Monday, July 22, 2013

Thoughts on the Zimmerman Verdict

The national media continues to whine like a stuck pig over the jury's verdict. We hear nonsense like "the jury wasn't given a chance to get to know Trayvon". The reason, of course, is that had the state made Trayvon's character an issue, then the defense would have been entitled to respond with all the evidence of his bad character--his assaults, his school suspensions, his drug use, and on and on.

We hear speculation about possible federal charges, which is completely ludicrous. The federal investigation was to determine whether the Sanford PD was proceeding properly. There would be no basis for any federal charges against Zimmerman, who is not a government employee.

There are many injustices in the Zimmerman case, but they are not the ones the mainstream media will talk about. Here are some: It is an injustice that George Zimmerman was arrested and subjected to the ordeal of a trial, when the evidence of his guilt was absent. It is unjust that a good and honorable man, the Sanford Police Chief, lost his job because he chose to uphold his oath to defend the constitution, which requires probable case for arrests, rather than bow to the pressure of the politicians. It is unjust that George Zimmerman will probably have to live his life in hiding, due to the outcry and resulting hatred fomented by the media. It is unjust that the media keeps harping on the fact that Trayvon Martin had every right to be on the public streets to buy his junk food from the local convenience store, while never once mentioning that George Zimmerman also had that same right.

It is unjust that Jesse Jackson, a man I’ve long admired up until a week ago, made the ludicrous statement that Trayvon Martin will go down in history as a martyr alongside Emmett Till and Medgar Evers. Really?? How dare Jackson tarnish the memory of these great heroes and martyrs of the civil rights movement by putting them in the same breath as this kid who caused his own death by his reckless behavior.

Thank God we live in a country which is set up as a republic, meaning that there is a check on executive power, and not a democracy or a dictatorship, both of which are subject to the ruling government persecuting minorities who happen to disagree with the government. The government here (i.e., the politicians) decided Zimmerman had to be arrested and charged. In many other countries, this would have been the end of the story. Thank God for our system, which protects folks who the government deems undesirable.

The one positive thing I see in the aftermath of the Zimmerman trial is that attention is being drawn to the Florida case of Marissa Alexander, who got 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband. A huge miscarriage of justice. This was a case prosecuted by Angela Corey, the same over-aggressive prosecutor who decided to file the bogus 2nd-degree murder charges against George Zimmerman. A prosecutor is sworn to do justice, not convict at any cost, and it wouldn't bother me in the slightest if this disgrace of a prosecutor were to be disbarred for violating her oath.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The George Zimmerman Trial: Defense Scores Big after a Rocky Start

The prosecution got off to a great start with a strong opening statement. The defense then trotted out an old, bald, ugly James Carville lookalike, but without Carville's winning personality.This guy told a horrible knock-knock joke, which fell completely flat, and he compounded his blunder by castigating the jurors for not laughing at it. He then droned on for hours, giving a dry recitation of facts, and failed completely to connect with the jury.

But then the parade of prosecution witnesses started, and the defense has seemed to score big with every one of them. It is hard to understand why the state of Florida even bothered to file such a weak case.

What is fascinating is to go back and compare the actual facts that have come out with how the media portrayed them in the media frenzy that led up to the filing of the criminal murder case. The media made a big deal about race; the facts are that race has nothing to do with this case.

The media also made a big deal about the Florida "stand your ground" law; the facts are that this law has nothing to do with this case, and in fact was not even raised by the defense. The fact is that self-defense is a legitimate defense in every single jurisdiction in the United States, and that is the only reality at issue here. The fact also is that, unlike in Britain, in U.S. jurisdictions generally there is no "duty to retreat". What this leaves us is with the fact that, as far as I can tell, the so-called "stand your ground" law adds nothing of substance to the case; the only difference I can see is the procedural one that a defendant can get a pre-trial hearing on the stand your ground question and avoid a jury trial, if the judge determines that the defense is valid.

The third aspect of the media frenzy is that Zimmerman was portrayed as an adult male, bigger in size than the teenage defendant. The fact, according to one of the prosecution's own witnesses, is that Zimmerman was clinically obese. He was taking martial arts to lose weight, and, according to a statement made in the opening statements, was considered by his instructor to be too "soft" to actually be allowed to engage in any martial arts competition. Trayvon Martin, by contrast, was a high school linebacker, and therefore considerably tougher than the defendant.

The charge of second-degree murder is completely bogus, as any murder charge requires malice, and there is no evidence of malice here. There seems little doubt that a complete acquittal is in store, and the only suspense is how quickly the jury will render this inevitable verdict.

It needs to be noted that the testimony of Trayvon's girlfriend was a complete disaster. She was the worst prosecution witness I have ever seen; she was sullen, insolent, combative, inarticulate, and in all other ways a disaster. How is the jury ever going to dispute the defendant's version of the fight, if this pathetic testimony is all the prosecution has to dispute it?