Local attorney says George Zimmerman verdict was ‘fair’

George Zimmerman (R) is congratulated by his defense team after being found not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida, July 13, 2013.  Credit: Reuters
George Zimmerman (R) is congratulated by his defense team after being found not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida, July 13, 2013.
Credit: Reuters

Local criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos, of Cevallos & Wong LLP, said he feels, from a purely legal standpoint, the “not guilty” verdict a Florida jury returned Saturday night against George Zimmerman in connection with the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was “fair.”

Cevallos commended the prosecution but said the burden of proof they were tasked with meeting was “ultimately too high.”

“First, the prosecution had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman committed second-degree murder, which requires them to prove, among other things, that he had ill will or hatred toward the victim, which was a very difficult burden to meet,” Cevallos said.

“Even if they met the burden, it’s not over because they additionally had to disprove self defense beyond a reasonable doubt, which is also a very high standard to meet.”

He said, as far as returning a guilty verdict on a lesser manslaughter charge, the jury may have simply concluded Zimmerman acted in self defense, “which requires only that he reasonably believed he was in fear of death of serious bodily injury – not that he suffered it, but that he had a reasonable apprehension.”

Cevallos maintained that, in the absence of eyewitness testimony, many of the facts of the shooting remain unknown.

“There’s a lot of dialogue going on now about ‘Why can’t a kid go to 7-Eleven to get Skittles?’” Cevallos said.

“There was more than that going on. Something else happened – we may never know what. It was not just a kid who went to 7-Eleven to get Skittles, if you believe the prosecution’s case.”


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