This morning saw the defense give its closing statement in Florida v. Zimmerman, the last opportunity for them to deliver their compelling narrative of innocence to the jury. And boy, did Mark O’Mara deliver. In a closing rich with evidence, facts, and the law, O’Mara focused the jury on their legal obligation to deliver a verdict consistent with the State’s burden to prove Zimmerman’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
O’Mara stepped them through every significant piece of evidence, and every single witness that had appeared in court. He reminded them of their duty to come to a verdict using only the evidence actually presented at trial, and that any “filling in the gaps” must be seen as contributing towards reasonable doubt, and therefore towards a not guilty verdict. He urged them to do the opposite of what the State had suggested in BDLR’s fact-free closing, when the State seemed to suggest that the jury not be overly concerned with the evidence but rather apply their “common sense.”
O’Mara’s last few sentences were particularly powerful. He urged the jury, when they went into deliberations, to consider self-defense first. Because unless the State has disproved self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, they must find George Zimmerman not guilty.
It was, in short, a masterful closing of the highest order, appealing to the civilized qualities of the jurors and their legal and moral charge.
In response, Mr. Guy delivered the State’s rebuttal closing in a manner that was even more fact-free than had been BLDR’s–something I hadn’t imagined possible. He started an immediate emotive appeal to the “human heart”, and never looked back. He referred to Martin as a “child” at least a half-dozen times, and Zimmerman as a “grown man”. What he did not do, what he could not do, was argue facts in evidence to exclude any reasonable hypothesis consistent with innocence. This was yet another childish and histrionic “performance” by the State in a prosecution that had long since become their Gallipoli.
OK, wanted to get that up quickly. A more detailed analysis to follow within a couple of hours.