By Michael Reisig
Through a week of passionate, sometimes choleric, testimony from both sides, and brawls between attorneys, or attorneys and the judge, the six brave women of the Zimmerman trial jury stood their ground. They refused to be intimidated by the possibility of raging segments of our populace, the prejudiced testimony of friends and relatives, or the bullying by a judge who clearly did all that was possible to convict George Zimmerman of something. Of all the juries in all the trials I have ever watched, never have I garnered the respect I feel for these six women. They literally bucked a system that wanted a pound of flesh regardless of guilt or innocence, and continually sought the truth. They followed stringently the guidelines for the charges levied – “Second Degree Murder,” and later, “Manslaughter,” and were guided by the single shining light that is required of every juror – “is there guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?”
I’m certain it would have been easier to surrender to Judge Debra Nelson, a lifelong liberal, who appeared intent on acquiescing to the new societal mindset that is both covetous of and intimidated by minorities. She seemed myopically centered on finding a guilty verdict no matter what. There is no question that Nelson did everything in her power to bring this about – she refused to allow into evidence any of the information about Travon Martin’s prior vandalism charges at his school, or his coarse, racial name on Twitter, or the pictures of guns and drugs and his bragging about the fights he’d been involved in on his facebook pages. She hammered down and muted viable statements from the defense time and again. Then, when it looked as if all of this had failed and truth was still peeking out from the superfluous emotional pandering of the prosecution, the judge came up with what she thought would be the coup de grace – allowing an additional charge of Manslaughter (at the end of a trial, after the defense had concentrated its efforts on a Second Degree Murder charge the entire time.) Numerous legal experts have already declared that what she did was barely, if at all, legal, certainly not appropriate, and would have probably resulted in a mistrial had the verdict fallen the other way.
But the six women of the jury saw through it. Still, they played by the rules and asked questions regarding the parameters of the new charge. Knowing that they were setting themselves up as pariahs for a huge segment of our population and refusing to be intimidated by the howling threats of retribution in the streets of our cities, they finally made the right decision based on the information they had and the boundaries of the law, not on political correctness. Any other choice would have set a horrendous precedent in this nation for every other racially involved trial to come.
Justice has to be blind to color. It has to be based on what truth there is. It can’t be based on passion, emotion, or intimidation. If we do it any other way, we not only sacrifice the integrity of this country and its system of jurisprudence, we erode the very foundations of a free nation, for which Americans have fought and died for over 300 years.
The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the ownership and staff of The Polk County Pulse. Michael Reisig is a freelance writer and published author whose works are reproduced throughout the globe.