Tag Archives: Not Guilty

Whose Truth? – Zimmerman NOT GUILTY!

Is anyone really surprised at the out outcome? I don’t mean that from the cynical viewpoint of “what the white man did to the black man”! I mean it from an honest, level-headed attempt to apply the actual “law”, not justice as you perceive it to be.

Plain simple fact is that the prosecution failed to convince the jury “beyond a reasonable doubt” that George Zimmerman set out and planned to kill Trayvon Martin. Period.

The prosecution also failed to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman put himself in a position where he could “take out” this teenager and use Florida’s “stand your ground” law to get away with it. Again, period.

Is this case about the letter of the law or social justice? Let me start by saying. I do not believe that George Zimmerman had been salivating, fantasizing, and hoping to be able to kill a black person. I just don’t buy it. His life showed no shred of evidence of hatred towards blacks.

Some have bought into the hype that Zimmerman willingly told the 911 operator that the boy was black and it was one of his main descriptors. That’s not true. In fact, the NBC Morning Show doctored up the video to make it look like that. Zimmerman actually initially said that he didn’t know what color Martin but was asked a few more times by the 911 operator trying to get more information.

Too many onlookers are victims of sound bites. This racist, black-hating, Hispanic, self-proclaimed protector of his universe actually had a black girlfriend in high school and took her to the prom. It was documented that he tutored kids in reading, among them many black children. He helped organize and raise money for a black family whose child was in need of medical care. Is this racist backwards day? Maybe!

Now, let’s be honest about this. I don’t know the man. I don’t know if he came from or worked in a neighborhood where violence runs rampant or the violence is perpetrated by young black men or young Asian men or young white men! None of us know.

Is it really racism to be afraid of someone in a hoodie walking toward you late at night with his or her head down? No!

What if you had read that in your neighborhood there had recently been several violent acts carried out at night by people in hoodies? And someone fitting that description approached you? Would you have been afraid?

What if someone in my area wearing a hoodie beat the tar out of me, took my wallet and car keys, and left me for dead? Now when I walk down the street I’m afraid and ready to defend myself, especially if someone approaching me is wearing a hoodie. So am I now a racist?

If you’ve answered “yes” thinking that any of these scenarios smell of racism, it just goes to show how misused the word has become.

What is racism? It is usually defined as “views, practices and actions reflecting the belief that humanity is divided into distinct biological groups called races and that members of a certain race share certain attributes which make that group as a whole less desirable, more desirable, inferior, or superior”.

I call those that commit violent crimes “thugs”, whether they wear hoodies or not. They are not a part of a biological group. They are just someone who has decided that they will get what they want through whatever illegal means necessary and too bad for you.

Trayvon Martin didn’t deserve to die for simply being in the wrong place wearing a hoodie. He didn’t deserve to die for being a young black man in a strange neighborhood. He didn’t deserve to die for the way he may have spoken to Zimmerman. He didn’t deserve to die for the actions of that night.

It was a horrible tragedy. But, there are two tragedies that took place. The death of a young man for what might have been all the wrong reasons and the prosecution of another man because of political pressure.

The Justice Department looked at this last year and took no action, meaning, they had no basis for a case! The sheriff looked at the case and found nothing. The courts have now looked at this and found nothing.

The legal system, like it or not, worked. But it seems like the Jessie Jackson’s and the Al Sharpton’s aren’t going to give up until they get their own special brand of justice. Both reverends have forgotten what the book they follow says… “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority” and “vengeance is mine says the Lord” and then there’s “do not repay evil with evil”.

If a real wrong has been done here reverends, don’t you think your Lord can hand out a better, more just outcome than you can? Isn’t calling for any kind of violence in any way against your “good book”?

At the end of the day all we have managed to do is stir up anger on all sides of the issue.

We need to revisit these kinds of laws and make sure they are written properly so when actions are taken in these situations they can be handled fairly and quickly.

My heart goes out to both families. They each have a lot to deal with.

The worst thing that could happen is more violence and more deaths. That will do nothing to heal us and will only make things worse.

Amanda Knox Could Still Be In (Double) Jeopardy

Yesterday, Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder.  If that had happened in the United States, she would be a completely free woman.  In our country, you cannot be tried for the same crime twice.  This protection is afforded under the Fifth Amendment and is known as Double Jeopardy.  Once you’ve been found "not guilty" or once you’ve been acquitted, the alleged crime is behind you.  Under this protection, O.J. Simpson could potentially go onto live television and tell everyone that he really did murder his wife, and there is no way he could be criminally prosecuted for it.  He would not go back to jail.  That’s how the justice system works in the United States.

But that is not how the justice system works in Italy.  Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder on Monday, but by Tuesday, Italian prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, had already told the media that he was going to try to appeal Knox’s acquittal.  Maybe you need a second to wrap your head around that…  Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder and is on her way home to the United States as I type this, but she is not 100% free yet.  The Italian prosecutors intend to take this to their country’s highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation.  Once there, that court can decide whether the original sentence where Amanda Knox was found guilty is the one that will stick, or if the recent acquittal which just set her free is the one that will stick.  Her final destiny has not yet been determined.

So while Amanda Knox is on her way home today, depending on how things shake out, she could be making a return trip to Italy in the future, and it wouldn’t be for tourism.  Say what you will about the American justice system, but double jeopardy is at least one thing our citizens don’t have to fear.  We’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

 

Amanda Knox Had An Angel From Idaho

When Amanda Knox steps out of the airplane and breathes American air on Tuesday, she might want to think about what she’s going to write in her "thank you" card to Greg Hampikian.  You may already know about Knox’s murder trial and subsequent acquittal in Italy, but you may not have heard about one of the men who played a pivotal role in setting Amanda Knox free.

When Dr. Greg Hampikian, a professor of forensic biology at Boise State University and director of the Idaho Innocence Project, decided to study how DNA evidence is used in other countries, he happened to stumble upon some facts that eventually led to Amanda Knox’s acquittal.

Hampikian said by chance he began looking at the DNA evidence in the Amanda Knox case two-and-a-half years ago.

"I was trying to study how DNA evidence is used in other countries, and when I looked at the data, I was appalled," said Hampikian.

The DNA evidence in question was found on a knife, the alleged murder weapon and the only piece of evidence that tied Knox to the crime.

But after a closer look, Hampikian determined the trace amounts of Knox’s DNA found on the knife were so small, they could only be tested once. His team at the Idaho Innocence Project also determined there was no blood on the weapon.

"When the DNA comes back and tells you you are wrong, you need to let those suspects go home and they should have done that four years ago," said Hampikian.    -NWCN.com

Dr. Hampikian’s observation is just one of the latest in a brave new world where we have begun to challenge the once "unquestionable results" of DNA testing.  Here’s an example he came up with that shows how people can be wrongly accused of a crime even though DNA evidence suggests they did it.

"In my lab, the team took knives from the Dollar Store. They collected coke cans from the office staff at the dean’s office, and I told them don’t change your gloves between every piece of evidence, do it between every other piece of evidence. And what happened is DNA from innocent staff people in the dean’s office got onto their gloves, got transferred to the knives, and when we swabbed the knives when we looked at those very low levels like they did in the Amanda Knox case, you start to see contamination," said Hampikian.

Dr. Greg Hampikian should be commended for his work, and Amanda Knox might think of sending him a "thank you" card.  While I hope none of us should ever have to benefit from his research, there are many people who inevitably will.