Mark O’Mara says Irish case inspired him in George Zimmerman trial

Irish American attorney Mark O'Mara and his client George Zimmerman in court

Mark O’Mara referred to his Irish roots in Nenagh, County Tipperary, during his summing up for the jury in the George Zimmerman case. He said an Irish case where an innocent man may have been sentenced to hang was very much on his mind during the George Zimmerman trial.

O’Mara read aloud this quote from John Adams to the courtroom, discussing the American justice system.

“It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished.

“But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, "whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection, and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.”

O’Mara continued on to say that he has a quote up in his office “that talks about that in a different way from the 1700s in Nenagh, that’s where my family came from in Ireland. I never was(lived) there, I was there to visit.”

He said the quote in his office talks about a death penalty case in Nenagh, Tipperary where, “a guy went to the gallows. And the question was condemning someone and not being absolutely certain as to your decision and sending him to the gallows not because he was guilty but maybe because he was innocent and maybe you just didn't know.”

“So, that’s why we have a system thats puts so much of a burden properly on the state attorneys office that we don’t cut any corners and make any assumptions.”

The Queens, New York native once stated that growing up he considered being a priest or a lawyer.

"As a good Irish Catholic boy, the first possibility was to be a priest," O'Mara said. "The second one was to be a lawyer."

His family moved from Queens to Florida.

Here’s the full footage of Mark O’Mara’s summation, starting with his comments on his Irish roots: