this was -- I know these cases are deeply meaningful to you. I remember when Casey Anthony, the defense was celebrating, that was meaningful for you because you as a prosecutor had to walk by with your suitcase alone and go back to the next case while the high paid defense attorney celebrated and now, here, we have a victim story.
And I want to say thank you for being so open and honest about that experience because I think other victims out there can really relate. It`s not an uncommon experience unfortunately.
GRACE: Dr. Drew, I don`t want the wrong thing. I don`t want the wrong outcome in this trial. I want to know the truth.
If Zimmerman is telling the truth, so be it. I want to hear it. I don`t care who has a protest.
But I`m telling you, I listened to those 911 tapes over and over, and it sounds to me like he pursued an unarmed 17-year-old. That`s what it sounds like to me.
PINSKY: Me, too. Me, too. And unfortunately, to a lot of other people, too. That`s why there`s been so much outrage.
I -- when I thought of you today, I also, of course, was thinking of Trayvon`s parents and now that there has been arrest, I bet they`re no longer out campaigning, now, they`re left with their feelings of grief. Now, the grieving begins.
GRACE: No, it`s not over, Dr. Drew. The grieving is --
GRACE: -- not going to start now? No, no, no.
PINSKY: No? When does it start? Tell me.
GRACE: They`ve got a trial. They`ve got this hearing. They`ve got a bond hearing. They`ve got the trial to go through, where they`re going to sit there in that courtroom and they`re going to see pictures of their son shot and dead.
Now, maybe they`re stronger than me, but when my fiance was murdered, I never saw his body, I never saw that. But they`re going to see these photos. I predict they`ll stay in the courtroom and see them at one point or the other, and he will no longer be the young man they knew in life. They will forever remember what they see in the courtroom. That is what they will remember. They`ve got a long road to hoe in front of them, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: And, you know, Nancy, when I saw you interviewing Zimmerman`s friend, what`s his name, Taaffe, I forgot his name now, you know, those sort of feelings and thoughts about the victims and victims` families go through, it puts such as a bold relief for all of us. It`s why it`s hard to listen to people Zimmerman, even though justice may when it served let him go, it could happen. It`s still hard to hear people defending him, it really is.
GRACE: Well, you know what? I think that it`s harmful, especially to the victim`s family, because they hear all this. And they`ve heard attacks on Trayvon Martin.
GRACE: And he`s dead for Pete`s sake. He`s 17 years old. I know that`s hurtful. It`s insult to injury. But that`s the least of their worries, what naysayers say about Trayvon Martin.
What they should be focused on now is on this day, an arrest went down and somebody did something about it.
Nancy, I want to thank you for joining us and thank you for being so open and thank Dean for lending you to us this evening. I appreciate it.
GRACE: Thank you, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: And we`re going to unleash our own lawyers next, to coin your phrase. Thank you for giving us that as well.
Actually, I have Casey Anthony`s prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, here to weigh in. That is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: If there had not been press, there would not have been a second look. And I think that that credit should go to the nameless, faceless people, black, white, Latino and Asian, 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY: Today, we filed an information charging George Zimmerman with murder in the second degree. A capias has been issued for his arrest. I will confirm that Mr. Zimmerman is indeed in custody.
REPORTER: Will you tell us where?
COREY: I will not tell you where. That`s for his safety as well as everyone else`s safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Although she didn`t tell us where, we have footage of him being booked tonight. He`s in prison or jail.
Breaking news tonight, George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, some say murdered him, he has been charged with second degree murder and he`s turned himself in. There`s pictures of him coming out of the -- there he is with that coat over his head. That`s him there.
Joining me now is Attorney Mark Geragos. I also have Judge Karen Mills-Francis. Also, Attorney Mark NeJame, and Casey Anthony`s prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, who`s the author of "Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony."
Now, Jeff, you practice in Florida. And many of us have been shaking these last couple of days an going, what is going on in Florida?
Please explain, before we get in to what the attorney`s behavior has been like, which has been, again, sort of stunning. In the simple way possible, help my audience understands how the "Stand Your Ground" law applies and how it works in this case. Because I`m not sure who was standing their ground in this particular case.
