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Zimmerman Trial Day 5 – Analysis & Video – State’s own witnesses undercut theory of guilt

Zimmerman Trial Day 5 – Analysis & Video – State’s own witnesses undercut theory of guilt

Today saw the State move through another seven of their witnesses, although as has seemed the pattern this first week of trial, the defense more so than the State appeared to benefit from their testimony.

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 5.03.19 PM

Lindzee Folgate, questioned by Mark O’Mara on cross-examination, 2/28/12

Among these two were most notable–Jonathan Good, who was a resident of Twin Lakes who observed much of that night’s events, and Lindzee Folgate, George Zimmerman’s physician assistant who treated his wounds the following day. With both of these witnesses the State took a horrible beating in the course of cross-examination–worse so with Good but still badly with Folgate–although in fairness the State did not fare particularly well with any of today’s witnesses.

Jonathan Good, Twin Lakes Resident, Substantively Confirms Defense’s Theory of the Case

The testimony of State witness Jonathan Good was remarkably, almost shockingly, destructive to the State’s theory of the case, however. So damaging was this testimony that between myself and Professor Jacobson led to three separate blog posts–and it warranted every one. Given the coverage we’ve already posted up, I won’t dwell on it here, but you need to read the three posts well to fully understand how effectively the defense co-opted yet another State witness to the benefit of their theory of the case and their client:

Zimmerman trial blockbuster — Eyewitness says Trayvon on top punching Mixed Martial Arts style

ZIMMERMAN TRIAL BLOCKBUSTER — TRANSCRIPT — Eyewitness Good: Black guy in black hoodie on top punching down Mixed Martial Arts style

Has State Opened Door to Defense Introducing Martin Fight Video?

Jonathan Good testimony, part 2

Jonathan Good testimony, part 3

Jonathan Good testimony, part 4

Jonathan Good testimony, part 5

Jonathan Good testimony, part 6

Lindzee Folgate, Physician’s Assistant–Whatever Zimmerman Did to Stop Attack Saved His Life

The other remarkable State witness was Lindzee Folgate, the physician’s assistant who closed out the day. On direct, Mr. de la Rionda used her as a foil to create the impression that Zimmerman’s injuries were really quite inconsequential, having her talk mostly about clinical symptoms from which Zimmerman was not suffering at the time she examined him.

This line of questioning seems remarkably foolish, for two reasons. First, there is no requirement under the law of self defense in Florida, or any other state, that a person must suffer so much as a scratch before they can use force, and even deadly force, in self-defense. All that the law of self-defense requires is that you have been REASONABLY IN FEAR of imminent death or grave bodily harm–it does NOT require that you ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE death or grave bodily harm before you can act in self-defense.

Second, however much effort Mr. de la Rionda might invest in arguing that Zimmerman suffered no meaningful injury, the numerous bloody photos of his injuries that night easily belie any such claims.

Indeed, on cross-examination O’Mara essentially ran out bloody photo after bloody-photo, asking in detail how each abrasion, contusion, laceration could have been caused–by traumatic impact, you say? Like if a fist was driven into his face? Or like if his head was pounded onto a concrete sidewalk by his attacker? Frankly, the whole line of questioning was an enormous gift to O’Mara, and as he walked back to the defense table after cross he had a broad smile on his face.

He also questioned Folgate on some of ZImmerman’s more general health parameters. Blood pressure? Too high. Pulse rate? Too high. BMI? He’s clinically obese. All these facts belied de la Rionda’s attempts to create the impression that Zimmerman was some kind of lean, mean, MMA-fighting machine with his MMA gym membership.

O’Mara’s biggest home run with Folgate came with his final question, however: “Medically speaking, would you say that whatever he did to stop the attack allowed him to survive it?” Folgate: “It could have, yes.” Boom.

Lindzee Folgate testimony, part 2

Lindzee Folgate testimony, part 3

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy–Mostly Co-Opted by the Defense

The other five witnesses did little to help the State in any substantive way, and most were to one degree or another co-opted by the defense.

George McKinney,  United Security Alliance

The first witness, George McKinney, was the least interesting. He worked for the company that managed the Twin Lakes CCTV system. Although the State showed a few video clips, if there was anything to see there of any use whatever, beyond a flickering light here and a flickering shadow there, I missed it.

Greg McKinney testimony, part 2

Greg McKinney testimony, part 3

Jonathan Manalo, Resident, Twin Lakes

Jonathan Manalo, the husband of Jeanee Manalo, followed Jonathan Good. He was the first resident to physically meet with ZImmerman in the moments following the shooting, going outside with a flashlight to see what was going in the brief interval between the shot being fired and the police (already on their way as a result of Zimmerman’s earlier call) arrived. He used this time wisely, it seems, by taking a photograph of both Martin’s body and the back of Zimmerman’s bloody head–I understand that he profited nicely by selling these photos to the news media.

One interesting facet to this gun guy is that Manalo himself appeared to be a gun guy. One of his first questions to Zimmerman was to ask what caliber he had used–9mm, Zimmerman replied. Manalo also knew enough to characterize Zimmerman’s holster as an “Inside the Waistband” (or IWB), the same type I happen to favor.

BDLR spent much of his direct here again trying to build an argument that Zimmerman’s injuries were in fact minor and inconsequential.

Jonathan Manalo testimony, part 2

Jonathan Manalo testimony, part 3

The First Responders: Consummate Professionals

Next came a trio of first responders–Officer Ricardo Ayala, SPD, EMT Stacey Livingston, SFD, and Timothy Smith, SPD. All were as professional as one would expect from having a Seargeant like Raimondo (who testified earlier in the week). Mr. de la Rionda made little of these fine people on direct other than to again suggest that Zimmerman’s injuries were no big deal, and also that his affect in the aftermath of the shooting was so “calm” as to suggest he was uncaring or cavalier about having taken a human life. O’Mara undercut both these lines of argument skillfully in his cross-examination.

Police Officer Ricardo Ayala, Sanford Police Department

Police Officer Ricardo Ayala testimony, part 2

Emergency Medical Technician, Stacey Livingston

Emergency Medical Technician Stacey Livingston testimony, part 2

 

Police Officer Timothy Smith, Sanford Police Department

With Office smith he also took the same approach he had with Sergeant Raimondo–getting him to talk about how much he enjoyed his career in law enforcement serving and protecting his community. As with Raimondo, the message was clear: if this fine young man believed, as he explicitly did, that a career in law enforcement was an honorable calling, how could it be a bad thing that George Zimmerman had at one point wanted to be a law enforcement officer himself, much less that Zimmerman had taken the lead on the Neighborhood Watch Program.

Police Officer Timothy Smith testimony, part 2 

Police Officer Timothy Smith testimony, part 3

 


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!

You can follow Andrew on Twitter on @LawSelfDefense (or @LawSelfDefense2 if I’m in Twitmo, follow both!)on Facebook, and at his blog, The Law of Self Defense.

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Comments

Great coverage and analysis Andrew. That’s the reason that I read this blog due to accuracy and credibility.

It appears that I may have to change my mind with respect to an impending conviction due mostly to political interference. Still, the makeup of the jury is of concern and I fear that emotion rather than actual evidence might rule the day.

OTOH, I find the prosecution’s performance so far to be laughable…

    myiq2xu in reply to GrumpyOne. | June 28, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I have had to take loser cases to trial on a few occasions but I was working as a public defender and my clients were either too stupid to take a plea or had nothing to lose.

    I have never seen a prosecutor take a case this bad to trial before. They dump ’em or make offers you can’t refuse just so they can hang a conviction on their scoreboard.

    But as bad as this case is, BDLR has made it worse. Usually they can spin some kind of compelling narrative on direct and it’s up to the defense to expose the flaws. This prosecution team has not made a convincing case for malice. They would have been far smarter to go for manslaughter with a theory of imperfect self-defense.

      stevewhitemd in reply to myiq2xu. | June 28, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      I wonder if the State had planned all along to put forward Murder-2 and have the jury negotiate itself down to manslaughter (“he has to be guilty of something!”). If they lead with manslaughter and it doesn’t go well then they end up with nothing.

        Sally MJ in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 28, 2013 at 10:03 pm

        Andrew – I heard that Corey tends to overcharge and then try to get a plea on a lower charge. Meaning she knew it wasn’t Murder 2, so Manslaughter is what she has really wanted all along. Have you heard that?

        GrumpyOne in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 28, 2013 at 11:26 pm

        I think that the original police assessment was correct in that they declined to charge Zimmerman based on the evidence at that time.

        When Alan Dershowitz mounted an early criticism after political interference pressured a prosecution effort, that was good enough for me to recognize the folly of the state.

        But as of late, nothing is for sure in Florida..

Generally speaking the prosecution witnesses are not so helpful to the defense. The only witness so far who really incriminated GZ was Jeantel, and she was not credible.

    SPQR in reply to myiq2xu. | June 28, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Did you mean prosecution?

      Milhouse in reply to SPQR. | June 30, 2013 at 4:34 am

      I think he means that in most trials the prosecution witnesses actually help the prosecution make its case, unlike what we’ve seen here.

        S/he brags in his/her username that his/her IQ is “2x” everyone else’s. If that were the case, you’d think s/he would be able to posit his/her claims a little more clearly.

And to think that the defense hasn’t even started their case. By the time MOM gets through, it’s possible that GZ might be the next mayor of Sanford.

Andrew, I so appreciate your live Twitter feed and your end of day summaries. When I see the empty talking heads on TV at night, it seems they must be discussing an entirely different trial! I read the Twitter feed off and on all day and some of your comments make me laugh out loud! (I particularly liked the one about the tearful court clerk admitting she inadvertently switched the witness lists!) Thank you again … I’m just hoping and praying for a just verdict!

Mansizedtarget | June 28, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I grew up in Seminole County and feel I have a good sense of the place. I’m a bit concerned about jury too. A white male would have helped a lot. But women seem to trend towards “reasonable doubt” versus sticking to guns for conviction over men. Further, almost every woman I’ve spoken to–random women in the elevator, women I work with, people out and about at bars–seems to think this case is BS and he’s innocent. These are not gun people, nor raving lunatics. Just normal women, mostly white, mostly scared of crime, middle class like the neighbors of Zimmerman we’ve seen testify, and they just don’t see it. They were universally put off and appalled by Jeantel. Her lies were considered complete deal breakers for any credibility. A few have suggested Zimmerman was looking for trouble or reckless or a loser wannabe, but almost no one seemed to buy the hype. I think this jury’s universal loathing of media will particularly gut the cat lady, Jeantel, and nurse’s testimony. Plus we’ve not even heard from defense yet!?!

I’m hoping for best. But based on my experience as a trial lawyer, anything is possible.

One good sign is that this judge has finally started sustatining defense objections.

On an unrelated note, I do find her attitude with jury kind of weird. Most judges view it their job to praise jury effusively, interrupt witnesses and lawyers who make their job difficult (by speaking over each other or mumbling), and generally seem more concerned about their welfare than this somewhat arrogant and aloof judge. But that’s how it goes. She’s clearly not the warmest judge who ever walked the face of the earth. She’s harsh all around to everyone and seems as confused about the rules of evidence as BDLR and sometimes West/O’Mara. THen again, those rules are admittedly tricky.

First day I couldn’t watch the trial (stupid job), but I did watch the John Good testimony. Wow! Just when I think the state has called the best defense witness possible, they go and out do themselves yet again! I think I will go watch the Manalo portion know. Just want to watch the guy that asks “what caliber was it?” at the scene.

Thanks again Andrew for all the time and effort you are putting into this blog!
And yes, I ordered your book as a thank you 🙂

A comment made on a previous post led me down a line of thought that made me realize why I find this case so disconcerting. The commenter stated, that had Zimmerman not fired the fatal shot, Martin could have been charged with aggravated assault—providing the facts line up with GZ statements.
I am not a lawyer, and my naiveté has been shattered and replaced with rampant cynicism. I have had a few encounters with criminal lawyers–as a complainant and/or witness in six separate felony robbery cases (manager at a large retail store). I have also been a defendant after a D.W.I arrest in ’92. In all cases I left feeling the same away about lawyers as when I entered: prosecutors good, defense lawyers bad (even my own). Why was my defense lawyer as I expected? By finding a technicality, he embarrassed the arresting officer which allowed me to keep my license. Even at the time I felt bad, I was drunk as a skunk and deserved to have my DL suspended. That is what scumbag defense lawyers do. They let people get away with things in which they should be punished, right? They twist the truth, massage facts, use whatever legal wrangling they can in order for the jury to find the defendant not guilty, even if they are. Morally bankrupt, I thought.
But in this case it is the prosecutors who are acting like defense attorneys–desperately trying to massage the facts so that GZ looks guilty. Grass stains on the knees of TM’s pants and on GZ’s back, doesn’t really mean TM was on top. GZ’s battered and bloodied head doesn’t mean he was beaten severely, it was superficial. The cries for help didn’t necessarily come from the man witnesses say was on bottom with the broken nose, it could have been TM. THIS IS DEFENSE LAWYER SH**.
How often does this occur? I held prosecutors in the highest esteem, sure there are mistakes, and some step out of line. But as in the Duke rape case, they get caught and punished right? Prosecutors don’t really act like defense attorneys regularly, do they? Prosecutors search for truth, they don’t shoe-horn facts in order to CONVICT someone. I was serious, and would like an answer from the criminal attorneys, how often does this occur?

    Jazzizhep in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 28, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    sorry folks, i had paragraph breaks but i guess i need to put an extra line in…makes it hard to read…if it can be deleted i’ll repost

    myiq2xu in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 28, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Like all professions there are good ones and bad ones. There are a lot of sleazy things that prosecutors can do win cases. Their favorite trick is to leverage pleas on defendants who can’t afford to take the risk of losing or want to get out of jail quicker.

    What do you tell a client that can’t make bail when he is offered a get-out-of-jail now guilty plea to a felony? His other option is stay in jail for a few months in order to get a trial, and he’ll lose his job, apartment and car if he doesn’t get out right away.

    On the other hand, defense attorneys quickly learn that truly innocent defendants are few and far between.

      Jazzizhep in reply to myiq2xu. | June 28, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      tough call for sure, thx

        stevewhitemd in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 28, 2013 at 9:54 pm

        I believe it was Alan Dershowitz who pointed out in a book that the whole reason our cockeyed legal system, with the overcharging, plea-bargaining, overworked public defenders, zealous prosecutors, etc worked is that most defendants are indeed guilty.

        A police officer I know long ago told me, simply, that if all the crooks were smart the prisons would be empty.

        So we have a lot of stupid, guilty people in the system. You are right, the defense lawyers know it.

    CENTFLAMIKE in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 28, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Jazz,

    I’ve been thinking along similar lines. I’ve always heard the prosecutor’s job is to seek the truth. They KNOW that TM was on top and was doing serious damage to GZ. Yet they are trying to get witnesses to speculate that GZ was on top. It is like the prosecutors are only trying to introduce REASONABLE DOUBT as to self-defense. But I like your description. The prosecutors are the sleazy guys in this case.

      rhs515 in reply to CENTFLAMIKE. | June 29, 2013 at 5:18 am

      It’s understandable that you have concerns about the credibility of the state attorneys office, particularly in Seminole county, Fl. Seminole is part of Florida Judicial Circuit 18, which has a long, sad history of planting evidence and letting innocent people waste their lives away in prison for decades. In the GZ case, consider the circumstances in which DeeDee gave her deposition, and the submittal of a letter into evidence which she could not read and was not written by her. The prosecutors are not looking for the truth or justice. They are looking to satisfy superiors who are looking for a PC solution to resolve a case that was already tried in the court of public opinion by the media.

        Red_Right_Returning in reply to rhs515. | June 29, 2013 at 6:19 pm

        These prosecutors aren’t from Seminole County. The State Attorney from Jacksonville was appointed special prosecutor for this case and these lawyers are from her office.

    divemedic in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 28, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    I have a different slant: Defense lawyers that defend scummy defendants and get them off on ‘technicalities’ are needed desperately. Those ‘technicalities’ are usually based on our constitutional rights. When police and prosecutors lose a case on a ‘technicality’ it makes them careful to respect the rights of the next citizen that they come in contact with.

    This is why police don’t beat confessions out of people or plant evidence: they know that if they get caught at it by a ‘scumbag defense lawyer’ on a ‘technicality’ they will lose the case.

    Civil rights are not just for the innocent.

      iconotastic in reply to divemedic. | June 28, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      10 thumbs up, were I able to give them.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to divemedic. | June 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      A twisted prodecural technicality muddled and murkied by a defense attorney is hardly the same thing as beating confessions out of dirtbags.

        But that is exactly what was happening in the US, as illustrated by Brown v Mississippi in 1936. In that case a black man was tortured by the police into making a confession by twice hanging him until he passed out, and then chaining him to a tree and whipping him. his lawyer got the conviction tossed out. Procedural technicality?

        How about Mapp v Ohio in 1961? The cops searched her house without a warrant and arrested her for possession of obscene materials. She was freed because her lawyer argued the evidence should be excluded. Procedural technicality?

        The law itself is ALL procedural technicality. That is why it is the law.

      cjharrispretzer in reply to divemedic. | June 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      I agree with you on an intellectual basis. But having been the victim of a very violent, brutal crime, I will just say that that sucks for the victims in those cases. Especially if it results in a violent criminal being allowed to roam free and hurt somoene else, or terrorize that same victim some more.

      Milhouse in reply to divemedic. | June 30, 2013 at 5:18 am

      Put a slightly different way: Yes, as Dershowitz says, almost all criminal defendants who go to trial (in low-profile cases) are guilty. But the only reason that is so is because our system makes it so hard to convict an innocent person that prosecutors don’t bother bringing losing cases. If we were to relax our protections because we know that almost all defendants are guilty, then that would quickly stop being true. When prosecutors know they can get away with charging innocent people, they will do so. So ironically the only way to keep Dershowitz’s generalisation true is to pretend it isn’t.

