Zimmerman Prosecutor Angela Corey Under Fire For Alleged Professional Breaches

AngelaCoreyI have previously stated that I believe that Zimmerman prosecutor Angela Corey over charged the case as second degree murder and in my view contributed heavily to the defeat in the case. What many people described as the evidence for conviction is actually evidence of manslaughter. Had the case been framed as manslaughter or negligent homicide, it might have turned out differently. However, that was in my view an error in prosecutorial discretion. More serious questions have arisen over Corey’s ethics and that of her office. These allegations include her conduct following the acquittal of George Zimmerman.

Corey’s office stands accused of serious allegations of withholding evidence from the defense. I have previously said that I view those allegations as highly credible and worthy of sanctions. She is also facing a whistleblower lawsuit after she fired an IT specialist who revealed that her office was withholding evidence in the Zimmerman case.

However, Corey herself is facing allegations of unethical and unprofessional conduct. Prosecutors are supposed to be highly circumspect in their public comments. They are not supposed to attack acquitted defendants. Most refuse to do so and leave such matters to the public debate rather than join the public outcry. Corey surprised many by going on television and calling Zimmerman a “murderer” after his acquittal. Her trial counsel was slightly more circumspect and called him “lucky.” She also referred to Martin as Zimmerman’s “prey.” Clearly there are many who share these views, but it is a different matter when spoken by a prosecutor following an acquittal.

The model ABA rules state that prosecutors should:

except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor’s action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making under Rule 3.6 or this Rule.

These rules are designed primarily to protect a fair trial but prosecutors continue to be bound by ethical rules following a conviction. I view such comments after an acquittal to be highly unprofessional and inimical to the legal system. It tells the public that the government considers a person to be guilty regardless of an acquittal. As an out of court statement, Corey could be sued by Zimmerman for per se defamation since she said he is a murderer. While he would likely be viewed as a public figure, the statement could be viewed as violating even the New York Times v. Sullivan standard of actual malice. It is her opinion but she is speaking as the lead prosecutor.

AlanDershowitz2She is also accused of threatening legal action against one of her critics. Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has gone public with an extraordinary account that Corey personally called the Harvard Dean’s office to complain about his criticism of her work in the case. He says that she ended up being transferred to an employee of the Office of Communications and threatened to sue Harvard, seek Dershowitz’s disbarment, and sue him for defamation — all frivolous claims. I have not seen any denial or explanation from Corey about her call to Dershowitz.

At a minimum, Corey’s actions and comments strike me as highly unprofessional. If prosecutors lose cases and then take to the air to demonize defendants, it would allow for tremendous abuse. Nothing protects Zimmerman from criticism of course for his actions. However, prosecutors are given the unique power to seek imprisonment of defendants. They have an obligation to reinforce the legal system by publicly accepted verdict. Most prosecutors state they have believed in their case and disagreed with the decision. They refrain from calling acquitted individuals “murderers.” That type of pandering to the public can be dangerous in highly divisive case like Zimmerman’s or other controversial cases. It reminds some of us uncomfortably of the approach of disbarred former District Attorney Mike Nifong. After being widely criticized by experts for over-charging the case, it was a particularly unwise decision of Corey to take to the press and call Zimmerman a murderer. It was also unnecessary with a chorus of such comments already being made across the media front.

Do you feel prosecutors should participate in this type of public condemnation after a verdict?

83 thoughts on “Zimmerman Prosecutor Angela Corey Under Fire For Alleged Professional Breaches”

  1. Zimmerman is guilty of first degree murder and the state covered it up. I provide evidence. The police KNEW Trayvon Martin was standing when shot and killed by Zimmerman.

    1. This is one of those situations where someone(s) high up, elected, supposedly accomplished, is either, extremely stupid, corrupt, or both. Both Scott and Corey share the blame for allowing Zimmerman to walk free, armed with hollow point bullets, and probably afraid for his life. There must be accountability in our government and its officials. Corey should either resign or be sacked. Scott should acknowledge that the entire affair was mismanaged. Remember these bozos come election time.

