George Zimmerman's trial is scheduled to start next month, and as attornies on both sides prepare their opening arguments, lots of information is coming out about Trayvon Martin, the teenager he fatally shot.
Trayvon's tweets, texts, school suspension, and drug use have all been made public, and even though a judge has ruled that much of this information can't be used in the trial, it's going to be hard to find jurors who haven't seen the information that's out there.
Trayvon's Twitter account was closed shortly after his death, but some websites have obtained and published his Tweets, which aren't exactly family friendly material.
Last week, George Zimmerman's attornies released texts from Trayvon that seemed to include talk of school suspension, marijuana use, fighting, and the possible purchase of a gun.
Judge Debra Nelson ruled today that most of this information will be inadmissable in opening arguments next month-- she'll decide on a case-by-case basis whether it will be admitted in the trial itself. Defense attornies are apparently hoping the texts will prove that Trayvon had a history of aggression and may have tried to fight Zimmerman, prompting the neighborhood watch volunteer to shoot him. Critics say they made the texts public to try and influence potential jurors. Regardless, when it comes to the court of public opinion, this information could be enough to give many out there a negative opinion about Trayvon, which really doesn't seem fair.
No, he probably wasn't a candidate for his school's Good Citizen award, but he was also 17, and many of us can remember doing quite a bit of screwing up when we were teens. The fact that he's being publicly judged for his adolescent decisions, and that he'll never have the chance to become a man and turn thing around, is really sad to me.
And I imagine it's crushing to his mother.
Of course, Tweets and texts can always be made public, no matter how young and thoughtless we were when we wrote them, and it's always a good idea to remind our own teenagers of this fact. What seems harmless or funny now could come back to bite them down the road.
Trayvon may have been young and reckless. Does that mean he deserved to be shot?
I don't think so.
Do the public Tweets and texts change how you look at this trial?
Image via torbakhopper/Flickr