The jury was finally handed the case of The State of Florida vs. George M. Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin. This was a trial that lasted approximately four weeks, and it was heavily covered in the media. This case made the amazing opportunity to bring out all the unemployed lawyers to chime in on their “expert analysis”. So, what did the television networks get for their “expert analysis”? They got a major consensus that the prosecutors overcharged in this case by asking for second degree murder. They overcharged in this case by asking for second degree murder…once again, they overcharged in this case by asking for second degree murder?
The major consensus of the legal hacks was that the prosecution put on a flawed case, and the defense put on a brilliant case. The closing arguments made by defense counsel was an act of sheer brilliance, while the prosecutor’s closing arguments were bad. “He was shouting”, “He kept asking too many open-ended questions”, “The prosecution didn’t present a theory”, “The prosecution conceded to Zimmerman’s account”. Never once did I hear that the prosecutor, Bernie De La Rionda, has a winning record of 48-1 in prosecuting murder cases. Never once did I hear that Mark O’Mara has made a living as mostly a DWI/DUI attorney, and never did I hear one person say “What if George Zimmerman was black?” That is…until July 12, 2013. Prosecutor John Guy looked directly to the jurors and asked, “…if the roles were reversed with 28-year-old Zimmerman walking home in a hoodie… and a 17-year-old in a car…called the police with hate in his heart, and if it was Martin who shot and killed Zimmerman what would the verdict would be?”
I’m not going to answer that question, but ponder this theory. I was watching HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” last night. Bill Maher turned to his panel of two white republicans and African-American professor Cornell West and asked, “Who thinks George Zimmerman is guilty? Raise your hands.” Bill Maher and Cornell West raised their hands, and in there lies the problem with America. We view crime completely different.
What if George Zimmerman was black? What if George Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed white teenager on his way home from the convenience store? Would a self-defense strategy even be plausible? Would a white teen circling around a car occupied by a black man be plausible? Would it be plausible for an armed black man to step out of his car to go “look for a street sign” be plausible? Would it be plausible for a black man to get sucker punched by a white teen? To be fair, Zimmerman supporters would state that Zimmerman is not white and I would be an idiot to assume that he is. True, Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is Hispanic. Based on that logic Barack Obama is white because his mother is white and his father is black…right? The most subtle strategy in Zimmerman’s trial was for the defense to portray Zimmerman as a non-threatening white man. After all, on the night of the incident George Zimmerman was a physically fit, shaved head Hispanic looking male with a goatee. In contrast, one year later, he is an overweight Caucasian looking male with straight hair. He has been made to look sympathetic to the jury, and he has been made to look sympathetic to Caucasian Americans.
Yes, this case had everything to do about race, and if George Zimmerman was black I wonder how the panel on Bill Maher’s show would answer the question of guilt. I also wonder what the legal hacks would say about the prosecution over charging in this case. If George Zimmerman was black this wouldn’t be a murder in the second degree offense. This would be a first degree murder case, and George Zimmerman would be facing the death penalty. Make no mistake about it, and George Zimmerman wouldn’t have a good defense lawyer. I know this because the judicial system is full of black people that are faced with much lesser crime and they are faced with more prison time. Most blacks never see the inside of a courtroom from a trial perspective, because many black’s are forced to enter into plea bargains. A plea bargain is the most common tool for a public defender because the average public defender represents over three hundred clients, and they don’t have the resources to properly defend their clients in a fair trial by a jury of their peers. State Attorneys, on the other hand, have all the resources available to prosecute them. With that said, how can the justice system be viewed as fair? Life is not fair, and justice is not colorblind.
…so we’ll have to wait and see how five white women and one Hispanic/black woman rules on this case.