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A few weeks ago I blogged asking how could George Zimmerman not be charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin, at minimum manslaughter. Since then he’s been charged with murder, released on bail, and now had his bail revoked. The initial failure of both the City of Sanford and Seminole County sparked a national public outcry, …and PR nightmare for the City of Sanford, Seminole County, and the State of Florida. The failure to charge Mr. Zimmerman [the first wrong] has been corrected. Now the political knee-jerk reaction has overshot by revoking his bail, based on what appears to be an excuse not a reason, that he didn’t properly report his accumulating defense funds. The existence of the fund was no secret. It was reported on the internet, the primary vehicle for publicizing and collecting. And it’s not a case where Mr. Zimmerman is going to become rich. It’s a safe assumption his defense team will spend every penny. Therefore the only reason I can see for the judge to revoke bail based on Zimmerman’s growing defense fund is a politically motivated reaction [the second wrong]. This is not justice; that will come if/when the trial is conducted properly, i.e. the best facts available are properly examined and weighed.
This reminds me of the OJ Simpson murder trials. Another clear case where two wrongs might appear to make right, but do not. First, I’m convinced Mr. Simpson murdered Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. He acted guilty when he was charged; he acted guilty during the trial; and he all but bragged after. In the first trial the prosecution simply blew their case and, and Mr. Simpson was acquitted [the first wrong]. This trial was followed by the Wrongful Death civil trial brought by the Brown and Goldman families against Mr. Simpson. A wrongful death is the result of an illegal act, intentional (assault) or unintentional (negligence). Mr. Simpson was essentially found “guilty” – responsible for the wrongful deaths. [the second wrong] How could Mr. Simpson be responsible for the deaths of murdered people? He was found innocent of the crime of murder (intentional cause), and he couldn’t have accidentally stabbed two people multiple times. Therefore either by definition or physical limitation, Mr. Simpson should not have been held responsible for the deaths. It’s fine for law school homework assignments to accept convoluted logic and extreme interpretations of the law. But in real life the courts must act in a reasonable and responsible manner for the citizens to have faith in them.
If we are to give our Grandchildren a better world, we need court rooms and court systems that function properly, where all of the facts of the case are presented and weighed logically. We need courts that operate outside the rhetoric of the press and the arena of politics.