Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Trayvon Martin case

In USA in a black versus white case looking at the composition of jury one can foretell the verdict. If the majority of the jury is white the verdict goes in favour of white person. That happened in Rodney King case. If the majority of the jury is black the verdict goes in favour of black person. That happened in O. J. Simpson case. When the jury for Trayvon Martin case was constituted it was obvious it will be in favour of the white person George Zimmerman as his father was white though he claimed he was Hispanic because his mother was Hispanic. The jury consisted of five white women and one woman who was half black and half Hispanic. Added to that most prosecution witnesses were white who said things that favoured defence. If the jury had consisted five black women and one woman who was half white and half Hispanic the verdict would have been George Zimmerman guilty of murder. If three women had been black and three white there would have been deadlock. The judge was white and her instruction to jury was in favour of white person.
Florida and some states have stand your ground law which allows a person to kill in self-defence. It was meant to protect oneself from burglars or in cases of attack. It was not for following someone, picking up a fight and killing him.
George Zimmerman had shot dead Trayvon Martin on 26/2/2012. Trayvon Martin was walking alone. The police had told George Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin, picked up a fight, shot him dead, and claimed it was in self-defence. The verdict outraged many Americans. There were protests in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities. One black protestor said it was back to the β€˜50s when white persons thought β€œIt is okay to kill a black person.” There was no violence unlike Rodney King case.
Civil Rights leaders have called the murder of Trayvon Martin a hate crime. Jesse Jackson talked of taking the case to next level.
USA should do away with jury system. Judges should deliver verdicts. For that the legislators should amend the constitution as original Article III prescribes that the Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury.

Updated: July 16, 2013 — 8:00 am

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  1. Rather than do away with juries would it not be better to legislate for juries to be evenly divided between black,white and mixed race jurors in cases which appear to have racial overtones? Say 4 of each (B/W/MR), plus 50-50 male-female split?

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