Would Civil Rights Charges Against Zimmerman Be Constitutional?


Now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted of murder charges resulting from his shooting of Trayvon Martin, the race baiters who have turned this case into a political piñata are demanding federal civil rights charges.

“It goes to the Justice Department,” Al Sharpton said. “Clearly there are grounds for civil rights charges here. The mother and father of Trayvon Martin and I, with their lawyers, met with the U.S. attorney in Florida the day I went down there to organize the first national rally there. And we always said there would be a plan B, but there needed to be a plan A.”

The NAACP is also asking President Obama to pursue federal charges against Zimmerman.

But does the government get a “plan B” after a jury has acquitted?

The 5th amendment seems clear on the matter: “No person shall…be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”

That protection, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, was intended to protect against these very sort of shenanigans. The framers wanted to protect citizens from prosecutorial harassment in the form of one charge filed after another for the same offense. If not for the 5th amendment, those accused not guilty of their crimes could still be tied up in court endlessly even after acquittal by the government trying to apply different charges to the same offense.

There is the “dual sovreignty” doctrine which states that “an act denounced as a crime by both national and state sovereignties is an offense against the peace and dignity of both and may be punished by each,” but that’s an invention of the courts, not something to be found in the constitution.

Our system provides the government with one stab at a jury trial. In Florida, the state couldn’t disprove Zimmerman’s claim of self defense.

They lost. It’s time to move on.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • WOOF

    I didn’t hear the fat lady sing.

    Zimmerman’s wife has a day coming up in court
    facing perjury for hiding $100+K from court
    at a bond hearing.
    Greedy George , speaking in code,was recorded instructing
    her on the jail telephone.
    That seems the imminent danger to Mr Z.

    • two_amber_lamps

      Of course you didn’t hear the fat lady… you’re a revanchism-obsessed leftist..

    • LenYol

      How could you have missed the fat lady saying NOT GUILTY? Are you deaf along with being stupid? never mind, everyone already knows the answer.
      Scumbags like you are the imminent danger. Your stupidity causes problems.

    • mickey_moussaoui

      Keep salivating for punishment woof. You may get your piece of flesh yet. You haters crack me up

      • $8194357

        Tolerant crew…The liberal ideologues, huh…

    • Thresherman

      Leave the internet gossip alone and look at the charging affidavit, this is as big or bigger of a farce than the charges against her husband. And once again they fail to cite the evidence because, like before, there really isn’t any. This charge had one purpose and one purpose only, it was a cheap prosecutorial trick to get Zimmerman to plead to a manslaughter charge in exchange for dropping charges against his wife. Well he didn’t and now see can all see that there are more intent on persecution than legal prosecution.

      And it is also clear that Woof and his ilk in this matter clearly have no problem with the perversion of our judicial system as long as it serves their ends.

      • WOOF

        Farce that got his bail revoked.
        Tapes , codes, instructions.
        Money laundering, withdrawals of $9990 at

        a time.
        A federal crime.

        • Thresherman

          Once again we have here a person who wants to manipulate events to create a perception of illegality when the actual law does not support it. This is defamatory method liberals often use and then are outraged when the law disagrees with what they want.

          837.02 Perjury in official proceedings.

          (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), whoever makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath in an official proceeding in regard to any material matter, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

          (2) Whoever makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath in an official proceeding that relates to the prosecution of a capital felony, commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

          (3) Knowledge of the materiality of the statement is not an element of the crime of perjury under subsection (1) or subsection (2), and the defendant’s mistaken belief that the statement was not material is not a

          Note well that the person has to BELIEVE THE STATEMENT IS FALSE WHEN THEY MAKE IT! In the charging affidavit there is absolutely zero probable cause presented that Shellie Zimmerman believed any statement she made was false. That is what the prosecution has to prove in order to convict Shellie Zimmerman and they haven’t been able to do it. Every thing Woof said is immaterial to this and shows that he either has no idea of what constitutes perjury or that he doesn’t care and believes that people he wants punished should be punished regardless if they violated the law or not. In short, you have to be guilty of violating the actual law, not what some people want or think the law is.

  • awfulorv

    “Bill of Rights? We don’t need no damned Bill of Rights round here”, sayeth El Supremo and his untrustworty companion, Eric the gunrunner…

  • Neiman

    Tell that to the police officers in the Rodney King incident, they were acquitted in a criminal trial and convicted and spent years in jail in a Civil Rights violation trial.

