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Zimmerman Defense Rests, Closing Statements Start Tomorrow

Zimmerman Defense Rests, Closing Statements Start Tomorrow

The defense team continued on what is expected to be the last day of their presentation of their case. The day began and ended with a bang.  This morning Judge Nelson denied the defense’s request to introduce their animated movie as evidence, although they will be permitted to use it for demonstrative purposes during closing.  Professor Jacobson covered this breaking news this morning here:

Breaking – Jury will not get to see Trayvon fighting texts

Then at the end of Court today the defense rested their case, and it was agreed that the State would present its closing argument tomorrow at 1PM, the defense would present their closing argument on Friday morning, followed by a State rebuttal.  After that the jury should be instructed, and deliberations begun.

Judge Debra Nelson, Presiding, Florida v. Zimmerman

After Judge Nelson’s rulings, the defense called their first, and perhaps only, witness of the day, use of force expert Dennis Root. The video of Mr. Root’s testimony follows below that of Judge Nelson, below.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 9.12.04 AM

Dennis Root, Use of Force Expert Witness

Defense witness Dennis Root is a use of force expert, whose credentials alone took close to an hour to draw out.  The defense then stepped Root through a couple of hours of various use of force hypotheticals.  Mr. Guy handled cross examination for the State.  As has become a pattern in this trial, the defense witness’ testimony was utterly consistent with George Zimmerman’s narrative of self-defense.  In particular, O’Mara on direct extracted from Root his belief that the expletives spoken by Zimmerman do not indicate ill-will, hatred, or spite, but rather simple frustration.

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Dennis Root, Use of Force Expert Witness

Also familiar, the State on cross seemed, if anything, to be increasing the possible number of ways in which events might have unfolded that night, seeming to increase rather than decrease the degree of reasonable doubt.  Indeed, at one point a life-sized dummy was brought into the court room and Guy began to act out the various ways in which the fight might have unfolded.  If anything, it seems it must have reinforced how vulnerable Zimmerman would have been with Martin raining down blows from above.  Indeed, it was as if for the fourth time or so the State was presenting to the jury George Zimmerman’s narrative of self defense.

Another familiar trend was the State’s tendency to ask questions to which they obviously didn’t know the answers, and getting blown up as a result.  For example, Guy sought to have Root state that the likely screamer could have been Trayvon Martin, if Zimmerman were pointing a gun at him.  Putting aside the fact that there is absolutely no evidence to support such a scenario, the question blew up in guy’s face when Root instead indicated that if he were in Trayvon Martin’s position, beating Zimmerman, and he saw Zimmerman’s gun, his most likely move would be to go for the gun–exactly as Zimmerman says Martin actually did.

Zimmerman Prosecutor over Manikin in Court

State Prosecutor Guy, Cross-Examines defense witness Dennis Root

On re-cross, O’Mara took full use of the availability of the dummy to do yet another re-enactment of the fight, in a manner most favorable to the defense.

After the lunch recess O’Mara continued with re-direct.  He asked Root about his perception of the expletives used by Zimmerman, and Root indicated that to him the remarks reflected frustration, perhaps, but not hate, anger, spite, ill-will.  O’Mara cleverly had Root call upon his extensive law enforcement background to compare how Zimmerman sounded saying those words with how genuinely angry people sounded.

Then on re-cross, State prosecutor Guy simply imploded, as the State has so often.  Guy asked whether it wasn’t true that GZ had other options, besides using his gun. Root answered, “No, given the totality of the circumstances, I don’t believe Zimmerman had any other option.”  It was almost as if the State had never deposed Root before, had simply never met this witness before his testimony in the courtroom.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 4.31.50 PM

State Prosecution team, watching case implode

On re-re-direct, O’Mara explored issues around the use of force continuum.  At one point Root noted that if faced with an aggressor, one should try to get away, if you can–a nice affirmation of the #1 rule in “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition.”

Finally Guy was back on cross, and flailing even worse, if that’s imaginable.  He challenged Root that he had never testified on behalf of a criminal defendant. “No, I have, twice, it’s in my CV,” answered Root.  He challenged Root that the force continuum described was limited in its application to law enforcement.  No, Root observed, it’s a simple conceptual model that’s effectively integrated in Florida’s self-defense statutes.

Then Guy challenged Root on whether he could identify the exact moment at which Zimmerman had been struck in the nose. “It’s hard to say,” answered Root, “he was hit a bunch of times.”

Wow.

Dennis Root, Use of Force Expert, Part 2

Dennis Root, Use of Force Expert, Part 3

Dennis Root, Use of Force Expert, Part 4

Dennis Root, Use of Force Expert, Part 5

Dennis Root, Use of Force Expert, Part 6

Dennis Root, Use of Force Expert, Part 7

Dennis Root, Use of Force Expert, Part 8

Dennis Root, Use of Force Expert, Part 9

Dennis Root, Use of Force Expert, Part 10

Olivia Bertalan, former Twin Lakes resident

The next defense witness was Olivia Bertalan, a former resident of Twin Lakes.  On direct by O’Mara she recounted an absolutely horrific story of a home invasion, in which two black men in their late teens broke into her home and began ransacking it.  She and her 9-month-old son ran up to his bedroom, locked the door, and huddled in a corner.  The 911 dispatcher told her to grab any weapon she could and be ready to use it–the best weapon at hand was a rusty pair of scissors.  Moments later one of the intruders was rattling the doorknob on the bedroom door.

Just listening to it was horrifying, but it got worse.

Olivia Bertalan Witness Zimmerman case

Olivia Bertalan, former Zimmerman neighbor

Some time later one of the invaders was identified and arrested.  He was, however, a minor and was released from arrest on that basis.  And, unimaginably, he himself was a resident of Twin Lakes, living in the neighborhood only a short distance from Bertalan’s own home.

Olivia Bertalan, former Twin Lakes resident, Part 2

Olivia Bertalan, former Twin Lakes resident, Part 3

It was very plain that this was still a deeply traumatized woman, even now almost 18 months after the invasion.

O’Mara then asked her about her interactions with Zimmerman in the aftermath of these events. Bertalan responded that they were terrified, and just so appreciative of George’s offers to help them, to make sure that they were OK.  He even arranged for Bertalan to spend some time with his wife Shellie, as she was too frightened to stay at home alone.

The testimony of Bertalan was reminiscent of the compelling testimony of Elouise Dilligard the day before, also a Zimmerman neighbor.  The Zimmerman these people described, this kind, caring neighbor, could not be further from the evil, seething, racist murdered of young black boys that the State continues to try to sell to the jury.

Robert Zimmerman, Sr., George Zimmerman’s father

Next called for a brief appearance was Robert Zimmerman, Sr., George Zimmerman’s father.  He appeared, it seems, solely to identify the screaming on the Jenna Lauer 911 recording as the voice of his son, and there was no meaningful cross-examination.

George Zimmerman Father at Trial

Robert Zimmerman Sr., George Zimmerman’s father

Robert Zimmerman, Sr., George Zimmerman’s father, Part 2

In typically classy fashion, the State prosecutors noted to the Court that the witness was still subject to recall–meaning that he would still not be able to be present in court to support his son.

George Zimmerman, Defendant–Decides Not to Testify

In a brief exchange with the Court, George Zimmerman indicated his decision to not testify on his own behalf in this case.

George Zimmerman with Don West stating no more witnesses

George Zimmerman informs Court he will not testify

Defense Makes Oral Motion For Acquittal–Denied by Judge Nelson

At this point the defense rested its case, and O’Mara made another motion for acquittal.  Essentially he argued that as little basis existed for continuing the trial at the end of the state’s case was now even further reduced to the point that an acquittal was the only reasonably outcome.  H explicitly asked that the State be required to “identify their factual scenario, their theory of the case, anything, articulating in some way Zimmerman’s guilt.”

Judge Nelson did not take him up on this offer, and instead ruled that there existed substantial evidence both direct and circumstantial to allow the second degree murder charge to go to the jury.

State Rebuttal:  Adam Pollack, Gym Owner

I’m running of of destructive descriptives to characterize the State’s case, but almost unimaginably it sunk even lower.  They notified the Court that they intended to call three rebuttal witnesses.  The first to appear was Adam Pollack, the owner of the gym where Zimmerman had gone to exercise.  The first question posed to him–are you using Zimmerman’s exercise program at your gym for promotional purposes–was immediately objected to by O’Mara.  The basis was both that it was beyond the scope of rebuttal, as well as that it was an improper effort by the State to impeach.  Ultimately, Pollack was released by the court without testifying.

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Adam Pollock, Gym owner

After a brief huddle the State told the court that their second rebuttal witness would not be brought to the stand after all–presumably they had intended to use this witness for equally impermissible reasons.

Their third rebuttal witness, they said, might be available the next day, they weren’t sure.  It turned out this witness was to be one of the ATF agents that George Zimmerman had been arrested for battering some 8 years prior. The State sought to introduce that testimony to counter the defense’s testimony of Zimmerman’s peaceful character.

