Tuesday, July 16, 2013
A Florida jury has found George Zimmermann not guilty in the murder trial of Trayvon Martin.
The jury of six also finds Zimmermann not guilty of all lesser charges including manslaughter.
While I continue to follow this matter I would like to add additional perspective. Our President Barack Obama has called for calm throughout the nation, the U.S. Department of Justice under Attorney General Holder has initiated a federal investigation. It is my opinion in this matter the United States system of justice has failed. This creates parameters for which the community and Martin family might respond with civil suit, non-violent civil disobedience, and revision to stand your ground law.
The Jury: Made up of five Caucasian females and one Hispanic female. Even though in the State of Florida diversity is the norm, in Seminole County approximately 80% of the population is Caucasian. The jury in this case after reviewing their statements upon the cases' closing are very sympathetic to George Zimmermann. This makes me very uncomfortable that race indeed was an underlying factor. Which does not imply racism, however demographics in the United States and the prism through which people looked impacted this case.
The Defense: Mark O'Mara and Don West won the defense battle.
The Prosecution: failed from the start by charging then designing their case under murder two. This clearly is a manslaughter case. The prosecution was asleep until attempting to come back during final arguments when it occurred to them their case was lost. Charges can be brought if a persons actions results in wrongful or accidental death, evidence is sufficient to prove such. Why did the prosecution peg Zimmermann as a cold blooded murderer instead of a person who made a stupid decision which resulted in the death of a minor?
Contradictions: The stand your ground law is a problem in this case. Trayvon Martin was followed by Zimmermann, Trayvon was aware of this which he why he was turning to be aware of his surroundings. Trayvon exercised his right to stand his ground, as he was not engaged in unlawful activity. In can be stated that neither Martin nor Zimmermann knew each other's intent. In my view Trayvon Martin being a minor was at a greater level of threat. After observing George Zimmermann give his account of what had happened I believe he lied about two crucial points: the gun and the screams for help. I believe Zimmermann pulled his gun earlier than stated which compelled Trayvon Martin to scream, entering an instinctive fight or flight mode to defend himself. Zimmermann's body language, ton of voice changes when providing statements about "holstering and upholstering" his gun.
There is a lot of discussion about who was on top, but in all reality, does it matter?
Civil Rights Law: I'm not an attorney. historically civil rights law has served as a deterrent placed on private business and public institutions who may engage in discrimination. It has had little impact on the actions and beliefs of individuals. To try this case under civil rights law is an almost impossible feat. The Supreme Court has recently weakened civil rights legislation. Looking at this matter simply as one of civil rights is a misguided approach based on emotion rather than prudence. Why not in addition seek civil suit for wrongful and/or accidental death?