    Sally MJ in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Exactly! Aggravated assault! How is that not obviously self defense?

    txantimedia in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 28, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Jazz, it sucks when you lose faith in the system, but you’ll get over it. The law is like every profession. There are jewels and there are pigs – on both sides. The scary part is that the prosecutors who are pigs have the awesome power of the state behind them and your life in their hands.

    MegK in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 29, 2013 at 12:20 am

    I’m not lawyer but I think you have to remember that this is apolitically motivated case. The lawyers who generally decide which cases to prosecute did not want to prosecute this case. It was only by pressure from the public and politicians that George Zimmerman was ever arrested or charged. Now these lawyers are put in the position of having to argue a case they never believed in in the first place.
    I don’t think they’re doing a very good job, but then again maybe they don’t really want to. They needed to put this trial on appease the masses. Either they just really have no good witnesses or evidence to put forth, or they simply aren’t all that invested in obtaining a conviction. After all the rallying cry for months was “all we want is an arrest”.

    This is a corruption of the legal process from top to bottom. But the bottom line is that they can’t put stuff up there that doesn’t exist.

      Kyle Kiernan in reply to MegK. | June 29, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      Their behavior fits in with the case of a politically motivated show trial. They don’t have any decent evidence or witnesses to bring up and they’re pretty sure they will no win a conviction, but when it comes to replaying this in the public opinion marketplace they can’t be seen as having spent half a morning presenting a case of “raaaaacist!” and “he was just an unarmed CHILD!” and then resting. They need to be able to say they presented days and days of testimony and those darn raaaacists wouldn’t convict the bastard. Heck, they won’t be in town when the riots kick off.

    sdharms in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 29, 2013 at 7:50 am

    jazzihep: It has been my experience that prosecutors typically behave as this one (and in the Duke case) hase: withhold evidence from discovery, overcharge – throw everything against the wall to see what sticks. They have the power of the state behind them, all the money they need and they depend on WEARING you down, exhausting your money in order to get you to plead. I have NO RESPECT for prosecutors, I think that is where alot of people who have no talent go to practice law.

your blog links all going to 404 pages still
http://is.gd/RuSFZY
may show to the blog owner, the rest of us get 404 not found

Error 404 Page
Oops, This Page Could Not Be Found!

    NavyMustang in reply to dmacleo. | June 28, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    The link worked for me. Must be the gremlins in your computer acting up. Friday night and all.

      5 different pc’s here with 4 browsers on each of them all same thing.
      access over 3g with android (to avoid dns or cache similarities) and same thing.
      remoted into parents pc fixing something 30 miles away, same thing.

      to clarify, the page opens and correct link is at top but all that shows where the actual content should be is the custom 404 images

        Oops, This Page Could Not Be Found!

          creeper in reply to dmacleo. | June 28, 2013 at 10:23 pm

          Loading perfectly here on two computers…Vista & ancient 98.

          creeper in reply to dmacleo. | June 28, 2013 at 10:26 pm

          Should have added, though, that the blog itself is crawling. Andrew, all the embedded images are slowing it to a snail’s place. Much as I appreciate your work, would it be possible to break these posts up into smaller ones? I’m starting to avoid reading these because it takes so long to load, log in and make a comment.

          Creeper, which blog is crawling–www.lawofselfdefense.com, or http://www.legalinsurrection.com ?

          –Andrew

          creeper in reply to dmacleo. | June 29, 2013 at 9:20 am

          Sorry, Andrew. I should have been more specific. It’s LI that’s slower than a snail. When you embed a dozen videos in one blog it taxes even the fastest computer. This one, built by my gamer son, is no slouch when it comes to speed but it still takes over a minute to load one of these posts.

          Yours is loading and running fine.

          VetHusbandFather in reply to dmacleo. | June 29, 2013 at 11:57 am

          LI is running great on this machine that I build on a budget back in 2009. I will say that it does bog down horribly on my wife’s MacBook and my Kindle.

    I was having exactly that problem Wednesday (this is what I’d see: http://i.imgur.com/pL2JKH9.png ), but by the next day it had resolved itself. Something about Mr Branca having moved his blog to a new server, and the pages needing to “propagate” or something. Fingers crossed it will work for you by tomorrow!

    Sorry, server/propagation issues on my end, at least re: http://www.lawofselfdefense.com. The links in my twitters were likely pointed there.

    The posts here, at Legal Insurrection, fall under the purview of Professor Jacobson. I write them and embed the kind of stuff he says he likes in his posts, but I’m completely ignorant of IT stuff generally and of the infrastructure of legal insurrection specifically.

    I do, however, forward on any complaints I receive to him.

    –Andrew

      propagation explains it, thanks.
      as far as slow page loads here possibly (if the prof allows it for authors) wrapping the media embeds in spoiler tag may help.
      presently page load times are around 3+ minutes at times even measured from my webserver at 100MBs

cjharrispretzer | June 28, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Does the fact that GZ only shot one bullet weigh in his favor and against him being a hothead vigilante out for blood? I am a woman with a CCW permit, and I guarantee you if I am ever in a position where I need to use my gun to protect myself, I am emptying my magazine, and possibly loading in a second one and emptying that one, too. Once the threat is great enough to warrant that first bullet, it warrants all of my bullets.
*Note: I posted this comment in the prior thread but am re-posting here since the “action” seems to have moved over here with your latest update. 🙂

    NavyMustang in reply to cjharrispretzer. | June 28, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Absolutely. To my mind, he displayed coolness under severe pressure and held back well past the point when he could have used deadly force.

    Jazzizhep in reply to cjharrispretzer. | June 28, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I don’t know, if he empties the magazine it certainly seems like overkill, but I don’t think a single gunshot shows some level of great restraint–just what was necessary.

      NavyMustang in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 28, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      Doesn’t doing “just what was necessary” mean he showed restraint? Many others would have emptied the magazine into TM and not even realized they did it. I remember discussions of exactly such events when I was in the police academy.

      Zimmerman showed great presence of mind and restraint under difficult circumstances. Particularly for a man who had never been in a situation like this. He stopped the threat with one shot. Zimmerman then slid out from under TM and made sure that Martin’s hands were showing and that he didn’t have any weapons on him. He was one cool customer.

      txantimedia in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 28, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      You need to do some research on self defense and police training. We are taught to shoot until the threat stops. That means if you’ve shot three times and the attacker is still upright, keep shooting. The human body is capable of absorbing incredible trauma before it finally shuts down. It’s not at all uncommon to read of criminals being shot 15 times before they killed a police officer.

        Jazzizhep in reply to txantimedia. | June 28, 2013 at 10:47 pm

        you guys should read the read the original question which, in effect, asks does GZ get bonus points for not emptying the magazine, my answer is no way. just for a second try to argue the opposite “ladies of the jury, you should keep in mind GZ showed restraint because he only used one bullet to kill TM and not the entire magazine”…which, with a little sarcasm, is what you are saying. i didn’t say he shouldn’t have used more, only you don’t get props for not doing so

          txantimedia in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 28, 2013 at 11:05 pm

          Sure, if you address it that way you’ll fail.

          IANAL, but this is the way I would address it. Put one of the state’s police officer witnesses back on the stand (hopefully one with many years of training and experience) and question him about his department’s training for shooting suspects. Once he’s explained that you ask him if an officer was on his back being beaten MMA style would you expect him to shoot? Then you ask him, how many times would you expect him to shoot?

          You never mention Zimmerman, and you certainly don’t need to point out that he only shot once. Trayvon is dead. No matter what you think of him, that is a tragedy. What you want the jury to understand is that Zimmerman’s actions were not unreasonable under the circumstances.

          Jazzizhep in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 28, 2013 at 11:23 pm

          one last time….ok, in your scenario, how does the officer answer?…given the answers in this thread the response would be “as many times as i needed to stop the subject”..which in this case is one…i don’t think the officer would say, “i would have shot him 5 times” so anything less than that should be equated as showing restraint..one got the job done, you don’t get bonus points

          txantimedia in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 29, 2013 at 12:21 am

          Jazzizhep | June 28, 2013 at 11:23 pm

          one last time….ok, in your scenario, how does the officer answer?…given the answers in this thread the response would be “as many times as i needed to stop the subject”..which in this case is one…i don’t think the officer would say, “i would have shot him 5 times” so anything less than that should be equated as showing restraint..one got the job done, you don’t get bonus points

          Atty: What does your department train you to do when confronted with an armed subject?
          Officer: Attempt to get him to put the weapon down. Warn him that I will shoot if he does not.
          Atty: What if he’s pointing his weapon at you?
          Officer: Shoot until he drops the weapon or collapses.
          Atty: How many times would you shoot?
          Officer: Until he is stopped.
          Atty: Would you ever shoot once and then stop?
          Officer: No. Not unless the suspect dropped immediately.
          Atty: If an officer was on the ground and the suspect had mounted him MMA style and was punching him in the head, what is he trained to do?
          Officer: Shoot to stop the threat.
          Atty: How many times would he shoot?
          Officer: Until the threat is stopped.
          Atty: Would one shot do that?
          Officer: Not unless he shot him through the eye or temple.
          Atty: What if he shot him in the chest?
          Officer: Then the officer should keep shooting until the suspect collapses.

          Read here and watch the videos: http://www.forcescience.org/

          Most people have no idea how much force is required to stop a determined adversary. I recently read a story about an officer who shot the suspect 17 times. The last three were in the head. He finally stopped shooting after the third head shot.

          If you think you can shoot someone one time, then look to see what happened before firing again, then you are mistaken. You will almost certainly be shot yourself and could die.

          According to research 76% of people shot with a handgun survive. If the person shot also has a handgun, the shooter is going to be shot as well unless he keeps the “victim” busy absorbing more shots. Even if you shoot a suspect multiple times, you may still be shot yourself. Don’t panic. You’ll likely survive. But whatever you do, don’t stop shooting until your adversary does.

          Jazzizhep in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 29, 2013 at 1:16 am

          Jesus…even after all you don’t get it…DOES THAT GIVE HIM BONUS POINTS FOR ONLY FIRING ONCE…However you want play it in your mind, try in what ever way to think your little dialogue shows an officer should shoot once or a hundred times, in no way can you convince a rational person that shooting and killing a person with JUST one shot means you get bonus points for restraint. If you don’t believe me, let’s see if the defense decides that would be a prudent tact. If they decide trying to convince the jury GZ was showing restraint, which therefore shows he is not a vigilante because he only fired once to kill him, I will be the first to apologize.

          Not once have I said GZ acted incorrectly, or he would have been wrong had he fired 5 times, I have simply stated you don’t get bonus points for firing once. And if you think for one second that your dialogue would convince the jury GZ deserves bonus points, you are delusional.

          Since he was killed with one shot, regardless of what training videos say, you could not convince these mothers that GZ should or could have fired 5 times. Which you would need to do to convince them that firing only once was restraint. You get it? To say once was restraint, you must convince the jury that 2, 3, 4 shots was needed, or warranted, or desired. And you can’t do that when he was dead with 1 shot. You are thinking from a training video, not how those mothers on the jury would react.

          Let me repeat, it is important. To say that GZ acted with restraint, to this jury, you need to convince them firing more times was the proper thing to do, even though he was killed with one shot.

          If you managed to miraculously hurdle that barrier, the prosecution then gets their say. HMMM, maybe something like, “The defense wants you to believe that shooting TM dead with one shot showed herculean restraint on the part of GZ. He should have shot him 6 more times because the training video says you should. Shooting him dead with one shot isn’t enough “POW”. He should have shot him again “POW”, and shot him again “POW”, and shot him again “POW”, and shot him again “Pow”, but since he only killed him with the first shot, he is to be held for the Medal of Remarkable Restraint.

          I don’t know, it’s a close call.

          VetHusbandFather in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 29, 2013 at 12:10 pm

          txantimedxia, as for you question about GZ getting ‘bonus points’ I’d say no. Everything you say makes sense to someone that understands the use of weapons and force, to someone that is properly trained, one shot isn’t just restraint, its stupid. But the only people that GZ can get ‘bonus points’ from is the Jury. And frankly I don’t think the Jury will understand, even if you try to get a LEO to explain it. Some of the Jurors may even disagree with the LEO’s standpoint unless you took quite a bit of time to explain all of the reasoning behind it. To this day I’ve found it difficult to explain to my sister in law why police ‘shoot to kill’ instead of ‘shoot to disarm/disable’. As much as I explain the logic she still doesn’t think it’s ‘right’.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm

          YES, GZ gets bonus points for restraint. Armed with fists and greater strength, GZ’s adversary had been neutralized by one shot. GZ’s restraint was such that when he pushed TM off of him, he moved TM’s hands into view so he could watch them, not knowing if TM was alive or dead. If he had not shown restraint and blasted away, there would have been no question in his mind about TM’s status.

          So get off your bleeding-heart drivel. GZ showed more restraint and did what was minimally necessary to save his own life.

          VetHusbandFather in reply to Jazzizhep. | June 29, 2013 at 1:39 pm

          JRT, maybe he gets bonus points in your eyes (and in my eyes for that matter). But really our opinions count for nothing in this case. As I mentioned before, it’s the Jurors that matter, and if the Jurors are bleeding heart liberals GZ gets no bonus points.

        iconotastic in reply to txantimedia. | June 28, 2013 at 10:49 pm

        No way! That would mean that the push for crippled magazine size (for civilians) might result in citizens dying! Well, I guess you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette, right?

        Sarcasm, of course.

    myiq2xu in reply to cjharrispretzer. | June 28, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    There is no bright-line rule. The magic word is “reasonable”.

    If you ever use deadly force keep in mind that a jury might end up second-guessing your actions.

    rabid wombat in reply to cjharrispretzer. | June 28, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    CJ,

    My understanding is “shoot until they stop”. Continue shooting until the bad guy stops doing what caused you to shoot him in the first place. For exaple, a bad guy justly causes you to shoot him. You fire three rounds. The last strikes him in the back. In hind sight – you appear to be a killer! In reality, you fired until you reacted to the end of the threat. The time may be only 0.5 to 0.75 seconds. The bad guy may have turned in this time. Check out reaction times. A good start is Brance!. Additonally, check out: http://www.forcescience.org/tablet/index.html

    I am not a lawyer. Get good training.

    Best

    gravedancer in reply to cjharrispretzer. | June 28, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    I think so. Police and military are often trained to keep shooting until you are sure the threat is neutralized. GZ did not have such training, but still it would not be unreasonable in that situation for GZ to have fired multiple rounds into his assailant.

      rantbot in reply to gravedancer. | June 28, 2013 at 11:08 pm

      The military situation is entirely different, and a poor guide to legal or practical behavior in civilian defensive situations. The police situation is closer; police have weapons for their own defense … in theory, at least.

      The key concept is that when subject to a deadly physical attack, the victim is perfectly within his right to use force to make the attack stop. If the assailant should happen to die of that force, well, tough.

      But the defensive use of force is NOT to (1) impress bystanders, (2) teach the assailant a lesson, (3) prevent the assailant from repeating his attack at some future time, or, most importantly, (4) kill the assailant. Once the attack has stopped, there is no further justification for forcible defense. That means that if one bullet does the job, a second bullet is NOT defense, and of course shooting the rest of the magazine is right out.

      Now obviously one doesn’t have to stop after every shot and ask, “had enough yet?” But once your assailant is running (and so of course is no longer attacking you), or is down and making no moves to continue the attack, or has dropped his weapon, etc, forceful defense is usually no longer available to you.

      I am not an attorney; my education is in theoretical physics, so anything I write is undoubtedly totally brilliant … but only in theory.

        Cowboy Curtis in reply to rantbot. | June 28, 2013 at 11:39 pm

        I’m a lawyer in FL, and you pretty much nailed it. You can use force for as long as it seems reasonably necessary to end the threat. Down here, the presumption at law is that anyone who breaks into your house (armed or not- they don’t expect you to investigate) is there to kill you- lethal self defense is presumed to be justifiable homicide. So lets say a guy breaks into your new Orlando home: in the eyes of the law, he poses a lethal threat and you can fire away. So you drop him with the first two shots, and he’s laying on the floor, holding his belly, crying out to God and momma, and you walk over and shoot him in the head. You just went from justifiable homicide to capital murder. Why? Because by any standard, the threat was neutralized. It doesn’t matter that 5 seconds ago you were well within your rights to put those two bullets in him, when the threat ended, so did that right.

        You can use force so long as it seems reasonably necessary, no longer. And for anyone reading this, I’m not your lawyer and you aren’t my client- this post is in no way, shape, or form, legal advice.

        actually Military Police in Army are VERY similar to civilian LEO in that stuff. The Army MP are the closest ones to Civ LEO.

    Cowboy Curtis in reply to cjharrispretzer. | June 28, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    He might not have been able to fire more shots. Its an automatic fired between two men, one prone on his back, the other on top of him in some manner (could have been really close, or sitting more or less upright). The slide could have hit GZ or snagged on his clothes as it ejected the spent shell, fed the next round, but lost too much momentum in the contact and simply failed to lock fully into place- gun won’t fire. Or, if he pressed it up against TM’s body and fired (which he almost certainly did), TM might have instantly gone limp, fallen on the gun, and prevented the slide from fully seating- gun won’t fire. Or it caught on his clothes as described above. Or, the gun cycled perfectly upon firing, but TM’s body slumps down on GM, pinning the gun in between them, making it unsafe to fire again- by the time GM pushes TM off, its clear another shot isn’t needed. Unless GM gets up there and gives a play by play, we’ll probably never know.

