The verdict came in after a day and a half of jury review. ‘Not guilty’ of Second-Degree Murder was the ruling. It seems the charge of Manslaughter was dropped from discussion. Even though Zimmerman went with basic self-defense over Stand your Ground, Trayvon Martin didn’t stand a chance dead or alive.
This case showed how hard it is to prove without reasonable doubt someone’s ill intentions. Zimmerman might not have left his house with the intent to cause harm. But his actions that evening lead-up to the tragedy. The Prosecution must have known the risk of not going with Manslaughter as the main charge.
It’s like leaving home to run an errand and getting a traffic ticket. No one leaves home saying “today is a good day for a ticket.” Even with the best of intentions it can happen. The officer will likely give the reason for the summons. Well, investigation at the scene of this case was influenced by Stand Your Ground.
Stand Your Ground gives someone the right to defend their space. The law is a ‘step-child’ of the Castle Doctrine argument where an individual has the right to use deadly force against a home intruder. Maybe Stand Your Ground and Racial Profiling have gone from ‘step-child to problem child’ in the justice system.
Some on CNN are asking the difference between criminal profiling and racial profiling. Criminal profiling does not always introduce race as a factor. However, racial profiling as a step-child of criminal profiling is where by using race you can cause real factors to be overlooked and assumed factors to be overplayed.
Zimmerman made some assumptions about Martin based on past incidents. The legal experts and social scientists have to figure-out whether racial profiling is insensitive or an injustice. If emotion should take a backseat in legal arguments then racial profiling is an injustice as it brings a form of bias to the front-seat.
Many feel we’ve been here before. The justice system seems to play hardball with certain groups of people. Why is that? Well, we know that the system is imperfect. It is based on laws written by imperfect people. The problem is that the system’s imperfections tend to throw certain groups ‘under the bus.’
More often than not, these groups end up being treated unfairly by the system. Sometimes due to reasons like mandatory minimum drug laws or the inability to hire high profile Attorneys. These are not always matters of racial discrimination. But at a minimum they are examples of legal system dysfunction.
Martin was doing nothing wrong that fateful evening. He was just a normal teenager, being profiled by a neighborhood watch volunteer, who was carrying a loaded semi-automatic and was familiar with the Stand Your Ground law. A sadder reality beyond the verdict is Martin didn’t stand a chance dead or alive.
Tip: Equal justice and racial justice are not always the same due to legal system dysfunction.
Talkback: Which played a bigger role in this case, racial profiling or stand your ground?