    Jesse “Blackmailer” Jackson today said they would have to keep pursuing this in the streets until they forced the government to take action and that this injustice in acquitting Zimmerman was overturned and black people got the justice they deserve (code for hang him).

    • $8194357

      That is what the marxists came up with when they went the social justice route. Rule of Law be damned..
      We will take it to the emotional streets of false morality public opinion for anarchy purposes…
      It has been workin well for them for decades.

    • Drain52

      One government entity or another will pursue Zimmerman until it can get him to plead to something, anything, just to stop the persecution. I wonder why the feds didn’t step in to try O.J. Simpson in federal court after he was found innocent in California state court.

      • Neiman

        They will destroy Zimmerman – the media and the black community have already tried him in absentia, found him guilty and sentenced him to death. We are no longer a nation of law, but mob rule, of liberal thuggery.

  • $8194357

    Founders knew majority opinion rule was tyranny of the majority…
    The leftists use “emotion based mob rule” to overturn the same
    “rule of law” that the country was Founded upon as we “TRY” for equality and individual protections for the minority since our countries experiment in individual self government began.
    Anarchy or mob rule leads to statist fascism…Always…
    No Law?
    No Liberty…..

  • Roy_Bean

    “They lost. It’s time to move on.”

    The left never moves on. Had Trayvon succeeded in killing Zimmerman the left would have said “carrying a gun does no good so we need more gun control”. Zimmerman used his gun to save his life, unfortunately ending Trayvon’s, and they use that as an excuse for more gun control. Our President who, didn’t seem to have time to honor the victims of the Benghazi attacks, now wants to pass new gun control laws to “honor” Trayvon Martin.

    Anytime a 17 year old dies it’s a tragedy because had he lived a few more years he might have turned his life around and accomplished great things. As it is he will just be remembered as the kid who was shot while trying to smash the head of a “creepy ass cracker”. Hardly a person that our President should want to “honor” with any new laws.

  • $8194357

    Marxist social justice class warfare divide and conquer
    “protected class status”
    citizenry isn’t even Constitutional IMO.

    Equal protection under the law has went the way of false morality protectionism and doing what it was designed to accomplish
    in the first place.

    DIVIDE the NATION from within and

    The Passing Scene
    By: Dennis M. Patrick
    Date: July 12, 2013

    The presidential election of 2012 was a bad election for
    constitutionalism. The policies flowing from the current administration
    and supported by the Democrat-controlled senate will produce setbacks and hardships for years to come.
    Despite the difficulties, the fight goes on. This is not “game
    over.” Citizens should not withdraw from the political arena. We have
    not reached a point of no return. The cost of doing nothing is far
    greater than merely losing a few battles.
    America has seen worse. Less than 150 years ago our divided nation fought a war on American soil that claimed 625,000 lives and 476,000 wounded. Unless a person is well-read in history, their perspective of history and the world around them is pegged to the year of their birth.

    Without some grasp of history,
    their personal life provides the only perspective.

    That said, the freedom to live our private lives peaceably
    unimpeded by the burden of repressive government continues to erode.
    This is more true since the re-election of Barack Obama.

    Under Obama’s first-term influence, the US House and Senate were
    able to pass 2000 to 3000-page laws without reading them. Congress
    deferred to cabinet officials to write the rules and regulations under
    which we labor.
    Once written, the agencies and departments proceeded to
    enforce them. The administration’s justification is that it is for the
    protection of the American people.

    The 2000-page Dodd-Frank financial reform bill was signed by Obama on July 21, 2010. No one read it. A month earlier the Washington Post reported on June 26 that Chris Dodd stated, “No one will know until this is actually in place how it works.”
    (This sounds reminiscent of Nancy Pelosi’s comment on the health care bill, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”)
    How it works doesn’t matter.

    What matters is that it garnered power for the federal government to
    implement central planning.
    The net effect of “financial reform” was the creation of unsound
    fiscal policy. The financial reform became social policy in disguise
    claiming to make sure we don’t suffer a financial collapse.
    We all know about the health care mandate requiring everyone to buy health insurance. This is unprecedented. This was followed by the Obama administration choosing which part of Obamacare law to enforce or not enforce.
    Another example:
    OSHA, along with other federal agencies, engages in redistribution of public wealth through grants and financial rewards ordained and written by bureaucrats in effect buying votes. Bureaucrats
    write the rules and regulations for doling out grants and contracts.

