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Zimmerman Trial Day 3 – End-of-Day Analysis & Video of State’s Witnesses

Zimmerman Trial Day 3 – End-of-Day Analysis & Video of State’s Witnesses

At the start of day two things of note occurred. First, the Court ruled that Zimmerman’s prior calls to police would be admissible as evidence. (Accordingly, later in the day Ramona Rumph returned to Court to testify as to their authenticity.)

Second, the Court dismissed one of the alternate jurors (B72, the gentleman of the one-armed pull-up). Although it was first reported that he was dismissed for the day, in fact any juror that misses any part of testimony must be dismissed from the case entirely. So, we’ve lost our first alternate juror, on the third day into the trial.

The morning saw two of the State’s witnesses testify, Jane Sudyka and Jeanee Manaloo, both of whom were residents of Twin Lakes at the time of the incident and who appeared to testify as to their observations that night. Manaloo’s cross-examination continued until after lunch, when she was followed by brief testimony from Ramona Rumph, the custodian of records for the police emergency call recordings. Finally, the last of the State’s witnesses for the day was Rachel Jeantel, otherwise known as “Dee-Dee”, as Trayvon Martin’s “16-year-old girlfriend,” and as the last person to speak with Martin before his deadly confrontation with George Zimmerman.

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 10.56.10 AM

Although direct was straightforward with most of the witnesses, Sudyka’s credibility was effectively destroyed by West on cross, and Manaloo suffered a similar fate in cross at the hands of O’Mara. Rumph’s testimony was mostly straightforward and procedural in nature, although O’Mara as usual came with an interesting approach. The day’s last witness, Rachel Jeantel, soundly positioned herself as the “character” of the trial up to this point, and seems likely to retain that crown through reading of the verdict. Jeantel’s cross-examination was incomplete when the Court recessed for the day, and she will return to complete cross by West in the morning.

Jane Sudyka

Sudyka lived in the row of townhouses at just above the upper part of the “T” formed by the dog walk. Her testimony was largely centered on the 16 minute long 911 call she made that night, which can only be described is histrionic. Had I heard that 911 recording in a non-court context I would have assumed it to be part of a scene from a low-quality comedy movie in which the actress had been told to “overact ridiculously, the more exaggerated the better.”

More objectively, however, was testimony by Sudyka that was clearly contrary to facts known and accepted by everyone else involved in the case. On at least three separate occasions Sudyka referred to the “three shots” fired by Zimmerman–“pop, pop, pop”. No one but her has ever suggested that there was more than a single shot fired.

She testified that it was while she was on the 911 call with police that the shot was fired, sticking to that assertion vigorously. In fact, the 911 recording was played in court–yes, every single 16 minutes of it–and no shot was audible.

She also described the relative positions of Zimmerman and Martin at the moment the shot was fired as being such that the bullet could only have struck Martin in the back (that is, she describes him as laying face down on the ground at that moment, with Zimmerman above him). We know, of course, that Martin was shot in the center chest area, right over the heart, and the bullet did not over-penetrate.

Interestingly, Sudyka also stated several times that the rainfall at the time was quite heavy–‘buckets of rain” was the phrase she used, so intense that she needed to close a window to prevent rain from entering her home.

This observation favors the defense, which has suggested that the rain may have washed away the traces of blood that several witnesses have said was not evident at the scene. Indeed, so damaging were these statements to the State that Mr. de la Rionda rose on re-direct for the sole purpose of inducing Sudyka to make corrective statements downplaying the intensity of the rainfall. It also supports the defense’s contention that Zimmerman was exercising reasonable judgment in thinking it suspicious that Martin was out walking in the rain.

Sudyka also was insistent that she had heard two voices, one a loud, aggressive, confrontational, dominating voice and the other a softer, meeker voice. She attributed the confrontational voice to Zimmerman and the meeker voice to the “boy,” Martin. It emerged on cross, however, that she had never previously heard either Zimmerman or Martin’s voice, and was making her assignment based on assumptions of how they might sound, not on personal knowledge.

Near the end of cross West asked he if she had appeared on national television to discuss the case, and Sudyka denied this. Really? he asked

Sudyka:  Well, just the one time on Anderson Cooper, but only on condition that I not be named or identified.

West:  Weren’t you also on television another time?

Sudyka:  Well, yes, I was videotaped by another journalist.

West:  And that was played on TV several times.

Sudyka:  I only saw it once.

West:  So you were taped, and you saw yourself on TV, that second time?

Sudyka:  Yes.

And that was all for Sudyka (except for BDLR’s brief re-direct on the rain issue.)

Jeannee Manaloo

Manaloo’s key testimony on direct was her identification of Zimmerman as the man who was on top during the struggle on the ground, contrary to all other evidence discussed so far in this case. She based this perception on the differing size of the two people, saying that it was the larger person who was on top. Obviously, if correct, this testimony is profoundly inconsistent with the defense’s theory of the case.

O’Mara is handling the cross of Manaloo, and has hit on three key points of attack so far. First was how dark the scene was that night, and how difficult it was for Nanaloo to make out what was happening. He successfully managed her to agree that all she was really able to see at the time was shadows, and even those only from inside her townhome, as she had never stepped outside.

The second line of attack is that her sudden ability to differentiate between the two people has emerged only today in court. In none of her prior statements, including one the evening of the attack, a later statement to investigators, and depositions to both the State and the defense, had she ever mentioned this ability to determine that it was Zimmerman who was on top. Her reason for not mentioning it previously? Nobody had ever asked her.

The third line of attack is to better understand the basis on which she judged Martin’s size. She did not know Martin prior to the shooting, and obviously could not have seen him afterwards except in photos.

We all know, of course, that many of the photos distributed after the event show Martin as a much younger person than the 17-year-old, 6-foot-plus young man he was at the time of his death. O’Mara is midway through the process of pinning down which pictures she may have used for her assessment. Obviously pictures that showed only a portion of Martin’s body, such as just his face, and/or that showed him when much younger would result in a misleading perception on Manaloo’s part, effectively destroying the credibility of her testimony.

O’Mara continued his questioning along these lines, at first before the jury had been brought into the courtroom from the recess. He held up a variety of pictures and asked Manaloo if she had used her knowledge of that particular picture in coming to her determination of the size of the two men. The ones she acknowledged having used for that purpose were set aside and used in questioning before the jury.

Among these were the “hoodie” picture, two “football” pictures, and the Hollister picture. For each of them Manaloo acknowledged that Martin appeared younger in the picture–sometimes a great deal younger–than his 17 years of age at the time of his death.

Ho

 

Football

 

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 8.32.44 AM

 

O’Mara also asked her about earlier statements in which she said that the person who was on top in the fight on the ground was the person she later saw talking with her husband after the shooting. Obviously the person talking to her husband was Zimmerman, so this would support her contention that it was Zimmerman on top during the struggle.

In fact, asked O’Mara, you’re not certain as you sit here today who was where during that altercation, are you? She acknowledged that she was not. West had no more questions.

Bernie de la Rionda launched into re-direct like a bull, quickly triggering a stream of defense objections as he improperly led the witness in an attempt to get her to say what he wanted her to say. Indeed, it finally got to the point where he was brandishing a transcript of her earlier statements at her as if she were an uncooperative defense witness, saying sternly: You’ve already testified that Zimmerman was the bigger of the two people, didn’t you?

Manaloo replied: Compared to the picture, yes.

Isn’t it true, de la Rionda demanded, that on March 26 I took a sworn statement and I asked you if you could identify either person, and you said Zimmerman is definitely on top because of his size? Isn’t also true that in your deposition by West that you said you could identify Zimmerman because you had seen his photo on TV and that based on his size it was Zimmerman on top?

Manaloo equivocated. At that time, she said, I don’t know who they are, I know one is down and one is up.

But Martin never got up after he was shot? asked de la Rionda. No, she answered.

Then it was O’Mara’s turn to hold out a transcript on re-cross. Indeed, he held out de la Rionda’s transcript.

He noted that in response to de la Rionda’s question, OK, so the guy on top to you appeared bigger, Manaloo had responded in the affirmative.

There was, however, some additional context that would be helpful. He read more of the transcript. He had Manaloo read the two or three sentences immediately prior to the just quoted portion.

Manaloo: How would you describe the physical of the guy on top or the guy on the bottom.

O’Mara:  OK, and what was your answer?

Manaloo:  I know after seeing the TV of what’s happening.  Then Mr. de la Rionda said OK, and I said comparing the pictures, I think Zimmerman is definitely on top because of his size.

O’Mara:  But again, not becasue you ahv ethat independnt thought obut only becaue you coampared the picutres we just talked about, right?

Manaloo:  Yes.

O’Mara:  Your only basis for this is not because you though the was on top becasue he was on top, but only because of the comaprison with the picutre of a 12 year old child.

Manaloo:  Yes.

Then BLDR on re-direct, practically barking:

BDLR: The person who was on top is the person who got up, right?

Manaloo: Right.

This was clearly a losing exchange for the state. Remember, the defense need only raise a reasonable doubt in one juror in order to avoid conviction. When an eye-witness for the State testifies so equivocally, and sometimes even favorably for the defense, the State can hardly be said to be closing in on a guilty verdict.

Ramona Rumph, Custodian of Records, Sanford Police Department

Rumphs re-appearance was simply to get the prior Zimmerman calls to the police into evidence, and not much of note happened here.

O’Mara on cross did seek to obtain testimony to the effect that it was not at all unusual for a NWP participant to phone the police 5 times in 6 months, particularly in a community suffering a crime in burglaries. This line of questioning was obviously to undercut the State’s theory that Zimmerman was an overzealous NWP “captain”, and a “wannabe cop”, seething with anger over the frequent inability of police to capture the people he reported, who then turned this “hatred” to evil purposes in “profiling,” “following,” and killing Martin. This line of questioning, however, fell outside the bounds of direct examination, and the State appropriately objected on these grounds. At that point O’Mara suggested he would later call Rumph as a defense witness, during which he could question her more expansively on direct.

Rachel Jeantel, aka Dee-Dee, aka “16-year-old girlfriend”

Next up was Rachel Jeantel, of famed Dee-Dee fame, and the once-upon-a-time purported 16-year-old girlfriend of Trayvon Martin (but who turned out to be neither 16-years-old nor his girlfriend).

Her demeanor is difficult to describe in favorable terms, so I won’t make the effort. To say she was less than fully cooperative, even with the State, would be an understatement, however.

Nevertheless, her testimony went forward with relatively little difficulty–except in trying to understand her speech–for both Mr. de la Rionda as well as for West, who began cross-examination for the defense, although she gradually became increasingly recalcitrant with West. There was also some amusing language, which became even more amusing when it had to be repeated numerous times in order for the court recorder to capture it accurately.

In summary, Jeantel testified that she was in communication with Martin in the minutes leading up to the confrontation. She testified that he described being under observation by Zimmerman, then being followed by Zimmerman, managing to break contact and then being under observation again, and finally a brief verbal exchange before the phone connection was lost.

Anyone familiar with the backstory of Dee-Dee knows there is more than adequate fuel for real fireworks on cross-examination, but West handled her more or less with kid gloves. It is my sense, however, that he is preparing to bore in more aggressively tomorrow when he continues her cross. This seems particularly likely because at the point the Court recessed for the day Jeantel had begun to resist acknowledging prior sworn statements and West was preparing to spool up the audio recordings of those interviews to use in cross.

Despite the frequent difficulties in understand Jeantel’s responses, however, on one point she was abundantly clear–she was NOT happy to be in court. When she learned just before the Court recessed for the day that West anticipated cross-examining her for another two hours tomorrow, she burst out with an incredulous “WHAT!?!?!?” I’m pretty sure even people standing outside the courtroom heard that exclamation.

So, I won’t spend more time on Jeantel’s testimony here, but will of course cover it in detail when we hit the meat of cross tomorrow.

