WASHINGTON, July 11, 2013 — Which right in the Bill of Rights did our founding fathers think was most important?
All of the rights in the Bill of Rights are important. Even the forgotten Third Amendment, which forbids the quartering of troops in private homes, except in times of war, is important. But there is one that the founding fathers arguably considered the most important of all.
That one is the right to a jury trial. This right is so important that it was included it in not one, but two amendments in the Bill of Rights. The right to a jury trial is included in the Sixth Amendment — the right to a jury trial in criminal cases — and the Seventh Amendment — the right to a jury trial in civil cases.
The Zimmerman case is proof of the wisdom of our founding fathers in protecting citizens against an out-of-control government.
George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense. He was originally not charged, nor should he have been. But Martin’s family and the media made this a racial issue. Because it became a racial issue, a special prosecutor was appointed. She immediately caved to the pressure and had Zimmerman charged with second-degree murder.
For the last two weeks the case has muddled along as the prosecution offered its case. Every prosecution eyewitness supported Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. The prosecution was reduced to trying to inflame the jury by using claims of “profiling” and implying that Zimmerman was a racist.
When the prosecution’s case ended, Zimmerman’s team made a motion for a judgment of acquittal. A judgment of acquittal occurs when the state has not proven its case and there is simply no way a jury can follow the law and reach a guilty verdict.
In what appears to be at the very least a timid decision, Judge Debra Nelson refused to dismiss the charges against Zimmerman. Many legal experts, such as Andrew Branca, author of The Law of Self Defense, writing on the Legal Insurrection Blog have blasted Nelson for a horribly bad decision.
Fortunately, Nelson is not the one with the final say, and while she could direct a verdict of not guilty, she cannot direct a verdict of guilty.
The founding fathers understood the jury was the great shield against the tyranny of a powerful government. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I consider Trial by Jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”
The legal principles of fairness and impartiality have been repeatedly violated in Zimmerman’s prosecution. The decision to prosecute Zimmerman was driven on the race of the person who attacked him.
Had Trayvon Martin been white, the social media pressure to punish Zimmerman would never have materialized, President Obama would never have moved in to appoint himself the young man’s posthumous Godfather, and Zimmerman would be living his life in quiet anonymity.
America is a nation predicated on the rule of law. The rule of law means that everyone, regardless of race, gender and other criteria, is treated the same. If Angela Corey, the special prosecutor in this case had her way, Justice would always have one eye wide open and fixed firmly on the color of our skin.
Fortunately for George Zimmerman, our founding fathers created the American system of trial by jury. Fortunately for George Zimmerman, our founding fathers gave him rights. Fortunately for George Zimmerman, his fate is in the hands of a group of his fellow citizens, not a hack politician like Angela Corey or a wind-vane judge like Debra Nelson.
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