This should have a few heads exploding on the Left, and possibly the Right as well — but former President Jimmy Carter gets it correct in this interview with WXIA in Atlanta. Well, mostly right, anyway (via TPM):
“I think the jury made the right decision based in the evidence presented because the prosecution inadvertently set the standard so high that the jury had to be convinced that it was a deliberate act by Zimmerman and that he was not defending himself and so forth,” Carter told television station WXIA in Atlanta. “It’s not a moral question, it’s a legal question and the American law requires that the jury listens to the evidence presented.”
I hate to nitpick, especially when Carter gets it right in the broad sense, but the prosecution’s decision to set that bar was hardly inadvertent. They deliberately charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder, which required them to show deliberate intent or a depraved indifference to human life, and prosecutors followed that up with … no evidence whatsoever to prove it. However, the jury didn’t have to stick to that “high” standard — they could have convicted on manslaughter, which didn’t require those conditions, a charge which the jury considered and discarded.
Other than that, Carter’s correct. Juries weigh evidence, not public opinion, and that’s what happened in this case. Note too that Carter sends a subtle message about federal involvement in this case, by advising everyone to accept the verdict and take Barack Obama’s advice to respect the jury’s decision, later in the interview.