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George Zimmerman v. Trayvon Martin - really?

George Zimmerman has now been charged in the Trayvon Martin shooting with Murder 2 in Florida. It is very interesting that the local district attorney chose to bypass the Grand Jury process in favor of bringing charges via criminal information. It could be that because a Grand Jury process is confidential, that if they chose to Not Indict, there would be the same outrage against the system and the prosecutor. It could also be that the prosecutor had doubts about her case and did not want the case dismissed by the Grand Jury. Finally, the prosecutor could have feared that the Grand Jury would return a Murder 1 indictment, even though it was clearly not warranted and would be impossible for the prosecution to prove. Whatever the reason, based on the facts of the case and the current law in Florida, there is no way that Mr. Zimmerman should be convicted under the current Florida law. The current stand your ground law provides that you have no duty to retreat if there is a perceived threat. It further provides that if you believe that you are in imminent danger, you can use lethal force to oppose that danger. The jury is supposed to consider the belief through the eyes of George Zimmerman. The second question is whether George Zimmerman can get a fair trial, in Florida or anywhere. This case has already taken a Rodney King or OJ Simpson tone that the entire nation will be engaged in the trial. Furthermore, it is astounding and disappointing that what we would think are intelligent and open minded people, evaluate this case so much along racial lines. It highlights how prominent race still remains a determining factor, at least to some people, and how much it colors our view of reality. As such, the likelihood of a trial is very likely. That said, both sides have much to lose if the case proceeds to trial. Mr. Zimmerman may lose 20 years of his freedom and will likely be killed in prison. The state may lose the trial and see the outrage of the citizens in the form of riots, looting or marches. Even though the Judge will instruct a jury to consider only the facts presented at trial, you have to ask, "Will the Jury consider the likelihood of looting and riots if a Not Guilty verdict is returned?" As a juror, can you afford not to ask yourself this questions? If a prosecutor can be swayed by public opinion, how can we not expect jurors to also be affected. If death threats are made upon George Zimmerman, how can a juror not also feel the heat and threats to their decision. This is a highly unfortunate circumstances that brought together Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Was one looking for a fight? Likely. Which one? Regardless of the outcome of a trial or a plea, we will really never know. All that is left to do is pray for both of these individuals, pray for their families and pray that this case will not lead to violence and rioting but to a better understanding of life on the streets and the dangers involved. Note: I do not often do opinion pieces but this trial will undoubtedly generate buzz and questions.

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