In addition to its overall sloppiness, the state’s attorney’s affidavit in support of murder charges has a number of fairly egregious omissions, in particular the eyewitness account of Zimmerman being beat up, Zimmerman’s own testimony of being beaten up and attacked, and other factors supporting his self defense claims.
Florida criminal lawyer, Kevin Moot, writes the following, which seems directly relevant regarding “lies by omission” in a charging affidavit:
[T]he affidavit omits material evidence, as well as misstates a known fact. For instance, the affidavit claims that a police dispatcher “instructed” Zimmerman not to follow Martin. However, in the recorded phone conversation, the police dispatcher merely tells Zimmerman: “we don’t need you to do that.” While this may seem like a minor discrepancy, it is clearly inaccurate to state that the dispatcher “instructed” Zimmerman not to follow Martin. At a minimum, this misstatement of fact evinces a disregard for accuracy. What’s worse, the affidavit never makes mention of the 911 caller, who claimed that (1) Zimmerman yelled for help; and (2) that Martin as on top of Zimmerman, “beating up” on Zimmerman.While the affidavit claims that Zimmerman “admitted [to] shooting Martin,” the affidavit omits that Zimmerman claimed to have shot Martin in self-defense.
These omissions potentially render the Probable Cause Affidavit legally insufficient, and entitle Zimmerman to an evidentiary hearing on the sufficiency of probable cause. As the Florida Supreme Court held in Johnson v. State, 660 So. 2d 648 (Fla. 1995), if omitted material is added to an affidavit and thus defeats probable cause; and if the omission resulted from intentional or reckless police conduct with the intent to deceive, then a defendant is entitled to an evidentiary hearing.