What's next for George Zimmerman?

12:37 PM, Jul 15, 2013   |    comments
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  • (CBS News) -- George Zimmerman has been cleared of murdering Trayvon Martin, but he faces a new set of problems as he moves on to the next chapter in his life.

    While he has his freedom back and he can travel abroad and live anywhere in America, he will never get back the life he led before he killed Trayvon Martin.

    Attorney Mark O'Mara, who defended Zimmerman, says the neighborhood crime watch volunteer will have to look over his shoulder for the rest of his life. 

    "I'm sure that if he could wave his magic wand he would just sort of get his life back," said O'Mara. "He has to be very cautious and protective of his safety because there is still a fringe element who has said at least in tweets and everything else that they want revenge."

    With his "not guilty" verdict, Zimmerman is now eligible to carry a concealed weapon again.

    To his critics, Zimmerman's name has become a racial flashpoint.

    "It boils down to is you've got a 17-year-old kid who is minding his own business wearing a hoodie and gets accosted gets followed by an individual who wants to be a cop," said Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda.

    The Department of Justice has said it will now review the trial records for possible civil rights violations. However, if he was tried again it would not be for murder and manslaughter.

    "There are certain situations where the same set of facts and circumstances can give rise to different state and federal charges," CBS News legal analyst Jack Ford explained on "CBS This Morning."

    Ford said that historically the DOJ would only jump in if they see that there was a failure to investigate, a failure to prosecute, or a fundamental flaw in the first trial. However, it is not often they find those qualifications.

    "Statistically, it's not probable that it would happen but we've seen in the past, for instance, the Rodney King case. It's certainly possible that the Justice Department can say, 'we're going to prosecute here,' " said Ford.

    For the federal government, they would need to know that Zimmerman violated Martin's civil rights because of his race.

    Trayvon Martin's family still has the option of a civil trial as well. Ford said that this type of trial would be very different as there are no jails involved, victims are looking for monetary damages and it is just the families against each other.

    "There are differences," Ford said. "The standard of proof is much, much lower. In a criminal case, it's beyond reasonable doubt, in a civil trial, a mere preponderance of the evidence. Also in a civil trial they could compel George Zimmerman to testify where he couldn't be compelled to testify in a criminal case."

    Zimmerman once dreamed of a career in law enforcement. Now he might again. But first he has to live with knowing he shot and killed an unarmed teenager.

    "This is something no one gets over. There's no winners here. There's no monsters here. That's the tragedy," one of Zimmerman's defense attorneys, Don West, said. 

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