OK, so now that at least 20 people have come up to me and asked what I thought about this Zimmerman verdict, it is now somewhat incumbent upon me to post what I think about what happened in the State of Florida earlier this month. This is not political and this is not about social issues (discussions for another day in a non-LEGAL post). Point 1: I practice criminal law in the State of Ohio - most often in the northeastern corner of Ohio. Like every other state in the Union, Ohio has its own individual and different set of statutes and criminal rules that regulate how criminal cases are to be prosecuted and tried in the Courtroom. In fact, Cuyahoga County (my home County) has its own specific "local" rules on how criminal cases are to be processed - which supplement all of the Ohio state-wide statutes and rules. Point being: every state (and, for the most part, every locale) has its own set of specific laws on how criminal cases are prosecuted and tried. Any lawyer who is not from the specific area where this case was tried who attempts to offer even an indirect opinion on the verdict is essentially reckless - and you should ignore them completely. Just because CNN or Fox News found some talking head lawyer who claims to have some criminal justice experience does not mean that person has the information or experience to comment on the outcome of this case.
Point 2: What happens inside the courtroom is what controls the verdict - not what happens outside of the Courtroom in the media. The Courtroom itself is, to me, a sacred temple and gateway of information that goes to the jury. Much of the battles we lawyers engage in has to do with what should or should not be heard by the jury - and I mean much. What the jury hears/sees or does not hear/see is controlled by some rather well litigated rules. This process is designed to prevent legally irrelevant facts, lynch-mob mentalities and/or political issues from taking over any case. The only local lawyer (see point 1 above) who could comment on the verdict of this case would be one who either watched the ENTIRE trial or read the ENTIRE transcript of the trial - including but not limited to the very important jury instructions. Jury instructions are the rules of the road that the jury has taken an oath to follow.
So be careful out there before you make any conclusions about the verdict in this case - or even taking the proverbial word of any so-called criminal law expert. Hopefully, our friends in the media will take the time to speak to experienced criminal justice lawyers who regularly practice in the area where this happened - and only get their opinion if they have read the entire transcript first.
Your comments are welcome.