Prosecutors in the Zimmerman trial ‘over charge?’ And what is overcharging?

Ariel Castro

I can’t figure out why people are debating whether the prosecutors over charged in the Zimmerman case.  Prosecutors always do.   That certainly is my experience as a former criminal defense lawyer.  They charge as much as they possibly can hoping to get a conviction on something.

There are two ways to overcharge: charge more serious charges than the facts warrant or just pile up as many charges as you can. Many claim that the prosecutor overcharged Zimmerman – meaning that this was never a Murder 2 case but a manslaughter case (which now the jury has determined Zimmerman did not prove that charge beyond a reasonable doubt.)

Want a good example of just piling up charges? Check out the recent headline in USA Today about the guy arrested for kidnapping the 3 and holding them in his house for years:

Ariel Castro faces 977 charges in Cleveland kidnappings

977 charges? That is overcharging. It may be that it is fair because there are so many laws broken (and he is so awful, right?), but it is overcharging. The goal of the prosecutor is to send him away for life. That is a very easy task in this case (he got caught in his house and they will certainly identify him) – you don’t need 977 charges.

The prosecutor in the Castro case could charge 3 charges per woman and easily send Castro away forever. And if he can’t, I do wonder how he got to be a prosecutor. The Castro case is easy.

Instead the prosecutor has chosen to grandstand and charge him with 977.

By they way, do you have any idea how much it will cost Ohio taxpayers to have a criminal trial with 977 charges?