The George Zimmerman trial regarding the death of Trayvon Martin has generated an unusual amount of controversy. What do people think about this case? Please speak out and let us know your thoughts.
1. Regardless of what the jury decides, was Zimmerman guilty of homicide?
2. Among those convinced that this case has a heavily racial component, there appear to be two camps. One asserts that it was because of Trayvon's race that there was a delay in charging Zimmerman. The other asserts that the only reason Zimmerman was charged at all was because of Trayvon's race. Race clearly has to do with this case (otherwise there would not be daily coverage), but should it?
3. Commentators have noted that the overwhelming number of rulings in this case have been for the prosecution. Is this judge biased against Zimmerman?
4. Should this case have any effect on gun laws? There are those who state that the State of Florida was pushing this case as a way to gain momentum to change gun laws.
5. Have you ever heard the phrase "white hispanic" prior to this case?
6. Was the court correct in allowing the jury to hear evidence that marijuana was in Trayvon's system at the time of death?
The prosecution argued that the marijuana amounts were so minimal that it shouldn't be allowed and that it's prejudicial. The criminal defense attorney has argued that it affected Trayvon's decision making and that the evidence is probative. Remember, Zimmerman told the 911 operator that Trayvon looked like he was "on drugs."
It should be noted, that originally, the Associate Medical Examiner testified that he did not think that the levels of marijuana in Trayvon's system indicated impairment. However, when the lawyers evaluated the examiner's actual notes, it was clarified that the examiner actually changed his stance on this issue. After speaking with other experts and reviewing literature, the examiner now feels that Trayvon's levels may be indicative of impairment. He supposedly didn't tell the prosecutor that he changed his mind on this issue because the prosecutor told him that marijuana use wouldn't be an issue before the court.
Also, the court earlier had seemed to indicate that such evidence wouldn't be allowed. However, the prosecutor likely opened the door to this subject when the prosecutor introduced evidence of Zimmerman's 911 call to the police where Zimmerman said, "Hey we've had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there's a real suspicious guy, uh, Retreat View Circle, um, the best address I can give you is 111 Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about." The prosecutor went on to comment that Zimmerman was biased and implied Trayvon was just a fine normal kid. This should have opened the door to the drug issue, because now the marijuana levels found by the examiner may confirm the defendant's perception that the victim was, in fact, "on drugs, or something." Alas, it was unfair to allow the prosecution to use Trayvon's "image" as both a sword and a shield, that is to say, to portray Trayvon as a good citizen while at the same time prohibiting contrary evidence.
7. Does Zimmerman's potential knowledge about Florida's Stand Your Ground Law affect this case? Florida's law says that a person has no duty to retreat and can invoke self-defense in killing someone if it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm. Zimmerman originally told Fox news that he was unaware of this law. However, the prosecution put on evidence by one of his class professors, who stated that he did teach the law in the class and that Zimmerman received an A in the class.