by Garth M. Evans, Lawyer @ Barbeau, Evans & Goldstein
The outcry over the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin is another of example of the public’s failure to understand the criminal justice system. Under the British Judicial System, which prevails throughout the English speaking world including the United States, the accused must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means there must be a preponderance of evidence respecting each essential element of the offence in order for there to be a conviction. It isn’t enough that there be some evidence there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that no innocent person is convicted of a criminal offence. Lawyers are taught at law school that it is better for 10 guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to be convicted.
The jury did its job properly and based on the evidence before it acquitted Mr. Zimmerman. It seemed obvious to even a casual observer that the State had failed to prove a number of essential elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt leaving the jury with no real alternative other than to acquit.
Garth M. Evans