Part 2 of Commentary on Trayvon Martin’s Case–Blog Contributor Raquel Floyd’s Opinion on the most recent developments in the Trayvon Martin Case. The opinions expressed below are those of the writers and not necessarily that of the individual attorneys at the Fort Lauderdale Criminal Law Firm of Berman & Tsombanakis LLC.
Before George Zimmerman’s interview on FOX News Network last week, I received the news on my Facebook via my morning news feed. Then again on the national news, I heard that a witness had come forward alleging that Zimmerman had molested her for years. I was floored, but not necessarily surprised because I’ve seen a lot over the years, but still it hit the core of me. Molestation charges are very serious and have lasting effects upon victims. In Florida, molestation is defined as the crime of sexual acts with children up to the age of 18, including touching of private parts, exposure of genitalia, taking of pornographic pictures, rape, inducement of sexual acts with the molester or with other children, and variations of these acts by pedophiles. Molestation also applies to incest by a relative with a minor family member, and any unwanted sexual acts with adults short of rape.
As a Former Criminal Attorney in Orlando, Florida, I represented juveniles offenders who faced very serious criminal charges. Many of the juveniles were first time offenders, some kids faced misdemeanor charges and truancy issues. I saw a disturbing trend in my kids, most of my kids shared one common yet very sad bond. Whether they were foster children, from single parent homes, adopted or from what appeared to be the most perfect two family home, many were victims of molestation. More than the majority of them had been molested by family members or close family friends. This unfortunate and disturbing fact was common with both my female and male clients.
When I saw the new development in this case, alleging that George Zimmerman molested “witness #9” and that it had been from the tender age of 6 years old, I instantly thought back to the many victims of such crimes that I’ve worked with and the criminal defendants that I’ve worked with as well. The Trayvon Martin case has been very close to home from the beginning. Both personally, professionally and geographically. I did not give my opinion on it publicly or via any social networking sites for quite some time. It was just to close to home and I was filled with too many emotions. I chose to remain silent, yet I was determined to do my part to bring about a change in the perception of young black men. Additionally, I am familiar with the Attorneys on both sides and part of the reason why I became a lawyer was because of the many conversations with Attorney Darryl Parks during my junior and senior years at Florida A & M University.
His influence during those years and in law school, had a serious impact upon my life. Even during some trying years as an Attorney in Orlando and Miami, Attorney Parks and his partner Benjamin Crump always gave me words of comfort. They always kept me encouraged and always had smiles on their faces. They really are just good old country boys, as many have gone on to describe them. When I worked in the Juvenile Division of the Office of the Public Defender in Orlando, as well as in private practice, I had many encounters with Attorney Mark O’Mara and the other Attorneys that are apart of George Zimmerman’s legal defense team. Though we were not as close as Mr. Parks and I, he always greeted me kindly and I admired his calm, yet zealous demeanor in the courtroom.
After these allegations were made public, Zimmerman gave a statement. Many people question the decisions of Attorneys to let their clients give statements, interviews or testify in court. However, attorneys only have so much influence over what a client should and should not do. Attorneys are bound by strict ethical and legal obligations to their clients. Even when to the outside world it appears as if the attorney is wrong, more thank likely they are doing the right thing, Especially in regards to zealous representation and their client’s legal rights.
When the allegations of molestation were brought forward, I was at my computer and I began to just type. I decided to express myself in this form because I was surprised and disturbed that many people were not talking about these new allegations on social media networks at an alarming rate. Initially, they were not flooding my news feed in disbelief. I watched how many people felt uncomfortable discussing the Sandusky case in relation to sports and the abuse of young boys by men who were suppose to be mentors and coaches. I wondered if this molestation topic would be swept under the rug as well. Especially, because the issues that many people have when faced with sensitive topics such as these. Some experts have even gone on to say that these new allegations are not relevant.
Overall, people are still not as vocal as I want them to be concerning these new allegations. Yes “witness #9” statements are allegations and no charges have been filed as of today. Also, witness #9, whom some sources have stated is a family member, does not have a face to attach to this crime and yes it happen many years ago. I knew that there would be people who would say why now, why didn’t she come forward before. Laypersons, the media, and experts always seem to blame the victim. They say things such as, its been too long, nothing will happen with these allegations. It must not be true because she never reported it before. Well to a victim of molestation, the horrific act seems like yesterday, it seems like this very hour. The same way the Jerry Sandusky case has made many individual’s skin crawl, these allegations on top of the slaying of Trayvon Martin is just as bad, if not worst to many people.
Like many people, I to hope that one day America can eliminate the racial profiling that happens in cities and states all across the country. That the color of your skin or how you dress and in some cases your sex will not be a preconceived notion. Even outside of America, the Black man and in particular, the African American man is viewed negatively. They are looked upon as a criminals and they are victims of systematized racism as well. I was born and raised just minutes from where Trayvon grew up, I was offered a position at his High School, Michael Krop Senior High some years ago. Trayvon could have been my student, Trayvon IS my unborn son, my nephew, my cousin, my godson, MY BROTHER!!!
No matter if you are a supporter of Trayvon Martin and his family or if you are a supporter of George Zimmerman and/or the Stand Your Ground Laws, let us all remember that right is right and wrong is wrong!! Let’s hope and pray that this case is not tainted by what is being played out in the media. Lastly, lets keep the faith in our Country!! Let’s pray that the division that exist amongst Americans right now, in relation to this case, politics, and race will be mended in time.
Please stay tuned to my coverage of the Movie Theater Massacre in Aurora, Colorado and the similarities to Columbine. During this time let us all remember those who have lost their lives or were wounded in this tragedy.