The George Zimmerman Trial

State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman


On July 13, 2013, a jury of six women concluded that George Zimmerman acted in self-defense when he shot and killed seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin on a dark and rainy Sunday evening in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012.

george-zimmerman-trial-defaultDuring the five-week televised trial, the world was captivated by the testimony of over 50 witnesses who contributed to the evidence that was ultimately considered by the jury of women (five white and one Hispanic) to acquit George Zimmerman of, not only Second Degree Murder, but Manslaughter, as well.

The trial became a circus, with the “big top” being the courthouse in Sanford, the “ringleader” being the media and the “acrobats” being the lawyers trying the case on behalf of the State of Florida and those defending Zimmerman, who was one of the circus “performers” whose act never materialized (other than reruns of his previous performances) under this tent of criminal justice.

The media fueled the flames of controversy by creating panels of various “experts” who were supposed to make the trial process more understandable to the viewing audience, but mostly proffered their opinions and scenarios as to the guilt or innocence of Zimmerman and those opinions appeared to be determined by the color of the panelists’ skin.  Zimmerman is white/Hispanic and Martin was African-American and, although race was not supposed to be a factor in this trial, it ended up being the only issue in the opinions of many people.  In fact, race and the ownership and use of guns in America are the reasons this verdict will not bring an end to the discussion of issues involved in the Zimmerman murder trial.

The American criminal justice system is one that many feel is unfair because of arbitrary enforcement of laws and the tendency of many jurisdictions to pursue criminal charges predominantly against members of minority populations.  Another reason the system is considered unfair is because criminal defendants who are financially well off are able to hire top-notch criminal defense attorneys and those who are not depend on a public defender, a salaried employee of the government who many (oftentimes incorrectly) consider less competent lawyers.  In the Zimmerman case, an internet website was created to collect money for Zimmerman’s defense from individuals throughout the world who supported his version of the events that took place that night, without which he also would have probably had to rely on the public defender’s office.

The wheels of justice move slowly for those who are financially disfranchised in America or who are members of minority populations and this results in a criminal justice system that is seen as unfair and biased.  Add to that the polarization of views regarding the ownership and use of guns and other weapons in America and you have a debate that will continue among the American people indefinitely, since there appear to be no resolutions in sight. Read More

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Never Underestimate an Attorney-Client Relationship

Chicago Attorneys

trial-lawyers-300x150Choosing an attorney is not an endeavor that should be taken lightly. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a lawyer, there is a good chance that you are going through a difficult, emotionally-charged time. Whether you have been injured in an accident and need compensation to help provide for your family and medical expenses, or whether you are facing years in prison after being accused of one of many different sex crimes(read more) , your life is in upheaval and the emotional turmoil can complicate your ability to make rational decisions.

When finding a lawyer, it is important to consider things like education, experience, and record of success; however, it is also crucial to find an attorney with whom you can build a positive attorney client relationship.

During a free consultation, you may be able to gain a first impression of a lawyer’s personality and the type of legal service he or she will provide. There are several important factors to consider in addition to personality to determine if your relationship with the lawyer will be beneficial to the success of your case.

First, how does the attorney respond to your concerns? As stated before, this is an emotional time for you, and it is important to make clear-headed decisions based on the best interest of your case, rather than acting rashly out of fear. Any attorney who guarantees a positive outcome is preying on your fears and your emotion.  Promising a multi-million dollar judgment or guaranteeing an acquittal is unethical. The outcome of your case is left to the judge and jury; since those two entities are comprised of humans, the no one can predict with 100 percent accuracy how those people will react to the evidence of a case. Instead of handing over your money to an unscrupulous attorney who promises results if you pay a retainer today, look for one who will give you an honest assessment of what to expect and who does not guarantee a positive result, but instead vows to do everything in his or her power to try to get one.

Similarly, you do not want an attorney who is only going to tell you what you want to hear. Your friends, your family, and your therapist can offer you emotional support and tell you everything is going to be okay. And maybe it will be. However, you do not want to find out as you stand before a judge or jury that the consequences of a conviction are far greater than you ever dreamed. Your attorney should acknowledge the difficult time you face, but should provide you with all of the information available about what you can expect. Your best defense may not be to plead not guilty and go to trial. It may be to accept a plea bargain that minimizes your sentencing. By looking clearly and carefully at the details of your case, your attorney should offer sound legal counsel to help you make wise decisions about your case, unclouded by fear and emotion.