      Yep. Also, after the first shot Martin may have slumped down against the muzzle and pushed the slide out of battery, in which case it wouldn’t (or at least, hopefully shouldn’t) fire. It’s a weakness of semis that it’s difficult to make firm contact shots because of this issue of going out of battery. (Solution would seem to be to act before the bad guy gets that close. Tueller Drill, anyone?)

      –Andrew

        Cowboy Curtis in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 28, 2013 at 11:59 pm

        That was what I was attempting to describe (poorly) in the second scenario. Upon re-reading it, I didn’t do it well.

        a lot of people either don’t know or forget about that “safety” feature.
        The older springfield armory M1911A (the Army MPs overseas had them in late 80s) I had needed to be machined and new spring due to that.
        I detest that feature.

          divemedic in reply to dmacleo. | June 29, 2013 at 9:31 am

          You detest that a gun won’t fire while out of battery? Do you know what happens to an unsupported case when it is fired?

          Cowboy Curtis in reply to dmacleo. | June 29, 2013 at 9:35 am

          No gun is supposed to fire without the action completely closed. You’d have detested it more if that thing had ever fired out of battery. I get queasy just thinking about it. Out of battery discharges are the things nightmares are made of.

      Cowboy Curtis in reply to Cowboy Curtis. | June 28, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      Just noticed that I kept writing “GM” when I meant “GZ”. But I’m sure everyone already figured that out.

      boricuafudd in reply to Cowboy Curtis. | June 29, 2013 at 1:32 am

      There is some evidence that this happened, as the gun did not fully cycled, leaving the clip full with only the one spent shell, this is according to the discovery documents.

      Something prevented the gun from cycling a second round.

Interested Observer | June 28, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I’m not an attorney, but do a lot of expert testimony in regulatory proceedings. The prosecution has been so bad in this case, I am beginning to wonder if maybe they just decided to let chips fall where they may. Why else would you call some of these witnesses? We know the case was only brought do to political pressure. Perhaps this is their way of trying to placate the public who wanted GZ prosecuted. In other words, throw everything out there and hope the public sees GZ is innocent. If so, I’d hate to be the prosecutor, but I’ve worked with government employed attorneys before who didn’t really have their hearts in the case (and other than pride didn’t care if they lost).

Thanks for the great analysis everyday, Andrew. It saves me having to sit through all the drivel most of the media is putting out on this case, let alone the extremely shallow tweets coming from most of the twitterspace.

    The State’s Attorney cannot face the racial grievance community with a no prosecute decision; this special prosecutor can’t summon the stones to stand on principle and announce that the evidence does not support guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, prosecutors are putting up the witnesses to the event and letting the story be told without much hope of weaving it into guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Plus they are stuck with the evidence and witnesses that actually exist, warts and all.

    But clearly they should not have prosecuted. This trial is such a thoroughly abusive way to show sensitivity to their target community. It abuses resources, it abuses every citizen’s sense of being secure in a right to exercise self-defense, and it thoroughly abuses virtually every civil right of GZ. Is there a committee of liberals that meets somewhere to decide which citizens just get their rights trampled with no peep from the professional civil rights protesters or from their shills in the media?

      Is there a committee of liberals that meets somewhere to decide which citizens just get their rights trampled with no peep from the professional civil rights protesters or from their shills in the media?

      Basseley Nakoula is still in prison.

      profshadow in reply to Mark30339. | June 29, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Let’s not forget that this was not an indictment from a Grand Jury but rather the D.A. deciding to prosecute. Don’t remember the exact legal term, but Corey did it all by herself. I’m fairly certain a Grand Jury would have not charged anything, given the evidence.

      Political pressure drove this case. Racists like Sharpton. “If I had a son” Obama. A complicit media.

      All it did was turn a tragic event into a circus that will lead to turmoil, in my opinion, this summer. There will be riots no matter how it turns out.

      Let’s just hope no one else gets killed.

      I’m thinking I’ll be going fishing a lot when the trial ends. In Florida we can carry our firearms openly when travelling to and from fishing/hunting/camping activities.

      After all, some of those snakes here in Florida are nasty critters, especially after all the rain we’ve had recently…water moccasins galore.

        profshadow in reply to profshadow. | June 29, 2013 at 8:52 am

        Frack. We need that 5 minute edit thing 🙂

        Open carry of my rifle. Already carrying my pistol with my CCW. But as many of us know, each class of firearm has its “most useful” environment.

      ground control in reply to Mark30339. | June 29, 2013 at 10:29 am

      Mark,
      The silver lining, IMHO, far outweighs the loss of state’s resources. And the silver lining is two very important things.

      One, those (like myself) who would have been reluctant to defend themselves or loved ones with deadly force can learn how to properly do so (and with cautious confidence) BECAUSE of this trial and its discussions. If this trial (and discussions) saves the life of *one* person who would have died because of fear of getting railroaded then its worth it.

      Two, it will help the future legislators and courts enact laws which will put a clearer boundary around the extents to which a citizen can act to defend themselves or loved ones. The clearer the envelope the more confidently the victim will act to defend themselves.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Mark30339. | June 29, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      None of them have any courage, nor does the judge. They’re punting George onto twelve good men and true, or six good women and true, in this case.

      I guess if you extend your thinking, the jurors have some victimhood in their own right. Let’s see if these six ordinary people have more courage than the Rick Scott, Pam Bondi, Angela Corey and all the other powerful political whores involved in advancing this travesty put together.

      I’m still naive enough to put my faith in the common man, although the Casey Anthony case certainly shook that faith.

A couple of questions. Is there any chance of the judge issuing a directed verdict after the prosecution has rested their case? Or will she make the Defense put on their case?

And could the prosecution be deliberately presenting these witnesses that so sunder the prosecution’s theory of what happened so that if and when a not guilty verdict is read, they can say they presented their best case, but the facts couldn’t support their theories? By showing that they had no case at all and Zimmerman’s statements plus the factual evidence all MUST lead the Martin family to believe that Trayvon really was the aggressor and simply happened to go after a person that defended himself. A way to keep the likes of Crump and Sharpton from creating an OJ style post trial situation of unrest and anarchy?

    gravedancer in reply to mishka. | June 28, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    I dont see this judge going the directed verdict route. I doubt she has the courage to do so, when that would shift a lot of heat for the outcome onto her. She can take the easy way out and let the prosecutors and/or jury take the heat for the acquittal.

    iconotastic in reply to mishka. | June 28, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Given the twisting of the reporting by the media and the almost pathological anger by some I have seen m I think the judge would have to be suicidal to issue a directed judgement. But, given that this is an old style show trial, that isn’t going to happen.

    I wonder if the jury might get hung though. In which case Zimmerman will likely have to go through it all over again, for another half million dollars.

      ConradCA in reply to iconotastic. | June 29, 2013 at 9:38 am

      If GZ is found innocent then there is always the Federal charge of violating civil rights! Holder is the evil …. who would do it too.

Andrew, you’re doing yeoman’s work here but with all due respect I’d suggest your coverage would improve if you moderated your own tendency toward cheerleading a bit.

I’m puzzled about what the prosecution’s doing. Their theory of the case seems to be that (a) Zimmerman was criminally negligent to put himself in the general vicinity of Martin while armed in the first place (b) after doing so he used deadly force so he’s guilty (c) nothing that happened in between (a) and (b) matters, Zimmerman’s responsible for the outcome even if Martin decided he could get himself some nice youtube video by pulping the creepy-ass cracker.

Their ‘star’ witness was pure comedy gold. I’m not sure what they feel they gained by putting her up at all; she was a cast-iron reinforcement of certain stereotypes vastly harmful to their case, and her testimony provided more questions than answers. If Trayvon was yards from his father’s place and felt threatened why did he keep moving and call this testament to parental failure?

The rest were, variously, more credible but did nothing to move the ball off the prosecution’s end of the field.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to JEM. | June 28, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Rachel Jeantel, the witness you speak of, was the foundation for the probable cause affidavit for the arrest warrant. Yep.

    It would be a “lol” situation if it wasn’t SO serious.

      I would not vote to convict George Zimmerman based on Rachel Jeantel’s testimony. I don’t believe her testimony about what Trayvon asked George and how George responded to Trayvon and I don’t believe Trayvon told George Zimmerman to get off of him. I don’t believe anything she says that isn’t corroborated by other facts.

        dms in reply to Catherine. | June 29, 2013 at 2:44 am

        my gut feeling is somebody got to and started working with this witness with all the names right after the shooting.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to dms. | June 29, 2013 at 1:38 pm

          Yes, agreed, and I think it’s quite obvious. It’s also obvious to me that somebody got to her on the evening between her two days on the witness stand. My understanding is that is a no-no. But, as always, the State gets to slide on that as well as everything else.

      When the White House chief resident made his, “If I had a son he would look just like Trayvon,” the tone was set for a rough voyage for the prosecution. Other race baiters joined in and complicated a bad situation even more.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to GrumpyOne. | June 29, 2013 at 1:43 pm

        Using the most refined language I can muster on this topic, I say that obastard and “My people” Holder are despicable, race-baiting pricks.

    I feel no obligation to be “objective”, if by objective you mean pretending ignorance of the facts in evidence. If one side is cheating the system, they are cheating the system–I’m not going to pretend that they share some moral equivalence with the side that is playing by the rules.

    At the same, I take great pains to base my judgments on the facts in evidence, and to make those same facts available to all of you.

    I am not, however, under any obligation to act as if I am too stupid to know which side is in the wrong, when one side so obviously is.

    And you are not under any obligation to share my perspective or judgment.

    Fair enough?

    –Andrew

      iconotastic in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 28, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      Andrew

      More than fair and fantastic that are willing to share you hard earned expertise. I only wonder if things are going quite as well for the defense as you see it. I hope so, but maybe after last November I am suspicious of too much good news,

        Re: the election, I don’t blame, you I was as gobsmacked as anybody.

        –Andrew

          legacyrepublican in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 29, 2013 at 5:53 am

          I was driving my sons over to REI today to do some purchases for the pool ( something so I could keep keys dry in my swimsuit ).

          The subject of spending got brought up.

          After telling my ten year boy that he had to be respectful to any adult who was happy in the last election even if he disagreed with it, I told him that he had a right to say also that he was unhappy that when he turns 18 that he will only then have the right to vote on the national debt and that the possible 20 trillion dollars added to the national debt while he was growing up was spent without his consent and that the adult who is so happy with the last election ought to be ashamed of that.

          But, I live in Texas. Not a whole lot of people in our circle of adult friends will had have to say that to as a matter of course.

          We all are into tea hereabouts. And the image that comes to my mind when I hear “tea bagging” has a whole lot more to do with a shotgun, a loyal dog, and a flock of foul liberal birds getting flushed than it does with some perverse notion of sexual pleasure.

          At least that is the kind of political show trial I would enjoy watching.

rabid wombat | June 28, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Mr Branca,

You express an obvious bias. This bias is the same as mine. You have seen a lot of cases, but based on your bias and experiance, how do you see this going? I read this as a slam dunk, but I am seeing through your eyes without your experience. I have not watched any of the videos, or any of the main stream news. I am asking, ” you have seen 100 cases, 12 were like this. of the 12, 9 have gone to the defendent….” Thanks as always.

Best,
Rabid

    I stopped placing sucker bets like that the first (and last) time a work colleague talked me into a $100/player “friendly” poker game. Roughly 8 minutes after the first card was dealt, I was on my way home. 🙂

    Self-defense cases are inherently so fact sensitive that it’s almost impossible to extrapolate from some selection of cases to a particular instance. And, of course, when I say fact sensitive I don’t mean just the physical evidence, but also the fact that you’re working with the Rachel Jeantel’s of the world–how do you extrapolate that?

    I can look at an individual case, the facts, the witnesses, and come to (what I think is) a reasonable projection of a successful outcome, but the extent to which that can be extrapolated from some generalization of other self-defense cases is pretty minimal.

    Finally, this particular self-defense case is a kind of freak of politics. I’ve rarely seen as strong a self-defense case as Zimmerman has, precisely for the reason that such strong cases are almost never brought to trial in the first place.

    Unless the gods frown upon you, as they have Zimmerman, and you are thrown into the maelstrom of political opportunism.

    –Andrew

      Drosophila in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 29, 2013 at 7:59 am

      Mr. Counselor,
      Thank you for this informational resource.
      I have some experience in courtrooms as an expert witness and as a simultaneous interpreter (Federal courts, European courts, FBI, and other Federal agencies, Interpol, …), but have never experienced a witness deposition in the same circumstances as that of at least Ms. Jeantel. Is this liberty of allowing potentially biased settings for witness interviews particular to the State of Florida, or is there something amiss here in the conditions of the deposition?

      moonstone716 in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 29, 2013 at 11:09 am

      You forgot to mention that there is no group of people on this earth that is more stupid than the average jury.

HRPuffingstuff | June 28, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I want to thank both Andrew and the Professor for such great followup. For us non-lawyers your insight is really interesting. One thing I think was over looked was Dee Dee’s feeling of guilt and her phone conversation(s). From what I gather they were more or less on the phone most of the time. But not much was said, yet she still feels too guilty to show up to the funeral. I think what happened was she egged TM on to fight. That is why she is feeling guilty.

    Catherine in reply to HRPuffingstuff. | June 29, 2013 at 12:07 am

    You may have hit the nail on the head. If she encouraged Trayvon to fight Zimmerman that would explain her not wanting to go to the funeral to see the results of her egging him to fight and her “writing” a letter to Trayvon’s mother so that she could give his mother information about Trayvon’s last moments alive without actually having to talk to her. Also that would explain her reluctance to get involved and her distaste for testifying because she knows she is not telling the truth.

    After Rachel and Trayvon’s last call ended, Ms Jeantel called Trayvon again and didn’t reach him. I’m wondering how many times she called or texted him until she heard he died.

Mr. Branca,

I started following this case more closely after finding a link to your coverage. I knew this trial was a political sham, but after following it more closely, I am absolutely amazed. Unfortunately, this is something that your average person can not impact, so I felt having a general knowledge or a detailed knowledge of the proceedings didn’t really matter.

I think I was wrong. I have a new fear of our justice system and this trial just isn’t right. I am 39 years old and I am more thankful than ever that I never had to face the criminal justice system. I have tried to live my life honorably.

I am also a concealed carry permit holder in Texas. It’s really a shame that this could be the outcome if you defend yourself. The comments I find online supporting Martin at this point are truly unbelievable. There are actually many of his supporters now saying that having your head being beaten into the pavement is no reason to defend yourself.

    By the way, I wish you all would stop calling me “Mr. Branca”–that’s my dad.

    Just “Andrew” is fine. I know I’m old, I don’t need to be reminded every other post or so. 🙂

    –Andrew

      Dr Stiffy in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 29, 2013 at 12:30 am

      Andrew,

      Unfortunately I’m getting to the point where I’m being called Sir more and more. I can’t say I like it.

      This man should have never been accused of second degree murder and I appreciate your analysis. I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me a decision of indictment should have been allowed to come from a grand jury. It seems Angela Corey made the decision to prosecute this based on political pressure and tossed it over the fence. I think she is going to now distance herself as far away as possible from this goat rope to not damage her career. I feel sorry for the prosecution having to argue this case.

      divemedic in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 29, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Just wait until some pretty young woman that you find attractive comes up and addresses you as “Mister” or “sir” when social norms would not normally require it.

      That is they day that you know you are too old…

      LOL, I tell people exactly the same thing. Doesn’t do any good. I decided to take it as a sign of respect and an indication that they recognized my fashion model-like handsomeness. Doesn’t bother me much any more. :^)

Mr. Branca,

I would be interested in your take on what the newscasts heralded as the most important part of Good’s testimony.

“The person on top being able to punch the person on the bottom, but the person on the bottom also has a chance to get out and punch the person on the top.”

They are actually saying that this is going to force Zimmerman to the stand because he said that Zimmerman had a chance to get out.

    The whole “Zimmerman could have wriggled free” business is just journalists who see their money train disappearing if they admit how lopsided this whole trial is. They are desperate to make it seem like the game is still in play so that the crowds don’t all head out the doors after the 7th inning.

    It is, in other words, nonsense.

    Honestly, I don’t understand why anyone watches those programs. I don’t mean to tout myself as the great alternative–feel free to ignore me, too–but they are so obviously full of **** that it seems like simply staring at a blank wall would be a better use of time.

    –Andrew

    txantimedia in reply to PDQ2. | June 28, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    You need to understand that journalists are trained in journalism. Nothing more, nothing less. They don’t understand the law, real estate, computers, cell phones or any of the other things they report on more than the average person does.

    I have done numerous interviews. I’m always amazed at what little of what I said didn’t hit the cutting floor and how different the story was than the one I discussed in the interview.

    Zimmerman does not have to testify no matter what the pundits say. If his lawyers are any good at all (and his seem to be quite good), he will never set foot on the stand. It would be difficult to contain the damage if he did.

      Oh, I know journalists quite well. I’ve dated several of them before I found my perfect wife.

      And I agree with your assessment.

      They were, however, very pretty. But even pretty only gets you so far. 🙂

      –Andrew

        txantimedia in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 29, 2013 at 12:01 am

        Andrew, my comment about journalists was in response to PDQ2’s post, not yours. I know this platform makes replies confusing, so it’s perfectly understandable that you might have thought otherwise.

        Catherine in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 29, 2013 at 12:18 am

        This gives hope to those of us who are not so pretty!

      Matt in FL in reply to txantimedia. | June 29, 2013 at 3:51 am

      txantimedia sez: “You need to understand that journalists are trained in journalism. Nothing more, nothing less.”

      I would be thrilled if that’s what they were trained in. Wikipedia defines journalism as “the activity, or product, of journalists or others engaged in the preparation of written, visual, or audio material intended for dissemination through public media with reference to factual, ongoing events of public concern.”