–Andrew


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

Jeantel was embarrassingly insolent and disrespectful.

Yeah, “Dee-Dee” didn’t seem too happy when she was told not to discuss the case with anyone this evening, either.

No texting, no tweeting, no phone calls, no Facebook – hope the NSA is tracking her movements tonight; I doubt any 19-year-old with her mental gifts can stand being away from the electronic pacifier for that long……

    legacyrepublican in reply to teresainfortworth. | June 27, 2013 at 1:59 am

    There’s a thought for tomorrow.

    West: Ms. Jeantel, what if I told you that the NSA had recorded the content of your conversation on their high tech surveillance and it appears that nothing you said here was the truth?

    Okay, kill two birds with one stone. Just dreaming.

I’m still not believing what I saw. Central casting could not have delivered a more egregious lampoon of an alleged human being.

    ThomasD in reply to Fabi. | June 26, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    No offense intended, but I’m guessing that your work/private life does not bring you in much contact with a broad spectrum of American society.

    Because she’s not that atypical. Your average Wal-Mart cashier probably sees a few worse specimens each and every day.

      Fabi in reply to ThomasD. | June 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      No offense intended, but I don’t make allowances for cretins and vulgarians. She is both.

      (Maybe I shop at a nice WalMart?)

        ThomasD in reply to Fabi. | June 26, 2013 at 9:47 pm

        Perhaps, we have two near our home and my wife will not set foot in one of them.

        Or perhaps you are only there at the times when high functioning types tend to do their shopping. Try going in the late morning or after midnight (times when most ‘normal’ folk are either working or sleeping.) Especially on the first couple days of the month (when the EBT cards are reloaded and gubmint/child support checks have arrived.)

        For a real taste of fun try being a cashier at a chain drug store near a ghetto, public health office, or methadone clinic.

      Estragon in reply to ThomasD. | June 26, 2013 at 9:41 pm

      About the median of Obama voters.

      gadsden_treads in reply to ThomasD. | June 26, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      Failed liberal education

    txantimedia in reply to Fabi. | June 27, 2013 at 12:19 am

    I had to chuckle when I read this. I found her quite believable and understood almost every word she said. (Much better than those in the courtroom apparently.)

    She came across (to me at least) as 1) not wanting to be there, 2) relating her story consistently although not in the same words each time, 3) sympathetic to Trayvon’s side of the story (quite understandable given her friendship with him and her race) and 4) impatient with the detailed questions. To her, if she says, “He say he right by his father’s house” one day and “He say he about to go to the back” another day that she’s talking about the same event.

    I didn’t find her stupid at all. She understood every question but didn’t understand why they couldn’t understand her answers. She’s relating her world not theirs. The fact that her world is so foreign to them is not an indictment of her.

    Criticizing her because you don’t understand her says a great deal more about you than it does her. A lot of people would be well served by learning more about how others see the world.

      rhorton1 in reply to txantimedia. | June 27, 2013 at 12:54 am

      My gosh, what is a sane person like you doing here?

      angienc in reply to txantimedia. | June 27, 2013 at 3:16 am

      Oh yes, it does say more about me that I can’t understand her than it does about her — it says I’m not an poorly educated, ill-mannered cretin who lies under oath in a court of law.
      You mistakenly think that is a mark of shame for me, but I wear that badge proudly.

      Mister Natural in reply to txantimedia. | June 27, 2013 at 6:37 am

      you must be joking or are a complete fool. i will agree that she is the 2013 poster child for the national education association.
      19 years old and entering 12th grade in the fall. she’s not stupid at all, apparently she has greater intellectual capacity than you do

      PhillyGuy in reply to txantimedia. | June 27, 2013 at 8:28 am

      Let’s stipulate that you are right. She was believable and cogent.

      She placed TM right by his house unlike any previous account. Which would mean TM HAD to double back in order to be found shot dead just past the curve of the sidewalk near the front parking lot of the community.

      To me, she committed a strategic error. If, indeed, you are right.

    Mister Natural in reply to Fabi. | June 27, 2013 at 3:35 am

    hey man! watch that!
    you are disrespecting the epitome of modern african-american femininity

      I hate to break this to you, but you will find Dee Dees of every race and hue in this big country of ours. It’s a class and culture thang, not a race thang.

      I see your Dee Dee and raise you one Honey Boo Boo Child et famille.

jayjerome66 | June 26, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Question: If a witness says one thing under oath in disposition, and alters that in court, are there any legal repercussions?

Also, if perchance Jeantel disregards the Judge’s instructions, and goes on line tonight to tweet or chat, or communicate with anyone in any way about the trial and it’s uncovered, what would Nelson do about that? And would the defense be able to use that kind of disregard for the legal process to impeach her character to the jury?

    (1) In theory yes, practically no, I very such doubt it.

    (2) The judge could hold her in contempt. But would Nelson be likely to conclude that Zimmerman was prejudiced as a result? Given her other rulings, I don’t see it going that way.

    –Andrew

    tw32814 in reply to jayjerome66. | June 26, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    I would doubt it too. She didn’t sanction the state for the Brady violations. She didn’t even grant the defendant’s motion to continue because of the state’s slow roll in providing discovery.

What a sad, sad clown poor Jeantel is. This witless “witness” shows as clear as can be just how much in bad faith this “prosecution” is. When Mike Nifong was trying to frame the three Duke lacrosse players in the Duke rape hoax, I sent him and his team a box of red rubber clown noses to put on when they got together to make “important prosecutorial decisions.”

I think it is time to go online to a clown supply warehouse and send some noses to the prosecutors on this case. I’m sure they already have the fright wigs, the big floppy shoes, the unicycles, etc. Good grief. Dershowitz nailed this LAST YEAR when he said Angela Corey was bringing a joke case.

Uh, thanks, Rick Scott, for caving to the pressure. You’ve done wonders for America’s race problems . . .

    caambers in reply to Bud_Denton. | June 26, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    I won’t blame Scott so much as that dimwit Bondi who is in cahoots big time with Corey, Parks, and Crump. They go way back those cretins and it is their pushing this persecution for political and financial gain that has caused people to lose their jobs, lose their lifestyle, etc. It goes something like this…Bondi is friends with Crump and Parks through the state case where some bottom-feeding pre-Trayvon died at a boot camp or something. Corey is a friend of Bondi and needed some political props during the election last year. Jax has a large non-white population. So Bondi tossed this case to Corey so she could get that facetime. The rot of the persecution goes on and on.

      DuraMater in reply to caambers. | June 26, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      I must concur, regarding politics and Pam Bondi’s role here.
      Indeed, the stench goes way beyond Tallahassee. And I think many have already surmised this to be true. But as a reminder or FYI as the case may be, Trayvon’s home community is Miami Gardens which is part of Congresswoman Fredericka (“…hunted Trayvon down and shot him like a dog..”) Wilson.

What a disaster. After today, have any of you come to the realization of how inept this defense team is?

The first nutty witness whose life revolves around her cat Leo said that she qualified to run the Women’s Marathon in the Olympics in the 1980’s, but could not compete because the Olympics for which she qualified was boycotted. For you youngsters out there, the only Olympic Games that the USA boycotted was in 1980 in Moscow, to which we did not send a team because the USSR had invaded Afghanistan. One problem with the witness’ story: the Women’s Marathon was not recognized as an Olympic sport until 1984 in Los Angeles. I suspect another problem is that the witness never was a world class distance runner. What a scrumptious, risk-free attack on her credibility entirely missed by the defense.

O’Mara spent interminable minutes ineptly going round and round with the second witness, Manalo, about the relative sizes on the two men she saw when she looked out her window just before the gunshot. For some reason the defense thought it important to establish that she thought the guy on top was bigger only because she saw photographs of Martin when he was young. All that was for naught when the prosecutor brought out on redirect that the witness observed only one of the two men get up after the gunshot and that was the man on top. So, the man on top had to be Zimmerman. I believe the defense had the ammunition to establish through prior statements that she did not look out of her window and see the two men until after the shot. Who cares who was on top then? It was absolutely crucial to establish that timing and the defense did not.

Don (The Jokeman) West – looking like a circus performer in his yellow tie – seemed to be concerned only with running out the time until the end-of-the-day so he could use the overnight recess to prepare a coherent cross. How did he deal with teenager Rachel Geantel? Suffice it to say she tore him a new cracker a**hole:
Witness: I had told you…are you listening?
West: (meekly) Yes ma’am.
Witness: I had told you on the Crump interview I had rushed through it …are you listening.
West: (even more meekly) I’m sorry, one more time I was distracted. You told me what?
….
West: When you say you rushed through it you mean you hadn’t thought it through enough — carefully enough, to make sure you told it accurately?
Witness: Yes

Absolutely deplorable defense lawyering. Mr. West: that is not how leading questions are meant to be used. Hey Andrew Branca, now how comfortable would you feel being represented by West and O’Mara? BTW Croakerqueen123 has what appears to be the complete proceedings on youtube.

    Witness: I had told you…are you listening?
    West: (meekly) Yes ma’am.
    Witness: I had told you on the Crump interview I had rushed through it …are you listening.
    West: (even more meekly) I’m sorry, one more time I was distracted. You told me what?

    I kind of thought he was just messin’, trying to rile her a little.

    Have you considered you might be misunderestimating this guy?

      wyntre in reply to AmyFL. | June 26, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Agree. The silk glove concealing a dagger treatment.

        Skookum in reply to wyntre. | June 26, 2013 at 11:47 pm

        I think the defense is soft pedaling their cross examination out of respect for the presumed sensitivities of a jury with 12 X chromosomes. After all, how many nails does one need to use to seal each whacky witness’s coffin?

          Rick in reply to Skookum. | June 27, 2013 at 1:49 am

          You are absolutely correct. Many years ago, as a California attorney, I tried a case against multiple plaintiffs in Philadelphia. Several of the plaintiffs had about 3rd or 4th grade educations. They could have been sliced up one side and down the other. Instead, I made the points I needed in a gentle and polite, and respectful manner. One day after court the bailiff told me that all of the court personnel appreciated my treatment of the plaintiffs.
          We prevailed.

      rhorton1 in reply to AmyFL. | June 26, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      I hope so.

      inspectorudy in reply to AmyFL. | June 26, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      Amy, this is what we all thought when Clinton ran against GWH Bush. We had just found out about some of his dealings with the Russians and things that might indicate what a bastard he really was. Everyone thought GWHB was going to come out at the last minute and dump all of this evidence and sink Slick Willie. Never happened. GWHB was just as inept as West is although much nicer and more respected.

    myiq2xu in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    What trial were you watching?

    West is doing an excellent job with a very difficult witness. He is patiently and methodically getting her to commit to details.

    This trial may be televised but it is not a television show.

    Ragspierre in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    C’mon… Is this Shep Smith…???

    fogflyer in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    While I see some merit in what you are saying about the cross of Jane and Ms Manalu, I could not disagree more with your assessment of the cross on Ms Jeantel. West did an excellent job of just letting the stupidity, the anger, the lies, the insolence flow out this woman’s mouth.

    If he had been more aggressive with her, it could perhaps give the jury an impression that her anger and her insolence were reasonable. As it went, the jury could plainly see how inappropriate this woman was in court. It will not take much for the jury to conclude that if Trayvon’s friends are of this caliber, perhaps he is indeed the type of person that might decide to beat the crap out of some guy because he doesn’t like the way they are looking at them.

    I think that a “guilt by association” effect with this witness will destroy the image the jury may have had about Trayvon and they will start to see him as the punk that he really seems to have been.

      rhorton1 in reply to fogflyer. | June 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      Your opinion that Martin is a punk is based on information that the jury, given the judge’s rulings, will not hear. What you see as the witness’ anger and insolence may reasonably be seen by the jury as well-founded exasperation caused by an inept, unending and directionless cross-examination. If the defense is counting on the jury concluding that the witness’ in-court behavior will tar Martin, it will lose the case. To me, the witness’ credibility on the crucial point of what the witness heard on the phone call immediately prior to the altercation is unscathed. If West has something on that issue, he better use it early tomorrow otherwise it will tune him out entirely.

