Launching the TalkingRace Project

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Outreach

talking race stacked

Next week, we’re officially launching the TalkingRace project, and we expect to get some press. For the project, we’re working with sociologist Dr. JeffriAnne Wilder, and were asking four questions: When were you born? Where were you raised? How do you self-identify with race? And what was your first experience with race?

We’re collecting the stories on our website, and I hope you’ll consider anonymously sharing your experience. I thinks this project has the potential to get to the heart of the race problem in America, and start a real constructive conversation -- but to do it, I’ll need your help.

You can hear and contribute race stories at

University Legal Services Programs

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Education

student legal services

I had an opportunity over the weekend to, in effect, go back home. That is -- I gave a talk to a group of about 200 lawyers who run legal services programs at the university level. I say “go back home” because when I was involved in student government at UCF, I started the legal services program there, and I actually hired the woman who is retiring from that position this year.

Waiting for a Verdict

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Opinion

waiting mark

Sunday marked a year since the Zimmerman verdict.

July 13, 2013 fell on a Saturday. The afternoon before, I made my closing argument and left the matter in the hands of the jury. When the jury chose to recess just after 5:00 PM, I had hoped that they had quickly reached an “not guilty” verdict. Perhaps the court decided to wait until the next day so they could make preparations for an orderly presentation, considering the intense media coverage.

By mid-morning Saturday, those hopes were dashed as it became clear the jury was locked in deliberations.

Hold off on judging dad who left son in car

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Opinion

court of public opinionA debate is raging over the tragic case of Justin Harris, who left his 22-month-old boy, Cooper, in a car all day. Cooper perished, and now his father has been charged with murder and child cruelty. Some people call this a tragedy, and some call it a crime. Who is right?

Harris will appear in court Thursday to face a probable cause hearing in which the prosecution will try to convince a judge that it was indeed a crime. The defense will likely try to show that Harris' act was simple negligence. Either way, the focus will be on why Cooper was left in the car -- and although this seems counterintuitive -- for the purposes of the criminal proceedings, the tragic death will not be material for determining guilt.