10 June 2013

Glad I'm not on the Zimmerman jury

Jury selection began today in the Florida trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting death last year of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. And I'm glad I'm safely tucked away here in Pennsylvania, because I wouldn't want to sit on that jury.

Zimmerman's legal team will argue that the killing was done in self-defense, as permitted under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law - despite the fact that police, when Zimmerman had called 911, had instructed him to back off and not pursue Martin. Under Stand Your Ground, you can legally shoot someone if you perceive them as a threat - and you have no duty to try to retreat. (In other words, shoot first, ask questions later.)

If the defense successfully demonstrates that the shooting was protected under Stand Your Ground, the jury would have to respect that law. And that would be a very hard thing for me to do.

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