Here is the text of an article I was asked to write for Yahoo! regarding the George Zimmerman verdict:
After George Zimmerman Case, Does Florida Law Allow You to Get Away with Murder
I took quite a bit of grief from non attorney friends when the Casey Anthony verdict came in. “How can she not be guilty?” “Don’t you think she did it?” It doesn’t matter what I think; it matters what the state can prove. In order for a jury to reach a verdict, they must remove emotion and look at the law. In a criminal case the burden of proof is on the state. So, the question for the jurors is: did the state prove George Zimmerman committed an act intending to kill Trayvon Martin? The jury said no.
The next question then: did the state prove George Zimmerman committed an act that resulted in Trayvon Martin’s death, an act not excusable under self defense? Here, the jury also said no. I agree with the verdict from a legal standpoint. The state was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Zimmerman committed second degree murder or manslaughter, as defined in Florida.
People in Central Florida are most certainly abuzz about this trial and verdict. Even if people don’t know much about the case (or Florida law), they all seem to have a strong opinion: either they think it was blatant murder or they think Mr. Zimmerman acted accordingly in self defense.
This case has sparked the on going gun debate. In Florida, you are allowed to carry a concealed weapon almost anywhere. It’s good to have this continuing debate on guns. We don’t need to carry them wherever we go. If you want one in your home, fine. But you do not need to carry one with you to Walmart. People are too quick to anger today. Just look at all the road rage shootings that occur. Someone honked at you because you cut them off so you shoot them in response? How is that logical?
The debate rages on. In the long term, however, will it change anything? Not at all. People will still have some rigid desire to hold on to their guns and demand to be able to carry them wherever they please. There will always be people on the other side arguing there is no need. There is most certainly no doubt that if Mr. Zimmerman was not allowed to carry a gun, Mr. Martin would be alive today.