Zimmerman Trial - O'Mara's Closing

by Paul Siciliano

The jury is now in deliberations, but I want to comment a bit on O'Mara's closing argument.  As a lawyer, I totally appreciate and like O'Mara's focus on reasonable doubt, assumption, supposition, etc.  That really is common for defense attorneys to make. 

But, ultimately, I believe O'Mara's closing was horribly flawed and not helpful.  Why? Even though Zimmerman may be legally justified in using deadly force (and I don't think he is), he is far from innocent.  He definitely is not "completely innocent" or "had no other option".  There is this smugness that Zimmerman did nothing wrong.  In fact, he was completely in the right.  This goes against the moral compass of most people.  Common sense tells you that Zimmerman set these events in motion (which makes this a far more interesting self defense case).  There may not be legal culpability, but there is definitely some moral culpability - and to minimize that is a bad idea. 

O'Mara also played on white fear.  Not overtly, but you can pick it up.  On top of what I just said - O'Mara pretty much argued that young black men are a threat in Sanford, and Zimmerman did the right thing.  He was protecting white womanhood.  Zimmerman should be regarded as a hero and it is open season on young black men.  This will leave a bad taste in jurors mouths. 

But, he does get props for harping on reasonable doubt.