Media Hits, UF Law go-to sources in Trayvon Martin shooting case

All eyes again turned to Florida as the Trayvon Martin shooting case generated national headlines. The case was ripe for legal discourse and the media came calling — again and again — on UF Law faculty to solicit their expert opinions as the drama unfolded before the nation.

UF Law faculty stepped up to the plate and addressed a vast number of issues ranging from Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, to race, to ethics, to Twitter. UF Law issued a media tip sheet just as the story was breaking and UF Law faculty got in early on the conversation.

Now, they have been positioned as some of the go-to experts on the case, with the media relying on faculty — as experts in not only criminal law, but in Florida law — to elucidate the sometimes difficult and technical details. Faculty members have been quoted by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press, Reuters, NPR, Time.com, and numerous local and regional publications. Professor Kenneth Nunn offered commentary on Eliot Spitzer’s “Viewpoint” on Current TV and Professor Michael Seigel chatted with Geraldo.

Other faculty commenting on the case include Legal Skills Professor George Dekle, Legal Skills Professor Monique Haughton-Worrell, Professor Michelle Jacobs, Professor Lyrissa Lidsky, Professor Amy Mashburn and Professor Kathryn Russell-Brown.

One    day    after    special    prosecutor and  UF  Law  graduate Angela  Corey  (JD79)  filed  a  second-degree  murder  charge against  shooter  George  Zimmerman,  UF Law faculty had been quoted in more than 100  media  outlets  about  the  Martin  case.

The list continues to grow. Meanwhile,  the  UF  Law  Center  for the  Study  of  Race  and  Race  Relations sponsored a two-and-a-half hour discussion open  to  the  public,  in  which  professors addressed   questions   from   law   students and   the   Gainesville   community   about legal issues surrounding the case as it was unfolding. Part  of  the  law  school’s  mission  is serving  the  public  and  fostering  justice. UF   Law   professors   educate   the   public about  how  the  law  is  applied,  and  they are in even more demand in that role than they were during the Casey Anthony trial, which concluded last summer.

It can make for  a  hectic  schedule  as  professors  shuffle from   teaching   to   taking   a   five-minute phone interview, to fielding another media request before the next class. The fact that the media keep coming back to our faculty is a testament to their expertise, insight and articulation of the legal matters imperative to this case and to the rule of law.