Performance Might Be More Questionable Than the Jury's
By William Boardman
The Florida Prosecutor Omitted Trayvon Martin's Humanity
Listening to the lead prosecutor's final argument in the Zimmerman case, it's hard to believe he really wanted a conviction.
Lead prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda lost focus from the moment he opened his mouth and began: "A teenager is dead. He is dead through no fault of his own.
He is dead because another man made assumptions"."
Not only is de la Rionda's voice flat, his tone subdued and resigned, he begins by presenting the victim as an abstraction, characterizing him in a neutral, almost dismissive way as "a teenager," who also happens to be dead, which everyone knew before the trial started. As narrative hooks go, this one is barbless.
The prosecutor adds that this teenager "is dead through no fault of his own," as if the question before the jury was what did Trayvon do to deserve killing? Why even address the question of Trayvon's fault when you're supposedly trying to convict Zimmerman? Even if there's good reason to expect the defense to try to put Trayvon on trial, why put it at the top of your summation as if it's a credible question?
And then he says Trayvon is dead "because another man made assumptions"? Really? Isn't Trayvon dead because another man shot him? Doesn't that other man have a name? Isn't Zimmerman the one on trial here? Isn't that him over there, 27 years-old, 5 feet 7.5 inches tall, 204 pounds?
They Pay TV Anchors Millions a Year to Ratify the People in Power
Despite de la Rionda's passionless prose and torpid performance, some have praised his work. On ABC News Diane Sawyer said that "prosecutors gave it all they had." If that was all they had, they didn't have much.
Why did the prosecutors eschew an approach more relevant to conviction, something simple and direct like:
George Zimmerman killed an unarmed, innocent teenager who was trying to
George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin with a single shot to the chest, a single shot at close range that killed Traynon Martin in a matter of minutes.