    Yet another example:
    The Environmental Protection Agency’s former
    director Lisa Jackson testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that Obama’s executive order dealing with regulations and the regulatory process meant that the EPA could create and enforce any rules if the EPA believed they were for the common good. Obama reinforced her testimony announcing he will veto any congressional attempt to limit the EPA’s regulatory power.

    These examples are built on the same idea —
    the reduction of individual rights and the promotion of expanded government to establish central planning.

    It is axiomatic that the larger the size of government the more liberty is at risk. Mandates, rules and regulations written and enforced by unionized non-elected bureaucrats accentuates the power grab.

    There is a parallel with the great twentieth century tyrannies. The
    centralized, bureaucratic form of government cannot remain accountable to the people.
    It will become tyrannical in time. It has not come to that in America, but it is headed that way.

    Our constitutional framers chose to partition our government into
    segments in order to limit the size of government. The direction of our
    federal government today is just the opposite. It centralizes government to run as a bureaucracy.
    This form of government is sustained by rules and regulations compounded by rules and regulations. Enforcing those rules and regulations becomes government’s consuming focus.
    Without good laws life becomes less delightful, injustice rules the
    day and the standard of western civilization blurs.
    Alfred, Lord Tennyson records in his poem
    “The Revenge” a spectacular sea fight occurring in 1591
    when a single British ship fought off an entire Spanish fleet. Sir Richard Grenville commanded the little “Revenge” when it was set upon by fifty-three Spanish warships in the Azores.
    The “Revenge” fought for fifteen hours inflicting great
    damage on the Spanish fleet until she was captured. Though mortally
    wounded, Grenville’s battle cry
    “Fight on! Fight on!”
    won the admiration of the enemy and continues to echo through history.
    In the face of America’s current adversity this, too,
    should be our
    battle cry.
    Fight on! Fight on!

  • C. Y.

    The Rodney King 2nd prosecution was for violating civil rightsby officers working ‘under color of law’ (also known as a Sec 1983 action) and Zimmerman was not. But . . . this can happen:


    On June 23, 1982, two drunk men, one of them a supervisor at an auto plant (and the other his stepson), spotted Chin at a Detroit strip club, Fancy Pants. They mistook him for Japanese (as his surname indicates, he was Chinese), and held him responsible for American autoworkers losing their jobs, as the flood of cheap Japanese cars that came into America in the early ’80s led to a big down period in the American auto industry. And they beat Chin to death, after he left the strip club, and they paid someone to find him. The two men, Ronald Ebens and stepson Michael Nitz, were charged with second degree murder but convicted of manslaughter, pursuant to a plea deal. They were sentenced to three years of probation and served no jail time.

    But after outrage by the Asian American community, the Reagan Administration pursued federal charges against the two men through the Justice Department. Both were charged with violating Chin’s civil rights. Nitz was acquitted, but Ebens was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison. That conviction and sentence were overturned after the Court of Appeals found that Reagan Justice Department officials improperly coached a witness. When Ebens was retried in Ohio, he was acquitted.
    ———–more at the link———————-


  • $8194357

    LIBERALS of all colors are
    “enslaved to their ideologies”
    and “shackled to the manufactured narratives”
    they are indoctrinated into.


    A very “intolerant” bunch……


  • donwalk

    B.O. and his lynch mob will have a difficult time explaining how the F.B.I. gave Zimmerman a clean bill of health in July of 1012:

    July 12, 2012

    FBI records: agents found no evidence that Zimmerman was racist

    Frances Robles and Scott Hiaason | Miami Herald

    After interviewing nearly three dozen people in the George
    Zimmerman murder case, the FBI found no evidence that racial bias was a
    motivating factor in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, records released Thursday
    Even the lead detective in the case, Sanford Det. Chris Serino, told agents that he thought Zimmerman profiled Trayvon because of his attire and the circumstances — but not his race.
    Serino saw Zimmerman as “having little hero complex, but not as a racist.”
    The Duval County State Attorney released another collection of evidence in the Zimmerman murder case Thursday, including reports from FBI agents who investigated whether any racial bias was involved in Trayvon’s Feb. 26 killing.

