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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Jodi Arias vs George Zimmerman: Social Media and Self Defense

What links these two defendants according to HLN, besides the absurd exploitation of their trials, is that they both claimed to have acted in self defense.

Another thing they have in common is their Hispanic heritage. While that may have worked against Jodi Arias, who killed a very white man, it could work in favor of George Zimmerman whose mother is from Peru. The Huffington post reports that "his father calls him a "Spanish speaking minority" with many black relatives and friends."

They also have both explored the use of social media to defend themselves. Jodi Arias has a "twitter habit" if that's what you can reasonably call 47 tweets. Really it's the rest of us, 74,081, followers that have a habit. If she wants to lash out at Ron Martinez or Nancy Grace, they of all people should know it's only sticks and stones that break our bones.  George Zimmerman's brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr, apologized for his offensive tweets about Trayvon Martin on the Piers Morgan show. He said he was trying to make a point about the media's misrepresentation of Martin through pictures of him as a young boy. 

There are some major differences in the social media activities of these defendants. Jodi Arias primped, went public with untrue interviews on TV, and was represented by public defenders. George Zimmerman, gained 100lbs, went into hiding, raised $204,000 online via a kickstarter defense fund, got rid of his probono defense team and hired Mark O'Mara who is a legal analyst for Florida's WKMG-Channel 6.

Mr. O'Mara has used social media for his client and states in a recent interview on wftv.com that it is "his duty." 
Of course it works both ways. We see that social media did not help Jodi Arias, but then her attorneys did not use it in her defense, unless that was the point of all the explicit text messages.
As for George Zimmerman, whether social media will affect the outcome of his case is anything but predictable. As a source of hearsay, it is definitely inadmissible.

Article first published as Jodi Arias vs George Zimmerman: Social Media and Self Defense on Technorati.




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