The Conversation

Dershowitz: Zimmerman Prosecutors Going for a Compromise Manslaughter Verdict

Speaking on the Steve Malzberg show, professor Alan Dershowitz argues that prosecutors had no business charging George Zimmerman with murder. They did so, he believes, in order to improve their chances at a "compromise verdict" of manslaughter.

As Dershowitz sees it, there is plenty of reasonable doubt to say that George Zimmerman is not guilty of murder and even enough to say he should not be convicted of manslaughter. However, jurors who feel sorry for the victim and his family may be induced to split the difference between murder and a not guilty verdict by finding Zimmerman guilty of manslaughter.

In reality a manslaughter conviction could result in Zimmerman spending nearly as much time behind bars as a murder conviction. From his perspective it is not a middle-ground.

Toward the end of the clip, Dershowitz argues that the only fact that matters in this case is who took the first swing. He claims that since we don't know who did that the state has not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman did not act in self-defense. And if that's the case, he should walk.


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