JEFF ASHTON, PROSECUTOR, CASEY ANTHONY CASE: Well, there`s two significant aspects to "Stand Your Ground". One is the early stand your ground provision, which allows somebody to stand their ground and use force opposed to the requirement to retreat, which was the old law.
But the more important aspect for this case is the immunity provision. That basically says that if a defendant can prove by a preponderance of the evidence to the court that he acted in self-defense, then he is immune from prosecution, so the case could not go forward.
So, it really sort of puts another step in the process. Even if a defendant is not found to get the immunity, in other words, can`t prove it by a preponderance of the evidence, he can still come in front of the jury in the trial and claim self-defense, at which point the state has to disprove it beyond a reasonable doubt. So, it`s a multistep process.
PINSKY: So, Mark, it seems almost an impossible task to get that, right?
MARK GERAGOS, ATTORNEY: Jeff raises the point that I -- jumps out at me when you look at this statute. Everybody is talking about trial, trial, trial. We`re not even close to that. Because this idea first of getting over the hurdle of the immunity, the judge could rule at some point --
PINSKY: Like tomorrow.
GERAGOS: Well -- I assume, Jeff, correct me if I am wrong, that it`s in connection with some kind of probable cause proceeding that they do this, that the judge then can make a decision. If the judge grants the immunity -- case over, done.
PINSKY: So, he has to -- let me make sure if we get this right. If he`s able to convince a judge that he was defending himself, he believed he was in harm`s way --
GERAGOS: And -- and he`s using the force necessary, you can`t use excessive. Correct me if I am wrong, Jeff, he has to use the correct amount of force.
GERAGOS: And you don`t have to prove that as a defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, according to the statute, just a preponderance -- which is basically the scales of justice, just a little bit more, a judge could rule you`re immune and that`s it, case over.
PINSKY: So, what you`re saying is you`re going to get your bar in Florida and spend a lot of time down there because things are much easier for a defense attorney down there, no?
GERAGOS: I don`t know about that. But I`ll tell you right now, it sure makes L.A. look like a tame place.
PINSKY: And that`s right, Jeff, that what he`s saying the correct interpretation?
PINSKY: Yes, I want to talk more --
ASHTON: The hearing --
PINSKY: Go ahead.
ASHTON: The hearing that would take place, it wouldn`t take place real quickly. The Arthur Hearing I heard you speaking about before is really a hearing about bond and where proof of evidence of presumption great, whether he could be held in no bond.
This self-defense hearing would be much later in the process after the discovery has been completed, so much later.
PINSKY: OK. Got it.
Judge Karen, second degree murder, it`s being called. Do you think he could get life?
JUDGE KAREN MILLS-FRANCIS, FORMER JUDGE, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: I think it`s highly improbable he`ll get life. But, Dr. Drew, I was listening to you talk about this process. He`s going to go before a judge tomorrow on a bond hearing and he`s charged with a non-bondable offense. So, he`s going to in effect have no bond.
And then he has to have this Arthur Hearing somewhere down the road, a few weeks. Well, it`s Seminole County, so it may not be so far down the road. In Dade County, it could be six months down the road. But he`s going to have this Arthur Hearing.
The good thing about the defense for the Arthur Hearing is the state has to show their hand. The defense gets to see what is this evidence. And then the judge says, is it clear and convincing evidence that he probably committed the crime? If the judge says, yes, then guess what? It`s no bond.
He doesn`t get out of jail on an Arthur Hearing. If the judge says, well, it`s not clear and strong evidence he committed the crime, I`m going to impose a bond.
PINSKY: Mark NeJame, I got about 20 seconds here. I`m hearing that Mark O`Mara, the new attorney for Zimmerman is highly thought of, is that accurate?
MARK NEJAME, HLN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, he`s board certified in both domestic and criminal. I`ve worked with him. I`ve been against him. I`ve worked cases with him, he`s top of the food chain locally. It`s exactly what Mr. Zimmerman needs, just like Trayvon`s got an excellent team representing in form of prosecutors.
