Zimmerman verdict shows Hernandez prosecution is no slam dunk

Reuters

The media at one point painted George Zimmerman as a man who automatically would be found guilty of murder.  As we now know, he has been acquitted.

While there are many real and fundamental differences between the Zimmerman case and the murder case against Aaron Hernandez, anyone who watched the Zimmerman trial now understands that, under our system of criminal justice, there are no slam dunks.

There are no slam dunks because our system of justice would rather see 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man be imprisoned.  The field tilts strongly in favor of the accused, with multiple constitutional protections aimed at ensuring that no one who is wrongfully accused will be wrongfully convicted.

Zimmerman’s case, as it was framed and presented by prosecutors, had plenty of reasonable doubt.  Watching the trial, it was obvious; prosecutors either should have done a far better job presenting their case, or they shouldn’t have pursued it.  Hernandez’s case may not nearly have as much reasonable doubt, but all it takes is a single if-it-doesn’t-fit-you-must-acquit moment for an otherwise ironclad case to suddenly become unable to hold water.

So keep that in mind as the Hernandez case goes forward.  He looks guilty for now.  Whether he’s guilty in the end depends on whether all reasonable doubt can be removed within the alternate reality that arises when facts are reconstructed in a court of law.

Even if Hernandez killed Odin Lloyd, if there’s reasonable doubt in the prosecutions effort to prove the case and the jury sees it, Hernandez will go free.  Like George Zimmerman, O.J. Simpson, and every other person who ever was acquitted at trial.

Whether anyone agrees with that, it’s our system.  And the protections afforded Zimmerman, Simpson, and Hernandez apply to every one of us.

102 responses to “Zimmerman verdict shows Hernandez prosecution is no slam dunk

  1. They went too strong with that second degree murder charge. It was tough. He really only was guilty of manslaughter.

  2. You’re wasting your breath Florio. You of all people should know by now that the second you print the story, people are going to think the person accused is guilty. They won’t read the legal mumbo-jumbo. They just will read the headline and a couple key sentences.

  3. I don’t remember anyone in the media portraying the Zimmerman prosecution as a slam dunk. Most were pointing out the murkiness of much of the evidence from day one. Seems like a little revisionist history on your part.

  4. You are talking two totally different types of cases. There was no doubt that Zimmerman had killed Martin the questionc that arose was, was it in self defense or not. The Hernandez case is one in which they are trying to figure out who the killer is and what the motive was.

  5. On the side note. Roddy White deserves at LEAST a 100k fine for that tweet he just posted. Completely classless.

  6. The system is only strongly tilted in favor of the accused if the accused is not black. Give me a break. If George Zimmerman were black, he would not only have been arrested immediately, he would have been convicted, probably of 2nd degree murder.

  7. I agree that Hernandez maybe freed from 1st degree murder, but those weapons charges don’t look like ones that he can escape from.

    He looks clearly guilty on all of those, but if those can be plead to misdemeanors and result him in getting probation that will be a great addition to an acquittal on murder charges.

  8. As the great Zak Gilbert would probably point out…

    1) George Zimmerman should probably not have been carrying a gun on neighborhood watch.

    2) George Zimmerman should have observed and left the situation like he was apparently directed to by the police as he was on neighborhood watch.

    3) Watching the trial, it was obvious; ….. Far too many followers of this site do not have the time to do this. They have real jobs and a family that require attention. This attention and time can not be directed to a single court case that does not directly effect them.

    4) The Hernandez’s case down not in any way involve a physical confrontation as far as anyone is aware.

    5) It has never come to light that George Zimmerman may have possibly carried out his actions against Mr. Martin because of a possible past interaction involving another crime.

    This is apples to oranges, and you should not try to compare the cases…..

  9. Only problem with your analysis is that Zimmerman never looked guilty…Until the media started doctoring tapes and images to make it appear that he was…
    And then the ‘REAL’ racists waded in, and made it all about that…
    Justice prevailed today against all the odds…
    There might be hope for this country yet.

  10. Well, it’s possible that Zimmerman’s case shows us that Florida has stupid people in juries and prosecutions.

    First Casey Anthony, now Zimmerman.

  11. There is no self defense argument for Hernandez. I see no similarities at all as anyone that followed the Zimmerman case knew it wouldn’t be an easy conviction.

  12. Hernandez may in fact walk, but, few people will think he is innocent. Same as was with OJ Simpson, and George Zimmerman for that matter. The neighborhood-mall cop may have been found innocent, but, that young man is dead because he profiled him. Let the visceral outrage begin.

