Wednesday, July 10, 2013
George Zimmerman Declines to take the Stand; Big Mistake
I suppose that I should not be second guessing George Zimmerman’s attorneys. Zimmerman, apparently on the advice of his attorney, will not testify in his own defense. I think he is making a mistake. And, I think this could very well cause him to be incarcerated for a number of years. Why?
Most jurors, in this case six ladies who reportedly knew little about the shooting of Trayvon Martin prior to them be selected as a juror, tend to rely on developed feelings consistent with their past experiences – such as raising children. They do not understand the nuances of the legal process. To them, silence is indicative of guilt. Just what the exact nature or scope of that guilt might be, they will probably be uncertain; but guilt nonetheless. To their minds, the innocent defend and explain themselves. This is, in my opinion, a very basic and understandable conclusion on the jurors’ part.
I have been waiting for the forensic evidence to be presented. Powder burns, nature of the bullet’s trajectory, blood spatter, etc. all give a definitive account of the circumstances to forensic experts. It appears that Zimmerman’s account of the incident is accurate. Young Mr. Martin was on top of Zimmerman beating the daylights out of him when Zimmerman drew his gun and fired. I think there is a strong case for self-defense. I know many will say that Zimmerman had no good reason to be following Martin; but following someone is not against the law. If it was, all PIs would be doing some serious time in jail. I’ve followed, in my career, many people. However, if I was attacked by one of those individuals, I feel that I would have had the right to defend myself – hit them with a rock, apply a choke hold, gouge their eyes, or, yes, even shoot them if I felt my life was in danger.
The Trayvon Martin shooting is a sad, and we all agree, unnecessary act. But, Trayvon bears some responsibility for his actions. This is one of those cases that has evolved into a highly publicized social issue involving: perceived racial inequality and injustice, gun rights, and just plain common sense. OK, Zimmerman shouldn’t have been doing what he was doing in following Martin. Foolish maybe, but not against the law.
Back to my original premise, the jurors will believe that the ‘good’ and ‘honest’ prosecutors wouldn’t have brought these serious charges against Zimmerman unless he has done something wrong. They will believe, in spite of the evidence presented, that there is more to the case – information that may not have been presented because of some legal technicality. Therefore, it was important, even vital, that Zimmerman take the stand and explain himself – which he will not do. In the minds of the jurors, this will confirm their suspicions.
What do I think will happen? I think Zimmerman will be convicted of a lesser charge – perhaps manslaughter. As a result, he will receive five to seven years in the penitentiary. The prosecutor will pat himself on the back. The defense attorney will pat himself on the back. The jurors will feel that they did their civic duty. And, everyone will go home – all except GZ.