Courage of the Six

It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer“– Sir William Blackstone (1765)

In the wake of the Zimmerman verdict, emotions are running high between those who agree and disagree with the jury’s decision. Each side has cause for an emotional reaction, but those who are exchanging heated rhetoric towards others should be careful because they are losing sight of what’s most important: the jurors. Instead, everyone should take a moment to realize the courage of the six people who sat on the Zimmerman jury because their lives have forever changed.

When called to serve on a jury. A person’s life becomes complicated for the duration of the trial. In this case the jury was sequestered, which effectively put their lives on hold. Jury duty is an honor, and these six individuals answered the call and fulfilled their civic duty.

This case was certainly a tough and heart wrenching trial to deliberate. On one hand you had a decedent who was only 17-years old (and just going home), and on the other hand a man who was trying to protect his neighborhood, which was victimized by crime recently.

It is tragic that one person ended up losing his life during their encounter. What makes this case even sadder is that it appears both mistakenly took the other as a nefarious individual with criminal intent.

Our justice system is based on the assumption of innocence, due process, and the rule of law. Because of the case’s high profile (prior to the trial), the jury knew that any ruling would carry ramifications. A decision of “not guilty” would be seen as antipathetic to the Martin family and minorities, while a “guilty” verdict would be viewed as political motivated or jury intimidation.

If you think that Zimmerman was justified in his use of force; then you are relieved that our justice system works. Those who believe Zimmerman got away with murder are obviously disappointed. It’s not much solace, but consider Blackstone’s formulation (stated above).

A Crow’s View knows that the Zimmerman acquittal is a bitter pill to swallow for Trayvon Martin supporters; however, both sides can celebrate that we have a system that tries to zealously protect its citizens from wrongful conviction.

Our justice system, in many cases, allows the guilty to go free in order to spare the innocent. With this in mind, I believe the jurors acted in a courageous manner.

They were tasked with the awesome responsibility of deciding Zimmerman’s fate. A “guilty” verdict would’ve been the easiest verdict to return–wash your hands of this case–and let the appeals process run its course. Instead, the jury made a ruling of conscience.

The jurors shouldn’t be criticized nor victimized because they decided “not guilty,” nor should they be celebrated for allowing Zimmerman to go free.

The jury did what was asked of them, nothing more and nothing less. They followed the court’s instructions, Florida law, and then weighed all the evidence. Afterwards they handed down a decision.

Going forward the jurors lives are forever altered by this case. It’s unfortunate that these people will probably become fodder for late night comics, targeted by the media, and live in fear because of their verdict.

What should be done is simple, we all thank the jurors for their service and sacrifice during the trial. Then allow them to live their lives in peace.


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