        Ha, ha, ha, ha. You’re a funny guy, Bernie. A real hoot.

        –Andrew

        Fabi in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm

        She admitted to sharing her phone. From that alone, I have reasonable doubt that she was actually on the phone with Trevon. (her spelling) Could have been her or either of her two friends.

        fogflyer in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 9:53 pm

        I agree that my reasoning of Trayvon’s punkish behavior will not be seen by the jury, which is precisely why I think West handled her properly. You think the jury will see her insolence and anger as appropriate due to West’s meek attitude, but I think the exact opposite may be true. I think the jury saw an angery, mean girl display a serious bad attitude when the defense lawyers were nothing but patient and kind toward her.

        As much as I would have liked to see them tear her testimony apart and get in her face a bit, I fear the jury might have viewed that as picking on the poor, intellectually challenged young woman and say that same bad attitude displayed as more appropriate.

        I understand your point, but I guess that is why there are different kinds of lawyers. Some are aggressive… Some are not. Different lawyers will try to arrive at the same place by taking very different paths.

        I really think it is just more of a question of style.

        Matt in FL in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 10:28 pm

        rhorton1 sez: “…well-founded exasperation caused by an inept, unending and directionless cross-examination.”

        You were clearly not watching the same trial as me.

        DennisD in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 10:39 pm

        Either I misheard or we were watching different trials. DD testified on direct that she heard T ask, “Why are you following me” and Z responding, “What are you doing here.” But West showed in her deposition with Crump, I believe, that she testified Z responded “What are you talking about?” That not only impeaches her testimony and shows she’s tailored a new account but makes her a defense witness in that Z appears to be have been confronted by T and was not following him. West then used a deposition to show that she had not thought that it was T screaming but may’ve been, again impeaching her testimony on direct.

          rokiloki in reply to DennisD. | June 27, 2013 at 10:50 am

          Also don’t forget Sudyka testified that the loud aggressive voice was first and the softer, meek voice replied. If we believe that, then clearly Trayvon was the aggressor and the meeker Zimmerman was the victim of that confrontation.

      fogflyer in reply to fogflyer. | June 26, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      I do have o admit though, when West asked that last question of Jeantell…

      “West: When you say you rushed through it you mean you hadn’t thought it through enough — carefully enough, to make sure you told it accurately?
      Witness: Yes”

      …I was wondering what the hell he was thinking.

      Still, I think he did an excellent job. It has to be quite difficult to question someone like that for a couple hours without making a slip or two.

        DennisD in reply to fogflyer. | June 26, 2013 at 10:50 pm

        What West was showing to the jury and I think he got it across–although accurately was a bad word and I think he put it a little differently the first time–was that the first time she testified was truthful so she didn’t have to think about/construct/remember what was needed to be said to help T/prosecution.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I notice that the better things go for the defense, the more you attack with your – ahem – critiques. They keep getting longer and longer. But since you’ve established this pattern rapidly, only the first two or three of your sentences need to be read to see where you’re going (again).

      You really should read the whole thing. But you should know that if I included all the defense misadventures I saw as the crosses were occurring, I’d still be writing.

    Jim in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    My impression from your post is that you have ever been in a courtroom except as a spectator. Whatever the outcome of the case, most of the commenters here that have actually tried cases and cross examined witnesses have the opinion that the defense is doing a very creditable job with a very difficult case within the bounds of the rulings of a prosecution-minded judge.

    Sorry I don’t agree with you.

      rhorton1 in reply to Jim. | June 26, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      Your impression would be wrong.

      SmokeVanThorn in reply to Jim. | June 26, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      Oh, he’s been in the courtroom plenty, Jim. He works in the mailroom at Crump’s firm and is responsible for delivering the blowups, legal pads, pens, pencils and highlighters to the courtroom before hearings – AND cleaning up after.

      Ragspierre in reply to Jim. | June 26, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      Dick DeGuerin was interviewed this afternoon.

      He likes the judge, and he likes Zimmerman’s chances.

      That would kinda be the gold standard, criminal-law-wise.

      Ragspierre in reply to Jim. | June 26, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      On another topic…

      WTF got into Da Dersh’s Wheaties, with all that “mistrial” crap the other day…???

      txantimedia in reply to Jim. | June 26, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      I have served on two juries and been foreman of one of those so my perspective is from that position. I can tell you that juries don’t remember everything. They remember what struck them as important or significant.

      For Surdyka my takeaway is this: three shots? This woman isn’t a reliable witness at all – discounted.

      For Manolo my takeaway is this: she doesn’t know nearly as much as she says she does – she never went outside – discounted

      For Geantel my takeaway (so far) is this: reluctant witness, basically telling the truth as she understands it. Question: if Trayvon was “right by his dad’s house” as she said, how did he end up back at the T? – need more information

    Does “rhorton1” = “Bernie de la Rionda”?

    Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

    –Andrew

    History says that there was no 1980 Women’s Olympic Marathon Race, but that does not mean that women were not preparing for such a race. As a matter of fact, Lynn Petronella wrote a book entitled “No Where To Run.”

    ‘Know Where To Run’ is an excellent epic, a true story, about one woman’s journey for the Gold (the Olympic Marathon), whose dreams were capsized by the 1980 boycott due to Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.

    Yes, I suppose it is possible that Jane Surdyka read this book or perhaps she too was training for a race that was not to be.

    History says that there was no 1980 Women’s Olympic Marathon Race, but that does not mean that women were not preparing for such a race. As a matter of fact, Lynn Petronella wrote a book entitled “No Where To Run.”

    ‘Know Where To Run’ is an excellent epic, a true story, about one woman’s journey for the Gold (the Olympic Marathon), whose dreams were capsized by the 1980 boycott due to Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.

    Yes, I suppose it is possible that Jane Surdyka read this book or perhaps she too was training for a race that was not to be.

    TomMaguire in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Re Jane Surdyka, Maratrhon Gal: “I suspect another problem is that the witness never was a world class distance runner. What a scrumptious, risk-free attack on her credibility entirely missed by the defense.”

    Bad guess – she was among the top twenty or so women in the US in 1980 based on times. And on the final day of the Moscow Olympics in 1980, the third annual Avon International Women’s Marathon was hosted in London. And who represented the US? Joan Benoit, Jane Surdyka, and six other swift lasses.

    As to the first women’s marathon being in LA – yes, but… pressure to add women’s events began on the 70’s (And the great Greta Waitz had won NYC twice by 1979.)

    Would the IOC would have added the marathon in time for the 1980 games? Historians will probably say no. But they will also probably add that the US boycott didn’t help.

    I think the defense showed excellent judgment staying away from that fogbank. Unless this was in a deposition it came out of the blue and her position is actually surprisingly defensible.

    Or do you want to spend time talking about her impressive athletic career and then crush her life time achievements on a technicality? The jury will love that.

      rhorton1 in reply to TomMaguire. | June 26, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      I feel honored to be corrected by Tom Maguire. I do, however, wish Just One Minute would be updated more often.

        TomMaguire in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 11:11 pm

        “I do, however, wish Just One Minute would be updated more often.”

        As do I, and thnaks. The great content and fascinating comments here are a brutal distraction.

          I have work to do. I write for ECN. I’m behind in my designs for my column. I also should be doing a commentary piece or three. And I can’t take my eyes off this train wreck.

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to TomMaguire. | June 26, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      No . There was no chance of a women’s marathon in Moscow & no likelihood because Russia did not put it as one of 3 sports that they were entitled to add. They opted for events they were good at or liked.

      Los Angeles put it as one of their allotted choices including IIRC synchronised swimming .

      The Women’s Marathon was not part of the 1983 track World Championships either. I know because was there.. There was just a side race put on & which ended somewhere in the town square not the Stadium ( or I would have seen it surely ). Obviously the event was not priority in 83 & less likely to be thought so in the 70s going into 1980.

      So in summary whilst she might have been an American running the women’s marathon she w never going to run in Moscowwhere the longest distance was 3000mtrs.

        BannedbytheGuardian in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | June 27, 2013 at 12:12 am

        Correction . The longest women’s race in Moscow was only 1500m. The women’s 3000 was higher on the list of possible entry due to it being a world Championship event .

        3000m was also added for LA.

          But I agree with Tom Maguire that the issue is a morass that defense is better off for having left alone, especially when one considers its ineptitude in preparing cross-exams.

        BannedbytheGuardian in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | June 27, 2013 at 12:32 am

        Haha .I am wrong . There was a W marathon in Helsinki won by Grete Waitz. hehe I must have been partying the night before . Restaurants took away all alcohol at 9pm – that much I recall. :(. Maybe that was the night by the lake with the vodka.:)

        Still Grete only ran her first Ny marathon in 78 & caused waves . There was only Grete for several years with a watchable time .

    txantimedia in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    You’ve been watching entirely too much TV. The job that O’Mara and West are doing is quite good. They have managed to discredit every non-LEO witness the prosecution has put forward.

    You also have to remember that they are dealing with the state’s case, not their defense. During their defense a lot of the loose ends will be tied up in a neat bow.

    unitron in reply to rhorton1. | June 27, 2013 at 2:33 am

    Your first example of the ineptitude of the defense team is to ridicule one of the witnesses called by the state?

Say what you will about Jeantel being out of Central Casting blah blah blah, there were aspects of her testimony that were quite poignant. Sure, she has a lot of baggage she’s dragging along and the Defense is doing their best to unpack it to best effect. But she gave the victim a human presence in the courtroom, something other than a guy a 7-11 buying skittles and a drink…

Yeah. Poignant. Welcome the real streets of America.

    Fabi in reply to Miasma. | June 26, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Which pig tried to convince the others that what they remembered wasn’t correct? Thanks for keepin’ it real. Squealer!

CENTFLAMIKE | June 26, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Two quick questions:

1. How many prosecution witnesses have significantly changed their testimony from deposition to trial?
2. Is the prosecution getting close to suborning perjury?

    I love the way the State’s witnesses, after 16 months of police questioning and multiple depositions under oath, consistently manage to haul up on the day of their appearance in court testimony of existential value to the State’s theory of the case but which they’ve never before thought to mention to another human being (except maybe their sister).

    Weird.

    –Andrew

      rhorton1 in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 26, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      Andrew, what you point out is not weird. It happens every day in courtrooms all over the country. It is why a defendant needs a good attorney who can bore in on the inconsistencies. Unfortunately, G. Zimmerman lacks that.

        Definition of IRONY

        1: a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other’s false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning —called also Socratic irony
        2 a : the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning
        b : a usually humorous or sardonic literary style or form characterized by irony
        c : an ironic expression or utterance

        –Andrew

        rhorton1. I believe you and I are watching a different trial. I think West is doing a fine job using his personality and questioning style to make her more and more angry and frustrated. It’s painfully obvious that she’s a State witness and wants to say whatever she believes will help the States case and her sullen and combative demeanor cannot be helping credibility with the jury.

        In the parts that I have watched I’ve seen he does impeach her statements, he draws everyone’s attention back to written statements and gets her to directly contradict her previous statements with her–I guess I’ll call it newly remembered–information.

        Something that’s very frustrating to me though is how much the judge is letting her mumble her way through her testimony. Particularly after she answers a question or West pauses to phrase his next question, she will mumble under her breath (like my teenagers do) and the judge hasn’t yet called her on it.

          WilliamJD in reply to raddave9. | June 26, 2013 at 11:24 pm

          Something that’s very frustrating to me though is how much the judge is letting her mumble her way through her testimony.

          Frustrating to you? Imagine how frustrating it is to the jurors.

        txantimedia in reply to rhorton1. | June 26, 2013 at 11:43 pm

        Having now read several of your comments, it strikes me that you may be an attorney but you’re quite unfamiliar with juries.

