Alafair Burke: Jury Instruction & The Zimmerman Verdict

Alafair BurkeAugust 1, 2013 – Segment 4

We close the show with a commentary on Trayvon Martin and the George Zimmerman trial from Alafair Burke, Professor at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and author of If You Were Here. Burke argues that the way in which the judge gave the jury instructions influenced the verdict.




Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show currently airs on The Real News Network. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Email us to share your comments with us.


  1. Jerry Alles says:

    the judge’s instructions can in no way change the fact that Martin was apparently trying to kill Zimmerman by beating his head into the ground.

    Perhaps Ms Burke would have preferred to see Zimmerman in jail for defending his life.

  2. Ms. Burke has illustrated why our society predicated upon equality under the law often fails to conceive of or deliver justice. Juries are comprised of people, who are faced with a difficult task. Right or wrong often isn’t as important in the final decisions a jury faces as is a search for a solution by which they can legally side-step the responsibility for their decision. I agree with her assessment that the judge’s instructions to the jury left little room for the prosecution’s arguments for finding Zimmerman guilty of taking Trayvon Martin’s life wrongfully. The jury instructions also removed much of the possibility for the judge’s behavior to be considered biased in any way, despite the effects of her words. This sad case has so many lessons, I just hope that some of them are weighed carefully.

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