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Your Views: Justice for Trayvon should be decided by a jury of his peers

POSTED: April 26, 2012 1:10 a.m.

The black community was understandably outraged about what happened to Trayvon Martin. But I always thought that the main point of the protests and public outcry seeking “justice” was that the killing needed to be properly investigated and the shooter arrested.

Now George Zimmerman has been arrested and formally charged with murder. The prosecutor is rejecting his self-defense claim and will try to show Trayvon was without any fault in this incident. Zimmerman will be put on trial before a jury of his peers, with his freedom depending on what the jury thinks of his self-defense story.

When the jury has heard all the evidence and been instructed on the law, it will hopefully reach a unanimous decision. No matter how it goes, we need to accept the verdict and recognize that the system that produced that verdict was fair and unbiased.

The law only requires “probable cause” indicating guilt to arrest somebody for a crime and then formally charge them with it in the appropriate court. But a conviction for a crime demands the state prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

When Zimmerman is the only witness who can testify to how the physical fight started, and when other witnesses and evidence corroborate his story that he was getting repeatedly hit in the head and face and his cries for help went unanswered when he pulled his gun out of desperation, there is a good chance that jurors will have doubts about his guilt.

Kurt Martin
Gainesville

 


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