        I was asked once, by the defense attorney on a case where we found the defendant guilty, what he did wrong. I pointed out that asking a cop with 17 years experience on drunk patrol, “So, you just drive around looking for people to pull over?” wasn’t exactly a smart thing to do. In my mind I immediately thought, “Damn right! That’s what we pay them for!”

        It never ceases to amaze me the number of “experts” who never bother to get the opinions of the people actually involved in the situation and REALLY LISTEN to what they are saying.

        Juries don’t see trials through a lawyer’s eyes. They see them through a layman’s eyes.

          rhorton1 in reply to txantimedia. | June 27, 2013 at 12:37 am

          To the contrary, everything I write is an assessment of how what West and O’Mara are doing is impacting the jury. That is why their ineptitude is so frustrating. In my opinion, they are botching a fairly good defense case

        Tom Devlin in reply to rhorton1. | June 27, 2013 at 12:39 am

        Dear rhorton1:
        You are a pope.

        Never stop posting here,

        You increase my life by
        2 minutes every time you post,
        because you make me laugh
        so hard.

        Maybe you had a brother named
        “Bob” from a large city in Iraq?

My roommate (a cop) has a theory: The attys for the state are pissed about having to try this case (perhaps trying to get 2nd degree) and are mailing it in. Hence the list of terrible witnesses.

    Bud_Denton in reply to Jay Jones. | June 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    He may well be right. Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die. The electeds at the top got worried they had to DO SOMETHING. Now the anonymous 9 to 5 guys in the grey suits get to clean up the mess the electeds made when they overruled the cops in the first place.

    The Sanford PD had it right all along: open-and-shut self-defense case.

    I’d sure be peeved if I was assigned to try this career-killer of a case.

    I have to think, though, that these guys probably volunteered for this embarrassing mission. They probably thought (think? still?) that this case would make them famous.

    Infamous, more likely.

      And you can bet the farm that if the State Special Prosecutor thought the case was likely to be a winner, she would have been leading, front and center, the prosecution team.

        Indeed.

        –Andrew

        Voluble in reply to Jim. | June 26, 2013 at 10:32 pm

        I told my wife you can tell how the case is going for the prosecution by how often you see Corey make an appearance in court. Political climbers like her don’t want to be associated with being a loser in a high profile case.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Jim. | June 27, 2013 at 12:10 am

        If this was a good case, nobody could keep her out of there with a team of thundering horses. Instead, she’s almost completely MIA.

        iconotastic in reply to Jim. | June 27, 2013 at 1:30 am

        At least the special prosecutor could have gotten a grand jury indictment. I have always read that a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, if they so chose. So why couldn’t Corey?

      Tom Devlin in reply to Bud_Denton. | June 27, 2013 at 12:48 am

      I disagree.

      Not open & shut case for GZ.

      0% for the prosecutor.

      Sometimes the ham sandwich wins.

    caambers in reply to Jay Jones. | June 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I’d agree with you except these are the witnesses they based their charges on…these are the people who they felt gave them the elements of second degree murder. They promised great testimony, fireworks, proof positive that GZ was a deranged racist murderer. They aren’t delivering. It’s not a prosecution, it’s a persecution.

      Jay Jones in reply to caambers. | June 26, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      It’s possible that once the political winds started swirling that the Special Prosecutor realized she had a turd on her hands and tossed it to the guys we’re seeing with instructions to polish it.

      Or (and this is mere speculation as I know nothing of politics in a prosecutor’s office) maybe the current guys signed on thinking they could get manslaughter and then were told to go for 2nd degree. And then, for whatever reason weren’t allowed to get off the case.

      ***all speculation***

      txantimedia in reply to caambers. | June 26, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      Give the prosecutors a break. Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder. It’s their job to come up with a plausible case that supports the elements of the crime. Zimmerman should never have been charged in the first place, but that horse is already out of the barn. Now it is what it is, and they have to at least try to get a conviction, no matter how remote the possibility.

      I find BDLR to be irritating and condescending, but the other two are doing the best job they can with a weak case.

        PackerBronco in reply to txantimedia. | June 27, 2013 at 1:03 am

        “txantimedia | June 26, 2013 at 11:49 pm
        Give the prosecutors a break. Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder. It’s their job to come up with a plausible case that supports the elements of the crime.”

        Really? And I thought it was the job of the state to seek THE TRUTH.

          txantimedia in reply to PackerBronco. | June 27, 2013 at 8:18 am

          You poor deluded fool. You’ve obviously never seen the inside of a courtroom. Lawyers on both sides have one goal – win. Truth has nothing to do with it unless it helps you win.

        cjharrispretzer in reply to txantimedia. | June 27, 2013 at 2:47 am

        I find Prosecutor Mantei to be extremely condescending and often just outright smug.
        I can’t believe how much the media is praising Jeantel’s performance in the courtroom today. I have been a victim witness in a rape trial. Imagine how hard that is. I remember the advice I received most was not to lose my cool. The rapist defendant had an extremely offensive Defense strategy, as rapists often do, yet I was supposed to sit there and answer hours of questions from the defense attorney and not show hostility. So I have to laugh when I see a witness like Jeantel act as she did on the witness stand, and watch all of the media say “she was keeping it real” and she’s just a kid. Um, when I was 19, I was starting my 3rd year of college. There were times in the courtroom today when Jeantel looked like she would have beaten West had there not been Bailiffs present. She’s a thug the same way Trayvon was a thug. I wouldn’t have wanted to cross paths with either one of them. And my last 2 cents is on all the prior police calls GZ made being admitted. I’m glad the jury gets to hear them. In light of the Neighborhood Watch program, the calls make GZ sound extremely reasonable, and normally concerned about his own neighborhood where he lives.

          NavyMustang in reply to cjharrispretzer. | June 27, 2013 at 5:43 am

          “…So I have to laugh when I see a witness like Jeantel act as she did on the witness stand, and watch all of the media say “she was keeping it real” and she’s just a kid…

          You were watching Nancy Grace et al, weren’t you? I was too, but I won’t make THAT mistake again. HLN convicted and executed Zimmerman a long time ago.

    If it weren’t for bad witnesses they wouldn’t have no witnesses at all.

I missed the testimony but I understand that Rachel at one point indicated she wasn’t worried because she thought Trayvon just got in a fight as if that is something completely ordinary. I am wondering why the defense did not follow up by asking if it was common for Trayvon to get in fights?

Also, I think I read where she reported Trayvon saying “get off” as if someone were on top of him. If that is the case then I am wondering if the line went dead and she just blithely went about her business or if the conversation continued with Trayvon having the phone in one hand while wrestling Zimmerman with the other? Something doesn’t make sense there so I guess I need to know the context of that statement.

Also, I hope Andrew will be so kind as to flesh out Rachel’s testimony a bit more sometime in the future since it seems to be key and there seemed to be a lot that was not covered in his initial update. I suspect he is probably organizing his thoughts and impressions as there was a lot to digest and I am grateful for the coverage he has given us even if he has no further updates.

    Jim in reply to Voluble. | June 26, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    West may not have immediately followed up because he already got what he wanted; a little piece of the puzzle for summation to pound home exactly the point you made. Watch summation and see if the defense makes that point effectively. If not, it will be a minus for the defense’s performance, IMO.

    Ragspierre in reply to Voluble. | June 26, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    “Get off” is something you hear commonly when guys are fighting, and both are on their feet.

    Don’t ask…

    Tom Devlin in reply to Voluble. | June 27, 2013 at 1:03 am

    I think Ms. Jeanteal is about to have a very hard day.

    “You said this yesterday.”

    “What do you say today?”

    A jury will see this exchange.

BTW – All the videos and tweets in this post make this page take forever to load. We don’t all have super-high speed computers and connections.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to myiq2xu. | June 26, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    We are having work done to speed up loading times on our end, but I’m not sure how much that will help readers with slow connections. I’ve forwarded this comment to the tech people.

I’m a psychiatrist and watched the Jeantel testimony today. In my opinion, Jeantel likely wanted to be Martin’s girlfriend – how else to account for the “hundreds” of texts and her presenting herself earlier in the case (to Crump?) as his girlfriend. In addition, her reluctance to speak to Trayvon’s mother is, in my opinion, not fully explained by her aversion to seeing the mother sad and, perhaps, weeping.

Jeantel seems to have a low I.Q. and to have difficulty in understanding the questions posed to her. She also wants to testify in a manner helpful to the prosecution. Accordingly, she answers questions in a fashion which seemed designed to baffle the defense – her answers are vague, strangely worded, and softly spoken. A psychiatrist might wonder whether she has a “thought disorder” – such that her understanding of the questions posed to her (and, therefore, her answers) are fundamentally different from the meaning of the questions as posed by the questioners and different from the commonly understood meanings of such questions.

The only point at which I felt that her behavior was understandable was when she expressed horror at the fact that she would be required to testify tomorrow. That was totally consistent with her statements earlier that she initially wanted no part of the proceedings after Martin died.

    ThomasD in reply to nomadic100. | June 26, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Even if her own issues do not rise to a clinical level I have a deep suspicion that mental illness figures/figured prominently within her immediate family.

      caambers in reply to ThomasD. | June 26, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      I think she’s merely a product of our esteemed education system. I work with girls who use words like ‘steal’ when they mean ‘steel’ and ‘trader’ when they meant ‘traitor’. These are high school graduates. It won’t be 500 years before Idiocracy comes true…it’s here now.

        Mansizedtarget in reply to caambers. | June 26, 2013 at 9:43 pm

        It has nothing to do with school system. She probably has a 70 IQ and all the annoying habits–aggression, poor time horizons, bad manners–that typically go with it. No school system can do much with that.

    Ragspierre in reply to nomadic100. | June 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Being a witness in court is hard.

    I mean that. It is a public speaking forum, but on steroids, and ALLLLLL of us have a fear of public speaking.

    In some respects, it is a venue designed to put the hoo-doo on lay people. You have a freaking JUDGE sitting on a raised dais, for crying out loud. And guys with guns all over. It is a very alien place for laymen.

    Some people react to their discomfort by showing anger. (I LOVE those!) Some become very quiet and passive. Some, like I read DeeDee, become sullenly passive-aggressive, bouncing between bravado and combativeness and defensiveness.

    DeeDee is a liar. It is obviously how she has learned to cope with a life that is probably hard for her to comprehend. But she is not an artful liar, as displayed by her candor in telling the court the things that Martin said.

    wyntre in reply to nomadic100. | June 26, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    I am no psych but it seems to me DeeDee is a furious, hostile, angry, arrogant, vindictive and manipulative bytch. She knows what she’s doing and what she’s portraying and she likes it.

    She’s stepping all over whitey.
    She’s throwing the eye and dissing crackers.
    She’s enjoying every second, the pouts and punkouts, the snake eyes and the roll eye. She’s in her element and having the time of her life.

    After all, she got bright orange nails and a new doo for court day. Check the link above. Oh, heck, I’ll repost

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/twitter/rachel-jeantel-758403

      profshadow in reply to wyntre. | June 26, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      Maybe she was drinking a little purple drank before she headed to court…as I suspect Martin was drinking that night.

      Lean/Purple Drank: Skittles, Arizona Watermelon tea, cough syrup.

      See: http://wizbangblog.com/2012/05/27/was-trayvon-martin-high-on-a-concoction-called-lean-the-night-he-was-killed/

        As far as I know, Trayvon didn’t have promethazine, codeine or hydrocodone in his system at autopsy. Maybe this concoction was something he used to consume in the past, or was planning to consume in the future, but it really doesn’t look like there’s any evidence he was intoxicated at all on the night in question.

          profshadow in reply to AmyFL. | June 27, 2013 at 8:43 am

          I don’t have the blood chemistry report, but I do know what he did have with him…two thirds of the concoction.
          Now MAYBE he was heading home with those items to put some together. MAYBE he was already on it. MAYBE there was a cough syrup bottle in the trash can.

