So, George Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin. Unless the prosecutor has some additional information that hasn’t been released to the public (like the ballistics analysis), it seems to me the prosecutor has overcharged Zimmerman.
Here is how Florida defines second degree murder. § 782.04(2) reads:
The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual, is murder in the second degree.
And here is the key part of the Florida standard jury instructions for second degree murder, which are a useful tool for understanding what the prosecution needs to prove:
An act is “imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind” if it is an act or series of acts that:
1. a person of ordinary judgment would know is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily injury to another, and
2. is done from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent, and
3. is of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.
The facts I’ve seen don’t match this at all. Is it possible the prosecutor is overcharging Zimmerman to keep the mob satisfied while implicitly recognizing it’s unlikely Zimmerman will be convicted? That’s cynical even by my standards.