Aug 112013

Editor’s note: This arrived in our inbox as a letter to the editor from a reader in Versailles.

By Sally M. Bowman

In a jury trial it is the judge’s job to provide neutral legal advice to the jury,beginning with a full explanation of a juror’s rights and responsibilities. But judges rarely “fully inform” jurors of their right to judge the law itself and vote on the verdict according to conscience. Something is definitely wrong when the jurors feel apologetic about their verdict as in the Zimmerman/Martin trial.

So when it’s your turn to serve, be aware: you may and should vote your conscience, you can not be forced to obey a “juror’s oath.” You have the right to “hang” the jury with your vote if you cannot agree with other jurors.

There is so much more to jury nullification, and I encourage everyone to research for yourself, especially if you have jury duty or are going to be tried by jury (make sure the jury is informed about “jury nullification.”) It’s a way we have to get rid of bad laws that the government has taken away from “We the People.”

You can also check FIJA, the Fully Informed Jury Association, who believes that “Liberty and Justice for ALL” won’t return to America until citizens are again fully informed–and using–their power as jurors.

This piece is one of three appearing in our August 2013 print edition under the headline, Still thinking about Trayvon Marin. The others included “Spinning race for ratings” and “Reflections on the Lexington town hall meeting.”

Aug 112013

By Marcus Flores

When Trayvon Martin died, it seemed that decency as well as level-headed thinking died too. Both perished in the wake of a media frenzy that clung to a narrative of race that was, in my opinion, the least salient element of a wholly ambiguous encounter that no one personally witnessed. I attempted to write a column to clarify this, though it was a failure due to the time I devoted to disentangling the legal minutiae as if I were an attorney. I remind you that I am not.

Nonetheless, Trayvon Martin’s death remains a tragedy of the highest order, and not in the least because the teen is dead. As a group, Americans wholeheartedly surrendered their faculties to the corporate manifestation of the left-right paradigm: the media.  Continue reading »

Aug 112013

By Michael Dean Benton 

When the news of the verdict of innocent for George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin was announced, there was an explosion of concern and comments on social media about how the decision reflects ongoing problems in regards to racism in American culture. At the same time, there was a counter-narrative that included paranoid declarations of arming for the coming race riots and lauding the verdict as a symbol of the rightness of self-appointed community policing.

Clearly there was a lot of confusion about the actual trial and the impact of laws, like Stand Your Ground, on the jurors’ verdict. This is why it was so important that communities across the nation immediately responded by gathering together to hold vigils, to actively protest the verdict, and to convene town-hall meetings to discuss the trial and ongoing racism.

In Lexington, Bianca Spriggs led the organizing of a town-hall style forum at the Carnegie Center on July 16. In the two days leading up to the event, despite her calls for civility, arguments concerning the verdict began to flare on the Facebook event page. It was quite obvious that Spriggs was scrambling to develop a sense of communal dialogue in order to avoid pointless, dismissive arguments. This was most clearly demonstrated in her continuous revision of the rules of dialogue and the decision, at one point, to remove long, rambling dialogues that violated the spirit of the gathering. Continue reading »

Jun 062012

Murder, hatred and George Zimmerman

By Marcus Flores

State prosecutors in Florida, evidently dissatisfied with convicting George Zimmerman of atonable recklessness, have recently announced that they may try Zimmerman for a hate crime because he “profiled and stalked” Trayvon Martin before killing him.  Is this account genuine?

Imagining the scene of any crime is a formidable task for even the most distinguished detective.  Re-creation relies on evidence and witness testimony.  Physical evidence gathered following the February 26 encounter consisted of two components: Trayvon’s scraped knuckles and Zimmerman’s head wounds—which, in tandem, are consistent with a fist fight.  Zimmerman cannot be vindicated on basis of this evidence alone; the wounds speak not to who started the fight but only who came up short during it. Continue reading »