          Martin was a known user. Circumstantial, I know, but fairly indicative of a potential factor for explaining his aggressive behavior that night.

          And, according to the Defense, the “7-Eleven surveillance video shows Martin ’sways’ at the counter at the counter as if he’s under the influence of some substance.”

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to nomadic100. | June 26, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    She’s dumber than a wet bag of hammers, which explains the bond between her and Trademark – a match made in Hell.

    She’s a mess. I agree that she probably wanted to be Trademark’s GF. As unattractive as she is, TM may be the first guy to ever even talk to her. For him, her value was probably to serve as a willing cheerleader for his bravado and tough guy/punk routine, telling him what he wants to hear.

    Dumb and Dumber.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to nomadic100. | June 26, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    From what Ms. Jeantel has revealed about herself online, she was just upset that she would have to be sober again tomorrow.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Uncle Samuel. | June 27, 2013 at 12:20 am

      Although I’m not at all certain she was sober today, it may be a matter of degree in terms of tomorrow. She will only be able to be as drunk as she may have been today, which apparently is not nearly as drunk as she likes to be.

      I’d like for the judge to direct the bailiff to give her a breathalyzer. Is she too drunk to testify competently? If so, shouldn’t all her testimony be stricken? And shouldn’t she be arrested for being drunk in public and in contempt of court?

      What if she doesn’t show up?

      NavyMustang in reply to Uncle Samuel. | June 27, 2013 at 5:51 am

      A couple of her revelations included her claim of being a criminal justice major and that she had wanted to be a detective! Oh…my…lord!

She appeared to had been coached to display an emotional reaction to deflect from her having lied about attending the funeral/being in the hospital. It was so fake, there weren’t even any tears.

This defense lawyer is brilliant. He’s using the prosecution’s own witnesses to establish and drive home the defense.

He just established extreme prejudice (against gay men, something not uncommon in the black community) as the motive for Martin to be approaching and attacking GZ.

I think many people are missing something about Martin’s “ass cracker” remark…

Check this modern slang reference:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=ass%20cracker

It would imply that Martin thought he was being stalked by a gay man that wanted to sexually approach him… That is probably why Martin over reacted when he was followed.

Over the phone, Martin had just expressed his prejudice multiple times verbally by using the slang slur. Ms. DeeDee got that message.

Instead of just walking home, Martin acted upon his prejudice to attack GZ for being gay and following him.

Unfortunately for him, Martin brought fists to a gun fight that he started.

Zimmerman very correctly was in fear for his life. He had every right to defend himself from an immediate lethal threat.

    mrerick in reply to mrerick. | June 26, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    To be clear, in no way do I imply that GZ is gay. But, that is what was likely in Martin’s mind at the time of Martin’s attack.

    ThomasD in reply to mrerick. | June 26, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    You might be reading too much into this one.

    Cracker ass, cracker assed cracker, and cracker are all common variations on a racial epithet in Florida.

      ThomasD in reply to ThomasD. | June 26, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      Also, Florida cracker is not necessarily a racist term. That version has been in use for well over a century and specifically refers to residents with a family presence in Florida that goes back to the 19th century (or at least goes back to pre-air conditioning times.)

        Matt in FL in reply to ThomasD. | June 26, 2013 at 10:46 pm

        “pre-air conditioning times”

        Some things are so horrible as to not bear thinking about. I say that as a Florida-born native and current resident.

      mrerick in reply to ThomasD. | June 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm

      But Martin said “Ass Cracker” (not the other variations) and DeeDee’s response was something like “don’t let him rape you”…

        Satta in reply to mrerick. | June 26, 2013 at 9:50 pm

        Martin may have said “ass cracker” or “crazy ass”. Your link to Urban Dictionary was the first time I was aware of the former phrase. The latter phrase seems to be relatively common (even in my genteel surroundings). That said, I have a recollection that she mentioned that her conversation with Treyvon included a reference to “molester” or something similar.

        Ragspierre in reply to mrerick. | June 26, 2013 at 10:14 pm

        The quote was “creepy ass cracka”.

        Depending on where you put the hyphen,

        “creepy-ass[ed] cracka”

        or

        “creepy ass-cracka”.

        Cripes. I need a shower…

    wyntre in reply to mrerick. | June 26, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    And he (West) has the patience of a saint.

    fogflyer in reply to mrerick. | June 26, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Interesting theory, but I am guessing that is not it.
    To me that sounds more like something white kids would say.
    I could certainly be wrong, as I have never heard that term in that context before, but I would be surprised if it was common vernacular for young black males.

      Bill Quick in reply to fogflyer. | June 26, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      Creepy-ass crackah? I live in one of San Francisco’s notorious black ghettos, Hunters Point. The phrase is quite common, especially among young black males. Cracker is the most popular term for white people among lower-class urban blacks, and carries all the connotations that the n-word does when used by whites about blacks.

        fogflyer in reply to Bill Quick. | June 26, 2013 at 11:56 pm

        Perhaps you misunderstood my post. Or I am misunderstanding yours…

        I was saying I doubt young black males used the phrase creepy ass cracker as a term to mean homosexual as the urban dictionary defines it. My feeling is that is was just a derogatory term for a Caucasian, which I believe is what you are saying also.

    FWIW, I think you’re reaching. It was “crazy-ass cracka, not “crazy ass-cracka”.

    “Cracka” is the commonly-used racial epithet. “Crazy-ass” is the modifier.

    I have heard plenty of white folks casually called “cracka” as slang for “white trash” or “white n*gga”; I have never heard a black person casually call a white person an “ass-cracka” as slang for “homosexual”.

    But then again, maybe I just don’t hang out with the right people 🙂

Rachel Jeantel lies a lot. Maybe she thinks of these as white lies. I don’t know. However, I can’t believe she didn’t take her deposition seriously and just said stuff so that she could be done with it faster.

I’m wondering if she lied about Trayvon asking GZ why he was following him and everything beyond that.

I think the lady with the cat may have actually heard the beginning of the fight and that Trayvon was yelling at GZ.

    nomadic100 in reply to Catherine. | June 26, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Rachel is reportedly a “student” at some college or university in Miami. The defense should inquire about this. It is hard to believe, based on this woman’s testimony, that she is a credible student at any reputable institution – though I realize times are hard for the lowest tier universities.

    I infer that, prior to this case, Rachel had no understanding of the legal process and did not know what a deposition is, nor did she have any understanding about what “under oath” meant – and perhaps she still does not, despite the prosecution’s coaching of her. Moreover, I suspect that she still has a dim awareness of the consequences of perjury – after all, she never did want to be involved in the legal proceedings and now she is immersed in a process which mystifies her and which seems to hold threats over her head for reasons which she cannot fathom.

    Tough situation!

    I think West is doing a great job in querying Rachel, given the fact that she is a most difficult witness in no small part because of her intellectual limitations. He must not unduly antagonize her.

      ThomasD in reply to nomadic100. | June 26, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      Every Florida high school graduate is guaranteed placement within a State school (you may not get your choice though.)

      gadsden_treads in reply to nomadic100. | June 26, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      HSsenior

      DuraMater in reply to nomadic100. | June 26, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      To help clarify, at the outset of her testimony today, it was established that she is presently 19 yo and is going into the 12th grade at a Miami High school (don’t remember which one right now)somewhere in the north end of Miami Dade county.

      There are 3 post-secondary institutions up in her territory which conceivably would allow her to matriculate upon HS graduation: Miami Dade college has open enrollment and is state supported, Florida Memorial College(I think is classified as a HBU) and St. Thomas University, private, Catholic institution. All, including the private university would take her even if the combination of her SAT + heart rate + systolic B/P was below national or state standards because: politics and federal/ state funding. She is not only a star witness for Angela Cory (Pam Bondi), Ben Crump and Nat. Jackson but she is also both an ethnic and racial minority (ie cash cows for colleges and universities which are mainly tuition driven…OT, another reason these university presidents are pushing for legalization of illegals and DREAMERS….the universities want to come out of the shadows, donchano).

    Voluble in reply to Catherine. | June 26, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    I would expect there will be evidence introduced as to whose voice is deeper. Seems I remember Zimmerman didn’t exactly have an intimidating voice but I never heard Martin’s.

“Maybe she thinks of these as white lies.”

That’s RAAAAAAACIST!

Reasonable doubt is a low bar and it doesn’t look like the defense will need much. May not have to.

styrgwillidar | June 26, 2013 at 9:43 pm

The judge allowed the prosecution to bring in evidence of Zimmerman’s prior acts, i.e. the earlier calls. Does that open the door to bring in Martin’s prior acts? Or Zimmerman’s prior acts countering the profiling perception? For example, Zimmerman’s advocacy for the homeless black man assaulted by the policeman’s relative? Or could the defense always do the latter. (I understand the judge ruled that Martin’s prior acts would be considered as it came up at trial. Is that only if the prosecution brings up Martin’s character?)

I think it would have been a cardinal mistake to tear into Miss DeeDee like Shep Smith was rooting for.

Good TV, but terrible in front of that jury. Today.

Tomorrow will be a little different. The judge had to admonish her, and juries are very tuned into their judges, as a rule.

West will have their permission to be a little more aggressive.

He will have the ripe field of Martin’s fighting to reap, and I will be amazed if he does not exploit that very nicely. DeeDee knows that history, and she will tell it.

He might gingerly open up the whole “cracka” thing, too. Again, I doubt DeeDee has the wit to not tell the tale there.

And every time the jury hears that, it will be good.

    PhillyGuy in reply to Ragspierre. | June 26, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Rachel didn’t seem all that bothered that he could be getting into a fight. She didn’t even try to text him the next day to find out how he was. She was surprised to hear from her friends that TM was dead.

      I had exactly the same thought and tweeted it to Andrew.

      How is it that she talked on the phone with TM dozens of times that day and texted him perhaps hundreds of times yet after hearing he was in a fight didn’t even try to find out if he was okay? She didn’t call his phone after the last hang up, she didn’t text his phone after the last hangup and, by her own admission, made no other effort to find out if he was okay?

      To me this makes her story ring absolutely untrue.

        Midwest Rhino in reply to raddave9. | June 26, 2013 at 10:44 pm

        I distinctly remember reports of this DD/TM call at the time of the incident, which said something close to what Dee-Dee said in court, that she told him to run away, or run home. Her claim at the time though, of his response, was “he said he wasn’t going to do that”

        That made clear the scenario where he laid in wait behind a bush or something, till GZ passed by, then surprised GZ and got in his face. That fits TM’s temperament, from his old tweets.

        Don’t recall if the was second hand info, or from her texting or what. But it seems she met with the lawyer and revised her story in a more profitable way … only the NSA knows for sure. Unless there are records of her texting … surely she couldn’t keep quiet all that time.

      Ragspierre in reply to PhillyGuy. | June 26, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      Yep. My point.

      And see how this kicks open the past?

      “You mentioned you thought Martin may have been fighting from the sounds you heard, correct?

      “But you did not seem to think that unusual, true?”

      “The fact is, you knew Martin knew how to take care of himself, didn’t you?”

      “You knew Martin had been in fights before, yes?”

      “As a matter of fact, you knew that Martin was a good fighter, isn’t that the truth?”

      Or variations on that theme.

      Something I’ve not mentioned, but on cross you sometimes just ask the questions and essentially ignore the answers IF your jury is with you. Because the answers from someone like DeeDee are sort of incidental to the narrative. The jury knows.

      The reason that you go back and nail the answers is for the record.

        Matt in FL in reply to Ragspierre. | June 26, 2013 at 10:56 pm

        West has proven very good at the “get the questions in front of the jury” game. All along he’s drawn both admonishments from the judge and objections from the prosecution that have allowed him to “rephrase,” which translated to “use different words to drive home the same point.”

        “Objection!”
        “OK, let’s try it this way.”

