The Washington Post

Why no grand jury in killing of Trayvon Martin is a ‘positive’ sign

Angela Corey, the special prosecutor investigating the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, announced today that she was skipping the grand jury and will continue with her own investigation. In fact, sources are telling WFTV in Orlando that an arrest of Zimmerman could happen as early as this week. All this must have Trayvon’s parents breathing a sigh of relief.

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Trayvon’s parents, never wanted the case to go to a grand jury. He made that point when he and the parents met with editors and writers at The Post last month. He made that point on one phone call after another that I could overhear while walking with him here in Washington and at 30 Rock in New York. And it was a point he made to me again when we spoke Friday.

“A grand jury is bad,” Crump said. Calling it a “private proceeding,” he added that he feared a grand jury would allow officials to “pass the buck and say the grand jury didn’t have any evidence.” He also feared that a grand jury in Sanford, Fla., would not work in the family’s favor, no matter what the evidence showed. Still, he knows that nothing is guaranteed now that the special prosecutor has bypassed the grand jury. “We want to believe that this would be a positive sign that the prosecutor has enough information to arrest Trayvon Martin's killer,” Crump told USA Today just after the announcement.

Corey cautioned in her announcement that “[t]he decision should not be considered a factor in the final determination of the case” — that final determination being whether to indict and arrest Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon. The fact that the pistol-packing neighborhood watch volunteer has not been arrested for taking the life of an unarmed 17-year-old makes a mockery of justice.

There are a slew of unanswered questions that an arrest and certainly a trial might answer. For justice to mean anything, there must be both.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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