Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is speaking out on the George Zimmerman trial verdict, and he is saying the jury made the “right call” when they found the defendant not guilty, according to this ABC News report on July 18. And it is all the DOJ’s fault.
The officials in Sanford, Fla. who were tasked with hearing the case information immediately following the death of Trayvon Martin looked at the details and determined that there was not enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman.
The district attorney in the Florida town felt there was not enough evidence in order for him to get a conviction in a murder trial or otherwise, so he declined to prosecute even if the police would have made an arrest.
But in stepped the DOJ, who pushed for an independent prosecutor to take a look and determine if the case merited an arrest and prosecution. And, unfortunately, the family of Trayvon Martin were told that an arrest was warranted and a prosecution would be forthcoming.
Carter said that “American law requires that the jury listen to the evidence presented.” And Juror B37 confirmed that the jurors had no choice but rule Zimmerman ‘not guilty’ of the murder of Trayvon Martin based upon the law.
Six female jurors ruled George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering the slain teen in the second-degree murder trial, and when the prosecution in the case gave them the opportunity to convict on a lesser charge they ruled not guilty for manslaughter too.
And that is how the DOJ failed the Trayvon Martin family, by misleading them into believing that just because you want justice in a case it means you can get the kind of justice you want.
The laws of Florida make it clear that self-defense is allowed and not punishable by law under certain circumstances. The George Zimmerman case met those circumstances, as Jimmy Carter is now confirming. And the DOJ knew that the Zimmerman case met those standards when they pushed for another look at the case; they should have told the Martin family that.
The DOJ failed Trayvon Martin’s family by not being forthright with them, and by pushing for an independent prosecutor to get involved. And they did it to try and appease a group of people who refused to accept that the state of Florida has the right to have ‘stand your ground’ laws if they want to–and to prosecute those cases based upon state law–not an individual’s race.
Now the Martin family is dealing with the verdict that was inevitable according to Jimmy Carter. And they have joined with the NAACP to ask the DOJ to intervene yet again, hoping that federal charges will lead to a different court outcome.
But if the federal criminal justice agency takes this case it is not going to bring the family the justice they seek either, as there was no evidence presented at the trial that proves Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin because he was black; he shot him because he was defending his life. And a civil rights case can’t change that.
And Jimmy Carter even knows that, saying in his Georgia interview with WXIA-TV that he believes “the verdict will stand because it can’t be appealed as a criminal case” and that eventually people will “put aside the feelings of the past” and start focusing on how to make the present (and the future) different.
Atlanta Crime Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics. And she wonders why the DOJ, with its extensive knowledge base and criminal justice training, is not helping the Martin family move forward, like Jimmy Carter is trying to do.
© 2013 Radell Smith