Edge of Chaos is a political podcast starring Joe Ryan and Neurotoxin. Its aim is to have a free-flowing discussion of news and current events that also examines the empirical outcomes of public policy, avoiding biases based on ideology and policy intentions. Listener discretion is both advised and encouraged.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

In the Zimmerman Trial, I Find the Prosecutors Guilty

Well I'm completely unsurprised by the Zimmerman verdict - in fact I predicted it on our podcast recorded on Thursday and slated for release tomorrow. As for my feelings about it; they boil down to my general disgust with the justice system and serve as the umpteenth demonstration that it and spectacle don't mix.

To put it simply, the prosecution botched it, just like they botched Casey Anthony, OJ Simpson, the Rodney King cops, and so forth. If you're going to bash and protest this outcome - prosecutor incompetence should be your target, not loose concepts of racist culture because complaining about those is highly counter-productive. Prosecutors bent over for public opinion and went with a murder charge, but they had 0 case for one and the jury rightfully threw out the trash they sewed from speculation and emotions. No matter how emphatically an angry mob wants something, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty, and I'm quite relieved the jury did not set a precedent for doing away with that fundamental principle. However, despite evidence lacking for intent, I think it's very likely that Zimmerman committed a crime that led to Trayvon's death. If prosecutors had done their jobs and gone with a realistic manslaughter charge - I believe the picture would be much clearer and a conviction far more likely. Adding that charge at the last minute was NOT a viable substitute; most States don't even allow that, their case didn't focus on it, and such antics should not be rewarded.

The problem was that this became about race and guns before any investigation of the actual case, and political pressure melted down any and all incentive for authorities to conduct one. We will NEVER know what really happened to Trayvon - only Zimmerman knows that and he obviously has incentive not to incriminate himself IF he is guilty. THAT is what mob rule does, and why we should all be thoroughly terrified of it.


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