  2. Just as Angela Corey is responsible for justice not being served in the Zimmerman-Martin case, Governor Scott is responsible for Angela Corey. He appointed her, knowing her past. There must be some accountability in our government. If Angela Corey had charged Zimmerman with manslaughter, (the only charge that can be proved beyond a shadow of a doubt), then he would be punished, the act of carrying concealed weapons would be seen to carry a greater responsibility, and legally, Martin’s death would be avenged. How anyone could allow someone like her to proceed in such a self serving and cavalier manner can only reflect on them. Rick Scott should have intervened. It was his responsibility. Between the incompetence of Corey and that of Scott, we live in a more dangerous world and Zimmerman will be out patrolling, armed to the teeth with hollow point bullets, but now he will be truly nervous and looking over his shoulder. I would stay well away from him.

  3. frankmascagniiii,

    Thank you. Part of the joy on this blog are the Esq.s willing to share the info they spent years (and a lot of money) learning. It helps the rest of us better understand the nuances involved.

  4. Perhaps a creative judge, or legal panel, will give her a choice of punishments??? Either accept:

    a. A 5 year suspension of her attorney’s license; or

    b. something insignificant like getting her nose broken, knocked to the ground, and her head banged on some concrete by a complete stranger in the dark, and when not expected.

    To make it more fun, if she opts for “b”, she could be allowed to choose the race of the anonymous attacker!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  5. Why haven’t they done something to her? She should not even be allowed to prosecute another trial! She’s biased, prejudiced & extremely racist! She shouldn’t even be allowed in a court room! I think possibly she won’t make her “extra money” since she lost. How dare her to help pick a jury then tell them the didn’t do it right? She’s crazy!

  6. Murder vs. Homicide vs. ” Killing”:

    Murder : The killing of one human being by another human being.

    Although the term homicide is sometimes used synonymously with murder, homicide is broader in scope than murder. Murder is a form of criminal homicide; other forms of homicide might not constitute criminal acts. These homicides are regarded as justified or excusable. For example, individuals may, in a necessary act of Self-Defense, kill a person who threatens them with death or serious injury, or they may be commanded or authorized by law to kill a person who is a member of an enemy force or who has committed a serious crime. Typically, the circumstances surrounding a killing determine whether it is criminal. The intent of the killer usually determines whether a criminal homicide is classified as murder or Manslaughter and at what degree.

    English courts developed the body of Common Law on which U.S. jurisdictions initially relied in developing their homicide statutes. Early English common law divided homicide into two broad categories: felonious and non-felonious. Historically, the deliberate and premeditated killing of a person by another person was a felonious homicide and was classified as murder. Non-felonious homicide included justifiable homicide and excusable homicide. Although justifiable homicide was considered a crime, the offender often received a pardon. Excusable homicide was not considered a crime.

    Under the early common law, murder was a felony that was punishable by death. It was defined as the unlawful killing of a person with “malice aforethought,” which was generally defined as a premeditated intent to kill. As U.S. courts and jurisdictions adopted the English common law and modified the various circumstances that constituted criminal homicide, various degrees of criminal homicide developed. Modern statutes generally divide criminal homicide into two broad categories: murder and manslaughter. Murder is usually further divided into the first degree, which typically involves a premeditated intent to kill, and the second degree, which typically does not involve a premeditated intent to kill. Manslaughter typically involves an unintentional killing that resulted from a person’s criminal negligence or reckless disregard for human life.

    All homicides require the killing of a living person. In most states, the killing of a viable fetus is generally not considered a homicide unless the fetus is first born alive. In some states, however, this distinction is disregarded and the killing of an unborn viable fetus is classified as homicide. In other states, statutes separately classify the killing of a fetus as the crime of feticide.

    Generally, the law requires that the death of the person occur within a year and a day of the fatal injury. This requirement initially reflected a difficulty in determining whether an initial injury led to a person’s death, or whether other events or circumstances intervened to cause the person’s death. As Forensic Science has developed and the difficulty in determining cause of death has diminished, many states have modified or abrogated the year-and-a-day rule.

