By David Hoffman
On May 10, 2012, my article about the murder of Trayvon Martin, entitled An American Lynching, appeared on the pages of Pravda.Ru. I concluded this article by saying:
"Sadly, given the sordid, racist history of Florida, and indeed many towns, cities and states throughout America, the outcome of the [George] Zimmerman trial is probably preordained. An all-white jury will blame Martin for having the 'audacity' to be an African-American teenager wearing a hoodie and walking through a gated community.
These jurors, on the other hand, will view Zimmerman as the faithful 'community' watchdog, the personification of America's frustration with crime, the man doing the job that the 'authorities' are unwilling, or unable, to do.
And Trayvon Martin's name will be added to the ever-growing list of African-Americans who, both as crime victims and as wrongfully convicted innocents, were lynched by America's intransigently racist legal system."
I hate to say I told you so.
Make no mistake about it: if a rich, white, unarmed teenager had been gunned down in a similar manner in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, the shooter, acting in self-defense or not, would be on his/her way to prison this very moment.
Naturally what these jurors forgot, or chose to ignore, is that Trayvon Martin had as much right to defend himself as George Zimmerman. He was in an unfamiliar neighborhood being followed by someone he did not know, a disturbing scenario for any young person. And, unlike Zimmerman, he was not carrying a gun.
Zimmerman, on the other hand, was carrying a gun. And this gun gave him the incentive to instigate a situation he could have easily avoided. And when he started to get his butt kicked, he used it.
Now, thanks to a jury in Sanford, Florida, African-American children can be gunned down by vigilantes for nothing more than walking through the "wrong" neighborhood, and wannabe Zimmermans can intentionally instigate fights, shoot their opponents if they start losing, then successfully holler "self-defense."
What the Zimmerman verdict does confirm is several axioms I have proffered in Pravda.Ru articles over the years: (1) The American legal system "labors harder to rationalize injustice than it does to produce justice" (quoted from A Tale of Two Academics, Part II (June 18, 2009); (2) The American legal system incessantly ignores, and in many cases even rewards, criminals whose crimes promote the corrupt goals of the system, and punishes those who possess the courage to expose these crimes; (3) The American legal system is nothing more than a means for the rich and powerful to impose their will on the poor and powerless and disguise it as "law"; (4) Evil is the primary motivating force in human nature, and America's legal system provides the outlet for people to exercise this evil under the pretense of doing "justice."
So forget the overpaid, talking heads, forget all the legal "analysis," forget all the talk designed to dupe you into believing there is a method to the legal system's madness. The reality is that evil motivated those Sanford, Florida jurors, and, thanks to them, a murderer walks free.
But this is not surprising in a milieu where CIA murderers also walk free with the blessing of the United States "Justice" Department, where torturers teach at prestigious law schools and serve as federal judges, and where the most lawless people are often those sworn to uphold the law.
Throughout the years, many people have asked me why I abandoned my law practice, particularly since it is often a gateway to fame, fortune, and political power. The answer is simple: I could not destroy my soul. I sat in too many courtrooms and watched smirking all-white juries deny compensation to African-Americans who suffered horrendous incidents of police brutality and other injustices; I saw a City Attorney laughing and celebrating when a federal magistrate denied any financial compensation to an African-American man who had spent over five years in prison for a crime he didn't commit; I watched innocent people plead guilty to crimes they did not commit because they faced the prospect of being punished more severely if they chose to go to trial; and I watched attorneys delay trials time and again in the hope that ill and suffering people would become so sick or financially destitute that they would settle for less money than they were entitled to.
And I recalled the words of one of my law professors: "If you're ever conflicted between being an attorney and being a human being, remember you were a human being first."
I have no doubt that many attorneys entered, and are entering, the legal profession the way I did: naive and believing the system is about truth and justice. But those "David vs. Goliath" cases so prominently featured on television and movie screens, where idealistic, inexperienced young attorneys triumph over venal corporate interests and high-priced adversaries, are more myth than reality.
I wish I could profess that some psychic insight led me to accurately predict the outcome of the Zimmerman trial. But the truth is the ugliness of America's legal system and American racism made that outcome a certainty.
So a word to the wise: Don't ever believe, not even for a second, that America's legal system is designed to promote truth and justice. Don't ever enter into a legal battle thinking that anyone (including the judges) is concerned about fundamental fairness or even the most rudimentary concepts of right and wrong. Don't ever believe that logic and sagacity are the foundations for legal "opinions" or jury verdicts. Don't ever believe that "nobody is above the law."
But, most importantly, don't ever believe that anyone in the system has a conscience.
Instead, accept the fact that politics, judicial bias, and/or the income, race, and/or gender of the defendant(s) or the victim(s) determine the outcome of most cases. Accept the fact that whatever common sense dictates to be the right thing to do, the system will do the opposite. Accept the fact that the system is obtusely and incurably racist. Accept the fact that the system is nothing more than a tool created by the rich and powerful to protect the interests of the rich and powerful.
If you believe otherwise, you will be doomed to many years of disappointment and misery, unless, of course, some Neighborhood Watch "captain" decides to kill you first.
A few weeks ago, a majority of justices on the United States Supreme Court, an institution that, under Chief "Justice" John Roberts, has become the ultimate testament to the legal system's corruption, hypocrisy, racism, obtuseness, and bias, struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act-a law that, just a few decades ago, numerous civil rights activists were beaten, jailed, and murdered for supporting. The court's reasoning: "America has changed."
Tell that to the family of Trayvon Martin.
David R. Hoffman
Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru