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Eliot Spitzer: Zimmerman verdict ‘a failure of justice’

- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 14, 2013

There are mixed opinions on whether justice truly was served in the George Zimmerman trial, and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is among those who believe the jury got it wrong.

"This is a failure of justice. I don't think there's any other way to view it," Mr. Spitzer said during an interview on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "The judicial system is not perfect. And in this case it has failed, and before we get into a conversation of whether the prosecution was flawed, that they should have handled it in a different way, there is a simple reality here. An innocent young man was walking down a street ... and that innocent young man was shot. The criminal justice system should be able to deal with situations like that. It didn't."

A six-woman jury in Sanford, Fla., on Saturday night found Mr. Zimmerman — a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer and criminal justice student — not guilty in the February 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Mr. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder, and jurors also had the option to convict him of manslaughter. In the end, they acquitted him of all charges, with defense attorneys having made a strong case that Mr. Zimmerman may have acted in self-defense.

Attention now turns to the Obama administration, which could choose to pursue civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman.

Such a case, however, will be difficult for the federal government to make.

"The Justice Department will step in, but it's a very dicey position because there has been a criminal case," Mr. Spitzer said. "Double jeopardy is a fundamental principle in our American judicial system, and it should be. And so it's going to be hard for [the Justice Department] to come back at the defendant."

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