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.