« WSAU Opinion Blog

OPINION - Acquittal coming

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU) I’m certain of two things – George Zimmerman will be acquitted on homicide charges in the Trayvon Martin case, and that there will be riots in the streets after the verdict comes down.

In high profile court cases, always give the jury the benefit of the doubt. They’ve sat through all the evidence. Going into the case they didn’t know the actors – they’re a group of bystanders who are asked to apply their judgment.

So – for people who might cause unrest after George Zimmerman is found not guilty – did you follow the case. Even if the answer is ‘yes’, at best your knowledge is based on news reports. A one or two minute nightly news update is not the same as listening to six or seven hours of testimony each day. Your judgment shouldn’t be substituted for the jury’s judgment.

The only eye-witness says Trayvon Martin was on top of George Zimmerman and was punching him. Physical evidence backs this up. Zimmerman had a broken nose and bruises to the back of his head. Zimmerman’s back was wet, as if he was lying on the grass. Martin had dirt and wetness on his knees – as if he was straddling the man he was beating. And we have a 9-1-1 call, where someone is heard crying out for help in the background. This evidence is irrelevant; there’s conflicting testimony about whose voice is heard. The jury has no choice but to disregard inconclusive evidence.

The prosecution needs to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. There is a tremendous amount of doubt in this case, and the verdict won’t be a surprise. The only surprise will be if people with a race-based agenda can restrain themselves and keep a community from being ripped apart again. I expect the jury to get this one right. I expect street-demonstrators to get it wrong.

Chris Conley