O’Mara pointed out that the circumstances of the even, as well as being 8 years prior,  were such that the charges were immediately reduced to a misdemeanor and Zimmerman placed in a diversion program which Zimmerman completed and the charges were completely dismissed.  In nay case, it was prior bad act evidence, inadmissible in this case.  Plus, O’Mara cautioned, if the State called this one witness to testify that Zimmerman was violent, he would bring more than 30 counter witnesses to testify to Zimmerman’s peaceful character.

Whether this witness will be called remains uncertain, at this point.

John Donnelly, Other Alleged Violations of Sequestration

At this writing, the Court was hearing arguments about whether there was a violation of the witness sequestration rules by John Donnelly, the Vietnam combat medic.  Donnelly was present on days 2 and day 3 until the morning break.  This is the testimony he was exposed to in that course. He did here from Wendy Doraval. He also heard Donald O’Brien, and he also had a chance to listen to Ms. Bahador. Sergeant Raimondo, and Diane Smith, but neither had anything to do with the scream.  The second day he was here for Sudyka’s testimony, but she did not speak to the 911 recording.

John Donnelly, Other Alleged Violations of Sequestration, Part 2

Ultimately, Judge Nelson denied the State’s request the Donnelly’s testimony be stricken from the record.

Moving Forward:  State to Close Tomorrow, Defense to Close Friday, State Rebuttal

It appears that the closing schedule will involve the State presenting their closing arguments tomorrow at 1PM.  The defense will then present their closing arguments on Friday morning, after which the State will have a rebuttal closing.


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. Take advantage of the 20% “Zimmerman trial” discount & free shipping (ends when the jury returns a verdict). NRA & IDPA members can also use checkout coupon LOSD2-NRA for an additional 10% off. To do so simply visit the Law of Self Defense blog. (Coupon works ONLY at www.lawofselfdefense.com.)
Note also that “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition” is also available at Amazon.com. They set their own price, and it can very each day, so you might want to check there to see if they are offering the best deal today.

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

Uncle Samuel | July 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Dershowitz says Prosecution will be going for the Manslaughter charge Dershowitz says Prosecution will be going for the Manslaughter charge

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Uncle Samuel. | July 10, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Yeah – I spotted that . Heck I know nothing & posted that a week ago.

      Seriously?

      There are hundreds of comments on these threads. Also, I still remember when LI was at Blogspot, so the new comment system takes getting used to.

      Sometimes people cross post. I certainly have. Today, someone commented on a link and I saw that no one had responded, so I posted the link in question. Once I posted and the page refreshed, I realized several people posted the links in the meantime.

      People do not have time to read every single comment posted on a blog. While I understand blowing off spam trolls, some people find links and want to share them, without realizing that someone on other posts shared them at some point.

        BannedbytheGuardian in reply to pathos. | July 11, 2013 at 3:06 am

        Calm down .

        I spotted that quote by Dershowitz (was on the sidebar just then ) & thought yeah well I had already posted that likelihood . Maybe he read mine.

        Pathos certainly suits you babe.

Today was head-spinning as a non-lawyer viewer. I was glued, mostly angry at the judge for her attitude, some angry at Zimmerman for even hinting he might testify (I gasped!)and angry at West for insisting on one objection, over and over.

Mr. Branca, your speedy Tweet responses and your amazing coverage deserves a huge round of applause.

Mr. Branca,

I’m surely thankful now that I found your link. All of your updates are so much appreciated.

Thanks

I guess the game now is in the jury instructions, the lesser charges, and (excuse me while I get a bit sexist…) my perceived inclination of an all-woman jury to pursue a consensus that gives everyone a little of something.

    Sanddog in reply to JEM. | July 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    I don’t like the ability of the jury to decide on a lesser charge. Either he’s guilty of what the state claims, or he’s not. The ability of a sympathetic jury to throw the family a bone just rubs me the wrong way.

    raven in reply to JEM. | July 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I agree. I predict guilty on manslaughter, if that’s an option. I don’t believe an unconditional acquittal is possible in the Narrative-driven world we inhabit.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    tcbaz in reply to JEM. | July 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    I am waiting for the State to announce that they will be seeking charges of
    ‘2nd Degree Armed Littering” for leaving the shell casing. It makes me wonder GZ is found guilty on a lesser charge if anyone involved in a self defense shooting will ever issue a statement to the police without speaking to their attorney first.

    MarkS in reply to JEM. | July 10, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    You’re right! GZ will get something, anything so they jury will think it did something

    mwsomerset in reply to JEM. | July 10, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    As a woman…all I can say is…hearing Ms. Bertalan give her account of the home invasion.. holding her infant in one hand and rusty scissors in the other while the black teen twisted the door knob… sent shivers up my spine. I would not be surprised if the jurors reach a not guilty verdict 5 minutes after they elect a forewoman and take an initial vote.

      Matt in FL in reply to mwsomerset. | July 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      I’m not a woman, and I got the same chills.

      EyesWideOpen in reply to mwsomerset. | July 10, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      I agree, mws. Her testimony was powerful for the defense for a host of reasons. First of all, she was so genuine in her fear describing the home invasion. I’m a grown man and I too had “spine tingles” envisioning her terrified alone in an upstairs bedroom with only a baby and a pair of scissors as the doorknob was jiggled by the intruders. So genuine was experience that she picked up and moved away within a few months. Says a lot there about what residents had to be thinking and feeling in the aftermath and why the neighborhood watch was established. Then….Mr. Guy clumsily handed the defense a huge additional gift. Instead of just saying “no questions, your honor” to minimize the impact and relevance of her testimony, this moron bullies her in tone and opens the door to relating it favorably to GZ (by insinuating that she had done something wrong by discussing it). That allows MOM to elicit her appreciation for GZ’s help, how she felt in no way threatened by his offers, and even how he sliding glass back doors were now known to be a mechanism of entry to home invaders.

      Unbelievably dumb for the state and beneficial for the defense. You can bet that MOM is going to go back to that well in closing to show GZ as sympathetic, non-“creepy”, and just frustrated with unpunished crime (as a retort for the prosecutions constant mis-casting of his two cuss words as “proof of hate”). It doesn’t hurt either that I would hope this particular witness would resonate well with a female jury who may have been getting a little tired of all the he-man stuff with Pollock and Root. It added a nice feminine touch to the defense case since relating to all the force training and fight club testimony might be a bit harder for women IMO. I really hope this jury doesn’t split the difference and applies the law properly in a full acquittal on all charges.

      Sally MJ in reply to mwsomerset. | July 10, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      And most importantly – this was the incident that spurred the establishment of the Neighborhood Watch Program. It started in August 2012, and was only up about 6 months before the TM shooting.

        sunnyk in reply to Sally MJ. | July 11, 2013 at 12:14 am

        She spoke of two black young men casing and entering her home. But only one man caught and convicted. Might the other young man have been Trayvon?

Well that quick of a hearing has got to have some upset, lol…

Anyhow I do not think I could convict if brought in on a similar trial that I had no fore knowledge of…

There is way to much room for reasonable doubt, in fact way to much room to convict him of being the man of the year imo 😉

Again, Andrew, you are providing the best coverage of anyone on this case. You rock. Great job.

I can only hope that the Jury does the right thing here.

And the Judge Nelson Chris Farley Separated at Birth comparisons are not fair. Chris Farley was a nice guy.

When GZ is acquitted, can we let Pollack loose on BdlR, Guy, and Mantei? He could certainly take on all three of these pusillanimous Sisyphi at once…

    mwsomerset in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I got the biggest chuckle when Pollock was called back to the stand….asked if he was advertising GZ training on his web site…he emphatically said….”I most certainly am not”…the jurors are dismissed and when they return…no Pollock. You just know they wondered what was up and if the Prosecution was once again making stuff up. He looked like he was ready to sucker punch the boys on the prosecution when he walked out.

Do you realize your html is screwed?

Excellent coverage, as usual Mr. Branca.

Kudos to you and the Professor for providing such a great resource for laypeople and professionals alike.

    obamabinlyin in reply to wyntre. | July 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Yes! Thanks for all the great updates and background info! You guys have done a super job!!! Thanks again and God Bless!

My prediction: Not guilty verdict delivered less than 1 hour after the jury begins deliberations. But the court may postpone reading the verdict until Monday morning so police can prepare for any reactions.

    caambers in reply to myiq2xu. | July 10, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    I don’t think they can hold the verdict like that. On the bright side, Chantal is supposed to hit this weekend, by Friday, and although she’s not going to be much, she will dump quite a bit of rain on us, that may put the kibosh on local demonstrations.

    Irony Tag in reply to myiq2xu. | July 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Having been on a couple of Juries I can confirm that it will take much longer than an hour. They need to meet, select a forewoman, read the instructions, follow the form and work their way through the possible charges. If there is any uncertainty then they’ll have to examine the evidence or ask questions of the judge. That all takes time.

