Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
It is simply too easy to assert that the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial was due to racism, although racial profiling and stereotyping, and appeals to racial prejudice were certainly part of the defense strategy in this case.
In the end, the defense successfully put Travyon Martin on trial rather than George Zimmerman. The defense made Travyon Martin the perpetrator rather than the victim of the crime. They were able to do so because of Florida's perverse criminal laws.
I was deeply offended by defense counsels' statements after the verdict, when asked if the race of the individuals had been reversed, would the outcome of the trial have been the same? Defense counsels asserted that there never would have been a trial because civil rights organizations would not have pressured prosecutors into bringing charges against an African-American -- a perverse claim of "reverse racism" that the race-baiters at FAUX News Fraudcasting have been hyping incessantly to their white grievance audience. (FAUX News was promoting the possibility of post-Rodney King verdict race riots breaking out after the verdict in this case. FAUX News is a malignant cancer in American journalism). As defense counsels tell it, George Zimmerman was the innocent victim of a lynch mob of civil rights organizations and the media. This is an alternate reality designed expressly for consumption by the conservative media entertainment complex. Defense counsels are shameless.
The verdict in this case had more to do with Florida's perverse criminal laws. In most jurisdictions, the burden is on the defense to prove self-defense, that it was more likely than not that the law breaking was done for reasons of self-defense. The Defendant typically testifies in order to make this defense. In Florida, the burden is on the prosecution to disprove the claim of self-defense to even bring charges, rather than disprove self-defense at trial. This is why you have heard so much from FAUX News that "charges should have never been filed" against George Zimmerman -- he said it was self-defense, case closed. (You can bet if the race of the individuals was reversed, the race-baiters at FAUX News would have been taking the opposite position).
Andrew Cohen, legal analyst at The Atlantic observes, Law and Justice and George Zimmerman:
What the verdict says, to the astonishment of tens of millions of us, is that you can go looking for trouble in Florida, with a gun and a great deal of racial bias, and you can find that trouble, and you can act upon that trouble in a way that leaves a young man dead, and none of it guarantees that you will be convicted of a crime. But this curious result says as much about Florida's judicial and legislative sensibilities as it does about Zimmerman's conduct that night. This verdict would not have occurred in every state. It might not even have occurred in any other state. But it occurred here, a tragic confluence that leaves a young man's untimely death unrequited under state law. Don't like it? Lobby to change Florida's laws.
And where did those perverse criminal laws come from? The American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC). Civil Rights Leader Turns Attention To Group That Wrote ‘Stand Your Ground’ In Aftermath Of Zimmerman Verdict:
On Sunday, in the wake of the jury finding George Zimmerman not guilty, President of the National Urban League Marc Morial tried to refocus people’s attention back on ALEC, calling for concerned activists to demand that ALEC’s corporate partners denounce the group.
Morial made the call on MSNBC’s Up With Steve Kornacki:
MORIAL: It’s important to recognize a year ago when there was some sunlight on ALEC, many of us called for many of its major supporters to withdraw. I want to renew that call this morning, because the poison of the stand your ground law was from ALEC. They went to the state — I’m a former state legislator — and have watched them operate. There needs to be sunlight on what they’re doing, which what they’re doing is creating model legislation and spread the poison of stand your ground all over the nation. Those who support ALEC should withdraw from ALEC because this kind of thing and the use of stand your ground is why at the very instance the law enforcement there in Sanford, Florida, did not arrest George Zimmerman as they should have, at the very inception.
In the months following the killing of Trayvon Martin, over 46 groups — including Wal Mart, MillerCoors, Best Buy, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola — dropped their ALEC memberships. Non-profit groups including the Gates Foundation also abandoned the group.
But with the lack of “sunlight,” as Morial calls it, the flow of groups leaving ALEC slowed and eventually stopped altogether.
UPDATE: Sean Sullivan at the Washington Post adds, Everything you need to know about 'stand your ground' laws:
The National Rifle Association lobbied hard for the measure, while law enforcement officials like Miami’s police chief opposed it.
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Since Florida became the first state to pass an explicit stand your ground law, more than 30 others have passed some version of it, with the help of a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a organization that promotes conservative bills. Here’s a 2012 map of stand your ground laws nationwide.
In the wake of the Florida case, we can expect an increase in calls to repeal or at least revisit the laws across the country.
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Expect to hear a lot from opponents of the stand your ground law about a Texas A&M University study that found states with such laws have more homicides than states without them.
While you are at it, you can lobby your state legislators to change the ALEC "stand your ground law" in Arizona:
13-411. Justification; use of force in crime prevention; applicability
A. A person is justified in threatening or using both physical force and deadly physical force against another if and to the extent the person reasonably believes that physical force or deadly physical force is immediately necessary to prevent the other's commission of arson of an occupied structure under section 13-1704, burglary in the second or first degree under section 13-1507 or 13-1508, kidnapping under section 13-1304, manslaughter under section 13-1103, second or first degree murder under section 13-1104 or 13-1105, sexual conduct with a minor under section 13-1405, sexual assault under section 13-1406, child molestation under section 13-1410, armed robbery under section 13-1904 or aggravated assault under section 13-1204, subsection A, paragraphs 1 and 2.
B. There is no duty to retreat before threatening or using physical force or deadly physical force justified by subsection A of this section.
C. A person is presumed to be acting reasonably for the purposes of this section if the person is acting to prevent what the person reasonably believes is the imminent or actual commission of any of the offenses listed in subsection A of this section.
D. This section includes the use or threatened use of physical force or deadly physical force in a person's home, residence, place of business, land the person owns or leases, conveyance of any kind, or any other place in this state where a person has a right to be.
A George Zimmerman can happen here.