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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Zimmerman Verdict:Is it a Blot on American Justice ?

The Zimmerman trial is over. As expected the man who stalked a 17 year old boy and then shot him dead is acquitted. There is a sense of despair in America. My friend from New York emailed me just one sentence "What a perversity of Justice". I have been reading a lot of posts on various writing sites and I find that most whites support the verdict, while all coloreds and some whites have written against the verdict. This shows a clear racial divide in the perception of the trial and verdict.
I would like to point out 2 cases which are a landmark in India a) The Priyadarshani Mattoo Murder case (2006). In this case a young man had stalked a girl named Mattoo, raped and then murdered her with a telephone wire. The murderer was the son of a high ranking police officer. b) The Jessica Lal Murder Case. In this the son of a well known politician had shot dead a bar girl in Delhi after she refused to serve him another glass of whiskey, as the bar timings were over.
In both the above cases the sessions court( lower Court) in a perversity of justice, acquitted the assailants and they went Scot free. But the Delhi High Court after a public outrage, took cognization of the case Suo moto and re-heard the case. The high court awarded death in the Priyadarshni case and life imprisonment in the second case. Here was justice executed after a lower court had gravely erred. One wonders whether there is any such provision in American law. Can a high court in the USA take over and hear this case like in India? Indian law is based on the English common law and in England this is often done.
The facts of the Zimmerman murder case are too well known and need not be recounted here, but the general feeling outside the USA is one of disbelief. I for one was sure that Zimmerman would be acquitted as in the South of the USA, the roots of discrimination against blacks run deep.