Monday, July 29, 2013

Aftermath of George Zimmerman Trial: July 29

And the Drama Continues

Even though the George Zimmerman verdict hype seems to be dying down thanks to Anthony Weiner and the birth of Prince George, some new developments have still kept this story in the news. The first came at the end of last week, when another juror decided to break her silence and talk to ABC about serving on the jury in the George Zimmerman trial. Juror B29 did show her face but only allowed herself to be called Maddy out of fear for her safety. Maddy spoke to Robin Roberts and basically expressed comments that I think a lot of watchers of this trial were thinking. She said that she felt “George Zimmerman got away with murder.” Maddy also remarked that in her heart she knew George Zimmerman was guilty, but she could not convict him because the evidence did not support her gut instinct. She eventually relied on the letter of the law when she made her decision to find Zimmerman not guilty stating that there was just not enough evidence to prove that Zimmerman committed second degree murder or even manslaughter.

This is a shocking admission from a juror. The only other juror making public statements was juror B37 (who remained anonymous). She said she believed that Zimmerman’s actions were correct through and through and she had no doubts that Zimmerman was innocent. Maddy’s opinion offers a totally different reading of the case and once again brings the prosecution’s efforts under scrutiny. Here is a juror who did not need to be convinced of Zimmerman’s guilt but just needed the evidence to justify her “guilty” vote, and the prosecution could not deliver it. As more and more details about the trial come out, I am even more convinced that the prosecution threw the case away. Is there any way the State Attorney can be investigated for intentionally losing a case? In fact since the State Attorney is a political position voted on by Florida citizens, if the majority of these citizens were pro Zimmerman it seems like the State Attorney solidified her re-election by presenting a weak case. If anyone should be blamed for the Zimmerman acquittal it should be the prosecution not the jurors. 

Though Juror B29’s admission of wanting to convict George Zimmerman might have added to the drama of the verdict (and helped Good Morning America once again beat NBC’s Today Show), it really just added entertainment to the trial aftermath and did not really address any of the national issues this verdict now brings to light. Fortunately, Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, is not letting her son die in vain and is trying to enact some change in local Florida laws to prevent other deaths like her son’s. Fulton made an appearance at the National Bar Association convention being held in Miami this year. She made a plea to the lawyers of the nation to fight back against “Stand Your Ground” laws claiming that this law helped Zimmerman get away with murder. In fact the National Bar Association supports Fulton’s fight against “Stand Your Ground” and has asked Florida’s governor and legislature to repeal the law. Right now the legislature has refused this request claiming that since the law was instated in 2005, the violent crime rate has declined; however, the legislature fails to point out that since the law the number of justifiable homicides has risen. 

I will say I am impressed with Sybrina Fulton. This has to be a very difficult time for her, especially since her son’s killer is free. But instead of bitching about how the trial was unfair and that her son did not receive justice, she is trying to enact some positive change for all Florida citizens by working towards getting this law repealed. It seems like her crusade is even taking precedence over the civil suit against Zimmerman (nothing has been reported yet of Trayvon’s family filing suit but you know one is coming). She seems dedicated to her cause and wants to make sure another person’s child does not suffer the same fate as Trayvon.

To also help convince Florida lawmakers to repeal the “Stand Your Ground” law, other activists, most notably Stevie Wonder are requesting a boycott of Florida.  This would mean not traveling there for vacation, not buying Florida products, basically refusing to buy or do anything that would support the Florida economy. This boycott would be similar to the boycott against Arizona when it passed anti-immigration legislation. Though this sounds like a good idea in theory to force Florida lawmakers to take another look at “Stand Your Ground,” boycotting Florida is not an easy answer to success. An article posted on lays out the challenges a boycott faces. First of all, Florida is not the only state with “Stand Your Ground” laws. In fact 20 states have this law on the books which signifies that a significant number of Americans support this law. Also people are not going to immediately cancel their Disney World trips or their visit to their relatives just because someone is asking them to boycott the state. If the boycott does become successful and Florida does suffer an economic loss, this boycott could end up hurting the African American population of the state more than it is trying to help them by repealing the “Stand Your Ground” law. Florida’s tourism is one of the leading employers for the state and employs many African American people. Even Sybrina Fulton thinks boycotting Florida might not be the right step to solicit change in the legislature.

Well just as with every news story, the George Zimmerman trial is losing steam, but thanks to Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, she is trying to keep the bigger issues alive and present in the public’s mind. Keep following this blog for further updates regarding the aftermath of the trial. Until next time….

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