The George Zimmerman Example: Media Tainted Jury Pools
Our criminal lawyers talk at great length about the presumption of innocence, and how the media relentlessly attacks this core principle of our justice system. We don’t get to describe how to tackle this phenomenon often, mostly because we’re too busy providing rigorous defenses for our clients to blog about the topic. What the media portrays as news is often the distorted reality that lawyers must hack their way through while attempting to sway a jury that the images and theories reporters and pundits have assaulted them with outside the courtroom are nothing more than theories concocted for ratings. First impressions are lasting, and overcoming predispositions is often the greatest challenge of any legal advocate.
The George Zimmerman Example
George Zimmerman goes on trial this week in Florida for the murder of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teen allegedly shot by Zimmerman. The media has pummeled the airwaves with “evidence” relating to the case stating that Zimmerman killed Martin in a fit of vigilante justice; that the young man who lost his life was in no way the aggressor. George’s attorneys have gone about disclosing bits and pieces of real information to counteract the doctored (edited would be a kinder word) 911 calls and witness statements leaked by the press to show what they believe is the truth of the matter.
If you read a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the defense team for the accused has parried every major allegation levied at Zimmerman by the media with facts and unedited testimony from witnesses and Martin’s own family. They create a compelling scenario that this man exercised “great restraint” in the use of deadly force, and fired the fatal shot after trying to fend off his attacker without success.
Tainting Jury Pools like No Other
When the media engages in such a widespread feeding frenzy for ratings and viewers, they carpet bomb a potential jury pool with wildly speculative notions of guilt and innocence. All this does is ruin an accused person’s right to a fair trial with an impartial jury. This violation of the very basic principles of the legal system could result in the movement of the trial to another district, or the outright dismissal of charges.
If they want to find out what happens, visit the trial and watch the real professionals go to work. Speculating on guilt or innocence before all sides have their chance to present evidence is shoddy craftsmanship at best. All this strategy does it whip the public into a mob frenzy, allowing them to pass judgment without a shred of real evidence being brought to light. It’s irresponsible. If it were your brother, child, or parent standing accused, wouldn’t you want them to have every opportunity to present their case before their peers?
If you’re facing criminal charges, contact our Bucks County attorneys immediately for a consultation. Time is of the essence to preserve your rights and see that the other side does not gain an advantage that could cost you your freedom and public reputation.