    Rags nailed it.

    Expect West to be substantially more aggressive tomorrow. Very polite. Very deliberate. But also very insistent on real answers. His patience today, and Jeantel’s attitude today, will have earned him considerable “court room capital” he can expend tomorrow.

    Imagine how the jury must have felt after hearing Dee-Dee’s outrage after having to return to court tomorrow. The JURY has to show up tomorrow, don’t they, and they’re not exclaiming about it. And not just for a couple of hours, and not just for tomorrow, either. Every damn day until this thing is done, and sequestered, to boot.

    I doubt Jeantel preserved much sympathy from the jury with that behavior.

    But that’s just speculation on my part.

    –Andrew

      myiq2xu in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 26, 2013 at 11:32 pm

      West has to tread carefully. He is dealing with a young female of low intelligence and an all-woman jury. He doesn’t want to give the impression that he is picking on or “beating up” the witness.

      More than one defense attorney mistakenly thought they won a case by destroying a witness on cross-exam when what they really did was alienate the jury.

        el polacko in reply to myiq2xu. | June 26, 2013 at 11:49 pm

        i have the same misgivings about some of the repetitive hammering of the witnesses…not that some of them don’t deserve hammering…but it’s quite possible that the jury will not see the witnesses as devious liars who were coached to help the prosecution so much as feel sympathy for them as being just regular-folk who are thrust into a confusing and combatative circumstance. it sure wouldn’t be the first time we’re shocked to find that the jury saw a wholly different trial than the observers and ‘experts’ saw.

        rhorton1 in reply to myiq2xu. | June 26, 2013 at 11:52 pm

        A real rarity here: someone who knows what he his talking about.

          fogflyer in reply to rhorton1. | June 27, 2013 at 12:15 am

          Wait, I am confused…
          Didn’t I make a post earlier stating the same beliefs, and you argued against them???

          “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” –Emerson.

          Estragon in reply to rhorton1. | June 27, 2013 at 12:29 am

          I thought your criticism was that the defense wasn’t tough enough on cross, though?

          So, which is it?

          rhorton1 in reply to rhorton1. | June 27, 2013 at 1:10 am

          Sorry, I hit the wrong button. Thanks for reading though.

          fogflyer in reply to rhorton1. | June 27, 2013 at 1:34 am

          Hey, I for one enjoy your comments on here.
          I am not an attorney, and I while I might disagree with you, I still enjoy seeing a reasonable response from someone who knows the legal issues and processes far better than myself. It is nice to be exposed to differing opinions, when the posters are intelligent, well spoken and sincere… qualities I have not found on many other discussion boards dealing with this trial.

        SCLEO in reply to myiq2xu. | June 27, 2013 at 1:35 am

        That’s the beauty of it… he has already been the kindly and patient guy towards her while letting her be the one to draw the disfavor of the jury with her little isms and attitude and admonishments from the judge. He just has to have a good feel for when the jury has turned on DD. Once the jury’s sympathy for her has been replaced with contempt, West is free to get as aggressive as he needs to if she plays difficult, and the jury won’t bear him ill will for it. However, I honestly don’t think that West will have to get that rough with her because I don’t think that she is smart enough to anticipate where his lines of questioning are headed until she’s hip deep in it and has nowhere to go except the land of impeachment.

My girlfriend and I looked at Rachel’s testimony and she turned to me and said she acts like a teenaged girl who got caught in a lie and then doubles down to see if she could blow right through it. She didn’t think she was telling the truth at all.

Mr. Branca, I was wondering if you could address a particular issue. In my understanding of self defense law, when the defendant uses an affirmative defense, the burden of proof shifts to the defense. So, if that were true, Zimmerman would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his actions were justified because he is essentially already admitting to having killed Martin. Your posts are clearly still addressing the State’s burden of proving BARD the “depraved mind” of Zimmerman to establish Murder 2. Can you clear up my confusion?

Thanks, and I really appreciate your excellent coverage of the trial so far!

CJW

    rhorton1 in reply to ansky26. | June 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    As the resident expert has not replied to your question, I will. When the issue of self-defense is raised, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove the defendant did not act in self-defense. Here is the jury instruction: If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether the defendant was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find the defendant not guilty. However, if from the evidence you are convinced that the defendant was not justified in the use of deadly force, you should find [him] [her] guilty if all the elements of the charge have been proved.

    There’s nothing wrong with what rhorton1 wrote in his reply, but perhaps i can add some more detail.

    What we call the “burden of proof” really consists of two elements: the burden of production, and the burden of persuasion.

    The burden of production refers to who bears the burden of ensuring there is enough evidence for the court to consider an issue at all. Usually this burden is quite low, in some states almost any evidence, even if controverted, will be sufficient to raise the issue of self-defense, for example. On the other hand, self-defense is made up of multiple elements, and the defendant need fail on only one to lose the right to argue self-defense at trial.

    Once the defendant has met it’s burden of production, the burden of persuasion shifts to the prosecution. The burden of persuasion refers to who bears the burden of convincing the jury of the truth of the matter. With regard to self-defense, the state bears the burden of persuasion beyond a reasonable doubt.

    This is a relatively recent development in the law of self-defense, by the way, the last 20 years or so. Prior to that, self-defense was usually a traditional affirmative defense, in which the defendant bore both the burden of production AND the burden of persuasion (though by a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt). Over the years, however, the law has changed such that once the defendant meets his burden of production self-defense is essentially treated like an element of the charge, and the burden of persuasion shifts to the State, as described.

    This is the law, however, and there are always exceptions. In this case, the exception is Ohio. In the state of Ohio, self-defense remains a traditional affirmative defense, and the defendant bears both the burden of production and the burden of persuasion, by a preponderance of the evidence.

    So, originator of this question, if you live in Ohio you were correct that there the defendant needs to prove self-defense, rather than the State disprove it.

    –Andrew

      cazinger in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 27, 2013 at 1:13 am

      Andrew, this case has obviously brought many of the issues surrounding legal self-defense to the forefront. I wanted to get your opinion of whether you think the shift you just spoke of – shifting from self-defense being an affirmative defense to it being something the Prosecution must prove did not happen – is a positive thing?

      To my mind, the taking of a human life is such a momentous act, that I think that if you are going to claim that you committed this act in self-defense, the least society can ask of you is that you prove that by a preponderance of the evidence. As I think you have noted earlier, this defense is most often used by real criminals who get involved in shootouts with other real criminals. In Zimmerman’s case, I am not so sure that changing the burden of proof to it being an affirmative defense would necessarily change the outcome, though doing so might have forced Zimmerman to take the stand in his own defense. But I do not see that as necessarily a bad thing.

      Like I said, taking another human life should not be something that should be done lightly, and if you are going to do so in self-defense, perhaps the least society SHOULD ask of you is that you convince a jury that it WAS justified (rather than require the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was not).

      I know this ventures outside of the question of “what Is the law?” and into the territory of “what OUGHT the law be?”, but considering your considerable expertise in the area, I’d like to get your take.

        Indeed, you raise more of a philosophical question that a legal question. I am not, however, objective on this point, given my life experience. In my legal work I spent some time working in a public defender’s office and had a great many opportunities to interact with the portion of our society that habitually engages in unlawful activities. When younger, I worked on an ambulance crew, and got to respond to more than one victim of a violent attack. Later in life as a firearms instructor I volunteered considerable time to an organization that teaches women who were victims of rape and other acts of violence how to defend themselves (in my case I taught them the defensive use of firearms and pepper spray, others did Model Mugging-type instruction, kubotan, and such). I have CCW’d my entire adult life, and have instructed, lectured, and written extensively on the physical tactics and strategies of both physical self-defense and the legal defense of self-defense.

        Given all this, I tend to lean heavily in favor of laws that facilitate the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their families from criminal predation, as well as protect them those same citizens overly aggressive prosecution at the hands of politically-motivated prosecutors who are motivated by agendas having little to do with truth and justice.

        –Andrew

        ThomasD in reply to cazinger. | June 27, 2013 at 8:39 am

        To my mind, the rigth of self preservation, particularly in the moment of crisis, should not be unduly burdened with concerns over legalities.

        While this defense may often be claimed by ‘real’ criminals involved in shootouts with other criminals that supposition notes both existing and/or prior criminality, and the existence of a life threatening situation.

        We afford criminal defendants all manner of rights. I do not condone the drug dealer or any other criminal, but if he is no direct and immediate threat to anyone, and some other drug dealer/criminal attempts to kill him I see no lawful or moral reason to deny him the right to act in self defense.

        A ‘right’ that necessitates meeting a burden of proof at subsequent criminal trial, is not much of a right.

        Put somewhat trivially, right on red is not a traffic offense if performed properly. The burden is on the state to prove it was not. The use of deadly force should be treated liekwise.

        DrKyleJones in reply to cazinger. | June 27, 2013 at 8:46 am

        On the other hand, can’t you say that the consequences (20 to life) are so great that they amount to the destructions of a SECOND life, and so the risk of punishing someone who was truly defending themselves is too great?

        What we want tis for no guilty to go unpunished AND for no innocent to be punished, but in practice we have to err one way or the other. I think given that the deceased can not be brought back, we need to err on the side that has the least chance of destorying another innocent life.

      ansky26 in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you, sir! This is an interesting detail (productions vice persuasion) of which I was not aware. Even considering myself a well informed armed citizen, following your coverage of this trial has proven to be most enlightening.

      CJW

I read a comment earlier by a retired Special Ed teacher that I find myself agreeing with.

He said she would be typical of one of his students-very low I.Q., very poor communication skills, etc.

It was his view that That the mother and Crump took advantage of her to wage their unholy crusade.

I’ll no longer ridicule her demeanor.

    Browndog in reply to Browndog. | June 26, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Clarification: I have not ridiculed her, so I’m not sure why I said I won’t do it anymore.

    ugh.

    gasper in reply to Browndog. | June 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I really believe the next to last sentence in your post is correct. She absolutely does not want to be there. This gal appears to be so unstable it is possible she could become very irritated at being placed in this position and blurt out the real reason she is there. Tomorrow will be interesting.

    cjharrispretzer in reply to Browndog. | June 27, 2013 at 4:32 am

    I have an autistic 10yr old son who has verbal deficits, yet he could have testified more articulately than Rachel Jeantel did yesterday. Just stating a fact. What is wrong with her?

during a normal day when not testifying
what does jeantel do
a. plays 5/10 no limit holdem
b. listens to rush
c. neither

I think the defense is doing a very good job. You all might want to remember the state has played games with slow rolling or hiding discovery. Despite Brady violations the judge didn’t grant any continuances.

Now getting to their performance, they got the neighborhood watch lady to testify that GZ is soft spoken and meek. West got the one ear witness to admit that on voice was aggressive and hostile while the other was meek and soft spoken. That put a big dent in the initial aggressor argument. The jury will hear the phone calls ad nauseam and will hear GZ’s soft spoken, high pitched, non hostile manner of speaking. Rachel testified TM was the initial speaker. Combine that with the anticipated testimony of the two neighbors who actually witnessed the incident who will testify that GZ was getting pummeled and odds are good for a NG. BTW, I’ve never guaranteed a jury verdict, but have been surprised a number of times.

With respect to West’s cross of rachel, he’s taking the right approach. She’s young, friends with the decedent, and, apparently, dim witted. If he tears into her, he looks like a bully.

You can Monday morning quarterback every opening, direct, cross, and closing ever given. I lay awake for days after a trial thinking about what I could have done differently, even on wins.

    Jim in reply to tw32814. | June 26, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Seems to this old retired guy that you have learned your lessons well. Press on.

    iconotastic in reply to tw32814. | June 27, 2013 at 1:17 am

    From what I watched I would venture dim witted and on drugs. Maybe this is a believable witness to the jury but I would no more give credence to her testimony than I would to a drunk Downs Syndrome teen. And maybe less credence, since Downs kids are invariably sweet.

