Trial to Secure Justice for Trayvon Martin Begins

Filed under COLUMNISTS

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“I believe that’s Trayvon Martin, that’s my baby’s voice. Every mother knows their child, and that’s his voice.” – Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin

On Monday of last week, the trial of George Zimmerman, charged in the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin, finally got underway. The surface facts of the case are not in dispute. On February 26, 2012, Zimmerman, in his role as a neighborhood watch volunteer, followed, shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old Martin who was walking back to a home in a Sanford, Florida gated community after buying a bag of skittles and a bottle of ice tea from a nearby convenience store. Everything else about this case is complicated by the issues of race, the unsuccessful attempt by Zimmerman’s defense to put Trayvon’s background on trial and Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense that is rooted in Florida’s questionable Stand-Your-Ground law. Widespread public attention generated by the case will also likely complicate and prolong the selection of an impartial jury.

As of this writing, Judge Debra Nelson has yet to rule on whether testimony from voice analysis experts can be used to argue whose voice – Trayvon’s or Zimmerman’s — is heard screaming for help just before the sound of a gunshot on a taped 911 call. This is a crucial point that could buttress Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense or the prosecution’s contention that Zimmerman was the aggressor. It should be noted that Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, has heard the tape and has no doubt that the screaming voice is that of her son. As a lawyer, I appreciate the role of experts in trials, but as a parent, I agree with Sybrina Fulton that in this case there is no more reliable expert than the mother of the victim.

Prior to the start of the trial, Judge Nelson ruled against the defense’s attempt to introduce as evidence, Trayvon’s school records, past history of fighting or photos and text messages on his cell phone. The judge rightfully decided that none of this has anything to do with why Zimmerman shot Trayvon.

It should also be noted that Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, was a particularly zealous neighborhood watch volunteer. In the months leading up to that fateful February day, he had made dozens of 911 calls. In a number of those calls, he reported spotting “suspicious” persons in the neighborhood, almost all of whom were black. In his confrontation with Trayvon Martin, not only did Zimmerman disregard the police dispatcher’s order not to follow the so-called suspicious person, he violated local neighborhood watch rules against carrying a weapon and making pursuit.

We will leave it up to a jury to decide whether George Zimmerman is guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin. But, as champions of civil rights and equal justice under the law, we believe this case will shed needed light on the issues of racial profiling and the stereotyping of young black males. We also join Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, in calling for a repeal of Florida’s troubling Stand Your Ground law which states that anyone in fear of his or her life could be justified in using lethal force against a potential or perceived attacker. We will be closely following the case and will keep you abreast of developments.

3 Responses to Trial to Secure Justice for Trayvon Martin Begins

  1. Laurel Manning

    Should have stayed in his car….

  2. RogerMike

    Are you so invested being right, that you can ignore the truth? You accept TM’s mom’s opinion it is TM, yet, didn’t TM’s dad say it was not? It is more important using this case to bolster racism than to accept it for what it could be – a tragedy of one person making bad decisions and suffering bad consequences. The person in this case, being a young troubled youth with a history of bad choices, no supervision and clearly on a road to disaster.

    Keep you message going, sir. You gain time on your website and standing with your following, at the expense of the truth and an maybe the chance to help everyone take a step forward. I challenge you – seek the facts then draw your conclusions. Even the fact that it wasn’t ice tea, but fruit juice, is critical to the whole case. Seek, the truth.

  3. Joe

    This case has nothing to do with race and civil rights.
    It’s about Sybrina Fulton making money on her son’s death.
    Crump, Sharpton and other thugs are helping her and promting their disgusting agenda.

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