What Does Justice Look Like in Trayvon Martin Case?

George Zimmerman was arrested last night and charged with second-degree murder in connection to the Feb. 26 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17, who was unarmed.

It is alleged that Zimmerman, 28, shot Martin while serving as a volunteer neighborhood watchman. The shooting has led to a national and international debate and has brought attention concerns regarding race (Zimmerman is Hispanic while Martin was African-American) and Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

At first glance, it would appear that the arrest brings justice to an unthinkable death. An arrest means that Zimmerman will stand trail for the actions. However, the quest for justice is just beginning. If we are truly concerned about justice in the Martin case then we will be equally concerned that Zimmerman receives a fair trial and is able to find redemption.

Zimmerman has the right to a fair trial, which will be incredibly difficult when many have already passed judgment against him. In our 24-hour news cycles, it is incredibly difficult to not know about this case and the allegations surrounding it. But, that cannot print justice from occurring. It will make it more difficult, but it should not prevent Zimmerman from receiving a fair trial.

At the same time, we should hope that Zimmerman finds redemption. True justice, I believe, is not retributive. Justice is not  about seeking revenge for the wrong someone has done, but it is about seeing the person being forgiven, redeemed, and transformed. We should hope that Zimmerman finds forgiveness and seeks forgiveness from those whom we has hurt. If Zimmerman is found guilty then he will do is time in jail. However, to deny Zimmerman the opportunity for forgiveness and transformation would be to blind ourselves from God’s desire for all to know and love Him.

Martin’s death is a tragedy of a life taken too early. Now that the case has reached the legal stage let us hope for fair justice and true redemption for all involved.

That would be the fairest and best case for true justice in this tragic case.

2 thoughts on “What Does Justice Look Like in Trayvon Martin Case?

  1. I agree that Zimmerman deserves a fair trial, and it will be hard for him to get one. This is such a complex issue! I think the good that will come out of this case has a lot less to do with the specifics of the actual killing than the questioning of what appears to be a racially slanted system wherein a light-skinned person can shoot an unarmed black person without even being detained for it, based on his word that it was self-defense. I have trouble believing that if the races of the two people were reversed the same thing would have happened. The thing is, if Zimmerman really was acting in self-defense, then he would have been much better served by being detained for questioning and put on trial; the media attention wouldn’t have been nearly as intense and he would have gotten a much better shot at a fair trial. Let a jury decide what was self defense and what wasn’t, not an officer. It’s a lot easier to get a few racially motivated police officers than a whole jury of racially motivated people, but now it will be almost impossible to get a jury that doesn’t already have an opinion one way or another.

  2. Matt,

    Great to have you commenting on the blog. I think your points are valid and are a concern of mine as well.

    Without a doubt, the Zimmerman case will have to be moved to another location. It will probably have to move to the opposite side of the state. It’ll have to be large cities in Florida, so perhaps Tallahassee or Jacksonville. I could not see a smaller county, such as Okechobee, having the resources (hotels for traveling media, experience dealing with high-profile cases, and a vast jury pool) to handle the case.

    I do believe it is possible, even in our media saturated age, to find 12 people who have not made a decision on Zimmerman. It will be difficult. But, it is possible that someone could hear of the case and not make a decision.

    The case does bring to light, and I’ve mentioned this in a previous post on the blog, the role of race not just in this shooting, but in general in our country. We are still a country that struggles with racism, even though we like to think we do not. As well, it sheds light on the controversial “stand your ground” law, which is important.

    My main reason I wrote this post today is my strong belief that justice must be for the accused as well as the victim. We often forget that the one who is on trial deserves justice to be done in a fair way, but also that we, as Christians, should be in relationship with them through our desire for reconciliation and true justice.

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