These are two professional groups who are going to handle this case properly and I think Mark O`Mara is exactly what needs to be done.
PINSKY: There he is. We`re looking at him there.
Got to take a break. Coming up next, more on this breaking Trayvon news. Plus, taking your live calls on the topic at 1-855-DRDREW5.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK O`MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S ATTORNEY: He`s concerned about getting a fair trial and a fair presentation. There`s obviously been a lot of information flowing. I think a lot of it`s been both premature and maybe inappropriate. I don`t think a case like this should be tried here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And that is George Zimmerman`s new attorney, Mr. O`Mara, I believe his name is. He`s speaking to the media after his client surrendered to authorities.
A reminder here, I`m taking your calls just after this segment live tonight. We are live tonight. We`re going to take calls on the topic. You can call us right now at 855-DRDREW5. I want to hear from you.
And many of you have been calling after my last shout-out with the phone number and have a lot of legal questions. So, as a result, I`m going to keep one of my guests here, Mark Geragos, to answer those questions. I`m a physician, I cannot have a legal answer. But we`ll keep somebody who has them.
Jeff Ashton, my question is: how are they going to find an unbiased jury? They`ve got to stay in Florida. Everyone has an opinion in this case. This even to me even seems -- well, it`s like many we have had in southern California, but it`s really tough to find an unbiased jury, I imagine.
ASHTON: Well, it`s going to be difficult. One advantage that these prosecutors will have is that Mr. O`Mara is I think much more professional in his attitude toward the case than Mr. Baez was in my case. You`re not going to see Mr. O`Mara out on every TV show giving his opinion.
So, I think that`s going to help a lot. I think people will come away with a much higher opinion of Florida lawyers.
PINSKY: Well, Jeff, funny you should bring that up, because you`re throwing a nice barb at Mr. Baez. It`s like really, what made me shake my head and want -- I`m a physician, I`m board certified, we have certain standards of behavior, and we`re all shaking our heads looking at Florida after the last set of attorneys that recused themselves went on TV, gave specific diagnosis they came to understand as a result of their relationship with their client, a lot of history, a lot of assessment.
How would --
GERAGOS: I want to ask Jeff -- Jeff, I, you know, I kind of lost my mind yesterday after watching that. I`ve never seen anything -- such a spectacular train wreck in my life. I mean, first of all, this idea that they`re withdrawing. There`s no case to withdraw from as of yet, and then they`re doing, as Drew say, diagnosing specific disorders, and then they said, he`s in the state, he`s out of the state and we haven`t talked to him and we don`t have a retainer agreement.
I`ve never seen anything like that.
ASHTON: It was bizarre. It was very bizarre.
I think -- I think that exemplifies -- that exemplifies the difficulty in lawyers who become spokespersons instead of being lawyers. So it kind of blurs that relationship. So, yes, that was very odd.
PINSKY: Listen --
GERAGOS: Odd, that`s one way to put it.
PINSKY: That`s a kind word, Jeff.
Karen, you`re shaking your head.
ASHTON: Well, I`m trying to be kind.
MILLS-FRANCIS: You know, one thing I think I haven`t heard a lot of today since we heard the charges, is that second degree murder is a murder that evidences a depraved mind, and the actual jury instruction says that you have to find that the killing was done out of ill will, hatred or spite. That means the prosecution some evidence of one of those three things. And I wasn`t surprised that it was a second-degree murder charge today, because I said on this show last week -- I said on this show last week.
PINSKY: I have to go -- so, finish it up, five seconds.
MILLS-FRANCIS: That it`s going to come down to who`s crying for help on that tape. The state had to find out --
PINSKY: Got to go. Your calls.
Thank you, Karen and Jeff.
Be back after this.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Welcome back. I`m taking your questions and comments about the arrest of George Zimmerman charged with second-degree murder in the Trayvon Martin killing. Noel, you`re in Nova Scotia. Go ahead there, Noel.
NOEL, NOVA SCOTIA: (INAUDIBLE) been charged, but I`m concerned that they`re charging him with second-degree murder knowing how difficult it`s going be to prove malicious intent, especially if he`s going to claim self- defense. Would they not have a better chance of actually getting a conviction if they charged him with voluntary manslaughter?
