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Thursday, October 21, 2021

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Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman: the Debacle

George Zimmerman’s case will never see a jury.

George Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin. The charging document is flimsy according to leading attorneys (Alan Dershowitz speaks most loudly). The voice identification from a 911 tape of a “Help!” call was made by the deceased’s mother, rather than by someone trained to check out the sounds and to make a neutral scientific finding. Other allegations in the charging document are conclusions with no facts, e.g., that Mr. Zimmerman “profiled” Mr. Martin. There is no mention of the significant injuries that Mr. Zimmerman suffered, which injuries support his claim of self-defense and cast doubt on the prosecutor’s version of events.

Mr. Dershowitz stated his belief that the prosecutor committed a “grave ethical violation” that “borders on perjury” by charging Mr. Martin with such a heinous crime and leaving out of the affidavit the facts that support Mr. Zimmerman’s self-defense claims. I lack Mr. Dershowitz’s extensive credentials, and I furthermore lack his experience in the criminal courtrooms of this country. I therefore cannot comment.

The whole case is tragic for all parties. Mr. Martin’s family has lost a loved member. Mr. Zimmerman remains a hunted man, who has to go into hiding to prevent his own murder.

It is also an affront to decency in journalism and activism. Activists stirred this up as a racial issue, with tweets of Zimmerman’s home address (presumably to allow enraged third parties to take matters into their own hands), and other acts designed to make it “open season” on Mr. Zimmerman. The media made things worse by editing 911 tapes to make it sound as if Mr. Zimmerman is a virulent racist, and using photos that made Mr. Martin look like an innocent babe and Mr. Zimmerman look like a thug.

This nonsensical journalism gave way to the Zimmerman-supporters’ counteroffensive, showing him bloodied from the attack, and worse, discussing Mr. Martin’s past mistakes in detail. Those mistakes are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is what happened that night.

The Left and the Right have politicized the issue. The Florida “stand your ground” law is under attack from the Left, and defended by the Right. Legal experts who have no political skin in the game opine that the law is not involved in this case.

Mr. Dershowitz is a known leftist, but has taken Mr. Zimmerman’s side after reviewing the evidence. I’ve yet to see any prominent attorney of either political persuasion speak of Mr. Zimmerman’s guilt. Law Enforcement Officers who I know believe that the fact that Mr. Zimmerman was not charged on the spot is proof that he acted in self-defense, or that the prosecutors on the scene thought that he could not be convicted.

The political pressure under which the prosecutor was put was immense. One can almost feel pity for her. She charged Mr. Zimmerman with second-degree murder, only to receive howls of indignation from both sides. Zimmerman supporters screamed that he was overcharged, if he ought to be charged at all; the activists screamed in indignation that he wasn’t charged with first-degree murder and dragged off to “Old Sparky” for a quick lesson on the consequences of alternating current.

What do I think? I’m still unsure. Why did the prosecutor refuse to bring the case to a Grand Jury? I believe that the prosecutor feared the result. Mr. Zimmerman would have had the opportunity to be heard – remember that the prosecutor refused Mr. Zimmerman’s phone call to offer to tell his side of the story. What if Mr. Zimmerman’s version of events was more persuasive of the Grand Jury as they are of Mr. Dershowitz? If the Grand Jury refused to indict Mr. Zimmerman, would that have sparked riots? Is this American Justice? Do we lock a man up and put him on a multi-million dollar trial for his life because we don’t want to inflame the already-irrationally-inflamed passions of what could be optimistically called a mob?

What should be a matter of law enforcement has been converted into a matter of politics and activism. George Zimmerman is a marked and ruined man, even if a judge throws out this case at the next hearing date, which is a very real possibility. If he is made to stand trial and lose millions of dollars (not to mention Florida’s taxpayers) and is acquitted, he will still need to watch over his shoulder. He’s a marked man. Politicians are debating the future of a good law, which is inapplicable to this case.

Am I the only one who thinks that this whole debacle is shameful?