Sunday, July 14, 2013
All of us liberals, pinkos, etc., are disappointed, so say the least, that the jury in Florida found George Zimmerman "not guilty" of murder or manslaughter of Trayvon Martin. We have no doubt in the least that the white dude (Zimmerman) just assumed that the black boy (Martin) was thinking of committing a crime - probably burglary - in the community he was trying to enter. We have no doubt that Zimmerman attacked Martin. We believe Martin tried to defend himself (big mistake for a black person facing a white dude in Florida) and that Zimmerman shot and killed him. We're sure that Zimmerman should have been found guilty. We rejoice that the U.S. Department of Justice is going to look into the matter and try to achieve some "justice" for Martin.
I have a second thought. I served on a jury once. We found that the defendant, a black man with a criminal record, was guilty of attempted rape and automobile theft. The victim was a white woman. I at least would have bent over backward to find an excuse for not convicting the black man. However, he didn't present a convincing case. He testified that at the time of the alleged crime he had been working to repair a friend's apartment. I wondered why the friend wasn't there to support his story. In the discussion after the case, I asked the defense attorney why he hadn't called this friend. Before he could answer, the judge stated that the attorney had never heard of the friend until the defendant mentioned it in his testimony. The weight of the evidence was against the defendant and I voted with the rest of the jury to convict him.
I've thought a lot since then about how a jury makes a decision. Jurors, even in Florida, are reasonable people. In a murder trial, they know that they must not convict if there is reasonable doubt of the guilt of the defendant. In the Zimmerman case, the jury was presented with two different stories about what happened. In one of them Zimmerman was the bully and the attacker and Martin simply tried to defend himself. In the other case Martin attacked Zimmerman who then shot Marin out of fear for his own life. Which story was the jury to believe? There was no convincing evidence or testimony presented to verify either story without doubt. It is better to set a guilty person free than to convict an innocent person. Hence, the jury had to choose the "innocent" verdict. I expect that, if I had been on that jury, I would have reached the same conclusion.
We should compare this trial with the famous trial many years ago in Los Angeles of O. J. Simpson. It was obvious to me that Simpson was guilty of murdering his ex-wife and her boy friend. However, the prosecution presented such a sloppy case that the jury was in doubt, and chose to acquit a possibly guilty man rather than convict a possibly innocent one.
Perhaps we should copy the Scottish law. In Scotland a jury has three choices: guilty, not guilty, and not proven. If the result is not proven, the defendant is set free but the prosecution can order a new trial at any time later. It's something like a hung jury in British or American trials.