UT law expert: Why Zimmerman was acquitted - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

UT law expert: Why Zimmerman was acquitted

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A law professor at the University of Toledo says prosecutors in the George Zimmerman trial faced quite a challenge because of Florida law.

Professor Joe Slater from the UT College of Law said, "Sometimes the law is not about proving that someone was innocent, but just that the prosecution couldn't prove them guilty.  When someone says they acted in self-defense in fear or their own life, the prosecution has to prove it wasn't true. In this case the jury found that the prosecution hadn't carried the burden of proof to prove that was not true."

He also cites a lack of solid evidence in the case. "Especially since Trayvon Martin, for obvious reasons, was not around to give his side of the story. So you had Zimmerman's side of the story and not a whole lot else for the jury to figure out what exactly did happen that night."

Slater says some may wonder that if the races of the accused and the victim had been switched, if the verdict would have been different.

"We will never know, but there is a history there that suggests that's at least possible."

Slater calls the case a tragedy with a young life lost and says he hopes no more violence occurs.

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