Even though George Zimmerman was found not guilty in a Florida courtroom, the federal government may still bring charges against some facts being brought in the state court. As the federal courts are a separate entity, double jeopardy does not apply, says Eugene Hyman, retired Superior Court Judge of Santa Clara, California.
The federal charges require the crime be racially motivated and since it was tough to approve at the state level, Hyman believes it will be just as tough, if not tougher, at the federal level. The judge at the state court indicated the prosecution was not allowed to submit evidence to the jury with respect to any racial profiling and that ruling would not be prohibited necessarily with respect to the federal case. That would require that George Zimmerman's behavior was racially motivated in order for their to be a federal charge, notes Hyman. From what Hyman gathers from the state case, there was not an abundance of evidence that Zimmerman's conduct was motivated by racial hatred.
Hyman says that while the case is similar to the Rodney King case in Los Angeles, in that federal prosecutors were under to pressure to proceed with a case against Zimmerman, it is different in that there was a video in the King case and police officers testifying against each other, neither of which exist in the Zimmerman case.
Hyman thinks that having more jurors in a federal jury works in favor of the defense because you would have additional persons to deliberate to potentially hang a jury. Hyman feels the feds won't bring a case against Zimmerman because he doesn't think a case exists for racial hatred. However, he feels there is no doubt a civil lawsuit will be brought against him, which will be a much easier hurdle in terms of rendering a verdict in favor of the family.
Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network.