Process Versus Outcome

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The American legal system is about process, not outcome. It is designed to guarantee that every defendant will get a fair trial by a jury of HIS or HER peers. Unlike the legal systems, so called, in other countries, it is NOT designed to deliver a specific outcome. Nor is it, nor should it be subject to polls, protests, or the opinions of politicians, news readers, “community activists”, or anyone else.

The system is designed to be weighed in favor of the defendant at trial. The system requires that the “state” or the “people” prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Many of the people commenting on the recent high profile criminal case in a southern state know that. Despite that, they are ginning up sentiment for the lynching of a black man who shot in self defense. That was the verdict of the jury and it was the people on the jury that heard every word of testimony and saw every bit of evidence. It was the jury that had the difficult job of weighing that evidence and testimony and rendering a verdict.

While some people may be disappointed the “victim” didn’t get justice, the system isn’t designed to give justice to the victim. The system is designed to bring justice to society and the defendant.

Some people seem to want a do over for this trial. They ask the Department of Justice to bring federal civil rights charges against the now acquitted black man who was charged with a crime. This despite the fact that there is no evidence that the now acquitted black man had any race based hatred against the younger black man that he shot.

For those  of you who will attempt to point out that the former defendant was only “partially black”, I point you to Plessy v. Fergusson for a definition of what a black person is. Or you can look at a any institution that uses racial preferences for hiring or admission if you prefer. If you want to point out that Zimmerman’s father is white, I’ll point out that the President of the United States of America shares that distinction.

Despite all of that, there are people who, with a straight face and outrage in their words, tell us that this case is all about race relations in this country. If that were true, then the recently acquitted defendant would have been convicted on all counts and sent to prison for the rest of his life. That didn’t happen because a jury of five white women and one woman of color weighed the evidence and testimony and decided that he had committed not a murder, but an act of legitimate self defense.

The system worked as it was designed to work, it just did not delivery the outcome that some people wanted.

What everyone should do is just stop demagoging this matter and put it to rest. The trial is over, the verdict is in, it’s time to continue with life.

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. Unfortunately lost in all the racial back-and-forth is the original reason for the outrage: the police did not follow their own policies immediately after the incident. This was not a homeowner defending his home. This was a shooting in a public place after the shooter informed 911 dispatch he was following the other person; and yet the police took his word of self-defense at face value?
    No blood tests for alcohol or drugs on the shooter?
    The shooter’s clothes not collected for evidence right after the incident?
    No search of the vehicle the shooter was driving until after the shooter’s family had accessed the vehicle?

    Only two people know exactly what was said and done that night, and one is dead. FWIW, from all I’ve heard and read they both made mistakes and IMHO are probably equally responsible for Martin’s death. Had the police followed the standard procedures at the outset, it would have at least stopped some of the questions that still linger.

    • Interestingly, none of that was at issue in the case. I don’t think the police took his word at face value. They interviewed him and other people, they referred the case to a District Attorney, who declined to send it to a Grand Jury. There it sat until the media and politicians decided to get involved. The prosecution was all about politics. The state had no case because everything that was uncovered pointed towards self defense.

      • I don’t blame the DA at all for not wanting to prosecute; but that doesn’t excuse the cavalier treatment of physical evidence at the scene immediately after the incident. Hell, if I was Zimmerman, I’d be pissed about the police treatment of evidence; it more likely would have helped his case to have a clean blood tox screen and nothing found in his vehicle. As a result, they had a lack of evidence instead of the pertinent negatives that could have headed off some of the questions and political pressure.

        • Maybe I’m missing something here, but I fail to see the probative vale of either a search of his truck or a drug/alcohol test.

          Depending on where the shooting took place in relation to his truck would have a significant bearing on whether or not it was part of the crime scene. A warrant would require a statement of probable cause that a crime had been committed, that GZ was a suspect, and that there was evidence in the truck that related to the two other items.

          A drug test would also require probable cause or consent and I haven’t seen a thing in the record that indicates suspicion that GZ had been drinking or using drugs before the shooting.

          Intoxication could certainly have a bearing on a self defense claim, but again, there would have to be something to point towards use before a warrant would be issued.

          Keep in mind that I’m not a lawyer and am certainly not familiar with FL law, so my answer is generic in nature.

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