What is it that makes a fair trial a fair trial?
The acquittal of George Zimmerman Saturday by a Florida jury has erupted a national discussion with one huge multiple choice question looming. Did the justice system prevail … or did it fail? It clearly seems the answers lies solely on whose side you are on – the prosecution or the defense.
Those who are convinced George Zimmerman racially profiled an unarmed teen, chased him down and shot him are sure that justice is blind and once again the system only works for the privileged.
On the other hand those who feel Zimmerman acted in self defense when confronted with a life-threatening situation feel justice was indeed served and was given a fair trial.
Which brings up the question, “How does one define ‘fair trial?'” We hear that term bandied about before the start of high profile cases from O.J. to Casey Anthony. Advocates on both sides want to see a fair trial. But the truth is, for most, “a fair trial” is one, and only one, in which their side wins. For the prosecution an acquittal is tantamount to a biased jury while, as far as the defense is concerned any conviction is a travesty of justice.
While we all have opinions on the verdict, some of them strong, only six women had the responsibility of rendering a verdict. We have to assume they took their jobs seriously, we have to assume they searched their souls and weighing the evidence that was presented, rendered a verdict they believed in. In other words we have to assume the system worked, whether or not we got the outcome we anticipated or wanted.
Because of the emotional weight of trials such as George Zimmerman’s, as distasteful as it might seem, a bit of celebration is to be expected. In the days following the verdict some media figures, in particular some well-known conservatives reacted positively to the news. Ann Coulter tweeted “Hallelujah,” while Rush Limbaugh called it a “rare victory for the right.”
Those reactions brought criticism from progressive media outlets such as MSNBC, who called celebrations in the wake of a teen’s death, “disgraceful.” But we can’t help but believe many of those same outlets would have indeed celebrated a guilty verdict, with the longer the prison sentence the greater the jubilation.
The current Daily Mining Gazette online poll asks if you agree or disagree with the Zimmerman verdict. As of Wednesday afternoon, those in favor have a more than three-to-one lead over those who disagree.
With the onslaught of media coverage and a barrage of in-your-face journalism many people feel as if they really knew how the case should turn out. But they weren’t in that jury box. Six women were and we have faith they got it right. We have faith the system worked.