Is George Zimmerman guilty or not guilty of murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin?
As trial watchers debate George Zimmerman's guilty or not guilty status, debates are raging across the country about the case, its implications, its precipitates, and what a verdict will mean when tendered after a year and a half of debate.
Zimmerman's trial has spanned many current American debates, and it seems everyone has an opinion on how the jury should rule in the case.
But as Americans hotly argue their side of the dispute, legal experts are weighing in on the trial's twists and turns and how the law views aspects of the case.
Above The Law, a popular blog addressing law and lawyers, looked at the Zimmerman trial as jurors deliberate. A post shared this afternoon on Facebook looked at a few factors bandied about, most prominently the "Stand Your Ground" and "self-defense" claims.
Law blogger Elie Mystal addresses defense claims that the jury must believe Zimmerman's counter "beyond a reasonable doubt," opining that Mark O'Mara's assertions weren't wholly accurate:
"... lawyers can fill case books debating what 'beyond a reasonable doubt' actually means, but it doesn't mean the prosecution must 'disprove all other possibilities.' Is it possible that Trayvon Martin hid in the bushes, jumped George Zimmerman, started beating the heck out of him, and Zimmerman had to shoot to kill to save his own life? Sure. Anything is possible. It's possible that *I* called Trayvon, told him 'get that creepy ass cracker,' then threw my cell phone in the river."
... the question is not what's possible, the question is what's reasonable. The prosecution had to prove that Zimmerman started the fight. Or they had to prove that during the fight Zimmerman was unreasonably believed he was in serious danger.Of "Stand Your Ground," Mystal argues that the frequently debated law is irrelevant to the Zimmerman verdict, nor is it relevant to Zimmerman's guilt:
" [Stand Your Ground] HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS TRIAL. Christ almighty. George Zimmerman is arguing self-defense. He's arguing that Trayvon Martin started the fight, and that during the fight Zimmerman became reasonably (there's that word again) afraid of death or serious bodily harm that he was justified in his use of deadly force."
Mystal concludes from a legal perspective:
"... it's getting a little bit frustrating to hear people talk about the law, incorrectly, and act like the law 'demands' one conclusion or another. If you believe that Zimmerman should be acquitted, then all you're really saying is that you believe Zimmerman's version of events more than the prosecution's. Own it."
As we await George Zimmerman's guilty or not guilty verdict, what do you believe the jury will decide?