It’s the maximum charge they could have thrown at him, as first degree requires malice aforethought and the facts as we know them simply don’t support it. I’d like to think this will calm everything down, but now we’ll shift into OJ/tabloid/daytime talk show mode. Full story from the NY Times.
[Added:] Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection disagrees with me regarding calming things down:
Although Zimmerman now is charged, and the case is in the courts, I expect the Martin family attorneys, Sharpton, and others continue to work the case in the media from a racial angle and to inflame passions in the community as a means of tainting the jury pool.