We are writing to clearly state the ACLU’s position on whether or not the Department of Justice (DOJ) should consider bringing federal civil rights or hate crimes charges as a result of the state court acquittal in the George Zimmerman case. Even though the Supreme Court permits a federal prosecution following a state prosecution, 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. A jury found Zimmerman not guilty, and that should be the
end of the criminal case.
However, there are still actions the federal government can take to help communities
like Sanford, Florida to ensure tragedies similar to Trayvon Martin’s untimely death do not happen again, including preventing widespread racial profiling.