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Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Trial of the decade.

Well, it is early on in the 2000's for sure, but the trial of George Zimmerman will be one of the defining trials of our time (or at least the foreseeable future).

Zimmerman stands charged with 2nd-degree murder for shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin under racist and suspicious circumstances.

The Florida DA and special prosecutor waited weeks to charge Zimmerman and the reason for this delay, which is open for speculation, will decide the outcome.

If the delay was due to lack of evidence and weeks of police work turning up nothing than it could be a very scary trial. Some speculate the charges are solely a result of national pressure though the prosecutors strong deny these claims. If it turns out the prosecutor is lying than the trial will be a real circus in the same pulsing vein as the OJ Simpson trial, even the Scopes-Monkey debacle.

If however the delay was merely a means for the DA and prosecutors to build some sort of case against Zimmermann, then the circus will have a much more foreboding tone. There are after all career on the line for the prosecution. Knowing this trial will be a monster, I would hope they are competent enough to not completely embarrass themselves. Public outcry if Zimmerman is acquitted will be worse than the OJ outcry.

OJ SImpson at least was exposed to the public in a positive way before his trial, Zimmerman does not have that advantage. The world is just learning about George Zimmerman, and so far the odds are the so-called court of public opinion has already condemned him.

Whatever the reason for the delay of the charges, this trial will be a hot button issue for the next 5 years at least.

In a strange, surely taken out of context quote, President Obama stated "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." Talk about lack of context. My first tought is the impression Obama is likening Trayvon to his son to voice his deep disapproval of Zimmerman's actions. Killing a person who, if he had a son, would resemble the President's offspring? Blasphemy! String him up on the White House lawn!

This trial will bring into the limelight a self-defense law known as the "stand your ground" law. The law is normally only relevant if a citizen murders a home invader they believe is in the act of committing a felony. In Florida, the law (passed by unanimous vote in the Florida legislature) includes incidents in public, not just one's home.

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.
History.s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1188, ch. 97-102; s. 2, ch. 2005-27.
Read the full details of the statute here

The law has Libertarian roots but it is already the subject of heated debate after the Trayvon Martin case brought the national eye to the law.

I tend to agree with the home invasion law. If anyone were to come into my home committing felonious acts every which way, a gun in their face would seem reasonable. But some may disagree and think that just calling in the mounties would somehow prevent the intruder from destroying your home, raping your wife, and beating you with the rotten salami sitting in the fridge for the last three months.

In any case, this trial has grave implication in Florida and the other handful of state where "stand your ground" laws exist. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. These laws may find themselves under Supreme Court scrutiny when all is said and done.

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