It doesn’t matter whether you think Zimmerman is a racist monster or just someone defending themselves, the outcry of protest can directly affect you. Public figures are demanding that he be re-arrested and punished for killing Trevon. Multiple leaders are actively calling for the government to step in and make right what they feel the jury got wrong. One group has put a ten-thousand dollar bounty payable to anyone who can perform a citizen’s arrest or give them his location so they can. Their plan is to arrest him and turn him over to the government with the demand for justice. Other leaders have echoed similar demands. Let’s consider the weight of these demands.
To understand this, let’s look at our civil rights that guarantee us a fair trial deliberated by their peers. Professionals execute the law and legal process, but common citizens are employed to weigh the evidence and either agree with the government’s accusation or setting the accused free.
All trials consist of the government accusing citizens of being lawbreakers, and jurors evaluating the evidence to see if that accusation is valid. The burden of proof is on the accuser – not the accused. A reasonable doubt is when the jurors view the evidence and ask themselves, “Did the state prove their accusation?” They are not declaring someone innocent, but not-guilty based on the evidence presented. Or guilty if the evidence rises to the level of the definition of the law.
Even if we think someone is guilty, it must be proven by the evidence. There are times when we disagree with the verdict, but we are not looking at the evidence presented to the jury. It is better for a guilty man or woman to go free than to establish a system that does not put the burden of proof on the accuser.
Now let’s consider what is being demanded in the Zimmerman case. The jury heard the evidence on both sides. One juror stated, “We felt Zimmerman showed very poor judgment and that he should be accountable for something, but based on the law and how it is written, we had nothing that rose to the level of the law.” She stated that they all agreed, based on the evidence the state presented, that the accused was not guilty of murder. They considered manslaughter as a lesser judgment, but the law didn’t apply to any of his actions.
This means that at best, the law should be re-evaluated, but we should never consider throwing out a jury’s decision. What angry protesters are demanding is that we toss out the jury and allow the state to be the accuser, the judge, and the jury. If we reject a jury’s verdict because we disagree with it, we would then be taking the burden of proof away from the state and allowing the accuser to be the one to evaluate their own evidence. Then there would be no accountability and no rights to the accused.
This does not only deal a blow to the one we are angry toward, but it strips all of us the right to a fair trial. When someone declares that they will not accept a jury’s verdict, but will rearrest the accused and turn them back over to the state again with the demand to set the Bill of Rights aside and become their own jury, this is also a surrender of everyone’s rights. Then when the state accuses someone of breaking the law, the state has no one standing between them and the accused demanding the evidence to prove their accusation.
Consider the oppressive governments throughout history. How many people died in labor camps in the Soviet Union? How many political prisoners have sat in China’s prison under communist rule? What about North Korea, Nazi Germany, and countless other oppressive governments throughout history. The only thing standing between us and that same fate is the enforcement of our Bill of Rights. Those who are now demanding to set aside those rights in order to go after Zimmerman only show the folly of the mentality of this generation. It only shows how little value we now place on freedom. If we surrender freedom for justice, we will no longer have the right to demand our own protection. Any accused by the system will have the burden of proof on them, rather than the state having the burden. And the state will not have to accept our evidence, for there will be no jury of peers to decide whether the state has proved their accusation.
Consider these things before you protest against our jury system.
Eddie Snipes 2013