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The Verdict: Not Guilty

The Verdict: Not Guilty
After 16 hours of deliberation, the jury of six women found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter. The verdict was read late Saturday evening. In the end, the state could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman was unreasonable in his use of force. Stated differently: It was reasonable for George Zimmerman to believe that his use of force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself. There was not enough evidence to prove that he acted with a depraved mind without regard to human life (Murder 2) or that he intentionally caused Trayvon Martin's death (manslaughter). While an acquittal is what I had been predicting ever since we heard from the one eye witness, there is no doubt that this case remains a tragedy. A 17 year old man is dead and nothing can change that. It's heartbreaking to imagine, as a parent, what Martin's family has gone through. Putting emotion aside is so difficult in any case (as I'm sure it was in this one) but that is what the jury was asked to do and simply focus on the evidence and the law. In the end, we must respect the jury's decision. They did everything that was asked of them and came to a difficult decision based on the law. In our nation we should pride ourselves on this fact, even when we don't like the outcome. For more reaction, visit Hannity.com.

Reaction to Zimmerman Verdict
As predicted, the not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman stirred up emotions and passion from many Americans. Regardless of race, occupation, or political standing, it seems as though everyone had an opinion on the decision. Unfortunately I would argue that many were ill-informed on the facts, but in America everyone has a right to their opinion. Do you think the verdict was accurate? I’d really appreciate your thoughts, you can vote in our interactive poll at Hannity.com. While you’re there, you can read some of the reaction from around the country.

Civil Rights Violation?
The saga for George Zimmerman will undoubtedly continue. Civil lawsuits from the Martin family are likely in his future. But now there are also demands that Zimmerman be indicted on federal civil rights charges. As Harry Reid said in his reaction to the verdict, “This isn't over with ...” The Justice Department has agreed to heed the requests from the NAACP, the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, lawmakers and others to investigate whether Zimmerman violated any federal civil rights laws. In order to prove that Zimmerman has done so, the federal government must prove that Zimmerman acted on racial animus. A hate crime felony occurs when it is proven that someone willfully uses a firearm to cause bodily injury to a person "because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin."

Just like the state didn't have enough evidence to prove its criminal case, the federal government may have a difficult time proving that Zimmerman was racially motivated. After all, the FBI has already investigated this matter and no where could they find – whether through interviews or evidence – that George Zimmerman acted on a racial bias. Also, certain parts of Zimmerman's past do not paint the picture the media would like you to believe. For example, Zimmerman publicly testified against the Sanford police department in defense of a homeless black man. There are various stories in Zimmerman's life that are being discounted by many who insist on making this an issue of race. Even the media will play along, referring to Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic,” for example. It's difficult to see how a civil rights case can be made of this man, but that won't stop many people from continuing to try. For more on this, click here.

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