      The problem is, from what is seen on the mainstream media, not just with regard to this trial, is that the organizations from whom the majority of Americans get their news don’t give two shits about disseminating information on “factual, ongoing events of public concern.” They care about selling advertising time. We have seen in the past couple days that even the most solid and theoretically trustworthy news entities have outright lied when the truth wasn’t as titillating. Because the truth would cost them eyeballs, and therefore money.

      If I was prone to grand pronouncements I would call it a breach of the public trust.

      sdharms in reply to txantimedia. | June 29, 2013 at 8:08 am

      I often say that Journalists choose their major in college by asking, “what can I major in that I dont have to take math or science?” I am a PhD chemist, and I am amused when statistics or chemical or physics knowledge is “explained” in an article.I have seen HCl spills called “basic” and I dont know how many relative risk epi studies are written with RR < 2 as if it is the end of the world.

Someone educate me on “reasonably believes” in a self-defense claim. I’m hearing from some pundits that the state is trying to argue that Z couldn’t have reasonably believed he was in great harm based on the level of his injuries. Whether that is true or not, what exactly is the “reasonably believes” standard and how much subjectivity is at play?

Thanks

And Thanks to Andrew for another great summary of the proceedings.

    gravedancer in reply to DennisD. | June 28, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    the threshold for most laws with “reasonable” in them is “what would an average, reasonable (aka not Jeantel) person do/feel in the same situation”.

    If I am a 65 year old, fat or otherwise out of shape weakling, and a 30 year old body builder is charging at me angrily, and verbally (or otherwise) communicating he intends to beat me to a pulp, I could be justified in shooting the guy before he ever lays a hand on me, because most “reasonable” people in that situation would recognize they were in danger of a serious beating, at least.

    fogflyer in reply to DennisD. | June 28, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Well, that is exactly what we have the jury for.
    They are the ones who are going to have to decide if GZ had a “reasonable” belief he was going to receive (note: not ALREADY received) great bodily harm.

    I am sure the defense will bring several experts to testify that having ones head smashed into concrete is a really good way to end up dead. Remember, he doesn’t have to actually BE injured at all, just a reasonable belief of serious bodily harm.

    I don’t see any way that a jury will not think that when you are pinned underneath somebody you is repeatedly striking you in the head and bashing your head into a concrete sidewalk, that you would not have a reasonable belief of great bodily injury.

    It is absolutely bizarre that the State is spending so much time trying to minimize the perceived extent of Zimmerman’s injuries.

    It is simply irrelevant.

    The law of self defense does not require that you suffer so much as one single scratch before you can use force, even deadly force, in self-defense. You need not have suffered any physical injury whatever before you are entitled to use force in self-defense.

    If you inform me that you intend to kill me, pull a gun from your desk, and raise it in my direction, does anyone imagine that I have to let you shoot me before I can send a 200g JHP in your direction? It’s just silly.

    For the purposes of lawful self-defense you need merely be in reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm, you need not actually experience it.

    What’s “reasonable”?–well, it took me an entire chapter of my book to cover that subject, and I don’t think I can fit that in this comment box.

    But if you’re interested: http://lawofselfdefense.com/preorder-now/ (and 30% off for the next few days)

    –Andrew

      DennisD in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 28, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      Thanks all.

      I think it’s interesting to note that Z said in his reenactment that it was when T went for his gun and told him he was going to die that he shot him. But I hear that Z won’t take the stand at the rate things are going so the jury will never hear that. (Why the defense can’t enter the reenactment is something I don’t understand.)

        tmason in reply to DennisD. | June 29, 2013 at 4:42 am

        Luckily his lawyer is a lot smarter than GZ is; every statement GZ has made has contradicted a prior one.

        He’ll never (at least he shouldn’t) take the stand. If he does he is toast.

        The Defense is trying their best play here (focus on the fact that it was raining, dark, varying witness statements, injuries of GZ, etc.) to paint a picture of confusion that night and thus raise doubt that way.

        The problem with that is there are a few definite things that have already been introduced which takes the confusion away. We know for a fact that GZ was told not to follow but followed away, even in part. The flashlight being off on the scene (but on while he was patrolling the area) shows that it is highly likely GZ took off the flashlight to sneak up on TM. The girl on the phone tries to call TM back multiple times AND TM’s phone was in the grass as opposed to his pocket, meaning TM didn’t attack GZ by surprise as he claimed (why would he be on the phone and attack someone at the same time?).

        The totality of the evidence is starting to add up against Zimmerman.

          The totality of the evidence is starting to add up against Zimmerman.

          Are you watching the same trial I’m watching?

          moonstone716 in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 11:14 am

          You immediately show your lack of knowledge by one of your first claims…..it was not against the law for Zimmerman to follow Martin, EVEN THOUGH THE DISPATCHER SAID THEY DIDN’T “…need him to do that.” The police dispatcher is not GZ’s boss. I’m sure you would prefer it if we lived in a police state, but we don’t.

          stown in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm

          Yes, the dispatcher said “we dont need you to do that” and then asked questions re: where is he, where is he going? GZ had every right to follow in order to pinpoint where the subject was heading and what he was doing. He was NW remember? Don’t think it’s illegal to keep an eye on someone behaving suspiciously in his neighborhood. Even if I were not involved with NW, I would certainly keep an eye on someone that seemed out of place at the time. If TM was simply crossing through the complex, with an apparent purpose, or destination, he might not have raised GZ’s suspicions. But as you can hear on GZ’s call to the non-emergency dispatcher, he felt something was amiss. Nothing illegal or confrontational about that response.

          Milhouse in reply to tmason. | June 30, 2013 at 7:43 am

          1. He was not “told” not to follow Martin. The dispatcher said that he didn’t have to follow him; he had every right to disregard that suggestion if he wanted to.

          2. Even if it had been an order, he would have had no obligation to obey it. Police dispatchers do not have the authority to order people around.

          3. In any case, he says that as soon as the dispatcher told him he didn’t have to follow Martin he stopped, and there is no reason at all to doubt his word. None. All the evidence is consistent with his having accepted the dispatcher’s suggestion.

          4. Even if none of the above were true; even if the dispatcher had ordered him to stop following Martin, and she had the right to give him such an order, and he had willfully disobeyed it, none of that would affect his right to defend himself when Martin attacked him. Disobeying a lawful order (in this hypothetical where that happened) does not turn a person into an outlaw who may be attacked and killed at will! Martin had no right to attack him, and when he did Zimmerman had the right to defend himself.

      fogflyer in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 28, 2013 at 11:37 pm

      Ooooo… A .45 eh?
      Nice 🙂

      creeper in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 29, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Yipe! The first edition of your book, USED, is going for $104 on Amazon. Makes that $34.95 with free shipping for the second edition look golden.

      Duly ordered.

I am wondering if the defense in this case is reviewing social media to help bolster their defense? I have seen a lot of comments that are questions that I feel are legitimate that both sides miss. For instance, the “crazy white ass cracker” comment. The urban dictionary defines it as a gay pervert essentially. Rachael Jeantel testifies that the guy following him may be a rapist in response to that comment and then on the second day of her testimony she says the comment referred to a pervert. Apparently the defense missed that twice. Slang that seems racist on the face could be attributed to even more if they were to explore that avenue.

    Yes, the defense, is, that was clear all the way back to jury selection. (Remember Jerry Counelis?)

    –Andrew

      txantimedia in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 28, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      Not to mention how they totally destroyed one state’s witness by showing, in court, how she linked her Facebook page to an online petition to try Trayvon Martin’s killer after claiming she was unbiased.

    fogflyer in reply to sybrina. | June 28, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    As to the homosexual aspect of the phrase, this was actually cleared up the the testimony of Ms Jeantel herself. She said that “creepy” meant like a pervert, and that “cracker” is just what people from her neighborhood call white folk.

    So no, she did not mean the entire phrase as a homosexual slur.

      Plus, there’s the fact that black people don’t generally run around calling whites “ass-crackers”, at least not here in Florida. That’s just not the vernacular around here. Cracker (“cracka”), as a derogatory term for white people, with any number of creative modifiers to prefix it (i.e. “crazy-ass”), is.

      Whoever came up with that theory must have been a yankee, and a moron to boot (I DO realize that the terms, although often synonymous, aren’t always so 😉 ).
      For heaven’s sake, listen to Rachel’s testimony. It was crazy-ass cracka, not crazy ass-cracka. There’s such a thing as trying too hard, y’all.

I have some very good black friends with whom I have (circumspectly) discussed the case. To a person they believe that Zimmerman is guilty and will be convicted. These are highly paid professionals whom I respect. They will not riot if the verdict is not guilty, but they will be confused and deeply disappointed, and they will believe that the white man got off due to a rigged system.

That’s reality.

I plan on (gently) attempting to disabusing them of that notion but I’m not quite ready to do that yet. I believe I have credibility with them, because they know me and know my attitude toward racism.

    Of course it can’t be proven, but I’m firmly convinced that had a black youth named ‘George’ been killed in (presumed) self-defense by a half-Peruvian, quarter-black man (I feel like some kind of old Jim Crow county clerk just going through all that) named ‘Trayvon’, no charges would have been filed and the press would have ignored it.

      txantimedia in reply to JEM. | June 28, 2013 at 11:41 pm

      Nor would the 22 black persons who die EVERY DAY at the hands of other blacks receive any media coverage. That’s the reality of today’s American media.

        There’ve been any number of black youths killed here in Florida since the Trayvon incident. Hardly makes a ripple. During the first week of the trial, there was a family up in Jacksonville publicizing a vigil for their 18-year-old boy, who’d been shot and killed while riding his bike, but the fact that another black male had been seen running away from the scene of the crime and was being searched for as the primary suspect, precluded any media attention. No TV time for that grieving momma, no Sharpton or Jackson or Crump projecting community outrage on their behalf, no hoards of liberal white folks wailing and rending their clothes and tearing their hair over his passing, no marches through the streets, no Angela Corey holding the parents’ hands and praying for their “sweet, sweet son”.

      gasper in reply to JEM. | June 29, 2013 at 12:19 am

      If Martin had killed Zimmerman you would not have heard of it either. It would have been local news.

      Milhouse in reply to JEM. | June 30, 2013 at 7:51 am

      Zimmerman is not 1/4 black, he’s no more than 1/8, and probably less. Not that it makes the slightest difference, but let’s get our facts right.

      But it’s not just the first name. The only reason we have ever heard of this story is that Al Sharpton saw the “Zimmerman” and “Florida” and jumped to the (false) conclusion that he was a Jew. He raised the ruckus he did only because he thought he had a Jew in his sights. Had Zimmerman been called Mesa, or even Smith, he would never have been charged, or been bothered in any way.

    fogflyer in reply to txantimedia. | June 28, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    I had this very thing happen to me today at work.
    I black pilot, who I have known for a year or so, and am quite friendly with, saw me watching part of the trial on my ipad. He asked me if I thought Zimmerman was guilty, and of course I said no. He then asked me how someone you grabs a loaded gun and chases down an unarmed teenager, against the orders of the police, confronts the teenager and then shoots him could be innocent.

    Mind you this is a 40 year old, well educated, conservative man.

    I answered that someone who did what he said, would indeed be guilty, but that the facts of the case are far from the storyline that he just described. The man became irritated immediately and I asked if if could explain. I started by telling him how horrible the media has been in covering this trial and that I really didn’t blame anybody for thinking that GZ was guilty as that is what is mostly being presented. That diffused the situation a bit and then I laid out some of the evidence in the case so far. Several times he said, “That is just not true!” When I told him about certain evidence or testimony so far. I assured him it was true, as I had personally watched every minute of the trial so far, and that he could easily verify this if he wanted to watch the actual testimony on YouTube.

    Again, I blamed the media for him not having the real facts of the case.
    In the end, I had definitely not converted him, but he had obviously had his beliefs shaken.
    Sadly, I doubt he will actually watch the trial and as soon as he talks to another black friend, I am sure they will bring him right back into the fold.

    And that is what Obama and the Democrats hope to exploit next election cycle. They are secretly rooting for acquittal–not out of justice but for their own selfish interests.

    Cas47 in reply to txantimedia. | June 29, 2013 at 2:17 am

    I think you bring up a good point. Hannity had two people on tonight – a Black democrat consultant and a blogger and friend of the Martins ( who I think was mixed race) and they discussed Jeantel’s testimony. The two were quite ecstatic and thought the young woman was a very strong witness. I wondered if they saw the same testimony that I saw. I think that Blacks will be gobsmacked when Zimmerman is acquitted, as I think he will be. It will be the OJ verdict in reverse. I am worried about the aftermath.

      sdharms in reply to Cas47. | June 29, 2013 at 8:18 am

      It has been my observation that blacks riot when they want to — win or lose. So I am under no illusin that if he is found guilty that the black community will go quietly.

    moonstone716 in reply to txantimedia. | June 29, 2013 at 11:17 am

    I have never known (or seen on TV) one black person who doesn’t think Zimmerman is guilty. Doesn’t matter how little they know about the facts of the case (one of my neighbors) or if they know everything and are watching the same trial we are (Juan Williams, any number of commentators on Fox, which I would assume would be able to find a black person on GZ’s side if there were one).

    But whites are the racists.

    Sez I in reply to txantimedia. | June 29, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    I have acquaintances of all races and learned long ago to keep as friends only those that have critical thinking skills. Those that insist of ignoring facts (like your friends) and insist on operating on their feelings instead are not people I call friends. Life is already too hard and complicated to encourage those that cannot think rationally.

Thanks for the great coverage and analysis, Andrew!

Can’t wait for the defense to put on their witnesses, although I hope they don’t return the favor by benefitting the state…

    At least Bernie de la Rionda will finally have a justification for his outrageously leading questions, once he’s on cross rather than direct. 🙂

    –Andrew

      Andrew, I haven’t followed every minute of this, and I apologize if you have covered this – was the autopsy report discussed yet? I read somewhere that the trajectory of the wound shows that Trayvon was shot from underneath, not from above. Is that true?

        Matt in FL in reply to Cas47. | June 29, 2013 at 4:16 am

        @Cas47: The autopsy report has not been discussed in court yet. As far as medical personnel, we’ve heard from an EMT at the scene, and GZ’s medical practitioner from his checkup the next day, but that’s it. No medical examiner yet.

Warning:Stupid question—-probably not important. Did anyone get a screen-grab of the holster? I noticed twice that it was stated that GZ raised his right arm to offer his weapon to the police officer. I also noticed Zimmerman is left-handed when taking notes on his legal pad. He would therefore have to reach across his body to unholster his pistol(or else shoot right-handed….I could never shoot wrong-handed). He would then pull the gun across his stomach between himself and TM, swinging it around to fire. That’s probably why no witness that I’ve heard saw a muzzle flash(I could have missed the testimony). Do forensic people that pull latent prints try to figure out which hand was used to fire?

    O’Mara noted in open court the other day (yesterday? it’s all blurring) that although Zimmerman writes left-handed, he does everything else right-handed.

    –Andrew

    txantimedia in reply to rekorb. | June 28, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    I am right handed and can shoot as well left handed as right handed. This is something smart people practice, because it’s entirely possible you could be shot in your dominant hand and unable to use it. You’d better be able to defend yourself with the other hand – and rack the slide single-handed, and draw from across your body, if necessary.

    swimmerbhs in reply to rekorb. | June 29, 2013 at 12:24 am

    Plus most guns are right handed, if you shoot with gun with your left hand your likely to get hit by the casing being ejected.

      Harperman in reply to swimmerbhs. | June 29, 2013 at 2:06 am

      I don’t know where you got that idea. I am left handed and have been shooting right handed rifles and pistols for over fifty years. With one exception I don’t get hit by ejected casings any more often than a right handed shooter. The one exception is Winchester lever actions which eject to the right and rear which is usually where my forehead is. That’s why I sold the Winchester 30-30 and bought a Savage Model 99. It ejects at a right angle to the rifle.

      Also, txantimedia is correct. You should always practice as much with your off hand as you do with your dominant. When growing up my father (an LEO) would often make us shoot with the off hand for the entire day. The ability to shoot equally or almost equally well with either hand can save your life.

Andrew,
Just ordered. I have a question about the women behind the defense. Would they be doing real time research? Or, is it possible, they could be monitoring social media and using it as a focus group? They seem to stare at their screens intensely and seldom look up.

Confused about this statement:

Trial Day 5: Manalo: “When LEO approached, Zimmerman tossed his cell phone on ground.” Smart.

Why is it smart? (Not a gun guy)

And thank you for the excellent coverage.

    The responding officer intends to go home that night, and without any extra holes.

    He’s responding to a “shots fired” call, and arriving on the scene he sees what is likely a shot body lying on the ground.

    He asks, “Who shot him,” and George answers, “Me, I shot him.”

    I would suggest that George’s hands ought to be empty at that moment.

    That’s why it was prudent for him to divest his hands of that phone, and any other object, when approached by an officer well aware he was entering a potentially lethal environment.

    –Andrew

    If he took a decent course prior to getting his CCW permit, they would have gone over the drill for what to do in the immediate aftermath in the case that you do actually have to shoot someone, and that would have included how NOT to alarm the responding law enforcement officers. That’s why it’s so important to take a good course (or read a good book!) – there are a lot of things you wouldn’t necessarily consider beforehand. The procedure for what to do if you get pulled over in your car is another one.

A couple of questions:
Why was the info from the medical witness today about GZ’s martial arts activities allowed in? Isn’t it ‘hearsay’ in that context? Will the defense have to do something to counteract that info? (the cable commentators on HLN/CNN etc were making a big deal about BDLR using that to claim GZ was capable of defending himself). And does BDLRs questioning about it help the defense put in evidence info about TMs fighting propensities?

