German News Article : George Zimmerman – So absurd is the US Criminal Law …

July 15, 2013   ·   0 Comments

Photo: Reuters

By Issio Ehrich

Trayvon Martin’s case triggers in the U.S. a heated debate on structural racism in the justice system. But he also sheds light on another problem facing the country: the excessive appreciation of the right to self-defense.

The acquittal of George Zimmerman is hardly legally contestable. That the self-appointed neighborhood watchman 26 February, 2012 the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin shot dead in the U.S. was not a criminal offense. Zimmerman was able to rely on the so-called stand-your-ground control. As well as independent legal experts agree. Properly but the jury’s decision was not so. Hardly a case leaves the absurdities of American criminal law aufschillern such as that of the 17-year-old youth from Florida.

Currently mainly an aspect determines the debate about the process: the racism . American civil rights activist Martin and members accuse the authorities of an overly hesitant in resolving the matter. And the jury – it consisted of six white women – they make an unbiased decision-loaded.

Justice White preferred

This reading is not a whim on sensitive civil rights. The statistics put at least the federal police close. According to an analysis of data from the FBI, the probability of an acquittal is higher by 354 percent if a white man kills a black man, as if a white man kills another white man. In Martin Zimmerman, the police initially did not even fixed after the murder. Weeks passed before the authorities at all attracted him as a murderer into consideration.

This points to a new that racism in the U.S. is not overcome even after two terms of a black president, Barack Obama. But the legitimacy of the judgment changes the end nothing.

Reservations racist or not – the prosecution could not prove whether the young Zimmerman killed intentionally, or whether he only defended himself, because Martin has attacked him ultimately. Zimmerman ended up being the only living witness. Local residents, however only knew to report that it had come in their gated complex in Sanford to a heated argument between two men. Who started it, they could not say. And so the jurors dutifully followed the credo: the benefit of the doubt.

The crude basis of the decision

The really absurd thing about this ruling is the basis on which the jury is precipitated: the Stand-Your-Ground control (turn not back).

Florida introduced the law in 2005. Meanwhile, similar rules apply in about half the U.S. states. Anyone who feels threatened in the United States in a public space, does not rely on de-escalation and retreat, even if that would be easily possible under the law. On the contrary, he must use all means to avert the threat. And so did Zimmerman.

The neighborhood watchman discovered Martin on that rainy evening in February, when there was just coming back from a shopping. The teenager had bought iced tea and sweets. Zimmerman was the 17-year-old hooded sweatshirt still “suspicious” before. He watched him, followed him on his way to the house of his father’s girlfriend.



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