An adult white male shot and killed an unarmed black youth and was charged with murder. A jury heard the case and rendered a verdict that outraged many people. They demanded a reversal of this “miscarriage of justice.”
This is what happened in 2011 when Jerome Ersland was convicted of murder for killing 16-year-old Antwun Parker in Oklahoma City. Ersland's supporters believe he never should have been arrested, much less tried for first-degree murder. Following the conviction, his outraged supporters demanded that Ersland be pardoned.
And now another case of alleged miscarried justice is before us. Anger at the jury's verdict is strong. The acquittal of George Zimmerman enraged thousands of Americans. They can't accept the verdict for what it was — a careful consideration of the evidence and the law.
Race was a dominant factor in how one views this case, as it was to some extent in the Ersland case and to a larger extent in the O.J. Simpson case. Ours is an imperfect system, but in neither the Ersland case, the Zimmerman case, nor the Simpson case did the system itself fail.
Whether the acquittals of Simpson and Zimmerman and the conviction of Ersland were right or wrong is a value judgment. To extend that judgment to the conclusion that these cases resulted in a travesty is a stretch. Barack Obama, ever The Great Divider, inserted himself into the case early on. He should have let things play out. But then, when they did play out, those who don't like the outcome are nevertheless outraged.
An argument can be made that Zimmerman should not have been tried, but his prosecution wasn't inappropriate. In the tug of war between leniency and harshness, the judicial system found a midpoint. It didn't ignore what happened. It tried Zimmerman. It found him not guilty. Disagree with the verdict if you will, but don't say justice wasn't done.