Also, in reference to repeated questions about why the state is putting on witnesses detrimental to their case, like John Good, etc., one of the cable commentators mentioned a precident case in Florida (something like Amos vrs State – though I couldn’t find it via google) the prohibits prosecutors from keeping witnesses with pertinent information from testifying — and if they did the defense was allowed to point out in closing the state was acting irresponsibly (I’m paraphrasing as best I can remember it, as I was in the middle of bbq-ing our dinner),

    ChattelPaper in reply to jayjerome66. | June 29, 2013 at 1:14 am

    I was wondering that myself. I suspect O’Mara wanted to let that go specifically so he could bring in the TM fighting stuff. I think he can now bring that in without worrying about opening the character evidence door. Andrew would know better of course!

Interested Observer | June 29, 2013 at 12:44 am

Thanks Jay – that makes sense about why the State is putting on some of these witnesses. I do remember that Dershowitz criticized the original indictment of Anglela Corey for leaving out important evidence, which he said the law requires the State to be forthcoming with. I kind of like the idea that the State is to be impartial and seeks the facts, although I know its naive to believe that is what happens in the heat of battle.

Interested Observer | June 29, 2013 at 12:51 am

Assuming the rest of the State’s case proves as baseless as the first part, I wish there was some way that GZ could sue the State for maliciously arresting him and trying him. Its pretty much ruined his life.

JohnHenryabc | June 29, 2013 at 1:07 am

Andrew, may I suggest that you link from the “day before” page to the next days page. ie I was at this page…

Zimmerman Trial LIVE VIDEO – Day 4 – State’s Witnesses
and had a bit of “trouble” getting here.

johnbartow4 | June 29, 2013 at 1:10 am

First of all I have read most of the comments and it sickens me. I am a BLACK father of two BLACK male kids. The fact that a BLACK youth in a hoodie is suspicious to most of you here is as racist as it gets. It seems as if a white person in a hoodie is acceptable. GZ displayed a pattern of calling 911 for suspicious BLACK males. He went as far as to say they always get away. I feel by the time he encountered TM he was not going to let this one get away. It has been proven thus far that GZ stalked TM and had GZ remained in his vehicle until the proper authorities arrived this would all have been avoided. At this point that is water under the bridge so let’s move on. After TM ran trying to lose GZ he stopped to survey the area to see if he was successful in losing GZ and I would imagine catch his breathe. While doing so GZ who was still stalking TM caught up with him and invaded TM’s space where as TM asked what are you following me for, which I would have asked the same thing. GZ took it upon himself to ask TM what are you doing here. I feel unless TM was in the act of committing a crime, that was not GZ’s business and I know that most white people will not agree with that. I feel law enforcement has a job to ask anyone what are you doing around here but not a member of neighborhood watch. Several witnesses have testified that in this event they are to dial 911. This is the time that TM’s friend testified she heard something bump the mic of TM’s hands free and then she heard wet grass which is something I feel was not made up. A few moments later the call dropped and TM never answered again. GZ was the aggressor that night because if TM had been the aggressor the entire incident would have taken place at GZ’s vehicle. TM would not have tried to lose GZ he would have bought the fight to directly to GZ. Avoidance is one of the 5 components of self defense and the only one who displayed that was TM until his personal space was invaded. Take my opinion of this how you will. This will probably be my last time on this page because this page is terribly one sided.

    ZurichMike in reply to johnbartow4. | June 29, 2013 at 5:10 am

    John, apparently you have not been following the trial, or the evidence. It has shown repeatedly that there were a number of crimes committed in that area and at the complex — and virtually all involved young black males. That is a fact, not a racial comment. Zimmerman was a member of the neighborhood watch. According to the police dispatcher, Zimmerman followed protocol in reporting suspicious activities (example: a feral teenager in a hoodie ambling oddly through the complex at night in the rain). Zimmerman also called about an open garage door — is that racist, too?

    Frankly, I am tired of the perpetually aggrieved black community playing the race card 24/7. It’s time to step up to the plate and looks at facts.

    The fact that a BLACK youth in a hoodie is suspicious to most of you here is as racist as it gets.

    Most of the overnight car break-ins in my neighborhood have been committed by young males. A recent attempted rape a couple miles up the road was committed by a young male. If I’m out by the boat ramp alone and a young male or two approaches, I’m much more likely to get my guard up than if a young female or two approach. I have been known to cross the street to avoid a group of young males who appeared to be just hanging out, whereby I would have been happy to walk right past them if they had been young females.

    In fact over-all, I’m much more likely to be suspicious of strange young males as potentially “up to no good” than I am of strange young females. Is that “as racist sexist as it gets”, or am I just doing a reasonable threat assessment based on known facts?

      sdharms in reply to AmyFL. | June 29, 2013 at 8:27 am

      Ron White (comedian) has a good riff on profiling. He claims he was arrested while driving, but it turn out the police were arresting everyone driving down that particular sidewalk that nite, so it wasnt profiling. Get it?

    Ragspierre in reply to johnbartow4. | June 29, 2013 at 9:15 am

    John, there are some racists on these threads from time to time.

    But having your neck-hairs perk up at seeing a kid on a dark, rainy night, in areas that are not traffic areas, in a complex plagued by crime is not racist. You’d respond, too, I bet.

    We know Jesse Jackson would.

    A hoodie is not just clothing sometimes. Just like a red bandana is not just something cowboys wear.

    And, as between Zimmerman and Martin, we have a lot of evidence that Martin was vastly more racist.

    I, for one, do not subscribe to the school that tars Martin as the anti-christ, while also allowing he was a delinquent. I hope, as a good dad, if you saw your sons behaving as Martin did, you would effectively intercede.

    At his age, I did a lot of crap that I should not have survived. Maybe most of use male types do.

    Observer in reply to johnbartow4. | June 29, 2013 at 9:47 am

    You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts. The recording of Zimmerman’s initial call to police shows that Zimmerman became suspicious of Martin because of Martin’s behavior, not his race. Martin was walking around in the dark, in the rain, off the pathways, and looking into the windows of the homes. Zimmerman said Martin appeared to be on drugs — a suspicion which has been shown to be correct (Martin obtained a cigar to make a “blunt” at the 7-11, and the autopsy showed THC, a marijuana derivative, in his blood). It was Martin’s odd behavior that night, not his skin color or his “hoodie,” that raised Zimmerman’s suspicions. In fact, when the dispatcher asked Zimmerman the suspect’s color, Zimmerman was not even sure Martin was black.

    You also claim that it has been proven that Zimmerman “stalked” Martin; it has not. What has been proven is that Zimmerman was trying to keep Martin in his line of sight so that he could direct the responding police officers to his location. You say that you “feel” that Zimmerman had no right to ask Martin what he was doing in the neighborhood. In fact, Zimmerman had every right to ask him. This was a gated community — meaning it was private, not public, property. Zimmerman, as a homeowner in the community, a member and officer of the HOA, and a member of the neighborhood watch, was well within his rights to question Martin.

    Another fact that has been established by the evidence, as opposed to opinions or feelings, is that Martin had more than enough time to get safely to his father’s girlfriend’s home after he noticed Zimmerman watching him. Instead of going to the house, Martin chose to confront, and then assault Zimmerman.

    I can understand, and sympathize with, Martin’s annoyance at Zimmerman watching him suspiciously. Most of us have experienced a similar situation at some point(s) in our lives — when a store security guard, or a cop on the street, or some other authority figure is obviously monitoring our behavior with suspicion, when we know we’ve done nothing wrong. But Martin’s reaction was clearly over the line. That may have been a consequence of his youth and immaturity, or his drug use that night, or some combination of factors. In any event, it is a tragedy that Martin’s mistake cost him his life. But that tragedy will in no way be ameliorated by the senseless, vindictive, and legally unjustifiable prosecution of George Zimmerman.

      Milhouse in reply to Observer. | June 30, 2013 at 8:17 am

      Zimmerman said Martin appeared to be on drugs — a suspicion which has been shown to be correct

      Actually that suspicion turned out not to be correct. The THC level in his blood showed that he was not on anything that night. But that’s irrelevant. Zimmerman described his behaviour, not his chemical workup. He was behaving in a way consistent with being high; it makes no difference why he was doing so.

      n fact, when the dispatcher asked Zimmerman the suspect’s color, Zimmerman was not even sure Martin was black.

      Exactly. This alone blows the whole “racist” angle out of the water, even if it were relevant, which it isn’t.

      Even if Zimmerman had known that Martin was black, and had suspected Martin for no other reason than being black, he would still have had every right to act as he did, Martin would have had no right to attack him, and he would have had the right to defend himself. But since he didn’t even know Martin’s race the whole question is ludicrous.

      You say that you “feel” that Zimmerman had no right to ask Martin what he was doing in the neighborhood. In fact, Zimmerman had every right to ask him. This was a gated community — meaning it was private, not public, property. Zimmerman, as a homeowner in the community, a member and officer of the HOA, and a member of the neighborhood watch, was well within his rights to question Martin.

      Even in a public street, anyone has the right to ask anyone else what he is doing there. Keeping ones eyes open for unusual activity is the essence of neighbourhood safety.

    The fact that a BLACK youth in a hoodie is suspicious to most of you here is as racist as it gets.

    GZ called because TM was ambling in the rain, looking at houses, and appeared to be on drugs. Where did race or a hoodie factor into his assessment.

    It seems as if a white person in a hoodie is acceptable.

    Speculation.

    GZ displayed a pattern of calling 911 for suspicious BLACK males.

    And blacks displayed a pattern of committing crimes in the neighborhood. Reasonable.

    He went as far as to say they always get away.

    Freedom of speech.

    I feel by the time he encountered TM he was not going to let this one get away.

    I feel like playing golf later today…

    It has been proven thus far that GZ stalked TM

    Stalking has neither been charged nor proven. Try to keep up.

    …and had GZ remained in his vehicle until the proper authorities arrived this would all have been avoided.

    And TM had plenty of time to reach his dad’s soon-to-be baby mama’s house.

    After TM ran trying to lose GZ he stopped to survey the area to see if he was successful in losing GZ and I would imagine catch his breathe.

    Again, he had plenty of time to make it to soon-to-be baby mama’s house. And how could this young man need to stop and catch his breath in the interim? Dishonest.

    While doing so GZ who was still stalking TM

    Again, stalking has neither been charged nor proven.

    … caught up with him and invaded TM’s space…

    A felony violation of Florida’s strict personal space laws. (sarcastic, but well deserved)

    …where as TM asked what are you following me for…

    If George was following, did TM have to turn around to ask this? TM started the altercation then. And I don’t like the tone of his question.

    …which I would have asked the same thing.

    Really? As a guest in the neighborhood? Chutzpah.

    GZ took it upon himself to ask TM what are you doing here.

    But you just said you’d have asked a question just as TM did. GZ doesn’t have equal rights? Plus, George was responding with a question, not initiating a conversation or altercation.

    I feel unless TM was in the act of committing a crime, that was not GZ’s business

    How many times will you forgive TM for asking a question, while indicting GZ for doing the same?

    …and I know that most white people will not agree with that.

    Bigoted much? White people monolithic in your eyes?

    I feel law enforcement has a job to ask anyone what are you doing around here but not a member of neighborhood watch.

    He was not on patrol, so that’s out the window. And you have a lot of feelings. Do you know Morris Albert?

    Several witnesses have testified that in this event they are to dial 911.

    Is the opinion of several witnesses tantamount to Florida law?

    This is the time that TM’s friend testified she heard something bump the mic of TM’s hands free and then she heard wet grass which is something I feel was not made up.

    TM’s friend is a proven liar and perjurer. There’s no proof that she was actually on the phone with him, as she testified in court that she shared her phone, and at the time of the encounter, the phone was not even registered in her name – no telling who was really on the phone with TM. But, you’ll find out more about this as the trial moves on. I love hearing wet grass in the morning and here you go again with the feelings. Nothing more than feelings…

    A few moments later the call dropped and TM never answered again.

    Congratulations – you’ve made a another factually correct statement.

    GZ was the aggressor that night because if TM had been the aggressor the entire incident would have taken place at GZ’s vehicle.

    GZ has the legal right to leave his vehicle. Unless there’s a felony egress law of which I am unaware.

    TM would not have tried to lose GZ he would have bought the fight to directly to GZ.

    Are you TM’s fight club strategist? That’s how you know this, I presume?

    Avoidance is one of the 5 components of self defense and the only one who displayed that was TM until his personal space was invaded.

    TM’s space was ‘invaded’ because he did not complete the aforementioned component, even though he could have easily made it to his dad’s soon-to-be baby mama’s house.

    Take my opinion of this how you will.

    That’s mighty white of you…

    This will probably be my last time on this page because this page is terribly one sided.

    Promise?

    Milhouse in reply to johnbartow4. | June 30, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Taking this out of order:

    1. How do you hear wet grass? What does wet grass sound like? That alone is enough to discredit you.

    2. Anyone has the right to follow anyone he liked, and to ask whatever questions he likes. GZ took it upon himself to ask TM what are you doing here. I feel unless TM was in the act of committing a crime, that was not GZ’s business. You can feel like Marie of Romania, but your feelings don’t matter. It’s a legitimate question, and any responsible person would have asked the same thing. If you see someone out of place, the right thing to do is to challenge them. That’s how you keep your neighbourhood safe.

    3. But forget that; if you think Zimmerman had no right to ask Martin what he was doing there, then what right did Martin have to ask Zimmerman why he was following him? Martin had no more rights than Zimmerman. If Martin doesn’t need to explain why he is in a place where he has a legal right to be, then Zimmerman doesn’t need to explain why he is following someone, which he has a legal right to do. You’re trying to have it both ways for only one reason: you’re a racist. You’re a damned racist, and you think black people have the right to challenge white people whenever they like, but white people don’t have the same right.

    4. There is zero evidence, or reason to believe, that Martin’s race contributed to Zimmerman’s suspicions. He was acting suspiciously, and would have been doing so no matter what colour he was. Zimmerman wasn’t even sure what race Martin was, so how could he have suspected him for that reason?

    5. He had a pattern of calling in suspicious people. If they all happened to be black, that’s because so many crimes are committed by black people. Young black men are far more likely than young white men to commit crimes, so it’s not surprising that Zimmerman saw several black burglars and few or no white ones.

Can the presecuter be disbarred from bringing this case?

Can the defense ask the officers or local prosecutors who refused to charge GZ for an explanation?

Roger Williams | June 29, 2013 at 3:05 am

I wouldn’t be surprised if the judge split the difference and tossed the murder two count while letting the jury decide the manslaughter count. I can also see this judge letting the jury decide both counts. I don’t see it likely that this particular judge will throw out the state’s entire case.

Prediction: Guilty Verdict of Manslaughter.

Even if Martin hit Zimmerman and pinned Zimmerman to the ground, Zimmerman’s injuries do not appear to have been sufficiently serious to have put him in fear of his life.

Even if Zimmerman WAS fearful, he could have shot Martin in the arm or leg and could have thwarted the attack. One perfect shot to the chest?

By following Martin on a dark rainy night, having been told not to do so, and knowing that he was only supposed to help the police by being their eyes and ears, it seems that Zimmerman was negligent in failing to do as he was told and not follow Martin.

Evidence so far included a video tape of the property that showed someone, presumably Zimmerman, with a flashlight turned on. After the shooting there is a flashlight in the grass that is not turned on. Even if we are to believe GZ 100% with him being attacked by surprise then the flashlight would still be on when the photo of that flashlight was taken.

The implication is that Zimmerman turned off the flashlight so he could sneak up on Martin.

On top of that, even if we call the girl on the phone a complete liar it is GZ’s 911 call that establishes that at least 3 minutes prior to the incident TM was trying to run away.

So at this point, the Defense’s only hope is to find a third party witness or some direct evidence that TM attacked. If they introduce TM’s past somehow then the prosecution get’s to introduce GZ’s past.

And the Defense does NOT want GZ on the stand; he’ll be toast and go down for Murder 2.

So guilty verdict of manslaughter is what I see.

    Karadion in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 3:14 am

    He’s being tried for Murder 2. The state will have to drop the case & try again (which will not happen) or ask the judge to reduce the state’s charge to manslaughter and try on that basis which I also doubt will happen. At the rate that this is going, I’m sure there is enough reasonable doubt on the jury’s mind that George Zimmerman committed murder but rather self-defense. Now if the federal government wants to step in and charge him with manslaughter based on past history, they’re free to do so. Especially if the state is going to prolong this even further, this violates George Zimmerman’s right to a speedy trial.

    tmason write: “Even if Zimmerman WAS fearful, he could have shot Martin in the arm or leg and could have thwarted the attack. One perfect shot to the chest?”

    That’s just 100% pure ignorance on display right there.

    Don’t get to see THAT all that often on this blog.

    Well done, tmason. “Good Effort Certificate” in the mail.

    –Andrew

      It’s like there’s a #TeamTrayvon tag team assigned to this blog. “Rational”, “rhorton1” and “tmason” all take turns coming on and spinning the exact same narratives, but never at the same time. As soon as rhorton1 disappeared, tmason showed up to pick up where he’d left off. I wonder which one is going to show up on Monday, or whether it’ll be a new character altogether.

        Uncle Samuel in reply to AmyFL. | June 29, 2013 at 8:40 am

        Professor Jacobsen can tell if these three are the same person because their city of origin will be the same.

      Actually, it shows that Zimmerman, in this “life threatening” beating he was taking with a man on top of him, was able to take one perfect shot. I’m sure the jury will wonder why he didn’t shoot in another non-lethal area of his body.

        Matt in FL in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 11:28 am

        There are some people whose interpretation of the world is just so different from rational thought that they don’t bear addressing, but I’m going to do it anyway.

