Zimmerman Standard

It is projected that the Treyvon Martin murder jury will reach a decision today. Many are bracing for civil disruption because the crowds feel the decision is wrong.

One thing we need to keep in mind is that (given there were no undue outside influences) the jury did the best it could with the information put before it and based on their processing of the facts and circumstances. If there was a mistake made in any regard, the parties have options. One of those options is appealing the judgment. There are many foundations for an appeal.

Yes, appealing a case is very time consuming. There are steps to be taken in a certain order within a certain amount of time. Appeals are also very costly. Sometimes appeals from trial court decisions do not happen because of the monetary factor.

If there was a procedural mistake, that can be appealed. And if the procedure is appealed, the foundation that gave rise to the mistake will also be scrutinized. The important matter is the fact that this incident went to a trial. The next important thing is that the jury’s decision will set a standard by which other jurisdictions can look for guidance in these types of circumstances.

The question of community standard as it impacts interpretation of the law in that jurisdiction will need to be evaluated by other jurisdictions. But the trial phase of the Treyvon Martin / George Zimmerman case will have come to a close and the standard for it will be set.

How will that decision impact others in similar situations? We don’t know if the jury will be taking that aspect into consideration. It isn’t usually part of the decision making process. But at least there will be a guide. It can be argued, modified, even overturned. But we had to start with looking at the question, the issues, and the evidence. Based on that criteria as well as how convincing counsels’ arguments and presentation of the case were, we will have a decision.

NB: The correct spelling of the shooting victim’s name is “Trayvon Martin”. A discussion of what the jury was tasked with determining can be found in a July 14, 2013 CNN news story, George Zimmerman found not guilty of murder in Trayvon Martin’s death.

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