PINSKY: I thought the same thing. I kept a legal expert here with me tonight to answer this kind of question. Do you hear what she says?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I did. And I`ll tell you, you would think that when you just hear it, but in actuality, when you take a look at the jury instructions, in some ways, that second-degree murder instruction when given to the jury is easier for the prosecution. It`s counter intuitive, but it`s actually easier for the prosecution to do.
Plus, understand this, when they charge with second-degree, that also puts a real incentive on the defendant to maybe take a plea bargain, because, then, you`re facing life. And if they`ll strike the allegation of the gun use which carries life also, you might take a manslaughter because you`ll get a fixed term and you`ll at least know what you`re getting.
PINSKY: If they plea bargain, is that going to be national news? Are we going to hear about --
GERAGOS: Absolutely. You`d hear about it if not on New Year`s. But, you`ll remember the Conrad Murray case, I used to say that. I didn`t understand why the prosecution there didn`t charge second-degree murder, because I think they would have gotten an involuntary manslaughter plea out of Dr. Murray.
PINSKY: Oh, interesting. Now, the comment that Karen, Judge Karen was making before the break that you have to show a depraved mind. Would you have -- if you were defending him or you were prosecuting him, would you have to show that in the moment he pulled his gun for that second before he pulled the trigger, that was when he had a depraved mind or would you have to prove that he generally had a depraved --
GERAGOS: No, no. Just in that second. But I will tell you, my guess, and this is a complete guess. I don`t know the evidence, but I`ll speculate, which we love to do on cable. My guess is that they believe they`ve got either on the 911 tape or some other statement that they think is going to show that there was a depraved mind.
PINSKY: Hatred. Hatred is what we`re talking about.
GERAGOS: If he`s saying punks --
GERAGOS: If he`s saying any other kind of word that they think they`re going to be able to make an argument and say, you can infer from his words what his mental state was, that will do it.
PINSKY: Yes. OK. Let`s go now to Facebook. This is Laci who says, "Now, he can feel free to explain his self defense to a jury of his peers. This is the right thing to do." I think everyone agrees with --
GERAGOS: Except that`s not true, because he may be able -- when we talked about the immunity hearing --
GERAGOS: That would not be to a jury, to a judge, and that`s before you ever get to a jury. So, yes, he may have to explain it, but it`s to a judge.
PINSKY: Let me ask you something. I was thinking about this new attorney that he has. When you`ve defended somebody that`s unpopular, have you ever felt scared? You`ve been like you`re in harm`s way yourself?
GERAGOS: Not for me, but for my family. I mean, I actually -- I`ve had the instance, you may remember, when I was representing one particular hated defendant, we came back, and there was -- I`d come back from a day trip with the kids and somebody placed a bomb in a port-a-potty that was out front of the house. That`s what`s you really worry about.
PINSKY: Oh! All right. Dee is on the line from Texas. What do you got there, Dee, for us?
DEE, TEXAS: Hi.
DEE: Hello, gentlemen and ladies.
DEE: Yes, I`m here.
PINSKY: You`re on the air. Go right ahead.
DEE: OK. My question is, for compound question and statement.
PINSKY: All right.
DEE: I`ve never seen a special prosecutor hold a news conference as such. I remember Archibald Cox, Ken Starr (ph), Walsh, I have never seen that happen before. It seems like she was holding a PTA meeting.
PINSKY: Let me stop you there. Is it a sign of our times? Is it something new?
GERAGOS: You mentioned Ken Starr. I defended Susan McDougal (ph) down in Arkansas back in the Whitewater investigation, and when they indicted her for obstruction of justice, they had a press conference. They said some fairly outrageous things actually by comparison.
PINSKY: So, go ahead, Dee. Keep going.
DEE: So, you know, first, I thought that was little light, and when they charged him, I felt like that they left themselves room for negotiations.
PINSKY: In terms of plea bargaining, you mean?
PINSKY: I think that`s probably right.
DEE: I feel that way and I felt like the matter should have just been pulled out -- it`s hard to get things out of Florida, we know that.
