Fort Wayne Attorney Weighs In On George Zimmerman's Shot At Fair Trial

By Jeff Neumeyer

April 12, 2012 Updated Apr 12, 2012 at 6:01 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Will George Zimmerman be able to get a fair trial by a jury of his peers?

A Fort Wayne lawyer who has defended hundreds of criminal clients says both Zimmerman and the State of Florida have reason to be nervous about justice being served in the Trayvon Martin slaying.

Don Swanson says you could have some jurors hostile towards the defendant based on race issues, while he thinks others could be biased in Zimmerman’s favor, thinking that vigilante justice is the appropriate way to address out of control violence in our neighborhoods.

There's been a lot of pressure to put Zimmerman behind bars, but the charge of second-degree murder did catch some people off guard.

Swanson says rather than the special prosecutor trying to send a message, she's more likely making sure the state is in a strong position, in case a deal can be struck.

Don Swanson/Defense Attorney: " I think that she's charging that so that she then can plea bargain it down to a voluntary, or involuntary manslaughter, is where I would see this thing coming in at. It gives her negotiation room, it gives her a chance to test public sentiment."

Swanson says by opting for a second degree murder charge, Angela Corey also showed she wasn’t looking for the kind of political cover that taking the case to a grand jury would offer the prosecution.

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