Thursday, April 05, 2012

Let there be light....instead of punditry

Speaking of who justice is done for, or to; I will be glad when the Trayvon Martin case gets into a courtroom, and is tried according to rules of evidence and procedure, rather than rules of who can get the media's attention.

I've already heard that the "enhanced video" of George Zimmerman at the police station the night of the shooting, the one that appears to show scratches or bruises or who knows what on the back of Mr. Zimmerman's head, will be a "key piece of evidence" in any trial.

No. It won't. It won't even be admitted as evidence, because it's useless. Medical records might be admitted. Testimony from medical personnel who treated Mr. Zimmerman (if any), might be admitted. This "enhanced videotape"? Piffle. Same with the two men who listened to the 911 tapes and know it was not George Zimmerman screaming for help. One used a computer program, one used his "trained ears."

Let's just turn this thing into a three ring circus, shall we?

To their credit, the parents of Trayvon Martin have consistently called for one thing: the arrest and trial of George Zimmerman. That, too, is getting lost in the scrum, as Charles Pierce has noted. But even the issue of why George Zimmerman hasn't yet been arrested is now becoming a bigger issue than what will happen if he is arrested. Now we're looking for reasons in the "good ol' boy" network, where Robert Zimmerman has influence as a retired Virginia magistrate in central Florida. I think it much more likely that Robert Zimmerman made an impassioned legal defense for his son's actions, and thanks to the broad sweep of Florida's ridiculous "stand your ground" law, the police decided that, absent probable cause (a ridiculous standard for arrest), they were better off letting Zimmerman go than trying to keep him. And they were probably right.

I'm still getting mixed signals on what the Sanford Police did after this shooting. One report says they did keep Zimmerman's clothing as evidence; other reports indicate officers tried to influence the testimony of eyewitnesses to conform to Zimmerman's version. Was there no investigation, or did they talk to a 13 year old witness a week later? And now the FBI is doing its own "parallel" investigation (their term).

It seems clear to me that one way or another, George Zimmerman is going to face a trial for his actions, as he should. Florida's "stand your ground" law is stupid and reprehensible and an obstacle to justice; no law should ever do that. (And wonder of wonders, Florida may be on the verge of understanding that. But mostly because it's bothering their pocketbook.) The statute is clearly complicating this case and I think it legitimately interferes with any attempt to bring Zimmerman to trial under Florida law. But the sooner it comes to trial, the better for everyone.

The injustice of the statute created the injustice of this case, and the concern for this case is creating a lot of stupidity about the law and what it is supposed to do and who has a legitimate concern about who else gets shot or did the shooting. And as Mr. Coates said, "...there are pundits who write more than they read, and talk more than they listen, and prefer an easy creationism to a Google search."

And I'm getting tired of the "creationism" going on around this subject.

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