One thing a lot of commenters are missing, and that you mentioned in your last line, Andrew, is that this is far from over. I’ve been watching WFTV’s live blogging of the trial as well, and it’s really funny how many people were saying things like “this isn’t going well for the defense” at noon on Tuesday when we’d seen all of three witnesses, and dry, procedural witnesses at that. Y’all need to put your Jump to Conclusions ™ mats away, because we’re a LONG way from done with the trial as a whole, and I’d bet we’re maybe only 1/3 (certainly no more than half) of the way through this one witness.

    Ragspierre in reply to Matt in FL. | June 26, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    There is a wild card in the deck, too.

    Cory could close this, and my assessment of her is that she is a REALLY effective trial advocate. I watched her, and she is very smooth, very self-possessed, and very poised in front of people. She is a performer, as are all really good trial lawyers.

    Yeah, not so much in a letter and phone calls to Da Dersh, but still…

    THAT will be interesting to see.

      Manila Ice in reply to Ragspierre. | June 27, 2013 at 6:11 am

      Unless she has the ability to make jurors forget the debacle theyve witnessed so far then it probably doesnt matter who closes. Even Mariano Rivera couldnt help at this point.

    gasper in reply to Matt in FL. | June 26, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Luckily most of the jurors don’t believe the media, which we all know has an agenda. They’ve been wrong since this event occurred and continue to be wrong. They have a stake in finding Zimmerman guilty … it will validate their coverage.

My problem with Ms. Jeantel is that while she’s neither personable nor appealing, she provides potentially damning detailed evidence that’s both quite emotional and rather difficult to refute with other evidence. I would not underestimate its impact on the jury.

She’s (supposedly) a reluctant witness, so it’s easier to believe she doesn’t have an agenda. And her account of the call doesn’t appear to be overdone, except for the part where she seems able to discern “wet grass” from other sounds.

The defense may be able to cleave off her credibility, but the statement itself is simply her word against everything else. I felt a lot better when witnesses were being busted for including previously unseen little incriminating details. I’d rather have some of that on DeeDee than just her reputation as a liar.

Maybe they’ll get some of that from her tomorrow when cross resumes.

    rhorton1 in reply to cpurick. | June 27, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Good analysis except for your conclusion that she has some kind of reputation as a liar. She adequately explained why she gave an incorrect age and why she falsely claimed to be at the hospital on the day of the funeral. I don’t think the jury will hold those falsehoods against her. And they do not go to her credibility on the central issues about which she is testifying.

      CrankbaitJohnson in reply to rhorton1. | June 27, 2013 at 12:54 am

      Lol, she lies under oath, but is not a liar, because she has self-serving excuses for her lies? No sale.

      Some CNN analyst said he had inside information that the tedious review of the cellphone times by West is very important to the remainder of the cross.

        DuraMater in reply to CrankbaitJohnson. | June 27, 2013 at 3:44 am

        Naw. I think it is the interview she did for Crump & the Trademark Co. that will be the undoing. After all, wasn’t that basically what the State’s PC was ultimately based upon, a lot of the contrived Crump stuff?
        And what about pressure from Sabrina and Crump to make a formal statement to them and not go to police, or the fact that she never gave ABC the right to publish or broadcast?
        Lots of chum in the waters after today.

          Uncle Samuel in reply to DuraMater. | June 27, 2013 at 9:14 am

          A Texas Attorney General (ie, Ted Cruz) and Governor (Perry) would have already moved to disbar Crump and warn the prosecution and the news agencies – all of which have behaved unethically.

          They might have even sanctioned and muzzled our dear leader and his aides de camp (the New Black Panthers, ‘Revs of Racism’Sharpton and Jackson)

      fogflyer in reply to rhorton1. | June 27, 2013 at 1:16 am

      Yes, her reason for lying is believable, but what about her ease in doing so?
      She would rather perjure herself than simply tell someone they don’t like funerals? This just shows a utter lack of integrity and a complete disregard for the legal system. How can this NOT hurt her credibility with the jury?

      I am still maintaining that Dee Dee Diamond Rachel Jeantel is going to be the undoing of the prosecution… Well… That and the complete lack of evidence 🙂

    SCLEO in reply to cpurick. | June 27, 2013 at 1:53 am

    I don’t think she has said anything so far that disputes or damns the defense. One thing that I like that she did was that she testified that this “racially charged case” did in fact have a valid race factor. However, that race issue was in the mind of TM with his “creepy-ass cracker(cracker being the reverse equivalent of the “N” bomb)” comment. At least when GZ referred to TM, he described him as black instead of dropping the “N” bomb.

    And far be it from me to call myself a fortune teller, but I believe your last sentence to be a certainty. In 21 years of law enforcement experience, I’ve seen that look in an attorney’s (West’s look, that is) eyes enough times to know that she has already made at least a couple statements that have placed her in direct conflict with either existing facts or previous statements. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes tomorrow.

Have I been watching the defense’s case these last two days or am I seeing things incorrectly?

And isn’t the big news of the day the impeachment of DD’s testimony with her Crump deposition? What she told Crump, that Z said “What are you talking about” backs up Z’s story doesn’t it. At the very least, it shows Z was confronted by T and not the other way around.

Who would want to be there? I like the comment above that describes being a witness as tough. In even mundane cases getting on a witness stand takes a civilian who is not familiar with courtrooms into a TOTALLY alien environment.

Maybe the jury will be thrilled that the defense has dragged out the cross examination with boring detail (like going through in excruciating detail the times of the phone calls she had with the victim prior ro the shooting). Or maybe they will sympathize because they are bored like her.

I don’t think that she is IQ 70 (although she won’t be getting a MENSA invite anytime soon) She is simply a young American who speaks the language of her version of American culture We are Shocked, Shocked that she should say the things she says. Well we shouldn’t be…

Finally, her explanation of why she didn’t go to the funeral struck me as authentic/poignant. Maybe it didn’t for others, but I thought it rang true.

    myiq2xu in reply to Miasma. | June 26, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Some people react to having to testify like deer in headlights. It happens to parties in pro per too.

    Even simple questions leave them baffled.

    rhorton1 in reply to Miasma. | June 27, 2013 at 12:08 am

    My gosh, what has happened to Legal Insurrection; reasonable people are turning up all over the place.

start listening to video 2 of Rachel 31:00… West brings up how she became involved W/Tracy Martin/ Crump etc because it was a Racial issue. He left it alone, but will bring it back up tomorrow. He’s setting up an interesting situation.

I don’t think I have seen anyone mention this…but Ms. Jeantel basically testified that Trayvon Martin was the one that initially confronted George Zimmerman.

    DennisD in reply to kcp_here. | June 27, 2013 at 2:14 am

    I mentioned it twice. It also demonstrates that DD changed her testimony yet people like rhorton1 and some others think her credibility is not in doubt. In fact, rhorton1 went so far as to say her direct testimony went unscathed. Maybe people don’t really read things through or watch the entirety of what they comment on.

      kcp_here in reply to DennisD. | June 27, 2013 at 11:41 am

      I did miss your comments. I don’t see how she helped the State at all scathed or unscathed. If she was believable to the jury then she calls into question the notion that the State seems to be building that Zimmerman was a loose cannon, frustrated and looking to pick a fight. Personally, I think she came off as aloof.

Quick question. What assurances does the court have that she will show up for testimony tomorrow? I doubt she would be in any kind of custody, so she COULD decide “to heck with this” and just not show – go to Disneyland early (or whatever else she was promised by the prosecution 😉 ). If she simply does not show up for the rest of cross, what happens then?

I’m not an attorney, but if I was in the jury box and heard a witness reply “yes” to the question, “the one who was on top is the one who got up?” I would have a very different read on the impact of that testimony. Don’t set yourself for major disappointment and outrage when the verdict is read by seeing and hearing what you want to see and hear Mr. Branca

    DennisD in reply to J. Locke. | June 27, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Maybe you’re aware that Zimmerman says that after being underneath Martin and shooting him he got on top and spread his arms to check for weapons, or maybe you’re not.

    Voluble in reply to J. Locke. | June 27, 2013 at 3:26 am

    So far we have a witness who identified the one in darker clothing being on top (Martin) while saying it was Zimmerman. The other witness admitted she couldn’t tell after having been forced to acknowledge she made her judgment based on thinking Trayvon was still child sized and in any case, as mentioned above, it would be perfectly consistent with Zimmerman’s version of events that when the shadows separated Zimmerman would be the one standing after having checked Martin for weapons.

    My understanding is that the eyewitness who was closest, and who could actually see what was happening, will testify that Martin was on top unless there is a major change from what was said in the statement to police. Also, I would like to think there might be some ballistics involved to indicate whether Zimmerman was on top or bottom at the time the shot was fired. Certainly the “three pop” testimony will be shown to be false.

    Basically, all the prosecution has so far is some murky testimony about some shadows and a witness in Rachel who identifies Martin as initiating the confrontation while using racial epithets to express his dislike for someone he had never met. The “more forceful voice” testimony will likely end up in Zimmerman’s favor as well once all is said and done since his voice is anything but forceful and Rachel has indicated that Martin was aggressive from the very beginning of the conversation.

    BTW, I think Rachel has already effectively shown that Trayvon was mad and in a state of mind that lends even more credence to Zimmerman’s story.

      Uncle Samuel in reply to Voluble. | June 27, 2013 at 9:07 am

      The photos reveal that the back of Zimmerman’s fleece pullover jacket was black and the front was red.

      That complicates things.

      Trayvon’s hoodie was charcoal gray pullover sweat hoodie with a large metal commemorative button pinned on the front.

      Too bad none of the ‘witnesses’ had their cell phone cameras aimed at the scene and were filming it, as is usually the case. Too bad the Homeowners Association and/or Management company had not installed CCTV security cameras in the neighborhood.

Mr. Branca,

I first must lead out with my personal belief that I find it sad that this trial is occurring at all. I think that overall the defense is doing well, but I can’t help but to think that there was a major point they could have capitalized on. I know that these are things that could and should be hit in the presentation of the defense’s case, but a wise old lawyer (a prosecutor) once told this officer his opinion of the two most important rules: 1. an officer should never hang his integrity on a case because he’ll never get it back. 2. that juries forget most of what they hear, so if you get a chance to capitalize on a strong point more than once (during both the state’s case AND during the defense’s case), you usually should.

The latter rule being the item of discussion, the issue for me is concerning Manaloo’s testimony gaff. “Manaloo’s key testimony on direct was her identification of Zimmerman as the man who was on top during the struggle on the ground, contrary to all other evidence discussed so far in this case. She based this perception on the differing size of the two people, saying that it was the larger person who was on top. Obviously, if correct, this testimony is profoundly inconsistent with the defense’s theory of the case.” Through this, we see that she observed the larger person to be on top during the struggle, but that she assumed that the larger person was Zimmerman based on the photos, and not on any actual sound basis. Even though she was forced to admit that the assumption based on the photos could be wrong due to the age of Martin in his photo (and the jury can give that whatever weight they choose), did anyone capitalize on the fact that she STILL says that the larger person was on top. This begs a point to be made. That Martin is nearly half a foot taller than Zimmerman and that Zimmerman was MUCH thinner when the incident happened than the man the jury sees now? I can’t help but to feel like that point combined with Zimmerman’s injuries make a tremendously stronger case for their relative positions on the ground, and through that positioning, a stronger connection to Martin obviously being the aggressor. Your thoughts?

–an officer

cjharrispretzer | June 27, 2013 at 3:00 am

Has Judge Nelson ever yet Sustained a Defense Objection? I sincerely have not ever seen her rule favorably for the Defense regardless of the issue, regardless of how large or small the issue is, regardless how legally correct the Defense is. It is pathetic. Have I missed anything?

