While criminal (and civil) trials are marketing efforts just as they are legal efforts, one always does well to remember that there are legal requirements for gaining criminal convictions.
When someone is accused of a crime, the legal standard for conviction is evidence that shows guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
But in the Trayvon Martin case, the reasonable doubt continues to pile up in favor George Zimmerman, who is accused of Murder 2.
The injury evidence alone is huge: it appears to back up Zimmerman’s story. The gashes, the broken nose, the black eye.
The fact that Zimmerman only shot once is indicative of someone not intending to kill an assailant. (Anyone knowledgeable of tactical issues knows that it is prudent to at least double-tap the assailant. I know of NRA instructors who recommend shooting the assailant at least three times.)
Making matters worse for the Trayvon Martin camp: Martin had THC in his system. He was at least partially impaired, and this would not bode well for his judgement.
Now, keep in mind, that none of this evidence shows who started the fight.
And THAT is the key issue.
If Martin started the fight, then none of the haggling means anything: Zimmerman is totally innocent.
If Zimmerman started the fight, then he is, at mininum, partially-negligent and, at worst, totally negligent.
The dilemma for the prosecution: the evidence does not jibe with the story of Zimmerman starting a fight. In order to believe the prosecution, Zimmerman picked a fight with a younger man who towered a foot over him.
I’m the same size as Zimmerman. I’m in excellent shape–less than 10% body fat, and strong cardiovascular and core/upper-body fitness–but have serious health issues (bad disks in my back, torn cartilage in my left knee).
But even in my prime, I would not consider starting a fight at all, let alone one with someone who had a one-foot height advantage on me. I find it very hard to believe that Zimmerman was that stupid.
I carry a firearm–and know how to use it. But, if anything, that makes me LESS likely to get into fights. This is because I know that, if I so much as draw my weapon, I’d better be ready to show–in a court of law–that my actions were totally justified.
In fact, Zimmerman’s actions–after the fact–tell me he is nothing if not innocent. He volunteered to talk to the cops; he trusted law enforcement to believe his side of the story.
Even though his father is a retired judge, he didn’t “lawyer up”. He could have asserted his Fifth Amendment rights, told the cops to go to Gehenna, hired the best lawyer he could find, and he would be totally in the clear.
Personally, what has transpired is an object lesson in why our Founding Fathers designed our Constitutional protections into our system. They knew–firsthand–how European legal systems, England in particular, railroaded innocent people.
While there are many good people among the ranks of prosecutors, keep in mind that they have competing interests.
In theory, prosecutors are supposed to be interested in going after only those people who are guilty. In reality, they are under pressure to get convictions, especially in high-profile cases where they have political aspirations.
Sadly, George Zimmerman has found this out the hard way.
If I were on the jury, I’m not seeing enough evidence to support even a negligent discharge of firearm conviction, let alone Murder 2 or manslaughter (voluntary or involuntary).