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Defending Due Process in the Trayvon Martin Case

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It's time for authorities to arrest Al Sharpton. I don't know if he committed any crimes, but let's arrest him and see what we can dig up. After all, he is, once again, loudly calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, even though, at this point, even the great Reverend has absolutely no idea what happened the night of February 26 on the dark streets of Sanford, other than a young black male was shot to death and Zimmerman was holding the gun.

None of the thousands of protesters taking to the streets throughout the country knows why Trayvon Martin died. If Zimmerman fired the shot out of fear, or bias, or a John Wayne complex, he should spend the rest of his life rotting in a tiny prison cell. There is certainly reason to believe that is the case. But, there is also reason to question those who would convict Zimmerman before hearing all the facts.

Today we learned that Zimmerman claims Martin punched first and broke Zimmerman's nose. There is no question that police discovered, upon arrival, that Zimmerman had a bloody and broken nose. Guess what. A guy with a gun typically does not end up with a bloody nose in a confrontation with an unarmed opponent unless the unarmed guy hits first. It does not much matter who approached whom that night. It seems unlikely, though not impossible, that Zimmerman made the first physical contact. The only eyewitness to the tragic event is Zimmerman and his version is beginning to jive with the physical evidence.

I am not going to stoop to Sharpton's level and declare Zimmerman innocent. If Zimmerman had just left the kid alone, I have a feeling no one would have been hurt and no crimes would have been committed. By all accounts, Martin was just passing through the neighborhood. And, it is clear that Zimmerman is a law enforcement wannabe who instigated the fight by following Martin when police clearly told him not to.

But, I am also not ready to convict the guy -- not without knowing the facts or reviewing the evidence. Perhaps that will never be possible, but in the United States we don't arrest people just because our first instinct tells us he did something wrong. I am not even sure why Mr. Sharpton would want to send that message to young blacks. (Although, to be fair, taking a thoughtful and methodical approach might not get him on television).

Florida made this mistake before when it called for the conviction of Casey Anthony, despite the lack of a single shred of evidence that she was involved in her daughter's death.

We love drama. We love to protest. We love to fight for a cause. That's what makes us American. But, what also makes us American is due process, justice, the presumption of innocence. The police know where to find Zimmerman. The FBI and the president are involved. I have a feeling the truth will come out and once it does, there will be plenty of time for grandstanding.

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