Zimmerman Not Guilty, What Now?!
I can understand a lot of people’s frustration; the outcome is not what some expected but from a legal perspective one could argue that it was inevitable. I listened to the hearings whenever I had free time and the outcome was somewhat predictable. In many other states Zimmerman would have been found guilty, but with the way the laws are written in Florida, it was hard for the prosecution to ever eliminate ‘reasonable doubt’. In this case many would argue that ‘Not guilty’ does not mean innocent – it just means there wasn’t enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a ‘reasonable doubt’. In a case that was poorly handled and investigated by an inept police department thus lacking hard evidence, a case that was highly politicized, and hijacked by social groups on both sides (NAACP, NRA etc) – a circus is what ended up being presented. I know a lot of people are giving examples of other cases such as the Marissa Alexander “Warning Shot” to highlight a double standard. However, every case is different and to create false comparisons can actually be a bad thing. So what happens now? First and foremost is that we acknowledge and respect the law regardless of the verdict given. We do not riot or go after Zimmerman, we do not attack the jurors or drag Obama’s administration into this – we simply strive to change the laws if we do not like how they are written.
I think its a dumb law that found Zimmerman innocent and not race, poor jury selection or bad lawyers – lawyers on both sides were impressive. I think it was the legal definition of “Stand Your Ground” and “Self Defense” that made it hard to prove guilt. I know some people are running to race and racism, but I think to do so would be to undermine the substance in this case – the fact that an innocent human being’s life was taken should be substantive enough without both sides bringing racism accusations into our conversations. So what happens now? We strive to make changes to laws we do not like – laws that sometimes find innocent people guilty and guilty people innocent. You can prosecute as many people as you like; defend as many people as you like – but as long as the laws remain odd, archaic, politically inspired, and sometimes outrageous – outcomes like this will always be the norm whether or not it’s the Rodney King beating or OJ Simpson, Sean Bell or Trayvon Martin. Sometimes what’s morally right is never in sync with what’s legally right – even if all the jurors wanted him to be guilty deep down in their hearts, the law insisted otherwise – and yesterday’s case was a great example of that. So we should not target Zimmerman or his lawyers; we should not target the jury, witnesses or prosecution. We should target the laws that acquitted him.
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