CRIMES AND VERDICTS
PROFESSOR TIMOTHY KELLY
INTRODUCTION TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE
MAY 29, 2014
I have chosen the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman as the first part of this paper. Why was Zimmerman charged and tried at the state level, and then face the possibility of Federal charges? Is this not “double jeopardy”? The court that will try a case is decided by jurisdiction, jurisdiction being defined as “(1) the legal authority of a court to hear and decide a certain type of case; (2) the geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases “ (Definitions, n.d.). Also we must clarify state and federal jurisdiction. Federal court jurisdiction is limited to the types of ...view middle of the document...
With that said, it is a far reach to charge him with a hate crime when there was no evidence in the state trial that his actions against Martin were “because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin”. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded that there is no evidence of Zimmerman acting based on racial motivation. I believe the Federal investigation was a direct act to appease certain groups outraged over the result of the state trial. In my research, it was the majority opinion that there is insufficient evidence to charge Zimmerman with any Federal crime. My final thought is this, if Zimmerman is charged with a federal crime, is not the federal government saying in a way, the jury in the state trial got it wrong?
Robert H. Richards IV, the wealthy heir to the du Pont family fortune, was convicted of raping his infant daughter, yet will spend no time in prison. Although convicted in 2009 in Delaware, the case was kept quiet until Richards former wife filed a lawsuit in Delaware Superior Court in 2014 on behalf of their children alleging "personal injuries arising from the childhood sexual abuse." She alleges that Richards not only abused their daughter, but also admitted to abusing their infant son (Conlon & Gallman, 2014). Despite being sentenced to eight years, the judge suspended the sentence stating "defendant will not fare well" in prison. Richards instead received eight years’ probation, ordered to receive treatment, and was registered as a sex offender. Richards was originally indicted on two counts of second-degree rape of a child, punishable by ten years in prison for each count. But as part of a plea agreement days before his 2008 trial, Richards pleaded guilty to fourth-degree rape -- reportedly a Class C violent felony that can bring up to 15 years in prison, though guidelines suggest zero to 2 1/2 years (Crimesider, 2014). uperior Court Judge Jan Jurden suggested that she considered unique circumstances, and that Richards needed treatment vice prison time. This sounds like a something that would be said for a drug abuser, not a child molester. At Richards' 2009 sentencing, prosecutor Renee Hrivnak recommended probation, but the Attorney General’s chief deputy Ian R. McConnel said that in retrospect, he wished she would have sought prison time (Crimesider, 2014). One Delaware Public Defender stated the results of this case may cause the public to be skeptical about "how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system." You think? How does a judge state the “defendant will not fare well in prison”, and not expect public backlash? I’m sure no one “fares” well in prison, especially child molesters, much less wealthy ones. One of the terms of his probation was to attend a specific intensive treatment facility located in Massachusetts, which he did not (Barrish, 2014). The hearing transcript shows that the prosecutor and the judge cited the intensive therapy offered by the...