The defense attorney for Florida resident George Zimmerman relied on the wisdom of Founding Fathers to make key points to the jury during his closing arguments on Friday — and to emphasize that the jurors were representing the Constitution at work and ought to take their responsibilities seriously.
Attorney Mark O'Mara quoted two: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
Quoting Mr. Adams, Mr. O'Mara told the jury: "It is more important that innocence be protected than that the guilty be punished."
He didn't quote that as a means of admitting Mr. Zimmerman's guilty, he said.
"Now if I stop there, it sort of sounds like I'm asking you to let my guilty client go," he said. "I'm not. He's not guilty of anything but protecting his own life. But the quote continues: 'But for guilt and crimes that are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished, but if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizens say whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial. If innocence itself is no protection, and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizens, then it would be the end of security whatsoever,'" he said, The Blaze reported.
And from Mr. Jefferson, Mr. O'Mara cited this: "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man by which government can be held to the principles of its Constitution."
He then addressed the jurors personally and said, "that's you guys," The Blaze reported.
"We talked about living the Constitution. Planned or not, you guys are it. You are living the Constitution ... this is a solemn matter — don't take this lightly. ... This is a serious, serious matter for Mr. Zimmerman, and it's an utterly serious matter for you," he said.
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