Zimmerman websites distort trial
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 13:11
It has been more than eight months since Trayvon Martin was fatally shot walking in a Sanford neighborhood. While an outpour of support came for the 17-year-old, the man accused of the crime, George Zimmerman has also received much support from a website set up by his lawyer, which enables people to donate to him.
On Monday, Florida Circuit Judge Debra Nelson denied state prosecutors’ request for a gag order that would prohibit public discussion of case information. A gag order could have stopped Zimmerman’s website and social media pages started by defense lawyer Mark O’Mara from disclosing information about the case.
This was State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda’s third attempt to limit the amount of pre-trial publicity.
The latest attempt for a gag order failed to prove that the content conflicts with accepted Florida Bar Association rules and will not, in the court’s view, sway potential unbiased jurors.
Regardless of the power that the court has over Zimmerman and his lawyer, the websites and their content make a mockery of the U.S. judicial system.
Any person in an open trial process should not be able to publish details about his or her case online.
Though Zimmerman may think he has been condemned by the media before he has been legally convicted, someone accused of second degree murder should not be able to put out a public relations campaign.
On his website, Zimmerman posted a video of himself thanking his followers for their donations and for their support through the process along with stating, “This is our website, it’s not my website. … I hope it can be the website to provide facts.”
On the website O’Mara created, he posted, “I’d like to ask if you and other supporters could help us scour the web and, strange as it may sound, send us links to the most potentially questionable statements we have made during this process,” in an attempt to better defend Zimmerman.
The websites try to make someone who has already admitted to killing an unarmed teenager seem like a victim himself.
Whether Zimmerman’s “stand your ground” defense holds up is up to the court to decide.
However, it is hard to feel sorry for a man that has already criminalized himself, but is trying to justify his actions in a way that is impossible to prove. The websites only add to the creeping suspicion that Zimmerman needs to sway the general population’s opinion of him to believe that he is not what he has already admitted to being.
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story described Trayvon Martin as a 15-year-old, which is incorrect. He is 17 years old. The story has been updated to reflect the changes.