Maybe We’ll Get a Sane Trial

So many high profile trials turn into media events, with grandstanding lawyers and flaky judges, and I’m hoping for something more sane and sober for George Zimmerman’s trial. Well, assuming it goes to trial. There’s still a possibility that a magistrate will toss the case because of the “kill at will” law.

Last night I did a bit of browsing through comments threads on right-wing sites, and the consensus is that as soon as Zimmerman is found innocent the entire state of Florida and probably other places will be consumed by race riots. Some are also certain that Zimmerman’s new attorney, Mark O’Mara, already is getting death threats, although there’s been not a word about that in the news.

Both the prosecution and Zimmerman’s new lawyer have said that further facts about the case will not be made public before the trial, which is as it should be, so I think further arguing with righties about who might possibly have done what is even more pointless now than it was before. So let them believe that all the witnesses swore Zimmerman was getting beat up by Martin and that voice identification technology is worthless. I have some hope that the trial could get the story straight.

I also agree with Joan Walsh:

There’s an element of hysteria that makes me think that right-wing whites are afraid that if black people get any real power in this country, they’ll use it to treat whites as badly as some whites have treated them. Fox’s Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly emerged as shrill Zimmerman defenders, as though he was a white Everyman being menaced by a mob simply for defending himself against a dangerous black man – the facts of the case be damned. “First they came for George Zimmerman…”

I have been impressed by the fact that the movement to defend Martin mostly stayed away from demands for vengeance or punishment. For the most part, people were demanding information about the apparently shoddy police procedures; some, like Sharpton, advocated that Zimmerman be arrested. Sure, people seized on and promoted any evidence that made Zimmerman look guilty. That’s part of making clear that an injustice has occurred. But the loony right focused on four New Black Panther buffoons and their racial threats rather than the reasonable demand for answers by Martin’s parents.

Righties will no doubt swiftly remind us of the New Black Panthers (who are they, four guys in Pittsburgh somewhere?) issuing a bounty for Zimmerman, and Spike Lee’s boneheaded tweeting of George Zimmerman’s address that wasn’t even the right address. But on the whole most people have just been calling for the criminal justice system to take the shooting seriously. Now that it has, I hope everyone can be patient and go back to making fun of Mittens.

See also Jonathan Capehart.

9 thoughts on “Maybe We’ll Get a Sane Trial

  1. “Maybe We’ll Get a Sane Trial”

    Not a chance, the cables and the wing-nuts have already politicized the incident, it has racial overtones, we have an upcoming election that is sure to have racial overtones, the trial will be held in Florida, not a chance!

  2. I am hoping, probably beyond hope, that the trial leads to a movement to rescind the Florida law that made it possible to argue that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense and thus not guilty of murder.

    If the prosecution can prove that Zimmerman pursued Martin up to the very end whether Martin ‘fought’ back or not is beside the point. If Zimmerman was the aggressor, Martin, according to Florida law, would have been within his rights to shoot Zimmerman – not the other way around.

  3. I’m with uncledad.
    FOX and talk radio will treat this like a white version of the OJ trial.

    Divide and conquer is all the right has, and racial hatred is a powerful tool. They’ll be on this trial like white on KKK-brand rice. They’ll keep pumping on gas, hoping to get a media inferno going.

    Conservatives have never had the support of the African-American community (or, at least not since 1965, after the CRA’s Acts were finally finished getting passed), lost many Hispanics, and now, a lot of women are fleeing.
    And this is now what’s left of their base – scared white racists, and the people who love them.

    They’re hoping to stir that base up with this trial, if there is one, and the media circus surrounding it, and hope that it will help lead to a Republican victory in November.

    • I’m with uncledad.
      FOX and talk radio will treat this like a white version of the OJ trial.

      Of course, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the trial itself will be conducted like a circus. A lot depends on the judge, though. If there’s a hammy judge, all bets are off.

  4. As I see it, because of the SYG law there can never be a fair trial. Too much damage has already be done by the Sanford Police Dept and the initial Prosecutor. When justice has been put in the hands of the individual you can’t take it back and expect it to still be justice.

    • All of you are confusing the trial with the news coverage. Of course the news coverage will be nuts. I’m talking about the trial, though. You know, the way the lawyers and the judge conduct themselves.

  5. Oh, yeah – I took that the wrong way.
    Sure, a lot will depend on the Judge. And I also there’s a strict one in, and he/she makes sure that it will be a sane trial.
    But I can’t help thinking that the point of having a right-wing media circus will be to put pressure on the jury members, and all of the officers of the court – including the Judge.
    Of course, what do I know about trials?
    I’m not a lawyer, and never been a juror, so the only things I know about come from TV, movies, and books. And it’s been years since I’ve stayed in a Holiday Inn. 🙂

  6. All of you are confusing the trial with the news coverage

    I don’t think you can unlink the two. Does Florida allow cameras in the court-room? Look at what happened to the OJ trial, it had many of the same elements that the media love to exploit, racial tension for one. Most of the lawyers, judges, pundits, family members associated with that trial went on to become celebrities with lucrative TV shows or multi-million dollar corporate sponsorship deals, think Greta Van-sustenance, Robert Shapiro, the Kardashians! Based on the news conference the prosecutor in this case may choose to exploit this situation as well. I hope I’m wrong but I thought it strange that she shows up wearing a gigantic cross and talking about praying with the family, dog whistle to the right-wing, maybe, maybe not. I thought it most telling that she spent the first five minutes of the press conference thanking her team as if she had just been awarded an Academy award, a little strange. One positive is that Zimmermans lawyer seems much more respectable than those two shmucks he had previously. I hope you are correct and Travon’s family gets a fair and respectful trial, I just don’t think the media will allow it, it’s all about the bottom line you know.

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