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July 15, 2013 at 8:50 AM
Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman: Trust the jury, repeal the law
For all of the visceral passion surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, and the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the jury is not a worthy target of anger.
As the rest of the world flitted in and out of the proceedings, as commentators on MSNBC and Fox News had nightly hissy fits of speculation, the six-member jury was in the courtroom every day. They saw it all, they heard it all. They were not convinced. Do not blame them.
Indeed, one cannot know the frustration of the jurors. A verdict of not guilty, is certainly not the same as proclaiming Zimmerman innocent. Jurors might have longed for a third option available in Scottish courts, “not proven.” Jurors might well have concluded the prosecution did not make its case against the armed, self-anointed peacekeeper.
Going after Zimmerman with a U.S. Justice Department civil rights claim does not seem right. A whiff of a double jeopardy hangs in the air, and the failure of the prosecution to muster a compelling case for manslaughter does not bode well for arguing some higher level of racial animus.
The single best memorial to Trayvon Martin – Justice for Trayvon – is repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. The 2005 license to kill provides armed-arbiters of law and justice with the legal veneer to shoot someone. Tombstone in Florida.
Martin’s family has asked for the public to remain calm. Respect the grace of the family plea. Instead of taking the anger to the streets, all of the energy released by this unhappy case and trial should be focused on the Florida legislature. Go to the heart of this human and legal tragedy. Repeal the deadly charade known as Stand Your Ground.