Should or shouldn’t they? That’s the question on whether or not to release the identity of the 22 witnesses in the George Zimmerman case.
The state and the prosecution on both sides of the case have voiced their concerns about what could happen if important civilian witnesses are identified publicly before trial. When a large portion of the evidence in the case was released last week, 22 witnesses were identified only by number.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, one of the key witnesses include the South Florida girl who says she was on the phone with Trayvon Martin in the moments before he was killed and a man who says he saw the teenager on top of Zimmerman as they struggled on the ground.
Many in the media want the state to release the names, in what boils down to a struggle between the public's right to know and the defendant's right to a fair trial.
In the end it will come to down to a decision by Judge Kenneth Lester, who will decide what the public should see at a June 1 hearing.
Clay Calvert, director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida said:
"The judge here is placed between a rock and a hard place….Especially in a case that has been politicized so heavily."
At a hearing in April, both the state and defense told Judge Lester they'd prefer to keep witnesses' information a secret. The publicity of the case, they said, could intimidate the witnesses and prompt them to stop cooperating.
Should the witnesses’ identity be kept private or should it be released to the public? Sound off now!