    Even if it there is a consensus right away and on all the charges, it’ll still take a few hours from start to finish.

      xfactor in reply to Irony Tag. | July 11, 2013 at 12:57 am

      When I was on a jury, people wanted to vote almost immediately. We could have been done quite quick if the vote had been unanimous (it was not).

    Hodor in reply to myiq2xu. | July 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Guilty.

    Discharging a firearm within the city limits.

    That’ll be $50- to the clerk and mind you don’t trip over the Black Panthers on your way out the door. Speaking of which- here’s your pistol back.

      Matt in FL in reply to Hodor. | July 10, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Ah, so there’s a question. If he’s acquitted, he walks out of the courthouse a free man. When does he get his gun back? It is still his legal property, after all, even if it does have a case number and examiners initials written down the side in in silver paint marker.

        Lina Inverse in reply to Matt in FL. | July 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm

        New it is an approximately $300 gun, and not one you can do a lot of custom work on. He could well be so sick and tired of the Florida “justice” system that he wouldn’t want to try to force them to cough it up.

        Hodor in reply to Matt in FL. | July 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm

        Not soon enough, but he should probably trade up anyway after this fiasco.

        I think I saw 3 guards with him returning from a break today. First time I’ve noticed them but I haven’t really been paying attention to entries/egresses so I don’t know if that’s a new thing or if, in fact, that’s what they were. 3 big dudes in grey suits. Hope they’re enough…

      mwsomerset in reply to Hodor. | July 10, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      I think if they find him guilty of discharging a firearm….the outcry will be much worse than not guilty. Come to think of it….where are you suppose to discharge your firearm if you are being attacked? The seems like a silly law to attach to this case.

        Hodor in reply to mwsomerset. | July 10, 2013 at 10:17 pm

        What was actually mentioned this afternoon as a lesser or included charge was phrased more like ~Possession and discharge of a firearm resulting in death. I’d imagine this charge is like the other lesser/included charges in that Self Defense= Self Defense= Not Guilty of murder, manslaughter, assault, improper lead disposal, etc…

        Dunno about Sanford but every city I’ve ever lived in it’s illegal to shoot more than a BB gun w/in town except on a range. The $50- part I made up. There’s been a lot of talk of “compromise verdicts.” That’s the only one I’d be happy with. 😉

    kentuckyliz in reply to myiq2xu. | July 10, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Weekend riots work better, because downtown is less congested with workday people. Hurricane Chantale (Jeantel) would be nice timing too.

    Acquitted…now go board up your windows.

    MarkS in reply to myiq2xu. | July 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    The only hope GZ has is if Her Honor did something so outrageous the verdict (which will be guilty of something) gets tossed on appeal.

    fogflyer in reply to myiq2xu. | July 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    I think a quick verdict is possible, but I actually think a jury of men would be more likely to make a snap verdict like that. I think these women will want to take their time and make sure they understand the law before they rule.

    I guess is 4-6 hours of deliberation, then a not-guilty verdict on all charges.

    Don’t let me down ladies!

    Milhouse in reply to myiq2xu. | July 10, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    No, I think they’ll take longer. At least, I would. Last year I was on a jury in a med-mal case. After four weeks of testimony, we finally got into the room and looked at each other and it was clear that the plaintiff simply had no case. I thought I’d have to argue with my fellow jurors, but somewhat to my surprise we were all on the same page. Still, we felt obligated to give the plaintiff a fair chance, so we went over the evidence looking for some way to find a chink in the defense, just so when we finally found for the defendants we’d have a clean conscience.

Attorney Crump ’bout to be speakins wiff Rev. Al! Have your English-Ebonics dishenary close by.

    Fabi in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Crump looks like he’s seen a ghost! He is SHAKEN UP! Must’ve been one hell of a deposition – yeehah!

      wyntre in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      I’m allergic to MSNBC so must rely on your insight.

      More detail, please.

        Fabi in reply to wyntre. | July 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm

        Unfortunately, it’s the only channel I receive that’s showing the trial. I won’t ever watch again – fools.

        Crump mumbled through a bunch of bs. He’s a part of this scheme and needs to be held accountable. He’s a race hustler of the worst kind (not that there’s a better or best kind). As sickening as this hissy-fit judge.

          wyntre in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 8:00 pm

          My sympathies. I listen to or watch the livestream and once in a while tune into HLN. But they air commercials every three minutes and are always behind the action.

          And of course I check here, frequently, as you know.

          mwsomerset in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 8:03 pm

          I’m watching the NBC link posted here…the one without commentators…I don’t need someone to explain to me what I just saw and heard.

          moshe in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 10:15 pm

          Fabi – maybe you can shed some light on this. Crump is the guy who wrote a letter to the Justice Dept. claiming to have learned that Detective Serino originally recommended manslaughter charges, but was overruled by his superiors. It was upon the basis of this Crump discovery that DJ opened an investigation into the matter.

          We now know that Serino never recommended any charges. He found Zimmerman’s version of the events completely credible. Is anyone holding Crump to account for his blatant lie?

    Fabi in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Thumbs down? Have you ever heard Crump speak? I’m being kind! White guilt?

    Enunciate we much! lol

Speaking of the ATF agent and “Whether this witness will be called remains uncertain, at this point.”, MOM made it explicitly clear in his post-court presser, when asked about that witness, that “There will be no more witnesses. There will be no more evidence introduced. We’re done. The defense and state have both rested, and we will start closing arguments tomorrow.”

    Matt in FL in reply to Matt in FL. | July 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Oh, and further, Ragspierre noted earlier today that the Judge more or less told the prosecution that even if the ATF agent was available to testify, that dog won’t hunt. She more or less said that “You guys know how this works, and you know that’s not relevant.” Mantei probably likely just had that witness “quietly go away,” as another commenter phrased it.

    wyntre in reply to Matt in FL. | July 10, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Did you hear Nelson’s response? She said she didn’t like the tit for tat attitude of the defense to the prosecution case.

    What a piece of work she is. At times today I felt like I was watching spouses in a dysfunctional marriage, especially in the back and forth between her and West.

    I found Nelson’s demeanor adolescent and unprofessional. Her clear bias against the defense was on full unflattering display.

      Danny Leong in reply to wyntre. | July 10, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      What do you expect her to say in the circumstance? The defense was basically threatening to call in 30 witnesses if the prosecution brings in the ATF guy. How is a judge supposed to rule? Oh, I won’t let you call him because the other side is going to up and waste our time?

OK, lemme’ see now.

“Jury will not get to see Trayvon fighting texts”

Butt Pudgie Budgie IS interested in what they jury, may have texted? Did I get that correct?

    BrianMacker in reply to JP. | July 10, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Everyone who sits on a jury for this judge in the future should buy two phones and have a debate with themselves via text messages, one phone for guilty and one for innocent. Then if she finds out and bitches just claim two of the other jurors must have gotten the passwords to both phones and used them when they were not looking.

It will be up to MOM and West to clearly explain to the jury that if there is reasonable doubt to allow for self defense, they must not come back with manslaughter either. I hope they are working hard on that presentation right now……

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to graytonb. | July 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I hope MOM points out in closing that even the State has ceded the point that Trademark was on top, as evidenced by Guy getting on top of the dummy.

      EyesWideOpen in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | July 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      Astonishing with that dummy stunt demonstrating it live! The case/evidence-impact has by now moved so far towards the defense’s theory, that even the prosecutor is expressly acknowledging that TM was on top and the aggressor just prior to the gunshot.

      The state has been reduced to positing wild, fanciful scenarios about TM “de-escalating” just prior to being wounded (with no demonstrable evidence to reinforce that) and basically settling for trying to introduce reasonable doubt into the self-defense theory rather than DISPELLING reasonable doubt as to their own claim of guilt! Simply amazing that this farce ever got this far with the utter lack of even probable cause here, much less proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

      MOM was exactly correct when he asked to hear what the state’s ACTUAL THEORY OF THE CRIME IS during his second attempt at a direct acquittal. JN, that insufferable pig, didn’t even ask the prosecutor to fake his way through one before rejecting! I can honestly say–giving the prosecution every available evidentiary bias in their favor–that I still can’t fathom what the state’s criminal claim is!

      All I can tell is: “GZ said a couple of common swear words so that makes firing his gun murder automatically”. Utterly ridiculous.

      ‘hope MOM is as perceptive as you.

        EyesWideOpen in reply to MarkS. | July 10, 2013 at 10:29 pm

        MOM would have to be a moron to not recognize the above and reinforce it. As in:

        “Members of the jury, note that even the PROSECUTION has expressly acknowledged via the dummy reenactment that TM was on top and the aggressor in the superior position in the period of time immediately preceding the gunshot.”

Gandalf the Black | July 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Andrew – you can change your line about any more witnesses. O’mara affirmed in his press conference that the State rested fully as has the Defense. No more witnesses.

I thought there was a court case thrown out recently due to comments Obama made about it. Why doesn’t the same apply in this case? IIRC it had something to do with the dependent not getting a fair trial.

