If there's one thing that all high-profile criminal cases have in common, it's that the facts are often played out in the media. No matter what the courts say or the juries do, the defendant's life will be forever altered by popular opinion.
George Zimmerman's new website is therefore no surprise.
Until now, he has remained silent about the facts leading up to Trayvon Martin's shooting death. But with prosecutors getting closer to a decision, it was time that he spoke out and launched his own media campaign.
That being said, from a legal standpoint is his new website a good idea?
Probably not. The reaction to George Zimmerman's website has been mostly one of confusion. The site appears to be the work of an amateur and contains little to no information. Its self-proclaimed mission "is to ensure my supporters they are receiving my full attention without any intermediaries."
Well, that and to collect donations from supporters who wish to help pay for Zimmerman's living expenses and legal fees. He's been in hiding since the shooting and can no longer work or go to school.
The problem with these statements, and Zimmerman's website in general, is that they don't depict a man who regrets what he has done. He expresses no sympathy for the Martin family, and refers to the shooting as a so-called "life altering event." It's all about him. This is likely to contribute to his image problem.
The site also fails to plead Zimmerman's case. The website is an opportunity to sway public opinion and to get Zimmerman's version of the events into the public conversation. Even if he can't discuss the particulars, he can discuss things such as his race. A page entitled "My Race" includes only a quote from Thomas Paine.
For these reasons, George Zimmerman's website will probably hurt more than it helps his case. Kind of makes you wonder whether he had any help from his attorneys, doesn't it?
- Trayvon Martin case: George Zimmerman website solicits donations (Los Angeles Times)
- Howard Law Grad's Petition Helped Spark Trayvon Martin Protest (FindLaw's Strategist)
- Stand Your Ground and Civil Liability: What Do You Tell Clients? (FindLaw's California Case Law Blog)