Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Owe Rachel Jeantel An Apology. Sorta.

Yesterday, while in the midst of watching the riveting testimony of one Rachel Jeantel, I was so enraptured by her ratchetness that I labelled her the Worst. Witness. Ever. In retrospect, that was unfair, and I owe her a quasi-apology.

It's clear she wanted no part of this trial. If you read between the lines, it's she is embarrassed that the defense is tagging her as a side piece (Trayvon had a girlfriend) and traumatized that she was the last person Martin ever talked to. She wanted no part of this from the beginning. And yes, she is also clearly agitated by the defense attorneys whom she thinks are hellbent on catching her in a(nother) lie. I completely understand her perspective. She is also still only 19 and probably never had to do any public speaking, let alone addressing millions while under oath. I bristle to think about myself on that same stand, at age 19, telling people I don't know about the events that lead to the death of my friend. I was hard on her yesterday. She isn't on trial and didn't deserve that scrutiny.

But she also needs to understand her testimony will determine whether a man goes to prison for life or whether a family gets justice for their dead child. You can't wild out in court like you're in the beauty shop and treat cross-examination like a nuisance. She should have been better prepared (who the hell "prepped her"? They had 16 months and this was the best they could do?) and in a sense she has bought all quite a bit of this scrutiny on herself.

I'll also just pretend her (still active!) Twitter account and "court nails" didn't ever happen. It's better that way.

While she's the state's best witness, it's not as if her shaky credibility is going to solely determine the outcome here. The burden is also on the defense to prove that their guy didn't instigate the altercation that lead to Martin's death, and Zimmerman has some notable credibility issues of his own. I'm hoping Rachel Jeantel is merely a 15 minute internet meme rather than the determining factor on the higher profile criminal case of this century.

We shall see.

Question: Was I unnecessarily harsh on Ms. Jeantel, or did she really need to take her obligation more seriously?

blog comments powered by Disqus

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.