As the verdict in the George Zimmerman Trial was announced over this past
weekend, there was a much anticipated flood of opinions and emotions,
as people began to pick sides in a social and political debate. One very
important piece of this trial seems to be forgotten - Our criminal justice
system worked in the manner it was designed to work by our Founding Fathers.
In all criminal jury trials, it is always the fear of the criminal defense
attorney that the jury will not fully appreciate and uphold the precious
burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt
is the highest standard that exists in our legal system. It was understood
by our Founding Fathers, who experienced the oppressive power of the Crown,
that an individual must be afforded every reasonable protection when that
individual is accused of a crime by our government. That burden of proof,
and corresponding presumption of innocence, is afforded to every person
accused of a crime - including George Zimmerman.
We are not here to comment on the outcome. The jurors were the ones who
sat through the trial and heard all the evidence. For any commentator,
politician, or other person to comment on the outcome is inappropriate;
none of us are able to judge the credibility of each witness, the performance
of the attorneys, or the rulings of the court because we were not jurors
in the case.
This jury understood and appreciated proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Clearly,
they were not convinced that the government had removed all reasonable
doubt from each juror's mind, which is ALWAYS the government's
burden. If each juror still had reasonable doubt it was each juror's
legal duty to acquit Mr. Zimmerman.
Our criminal justice system is not in place to make victims of crimes feel
better. This notion is a fallacy. Our constitution speaks of individuals'
rights who are accused of a crime and nowhere does it talk about rights
of a victim or victim's family. A criminal jury should not consider
the effect its decision will have on the accused or on the alleged victim.
A criminal jury should weigh the evidence against the standard of proof
beyond a reasonable doubt. It seems the Zimmerman jury did this, and rather
than submit to political pressure or allow sympathy for Mr. Martin cloud
thier decision, the jury did not find the government's evidence convincing.
In such a circumstance, Not Guilty is the only proper verdict.