Clarksville residents have no doubt witnessed the media blitz over the shooting death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida. The case has sparked national attention mostly because of its racially charged nature. Many people around the country think that George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering Martin, profiled him because of his race.
Lawyers for the accused man are concerned with the intense media coverage and never-ending debate and do not believe he will get a fair trial on the second-degree murder charge he faces in his home town.
Zimmerman's criminal defense attorneys asked for a new judge, citing conflict of interests. The judge recused herself from the case.
The shooting took place in a gated community near Orlando. The man being accused of the crime was not arrested until six weeks later as investigators pored over evidence. The man never denied killing the boy, but argued he did it in self-defense.
Many experts say that because of the intense publicity, it might be difficult for the man to receive a fair trial with an impartial jury near his home town. With emotions running high over the case, jurors would likely feel pressured to convict the man fearing that if they didn't, they would be subject to backlash from the victim's supporters.
One defense attorney cited by Fox News pointed out that whether or not the man committed the crime, most people throughout the country have heard details of the story and already formed their own opinions. This would mean a pool of completely unbiased jurors would be difficult to compile.
Source: Fox News: "Fair trial for Zimmerman not likely on home turf, say legal experts, as lawyer asks for new judge in the case," April 16, 2012