George Zimmerman Will Go on Trial, Not Trayvon Martin


The Huffington Post's Mark I. Pinsky is dishing out legal analysis about the George Zimmerman defense team's attempt to make use of Trayvon Martin's past bouts with marijuana use and fighting. Pinsky also explores the relevance of the case's racial aspects to the legal proceedings.

At a May 28 hearing, Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson ruled that the trial would begin June 10, and that Zimmerman's attorneys would not be able to raise their leaked information about Martin when questioning prospective jurors. "You can't try the case in jury selection," she said. She also barred any mention of the damaging material in the trial's opening statements …

In past decades, attorneys for accused rapists would typically engage in character assassination, besmirching the reputation of the victim, a practice that is now largely prohibited. But in the Trayvon Martin case, even if the harmful material is excluded by the judge during the trial (she said Tuesday she was reserving judgement on that issue), it has already become part of the larger narrative that is bound to contaminate the potential jury pool.

This is critical to the fate of the case because, like many criminal trials, the outcome may be determined before the first courtroom argument is made, the first witness called. That is, in the selection of a six-member jury. Given the racially charged nature of the case, it would be extremely difficult to imagine a black juror voting to acquit George Zimmerman of all charges. So an all-white jury would be a major, possibly fatal problem for the prosecution …


Read Mark I. Pinsky's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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