Great recap Andrew. Thanks! Look forward to your report tomorrow.

cjharrispretzer | June 27, 2013 at 3:37 am

Oh, I also have a question about the “voice” evidence. Are there any known recordings in existence of Trayvon’s voice? I haven’t ever heard his voice. We know for a fact that George Zimmerman has a soft-spoken voice. When I hear the yells for help in the background of the 911 calls, the voice sounds consistent to me with GZ’s voice. I’ve never heard Trayvon’s voice, but those yells for help just don’t sound like the yells of a young black man. That’s my personal opinion…my gut.

I wonder if the defense plans to question any witness as to what Skittles, Arizona Watermelon, Codeine Cough Syrup are used for. For those unaware, these three items are mixed together to create “lean”. And the evidence already showed Trayvon was purchasing the two specific items used for this concoction.

6. Lean is a mixed drink originating in the Southern Rap culture. It is a mixture of Promethazine and Codeine cough syrup and a soft drink such as Sprite (usually). While other soft drinks may be used, Sprite was the original.

[And now also Arizona Watermelon for Watermelon Drank/Lean]

There are some variations of Lean. For example, Promethazine and Codeine syrup is usually Purple in color. But there are other colors of syrup that work the same way. There is a golden-colored syrup (hydrocodone based) and other colors as well.

Lean slows you down. It makes you feel good. It’s meant to be sipped on, and it taste damn good. One of the best feelings you will ever experience. Euphoria with a hint of sedation. …”
http://therealrevo.com/blog/?p=75112

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to pmasters. | June 27, 2013 at 7:29 am

    The prosecution had the young boy saying TM went to get him some skittles. Highly likely coached . The kid did not seem to be upset his skittles did not turn up – which is unbelievable . Kids would be out the verandah looking out for their candy & totally pissed off .

i’m somewhat surprised that Jeantel wasn’t held in contempt for the obscenities–one obscured but lip-readable, the other clearly audible–at 17:28 in the last video clip.

also, speaking as a white who grew up on the South Side of Chicago and has been exposed to a wide variety of black people, Jeantel’s affect is absolutely not a dialect problem; that girl is dumber than a box of rocks, easily in the lowest 10% for intelligence of the black people i’ve known personally or observed. in fact, she’s almost as mentally challenged as the fellow i once worked with who couldn’t spell “clark” as in “Clark Street,” which he lived on and like most American thoroughfares is LABELLED with signs at every corner.

Seriously? Why can’t the defense enter into evidence where Trayvon was asking about getting some codeine on his Facebook which is used to mix with Skittles and Arizona Watermelon? Surely the judge has to know by preventing this evidence and Trayvon’s marijuana in his system that any conviction would be overturned.

http://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/trayvondrugdealing-2.jpg

Just signed up. To begin with, a box of candy to all of you. This is the most fascinating and educational blog I’ve ever come across. Thank you all and especially to you Mr. Branca. And now that I’m done brown-nosing…..

Re: Ms Jeantel’s testimony. I’m puzzled when she learned of Martin’s death. Was it the next day or two days later? She had spent pretty much all day on the phone with him. There were a number of call-backs quickly after calls were ended. Were these network disconnects from poor reception or did one person hang up on the other? More importantly, what happened after the fight with Zimmerman? Did she stop calling or texting him? If so, why? If she hadn’t, why didn’t the police on the scene and investigators notice the incoming calls and/or texts?
Why did they not follow up with her? Was it that much of an open and shut case for them? Or possibly, was Martin’s phone damaged during the fight and not working.

Next, if it was a day or two later, why did it take so long for her to learn that Martin was dead. How did she find out? She doesn’t watch the news so who told her? It’s obvious she wants to be as non-involved as anybody can possibly be and to have nothing to do with any of this. Even though she is 19, she seems as shy and suspicious as an 11 year old.

Lastly, though it might seem that I’m nitpicking but heck isn’t that what lawyers do? But if I was on the jury, I’d be wondering about these questions Are the answers worth pursuing by the defense or are they just several stray cat hairs picked up at a kennel and not worth brushing off your pant leg?

    Manila Ice in reply to pjaym59. | June 27, 2013 at 6:26 am

    She claims that she learned of Trayvon’s death from mutual friends at Trayvon’s school.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to pjaym59. | June 27, 2013 at 8:46 am

    According to Ms. Jeantel’s online posts about her lifestyle, substance abuse may dominate a lot of her brain cells and her time, thus there may have long periods of time where she incommunicado and unable to act logically and responsibly.

      Uncle Samuel in reply to Uncle Samuel. | June 27, 2013 at 8:49 am

      Dee Dee’s outburst at the end of the court session yesterday may well have been dismay that she would have to postpone getting high/drunk and remain reasonably sober another day. She has expressed these very concerns online.

Hi Andrew. Not sure if anyone else has asked this – Do you think the Prosecution may be trying to passive/aggressively lose this case because they don’t agree with Angela Corey and her charges against GZ? Kind of a prosecutorial nullification?

Why is Corey not trying this case? Is it because it is a dog case? I’ve heard she tends to overcharge defendants, trying to get them to agree to a lesser charge. Except here, trying to get GZ in prison and agree to a crime he didn’t commit.

Is it a fluke at how the Prosecution witnesses in nearly every case benefited the Defense instead/ And Rache Jeanet, aka Dee Dee, is unbelievable. Is she really the Prosecution’s star witness??? Thanks.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Sally MJ. | June 27, 2013 at 7:11 am

    She also has the case of the 12 year old black boy. Who murdered his toddler step brother & is to be tried as an adult.

    This is a bigger issue for Florida than this.

    I have not checked the progress of that case lately.

      The Fernandez case was eventually settled like it should have been at the start, in the juvenile justice system. He plead guilty to manslaughter, got juvenile sanctions, and will be released when he turns 19. Did Corey massively over-charge him? Heck yes. She did waste millions of taxpayer dollars through this useless show-boating? Heck yes. Sound familiar?

      In your sentence “This is a bigger issue for Florida than this”, I don’t know what each of your “this”es are standing in for, so I can’t tell whether you’re saying that Fernandez was a bigger issue than Zimmerman or vice versa. My feeling is that Zimmerman is a way bigger issue at this point than Fernandez was, but that’s just me.

Just imagine. This is the State’s case and they are having difficulties with every witness. Not a good start.

I did watch the original walk-through video GZ made with the Sanford police once again. I have a question. How is it that TM was able to pound GZ’s head repeatedly into the ground? GZ has a cleanly shaved head and it was raining. Yet GZ says in that walk-through that TM grabbed his head. Wouldn’t there be finger pressure marks on his scalp? Red marks? Anything to indicate a fight. I didn’t see anything.

Am I on the wrong track?

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to PhillyGuy. | June 27, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Open handed upward face push.that broke Gz ‘s nose ? Tm was a footballer so he would have strong hands .

    Cage fighting techniques .

    There were a great many red marks on Zimmerman’s head following Martin’s attack. You just need to see the right picture. Photography is tricky–some of the photos/angles/lighting obscure the marks. But, obviously, if they show up in ANY photo they must have been there.

    And I can attest from personal experience that it is possible to securely grasp an adult male’s head with your hands even if they lack hair. Hair helps, but it’s not necessary. If the owner of the head has already been stunned, all the easier.

    –Andrew

Thank you for the excellent coverage, Mr. Branca. I tried watching HLN’s coverage and found it to be a disaster. Watching the live stream, we see the trial the same way the jurors see it. Where I live, we get called for jury duty about every three years, and I’ve served on several juries. I try to see this from a juror’s perspective. I find your analysis to be spot on.

I really think she was high/drunk yesterday.

[…] Trayvon's friend Dee-Dee is already a reality TV star. […]

I guess I’m a little lost on this. Why hasn’t the defense already depositioned Ms. Jeantel?

    cpurick in reply to cpurick. | June 27, 2013 at 8:07 am

    I’m assuming it’s because she’s the state’s witness. West is like pulling teeth to get information out of her, and fully half of the problem is “ebonics”.

    unitron in reply to cpurick. | June 27, 2013 at 8:14 am

    They did, back on March 13th, as I recall, and possibly there was a second session after that, because they blew the whole morning fighting with Bernie about being able to video record it and couldn’t get the judge on the line to overrule him.

    Fabi in reply to cpurick. | June 27, 2013 at 8:52 am

    She’s been deposed twice by the defense.

    And maybe impeached by them in a few hours…

[…] Go to Legal Insurrection to see the videos of Jeantel’s testimony […]

goddessoftheclassroom | June 27, 2013 at 8:09 am

I just realized last night that we’re seeing the 2013 remake of “To Kill a Mockingbird” with West as Atticus, GZ as Tom Robinson, RJ as Mayella Ewell, the the prosecution amalgam as Bob Ewell.
The one witness Atticus never called (in the book) was the drug store owner to confirm whether Mayella’s brothers and sisters came in that day with the “nickels she had saved for a year” to buy ice cream, as Tom testified. That still drives me nuts.

I can find “Get off the gate” in a Street gang Dictionary:

Get off the gate – Get it on: to start fighting

But for lots of folks, the testimony that Martin was yelling “Get off” suggests Zimmerman was on him.

The defense might want to figure out how to bring in that alternative street slang definition.

At this point, I think the case is going very well for the defense. Nevertheless, to check my perceptions I listened to some television commentary and was baffled by the perception of some commentators that the case is going well for the prosecution. I could not disagree more.

One must keep in mind that the undisputed physical evidence is strongly corroborative of Zimmerman’s account. In fact, this is likely why the first prosecutor chose not to file charges, in my view correctly. Zimmerman had a smashed up nose and bruises and scratches on the back of his head. Travon was found face down with a bullet wound that entered his chest. This evidence is completely consistent with Zimmerman’s account that Travon was pummeling him from above. To prevail, the prosecution must provide an explanation for this physical evidence. So far, none of the prosecution witnesses have come close.

No one has testified that they saw the positions of the two go back and forth and no one testified that Travon was face up after he was shot and then turned over. To the contrary, the defense elicited key concessions that support Zimmerman’s account. The first “ear witness” testified that she did not observe the positions of the two change nor did she observe anyone change the position of Travon’s body. Further, for what it is worth given the conditions, she observed that the person on top was wearing a dark shirt. That would have been Travon. The second eyewitness saw shadowy figures with the larger of the two on top. That is ambiguous at most and quite possibly indicative that Travon was on top as he was significantly taller than Zimmerman.

The “girlfriend’s” testimony, even if completely true, does not establish who was first to use unlawful physical force. Zimmerman may have exercised poor judgment but he does not lose his self-defense claim simply because he was following Travon, contrary to the request of the 911 operator. Following Travon was not unlawful. At most, his following might establish an inference that the pursuer initiated unlawful force. This, however, is just an inference that the defense will have plenty of opportunity to rebut.

If the prosecutor had a strong case, one would expect that at this point in the case, before the defense has begun, that the momentum would be strongly in favor of the prosecution. I agree with the assessment that the first day of trial was a debacle for the prosecution and it would be my assessment that the second day was at worst for Zimmerman a stalemate, with possibly an advantage to him.

Why hasn’t the defense pointed out each time a witness claims that Zimmerman was on top that this was AFTER the shot? And that the roles could have been reversed prior to the shot?

Trayvonetta of course lied about Trayvon saying, “Get off.”
I wonder why the def atty didn’t ask:

Isn’t it true that Trayvon said, “I’m going to kick this cracker’s ass?”

Isn’t I it true that the reason you don’t want to be here is that you lied when you said that Trayvon said, get off, and you are worried about being charged with perjury?

Are you familiar with the phrases, No Snitchin’, or Snitches Get Stitches?

Isn’t it true that you have fabricated what you heard because if you told the truth that would constitute snitching on Trayvon for telling you that he was going to kick the cracker’s ass?

Isn’t it true that Trayvon would want you to hear him kicking a cracker’s ass?

[…] Zimmerman Trial Day 3 – End-of-Day Analysis & Video of State’s Witnesses […]

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