The Crump-Jackson-Martin Lynch Mob may run a high risk of losing their proverbial “bloody shirt” if they attempt to sue George Zimmerman in civil court. According to Florida Statutes on Justifiable Use of Force, going after Zimmerman and failing could see them stuck with a sizable bill:
776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—
(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).
History.—s. 4, ch. 2005-27.
In plain English, if they bring a civil case against Zimmerman and the judge deems he has immunity, then the lynch mob shall pay for all of Zimmerman’s court costs, “reasonable attorney’s fees” (Mark O’Mara is $400 an hour, Don West probably isn’t far behind), and whatever other monies the court deems warranted probably in the thousands of dollars.
We already know that a federal civil rights case is relatively unlikely since the FBI already cleared Zimmerman of the possibility of hate crimes charges, and so if this statute keeps the lynch mob at bay, then Zimmerman might only have offensive civil suits going forward against NBC News and others who slandered him.