PINSKY: We`re learning that, Dee.
DEE: Because I felt like the matter should have just gone right up to the feds, because it appears that when it`s in Florida, it never leaves.
DEE: We know that with an election.
PINSKY: Dee, do a favor, Dee. Dee, call back every night, will you? I love that laugh.
DEE: You all have a wonderful evening.
PINSKY: Thank you, Dee.
GERAGOS: Bye, Dee.
PINSKY: We got Nancy on Facebook who writes, "Zimmerman should have been in jail a long time ago." Again, 44 days and people are going to talk about those 44 days, I bet, for a long time. We got Albert in New York. Hello there, Albert. What do you got?
ALBERT, NEW YORK: How you doing? I have a question and a statement.
PINSKY: All right.
ALBERT: In New York, we don`t have bail hearings for murder. I was wondering why they`re doing that in Florida.
PINSKY: All right. Hold on with that. Hold on. Mark Geragos, will answer that question.
GERAGOS: Well, my understanding there is that you do get a hearing. And, there is a presumption and then you have to rebut it basically is what it is. That`s the legal terms for it, but you do get a hearing, and that a judge will decide.
PINSKY: Albert, go ahead.
ALBERT: I also believe this is something like a publicity stunt. I don`t believe this guy is going to be prosecuted. I just think they just want to show that they`re taking a step ahead and basically going to let the whole thing --
PINSKY: Albert, why do you say that?
ALBERT: Because it`s been several in the recent years that almost the same thing has occurred and nothing has happened at all.
GERAGOS: You know, this is -- Drew and I discussed this the other night. One of the things that for somebody who`s been close to the criminal justice system like I have, a lot of people in the minority community because they get disproportionately prosecuted, in 30 years, generally, the only people who shoot and kill somebody and don`t get arrested are cops.
Usually, it`s arrest first, ask questions later. That`s why people are so cynical, and I think that`s why this case resonates.
PINSKY: And that`s why Albert is saying he --
GERAGOS: That`s why Albert thinks that it may be a setup. And I`ll tell, if, in fact, some judge grants immunity, there`s going to be people who think all along it was a setup.
PINSKY: Wow! OK. Let`s go back to Facebook. Shelley says, "My reaction is a question. Was he arrested due to the public demand it? Which is sort of the same thing here, which is, you know --
GERAGOS: And let me tell you, Shelley`s question is great, because if this gets past and immunity hearing, a judge says no, there`s no immunity and you`re in front of the jury and you`re picking that jury, that`s where this whole case. We talked the other night about how racial bias may be conscious or unconscious.
GERAGOS: It`s the same way people view this case. That`s how people are going to select the jury. That`s how the defense lawyer is going to view who we want on this case. This case, if it gets to a jury, is going to be over after jury selection.
PINSKY: So, whoever the jury is is going to determine the outcome.
GERAGOS: They`re going to -- not only determine the outcome, but remember, I don`t care who your juror is and how great of a lawyer you are. You never going to turn somebody`s life experiences around in a six-week trial or something like that. Somebody comes to that case. They`ve got their own baggage. They`re going to decide that case and view the facts through the prism of what they know.
PINSKY: Isn`t, though, one of the goals of the justice system as our country has established it is the will of the people? I mean, to some extent. I mean, -- but to say that the public demanded this is sort of saying justice is being served, right?
GERAGOS: To some degree, but you never want a lynch mob mentality, and that`s kind of why you`re supposed to have the prosecutors be the gatekeepers. So, you hope that the prosecutor is the gatekeeper.
PINSKY: Got it. Claudia in Texas. Go ahead, Claudia.
CLAUDIA, TEXAS: Hi, Dr. Drew. I just have a quick question. I was wondering if it`s possible to compare the mug shot of George Zimmerman with the most recent picture shown in the media of him before the killing of Trayvon Martin.
PINSKY: Let`s do this. Can you, guys, put both behind me here? Can you put both pictures up? Is that possible? You can just put the most recent mug shot up, is that right? Put it up there.