  13. Comparing the Zimmerman case to this Hernandez case is ridiculous. There was a physical altercation involved between Zimmerman and Martin. There is reasonable doubt that Zimmerman used self defense. There is NO EVIDENCE to my knowledge showing Hernandez using self defense because Lloyd attacked him. Hernandez is also charged with 1st degree murder, which means he planned and showed intent to kill his victim. Not 2nd degree or manslaughter.

  14. Foolish uneducated statements. The media convicts people before trial; as soon as a person is accused they’re painted as guilty in the eyes of the court of public opinion. God forbid a person is acquitted because the system works and the prosecution failed because of lack of evidence, i.e. the person didnt commit a crime.

    Prosecutors like those in the Zimmerman case work harder than you can imagine, and don’t charge people with crimes they don’t think they can gain convictions on, because if they can’t get a conviction it means there is insufficient evidence which means the person most likely DID NOT COMMIT A CRIME.

    Respect to all sides of this case, especially the jury, who listened to the evidence, the judge and the law, THEN made a decision – as opposed to certain media personnel who just assumed without knowing. Is this a news reporting site or a personal column? Embarrassing.

  15. Said it once said it a thousand times…it’s no slam dunk until they find the murder weapon with his prints on it.

  16. u can’t assume with law. I’m just sick of people saying the justice system fails when they don’t get their outcome yet when they do……we have the greatest justice system in the world. Even Zimmerman’s brother tweeted “today….I am proud to be an american”. What?!

  17. The big difference here is that Hernandez actually did it and Zimmerman was railroaded without any evidence by a criminal DA.

  18. Isn’t it just amazing that somehow Zimmerman got an all-white jury, in a town that is 30% African-American? Southern “justice” is alive and well… not too much has changed since the days when the estimable gentlemen of the community ran around wearing the bedsheets. What a disgrace.

  19. Putting Zimmerman in the same category as o.j. And Aaron Hernandez, is kind of a stretch florio, if this kid was white, or Mexican, or the guys who shot him was black, we wouldn’t have ever heard about this case. For som reason the liberal media is so set on painting black people as victims. The jury heard all the facts, and made there decision, the fact that they even acquitted on manslaughter says a lot about this case. The jury actually heard all the facts, they weren’t just forming their opinion, based on what msnbc claimed happened. I think it’s pretty obvious what news outlet mike florio watches.

  20. Wow…really ? Big difference between a guy shooting someone beating his ass, & a guy executing someone in cold blood. I don’t see how the two cases could be compared.

    I can see how you could compare Hernandez & OJ but, the Zimmerman case is a totally different scenario.

  21. The evidence against Hernandez is MUCH stronger then the evidence against Zimmerman. Martin confronted Zimmerman, took him down and was bashing his head against the ground. Zimmerman had reason to fear for his life and acted in self defense. Hernandez on the other hand.. sent texts to the victim telling him he was going to pick him up which he did. Hernandez purposely breaking his cellphone and camera. He was also seen walking into his house with a gun in his hand after the murder happend. I’m almost positive Hernandez will be found guilty.

  22. The guy shouldn’t have been put on trial in the first place. I hope he sues the heck out of the state of Florida for the unjust pain and suffering they caused.

  23. I mostly blame Angela Corey for this.. this was mostly a political prosecution Corey was too gutless to avoid, it was overcharged, and it was above all a completely avoidable tragedy. Perhaps Florida could pass some legislation to make disobeying a 911 operator where the person’s subsequent actions result in death or injury a crime of some sort, though it could be reasonably argued that may prevent people from calling 911 in the first place. Otherwise, the legislative solutions are curbing second amendment rights, and that won’t happen in too many areas of the country, certainly not Florida.

  24. Big stretch (and milking it). Original prosecutor didn’t even think charges were war neccessary in Zimmerman case . . . .

  25. A guy who wasn’t charged with the crime for 44 days was never a slam dunk to be convicted of murder, especially when more facts of the situation were revealed.

  26. The major differences between the Hernandez case and Zimmerman’s
    -Media falsely purported a racial narrative in Zimmerman case
    -Evidence & facts are favorable for prosecution in Hernandez case

    There is a reason Zimmerman was not charged for 45 days. The case against him was very weak.

    Although Hernandez case rely on circumstantial evidence & testimony of somewhat nefarious people, the volume of available circumstantial material may outweigh the possible narratives from the defense.