        It wasn’t one “perfect” shot, it was one “lucky” shot. GZ initially didn’t even know he’d hit him with it, hence the whole “get out from under and restrain him” thing.

        And “shooting to wound,” which is what your “shoot in a non-lethal area” amounts to, is a GREAT way to wind up in prison. No one who knows anything about armed self-defense EVER advises shooting to wound, or for that matter, “warning shots.” If you have time to think about warning shots or “shooting to wound,” your life is likely not in imminent danger, and your gun should not have cleared leather. Lethal force is an absolute last resort. If you have time to think and plan, you’re likely not there yet.

        Goetz von Berlichingen in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm

        tmason, this is some of the dumbest stuff I’ve read in a long time.
        I am waiting for you to proffer the idea that GZ should have fired a warning shot.

        Just sad, really.

        ThomasD in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 12:06 pm

        The standard for use of deadly force in Florida is a reasonable belief that “such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself…”

        Given that people have died from a single blow to the head a fist swinging at your head can reasonably be considered justification for use of deadly force.

          ThomasD in reply to ThomasD. | June 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm

          Also there is no such thing as a ‘non-lethal’ shot from a pistol. Firing a handgun at any portion of another person is considered use of lethal force. A leg wound can easily involve the femoral artery, resulting in exsanguination in a matter of minutes. Similarly a wound almost anywhere can result in circulatory shock and subsequent death.

          Deadly force is justified to stop a threat. You don’t shoot to wound any more than you shoot to kill. You shoot to stop the threat. And that means you shoot in a manner most likely to be effective – ie. center mass, just like the cops train to do. Anything else might be interpreted as seeking to prolong the encounter.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Zimmerman testified that he only got his gun when TM spied it and made a death threat (You gonna die, MFkr.)
    Presumably, there was a struggle for the gun and the aim was as much Martin’s as Zimmerman’s on that account.
    How much freedom of aim is there with someone on top of you going for your gun?

    Reality and common sense not your strong suits, Mason, Horton or whoever you are.

      tmason in reply to Uncle Samuel. | June 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Well, sure, if you buy GZ’s testimony wholesale. That’s fine.

        Goetz von Berlichingen in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm

        Point to a piece of evidence that contradicts GZs account.

        Is it a crime to leave your vehicle when a black person may be nearby? Is that considered provocation in Florida?

          It’s not a crime but you fail to see how him leaving the vehicle (when he is allegedly afraid, his words) and chasing after said black kid in a case where the black kid dies is relevant.

          Totality of the evidence.

          That’s why it will be manslaughter.

    divemedic in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 11:09 am

    So, according to your post, Florida law is:

    – a person must wait until AFTER they have received a fatal beating to defend themselves

    – under the law shooting a person is not using deadly force, as long as you only shoot them in the arm or leg

    – a person can act as the eyes and ears of law enforcement without keeping the person of interest in sight. While it is true that the dispatcher said that GM didn’t need to follow TM, that is not an order, and the follow on question of “where is he now” can easily be taken as a request to keep the subject in sight

    – the flashlight being off can also be evidence that GZ stopped pursuing TM, and no longer needed it to pinpoint TM’s location

    TM was a 17 year old football player. The distance from GZ’z truck to the house where TM was staying is less than 200 yards. A 17 year old who plays quarterback and wide receiver can’t cover 200 yards in three minutes?

      tmason in reply to divemedic. | June 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      First off, the beating he received wasn’t fatal by any stretch of the imagination. Those cuts to the back of the head most likely happened with falling backward ONCE, not the “slamming” that GZ claimed. Much more damage would have occurred.

      Second, you are putting words in my mouth; GZ COULD have shot TM in the arm/leg/shoulder/etc. to stop the threat. Remember, he was coherent the entire time (his words). It was *only* when TZ reached for the gun that GM decided to use it. Not the beating that he was sustaining.

      On the question of following, here is where GZ really fails. EVEN IF we take it that GZ interpreted the “where is he now” question as a request to follow from the non-emergency 911 dispatch Zimmerman already had training not to follow. “You are just the eyes and ears of police”, “do not engage”, etc. GZ already claimed he stopped following anyway, so this point is mute.

      On the flashlight being off as evidence that he stopped pursuing, this point again flies in the face of the Defense’s case. Remember how it is dark, raining, etc.? And he was only going for a house number or street address? And GZ didn’t know where TM was at the time (his claim he was surprised).

      According to GZ’s own words there was no reason to have the flashlight off in those circumstances.

      Unless he is lying of course.

      As for TM, he most likely didn’t go back to the house because he didn’t know where GZ was at all. Even if he didn’t go back to the house and decided to hide it was well within his right to remove himself from confrontation (GZ tells you on the 911 call that he runs away). So all evidence points to a human being attempting to run away and remove himself from being a threat.

      It is up to the Defense to show that in 3 minutes (from the end of GZ’s 911 call) that TM goes from being a 17 year old fearing for his life to being a person wanting to start a fight. Makes no sense and that is a huge problem for the Defense.

        First off, the beating he received wasn’t fatal by any stretch of the imagination.

        How badly does a rapist have to beat your wife before you’re going to allow that she can defend herself?

    db_ cooper in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    http://www.ohioverticals.com/blogs/akron_law_cafe/2012/04/zimmermans-low-burden-of-proof-on-the-issue-of-self-defense/

    Zimmerman’s Low Burden of Proof on the Issue of Self Defense
    by PROFESSOR WILL HUHN on APRIL 13, 2012
    in CRIMINAL LAW,WILSON HUHN

    In her news conference announcing that George Zimmerman was being charged with second degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, Florida Special Prosecutor Angela Corey mentioned several times that self-defense is an “affirmative defense” under Florida law. She also said that “Stand Your Ground” is “a tough affirmative defense to overcome.” It will be “tough” for the prosecution because although Zimmerman has to introduce some evidence that he acted in self-defense, that doesn’t mean that he has to convince the jury that he acted in self-defense. All he has to do is to create a “reasonable doubt” as to whether he acted in self-defense. A proposed amendment to the Florida Jury Instructions makes that perfectly clear.

    Six years ago in Murray v. State, 937 So.2d 277, 279 (Fla. 4th Dist. 2006), the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Florida ruled that once a defendant in a criminal case has introduced proof that he acted in self-defense the jury is entitled to consider the defense, and the jury may not convict the defendant unless it finds beyond a reasonable that he did not act in self-defense. The Fourth District Court of Appeal stated:

    But, with these additional facts, did he also incur a burden of proof identical to the State’s? That is, did he have to prove the additional facts for self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt? Or was he instead bound by some lesser standard-say, the greater weight of the evidence? Indeed, how about something even less onerous than that? Was he merely obligated to lay the additional facts before the jury, without any burden as to the strength of their probative value – other than they might be true? The answer is this. No, he did not have to prove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. He did not have to prove even that his additional facts were more likely true than not. The real nature of his burden concerning his defense of justification is that his evidence of additional facts need merely leave the jury with a reasonable doubt about whether he was justified in using deadly force. Hence, if he wanted his self-defense to be considered, it was necessary to present evidence that his justification might be true. It would then be up to the jury to decide whether his evidence produced a reasonable doubt about his claim of self-defense.

    ————–

    And tmason, here is the biggest problem for your theory of manslaughter. It hasn’t been Zimmerman’s defense team that has introduced evidence to create a standard of resonable doubt that Zimmerman acted in self-defense. It has been the prosecution’s own witnesses that have done such so far. The prosecution has sandbagged their own case, largely because they have no case. And you have no clue. You have resorted to conjecture, ignorance of the law and utter idiocy (when wrestling with someone for a gun in a life-and-death battle, one does not pass up whatever shot presents itself to aim for the leg). And sadly enough, you are one of the more coherent Trayvon pimps I have seen – damning with faint praise if there ever was such.

      tmason in reply to db_ cooper. | June 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      The evidence has actually been neutral to both sides at this point. In short, the evidence proves a fight occurred, GZ was losing/lost this fight, and GZ shot him.

      The biggest question is HOW DID THE FIGHT START?

      So far we have the Girl on the phone saying TM was running, GZ confronting him, and then GZ attacking/touching him. No evidence to the contrary produced thus far (we’ll see what the Defense produces).

      Add that to circumstantial evidence (GZ leaving his car when he is allegedly afraid, flashlight off when he was attacked by surprise even though it is dark, etc.) and a picture is starting to emerge that at minimum GZ wasn’t afraid and that he most likely started the confrontation.

      Therefore, manslaughter.

    db_ cooper in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    tmason: “The implication is that Zimmerman turned off the flashlight so he could sneak up on Martin.”

    You really don’t get the concept of beyond a reasonable doubt, do you? It is entirely possible that the flashlight was damaged when dropped, or was dropped in such a manner that the off switch was engaged. Zimmerman doesn’t have to prove that. The prosecution has to produce evidence, such as an eyewitness, that Zimmerman deliberately turned it off.

    tmason, Perry Mason you are not. However, you would be a natural addition to the prosecution team here, you seem as clueless as they are.

    Harperman in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Tmason obviously has no real understanding of the laws of self defense. In his opening sentence he states, “Even if Martin hit Zimmerman and pinned Zimmerman to the ground, Zimmerman’s injuries do not appear to have been sufficiently serious to have put him in fear of his life.”
    There is no requirement in Florida law that the victim must sustain a certain level of injury before resorting to the use of deadly force. Nor does the law require that he be in fear only for his life. The law requires that he be in reasonable fear of death OR serious injury. One does not have to wait until he is punched, stabbed, shot or otherwise injured before he can use deadly force.

Rachel (DeeDee) has committed perjury directly related to the essence of the case.

In her April 2nd sworn interview with BdlR and TCO, she said the last thing she heard before the phone shut off was the grass. BdlR then asked the leading question ‘Ok, did you hear any kind of screaming like ‘Help me!’ or anything like that? She says ‘No’. He asks her ‘OK, did you hear any kind of shot?’ She says ‘No’. She says she called back and no one answered. BdlR tries again and asks ‘You didn’t hear the man say anything or did you hear Trayvon say anything?’ She says ‘I could hear a little’.

Remember, the phone is still off and her call back to Trayvon was not answered, which is properly reflected on the call log. Now, incredibly, she claims she can hear ‘Like a little ‘Get off’ some stuff…’ BdlR then said ‘You heard ‘Get off’? And the discussion of how or when the phone went dead (or un-dead/re-dead) is amazingly never discussed; but of course, it wasn’t on for the ‘Get off’ episode – a complete lie.

BdlR also asks if she texted Trayvon that evening and she says ‘No’. She said she didn’t text, in general. Another huge lie.

In court, she says she heard ‘Get off’. This is in contradiction to her sworn testimony on April 2nd. In court, she was asked if she texted him after the phone went dead, she said once. Again, in contradiction to her sworn testimony on April 2nd.

And the April 2nd testimony was a significant element in the Affidavit of Probable Cause for Second Degree Murder. Thankfully she’s still under subpoena and maybe she’ll be arrested next week…

Wrong, jury can convict on lesser charge if (most likely) they are given instructions to consider both Murder 2 and manslaughter.

The flashlight is what is going to do Zimmerman in. If he was attacked from behind as he claims AND it was as dark as it was, why would it be off when police get there and take photos?

Answer: Zimmerman took it off to confront TM by surprise.

Add that to Zimmerman being TRAINED not to follow/confront by the training program for his watchgroup/whatever yet doing it anyway (important point here) leads the Jury to conclude that HE started the chain of events that caused the altercation to take place and TM’s death.

    ZurichMike in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 5:19 am

    Such an amazing imagination! No one can identify who had the flashlight. Maybe he turned it off while waiting for the police (which was on the phone call you apparently didn’t listen to). GZ lost sight of TM and said he would wait by the mailboxes (“the mail thing” as DD calls it). He was not told to not follow, just that he didn’t have to. And even if he was, the dispatcher is not the police, and looking for someone in your apartment complex is not a crime. And since the gangly feral TM had a headstart, running away as fast as a tall, thin young man in sneakers can versus a pudgy guy wearing boots, TM was negligent in not running all the way home and going inside and shutting the door.

    Sorry, you “argument” shows a willful disregard for facts that have been known, and now corroborated in court under oath by *prosecution* witnesses that support GZ’s accounting of what happened.

      fogflyer in reply to ZurichMike. | June 29, 2013 at 11:11 am

      Actually, I’ll bet we are going to see evidence that the large flashlight was not working. The defense brought this up with someone. They asked if the slapping sound heard on the taped phone call might be someone slapping their flashlight against their palm. This was objected to, and sustained of course, but I am thinking the defense has proof that the large flashlight was inop, which would make sense, seeing as the little keychain flashlight was on. Why have the little keychain light on if your big flashlight was working?

        tmason in reply to fogflyer. | June 29, 2013 at 11:37 am

        The flashlight was working fine all the time (per footage) and then all of a sudden not working when GZ and TM meet?

        I’m sure the jury will buy that one.

      tmason in reply to ZurichMike. | June 29, 2013 at 11:32 am

      The surveillance footage shows someone looking around in the apartment/condo complex with a flashlight. Pretty bright flashlight I might add (once viewed from the surveillance footage). One that you could use pretty easily to find the number of the street/apartment number from a distance.

      You really think that the jury is going to believe that Trayvon was the one with the flashlight after Zimmerman admitted himself that Trayvon was walking by himself in the rain?

      Therefore, with the two flashlights found on the scene; one was Zimmerman’s and the other was the neighbor’s flashlight. It’ll be easy to tell which one was Zimmerman’s per cross examination on a witness.

      Once ownership of the flashlight is established we find out what state it was in. On/off? Where is it located? etc.

      It will be up to the Jury to decide whether that flashlight was on or off when GZ and TM met. If GZ doesn’t testify then it would only be best to assume that the flashlight SHOULD have been on (the Defense and witnesses are going on and on about how dark it was) but based on the CSI that it was off when they took the crime scene photos.

      And the only person who can testify otherwise is GZ.

      Manslaughter.

        Ragspierre in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 11:52 am

        “If GZ doesn’t testify then it would only be best to assume that the flashlight SHOULD have been on…”

        IF a juror did that, they would violate their oath.

        What are you, stupid…???

          Goetz von Berlichingen in reply to Ragspierre. | June 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm

          Asked and answered, Rags.

          tmason in reply to Ragspierre. | June 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm

          A Juror can infer based on the logical actions of most human beings what is the most likely outcome.

          AKA if it is as dark as GZ and the Defense will have you believe AND GZ was fearful of TM AND you are heading back to your vehicle there is no logical reason to turn off the flashlight.

    And if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. You’re just makin’ stuff up now.

      (that was in response to tmason, not ZurichMike)

      tmason in reply to AmyFL. | June 29, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Google the photos of the flashlight found on the scene. You will see the flashlight was OFF when CSI took pictures.

        Goetz von Berlichingen in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm

        Wow, a flashlight turned off…. Why that blows this whole case right out of the water!!

        The flashlight. Of course, THE FLASHLIGHT!

        And it was in front of us all this time….

        Sheesh.

        Red_Right_Returning in reply to tmason. | June 30, 2013 at 1:44 am

        How long after the incident did the CSU technicians photograph the scene? Could the flashlight have burned out or been turned off in that time?

        cjharrispretzer in reply to tmason. | June 30, 2013 at 4:13 am

        tmason, We know from the 911 call that at the end of the 911 call when GZ had lost sight of TM and was no longer following him, we know that GZ was concerned that TM might now be scoping him out (as shown by GZ not wanting to say his home address out loud). If Zimmerman now had this concern, and was walking back to his truck in the dark, having the flashlight ON would be an attractor for Trayvon to be able to find him….like a spotlight on GZ. So get off your high horse about the flashlight. It’s not the smoking gun you wish it was. Sorry.

    Goetz von Berlichingen in reply to tmason. | June 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    You know tmason, the use of facts is not frowned upon in this community. You should try that.
    GZ was trained to follow from a distance, but not engage. In previous calls to the police he clearly is avoiding any confrontations.
    That info is all there in the testimony…but you will have to put aside your racism if you wish to actually understand what happened here.
    Or just continue being the troll punk you are.

    Not like integrity means anything to you.

Mr. Branca. There are so many posts now that you may have answered this. Can GZ be convicted of manslaughter as a lesser included offense? Is there any chance whatsoever that this judge will grant a motion to strike or florida’s equivalent of this, and only the case to go the jury on manslaughter?
As a matter of law, if GZ is being beaten by TM when the shot is fired, it is impossible to prove intent. If the judge is intellectually honest, no way she lets it go to a jury on 2nd degree.
While i agree this case is weak, an all women jury must be making GZ nervous. Anybody who has ever been punched knows that things dont fit nicely into categories and not really subject to intellectual review. If i was GZ, id be afraid that this jury and judge dont have real life experience and cant place themselves in his shoes. Thoughts?
Lastly, any whispers around town about this judge? Ive watched a few hours of the trial. She is allowing patently obvious leading questions by the state, and seems overjoyed when they ask for a bench conference. When the defense asks to approach, it seems she always says no. You know defense counsel is chomping at the bit to get in TM character. It would be hilarious if they ask to approach, the judge says no, and the next question is, you are familiar with TM prior willingness to engage in fights. Fireworks and “judge i tried”.

See here:

Has State Opened Door to Defense Introducing Martin Fight Video? http://is.gd/0BeDnX

–Andrew

There are twenty-two (22) embedded youtube videos on this page.

This is taxing even my HP Intel Core i7 desktop machine with 8GB of RAM. It’s futile to even try on my older ASUS Zenbook ultrabook which is “only” an i5 with 4GB of RAM. I’m on an ADSL connection most of the time because I can’t get cable internet out here, but even using my iPhone as a mobile hotspot and taking advantage of the speed of the LTE network, this page (and others like it, with so many embedded videos) fails to load about one out of every four tries.

