The Larger Issues Of The George Zimmerman Trial

Posted: July 14, 2013 in Current Events
Tags: , , , ,


Just a few thoughts on the recently concluded George Zimmerman trial:

  • I agree with those that have said that the legal system makes for a lousy forum to discuss broad societal issues.  The focus of a legal trial is just so narrow.  (For instance, the words ‘racial profiling’ could not be used during the trial.  For the broad question of why what happened that day happened, this certainly appeared to have been a factor.  But on the narrow question of whether a crime was committed, it was irrelevant.  One citizen racially profiling another is not illegal.  It’s just wrong.)
  • The bar for using deadly force in self-defense has been set too low in too many states.  For instance, in Florida, self-defense does not turn on what is reasonable but on what the shooter can reasonable believe.  So it matter not if Zimmerman reasonably needed to use deadly force to protect himself.  It only matter if he could reasonably believe that he needed to use deadly force.  That’s a much lower standard.
  • Also, even though you wouldn’t have known it from many of the articles regarding this case that were out there, the matter of who started the fight was irrelevant as a legal matter in Florida.  As long as the above standard was met (that Zimmerman believed he needed to use deadly force to protect himself), it matters not if he was the one who may have started the fight in the first place.
  • Now add the ‘beyond the reasonable doubt’ standard.  So to convict, the jury had to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman could not have reasonable believed that he could be caused great bodily harm without the use of deadly force.  Now add that Zimmerman clearly had lacerations and a broken nose from the altercation.  Given all that, at least I can understand how a jury could have reached the conclusion that they did.
  • However, given these laws, it looks like if you want to get away with murder, a pretty good way to try is to start a fight with an unarmed man.
  • Regardless of what your opinion of the trial’s outcome, I don’t see how you can look at the events starting on that tragic day all the way up to now and not think as a society we don’t have some large issues we need to work out.

This article from the American Prospect’s Scott Lemiux makes the points I am trying to better than I.

  1. List of X says:

    I wasn’t really surprised by the verdict either. With this law, we would probably only see a conviction if Zimmerman were black and Martin were white.

  2. gesvol says:

    I agree with you. At the very least, the dynamics of this whole situation would have changed, starting with the police action on
    the night of the killing.

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