Any American who has watched a national news program in the past two weeks has been made aware of the trial against George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida last year. The trial began June 24th of this year and has quickly become a centerpiece of daily broadcasts from CNN, Fox, and many other news outlets. The focus of the trial hinges on whether Zimmerman acted in self-defense and within the statutes of Florida’s “stand your ground” provision that states according to editor of Findlaw, Andrew Chow, “there is no duty to retreat before using force”. While the trial continues in Orlando before the sequestered jury of six female jurors, the nation seems to already have made up it’s mind about the polarizing case.
While the trial is aired from the courtroom a deafening number of responses from online are being posted with CNN reporting 2,393 tweets per minute during Rachel Jeantel’s testimony for the prosecution. Over the past year as more information about the case has emerged to the public, online communities such as Twitter and Facebook have become battlegrounds for people to voice their opinions on the guilt or innocence of Zimmerman. Facebook groups such as “Support George Zimmerman” and a website titled “therealgeorgezimmerman.com” have been created to rally supporters. Opposition groups claim the outcome of the case is racially biased and have popularized Martin as an innocent victim, circulating a picture of the teen along with demands for justice.
The final outcome of the case, regardless of the opinions of the public, lies in the hands of the jury. A jury that is reminded at the end of each day by judge Debra S. Nelson to not discuss the case, research the case, or access information about the case from social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.