George Zimmerman and the Criminal Justice System at Work
Mob justice is a funny thing in that it isn’t justice at all. Its actions hinge on assumption, cherry-picked information, and in most cases no shortage or rage or other strong emotion. You never hear a story about how a well-reasoned mob of citizens considered all the evidence thoroughly before thoughtfully rendering their verdict. That doesn’t happen. In our country, we have an imperfect criminal justice system, but it’s founded on two of the best principles out there: the presumption of innocence and the right to a trial of one’s peers. In the wake of the verdict in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, many are calling for justice, but that’s not what they’re after — they know it and our lawyers know it.
When Not Guilty is Only the Beginning
Going through the criminal justice system in the United States is incredibly stressful. My job as an attorney is to provide a rigorous defense for my client; to protect their rights at every turn and shoulder the burden for them through this difficult time. Zimmerman’s defense team had the same obligation, and in doing their finest work convinced the jury that he wasn’t guilty of the crime he was charged with. The entire trial — from beginning to end — is the justice system at work. Both sides presented evidence, witnesses gave testimony, and the jury deliberated over that information in reaching their verdict. That is justice.
The problem with massive media coverage surrounding a trial is that casual viewers get to form opinions without considering all the information. We don’t know what the jury knew, what those six women discussed behind closed doors. Because of the media attention, Zimmerman may never return to a normal life under the radar, despite a jury of his peers finding him not guilty.
Focus on Positive Reform
Our laws prohibit double jeopardy — meaning you can’t be tried for the same crime twice. There’s no going back with this case, which means we can only move forward or choose to stay stuck in the same place. Instead of focusing on the Zimmerman trial’s fallout, perhaps it’s better to examine our laws and how they’re applied. Clearer statutes concerning self-defense and the use of lethal force would be a nice start. I don’t want to see another teenager lose their life to gun violence any more than I want to see a man who feared for his life charged with a crime for defending himself. We are a nation of laws, and if we don’t like how our lawmakers enact or change our statutes, that’s the greatest issue we need to address. Shouting out opinions of guilt or innocence isn’t how our system works, and that’s never going to change. Clear and concise presentation of the facts is what matters.
If you, or someone close to you, has been charged with a crime, you need the skills of an experienced trial lawyer to stand up for your rights. Call a Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer today for an immediate consultation with our legal team. We make jailhouse visits and can respond 24 hours a day in emergencies.