Can someone explain to me why the bumbling prosecution team gets a rebuttal to the Defense’s closing statement?

This is the worst example of fair play that I’ve seen in some time..

    caambers in reply to GrumpyOne. | July 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    I thought there was something called a surrebuttal by the defense if need be. I wonder, who gets the last word?

    smokefan in reply to GrumpyOne. | July 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    That’s pretty standard procedure – State goes first, defendant goes, then State gives rebuttal closing. Whenever I’m representing a defendant, my closing always includes the phrase “When I sit down, I can no longer speak with you on behalf of my client. But Mr./Ms. Prosecutor will get to get up and give the last word. I ask that you keep in mind what I have said here even while Mr./Ms. Prosecutor is speaking.”

    Observer in reply to GrumpyOne. | July 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    The prosecution always gets to have the last word to the jury because the prosecution has the burden of proof.

txantimedia | July 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Andrew, is the fact that the prosecution closes tomorrow and the defense doesn’t close until Friday morning advantageous or disadvantageous or neutral to the defense’s chances of success?

    Matt in FL in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    @txantimedia: I’m not trying to stifle your conversation at all, but I already asked that question in the “Live” thread, here, and got a few responses.

    But not from Andrew. Maybe he’ll weigh in over here.

      txantimedia in reply to Matt in FL. | July 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      @Matt in FL

      @txantimedia: I’m not trying to stifle your conversation at all, but I already asked that question in the “Live” thread, here, and got a few responses.

      But not from Andrew. Maybe he’ll weigh in over here.

      Thanks, Matt. Reading those was helpful in clarifying the issues. I appreciate it.

      If I were O’Mara, here’s how I would close:

      Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, first I would like to thank you for your patience. You have made quite a sacrifice to be here and away from your loved ones for so long. My client deeply appreciates the way that you have paid close attention to the testimony and taken notes during the trial and the sacrifices that you have made while you carefully consider his fate. His life is in your hands just as surely as it was in Trayvon Martin’s hands that awful night

      No one questions that this is a tragedy. My client will have to live for the rest of his life with the knowledge that he killed Trayvon Martin. The Martin family has lost a child, something no parent should ever have to endure.

      The most important decision you must make now is whether or not the prosecution has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that my client could not have been acting in self defense. If your answer is no, you must return a verdict of not guilty by reason of justified homicide.

      I do not want to take up more of your time than necessary, but let’s review the key elements in this case.

      Review the evidence; important items, GZ’s reasonable suspicion that TM was up to no good – mention the TOX report to buttress his suspicions. GZ’s reticence to engage suspicious people and his desire to help the police catch them as well as his concern for the residents’ safety. Point out that he could have reasonably believed, when he got out of the car, that the dispatcher was asking him to keep eyes on the suspect. Then, after he lost sight of TM and thought he was safe, and while he waited for the police to arrive, TM suddenly reappeared, said you’ve got a problem now and sucker punched him.

      At that point the outcome was inevitable. One of the two of them was going to die. George fought long and hard to get away, an eternity according to the use of force expert and never even drew his weapon until he realized he was now in life threatening danger.

      While one could quibble over details, the crux of his story, that he was ambushed, overwhelmed, begged for help for more than 40 seconds and finally, when he had no other options, fired to save his life has never changed. What’s more, the believable testimony of witnesses back up his story.

      While it’s understandable that the Martin family wants the screams to be those of their son, and no one can fault them for that, logic tells you that the person who would be screaming is the one who is losing the fight. His manifest injuries, and the lack of TM’s injuries demonstrate that my client was telling the truth.

      Had Trayvon seen the gun and chosen to cry for help instead of trying to grab it away from his adversary, it’s incredible to think that he would have screamed for 40 seconds, with a gun pointed at him, before being shot. It defies common sense. Why didn’t he get up? Run away? Do anything to separate himself from the gun in the darkness?

      While the prosecution has wandered around for more than two weeks seeking alternative explanations for what happened, that is not their job. They must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that my client did not act in self defense. They have failed.

      I ask that you carefully consider all the facts of this tragedy and find my client not guilty of any crime except trying to save his life.

        ConradCA in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm

        Wouldn’t he want to talk about how the lead investigator testified that Zimmerman’s state was supported by the evidence in every significant respect? That when told that their was a tape of this incident Zimmerman said “Thank God!”?

    Jazzizhep in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    hey txan, if you saw my reply of “ZZZZZZZZZZZZ” to one of your posts last night that was a mistake. I used “ZZZZZ” as a placeholder to remind myself I am in “reply” mode and not “post” mode. I changed my mind about replying to your post and somehow it got sent. Your post was a serious comment and my reply looked rather rude.

Grumpy, it’s just FL court rules of criminal procedure, not a judgement call.

    cpurick in reply to graytonb. | July 10, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    I once asked about the closing sequence in another Florida case and was told by an attorney that the sequence changes if the defendant testifies. Can anyone confirm this, and what that other sequence might be, if true?

As a woman…if I were on that jury, the first question I’d ask is about self-defense. If Zimmerman acted in self-defense…then he’s acquitted of all charges. Twenty minutes tops in the jury room just to make sure the paperwork is all in order then time to go home.

Gandalf the Black | July 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm

I’ll be mightily pissed if Nelson allows Aggravated Assault as an option.

Question – What of these unlawful discharge of firearm charges? Are these only for sentencing considerations of the Category I charges (Murder 2, Manslaughter)? Or is this something he could be convicted of by their lonesome?

    Especially when TM was the one who essentially committed Aggravated Assault on GZ.

    iconotastic in reply to Gandalf the Black. | July 10, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I am curious about it too. I came across that possibility chatting with someone who appeared to believe that exiting the truck with a loaded gun was grounds for aggravated assault. It seemed ridiculous to me, but I have learned over the years that the Law doesn’t have to make much sense.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Gandalf the Black. | July 10, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    It seems to me that if the jury determines this was self-defense, the discharge of the gun is totally moot.

If GZ is judged to have acted in self defense, he can’t be found guilty of a firearm violation, since it was legally used.
Scary to leave this up to six people, though…..

Sigh…..not dePendent..change the p to an f

Is there any lawyerly people on here now that can hedge some bets? I know juries are liable to do anything but if this had been your case, how confident would you be feeling about now? Is it better if the jury comes back quickly or takes a long time?

    Ragspierre in reply to caambers. | July 10, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Well, this is still a horse race. Your horse can fall.

    But IF I have Robert Hirshhorn to help me craft my close (and I think we do), and GIVEN the testimony, evidence and atmospherics of this case…

    I am feeling pretty good. Well, I WILL feel pretty good if I can sleep tonight.

    I dunno what is holding these guys up.

    graytonb in reply to caambers. | July 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I’m in TN, not FL, but my experience is that you just cannot tell what six or twelve people are going to do…….
    Although I would have put money down on the Arias verdict. That’s the closest to predictable I’ve seen lately.

      caambers in reply to graytonb. | July 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks Rags & Gray for that. I am so nervous to be honest. And I just realized the major grammatical error in my earlier post. I’m so tired I guess.

    smokefan in reply to caambers. | July 10, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Not a hard and fast rule, but IME the longer the jury takes to deliberate, the more likely a NG verdict. If the jury comes back in less than an hour, GZ had better get that appeal bond posted stat.

    If the only charge for the jury to consider were murder 2, I’d bet on a NG verdict. The lesser includeds make reading the tea leaves harder. But still, even with the lesser includeds, the State must prove absence of self defense beyond a reasonable doubt, and I think there’s reasonable doubt all over the place.

      Matt in FL in reply to smokefan. | July 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      See, I see it the opposite way in this case. Usually, I think you’re right, a quick verdict is often a guilty verdict. But in this case, the whole world is topsy-turvy, with the defense presenting a solid, unbending, evidence-supported case, and the prosecution trying to poke holes in it.

      The prosecution, throughout the entire course of the case, never enunciated a concrete narrative of what happened that night. They just poked, and prodded, and if it was the defense doing it, you’d call it “trying to introduce reasonable doubt.” But it was the prosecution, so “trying to introduce reasonable guilt” maybe?

      In this case, I think a quick verdict is a NG verdict, and a long deliberation may be a bad thing, because that could mean they’re discussing a compromise verdict to a lesser included, and that would be the worst possible outcome.

        smokefan in reply to Matt in FL. | July 10, 2013 at 7:32 pm

        You may be right, given the whole bizarro world aspect of this case. This has to be one of the most strangely postured trials I’ve ever seen.

      kentuckyliz in reply to smokefan. | July 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      OK, I am not a lawyer. If GZ is convicted of something, does the appeal bond keep him out of prison? Would the regular courthouse offices have to be open to file this, or can defense do it immediately in court?

      What I’m getting at: jury still deliberating after hours on Friday, return a verdict. Can’t file til Monday. GZ killed in prison over the weekend.

