Ed Driscoll

'Is This Still America?'

Thomas Sowell explores how America’s justice system spiraled into the abyss during the trial of George Zimmerman:

People who have increasingly asked during the lawlessness of the Obama administration, “Is this still America?” may feel some measure of relief.

But the very fact that this case was brought in the first place, in the absence of serious evidence — which became ever more painfully obvious as the prosecution strained to try to come up with anything worthy of a murder trial — will be of limited encouragement as to how long this will remain America.

The political perversion of the criminal-justice system began early and at the top, with the president of the United States. Unlike other public officials, who decline to comment on criminal cases that have not yet been tried in court, Barack Obama chose to say, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

It was a clever way to play the race card, as he had done before, when professor Henry Louis Gates of Harvard was arrested.

But it did not stop there. After the local police in Fla., found insufficient evidence to ask for Zimmerman to be prosecuted, the Obama administration sent Justice Department investigators to Sanford, Fla., and also used taxpayers’ money to finance local activists who agitated for Zimmerman to be arrested.

Political intervention did not end with the federal government. The city manager in Sanford intervened to prevent the usual police procedures from being followed.

When the question arose of identifying the voice of whoever was calling for help during the confrontation between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, the normal police procedure would have been to let individuals hear the recording separately, rather than have a whole family hear it together.

If you want to get each individual’s honest opinion, you don’t want that opinion to be influenced by others who are present, much less allow a group to coordinate what they are going to say.

When the city manager took this out of the hands of the police and had Trayvon Martin’s family, plus Rachel Jeantel, all hear the recording together, that’s politics, not law.

This was just one of the ways that this case looked like something out of Alice in Wonderland. Both in the courtroom and in the media, educated and apparently intelligent people repeatedly said things that they seemed sincerely, and even fervently, to believe, but which were unprovable and often even unknowable.

Meanwhile, regarding how the MSM has inflamed the case, “Has anyone noticed … that the grounds for outrage keep subtly shifting?”

Of course. The Martin family attorney blurted out to Greta Van Susteren last night that “I have a greater duty beyond being an attorney and that’s to be a social engineer.” Merely substitute the words “leftwing journalist” for “attorney” in the previous sentence, as the MSM holds precisely the same belief about their profession.

Update: “Butthurt Prosecutors Making the Rounds:” “I’ve never seen behavior like this. I expect it from civil lawyers, but not people with the backing of the state when someone’s life and freedom are on the line. You give the other side all the exculpatory evidence; you try your best case, and if you lose you say ‘the jury has spoken.’ That’s it. These prosecutors are something else.”