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What the George Zimmerman Trial Taught Me

I purposely stayed away from television and most social media following the George Zimmerman murder trial verdict because I had no desire to have my head explode.

I stayed away not because I was mad at the verdict, in fact, I am pretty agnostic about it.  As an attorney, I understand how the legal process works and I also did not sit through the entire trial like the jury.  My consumption was probably like most Americans, I saw bits and pieces.  However, unlike a lot of people on social media, I made it a point to keep my opinions to myself, because I did not think I could speak intelligently on the issue.

I have seen people on both sides of this issue make some of the most asinine statements regarding Martin and Zimmerman.  When an Indiana Congressman posts on his Facebook page “No Justice, No Peace” something is fundamentally wrong.  When someone who does not live in an urban environment and the only black people they see is when they are flipping the cable channels says they are anticipating riots to break out, that person needs to have their head examined.


I am sure there are a lot of lessons that can come out of the Martin-Zimmerman case, but the biggest one is that most Americans have absolutely no idea how the criminal justice system works.  And if cameras in the courtroom are supposed to address that issue, I doubt if they really do.  Trials are complicated enough, but I have to ask does it serve a purpose when most people just consume 5-10 minutes of testimony and then decide to play Perry Mason?

And even the layman who watches wall-to-wall coverage still isn’t an attorney.  They are not in the courtroom.  They are not observing the jury.  They are paying pain staking attention and detail to witness testimony.    They don’t know the rules of civil and criminal procedure.  They just end up having more knowledge to offer a more uninformed opinion.  And that is what I think is the real tragedy out of this case.  So many people are offering opinions about something they don’t understand.


  • Ramon

    You don’t have to be Perry Mason or have watched the entire trial to know that Confederate justice was used once again.

  • malercous

    Very well put Abdul. We weren’t in the courtroom & didn’t hear everything. Law school has taught me that there are at least 2 sides to every story. Criminal cases must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury acted in good faith & justice has been served. I accept their decision. Reasonable doubt is the key here, a defendant must recieve the benefit of doubt.

  • Randyknowsbest

    Yawn……guess it’s time to look for the black helicopters and replace my aluminum foil hat!

  • Jane Doe

    Just an FYI: Stand your ground law was not in play during the Zimmerman Martin Trial. He claimed self defense during a May 1st, pretrial hearing. The religious community has to get their intel correct.


    Zimmerman to argue self-defense, will not seek ‘stand your ground’ hearing
    By CNN Staff
    updated 5:43 AM EDT, Wed May 1, 2013

    George Zimmerman waives his right to a “stand your ground” pretrial immunity hearing

    Zimmerman’s attorneys have instead decided to argue self-defense

    (CNN) — George Zimmerman, set to stand trial in the
    2012 shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, on Tuesday waived his
    right to a “stand your ground” pretrial immunity hearing. Zimmerman’s
    attorneys have decided they will try this as a self-defense case.

    Florida’s deadly force
    law, also called “stand your ground”, was passed in 2005. It allows
    people to meet “force with force” if they believe they or someone else
    is in danger of being seriously harmed by an assailant. Under the law, a
    person can use deadly force anywhere as long as he is not engaged in an
    unlawful activity, is being attacked in a place he has a right to be,
    and reasonably believes that his life and safety are in danger as a
    result of an overt act or perceived threat committed by someone else.

    In a pretrial immunity
    hearing, a judge would have ruled whether Zimmerman’s actions were
    protected under the “stand your ground” law; a ruling in favor of the
    defendant would have meant that no criminal or civil trial could

  • Ramon

    Then why did the judge read a jury instruction explaining Stand Your Ground law?

  • http://www.thePoliPit.com JednaVira

    The jury instruction did NOT contain an explanation of Stand your Ground. I read the entire thing. Look for yourself. http://www.docstoc.com/docs/159748267/Zimmerman-Final-Jury-Instructions