Dear newsmedia: George Zimmerman is not charged with killing a black teenager; he is charged with killing a teenager

Just heard it again on a radio news broadcast: “George Zimmerman has been taken into custody and been charged with the murder of a black teenager.” That’s what the news reader said – pet peeve of mine.

There may well be racial overtones to this crime, and there are valid reasons to suspect that there are, but Zimmerman is not being charged on those grounds. Zimmerman is being charged with murder, quite serious enough on its own. But  the real defendant in this trial will be the State of Florida and its insane  “Stand Your Ground” law.

So is the racial aspect a matter of concern? You bet it is. But I think the larger threat is to all of us; it is another wound to our tradition of common law.

The Supreme Court just upheld strip searches for unpaid parking fines, so I shudder to think what will happen if a challenge to this Florida law makes its way to that gorgeous white temple to justice. I figure the NRA will get there first.

13 responses to “Dear newsmedia: George Zimmerman is not charged with killing a black teenager; he is charged with killing a teenager

  1. Actually, given the evidence that we have at this moment, SYG won’t be involved at all, despite the media’s focus upon it when they’re not busy stirring up racial animosity.

    Once an fight started, there’s no capacity to retreat. Hence, no SYG. It becomes straight-up self-defense or murder 2.

    As for “common law” – That’s the problem, not the victim, in this particular case. Common Law is the body or rulings and other legal precedents and FL judges have made a habit of using SYG as an excuse to summarily dismiss too many cases once some claimed self-defense. It a large part of why the DA didn’t prosecute Zimmerman.


    • I realize that, but SYG is why this has become such a big case. However it plays out legally, that law is what made it a big national story. To most people, racially motivated killing (if that’s what it was) is not news. But a guy shooting an innocent and then being sent home by the cops – now THAT is news and it got everyone’s attention. Few people had evver heard of SYG, they just knew that what they were hearing couldn’t be right.

      Scott did the right thing appointing a special prosecutor. And she seems like a pro.


    • True. People seem to forget that it’s far more likely that Trayvon Martin was the assailant in this case. Perhaps it sounds unlikely that a 150 lb teenager armed with a bag of Skittles and some tea would attack an armed adult weighing 250 lbs, but we only need look at … Wait… What was the question?


  2. jonolan….
    I disagree….
    If I’m Zimmerman’s lawyer I’m damn straight gonna stand by the fact that the law does NOT require his client to retreat ….
    While the Police dispatch asked him to cease his actions…
    He ‘s gonna argue he was under NO legal right to do so…
    He was on a ‘neighborhood watch’ so he’s gonna argue he was doing his job…..
    This case IS about a bad Law as Moe indicates in her post….
    Even Trayvon Martin’s Mother has come out saying she believe the incident was an accident…..
    The Politician who wrote the law may be wavering on supporting it…..

    Bad Laws result in bad things happening because of the Law…..
    I don’t believe Zimmerman should get a free pass out of this and he probably won’t…..
    Manslaughter is probably what will be the final charge…
    There just HAS to be SOME justice….

    But the Law HAS to go….


  3. Something tells me there may not be a trial at all , but an agreement for a lesser charge and much less time than life. We shall see.


    • I think you and james are right. She probably went for the 2nd degree because that’s what you do – start high so you don’t have to agree to a lesser charge. I just heard a huge majority of these cases in Florida are plead, not tried.


  4. But I believe,if this boy had been white, he’d be alive today.


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  6. Stand your ground is not an insane law, it’s common sense. I will not run like a bi&$@ and become another victim For evening news… He’ll no. This is America, if you don’t like it LEAVE!!!!


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