TalkLeft was created by Denver-based criminal defense attorney Jeralyn Merritt in 2000 as a companion site to CrimeLynx, the criminal defense practitioner's Guide to the Internet. In June, 2002, TalkLeft was converted into a weblog. Since then, it has received more than 39 million visitors and 85 million pageviews.
The post: Lawyers Reacting to Zimmerman Verdict
....It is unfortunate when any 17 year old loses his life, whether to illness, accident, suicide or murder. It is indeed a tragedy for the family he or she leaves behind. But when a 17 year old physically attacks another person, breaking his nose and banging his head against a cement surface, the other person is allowed to defend himself. Once charged, it became the job of the jury to decide whether a reasonable person in his situation would have believed that deadly force was necessary to prevent great bodily harm from that attack.
The jury in this case heard testimony of witnesses and experts. It examined physical evidence, from pictures of the scene to injuries of the defendant to autopsy photos of the deceased. It found no ill-will, hatred or spite. Through its rejection of manslaughter, it found it was reasonable for a person in Zimmerman's circumstances, as he believed them to be, to believe that he was in imminent danger of great bodily harm.
This case has been miscast as a civil rights issue since the day the Martin family's lawyers came on the scene. If the public wants to be believe them, that's their right. If they want to bring civil lawsuits against George Zimmerman or law enforcement or public entities, that's their choice. But when it comes to those lawyers and their public relations team using their bully pulpit to inflame passions and exert undue influence on the actions of law enforcement and public officials, including elected prosecutors, who have a duty not to bring charges without a good faith belief they can prove those charges beyond a reasonable doubt, all the while having a financial stake in the outcome of related civil litigation, I object.
After 16 months of watching this case take on a life of its own, perpetuated by misstatements of the media and the interests of private lawyers pursuing a personal and divisive agenda on behalf of their clients, my tone, like that of other lawyers who objected to this prosecution, rose. Now that the jury has reached a just verdict, I'm going to tone it down again.
I do not intend to further their agenda by reporting on protests or calls for change related to the actions of George Zimmerman. My interest is in protecting the rights of those accused of crime. In this case, that means George Zimmerman, and now that his right to avoid an unjust conviction is secure, my reasons for participating in the discourse are largely over.
To paraphrase Don West, one of Zimmerman's tireless, fearless and dedicated defenders, it may have been tragic that Trayvon Martin lost his life. But it would have been a travesty if George Zimmerman had been convicted and had to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Not just for him, but for the integrity of our criminal justice system.