Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Historians Comment on the Trayvon Martin Killing and George Zimmerman Acquittal

On February 26, 2012, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin. What Zimmerman claimed was an act of self defense others characterized as a racially motivated, unprovoked attack. Late last Saturday a Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty on charges of second degree murder. Here's a sampling of what historians have to say:
  • See also this roundup from the UNC Press Blog. 
  • You can hear commentary from Donald Tibbs (Drexel Law School) here, on Radio Times. (Hat tip: Faculty Lounge).
  • Former guest blogger David Bernstein has posted comments here, at the Volokh Conspiracy.


David Bernstein said...

Let's see: to my knowledge, just about every criminal law and evidence professor of every ideological stripe who has commented on the issue thinks the jury verdict was correct. (Dan Markel of FSU has been searching for a crim law professor willing to state publicly that Zimmerman should have been found guilty, and hasn't been able to find even one.] A bunch of historians opine that Zimmerman was guilty. Perhaps that tells us how much we should credit historians opining on contemporary issues, especially when most of them clearly have an ideological ax to grind. Since I'm a former LHB contributor, here is a link to my own thoughts:

Karen Tani said...

Thanks, David. For the record, many of the articles linked above are historically informed commentaries on race, violence, and criminal justice; they are inspired by recent events, but not all of them take a position on the legal correctness of the verdict. Glad to have a link to your thoughts on this as well.