CLAUDIA: The mug shot picture they showed today --
PINSKY: There it is. There it is. Now, Claudia, what do you want to know about this particular shot?
CLAUDIA: I was just wondering, is it possible to tell in his nose if just 44 days prior, was he pummeled so hard that he felt he needed to take this person`s life, that was his head being --
PINSKY: There`s a little something there, but I don`t know that I would call that a major nasal fracture by any means even if he had a sort of a straightening procedure -- a month later. But, you know, it`s hard to say, my dear. It`s an interesting question. I don`t think, you know, Mark hired me to say something in court --
GERAGOS: Don`t look at me for nasal fractures.
PINSKY: I don`t think I could really say much of anything. It certainly wasn`t a major fracture. That`s for sure. So, I`m telling (ph) that for sure.
Mary on Facebook says, "I`m afraid it might have been overcharged and he might get off like Casey Anthony, unless, they have some evidence. Otherwise, that we don`t know about." That was my question, too, but you guys were all saying no.
GERAGOS: No. I don`t think -- I don`t have that same feeling. Remember, Casey Anthony was a capital case, totally overcharged, apologies to Jeff who was just your previous guest. But in this case, you`re going to have lesser included offenses. You`re going to have immunities.
You`re going to have all kinds of nuances in terms of whether it was self-defense, who was the aggressor, how much force was used, what did you think at the moment that you pulled this gun, was there a struggle? I mean, this is a very -- when people say the facts are pretty clear, the facts are anything but clear in this case.
PINSKY: As opposed to Casey when it was a little clearer.
GERAGOS: I`m not going there.
PINSKY: OK. Well, speaking of not going there. Apparently, Jose Baez just texted, I`m literally -- am I right this actually happened? He texted one of my producers just now and he said to Jeff Ashton, "stop crying, the Casey Anthony case is over." I don`t know if he meant for us to share that on television, but OK. He called and asked. So, there you go.
GERAGOS: I will check and see if I`ve got a text from Jose. I do!
PINSKY: Well, there you are. What does it say? He actually called Mark Geragos. But Jose, they (ph) said, you`re welcome back with Casey. Bring her on in. We`ll have --
GERAGOS: He says, "Tell Ashton to stop crying. The case is over. You can say I said it."
PINSKY: There you go.
Thanks to all our callers. We had planning to do an entire show today with your questions (INAUDIBLE) but the breaking news force to change in our plans, but I think it`s been a good discussion, nonetheless. We will get to that entire hour of calls coming up. Again, that will be anything you guys want to talk about.
Next up, the Trayvon Martin shooting investigation has inflamed racial tensions in American. We`ve been talking about that for weeks. Are certain groups exploiting it? Stick around. We`ll talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN`S FATHER: As a parent that lose a child, it is very tough to maintain your sanity, but I told myself the second day that Trayvon was dead, that I`ll find it within myself to do right by him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA COREY, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, TRAYVON MARTIN CASE: If stand your ground becomes an issue, we fight it, if we believe it`s the right thing to do. So, if it becomes an issue in this case, we will fight that affirmative defense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Breaking news tonight, George Zimmerman charged with second- degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin. I`m joined with Jane Velez- Mitchell, HLN host of "Jane Velez-Mitchell." I also have Lisa Bloom, attorney and author of "Think." And, also, I`ve got Boyce Watkins at Syracuse university, a liberal commentator.
Boyce, my first question is to you. Do you feel that justice has been served finally?
PROF. BOYCE WATKINS, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: I think that we`ve begun to serve justice. I think that this was an important step in the right direction. I think that it says that there are people who are concerned with making sure the right thing gets done. It`s a little unfortunate that they had to go outside of the system to sort of make these things happen. They`re still within the broader system but not within the Sanford system.
I think that there`s still a lot of information forthcoming. I think that in about three months, we`ll know for sure whether or not justice was actually served or whether or not some of this is a deflection, because I think there are many deeper issues to go into in this case.
PINSKY: Well, there are, indeed. Lisa, you`re shaking your head yes, lots of issues.
LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: You know, here`s my take. The criminal justice system is a cleanup crew with comes in after there`s been a disaster and tries to do something to make it right. But nothing is going to bring back Trayvon Martin. And the real underlying issues have to be addressed to prevent future killings like this. I`m not using the word "murder" because we don`t know yet if it`s murder, right?
PINSKY: I think we can use word "murder." I mean, that`s --
BLOOM: No, we can`t because that`s for a jury to decide. So, we know it`s a killing. You can use that word or homicide.
PINSKY: What are the issues? You`re talking about race. You`re talking about race issues?
BLOOM: We have a way too many guns in this country. We talked about that. We have far more than any other first world country. We have racial fear in this country so that people like George Zimmerman, apparently, can see an African-American in the community where he`s not "supposed to be" quote-unquote and get afraid and get nervous, and perhaps, take out a gun and kill him.
That may be what happened here. I mean, that`s really the problem is fear and too many guns and the sense of vigilantism and the stand your ground laws. If those underline conditions don`t change, we`re going to continue to see more cases like this.
PINSKY: And Jane, you`re shaking your head. I mean, that`s why it`s important to have this conversation.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN`S "JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL": Absolutely. You know, there`s a 12-step thing. You`re only (INAUDIBLE) secrets, and I think there are a lot of cultural secrets that have been revealed throughout this entire drama.
PINSKY: Well said.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it`s a really healthy dialogue. Let`s keep it healthy. If it becomes hateful, then I think it takes a turn for the worse. It`s all about intention. What is our intention in examining this terrible tragedy? Is it to heal? Is it to heal racial differences? Is it to have a dialect where we have a better understanding of each other? If so, that`s great.
But if it`s something that encourages hate, then, it is not a positive. The most important thing, I think everybody would agree, is that Trayvon Martin did not die in vain if we can learn from this crisis to avoid it again in the future. If we can get the stand your ground law which exists in many states repealed.
If we can do something about our gun culture and our wild west mentality, that I think then would say that Trayvon Martin has not died in vain.
PINSKY: OK. So, we`re trying to have a healthy conversation. I`m trying to keep this question alive that moves us forward. Boyce, my question though to you is, even in having this conversation, I get a lot of feedback in social media on what not that media is creating a frenzy and that African-American leaders are taking advantage and exploiting this. What do you say to people that respond that way to this conversation?
WATKINS: Well, I will say that racism is really something that`s wired into the fabric of our very society. So, there`s almost nothing that a civil rights leader can say that won`t lead to some portion of the population defining that person to be a trouble maker. Dr. King went through the same thing when he fought for things that many of us agree that he should have been fighting for.
There was a recent poll in which they said that 30 percent of Americans believe that Zimmerman should not have been charged with anything. And I couldn`t understand that, because it`s clear that he should have been charged. And I think that where the broader issue here is, is number one, we have to remember, Trayvon Martin is one person.
George Zimmerman is one person. They are both symbols of broader issues, the present industrial complex, all the Black men that are in prison right now for incidents that were clearly self-defense, the fact that the police didn`t investigate thoroughly because the life of a Black male is worth almost nothing in America.
There are so many Black kids that have died since Trayvon. So, I think, at the end of the day, just talking about it and feeling a little bit better isn`t going to solve the problem. We got to dig deeper into the system that creates this sorts of situations in the first place.
BLOOM: I agree with that. We do have a culture of mass incarceration that disproportionately harms African-Americans. And while both of these men are symbols, this is a criminal justice case. And now, we have to have fairness for George Zimmerman. He has to be presumed innocent.
We have to hear all of the evidence and not just what we here in the media, not just bits and pieces of what people, lawyers, and friends are saying, not being cross examined by a skilled defense attorney. I think we really have to hear this thing out --
PINSKY: Why can`t we have opinions? First, the media --
BLOOM: Well, we can have opinions, but a man`s liberty is on the line.
PINSKY: No, it isn`t. We`re not (ph) going to affect his liberty, are we, if we --
BLOOM: Oh, you don`t think the media affects these cases? I think it does.
BLOOM: No. We can talk about them, but we can`t reach conclusions before the jury does. We can`t call the man guilty in the media.
