The law, the law, the law -- yes, jurors are instructed to adhere to the law. For on July 17, 2013, as former President Jimmy Carter had said, "It's not a moral question, it was a legal question, and the American law requires that the jury listen to the evidence presented." Be that as it may, at what point during the George Zimmerman trial that Trayvon Martin's humanity was at least taken into consideration, if at all?
The specifics about Trayvon Martin are known. The black 17-year-old was 71 inches (5'11''), according to the examiner the morning after the shooting. Yet many accounts say he was more than 6 feet. He had weighed at 158 pounds, according to the examiner the morning after the shooting. Though some accounts say he was 140 pounds. And then, yes, a single trace element of 1.5 nanograms of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana was found in his system, again according to the examiner the morning after the shooting.
He wore a hoodie. And with earbuds attached to his cellphone, he had carried Skittles and a canned soft drink while on his way home to his father's house where his 12-year-old stepbrother awaited his arrival. The stepbrother was alone then, as Trayvon Martin was walking, walking, to rejoin his stepbrother. He only wanted one thing at that moment, to arrive at where he was supposed to be.
No, he was not a socially exemplary student at Dr. Michael M. Krop High School by not making class president, or National Honors Society, or scholar-athlete of the year. He was suspended three times during his school years, for graffiti, and the last suspension from the discovery of a trace residue of marijuana found in his book bag. And yet, Judge Debra Nelson did not allow any of that information admissible in court. Nevertheless, Trayvon Martin had no juvenile criminal record.
Whereas in the year 2005, George Zimmerman was charged with violence and battery on a police officer, later reduced to a misdemeanor, to eventually the charge was dropped. And also in that same year, he was charged with domestic violence in which his ex-fiancee filed a restraining order. Mr. Zimmerman counter-filed, which resulted in the competing claims being resolved as both restraining orders had been granted. And yet, Judge Debra Nelson did not allow any of that information admissible in court.
A single trace element of marijuana was indeed found within the system of Trayvon Martin. Yet in the manner in which some always like to focus on that fact, you'd think they never heard of a Cheech and Chong film. Or, you'd think they'd never incidentally hit a scene from a Cheech and Chong movie while channel surfing on cable TV. For it's not as if the comic duo during their escapades after experiencing a marijuana high, had suddenly morphed into Woody Harrelson's role in the Oliver Stone film Natural Born Killers by being a pair of roving menaces at large.
The man I would call the everyman for the common man is documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. On June 23, 2013, CNN premiered Morgan Spurlock Inside Man which told all about Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California. Harborside is a medical marijuana dispensary that sells over $20 million a year of marijuana and cannabis products. And from what's seen on TV with immaculate displays and modern interior design, the place looks as if it's some high-end boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Although its clientele is demographically diverse.
After getting proper documentation from Dr. Hanya Barth, founder of Compassionate Health Options in San Francisco, one of the most respected, knowledgeable and likable physicians in the Bay Area, Morgan Spurlock was then ready to interview the staff at Harborside, as well as to work there for a day and interview its diverse clients. One of its clients in the documentary was a senior citizen woman. Looking very well dressed and wearing a hat as to complete her dress ensemble, she was so personable as if she were Betty White as she said to Spurlock, "A lot of seniors grew up as I did, you know thinking it was something only jazz musicians did. But we've all evolved."
And all the while Morgan Spurlock was enjoying his day at Harborside as he said, "See this place is all about the love. That's what I like. Not any attitude. Not any you know, angry people coming in. Nobody screamin nobody yellin, it's all very kinda calm, cool, collected. It's nice." There was no SWAT team ready around the corner about to make a hit as he said all that. And even Dr. Drew Pinsky, a board-certified addiction medicine specialist, had said on May 18, 2012, on www.hlntv.com by Dan Schenek titled, Dr. Drew: THC findings don't mean much. That is, in discussing about Trayvon Martin. So in short there is no reason at all for any hasty thug labeling, which is only abhorrent character assassination upon a deceased 17-year-old boy who cannot defend himself. For in those final moments before the shooting, Trayvon Martin certainly did not have any weapon upon himself, to defend himself.
In those final moments well before the shooting, we know the 17-year-old was being followed. The initial phone conversation between Mr. Zimmerman and the dispatcher proved that Mr. Zimmerman was in fact following the teen, although the dispatcher told him he did not need to do so. And we know that from the initial phone conversation between Trayvon Martin and Rachel Jeantel that the 17-year-old boy had fear, that he was being followed. And yet according to article "Five key issues for Zimmerman jury" by Yamiche Alcindor on July 13, 2013 at www.usatoday.com, attorney for the defense Mark O'Mara maintained that Mr. Zimmerman did stop following Trayvon Martin after the police told him it was not necessary.
Nevertheless, in any inopportune moment in which we may find ourselves, God forbid, being followed at night, we all naturally would experience fear. Therefore since Trayvon Martin had experienced fear, a primal emotion we all share as human beings, was that not relatable enough?
Furthermore, Mr. Zimmerman had given an account, though not in court, that Trayvon Martin had suddenly came from behind the bushes to confront him. Suppose that did happen. But the question remains, could not Mr. Zimmerman have simply identified himself as a member of neighborhood watch by calling out in advance of the pursuit, before the conflict had escalated to resulting to a disproportionate use of force upon an unarmed 17-year-old individual?
There is a classic Paul Newman film called The Verdict. Playing the role of Attorney Frank Galvin, with Jack Warden as law partner Mickey Morrissey, both are in a medical malpractice trial against a large Catholic hospital represented by the formidable Ed Concannon, head of a large Boston law firm acted by James Mason. It is a David vs. Goliath battle, small law practice vs. the mighty Ed Concannon with a phalanx of lawyers under his command. English Actress Charlotte Rampling is the love interest as Laura, also a lawyer who recently moved to Boston.
In a scene in the film, Frank and Laura get to know each other in a bar over a meal. It's where Frank also tells her he's about to pick a jury, and his view of people and justice as he says, "The court doesn't exist to give them justice. The court exists to give them a chance at justice."
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, the grieving parents of Trayvon Martin, both were given a chance at justice in criminal court. Still, as attorney for the Martin family Benjamin Crump had said on CNN Piers Morgan with guest host Donny Deutsch on July 24, 2013, he relayed a message from the parents which said as follows, "We will not let this verdict define Trayvon Martin. We will define the legacy of Trayvon Martin."
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