  27. Remember John Wayne Gacy, abducted and murdered 33 young men; and Wayne Williams convicted for a couple of murders, suspected of 20 abductions and killing of young men in Atlanta. Men abducting, raping, torturing and killing young men. Now, Trayvon Martin sees he is being followed by a man in a car. He is not doing any harm to anyone except to George Zimmerman who hates his presence in his neighborhood. Now, the court is to prove who was endangering who? Really? Ridiculous! Obscene! Why wouldn’t after the call that Zimmerman man to 911, would it not it be supposed that the young man was in fear for what was going to happen to him. Obviously, in order for their to be a struggle Zimmerman has to have followed through and accosted him. Therefore, why wasn’t the law that said you could defend yourself not supposed that the boy was fighting for his life from more than a perceived threat? Did Zimmerman have the ultimate right to defend himself with the gun he carried to kill; or Trayvon Martin the right to defend himself with the only weapon he had his fists. Oh, wait the facts don’t reason, because the boy is dead, and the man is White in America. “Vengeance is mine, saith The Lord, I will repay.”

  28. My guess is that they actually have some, uuhhhh, evidence that Hernandez did something wrong. They had a nothing case they tried to prosecute in the Zimmerman trial. Hernandez is easily convicted if they actually attempt to prove a crime happened and not just try to inflame race arguments.

  29. PFT was the 1st to inform me GZ has been found not guilty (which is alot different than innocent). Crazy.

  30. I don’t understand the media. Anyone with a brain knew Zimmerman would be let go free. Not so with Hernandez.

  31. The only people making this about race are the people treating this like a sporting event and picking a “team” to cheer for.

    The same people who were actually throwing parties when OJ Simpson got off… Who ran to any camera they could find to yell “in your face…”

    Those are the same people having an aneurism over the Zimmerman trial. The same people that would go crazy if anyone celebrated the verdict the same way THEY celebrated OJ’s verdict.

  32. the two cases have nothing to do with one another. that fool down south will run into STREET JUSTICE.
    Aaron will go to jail for life.

  33. Counselor, the murder charge is only one of Hernandez’s issues. That’s why the prosecutors hit him with all the gun charges. What’s the max for those…30 years?

    There’s no parallel between Zimmerman and Hernandez other than both having their fates determined by a jury. Instead of getting jazzed up about Hernandez, you might have made a better comparison might have been with OJ.

    Never mind the events down in Florida. I wouldn’t bet on seeing 81 back on the street for a very long time.

  34. Wow… Pretty sure the evidence in Hernandez case is a bit more incriminating. Remember who destroyed his cell phone and home security system. Kinda different.

  35. Great comparison. One case with no evidence, where the police chief and lead investigator were fired/demoted for being honest and not wanting to press charges, with the prosecutor afraid to bring the case before a grand jury, with the original judge removed for obvious anti-defendant bias, against a case where there appears to be a plethora of evidence, apparent confession, a history of violence…

    But you are correct. In the Zimmerman case, they should not have pursued it – because what they presented – with the majority of prosecution witnesses actually supporting the defense – was all they had. The state’s final arguments to the jury were an appeal to racism, and nothing more. Attempting to get a conviction based on child assault???

  36. Now they ask if the races were reversed; if it were a black guy killing a white guy!
    1. Zimmerman is hispanic
    2. Martin was NOT a CHILD
    3. FACTS are FACTS
    4. Look at the “stand your ground” posters in the background.
    5. I don’t have a gun (I would use it), nor do I want anyone to have one (However, if someone came into my house or business i would protect my family)
    6. Criminals don’t take “GUN CONTROL” into thought. Gun control would have no berring. I can buy a gun in five minutes, easy.

  37. I always appreciate your intelligent, unemotional interpretation of the facts that the hype-driven media invariably overlooks.

  38. The media tried to make this a story about race, how a white man killed an unarmed 12-year old black boy. Unfortunately for the media the facts got in the way of their story. The fact is Martin was high, possibly paranoid, was trespassing in an area that had a lot of recent break-ins and for whatever reason he attacked Zimmerman and Zimmerman defended himself. I don’t think Martin is a bad kid but unfortunately for him he picked a fight with a guy with a gun. Those are the facts and the trial proved it — the hispanic guy defended himself from the black attacker — that story doesn’t sound nearly as interesting, does it?

  39. The amount of circumstantial evidence with Hernandez dwarfs the amount with Zimmerman. I guarantee that Hernandez won’t get off.

  40. “While there are many real and fundamental differences between the Zimmerman case and the murder case against Aaron Hernandez, anyone who watched the Zimmerman trial now understands that, under our system of criminal justice, there are no slam dunks.”