      If it’s not something done right there in court with the judge, and the jury returns an after hours verdict, I could see the judge holding the verdict until Monday just to make sure GZ is not killed in prison over the weekend.

      So amiright or wayoffbase? Please explain, legal beagles.

    Sally MJ in reply to caambers. | July 10, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Remember – the OJ jury came back with a not guilty verdict in, what – one and a half days?

I, for one, should the jury return a not guilty verdict, would like to offer up a nice victory celebration for the entire defense team. Heck, they can even bring along their families – McDonalds ice cream cones for EVERYBODY!!! 🙂

obamabinlyin | July 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm

I have a question about the so-called witness sequestration. In today’s world almost everybody owns some type of portable device which allows access to the internet. This being the case, what good does it do to sequester witnesses when all they need do is watch on a mobile device? If the judge and lawyers truly wanted witness sequestration, there should have been no cameras in the courtroom, no?

    smokefan in reply to obamabinlyin. | July 10, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    I believe the jurors’ phones, tablets/iPads, etc. were confiscated by the bailiff. I recall reading that the jurors would be given their phones once a day for a brief period to call their families, that landline phones were removed from their hotel rooms, and that TV news channels are blocked in their hotel rooms.

      graytonb in reply to smokefan. | July 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      I hope they blocked more than just the standard news channels…. this trial is all over the tv landscape. Talk shows, especially.

        wyntre in reply to graytonb. | July 10, 2013 at 8:11 pm

        I have a weakness for John Grisham novels. The Runaway Jury has some great chapters involving imaginary scenarios of jury sequestration.

      kentuckyliz in reply to smokefan. | July 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      WITNESS sequestration. Apparently less strict. Two witnesses attended or watched part of the trial.

    graytonb in reply to obamabinlyin. | July 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    All you had to do was watch the gallery, including the Martin/Fulton crowd, texting away throughout the trial.
    Actually, I know many judges in my state that would never put up with that.

      smokefan in reply to graytonb. | July 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      Yeah, my judges have really strict rules about phones in the courtroom. The bailiff would be confiscating phones before anyone in the gallery knew what had hit them.

    smokefan in reply to obamabinlyin. | July 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    arg, you asked about witness sequestration, not the jury. My bad. Yeah, you have a point. There really would be no way to keep the witnesses completely inoculated from the courtroom proceedings, at least in terms of watching videos after hours. (During court hours, the bailiff could keep an eye on them in the hallways or witness holding rooms…)

    Ragspierre in reply to obamabinlyin. | July 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    This is a great point about how the rules are outrun by technology.

    The instructions (and there are law review articles being written about this as we speak) HAVE to include a strict provision about watching ANY means of learning the proceedings.

    Plus, there are potentially as many video cameras in that courtroom as people.

    This is VERY interesting to trial attorneys.

      txantimedia in reply to Ragspierre. | July 10, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      If they were serious about sequestration, they would not have allowed cameras in the courtroom. This was for show – IMO to introduce enough doubt in people’s minds that when Zimmerman is found not guilty most people will say they’re not surprised.

      The case never should have been brought to begin with and everybody without ingrained bias can plainly see that. At the MAXIMUM, it should have been a manslaughter trial, IF you could reasonably argue that there’s doubt regarding his self defense claim.

      The Trayvonites are now left with praying for a verdict on a lesser charge, because even they must know there’s no hope of a 2nd degree murder conviction. In fact, I think that reality is finally sinking in even to the concrete heads.

        kentuckyliz in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm

        Defend yourself against aggravated assault: camera coverage of trial and related hearings–every second. Live feeds on the internet. Video clips on YouTube.

        Commit a terrorist bombing at a major public sports event and commit additional crimes while trying to escape apprehension–no cameras in the courtroom, just lovely artist renderings.

        I oppose cameras in the courtroom, because I have unemployed artist friends.

        kentuckyliz in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 7:47 pm

        I agree–perhaps it assuages the Trayvonites, but it also shows the rest of us how the sausage is made.

A concern of the defense is that if the jury cannot agree, they may compromise on a lesser charge. They will be unaware that, even if Zimmerman is acquitted on both murder 2 and manslaughter charges, he could still face 25-30 year in prison on a lesser charge.
See http://www.mediaite.com/online/even-if-george-zimmerman-is-found-not-guilty-of-murder-and-manslaughter-he-could-still-serve-25-years/

MouseTheLuckyDog | July 10, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Sorry but you are incorrect about the States reason for calling the ATF agent. Of course we all know that they wanted the arrest in evidence. We also know that to allow it for those reasons would be reversible error.

They tried to back door the arrest in by claiming that the fight that got him arrested was being used to rebut the gym owners testimony about his being “soft”. When the judge said she would take a proffer I think they figured that the agent would testify to a minimal if any fight. Probably not even a punch thrown. So they pulled it. Finally learning when to punt.

    Actually I don’t think they wanted to call him to dispute the ‘soft’ comment. I think they wanted to call him to dispute Root’s testimony that he did not consider GZ to be the agressive type (not sure of the exact term Root used). If it was to dispute the gym teacher they would have had him in court ready to testify. As it was they weren’t even sure if they could get in touch with him on the moment’s notice which indicated to me it was a desperate last minute decision.

tarheelkate | July 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm

i don’t see how lesser charges could apply. He either acted in self-defense or he didn’t (it seems obvious to me that he did). If it was self-defense, it wasn’t murder, manslaughter, or aggravated assault. If it was self-defense, the assault was committed by Martin and Zimmerman acted legally.

I would never vote for a “compromise” verdict, most especially if it was clear to me that reasonable doubt about self-defense had not been shown.

    McCoy2k in reply to tarheelkate. | July 10, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    That’s my understanding as well. The prosecution failed to disprove self-defense, so a murder or manslaughter charge *logically* doesn’t even come into the picture until that first hurdle has been jumped.

      randian in reply to McCoy2k. | July 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      That’s why the prosecution is trying to add aggravated assault to the jury instructions. They hope for a compromise verdict against all the evidence.

        McCoy2k in reply to randian. | July 10, 2013 at 8:44 pm

        I understand that, but once again, before a aggravated assault charge is considered, does the jury first have to a decide whether Zimmerman lawfully defended himself? If they conclude Zimmerman did act lawfully when defending himself, the aggravated assault charge doesn’t even come into the picture. Am I correct on that?

Carol Herman | July 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Guy’s grey dummy! (While we learned the cartoonish vidio of Zimmerman’s self-defense construct was not allowed in.)

I think in sex stores, everywhere, the grey dummy will become a companion.

Root was a great witness. Guy and Mantie among the worst. But in the upside-down world of debbie half-nelson, what else would you expect?

I read somewhere that the jurors in the “back row” stood up to watch and see Guy do his “straddle” demonstration; while he asked question to Root on par “with isn’t it possible the shot could have been done on the moon?” (Okay. I exaggerate.

I’m still of the mind that O’Mara and West’s yesterday “proffer/motion” time killer, without the jury present, was two-fold. To establish into the record the judge’s bias. And, that Zimmerman IS entitled to a fair trial, per our US Constitution, including all the Amendments, even under Flori(duh) State law.

It was a very long night. Choosing medicine, or choosing law, as a field of endeavor is to guarantee you’ll have lots of sleepless nights. O’Mara and West knew they’ve presented enough information for jurors to reach a verdict. And, now the record shows, should the jurors convict, that debbie half-nelson did not allow in vital information. (As a judge, little debbie half-nelson’s skills are on par with Dr. Bao’s. And his excuse could be that he didn’t even begin speaking Engrish until 1985?

If nothing else, everyone who watched the trial, met a lot of characters. Damon Runyon would have had a blast, just putting some of this down on paper.

Up ahead: Perhaps with the media vehicles choking off traffic when the expected verdict comes in; there will be street people displaying their art? Will they use giant puppets. Will Guy’s naked gray dummy fall out of a window.?

    Observer in reply to Carol Herman. | July 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    I think the prosecutors must have been watching HLN’s trial coverage a few nights ago. On Vinnie Politan’s show, they have a mock jury and they pose questions for them. The other night, the question was something like: “Did Zimmerman lie about Martin grabbing for the gun?” They staged a mock struggle on the ground with two guys, and “proved” that Martin’s legs were above the gun, basically blocking it. (Of course, nobody pointed out that Zimmerman would have been thrashing around, as he struggled to get away and escape Martin’s blows.) The jury just looked at the static figures, and they all (IIRC) voted that Zimmerman had lied.

    Somebody in the prosecutor’s office probably saw the show and suggested they do a demonstration of their own (since it worked so well on the t.v. jury!). Oops.

      wyntre in reply to Observer. | July 10, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      Oh, barf! HLN’s OK during the day if you cans stand the zillion commercials coz they just air what’s going on in the courtroom but once the Nancy Grace hour starts it is unwatchable.

      If the prosecution is watching that channel the legal profession is in trouble.

