The George Zimmerman murder trial out of Florida hadn’t been big on my list of news stories to follow, but I’ve found the fallout from the verdict pretty darn strange (or maybe I’m just easily amused):
- The crybaby prosecutor: it should be obvious to most prosecutors that the professional response to a trial loss is to say that you respect the process and move on with life. That is, unless you’re Zimmerman prosecutor Angela Corey, who apparently has a record for being a mite thin-skinned.
- The passive-aggressive defense counsel: Zimmerman’s attorney, Don West, when asked after the verdict for his thoughts on the trial judge, declined comment stating “I’d like to keep my bar license for a few more years.” Dick move; in one step he communicates both his low regard for the judge and his lack of understanding of the first amendment rights of attorneys. Yes, Mr. West, you are free to criticize the judiciary – and specific judges – without worrying about losing your law license. Of course, it’s best to follow the counter-example of Angela Corey and do so professionally. Which is not, incidentally, something anyone would confuse your snide comment with.
- The strange bedfellows: Right-wingers celebrating a defense victory over the state! Left wingers bemoaning a criminal defendant going free! This was very much a stand-sit moment, and it’s offered great moments in squirm-itude watching those on both the right and the left try to justify their positions.
- Support the State!: For me, the ironic topper was my beloved local anarchists calling for protests against the verdict. I didn’t know that anarchists thought the police and prosecutors should have more power!
And despite the unfortunate, avoidable circumstances, despite the bumbling of law enforcement and prosecutors, despite the crappy laws and attitudes in Florida, despite the built-in biases and suspicions that leads to events like this, I’m left with this thought:
I still prefer to live in a society where the state is held to its burden, where the accused has a full opportunity for defense, and where it’s at hard for people to be locked away. We may fall far from the mark on these fronts – look no further than our woefully underfunded public defender programs. But if there’s one lesson the Zimmerman case offers, it isn’t that we need to walk back the rights of defendants.