George Zimmerman is innocent.
In this country our rights are recognized by the Federal Constitution, and the constitutions of the 50 states. One basic premise of criminal law is that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Until Zimmerman is charged, tried, and convicted, officially he is innocent. This premise was recognized by the United States Supreme Court in Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432 (1895).
One problem in the case is the initial reluctance of the office of the prosecutor in Florida to charge Zimmerman. Another problem is the evidence that appears to have surfaced against Zimmerman: 9-1-1 calls in which police said not to follow Trayvon Martin; Martin’s lack of a weapon; the video from the police station garage in which one sees no cuts or abrasions on the back of Zimmerman’s bald head after he said his head had been slammed into the ground; same video and no sign of blood on Zimmerman’s clothes or appearance of a nose askew after he said Martin punched him in the face. The police did not keep Zimmerman’s clothes as evidence? In a possible homicide?
A pool of potential jurors untainted by media stories about the case will be difficult, if not impossible, to find. And what about venue? Perhaps polling can establish a county in Florida with the fewest people who own either computers with internet access or television sets and with a large number of those same people having been on wilderness vacations or junkets to Vegas (the only TVs in the casinos that I remember were for the sports books) these past few weeks. The reason for this quandary lies with our freedom of the press. Lincoln once said (or wrote; the form of his quotes is difficult to determine quickly sometimes): "Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe."
The "Stand Your Ground" statute is an unnecessary piece of legislation. In Indiana, for example, our laws provide for self-defense (even against officers of the State, thanks to the last General Assembly). Proliferation of facts about this shooting may lead to repeal of these laws. In the meantime, I am boycotting Florida.
Zimmerman is entitled to be presumed innocent—a presumption that he, as a citizen, perhaps did not recognize in shooting Trayvon Martin. He is innocent until charged, tried, and, if the evidence against him establishes he is guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of the crime charged, is convicted.