Zimmerman Verdict Was Not a Failure of the System

Here’s what happened: George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. During the trial, he claimed self-defense. The State of Florida claimed it was murder. Since the burden of proof is on the State, prosecutors needed to prove that Zimmerman did not act in self-defense. The jury felt that the State did not succeed in making its case, and acquitted the defendant of all charges.

For those who believe that this was a “failure of the system”, which part of the system would you correct?

Would you get rid of the presumption of innocence and put the burden of proof on the defendant to prove that his actions were lawful? Would you abolish trial by jury? Would you prohibit defendants from arguing self-defense in murder cases?

It is particularly disturbing to see so many in the black community express an eagerness to give the State more power to convict people based on flimsy evidence, when such power would overwhelmingly be used against black Americans.

The fact is, no amount of outrage is going to change the fact that the prosecution failed to make its case. Emotion is not evidence. George Zimmerman was acquitted because the State of Florida did not meet the burden of proof, not because of racism or “Stand Your Ground” or any other reason put forward by the factually-challenged media.

The system did not fail–the State did. Justice is not synonymous with conviction. Only totalitarian countries have 100% conviction rates. The fact that some defendants are acquitted means that some juries are in fact serving as an effective check on the power of the State to imprison people.

In this case, the jury effectively exercised that power–refusing to convict George Zimmerman without proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty of the charges the State had brought against him.

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