So far today the State has called two rather interesting witnesses.
Dr. Hirotaka Nakasone, FBI Expert, Speech Identification and Speaker Identification
The first you will recall from the pre-trial Frye hearings–Dr. Hirotaka Nakasone. You may refresh your recollection of the details of Dr. Nakasone’s world-class qualifications and Fry testimony here, Dr. Hirotaka Nakasone, FBI, and the low-quality 3-second audio file, but the bottom line is that he completely rejected the scientific methodology used by the State’s speech “experts” as “disturbing.” It was in part on Dr. Nakasone’s testimony that Judge Nelson decided that the State’s speech “experts” had used methodologies that were not generally accepted in the relevant scientific community,” the Frye standard, and therefore were inadmissible.
The bulk of Dr. Nakasone’s testimony today again focused on the technical limitations in applying modern scientific methods to determining the identity of a speaker. This time, however, the State wasn’t really interested in advancing those technologies–indeed, the State went in the other direction entirely. Turning away from technology, they turned to the basics–might a person familiar with the screamer’s voice be able to make an identification?
The State did manage to get Dr. Nakasone to agree that for a recording of this type–a person screaming in extremis–the use of a familiar listener was probably the best method of making identification–although “best” must be conditioned on the basis that it’s the best of a very bad lot, indeed.
Clearly where the State is heading is to get either Trayvons mother, Sabrina Fulton, or his father, Tracy Martin, to testify that the voice screaming for help is that of their son Trayvon Martin. The most likely prospect for this is Ms. Fulton mother, because Mr. Martin had stated that the scream was not the voice of his son when he first heard the recording, and changed his mind later.
On cross examination West drove home the issue of listener bias, in which people hear what they are led to expect to hear, if for example another person in the group has first made, questioned Dr. Nakasone on whether a setting in which the scream identification was made among a group of people might not results in a very high risk of such bias. He strongly agreed that it did.
By the end of Dr. Nakasone’s testimony it seemed as if the State had scored a “point” that would be perceived as such by the mainstream media, but not in any substantive sense. The same strategy that the defense will use to destroy the credibility of Rachel Jeantel’s testimony–that her statement was molded in the highly coercive environment of the Trayvon’s living room, surrounded by Trayvon’s family and lawyers–will be equally effective in driving home the point of listener bias.
Police Officer Doris Singeleton, Sanford Police Department
The next State witness was Doris Singleton, the Sanford Police Department who conducted the very first of interviews of George Zimmerman the night of the event.
Bernie de la Rionda led direct here, and essentially pursued two lines of discussion.
The first was his return to the theme that Zimmerman’s injuries were not all that serious. As previously discussed, this is an irrelevant argument in the context of self-defense, yet BDLR continues to pursue it. We’ve debunked the worth of this theory of the case here:
The second line of questioning pursued by BDLR involved having Singleton walk the Court, using a map of Twin Lakes, through the path that Zimmerman described Martin and himself taking through the complex that night, in parallel with such activities as his phone call to the police non-emergency line.
Nothing here seemed to contradict any substantive part of Zimmerman’s self-defense claim. Interestingly, however, at one point the questioning noted that Zimmerman had driven by the front of the club house. This probably explains why the State submitted into evidence the very poor clarity CCTV footage from the internal clubhouse cameras. In those videos it is just barely possible to show a light or shadow passing by an outside window. Because the CCTV recordings are time-stamped this evidence might be useful in discrediting Zimmerman’s claimed timeline.
It also explains why, when the CCTV evidence was introduced, Mark O’Mara spent such considerable time exploring the fact that the CCTV clock did not, in fact have the correct time, being 18 minutes off at the time the CCTV employee collected the recordings. On cross-examination O’Mara was able to reveal that it was also possible that the variation in the CCTV clock need not even have been constant over time–it might have been 18 minutes off at the time the recordings were collected from storage, but could have been 15 minutes behind or 20 minutes ahead at the time the recordings were actually made. This should be sufficient to great a reasonable doubt in any attempt of the State to use the timing of the CCTV recordings to prove guilt.
Next BDLR played the recorded interview that Singleton conducted with Zimmerman the very night of the attack. It can only be described as a chilling recounting of a man in the fight for his life. Truly terrifying. I simply can’t see how playing that recording could have advanced one iota the State’s theory of the case that Zimmerman committed second degree murder, or any other crime that would not be justified as lawful self-defense.
I had done a previous write-up of this chilling recounting:
That brought us to lunch recess.
Investigator Chris Serino, Sanford Police Department
After lunch the big witness was Chris Serino, who had led the initial investigation into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The explosive content of his testimony, however, really came in cross examination. So important were his responses to Mr. O’Mara’s questioning that we devoted the entirety of our end-of-day analysis and write-up to it.
The direct examination by Bernie de la Rionda was, frankly, less interesting, but in the interests of being complete I include the video of his Serino’s direct questioning here:
Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense,” now available in its just released 2nd Edition, which shows you how to successfully fight the 20-to-life legal battle everyone faces after defending themselves. UPDATE: July 5, 2013 is the LAST DAY to take advantage of the 30% pre-order discount, only $35, plus free shipping. To do so simply visit the Law of Self Defense blog.
BREAKING: “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition” is now also being carried by Amazon.com, at list price but with a commitment for 2-day delivery. A Kindle version to come within a week or so (I hope).
Many thanks to Professor Jacobson for the invitation to guest-blog on the Zimmerman trial here on Legal Insurrection!