Finally, for your own peace of mind and to further clear communication and realistic expectations, find a lawyer who is willing to take the time to answer all of your questions and respond to your concerns. Your attorney should not be “put out” or annoyed by your concerns; rather, he or she should address them carefully. On his Chicago Law website, criminal defense attorney Michael Brennan discusses this particular issue:

“A large part of my job is not only doing the work, but explaining to the clients what has been done and what needs to be done. I find that many lawyers are very good at doing the work, but a lot of them do a poor job relaying the information to the client. You can do phenomenal work, but if the client doesn’t know it’s being done, they are going to panic. A large part of a good attorney’s job is making sure the client doesn’t panic until and unless it’s time to panic. Staying in constant contact with the client with regular updates is the only way to do this.”

Pay careful attention to how a lawyer responds to your concerns during an initial consultation. It could be indicative of how he will respond once you have hired him. If a lawyer brushes you off now, when he is trying to earn your business, how much less likely is he to cast you aside once he has cashed your check?

You are not hiring a best friend. You do not need empty promises to salve your fears. You need straight shooting and quality legal services. Do not act rashly in hiring an attorney; rather, carefully evaluate the attorney-client relationship and look for the best lawyer to fight on your behalf.

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Tips for Storage Auctions

Texas Storage Auctions

If you are one of the many people interested in engaging in the purchase of storage facility contents for resale, like the storage auctions in Dallas and DFW Texas, as I’m sure you’ve seen on TV the following information may be helpful to you.

auctionFirst of all, you should locate storage auctions that are conducted in your area and attend some of them as an observer before you attempt to participate in the bidding process.  The Internet is an invaluable tool in this regard because there are many websites devoted to locating these auctions and they can be found in classified newspaper ads, as well.

You should arrive at the auction site at least 15 minutes before it begins in order to complete necessary paperwork to register.  Most auctions start right on time and many are cancelled at the last minute because the renters of the storage containers often pay their back-rent just before the time set to auction the contents.  You can usually confirm the occurrence of the scheduled auction by calling the facility beforehand.

By first attending the auctions as an observer, you can gain valuable information about the process and get to know the regulars who participate in them, as well as facility owners and auctioneers.  Another thing to consider is using a Post Office Box address and a telephone number that is not easily associated with you for registering because there have been instances where personal information about buyers has been divulged to angry former owners of the storage unit contents.  You want to remain anonymous for that reason.

Usually storage center auctions allow for visual inspection of the unit’s contents immediately followed by the bidding process.  Sometimes auctions do not allow for inspection of contents and bids are offered for whatever may be contained in the unit, sight-unseen.  There are also “blind auctions” where buyers submit their bids confidentially in sealed envelopes, but these are less popular.

At auctions where pre-sale inspections are allowed, an employee of the storage facility will generally remove the lock from the unit in the presence of the bidders, if they haven’t already replaced original locks with their own, and potential bidders will be permitted to walk by and visually inspect the contents without actually entering the storage unit or handling anything in it.  After the very fast visual inspection, auctioneers will begin accepting bids and the auctions go really quickly and end with the highest bidder purchasing the unit’s contents.

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Salt water fly fishing ~ Fresh water

PEI Tuna Charters


If you are one of the millions of fishermen who have discovered the thrill of fly-fishing, you have probably purchased fishing gear designed for either fresh water or whether you’re about to go on one of many PEI tuna charters for  salt-water fishing.  Are these rods and reels interchangeable; in other words, can you use the same gear in both types of water?  The simple answer is yes and no!

flyfishing The same fishing technique is used whether you are fly-fishing in the ocean’s salty water or in a fresh water river, stream or lake.  However, the fishing gear is usually designed by manufacturers to be used in one situation or the other.

The main difference between the two types of fly reels and and rods is the composition of the material from which they are made.  Salt water is much more corrosive to steel and can warp and discolor wood that is used to manufacture handles on the rod.  Many salt water fly fishing rod manufacturers recommend that you rinse your fishing gear with fresh water after each salt water use to prevent any damage from occurring as a result of the corrosive saline in sea salt water.  That means that you can surely use your salt-water gear in fresh water but, conversely, you should not use fresh water fishing gear in salt water fishing situations.

The reason is that salt-water fishing gear includes metal composites like nickel-plating instead of steel on the reel seats, which is much more resistant to corrosion than the steel plating used on fresh water gear.  Salt-water fly fishing reels also tend to have sturdier reel seats, as well as larger guides (which are useful in passing knots).

Therefore, it is not advisable to use your fresh-water fly-fishing gear in salt-water conditions since you risk damaging your equipment beyond repair because of the destructive nature of salty water.  You can, however, use your salt-water fly-fishing gear in fresh water situations without much worry about causing damage.

In either event, it is a good idea to rinse your fishing equipment after each use to preserve your expensive fishing gear for future use! Read More

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