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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