What Will Be the Impact of Rachel Jeantel’s Testimony?
With week one of the George Zimmerman trial behind us, legal experts, media outlets, and the general public can’t seem to stop talking about Rachel Jeantel; the friend of Trayvon Martin who was on the phone with him the night of his fatal confrontation with George Zimmerman.
Her demeanor, speech, and highly-charged interactions with defense attorney Don West reflected “a labyrinth of cultural nuances,” according to a Huffington Post article.
Did Rachel Jeantel’s testimony help or hurt the prosecution’s case; or both?
Ray agreed with Epstein’s assessment, saying that although Jeantel’s demeanor was contrary to how society has been socialized to view interactions between lawyers and witnesses, the longer she remained on the stand, the more her credibility increased, because she appeared to be more authentic.
“The longer she was on the stand, I think her presentation of self and the way she interacted with Don West became people expecting for her to say something off the cuff,” Ray said. “I think what came through was how candid she was, and regardless of how people disliked her, I think what actually happened was that her candidness turned to a form of trust in terms of believability even if they didn’t like her and they didn’t like the way she presented herself.”
“My concern is that the jurors are going to feel very alienated by her. They’re going to feel like she is not like them, like she is different from them,” she continued. “My concern is that the jurors may discount anything that would have helped the prosecution’s case and may associate her with Trayvon Martin and decide that he’s not like one of their sons and that he is of some other world, and in that other world is something that they don’t know about and maybe it was appropriate for George Zimmerman to shoot him.
“It would be a serious miscarriage of justice if that’s the way the jurors came to that conclusion.”
Thoughts on Rachel Jeantel’s testimony?
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