Imagine hearing about a brutal rape, who comes to mind when you think about who did it? If you are like most people, it seems you thought about a man with a beard. There is now scientific evidence that supports the claim that people in Prince George's County believe that men with beards are more likely to be guilty of some kind of sexual assault than beardless men.
It would be nearly impossible for someone in Maryland not to have heard of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. The amount of media coverage since Martin's death in late February has been astronomical and each media source seems to be presenting different facts and different spins as to what happened.
Everyone in Montgomery County is entitled to a basic set of rights, even if they have been charged with a crime. One such protection is the right to an impartial jury trial, as laid out in the Sixth Amendment. Without this fundamental right, there would be no point in presuming a Maryland suspect is innocent until proven guilty. When a case has gotten so much public attention that it is impossible for the defense and prosecution to find an unbiased jury, courts will allow the case to change venues to a more suitable location. Some prosecutors, however, will fight tooth-and-nail to keep a trial in a potentially biased district.
Anyone in Maryland and across the country that is tried for a crime is presumed to be innocent and this requires that the jury hearing the case must be impartial and free of bias. With the Internet and social media, it can be difficult to find jurors who are completely unfamiliar with a crime, but certain actions draw considerable attention to a crime, making it difficult for a suspect to receive a fair trial. When a police officer recently posted a picture of a murder scene along with the dead body, it raised questions about whether the officer's actions were appropriate.