SANFORD, Fla. – The judge in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman has instructed the jury to postpone giving its verdict until July of 2023, when Americans will have hopefully learned to accept verdicts by a jury of their peers. In ten years, Judge Debra Nelson said, the public will have learned that you cannot just start breaking shit when you’re angry.
Defense attorneys are giving their final arguments on Friday, and the jury will then convene until a decision is reached. Jury members will be summoned in ten years to deliver the verdict to the court. The American public of 2023, it is hoped, will peacefully remark upon the case then go about their business.
In December of 2012, Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, a teenager who was walking through the neighborhood where Zimmerman was a volunteer watchman. The prosecution’s case rests on the argument that Martin was racially profiled. The defense claims that Zimmerman used lethal force to legally protect himself under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Zimmerman claims that Martin had viciously attacked him, leaving no choice but to fire his gun.
The trial has polarized the country, and officials in Florida are worried that the verdict could incite widespread riots and looting. The judge expressed her hope that in ten years, the American public might be able to better control their tempers and learn to appreciate the jury system in the United States.
“The criminal justice system in the United States is based on the ideas of Enlightenment scholars, and derived from the noble tradition of English common law,” she said, not masking her vexation. “The apex of our system is the trial by jury in which we defer judgement to the intelligence of fellow citizen who have carefully weighed testimonies and evidence presented by the prosecution and the defense.”
“But,” the judge added, “based on the embarrassing conduct of the American public in the wake of other high-profile trials, I have no choice but to postpone the delivery of the verdict for at least ten years.”
Legal experts say judges are very much aware of how the public can react poorly and start breaking shit when juries make unpopular decisions.
“From the trial of O.J. Simpson all the way to Casey Anthony, the public has demonstrated it has no grasp of the way the system works,” said Robert Vender, Professor of Law at the University of Miami. “Judge Nelson knows that no matter what the verdict is, hordes of angry citizens will take to the streets, proclaim the trial a farce, and start throwing shit. At best, they will make sweeping, stupid claims in online forums and to friends about the sickening lack of justice in the USA. They might even say that the verdict sucks and that the USA sucks. In this light, we have to regard the judge’s decision as necessary and wise.”
Zimmerman will be kept in a courthouse holding cell, under the watch of a bailiff, until the verdict is announced on Tuesday, July 12, 2023. A hearing has been set for November to determine if Zimmerman will be allowed to bathe and brush his teeth.