PINSKY: I`m not saying he`s guilty, but it just looks like something bad happened --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Are you going to be able to prove a depraved mind? I don`t know how they`re going to be able to prove that, frankly, because there is this gap. And, there`s nothing that we`ve heard necessarily up until this point that can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had a depraved mind.
And that gap is such a murky, murky piece of territory those couple of minutes where nobody knows exactly what happened. People were seeing it through their windows. How far away on a rainy night --
PINSKY: Got to take a break. Sorry, Jane, we got to interrupt --
BLOOM: The prosecutor has that more information.
PINSKY: We`re going to have more this conversation going about George Zimmerman and a second-degree murder charge after this. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S MOTHER: I just want to speak from my heart to your heart because a heart has no color. It`s not black, it`s not white, it`s red. And I want to say thank you from my heart to your heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: She seems like a lovely lady, and that poor woman has got to get -- once all this settles down, grief is going to be the name of the game for that family. George Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. It has been an emotional evening for his family and others. Jane, did anyone win tonight?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think it`s too early to tell. I think it was really wonderful that people in America essentially said they were not satisfied with a local cop saying, nothing to see here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nothing to see here. Go on your way and people took to the streets and they marched and they said, no, there is something to see here. So, we`re not at the end of this what I call Shakespearean tragedy, act one and not to in any way make light of it, but just to give it a structure, act one was the tragedy itself, the killing.
This is act two, and now, act three is going to be the trial itself and how that plays out. But I do think that this speaks wonders to what Americans can accomplish and the fact that we have the freedom in this country when we don`t like something to gather peacefully and say, uh-huh, that`s not going to cut it.
PINSKY: Boyce, are you encouraged by this? I kind of feel like this is still the working through of our history as a country, and we`re doing it, so far, I think in a productive way. Do you disagree?
WATKINS: I think that we can be productive. I think that we can give our country a lot of credit for the progress that we`ve made. But I think we also have to be realistic about the progress that we have not made.
We are not a post-racial society. If you look at any major event that`s involved race over the last 15 years, the O.J. trial, Henry Louis Gates (ph), this case, and you do polls among Whites and Blacks, you always find a very different set of realities between the two groups.
So, I think what this case really does is it gives us an opportunity to educate and to communicate, and hopefully, eventually, legislate our way past some of the damage that`s been done in the past when it comes to our really sick racial history.
So, let`s see how it works out. But I want -- I want fairness for George Zimmerman. Let`s make that clear, but we have bigger fish to fry beyond that.
PINSKY: Yes. We all do. The sick racial history is an interesting point here. Lisa, I`ve got about a minute. I`m going to give you the last comment here. And that is, I -- when I listened to some of the non- American commentators, like I`m fascinated, peers (ph) interviewing people from this tragedy, because this is a deep thing in our soul.
And the Europeans look at it, they don`t quite get it. They`re not quite affected the same way we are as Americans.
BLOOM: Boyce is right. We`ve had a long and troubled history with racial hostility in this country. And it is clearly not over. When you look at the rates of incarceration of African-American men, for example, the fact that the majority of our African-American boys drop out of high school, the majority, and we never talk about that.
I mean, there are some serious issues in this country, and one of the biggest ones is the relationship between the African-American community and the police. The fact that the police -- were so quick to dismiss this because it was an African-American victim and the perpetrator said it was self-defense and the police essentially said, well, OK. We don`t need to hear anything anymore. That`s appalling.
PINSKY: I`ve got like 20 seconds. You want to ring in, Jane?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just hope this case doesn`t harden any divides. I hope it heals and brings people together. That`s the key.
PINSKY: That is the key here, and that`s why I -- first of all, I think we should all express ourselves. We should all continue this conversation. I think when we point fingers at other people and say they`re exploiting this, I think they`re doing this conversation a great disservice. I think Boyce is absolutely right. We`ve had a troubled history, and this is part of the working through process.
Thank you, Lisa. Thank you, Jane. Thank you, Boyce. HLN, of course, Jane Velez-Mitchell, you can see her here. I want to thank you all for watching. I`ll see you next time.