      Like I said, I prefer the livestream. I happened to be at home most of today so I was glued to the trial while doing other stuff on computer.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to wyntre. | July 10, 2013 at 8:47 pm

        After reading the Wikipedia bio of her I call her Nancy Disgrace three time murder and camera vigilante.

    Carol,

    Try being an engineer against a deadline. Not much sleep either.

    kentuckyliz in reply to Carol Herman. | July 10, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I wonder if the giant puppet artists are working on Skittles and Arizona Watermelon Fruit Cocktail on tall poles. Everyone will show up dress in a yellow emergency blanket.

    McCoy2k in reply to Carol Herman. | July 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    I’m confused! I thought BDLR was the dummy!

To bring in the ATF agent would be a great injustice in view of the fact that the history of TM has been suppressed from evidence. I am perplexed that Root was allowed to testify, since his testimony IMHO was highly speculative — Root was not a witness who saw or heard anything in the altercation.

The trial should never have happened. A grand jury should have voted a no bill. The judge should have thrown it out long ago. This trial is a way of punishing an innocent person.

    txantimedia in reply to GumBoocho. | July 10, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Root is an expert just like Dr. Di Maio is an expert. I’m sure you understand why Di Maio testified. Root testified for the same reasons; to educate the jury regarding the facts and testimony.

    There were two things that Root said that I believe will stick in the jurors mind. I’m not quoting but paraphrasing.

    Most people have no idea how long 5 seconds is in a fight. 30 seconds is an eternity.

    George screamed for over 40 seconds before firing. That won’t be lost on the jury.

    At the time that he shot I don’t believe he had any other options.

    Best quote of the entire trial. Absolutely nails the self defense justification. And that testimony was evinced by the dumb ass prosecutor, Mr. Guy, who just could not stop himself from searching for something, anything that could explain an alternate scenario.

    I believe that those two witnesses, Di Maio and Root, were absolutely essential to the defense’s case AND locked in a not guilty verdict.

      ConradCA in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      My vote for most important testimony is the Sanford PD lead investigator for this case:

      1) Zimmerman’s statement was supported by the evidence in every significant respect.

      2) When told that their was video of this incident Zimmerman said “Thank God!”.

      3) I believe Zimmerman is telling the truth.

    pjm in reply to GumBoocho. | July 10, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    “A grand jury should have voted a no bill” – the special prostituter didnt’ dare take the chance of that happening, so she skipped it.

      ConradCA in reply to pjm. | July 10, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      How can a prosecutor skip a grand jury when it’s required in the constitution?

        ConradCA in reply to ConradCA. | July 10, 2013 at 10:24 pm

        Fifth Amendment:

        No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.[1]

they have been preparing people for verdict since yesterday

Was anything useful to the defense learned from deposing Crump?

    txantimedia in reply to GumBoocho. | July 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    I’m betting that comes up in a separate action. Maybe a civil suit followed by disbarment hearings.

      robbi in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      Crump definitely wasn’t his usual blustering self in the interview with Al Sharpton. He looked like a condemned man.

Looks like they are trying to get Zim convicted of something, seeing if they can’t get a conviction on some lesser charge. You would think that an honest prosecution would drop the case, admitting lack of evidence. Maybe they can convict Zim of walking on the grass.

    MarkS in reply to GumBoocho. | July 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    You’re right, an honest prosecution would drop it, but we both know this trial has nothing to do with the honest application of the law.

Awesome coverage, first-time poster. Re the witness list, do you all wonder as much as I do where the unnamed Trayvon friends wound up? Several were with him what last day. Were they ever identified? Did the TM team even want to find them? This seems to me to be a chorus of dogs NOT barking, which itself is a strong indicator of something.

    Fabi in reply to kosmograd. | July 10, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Yes, you missed all TM’s character witnesses: his Cub Scout leader, his priest from first communion, his astronaut mentor, his calculus professor…

    kittycat in reply to kosmograd. | July 10, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    kosmograd,

    Maybe one of TM’s friends was one of the guys who committed that burglary. They said one was caught and lived in that same area.

    graytonb in reply to kosmograd. | July 10, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Even this prosecution knew better than to open THAT door.

Ha! State used a (black) mannequin in their re-enactment and during the same, showed TM (mannequin) on top of GZ! I guess they didn’t quite realize that they were only bolstering the defense claim of self defense!! Hilarious!

Go State! Go State! You’re doing a great job for GZ!

Judge Napolitano of Fox News (I like him) just said that the trial should have been stopped earlier and Zimmerman been acquitted. It’s self-defense. I’m not using exact words.

A “not guilty” verdict is NOT enough.

-Corruption of the legal system via politics

-Race pimps

-MSM turning typical black male thug from broken home into St. Skittles

-Prosecutor misconduct

all must be addresses. BIG TIME.

Game over. This farce of a show trial — put on solely to placate the bloodlust of the race-baiting black “leaders,” the black community at large and proponents of the theory of perpetual black victimization, and to promote the political careers of self-aggrandizing prosecutors and politicians, with the aid of a compliant, biased and lazy liberal media which actively seeks to promote the narrative of black victimization, truth be damned — will mercifully come to a conclusion, hopefully with the only outcome which is appropriate, given the total paucity of evidence provided by the State to support its baseless charges, to wit, an acquittal.

Oh good grief…. CNN just had a prison employee opine that he wouldn’t give GZ six months to last in his prison. Word for word.

Carol Herman | July 10, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Gumboocho, worse than “walking on the grass,” damaging the cement. And, damaging nearby tree branches.

Has the Martin family come out and confirmed that they will support whatever the jury decides? I seem to recall them claiming that all they ever wanted was a trial and the verdict was of little concern to them – i.e. let the truth come out at trial and that would satisfy them. Have they confirmed that sentiment? Or are they now calling for a guilty verdict?

    graytonb in reply to cazinger. | July 10, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Actually, a Not Guilty would probably raise their profile in the community. Sybrina has already started a new career as a motivational speaker. An acquittal would ramp up the outrage factor in her target audience.

    kentuckyliz in reply to cazinger. | July 10, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Actually, SF in a news media appearance early on, said, “All I want is an arrest–nothing more, nothing less.”

    OK, you got what you wanted–an arrest.

    Thanks for playing.

    caambers in reply to cazinger. | July 10, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    The Martins/Fultons, etc originally said all they wanted was an arrest. Which I found weird at the time. If I had a child that I believed had been killed in cold blood, I’d want the perp convicted, drawn, quartered, hung, and if I was feeling merciful I’d pass on the beheading. An arrest means nothing. Unless money is your goal. Under Florida law, an arrest means the police had probable cause…and that was all that was required for civil suits to bear fruit. Ta daaaaaaa!

I have done my best to absorb this entire trial silently. Now at the nearing of its end I feel compelled to make 2 simple points:
#1 The Defense must in closing point out the absolute absurdity of the States presentation that George Zimmerman awoke that day with the thought that he was going to shoot an unarmed man later.
#2. The Defense must also make it clear that Mr. Zimmerman did NOT make the decision to pull his firearm lightly. Anyone who carries, owns, has fired or knows someone who owns a gun knows that guns have ONE purpose- TO KILL! Its of the utmost importance that the jury believe that Mr Zimmerman knew that firing his weapon would forever effect his life as well as the lives of everyone around him & the person who he shot. No gun owner takes this responsibility lightly & I am willing to bet that Mr. Zimmerman did not know this. Conveying this to a jury might be a difficult task. However it brings home the point that he never would have pulled his weapon had he not feared for his life.
It perhaps is the pivotal point in the entire altercation. That decision to actually pull the trigger is an emotionally complex one, knowing you may actually stop ones life is hardly a flippant task. Mr Zimmerman ‘s profound fear needs to be the deciding factor for the jury. All the rest is pure speculation… The jury must decide if he was indeed protecting himself from threat of severe harm or death when he pulled that trigger., knowing he would have to live with having taken a life.
IMHO of course….

    Observer in reply to consnyer. | July 10, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    It’s not really that difficult to convey to the jury. You just let them sit for 42 seconds, and think about George Zimmerman lying on his back for that period of time, with his freshly broken nose, with Martin on top of him, raining down blows on him. That’s a long time to take a beating. Zimmerman knew that entire time that he had a gun at his hip. He could have shot Martin much sooner than he did. Instead, he screamed and screamed for help, and tried to get away. Zimmerman probably did not want to use the gun, but with Martin refusing to stop beating him, and with the neighbors unwilling to intervene, he reached the point where he had no other choice.

      consnyer in reply to Observer. | July 10, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      YES! Awesome idea 42 seconds is a longer time than one might imagine.

      cazinger in reply to Observer. | July 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      I was thinking of that myself, not just with regard to the 42 seconds that we know that GZ was taking the beating, but also with regards to the time between when GZ first lost sight of TM to the time of the first 911 call – just leave that time empty, perhaps even walk around the courtroom, back and forth, to demonstrate how far a 50+ year old man can get in that amount of time (not to mention a much more youthful 17 year old).