I never have any trouble streaming Netflix or Hulu over the configuration I have, and it works fine for live video streaming (like watching the trial), but trying to load twenty-two youtube videos each and every time I refresh the page is asking too much of the equipment I have available to me.

You guys might need to rethink how you’re presenting these daily wrap-ups. I can’t be the only one having trouble.

    I’ve passed your comment on to Professor Jacobson, AmyFL.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    FYI, starting Monday we’re going to embed only the first of each series of videos per witness, then follow that with simple links to the remainder video for that witness.

    That should help speed load times considerable.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      creeper in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 29, 2013 at 10:14 am

      Thanks, Andrew. I hadn’t seen your reply to Amy when I posted mine, being loath to reload the page. That should help considerably.

    creeper in reply to AmyFL. | June 29, 2013 at 10:10 am

    You’re not the only one having trouble, Amy. This screaming gamer’s computer, built by my son, barely copes. I’m getting reluctant to load these updates and even more so to comment, since it has to reload the whole page every time I do.

    Professor, this needs some fixing.

    Hey folks,

    I’ve gone back and edited this blog post as described, replacing most of the embedded Youtube with links.

    Let me know if that improves load times.

    If so, that’s how we’ll structure these posts moving forward.

    If not, we’ll try something else.

    –Andrew, @LawSelf Defense

      Seems to be loading much faster than before, but still not great –almost 10 seconds to fully load the page.

      Since I’ve stripped out most of the embedded video, the only other thing I can think of that might be slowing the page down is all your collective comments.

      That’s a good thing, I guess. 🙂

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Matt in FL in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 29, 2013 at 11:12 am

      AmyFL/creeper/Andrew: The slowdown isn’t due to your computer. I’ve got a Core 2 Duo E8400 overclocked to 4.0 GHz (if that means nothing to you, just read it as “at least a generation of processors (if not two) behind either of yours”) with 8 GB RAM, and the page loads “slow” for the internet, but not SLOW for the real world. It takes 5-8 seconds to fully load. The trouble isn’t computer based, it’s mostly the speed of your internet connection. Mine loads faster than yours even though my computer is slower because I have a huge fat pipe for all that info to come through, so resolving all those videos takes less time.

      Removing them will probably help a lot of people, Andrew, so thanks. Made not much difference for me.

      What I’ve seen to be “slow” is the Tweets that you quoted up near the top of the page, when there’s a dozen or so in succession. When the page first renders, all those Tweets show up as text quotes, with just standard black text with orange for the links. A few (3-5) seconds later, I can watch them start rendering, pop! pop! pop!, one by one down the page into their final graphic form. It’s fast, and the whole evolution only takes 2-3 seconds. It’s just not “instant” like I’m used to seeing from most web pages. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to get rid of those Tweets, so I just deal with the slight slowdown.

      Thank you kindly, sir, much better now!

Hello, Mr Branca

A couple of questions for you, if you have the time….

I watched most of the court proceedings yesterday (day 5). Two things stood out: one, how officer Ayala referred to TM as Trayvon while calling GZ Mr Zimmerman, or even simply Zimmerman; two, in the video showing where GZ was exiting the patrol car inside the police headquarters, GZ can be seen leaning against the wall while waiting for the officers to finish their conversation. I believe officer Tim Smith said that he did not see GZ lean on any wall for support. I’m sure O’Mara saw GZ leaning too, so why didn’t he press that point? Why didn’t he ask if Ayala had sympathy for TM and not for GZ? Could there be some bias in the police department?

Excellent coverage, by the way; keep up the good work.

    Milhouse in reply to El Sabio. | June 30, 2013 at 8:34 am

    officer Ayala referred to TM as Trayvon while calling GZ Mr Zimmerman, or even simply Zimmerman

    I’ve noticed and remarked on this since the beginning of the story. Martin has always been referred to by his first name, and Zimmerman by his surname. The obvious reason was to create a sense of intimacy and identification with cute baby-faced Trayvon, while creating distance from Zimmerman and at the same time emphasising his Jewish-sounding name.

living da dream | June 29, 2013 at 9:10 am

Great stuff Andrew. Thanks.

Re: BDLR: assuming this ends in an acquittal… Was he “a probable fall guy” from the get go? Did he draw the short straw? Or did he volunteer to take one for the team? Cannot believe the ultimate decision to charge and try was thought to have a snowball’s chance of success? Query…does he have a vested pension? Any fall out for the elected prosecutor? They are elected in FL, right?

living da dream | June 29, 2013 at 9:15 am

…snowball’s chance on the( merits) not the political component.

I have concealed carry permits from two states. If you are armed, you must naturally be very concerned about someone grabbing your weapon and turning it on you, or someone else. How easy would that be if you were rendered unconscious due to some sort of head trauma? I believe that Mr. Zimmerman was fully aware of that and truly had more to fear than just getting beat up, much more.

and,

As always, thank you Andrew. Thank you very much.

TrooperJohnSmith | June 29, 2013 at 10:21 am

First of all, thank-you for the excellent coverage. This has become my primary source.

Second, at what point can the trial judge declare that this trial essentially has no merit? Or, can a judge do that in the state of Florida?

This is starting to look like what it is: a Show Trial. The only thing missing is the People’s Commissar.

First, I’ve been ran across this blog several days ago and it has been my GO TO source on the trial for the analysis and videos. Outstanding job! It’s refreshing to see insightful and meaningful comments posted rather than the typical bottom-feeder, emotional trolling that goes on at CNN/HLN.

My question is, while the jury is highly unlikely to give a guilty verdict to the Man 2 charge, will they have the choice in considering Manslaughter instead? And if so, how does the case then look from a manslaughter point of view.

I’m assuming that reasonable doubt is the key to a verdict in either charge.

Again, solid site here. I will definitely use it for all future trials of interest!

Sorry, meant “Murder 2” not “Man 2”.

So many believe the prosecution. I admit that since I was not there, they may be correct. Even if the prosecution’s narrative is PROBABLY how it went down (and I’m not saying that it is), that doesn’t matter.
The thing here is that the standard is not about what probably happened. It is about what happened beyond a reasonable doubt. Let me show you what I mean by giving you a case that reasonably fits the facts:

GZ is following TM, and keeping him in sight, to report TM’s location to dispatchers. TM, thinking he is being followed, told DeeDee that he was going to run, and hung up. 19 seconds later, TM called her back from behind the house where he was staying, 200 yards away. GZ, being obese and out of shape (resting heart rate was 100) could not keep up, and lost sight of TM.

The athletic street fighter then doubled back to confront and teach that obese crazy-assed cracka a lesson about street justice. He went back and punched GZ and initiated what he thought was a street fight. He got on top of GZ, and was savagely beating him. After absorbing a vicious beating at the hands of his attacker while screaming for help that would not come in a remarkable demonstration of restraint, GZ finally drew his weapon and fired a single shot, ending the fight.
He didn’t even take aim, and couldn’t, considering that he was absorbing multiple hits to the face that had swollen it so badly that people who knew him casually did not recognize him, and had so dazed him that it was a minute or so before he could even stand without wobbling.

That is what is known as reasonable doubt. Even if we stipulate that GZ probably profiled and stalked TM, we don’t convict on PROBABLY. As long as a reasonable explanation that fits the facts shows a different case, GZ should walk.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to divemedic. | June 29, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Re: profiling:

    Several weeks prior, a 17 year old black male was CAUGHT for burglary in that very neighborhood. There may have been a few others.

    Evidently, the convenience store in the video sells a lot of Arizona drinks and Skittles, thus is the hang-out for multiple Obama sons (Chicago black gangsta wannabes) and the Twin Lakes Retreat neighborhood is supposed to serve as a sort of Job Corps/ATM machine in which these young people procure funding resources for these essential needs.

    How racist of the neighborhood establish a Watch Group and spoil the young entrepreneurs’ work/study plans! That smacks of vigilantes and the KKK.

    To profile or watch them is an affront to their self-esteem and sense of autonomy, frustrate their initiative, motivation and engagement in profitable capitalist enterprises.

    Fredro in reply to divemedic. | June 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I agree with divemedic. This case seems to me to boil down to ONE simple question: is it REASONABLE for GZ to have believed that he was in danger of great bodily harm or death from which he could not retreat. Since he was pinned down, being pounded in the face, and his head was being hit against a sidewalk, I would vote as a juror that he REASONABLY feared for his life. Acquittal. End of story. Profiling doesn’t matter. Who started it doesn’t matter. Nothing else matters either. Divemedic, as he himself wisely points out, may not be right in all the particulars, but his description is a darn REASONABLE one and therefore precludes anyone from finding GZ to be guilty of murder.

    This case reminds me quite a bit of the OJ trial in that the same people believed in OJ’s innocence then as in GZ’s guilt now. Has anyone found this to be true? I mean, don’t you just KNOW that the strong supporters of TM at this point in the trial also thought OJ was being framed by racist cops?

    In that trial, also, the case seemed to me to boil down to ONE simple question: was OJ’s blood at the crime scene (and in his car, etc.). If so, he was at the scene and committed the crime. It was not a complicated trial for a clear thinker. Am I right on this? (Of course, I’m exaggerating a little on the alleged simplicity of both cases, but I think the point still holds: these cases are not hard to figure out.)

    Uncle Samuel in reply to Granny55. | June 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Great to actually hear George Zimmerman’s voice and see his mannerisms and respectfulness. He is well-spoken, sincere and does not seem to be hiding anything.

    Trayvon was an angry young man…another tragic gangsta culture victim.

    It is also tragic that Obama could do much good for these young fatherless men (like himself) if he was not such a Marx/Mohammed/gay/black culture bully gangsta himself.

Hey folks,

I’ve put up a new post, entitled “Zimmerman Trial – Open Comment Forum – Weekend Wrap-Up”

It provides a compilation of all our substantive Zimmerman trial blog posts for the past week. It has a handful of photos, but no embedded tweets nor embedded video, and at thsi moment no comments yet.

I also has a poll in which you can render your opinion on whether the State or the defense is winning at this point (when you choose, note State is at top, Zimmerman at bottom).

Accordingly,it should load much more quickly than this page and make for a more amenable commenting environment for the weekend.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Did anyone see Anderson Cooper interview Martin’s step Mother? O. M. G. She is having a pity party for herself not being included in all of this properly as the one who raised him from age of 3. She seemed genuinely heart broken but it was all about her. Apparently his Mother wasn’t really there for him growing up. His Dad and this woman(not married to Dad)had him. And she took care him, not the Mother. I wonder if she’s miffed she isn’t in on the HOA $$$. BUT she even said didn’t think Zim was racist or after Martin based on anything more than age & hoodie.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to rotate. | June 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Interesting. If true, this conflicts with the Crump sanitized narrative, that Trayvon had only recently come to live with his dad and stepmother because he was expelled or suspended from school.

    The truth is a fast moving target with the Martin/Crump/Jeantel crowd – it is what they said last, not yesterday.

      rotate in reply to Uncle Samuel. | June 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      Well it is true Martin came to live with Dad after being with his Mom in Miami, but Dad is now with a girlfriend who is not the Step Mother. So three women here, Mom not in his life much, step mom and now girlfriend whose home it is in Sanford. Mom is in Miami this step mom don’t know where she lives or where they lived when bring up Trayvon.

One almost pities the prosecutors having had this non-case dropped on them.

The state will have some major egg on their face.
When the defense is through with them.

Question to lawyers here; What recourse does GZ have in suing various actors in this case for liable or other acts?

GZ will never live in peace again, he and his family will have to be guarded and live in hiding. This will require a lot of money which is hard to come by when you have to live in anonymity.

Can he sue the dog liver out of CNN,NBC,CBS,Scheme team, etc?

[…] Zimmerman Trial | Live video | Prosecution Witnesses […]

johnbartow4 | June 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm

You guys are amazing WOW!I really hope and pray that in the future we don’t find ourselves neighbors so you can deem my kids suspicious, kill them, and then try to justify it. You all talk a lot bout GZ’s rights and yet TM should have gone home. What a double standard. Not to mention no stand your ground or self defense for TM huh. Were there any fights or shootings reported in that neighborhood or is it normal for neighborhood watch to patrol armed. I was taught to defend myself with my hands if I had to as a kid. As a 40yr old man I have enough guns to defend my family and myself since times have changed. I understand the power having a gun gives a person. It changes the way you handle certain situations. GZ felt empowered enough to follow someone he deemed suspicious. I don’t feel GZ has the right background to carry a gun with his arrest for assault. Some of you responded to my earlier post with a question of if I’m watching the same trial as you. I am but through different eyes. My view is from the perspective of a father of 2 black male kids which most of you can not relate. It’s funny how your compassion is with GZ, the armed adult and not TM the unarmed kid. It’s also funny how you feel GZ did nothing wrong, he was within his rights. Yeah right what trial are you all watching. Rachael’s testimony was very important for the State in my opinion. She may have lied to get out of going to TM’s funeral and her age but the phone records solidifies the important facts of what happened. I agree the GZ had rights but contrary to you guys, I feel TM had rights as well that GZ violated. What a tragedy if GZ goes free!!!!

    Milhouse in reply to johnbartow4. | June 30, 2013 at 4:00 am

    With an attitude like that your kids are probably thugs and criminals like Martin, and sooner or later they will end up like he did.

    You all talk a lot bout GZ’s rights and yet TM should have gone home. What a double standard.

    What double standard? What was Martin doing, in pouring rain, hanging around a residential area, ducking in and among buildings where he had no business, instead of walking straight to his destination? Who would not think that suspicious? He must have been up to something, and it’s hard to think of anything legitimate. I can only think of two possibilities: 1) He was looking for homes to break in to; or 2) he was looking for somewhere to stash drugs or visiting somewhere he had already stashed them. Either way, Zimmerman did the right thing calling it in and checking up on it.

    Not to mention no stand your ground or self defense for TM huh.

    What self-defense? He wasn’t attacked. The only witness, Zimmerman, says so, and so far there’s no reason at all not to believe him.

    Were there any fights or shootings reported in that neighborhood or is it normal for neighborhood watch to patrol armed.

    It’s normal for a person to go armed, on patrol or anywhere else. The second amendment means he didn’t have to have a reason to be armed.

    I don’t feel GZ has the right background to carry a gun with his arrest for assault.

    The constitution disagrees. Carrying a gun is a right, not a privilege, so there need to be good grounds to deny it. A mere arrest, on a charge that was then dismissed, doesn’t count. Have you or your sons ever been arrested, for any reason whatsoever? Do you think that’s enough to take away your rights?

    My view is from the perspective of a father of 2 black male kids which most of you can not relate.

    Unless your kids are thugs and burglars like Martin, why couldn’t we relate to this? Do you think none of us are parents? So long as you’ve raised them decently, what difference does thet colour of their skin make?

    My view is from the perspective of a father of 2 black male kids

    Most young black males who are shot, are shot by other young black males, who are using illegal unlicensed weapons. They are not shot by law-abiding hispanic neighborhood watch patrols with legal CCW licenses. I’m sorry, but those are just the facts.

    If you’re fearful for your kids, you’re shouting at the wrong demographic.

    PackerBronco in reply to johnbartow4. | June 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    ================
    My view is from the perspective of a father of 2 black male kids which most of you can not relate.
    ================

    Racist

cjharrispretzer | June 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Has anyone else experienced massive racism poured down upon them in social media, like Twitter, when making even the mildest of comments about this case? While Jeantel was testifying, I made a non-racist comment about her being an idiot on Twitter, and the horrific Tweets that came back to me were just beyond. Here is an example: @bigoletitties: @cjharrispretzer STFU U NAS-T PIG WITEHOE~FUKKIN ALBYNOE LUKKIN MOFUKKA~. And when I see comments on YouTube videos of the trial footage, it is truly scary. I had no idea black people hated white people this much. Seriously. I’m pretty sure, at least in my life here in SoCal, that hatred does not exist for blacks from whites. If anything, I see whites who have “white guilt.” I think we as a nation are truly in for it if there is an acquittal, which I hope there is for the sake of justice. But we will see riots.

nomorebsplz | June 29, 2013 at 5:07 pm

First, I want to say this is a great summary and I came from, well, maybe it will be obvious when I am done with replying to John. I will be polite when doing so as I am a guest in your virtual home.

When I look at JohnBartow4’s post, I can only say to myself, when comparing it to this thread and the analysis of site’s who believe the State has no case:

One of these is not like the other. Let’s start with a few things (if I may)

“Rachael’s testimony was very important for the State in my opinion. She may have lied to get out of going to TM’s funeral and her age but the phone records solidifies the important facts of what happened.”

John, there is a strong possibility that she lied about more than her age and her attending a funeral. Recall, during the state testimony in April of 2012, she says to Bernie, and it is on tape “You want that, too?”

She denied it on the stand. The defense was going to play it and then went to lunch. After lunch, she admits she said it. Well, look at that. I wonder if it’s now admissible for the jury.

Andrew, is it admissible for the jury to see she lied about that before the lunch break memory miracle?

What an amazing coincidence that the jury had hungry bellies that Nelson wanted to show them. I am sure if there was video of George picking up a white kitten, while a black kitten is on the floor, when he was 4, the hungry bellies would wait the hour or 2 for the judge to analyze it and high five the state and review their script for the 2nd half of the day.

Continuing on the post above, which reflects what millions of people feel about this case, due to mis-information:

“I don’t feel GZ has the right background to carry a gun with his arrest for assault. ”

That is why you are not in a power to make these decisions. Legall. Those who do, do. Legally. And, due to their background and knowledge of what really happened, were able to justify giving him his CCW permit which, had he really been charged with these, eventually dropped charges, he would not, in fact, have the CCW.

