Editor’s note: Darren Kavinoky is a criminal defense attorney at the Kavinoky Law Firm in California. He is the creator and host of “Deadly Sins” on Investigation Discovery, a TV legal analyst, and keynote speaker. He is on Twitter and Facebook.
I’ve often used the phrase “felony-stupid” to describe a person’s behavior when there is a clear course of action that should be taken -- one that is obvious to anyone -- and yet the opposite course of action is chosen.
The poster child for felony-stupid -- the President of the Felony-Stupid Club -- is O.J. Simpson.
In my view, Simpson got away with murder. The clear course of action for someone who gets away with murder is to lead an honest and upright life, one that does not tempt fate by engaging in any other criminal conduct. Shoplifting a pack of gum? No! Speeding on the highway? No! Jaywalking? Absolutely no!
There’s a reason for the expression “lightning doesn’t strike twice,” and Simpson has nearly three more decades in a Nevada state prison to contemplate it, following his misguided attempt to regain sports memorabilia that bore his signature and the criminal convictions that followed.
Well, there’s a new applicant for membership in the Felony-Stupid Club: George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman, you were acquitted of murder by a Florida jury just weeks ago. Put aside the readers’ feelings about the verdict for a second and consider this: You have just gone through a process that could have resulted in your spending every day of the rest of your life in a prison cell. Six jurors decided the government failed to meet its burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and let you off the hook. And some of those jurors now regret that choice!
Zimmerman, you were a coin flip away from a cellmate instead of a soul mate, from a life filled with stamping out license plates and trying to avoid the indignities of the “Shawshank Redemption” laundry room scenes.
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And in the aftermath of that close call, you’ve had two run-ins with law enforcement concerning your driving, your wife has filed for divorce and now this very public altercation that could have resulted in criminal charges being filed against you? Really?!
Some might call this bad luck. Some might call it “chutzpah.” I call it plain old felony-stupid.
Zimmerman, your path is a clear one. Whether you got away with murder or were properly vindicated for exercising your right to defend yourself, the clear and obvious path is to be cool like Fonzie, to have the stoicism of a Silent Bob, to be as aloof and indifferent as an ordinary house cat. That may mean walking away from your wife rather than engaging in a fight (even if she is a convicted perjurer and you want your stuff back).
Don’t get me wrong, Zimmerman. I have no illusions that you will undergo the personality change needed to bring this about. And everyone else in your midst would be well-served to get out of your way, too. It is crystal clear that just because you dodged one bullet, doesn’t mean the shooting has stopped.