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George Zimmerman verdict: Blame state, not jurors

By Hal Boedeker

Staff writer

1:01 PM EDT, July 17, 2013

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Don't like the George Zimmerman verdict?

Blame the state, not the jurors.

The prosecution put on such a terrible case that an acquittal was the logical conclusion for jurors.

The state overcharged Zimmerman with second-degree murder in Trayvon Martin's death, then put on witnesses who ultimately helped the defense. The state capped off its disastrous performance by letting one prosecutor (Bernie de la Rionda) scream at jurors, spew sarcasm and skip, then allowing another prosecutor (John Guy) to deliver mawkish comments designed to play on jurors' emotions.

Didn't work. Legal cases are supposed to be about facts and evidence, not tears.

This jury followed the law, Orlando attorney Mark NeJame said Wednesday on CNN. They made a legal decision, not a moral decision, NeJame said.

Those jurors logged long hours in the courtroom, then worked hard in their deliberations to reach that verdict. When many in the public react angrily, is it any wonder so many people consider jury duty thankless? Is it any wonder that the Zimmerman Juror B-37 was photographed in shadows for her interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper? Is it a surprise other jurors don't want to talk?

Juror B-37 issued a statement Wednesday: "My prayers are with all those who have the influence and power to modify the laws that left me with no verdict options other than not guilty in order to remain within the instructions."

Attorneys on CNN concurred with her take on the issue.

"I don't see how in the world anybody who was there could have done anything under the law but acquit," defense attorney Jeffrey Gold said. "All those protesters out there, if they're really protesting they ought to be against the stand your ground law, not really George Zimmerman. I think there was nothing  else for this jury to do under Florida law."

Attorney Brian Kabateck said that he knew the trial was over when the jury instruction about self-defense was in place. "The real problem here is the law," he said. "If people don't like the verdict, change the law. Of course, in Florida that's a difficult situation."

Special prosecutor Angela Corey made sympathetic comments about Trayvon's parents and their son's death. But Corey faltered as a legal advocate for the Martin family. Too bad that Corey and her colleagues didn't put on a stronger case.

If people are outraged by the verdict, look to the prosecutors, not the jury.