When George Zimmerman walked out of a Florida court room, his supporters on the far right claimed vindication – not only for him, but also for the “stand your ground” doctrine. You know, the law that’s being reviewed a thanks to activists who proved that ground can be stood by with courage and persistence instead of a gun?
According to Juror B-29, (and reasonable people) Zimmerman literally got away with murder. As she put it:
You can’t put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty
The fact that the juror was instructed to consider stand your ground doctrine, (despite the fact that his defense was a classic self defense argument) could be seen as a misstatement of the law. That was one important thing that made it possible for jurors to “know” that Zimmerman murdered a teenager, but the law and the evidence tied their hands. The fact that Zimmerman wasn’t defended on stand your ground, yet the doctrine was included in the jury instructions and it was ever present in the minds of at least some jurors shows how someone can literally get away with murder by simply saying at the time they pulled the trigger they thought they were in danger.
After the verdict, the Department of Justice resumed its review of the case to determine if civil rights charges can be filed. The Department of Justice also announced that it welcomes public input and tips by email. Sanford.email@example.com
This aspect of the case was on the table before Zimmerman’s trial with the intent of resuming the investigation after the trial. In other words, the DOJ had planned to investigate if civil rights charges are warranted prior to knowing what the verdict would be.
The effort to hold Zimmerman legally accountable for civil rights violations also came in the form of a petition at the White House’s website, We the People. The text of the petition is:
Civil Rights Prosecution of George Zimmerman by United States Department of Justice for death of Trayvon Martin
Petition Requesting Prosecution of George Zimmerman for depriving Trayvon Martin of his Constitutional Rights of Life and Liberty by the United States Department of Justice, Eric Holder, United States Attorney General in United States District Court as swiftly and expeditiously as is possible.
As is the case with all petitions on the site, a minimum number of signatures is needed for the White House to issue a response to the subject matter. While Zimmerman did get away with murder, that doesn’t mean he can also get away with civil rights violations . As someone wise told me recently, justice can prevail in many ways.
In this case, the deadline for this petition is August 13. Signing this petition would make it possible for justice to prevail for Trayvon Martin and his family.
Image: AOPA Asi Blog