The ACLU’s mixed signals on Zimmerman retrial

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Michael McGough (Los Angeles Times) | July 22, 2013

Conservatives have argued for years that the American Civil Liberties Union is willing to subordinate its core mission to liberal politics. It’s an overstated indictment and there are lots of counter-examples, such as the ACLU’s opposition on free-speech grounds to limitations on political spending. But it’s also true that ACLU officials and members trend left, and this sometimes creates confusion.

Politico has an interesting story on the mixed signals ACLU officials sent about whether the Justice Department should file federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. Such a lawsuit is the new objective of those who are rallying for “Justice for Trayvon.” (This amounts to a moving of the goalposts; the original definition of “Justice for Trayvon” was arresting Zimmerman and charging him in state court.)

On the day after Zimmerman’s acquittal, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero issued a statement saying: “Last night’s verdict casts serious doubt on whether the legal system truly provides equal protection of the laws to everyone regardless of race or ethnicity. This case reminds us that it is imperative that the Department of Justice thoroughly examine whether the Martin shooting was a federal civil rights violation or hate crime.”

But a few days later, Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington office, sent a letter to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. opposing a federal charge. “The ACLU believes the double jeopardy clause of the Constitution protects someone from being prosecuted in another court for charges arising from the same transaction,” Murphy wrote. “A jury found Zimmerman not guilty, and that should be the end of the criminal case.”

Read more at:,0,6140846.story

Photo credit: Associated Press / July 22, 2013

Posted by on Jul 22 2013. Filed under Features, News, People of FL v. George Zimmerman. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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