Now, here’s a fun exercise. Let’s say the same things happened that night – all 100% of what took place before the gun shot – but george had no gun.

Police arrive. One had bruises on his head and face. One does not. One person called those police. One does not. What happens to George and what happens to Trayvon?

The moment this question is taken seriously, and people realize the funeral Directory, mr Richard Kurtz, who has been a member of the NAACP in his community for a long time, who told people ‘there was no sign of a fight’ (Before the bloody photos were shown to the public) – they will realize “Oh…wait. Were we misdirected from reality?”

Yes. You were. That is the entire point. Now, here is a question. We have a loving family. 2 parents. A son shot dead. Demands for justice. An ‘objective’ media and millions of ‘knowledgable’ viewers who judge George guilty. How many of them know why he was in Sanford, not where he was before 2-21-12, and WHO was responsible for him. Meaning, after he’d leave Sanford the day after, had he not been shot, WHO was he living with?

Who was he GOING to live with. And who did he live with before and why?

And where were the parents? Nobody knows these answers. Think about why this is. Everything you use to judge the story is based on hearsay, theory and, sadly, lies.

Want proof? Find the ‘iced tea’. It never existed. What you should do is watch the entire 711 video, the one with the ‘fine young men’ who enter after he leaves. Wait 3-5 minutes, and THEN you see him leave through the window returning to Brandi’s direction.

Why 3-5 minutes later? It was enough time for the 3 guys to buy blunts. He needed 40 minutes to ‘go home’ which was < 1 mile. On 2-21-12, even though his father told authorities he drove Trayvon to meet up with Brandi who drove him the rest of the way, his phone texts, released by the defense for discovery, show he took the bus himself.

You know what he told W8? He stuck the stash he had (not of cookies) where the sun don't shine. It was redacted. She knows this.

She knows why he needed 40 minutes to go home. She lied about how he just 'went to the cornerstore and went home'

That's why when Don West asks "What happened during those 40 minutes" all she can say is 'mail thingy'

So, want proof of what I said? Let's go:

1.) "You want that, too?"

https://twitter.com/Nettles18/statuses/350293060271341569

Play the video but you can start at 12:40 instead of the time she states. Just wait for it.

She denied saying THAT (that is the deposition to BDLR in april 2012) while on the stand

2.) Full 711 Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTv4hMXZgPU

Watch 3:05 as the clerk rings him up. Tray gets the clerk to look behind him. See the clerk's reaction.

Then wait for him to leave.

Now to go 6 minutes. Keep an eye on the timestamp at the bottom left the entire time.

Watch them. See what they are buying.

At around 8:00 the man in sunglasses leaves. He's done, he has what he has. (The stash of cash in his right hand, from his other angles, also oddly looks like Trayvon's but forget that)

Look at the window now…give it a bit of time.

At around 9:14 you see a young man in a hoodie walk away from the store. Upon closer review:

A full breakdown. Look carefully you'll see the white button, too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o286bRPGfqI

That last video condenses it and breaks it down.

I know people will say "That cannot be trayvon" but it's time to just LOOK and think.

17 year old. No parents around (Mom is 100's of miles away, kicked him out anyway (his texts prove this from his phone, the defense released this discovery already). What do 17 year olds do when they have a history of enjoying pot? Do they walk .8 miles in the rain to get their 'step son' skittles or do they get something more fun?

Why not ask the cousin?

I don't know if I have permission to give out HIS tweet but it says "bruh took dis pik of me a was high #af less than 24hrs b4 he got killed "

I can post it upon request or just search any past tweets for rip_tray9

So. let me ask you. Maybe it's, I don't know, 1% possible that the blunts, which is one of the reasons he was suspended (we can document this, sworn testimony has been given by miami dade high school police offers re: discovery of his drug possession, something the public hasn't seen yet) , are why he felt George was a 'snitch' and wanted to attack him and why it took 40 minutes to go .8 or so miles?

Think DeeDee is still being honest? And that your accounts are based in 100% reality? That's fine if you do. But please prove it. EVERY bit of it.

Thank you.

    Milhouse in reply to nomorebsplz. | June 30, 2013 at 4:11 am

    There is no law against following people. You do not have the right not to be followed. If you would assault someone for following you then you deserve for him to shoot you in self defense.

    Martin’s documented drug use is one explanation for why he was behaving so suspiciously. His record of burglary (as evidenced by his stash of women’s jewelry) is another. But ultimately we don’t need an explanation; the fact remains that he was behaving suspiciously, and anyone who saw him would be right to call it in to the police, and to follow him to make sure he didn’t get away before the police got there.

If some 6′ 2″ kid was on top of me punching me and slamming my head into a cement sidewalk, I’d shoot him twice in the head

The world is not a schoolyard. I’ve seen that video he shot

Trayvon learned that a bit late

    Milhouse in reply to TexasJew. | June 30, 2013 at 4:17 am

    What paid witness for the defense? So far all we’ve seen are the prosecution’s witnesses, and they nearly all support the defense’s story. Martin had no reason at all to attack Zimmerman. What do you imagine Zimmerman did to him, and on what basis do you imagine it?

    Even if Zimmerman had “provoked” him (for which there is no evidence at all), so what? Since when does being provoked give you the right to assault someone? Provocation is not an excuse for any crime; it may mitigate the sentence after conviction, that’s all, but it doesn’t change the fact that the assault is a crime, and the victim has the right to defend himself.

    Milhouse in reply to TexasJew. | June 30, 2013 at 4:18 am

    He had the choice to go about the only legitimate business he had, which was to go straight home.

TexasJew, you are spot on. The days of two gents sparring with one another and then being good sports about it has long gone away. The rule today is once someone is down, they have their head repeatedly kicked in. And then some.

I was in a discussion over this with a guy who called GZ a big [email protected] for shooting someone who wasn’t armed. I suppose if he’s ever violently attacked he can defend himself with his high ideals.

One punch can turn you into a drooling vegetable, let alone having your head pounded into a sidewalk. I too, would do my best to shoot an attacker sooner than GZ did if I were in that situation.

    cjharrispretzer in reply to iluvhoui. | June 30, 2013 at 3:39 am

    And yes, I would shoot you. If you threatened to “beat my ass” and came at me to do so, I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot you. You ask that question as though the notion is just so shocking to you. Do you think you should be able to beat someone’s ass just because they are doing something you don’t like? If someone is doing something wrong against you, how about you call the police or seek safety? You don’t get to beat their ass. How old are you?

If Jeantel’s testimony can be considered at all reliable, she did claim she heard the first words spoken between TM and GZ were actually TM asking GZ why he was following him. This clearly seems to indicate (to me at least) that it was TM who initiated the confrontation between him and GZ. If you can believe anything she said at all.

    Milhouse in reply to Storybec. | June 30, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Exactly. But of course that’s not enough, because Martin had every right to ask Zimmerman why he was following him, just as Zimmerman had every right to follow Martin in the first place. If Zimmerman had attacked Martin for asking him that question, he’d have been completely in the wrong. But of course there’s no reason to suppose that’s what happened. The only witness to what did happen in Zimmerman, who says Martin attacked him, and we have no reason not to believe him.

cjharrispretzer | June 30, 2013 at 3:29 am

Holly, I don’t know what you’re trying to prove here. I’m also an “all-American” white girl, 5’3″, 110lbs. I have no idea how to fight. Nor do I care to learn. I do, however, have a CCW permit. My plan for self-defense is to hopefully shoot someone before they even get a chance to get their hands on me, if I believe they intend to do me harm. If they do get their hands on me, I would shoot that person as soon as I possibly could to defend myself against the harm being perpetrated against me.
When I think about the events that transpired that evening in Feb 2012, I can totally see myself acting in exactly the same way GZ did, except I’m sure I would have emptied my gun. Trayvon felt disrespected by GZ for the way he was being scoped out, and so even though TM ran all the way home and lost GZ (cuz GZ quit following TM “said OK to 911 dispatcher when he said we don’t need you to follow him”), Trayvon decided to go back and teach that old creepy ass cracka a lesson. Even Jeantel knew he was about to get in a fight. And she heard TM confront GZ and say “Why you following me?” No matter what you think about GZ being suspicious of TM in his own gated community which had been plagued by crime, GZ didn’t deserve to get beaten to death for it and had the right to stop it. Everyone always says, “if Zimmerman would have just stayed in his truck none of this would have happened,” which is legally irrelevant. But how about, “if Trayvon had just walked into his Dad’s girlfriend’s house and shut the door, none of this would have happened.”
And given your size and weight, don’t be too confident in your ability to defend yourself against a man in a real-life situation. The difference in strength and speed between men and women is staggering. There’s really no match if you are up against a man who weighs 50-100 lbs more than you.

    I’m sorry – who is “Holly”? I can’t find the comment you’re responding to…?

      apologies, that was reply to
      cjharrispretzer | June 30, 2013 at 3:29 am

      cjharrispretzer in reply to AmyFL. | June 30, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Holly has taken down her comments. Maybe she was drunk or something when she wrote them, woke up and saw how stupid they were, and deleted them. She said she was 5’2″, 105lbs, and would kick anyone’s ass who followed her.

1) If you would assault someone for merely following you then you deserve for him to shoot you.

2) The racial fantasy you spin is an utter lie, and you know it. Had Martin been white, Zimmerman would never have been charged. In fact, had Zimmerman been called Mesa, or even Smith, he would never have been charged and we would never have heard of him. The only reason we are discussing the case is that Al Sharpton heard the name Zimmerman and thought he was a Joooo. That is why he came down to Florida and started protests, and threatened riots unless the Zimmerman was charged. That is why Zimmerman is on trial. It’s pure antisemitism and nothing else.

He wasn’t planning on or committing a crime.

How the hell do you know that? He was a burglar, there was a spate of burglaries in the neighbourhood, and on a rainy day he was seen ducking in and among buildings where he had no legitimate business. Why do you think he was doing that? Put two and two together and you can’t deny the possibility that had Zimmerman not seen him someone would have been robbed that night.

TheBodyGuard | June 30, 2013 at 11:28 am

The comments by JohnBartow4, and the replies thereto, compelled me to take the pains to register so that I could comment!

I see that John doesn’t get it, because he’s still sold on a narrative of the case that is a lie, and it’s not the lie that all you that replied think it is.

The lie he was sold is not only the narrative of the case (partially), but the narrative of a certain segment of our culture (the foregoing is NOT a racial comment).

Unfortunately, we live in a world, where some think that a reasonable response to someone following you, is to assault them and/or engage in a fist fight. It is this same culture, that will utter the oft-repeated line we’re hearing in defense of Martin’s potential (but likely) attack: they disparage Zimmerman’s manhood for being unable or unwilling to take a beating from an unarmed kid. What they fail to realize is that there is NO evidence that Zimmerman sought to ENGAGE in a MUTUAL fight. Zimmerman was attacked, and under no legal or moral or street code obligation to suffer a beating or worse.

And at this point, I will tell you that many of you are missing the real crux of this case, and are allowing other details to muddy your view, or to bolster your overall view that Zimmerman is innocent (seems to be the majority view here).

If you want to argue this case, and avoid any impression that you’re guided by race, you only need to stick to the following facts:

1. Martin was acting suspiciously. It does NOT matter “what” he was up to and it does not advance Zimmerman’s defense one iota to engage in speculation about what, if anything, he might have been doing. The bottom line is, someone in the rain, not beating feet to get home to shelter, unknown to the neighborhood watch guy, IS suspicious and worthy of further inquiry.

2. Martin at some point runs. Here’s where things get interesting. His running certainly gives rise to GREATER suspicion on Zimmerman’s part. From Zimmerman’s perspective, Martin is definitely now up to no good. However, Martin might have simply been spooked by this guy following him. Potentially a classic case of mis-communication and misunderstanding. This incident does NOT occur at all, if at when they first spoke, Zimmerman simply discloses who he is and why he was observing him, AND Martin simply states he’s staying there with his father at such and such address. However, that did NOT occur as we all know.

3. GETTING OUT OF YOUR CAR TO ASCERTAIN THE WHEREABOUTS OF A SUSPICIOUS PERSON IS NOT AGAINST THE LAW. FOLLOWING A SUSPICOUS PERSON IS NOT AGAINST THE LAW. DOING EITHER OF THE FOREGOING DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A THREAT TO WARRANT A FIRST STRIKE ATTACK.

4. IF Martin wanted to avoid a confrontation, and was truly alarmed, he could have simply ran home…or anywhere for that matter. Based on Zimmerman’s physical description and medical records at the time, there is NO way he could have pursued him. ZIMMERMAN IS NOT A THREAT that could not be avoided. This brings me to another sad cultural tale – the shame of attempting to avoid confrontation. There is a certainly cultural mindset in our country today that is just as responsible for this kid’s death as the bullet that fell him.

5. Based on respective physcial conditions, it’s clear Martin can simply run. He does not. And here’s the part that a certain segment of our culture will not understand: THE LAW DOES NOT REQUIRE YOU TO TAKE A BEATING. As Mr. Branca has already pointed out, you need only reasonably fear for your safety, serious bodily injury, etc. It’s pretty damn clear Zimmerman was assaulted. Other than the gunshot, there is NO evidence, ZERO evidence, that Martin suffered ANY assault. Zimmerman was taking a beating, and it was WITHIN HIS LEGAL RIGHT TO STOP THAT BEATING WITH LETHAL FORCE.

End of case. This case isn’t about skittles, whether Martin was high, kicked out of school, an asshole teenager that liked to fight, or whatever other detail that might bias you one way or another. This case is about someone attacking someone else, and the victim using lethal force to end it, which under the circumstances, was perfectly legal.

A culture killed this kid. Culture taught him to confront, rather than simply say I’m on my way home. Culture taught him to attack, instead of flee (if you believe for one second he felt threatened – I don’t happen to believe that, but it’s of no consequence).

Sadly, there IS a lesson here for not just black kids, but anyone, white or black, influenced by that culture. The lesson is, communicate first. The lesson is, if you feel threatened, seek safety. The lesson is, fighting is serious business, and people die doing it. The lesson is, you have NO right to physically attack someone, and attempt to harm them. THOSE ARE THE LESSONS THAT SHOULD BE TAUGHT FROM THIS CASE.

Before anyone concludes I’m a racist, or I just don’t “get it”, my 3 sons are bi-racial. For all intent and purpose to anyone, they are simply black. What do I teach my sons? It’s pretty damn simple, and if Martin had been taught this simple credo by his own father, he’s not dead today: YOU DO NOT PUT YOUR HANDS ON ANYONE, AND YOU DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO PUT HANDS ON YOU. Think about it.

I can hear some minds turning at this post. Let me stop you: There is NO evidence that Zimmerman initiated a physical confrontation. None. And if you’re truly honest with yourself, from all the testimony, you’d conclude, more likely than not, Mr. Zimmerman is not built for confrontation. He’s meek, and perhaps even physically “weak”. This is NOT a guy running around engaging in physical confrontations.

Many of you were sold a lie. A lie from a culture, a lie from the attorney’s for Martin’s family, and now you’re listening to that lie fall apart in court – and you should be INSULTED, no upset that this man should walk free. You should be insulted b/c racism does still exist, and taking away our attention from real acts of racism, to watch this side show is a disservice to where our attentions should lie.

Think about that JohnBartow4.

    Fredro in reply to TheBodyGuard. | June 30, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    The Body Guard’s post is pure wisdom and reasonableness in print. Love you, man!

    But at the risk of bringing down the tone of your excellent post, if you can hear “heads turning” as they read your post, can you hear “wet grass”? That would be cool. 🙂

      TheBodyGuard in reply to Fredro. | June 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Fredo, that was some impressive cross-examination! No indeed, I cannot hear heads turning any more than I can hear wet grass. 🙂 You got me!

TheBodyGuard | June 30, 2013 at 11:36 am

I’d also add that:

Martin had a cell phone. Threatened? Frightened?

Call 911. He does not.

Knock on ANY door and seek help. He does not.

Run, and keep running until you get home. He does not.

He instead “appears” to evade, but most certainly circles around and chooses to confront or attack.

By some warped “street code”, all the foregoing probably sounds reasonable. And, that’s what killed this kid. Culture.

I rest my case 🙂

Andrew, the Christian Science Monitor has a piece that is a multi-part QUIZ on the Zimmerman trial. Unfortunately, it is comprised of unhelpful trivia like “How many States have ‘Stand Your Ground Laws'” and questions like that.

I think it would be great if you created a QUIZ with actually helpful and relevant questions like, “Did George Zimmerman have the legal right to follow TM even after it was suggested to him by the non-emergency 911 operator that he did not need to?” Stuff like that.

It seems to me that there is a TON of people who think, for instance, that if GZ threw the first punch then we waived his right to self-defense.

A straightforward legal quiz with good questions would go a long way, I think.

Here’s my first suggestion for a question: “Does a person have to first be physically and seriously assaulted before he or she can reasonably defend himself or herself with lethal force?”

It is my distinct impression that many supporters of TM could not pass such a QUIZ. They give the impression that Unarmed Teen + Armed Racist + Lethal Bullet = Guilty. (I’m saying “Armed Racist” not because I believe it, but only because it’s usually part of the equation.)

Please make it very reasonable and very balanced — like all your other helpful posts.

Thank you very much for your blog. You are a calm voice in these trying times.

    Fredro in reply to Fredro. | June 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Another proposed question: If it can be shown that GZ held negative attitudes toward black people, a jury should at least take that into consideration when attempting to determine whether or not he acted properly in self-defense. True or false?

    Phillep Harding in reply to Fredro. | July 1, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I tried to take that CSM quiz and gave up on it. I suspect that the only people who can score high in it are the ones who read the legacy media.

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