    Justifiable or Excusable Homicide

    A homicide may be justifiable or excusable by the surrounding circumstances. In such cases, the homicide will not be considered a criminal act. A justifiable homicide is a homicide that is commanded or authorized by law. For instance, soldiers in a time of war may be commanded to kill enemy soldiers. Generally, such killings are considered justifiable homicide unless other circumstances suggest that they were not necessary or that they were not within the scope of the soldiers’ duty. In addition, a public official is justified in carrying out a death sentence because the execution is commanded by state or federal law.

    A person is authorized to kill another person in self-defense or in the defense of others, but only if the person reasonably believes that the killing is absolutely necessary in order to prevent serious harm or death to himself or herself or to others. If the threatened harm can be avoided with reasonable safety, some states require the person to retreat before using Deadly Force. Most states do not require retreat if the individual is attacked or threatened in his or her home, place of employment, or place of business. In addition, some states do not require a person to retreat unless that person in some way provoked the threat of harm. Finally, police officers may use deadly force to stop or apprehend a fleeing felon, but only if the suspect is armed or has committed a crime that involved the infliction or threatened infliction of serious injury or death. A police officer may not use deadly force to apprehend or stop an individual who has committed, or is committing, a misdemeanor offense. Only certain felonies are considered in determining whether deadly force may be used to apprehend or stop a suspect. For instance, a police officer may not use deadly force to prevent the commission of Larceny unless other circumstances threaten him or other persons with imminent serious injury or death.

    Excusable homicide is sometimes distinguished from justifiable homicide on the basis that it involves some fault on the part of the person who ultimately uses deadly force. For instance, if a person provokes a fight and subsequently withdraws from it but, out of necessity and in self-defense, ultimately kills the other person, the homicide is sometimes classified as excusable, rather than justifiable. Generally, however, the distinction between justifiable homicide and excusable homicide has largely disappeared, and only the term justifiable homicide is widely used.

  7. Angela Cory’s behavior can better be described as prosecutorial misconduct rather than indescretion. At the very least she should resign or be disbared. Also, if anyone’s civil rigjts were violated, they were George Zimmerman’s. It eas criminal f or Corey to sanitize Trayvon Martin’s criminal behavior and unjustly deamonize George Zimmerman @ the same time.

  8. Darren,

    Sure they are. The DOJ might get a dog that hunts in pursuing civil rights actions against the local PD and prosecution, but they really don’t stand a chance on an MSA based action against Z. If that evidence existed, the locals would have tried to get (or gotten back from the grand jury as the case was) a capital murder charge. There just is and always was insufficient evidence here for anything other than a manslaughter charge.

  9. “Corey could be sued by Zimmerman for per se defamation since she said he is a murderer. ”

    Well he did murder Martin, I thought that was one of the undisputed facts at trial. The murder was legal, but I don’t think there was any doubt he did it. The trial established that Zimmerman wasn’t guilty of one of the two offenses, not that he wasn’t guilty of shooting Martin.

    1. Murder and killing is not the same thing. A murder is an unlawful killing.

      Corey is wrong to call Zimmerman a murderer when a fair trial found him not guilty of murder and not guilty of manslaughter.

  10. Rather than retry the Zimmerman trial, the focus should be on prosecutorial misconduct. Rather than claim all prosecutors (including D.A.s) are super-duper, with a scant few exceptions, the focus should be increasing awareness of the many who refuse to accept DNA that exonerates someone they wrongly prosecuted. And sent to prison for life, or for death. This occurs far too often.

    If Corey is not quickly removed from power, it is likely she will be responsible for many wrongful convictions (and, I suspect, probably has a few in her files right now). This is not intended as defense of Zimmerman but to emphasize that Angela Corey is one of too many. Unfortunately, juries and the public in general tend to trust prosecutors. They should not.

  11. Here’s a good info on what TM had on him prior to shooting, and what he didn’t have on him after the shooting. Another evidence that he backtracked to assault GZ after putting away his stuff at Green’s place.

  12. These are all great story starters to build awareness. Agree? All the nation’s cases reopened due to massive oath violations and a lack impartiality and under a conspiracy. 

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