Understanding your ground

Our legal system is the best there is, but it isn’t perfect. Innocent people get found guilty all the time, and guilty people get found not guilty (which, technically, is not the same thing as being found innocent). I’ve won cases I was sure I’d lose and lost cases I was sure I’d win, and sometimes after a verdict both the DA and I scratch our heads and wonder what the jury was thinking.

That’s why I always advise my clients to take deals when they don’t want to gamble with a trial. That’s also the main reason I’m against the death penalty (I don’t believe there should be a 100% irreversible penalty when our system is not 100% perfect).

The Zimmerman trial is the latest example. The verdict doesn’t make sense to me, but hey, sometimes I just scratch my head. For some reason, those jurors were not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. Another jury watching the same trial could have found the exact opposite. That’s how the system works.

As people point out, this case was all about self-defense. I won a huge self-defense case last year, but the laws here in Pennsylvania are different. We don’t have a “stand your ground” law which is popular in those “wild west” types of states that want people to be able to do things that only trained police officers do elsewhere.

Self-defense laws in most states hold that you must retreat from the fight if at all possible and if you do fight back, you cannot give more force back than is necessary. Florida’s law, apparently, is “if someone is giving you some bruises, you can kill them. Especially if they’re armed with skittles.”

I’m not even sure exactly how the prosecution and the judge allowed Zimmerman to use the “stand your ground” defense. Zimmerman was the one stalking Martin, right? He’s the one who started the fight and came to it with a loaded gun. If it hadn’t been for Zimmerman’s aggression, there wouldn’t have been a fight and Martin would still be alive. Martin was the one standing his ground.

But, you know, people are murdered every day. The vast majority of these cases never make the news, and I’m sure there have been some miscarriages of justice in these cases too, hidden from the scrutiny of the press.

The bottom line is this: I’m a defense attorney and I can’t figure this verdict out. I mean, it seemed black and white to me.

Hey! Maybe that’s the reason!

2 thoughts on “Understanding your ground

  1. Pingback: Florida is crazy |

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