My Zimmerman Verdict Reaction

The Zimmerman verdict is an outrage, some would say. I’m not so sure.

No, really. I have no idea. All I know about Zimmerman I learned from the popular media.1I didn’t sit in the jury box and hear what the jury heard, and only what the jury heard.

Maybe a little background is in order.

I did criminal defense and had the occasion of being involved in a “high profile” case. The local TV, radio, and newspaper media all jumped on the case. They interviewed one side2Not surprising, as the defense attorneys advised our clients not to talk to the media. Which the media all knew. and created a story that sounded good. And sold papers. And ads.

Their story had a great narrative with clear good guys, bad guys, and a tragic plot. But that’s all it was — a story.

It wasn’t true.

When the verdicts were announced, the public was outraged. How could the jury have been so stupid?

It was a long time before a local, independent newspaper reported the real story. By then, no one cared. Everyone had moved on to the next outrage.

Times have changed. The professional media doesn’t have the same lock on the news market it once had. But the desire to tell a good story and confirmation bias still exist. Those supposed independent news sources have the same problem.

Caveat emptor.

  • 1
    I didn’t sit in the jury box and hear what the jury heard, and only what the jury heard.
  • 2
    Not surprising, as the defense attorneys advised our clients not to talk to the media. Which the media all knew.
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4 responses to “My Zimmerman Verdict Reaction”

  1. Steve Kohler Avatar
    Steve Kohler

    I could not agree with you more, Brent. Unless you sit on the jury, you have no idea what was presented, how it was presented and what took place in the jury deliberations. All you have to do is look at the KTVU-TV debacle on Friday to see the “fact checking” skills of today’s media. Amazing how a huge number of people can staunchly believe in a person’s guilt or innocence without actually being exposed to a shred of evidence. Just watch, I’m sure there will now be a Federal “Civil Rights” trial to appease the vocal response to the verdict. I’ll bet you’re really glad you’re not practicing criminal law any more!

  2. Brent Logan Avatar

    Oh, I don’t know. There are aspects of criminal defense that I truly miss. One of my favorite questions was, “How can you represent someone who’s ‘guilty’?” A true teachable moment. :-)

  3. gwalter Avatar

    I’ve been misquoted by the press, and I’ve been on “high profile” incidents that were not well reported. As Steve mentioned above, the KTVU incident is a good example of that.

    Here is something I posted this morning:

    “…none of us will actually ever know the truth. George Zimmerman is the only person alive who witnessed what happened that night.

    “Assuming he is completely innocent and did nothing wrong – his life has been turned upside down. Though the criminal case is over, as the article again points out: “what comes next, surely, is a wrongful death civil action for money damages brought against Zimmerman by the Martin family. That means another case, and perhaps another trial…”

    “If he is not innocent, and he was wrong to shoot Mr. Martin, then this is just tragic.

    “I don’t know the answer, and this post isn’t about who is right and who is wrong. This post is about how complicated it is to shoot someone. I opined last year, and I hold to this, it probably would have been better for Mr. Zimmerman to have the crap beaten out of him (If Martin was intent on doing harm), then to go through what he’s currently going through. Even critical, life-threatening injuries would be better than this torture of the court system that will seem like the story that never ends.”

  4. Brent Logan Avatar

    A few quotes from the links I posted a little later in the day:

    A young man named Trayvon died. He didn’t need to die. That is both tragic and sad. (Source.)

    When left with the proposition that we will never know what “really” happened, the significance is that the prosecution then lacks evidence to prove its case. (Source.)


    Winning a civil judgment over a penniless defendant is about as rewarding as having an award-winning blog. (Source.)

    Thought you’d really appreciate the last one. ;-)