      Leaving them with 40 seconds of empty time for the beating could also be quite effective – perhaps even with O’Mara straddling a dummy and punching the whole time to REALLY give perspective.

        EyesWideOpen in reply to cazinger. | July 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm

        Agree with all of the above. Also make sure and tell the jury the following:

        1) The time gap the prosecution has never accounted for allowed TM plenty of time to get home.
        2) it’s utterly unrealistic to think that a pudgy GZ could possibly overtake and run down a lean 17yo black football player. (Ie, no way TM didn’t have “escape” as an option if he chose to do so)
        3) TM had a phone too. If he truly felt threatened in some way, why didn’t he call 911? Or yell for help? (Answer: he was looking for a revenge fight rather than to avoid a confrontation)
        4) If GZ had “hate or malice” in his heart that drove him to desire to kill, he would NOT have pre-notified the police of his name, number, and location. Someone who wants to “stalk and kill” someone, doesn’t call it in in advance, doesn’t wait several minutes to do it, doesn’t get close enough to give their prey the option of beating them, and doesn’t fire from ultra-close range. If the above theory was even plausible, GZ wouldn’t have called and would have shot TM at safe range, even in the back.

The state’s case doesn’t exist. Rather than proving anything, they’ve spent the last two weeks creating reasonable doubt. The last two days with di Maio and Root prove this most demonstrably and hilariously.

People worry about a compromise of some sort and, unfortunately, I think that’s possible as juries can behave oddly. However, that can be prevented with a forceful and instructive close by O’Mara. I hope he’s up to it.

The hordes of people that are adamant that Zimmerman is guilty because he got out of his truck against police orders, followed/chased an unarmed child and killed him…..after ‘following the trial closely’…..

….explains how Obama got re-elected.

Carol Herman | July 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Prison populations, here in L.A. County, are divided, where Hispanic prisoners are separated away from the Black population. Now, I did hear of one occasion, where a white prisoner handed a magazine to a Black one. And, the white prisoner got beaten up.

I’m sure during the “delay” between the time the jurors get the case; and, they come back with their verdict, if GZ needs to be protected by an Appeals process … given the attention this case gets, that Appeal reaches “up to” the 5th Circuit pronto tonto. If, in any way, the prison system falls off guard, it will allow GZ to get hurt. PERIOD. The head of the prison system will see to it that guards are on their guard.

It wouldn’t be worth the price of losing one’s pension.

    mwsomerset in reply to Carol Herman. | July 10, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    If GZ is found guilty and sent to prison he will have the Aryan Nation gang members watching his back…maybe the Hispanics as well. To some he will be a hero. I would think the police (black and white) in Sanford’s jail would be looking out for him as well….since they initially did not want to press charges. Police…regardless of race know the difference between an upstanding citizen and a gang banger.

Ugh – ***should read…”I AM WILLING TO BET MR.ZIMMERMAN DID KNOW THIS”
** I apologize for my poor proofreading skills.

When did aggravated assault come in? For the duration of this trial I thought only murder 2 and manslaughter were at issue. Seems like the prosecution is looking for anything they think the jury will compromise on.

    Browndog in reply to randian. | July 10, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Because of the firearm and minimum sentencing via statute.

    Yes, they are trying to trick the jury into thinking George should do some time, not realizing he’ll to 10 minimum for assault, because of the gun.

      Mansizedtarget in reply to Browndog. | July 10, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      Not ten minimum,25 minimum. Oddly, manslaughter not a 10-20-Life felony, so it’s enhanced only to permit a higher maximum penalty of 30 years from 15. But no minimum. Guidelinse say 9 for ordinary voluntary manslaughter. But judicial discretion there.

      Anyway, he’s screwed bad with any conviction for anything and deserves nothing at all, because he not only raised doubt but definitvely proved self defense.

I think it is euphemistic – they say they want justice and a fair trial, their meaning is that GZ is found guilty. If he is found not guilty, then in their minds, justice has not been done and the trial has not been fair.

How could the family of TM find GZ liable of financial penalties in civil court? Why was the HOA forced to pay a financial settlement to the TM family well before the criminal trial?

[…] defense put on its final witnesses. Andrew Branca describes the witnesses and their testimony at Legal Insurrection. The significant ones were Dennis Root, an expert in the use of force, and Olivia Bertalan, a […]

Do the witness sequestration rules also prohibit watching the trial live on TV or the accounts on the internet? If they don’t — it is absurd to argue that John Donnelly’s testimony should be excluded because he was in the courtroom.

Does the prosecution really believe that if Donnelly hadn’t been in the courtroom, he would have been completely oblivious to what was going on in his friend George Zimmerman’s trial?

    VetHusbandFather in reply to Narniaman. | July 10, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    It does seem pretty pointless to sequester the witnesses at this point. All of the lawyers have had access to their depositions long enough, that they could have coached them all to have the same story anyway (like certain witnesses that changed their opinions after they had a chance to listen to recordings several more times). And really most of them have given their full testimony to the press anyway. There is very little that came out in trial that wasn’t already public knowledge, in fact there was quite a bit more that wasn’t allowed into the trial. Bottom line, nobody is changing their testimony based on sitting in court for a day.

Mansizedtarget | July 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm

It’s not automatic to avoid prison pending appeal; Judge Debbie’s discretion.

First, many thanks to Mr. Branca, the Professor and all those who commented.

More importantly, however, please remember in your prayers all of those in this trial — the Martins and the Zimmermans — and those who will live with the verdict — in the courtroom and in the community. Pray for all to forgive one another, and for the Lord’s grace and peace.

I’m still nervous about the outcome, but it’s fun watching Nancy Grace wigging out, even more than usual.

With no disrespect to Dennis Root, I had a thought during his testimony. As an old student of Massad Ayoob at LFI, I wondered why wasn’t Mas brought on as an expert?

Then, I came across this great podcast with him from May 2012.

In it, he discusses how he conditionally accepted a role (wouldn’t have expected him to handle it any other way) with a previous Zimmerman counsel. He leaves unanswered whether he was contacted by Zimmerman’s new team or was contacted and declined participation based on evidence that he learned.

It’s also possible that O’Mara opted not to use Ayoob because of his comments on disparity of force. Perhaps he felt Ayoob wouldn’t be convinced of Martin’s positional advantage as a justification for use of deadly force and this could hurt the defense.

Andrew et al: would Mas have made a better expert? If so, any thoughts on why he wasn’t used or if he declined?

Alternately, if Mas would not have supported use of force based on the real evidence, why didn’t the prosecution call him? I think his expert opinion and some changed tactics could have strengthened a pathetic prosecution.

    I’m a former student of Mas, having taken LFI-I from him back sometime in the early or mid-90s (the memory fades with age). Also, I had the opportunity to shoot many a match with him up at Pioneer Sportsmens Club in Hopkinton, NH, Mas’ home range until he retired to Florida.

    We don’t maintain close contact, however, and I have no idea why he might or might not have been engaged by Zimmerman’s team.

    I thought Dennis Root did a fine job today, however, extremely competent.

    Plus, he did a good job on cross-exam, kept his cool, kept his answers straight-forward. That’s harder to do than you might think when some dick head is shouting incredulous questions at you.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      legacyrepublican in reply to Andrew Branca. | July 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Good point. If I had been on the stand and was asked if I was on tv and how much this trial would make me, I would have fired back “Not as much as a book deal will bring you.”

      That would have not been good for the defense. But it sure would have been fun.

      Thanks for the feedback, Andrew.

      I fully recognize the challenges of sitting in the seat in which Root sat. My opinion isn’t that Root was bad, only that Ayoob would have been better.

      siguiriya in reply to Andrew Branca. | July 11, 2013 at 12:07 am

      I thought Root did a very good job. Personally, I would have liked more information on the nature of memory — how and why memories related to a traumatic event can change. Some information on that was presented, but more could have been, and in a more systematic manner. I don’t blame Root for that; he can only answer the questions that are given him.

      I think Ayoob would have done a somewhat better job of explaining the decision to use lethal force, and a better job of explaining how he developed his opinion given the variety of witnesses and perspectives.

      But I liked Root’s background in fighting and martial arts. He brought a kind of “been there, done that” perspective that I think was helpful for the jury to hear, given the situation that GZ found himself in. Root also made a good companion to Adam Pollock — both with fighting experience, and both arriving at the same conclusion about GZ’s physical condition.

    Michiguy in reply to frisco. | July 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    why wasn’t Mas brought on as an expert?

    Only O’Mara and West could tell us for sure, but since we’re speculating, perhaps one consideration would be concern over reactions to having a man with an Arabic name testify on (appropriate levels of) use of force.

    As an occasional observer but not member of the gun community, I am impressed by the near-universal high regard in which Massad Ayoob is held. (Which says much about Mr Ayoob.) However, to some segments of the public at large, he’s just a guy with a funny or “suspicious” name.

