There’s a weird mental bargain I’ve made as a fan of classic cinema: I’m a black female actor who longs
With every passing day, more and more astonishing details are revealed about the Zimmerman Trial and just how effectively the system worked how grave a transgression of justice it truly was. From WFTV Channel Nine in Orlando, Florida:
“Channel 9’s Kathi Belich confirmed the jurors were left unsupervised with guests at times, which WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said is more than enough time for a member to have said something that could have influenced a juror and possibly impacted the verdict.
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said Judge Debra Nelson allowed jurors generally no more than two hours of alone time with visitors once a week.”
You did read that correctly. Two hours a week, unsupervised, with visitors held to nothing more than a signature on a form where they agreed that “the case or anything even remotely related to the case must not be talked about.”
The Zimmerman trial was the issue du jour from Day One. You can’t sit here and tell me that a John/Jane Hancock is going to stop friends and family, let alone all the hucksters and shysters chomping at the bit for a chance to spend even thirty seconds alone with a juror from not making a peep about the Trial Of The Year while it was happening. It certainly explains how Famewhore #1 – aka Juror B37 – was able to secure some kind of lame-duck book deal literally hours after the verdict was handed down.
Oh, but it gets better. My colleague Mark Bear over at Addicting Info put in a call to the Seminole Country Sheriff’s Office the day this story broke and spoke to Heather Smith, Deputy Director of their Public Affairs Division. When asked to comment on the story, Smith stated that “generally speaking”, the information released by WFTV was accurate. Generally speaking? When asked to clarify, she responded that “there were more opportunities afforded jurors, but not all took advantage.”
Wait . . . what?
So now, not only is the WFTV news story completely inaccurate, but those who initially provided the information neglected to share what most would consider to be an incredibly important shred of intelligence. What exactly does “more opportunities” mean, anyway? How many mani/pedis and bowling nights did these women need, exactly? Most importantly, how many does it take to compromise a jury who’s already being hoodwinked by a gnarled old scarecrow like Mark O’ Mara and his Heckle & Jeckle defense team?
We’ve seen a lot of bullshit take place over the course of this whole scenario, and it’s more apparent than ever that our judicial system is and never was meant to accommodate those who were once considered property in this country, those who are now free peoples and deserve a proper seat at the negotiating table. There’s a fundamental flaw in the American judicial construct: the freedom of people of color in America was only obtained by them through monumental political maneuvering, and vast amounts of blood and treasure. In that sense, freedom was taken back by people of color from the very people who robbed them of it.
The truth about race relations in this country and how they play out in the courts requires facing the unsettling fact that white privilege, as an institution, has a legal score to settle. White privilege has fought tooth and nail in the courts to protect itself for decades, and will continue to do so using all manner of institutional malfeasance, whether consciously or otherwise. This trial is just one more disturbing example of the lengths our system will go to protect itself and the interests of those who created it, even if it means getting away with murder.