  • Thresherman

    Given the fact that there is ample proof of prosecutorial misconduct in this case why should not the Zimmerman family and others be demanding an investigation into the violation of Zimmerman’s civil rights?

  • Thresherman

    Let’s review the bidding here; a Hispanic man shot a black man and was acquitted by a jury of 6 women and this is all the fault of white men?

    • ellinas1

      Bush did it.
      It’s Bush’s fault.

  • matthew_bosch

    Apparently the other few hundred young African American males who die everyday on the Centrally Planned urban reservations which promote perpetual governmental servitude and which have destroyed the African American family unit are not worth any effort from anyone’s attention. Simply viewed as nameless, faceless statistics who’s deaths can never be brought up because it would only derail the cause of Social Justice. By any means necessary.

    So many institutions would be “out of work” if some how we were to cure the plight of poverty of African Americans. One must wonder if it is in the best self-interest of say someone like Al Sharpton or other Community Organizers, if all the sudden African Americans were brought out of these dismal, horrendous statistics….?

    • $8194357

      There is a 10X

  • http://genelalor.com Gene Lalor

    Winners and Losers in the Zimmerman Verdict

    There can be no real “winners” when a death is involved but if a
    winner must be chosen the obvious pick when George Zimmerman was cleared of all
    charges in the death of Trayvon Martin by a jury of peers in Sanford,
    Florida was 29 year old George Zimmerman who had withstood seventeen months of
    hateful threats, politically-inspired prosecutorial harassment, gross and
    distorted media bias, and unprecedented presidential intrusion into local
    affairs, all for defending his life on the night of February 26th,

    There was also one other notable winner and a number of losers when
    the jury of six women, five white and one hispanic–like Zimmerman–all approved
    by both the prosecution and defense, rendered its verdict of not guilty on all

    The not all-inclusive list, with runner-ups where


    –Zimmerman’s Defense Team. After that dopey knock-knock
    joke at the outset of the trial, Team Zimmerman, Mark O’Mara and Don West,
    presented a powerful defense on behalf of their client, dealing in facts and the
    known rather than with the suppositions and interpretations and emotions relied
    on by prosecutors.

    O’Mara and West stood in marked contrast to the prosecutors,
    patrician and professional versus the clearly-overwhelmed civil servants,
    out-spent but equipped with the righteousness of their cause and conviction
    their client was innocent as opposed to the prosecutors who knew they were
    attempting to convict Zimmerman on trumped-up charges.

    Both Mark O’Mara and Don West deserve the accolades of America’s
    entire legal community, although political correctness dictates they will never
    get it.


    –Trayvon’s Mom. According to TheSmokingGun.com, Sybrina (Sabrina)
    Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s very religious mother who sat impassively throughout
    most of the trial of her son’s killer, only a month after his death sought to
    trademark the phrases “I Am
    Trayvon” and “Justice for
    Trayvon” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, seeking the
    trademarks for use on “Digital materials, namely, CDs and DVDs featuring Trayvon
    Martin,” and other products. Now, his grieving mom may not cash in big time on
    her son’s tragic death as she had hoped.

    –MSNBC, CNN, HLN, ABC, CBS, NBC. As if reading their
    script directly from the man who thought Trayvon could be his son if he had one,
    all of Obama’s MSM joined ranks to babble the new prosecution mantra of the
    6 foot, 170 muscular, ”child” callously murdered by an adult and even the day
    after the verdict kept showing pictures of an innocent 12 year old child instead
    of the photos of the menacing 17 year old Zimmerman thought might be up to no

    –The Prosecutors. Technically, the case against Mr. Zimmerman was
    tried by Bernie de la Rionda and John Guy. Realistically, the defendant was
    prosecuted by them and their deep-pockets supporters, . . . (Read more at

    • JoeMN

      I would add to the list of winners Sharpton,, Jackson, and all the race hustlers of the Democrat party.

      They have succeeded in lighting another powder keg.

  • Yukon

    The DOJ does not investigate individual civil rights violations unless it involves a federal employee, they only investigate civil rights violations by companies.

    Is anyone else getting tired of being called a racist because your white and agree with the rule of law.

  • Ratbite

    Why has no one brought Sharpton or Jackson or Scarbough etc. up on charges of inciting to riot?? Guess the Republicans have no cajones.

  • LastBestHope

    Sharpie is beginning to look like an extra in some Roswell Area 51 movie.