Post-trial: What is to be done?
George Zimmerman has been acquitted in Florida. The deck was overwhelmingly stacked in his favor.
1. Florida’s NRA-backed self-defense statutes required the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was not in fear for his life when he shot Trayvon Martin. This is a ludicrous burden when the only witness who could challenge Zimmerman’s account is the victim.
2. The prosecution put up a half-assed case by any estimation, failing to introduce or explain key pieces of evidence, and failing to challenge the credibility of the corrupt Sanford Police Department.
3. Judge Nelson allowed a pro-Zimmerman jury with no black members to be seated by rejecting the State’s peremptory challenges of two jurors, on the basis of a Defense objection that the prosecution had challenged too many white women, despite the fact that Nelson herself noted that white women made up a hugely disproportionate percentage of the jury pool.
4. The jury instructions Nelson employed overwhelmingly favored the Defense.
5. Judge Nelson allowed the jurors unsupervised time with family and friends, leading to the possibility that outside information was brought into their deliberation. WFTV news story. Commentary from addictinginfo.org.
The criminal trial may be over, but the Martin family may bring a wrongful death suit against Zimmerman, and there is a possibility (however small) the Federal Department of Justice may bring Civil Rights charges against Zimmerman, or investigate the goings on inside the SPD. More importantly, jury verdicts do not decide how major political trials will be judged by history, nor how they will ultimately influence our society and culture.
And so our discussion, and our work, continues…