Late Saturday evening, the jury that was deliberating to determine George Zimmerman’s fate returned to the Seminole County courtroom where they had heard two weeks of testimony regarding a rainy night in February 2012 where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed.
The jury foreperson read the verdict, and Zimmerman was found to be not guilty of second-degree murder as well as manslaughter in the teen’s death. The verdict caused an explosion of responses from those who agreed with the decision as well as those who disagreed with it.
The case garnered headlines after Zimmerman shot Martin, who was African-American during a confrontation. Media reports indicate Zimmerman had followed Martin and essentially profiled him. After the shooting, several weeks went by and numerous protests took place around the country before Zimmerman was arrested. The incident raised a number of questions regarding race in America and to what degree self-defense can play in a criminal court. Some believe that an innocent person was killed, and then the justice system allowed the killer to go free.
As for the verdict itself, many legal analysts were not surprised with the decision given the evidence presented to support the prosecution’s burden of proving that Zimmerman acted with “ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent” as required under Florida law. Others believed that Zimmerman was only guilty of bad judgment in profiling Martin but acted in self-defense.
We take no position of the propriety of the verdict. But ultimately, the trial was an example of the critical need for experienced criminal defense attorneys in the face of serious criminal charges.
Source: CNN.com, George Zimmerman found not guilty of murder in Trayvon Martin’s death, July 14, 2013