    ________________________________

    It’s like nobody here at PFT lived through the OJ Simposon trial. Thanks for all the legal exposition, Florio!

  41. Roddy White wants the all-female Zimmerman jury to “kill themselves” for doing their job.

  42. It’s the American system. Everyone wants to hate it until they need it. If you lived in Europe it’s guilty until proven innocent.

    Anyone who honestly thought Zimmerman was going to be convicted after it took 44 days to even charge him with little to no TRUE evidence of murder, and all the questions surrounding the case, clearly doesn’t understand the way the American judicial system works.

    Martins death was a tragedy. The system cannot be corrupted for it though, it won’t solve anything. The people whos only thought is to scream racism are just absolutely brain dead.

    As far as Hernandez goes, I feel like they have alot more evidence at this point, even if its circumstantial. I knew Zimmerman would walk. Hernandez I’m not so sure.

    Go America.

  43. The real trial is at a court all of us will go to but we wont know eachothers outcomes. Thats when real justice will be served. The justice system here in this life is just for our peace of mind and it doesnt always work in alot of ways.

    I think its much more of an injustice to send an innocent person to jail, than to let a guilty person go free…

  44. The best of the best lawyers make a mockery of the system because the average person really does NOT understand ‘reasonable doubt’.

    50 people are murdered every day in America and something like 1 in 4 go to jail (and not too many of that 1 in 4 get the long sentence).

    Be safe America…

  45. PFT is dead on (no pun intended). Having worked in law and watching many slam dunk trials being run by prosecutors, fresh out of the bar exam, against million dollar lawyers, amount to nothing, then nothing is surprising anymore. I couldn’t agree with this article any more and those who say they have evidence against Hernandez, it depends who handled it, who signed the paperwork, where it was moved, who moved it, when did they move it, on and on and on. Rich defense lawyers are rich because they get rich people out of trouble, period.

  46. The prosecution had equal opportunity picking the jury. What needs to be said is that a mostly white female jury has a very favorable chance of issuing a conviction in this case. That’s the same demographic that got Obama elected. White females with a vote, acting on emotion rather than facts and logic.

    Much like the media wanted Obama to be black for the election and virtually ignored his arguably stronger white heritage, being raised by his white grandmother, the media wanted this case to be about an unjust racial killing of a “child” by an angry white man. It doesn’t get much more sensational than that unless you are Aaron Hernandez. Telling the world that a Hispanic man killed a young black man, possibly in self defense, sells no papers, and it lacks the possibility of a sequel. If it can be painted as an unjust murder of a black child by an angry white man before trial, it sets expectations for a guilty verdict. If that is not obtained, you have weeks on end coverage of the emotional reactions and endless analysis of “what went wrong.” Again, its what sells and gets eyeballs on whatever flavor of media you are selling. It’s a bug win-win situation for the media, and it’s a formula they will follow every time. Most people won’t bother with the facts and that’s a bonus for them. We live in Reality TV Land.

    I’m looking forward to the soon to be released picture of the Miami Heat posing with the 2013 NBA Championship Trophy in hoodies.

  47. If Zimmerman were a black man there would have not even been an arrest. Zimmerman was arrested because of public and Hollywood out cry. No one will ever know what truly happen unless Zimmerman changes his story. There was no solid evidence even to arrest him. Gang members shoot inonocent black kids daily, but no one ever makes a fuss about that. A Hispanic male with a white mans last name defends himself and certain groups say he is a murderer.

  48. wow…. it’s really absurd to say

    a white guy who took a black girl to his prom then is accused of racism by the press when he defends himself from an aggravated assault

    is comparable to

    a NFLer with a history of gang affiliation is accused of murder backed by a ton of evidence and the press reports it

    wow

  49. anybody else find it amusing that one Hispanic murders a black man, and black men are quoted as saying “Snitches get stitches” and “Free Hernandez” while another Hispanic kills a black guy in self defense and everyone wants his head on a plate… OH THE IORNY…….

  50. No it doesn’t.

    The two cases are complete opposites and are almost entirely unrelated.

    Media stirring up more hate and paranoia…

  51. christophershearin says: Jul 19, 2013 8:50 AM

    anybody else find it amusing that one Hispanic murders a black man, and black men are quoted as saying “Snitches get stitches” and “Free Hernandez” while another Hispanic kills a black guy in self defense and everyone wants his head on a plate… OH THE [IRONY]…….

    ———————————————————–

    Amen.

    And hallelujah.

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