Under second-degree murder, the jury must find that a death was caused by a criminal act "demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life," said Eric Abrahamsen, a criminal defense lawyer in Tallahassee, reading from the state's standard jury instructions. The maximum sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison; the minimum penalty under these charges is 25 years.
It's true that Zimmerman may not ultimately face second-degree murder, and thus not face 25 years. It may also turn out that whatever Zimmerman did actually deserves 25 years. But the mandating of time, as always, is still disturbing. There's so much wrong about our current system.
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