    Besides, Mr Root did a great job.

      frisco in reply to Michiguy. | July 10, 2013 at 11:12 pm

      You’re right that only O’Mara & West could tell us with any certainty.

      The big takeaway from your comment is the “near-universal high regard in which Massad Ayoob is held.” Root, while a strong and competent witness, didn’t rise to the level of the defense’s pathology expert. It should be clear to anyone who listened to the podcast link in my comment that Ayoob would have risen to that level. While a prejudicial reaction to any expert is a concern, after a few minutes on the stand Ayoob would have put that to rest. And if a jury focused on Ayoob’s name and not his message, Zimmerman would have been doomed before Ayoob set foot in the courtroom.

[…] defense put on its final witnesses. Andrew Branca describes the witnesses and their testimony at Legal Insurrection. The significant ones were Dennis Root, an expert in the use of force, and Olivia Bertalan, a […]

Wow.

I just heard O’Mara say he doesn’t write out his closing arguments. He knows what he needs to say and he just presents his conclusions to the jury.

MOM for POTUS.

My question–in the category of “could anything be stupider”–is: What and what for are those seeming elevator buttons behind the witness chair? (Behind the right shoulder of the witnesses) For G-d’s sake, think of the children, what does it mean, 1-2-3, armageddon out of here???

Would, as reported, the fact that the Federal DOJ financed and assisted in anti Zimmerman demonstrations be a basis for appeal or denial of a fair trial on appeal?

Carol Herman | July 10, 2013 at 8:33 pm

What was the meaning of the judge, in front of the jury, asking Zimmerman if he wanted to testify, or not? It seems West and O’Mara tried objecting, but nelson really got nasty! She said “over-ruled.” Can she just over-rule a defendant’s attorneys? Is Maranda dead?

Isn’t the whole purpose of being “inside the bar” meaning you stop talking and your lawyers talk for you? Not quite saloon doors. But you really do enter an area that’s supposed to be exclusive for lawyers to use, no?

I guess the jurors got to see nelson’s underwear causing her voice to rise, no?

    graytonb in reply to Carol Herman. | July 10, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    She was premature the first time she did this, and it came really close to violating GZ’s constitutional provisions.

    MarkS in reply to Carol Herman. | July 10, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Just a guess! Nelson wanted to convey to the jury that GZ had something to hide by not wanting to testify. If what she provided the accused is her definition of a fair trial we might as well change our name to Cuba!

    rhorton1 in reply to Carol Herman. | July 10, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    The jury was not present. It is done routinely because defendant’s who were convicted at trial would claim that their lawyer never told them that they had a right to testify or prevented them from testifying.

    Semper Why in reply to Carol Herman. | July 11, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Ernesto Miranda is indeed dead. After Miranda v. Arizona, he was retried with his confession not admitted as evidence and was convicted again. After getting parole, he died from a knife wound from a bar fight January 31st, 1976.

Was the reason for the sequestration of the DEFENSE witnesses primarily to deny the defendant support of friends and family? To make him feel isolated and alone? I do think so.

    cazinger in reply to sdharms. | July 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    I’d say that is readily apparent now. And quite the classless move by the prosecution, if you ask me. I think it will backfire, when it is pointed out by O’Mara in his closing (assuming he points it out).

      cjharrispretzer in reply to cazinger. | July 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      I’m a rape victim and during my rapist’s trial, one of his many tactics was to have most of my family on his “witness” list subject to recall. It took 2 1/2 long years to get to trial, and when we finally did, neither myself nor most of my family could even be present to observe justice. It really sucks.

2nd Ammendment Mother | July 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I was hoping to see a bit more commentary on the Judge’s direct and hostile badgering Zimmerman… I just kept getting the feeling that she was trying to coerce him into making a commitment in front of the jury to testify that would backfire on him when his attorney didn’t put him on the stand later. Minimally, it seemed she wanted to give the impression that GZ’s attorneys were giving him bad advice…. that was just the part of the day that really stood out in my mind.

Carol Herman | July 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Since I’m not a lawyer, all I can tell you is that as nelson was speaking to George Zimmerman, I kept thinking Chris Farley really did do a wonderful imitation of an extraordinarily incompetent judge. I didn’t lose respect fo GZ. To the contrary, I saw him cool under fire.

And, then I remembered the “stage settings” of courtrooms, where you walk through short “saloon doors” … and where individuals turn their lives over to their hired counsel. And, then, don’t say a word. (Perhaps, you can doodle funny notes?) But all the life goes out of people when they’re inside the “sanctum sanctimonious” setting the law is trying to create. Heck, otherwise, what’s to stop a defendant from turning to the judge and asking for a beer?

I think the whole “stature” of the judiciary just landed down somewhere, destroyed at her feet!

Who knew those were saloon doors barricading out us serfs, from the credentialed giants who “pass the bar.”

Bars should always mean places to drink. And, now? There’s nothing special to see here.

I want to say thank you to Mr. Branca for your articles and insight. Otherwise we’d be stuck reading drek like this which totally downplays the testimony of some while playing up a tiny morsel to keep the official media narrative alive. http://www.ajc.com/news/ap/crime/defense-winds-down-case-at-george-zimmerman-trial/nYkfR/

txantimedia | July 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm

I posted this in a reply to an earlier discussion, but some might not see it, so I’m reposting it here.

If I were O’Mara, here’s how I would close:

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, first I would like to thank you for your patience. You have made quite a sacrifice to be here and away from your loved ones for so long. My client deeply appreciates the way that you have paid close attention to the testimony and taken notes during the trial and the sacrifices that you have made while you carefully consider his fate. His life is in your hands just as surely as it was in Trayvon Martin’s hands that awful night

No one questions that this is a tragedy. My client will have to live for the rest of his life with the knowledge that he killed Trayvon Martin. The Martin family has lost a child, something no parent should ever have to endure.

The most important decision you must make now is whether or not the prosecution has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that my client could not have been acting in self defense. If your answer is no, you must return a verdict of not guilty by reason of justified homicide.

I do not want to take up more of your time than necessary, but let’s review the key elements in this case.

Review the evidence; important items, GZ’s reasonable suspicion that TM was up to no good – mention the TOX report to buttress his suspicions. GZ’s reticence to engage suspicious people and his desire to help the police catch them as well as his concern for the residents’ safety. Point out that he could have reasonably believed, when he got out of the car, that the dispatcher was asking him to keep eyes on the suspect. Then, after he lost sight of TM and thought he was safe, and while he waited for the police to arrive, TM suddenly reappeared, said you’ve got a problem now and sucker punched him.

At that point the outcome was inevitable. One of the two of them was going to die. George fought long and hard to get away, an eternity according to the use of force expert and never even drew his weapon until he realized he was now in life threatening danger.

While one could quibble over details, the crux of his story, that he was ambushed, overwhelmed, begged for help for more than 40 seconds and finally, when he had no other options, fired to save his life has never changed. What’s more, the believable testimony of witnesses back up his story.

While it’s understandable that the Martin family wants the screams to be those of their son, and no one can fault them for that, logic tells you that the person who would be screaming is the one who is losing the fight. His manifest injuries, and the lack of TM’s injuries demonstrate that my client was telling the truth.

Had Trayvon seen the gun and chosen to cry for help instead of trying to grab it away from his adversary, it’s incredible to think that he would have screamed for 40 seconds, with a gun pointed at him, before being shot. It defies common sense. Why didn’t he get up? Run away? Do anything to separate himself from the gun in the darkness?

While the prosecution has wandered around for more than two weeks seeking alternative explanations for what happened, that is not their job. They must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that my client did not act in self defense. They have failed.

I ask that you carefully consider all the facts of this tragedy and find my client not guilty of any crime except trying to save his life.

    kittycat in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    txantimedia,

    That’s pretty darn good.

    Judyt2013 in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    I would add two points…

    1) Dee Dee wasn’t worried about Trayvon… thought it was just a fight. Her lack of concern is indicative that she wasn’t all that concerned that Trayvon could be in a fight with a creepy ass cracker.

    2) Trayvon could have stopped the attack. When Jon Good stepped out on his patio and told them to stop fighting and then announced he was calling the police. Trayvon was younger, much better physical condition… he could have stopped the fight at that point… GZ already had a broken noise, he was already stunned, bloody and according to Mr. Root not putting up any defense… not landing one blow and incapable of doing so.

    Trayvon continued the fight. He continued his attack until GZ in fear for his life… his gun now exposed thought this was the final moments.

      graytonb in reply to Judyt2013. | July 10, 2013 at 10:19 pm

      Jeneteal is now just a bad taste in the jury’s mouth, and a fairly distant memory. I would actually be surprised if the prosecution spends much time reminding them of her testimony.

      cjharrispretzer in reply to Judyt2013. | July 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      I think it’s a hilarious notion to think of Trayvon kicking the crap out of George, all the while supposedly screaming out for his life?? Please! Visualize that. It makes zero sense. What would make Trayvon scream? The abrasions he was receiving on his knuckles?

        Thor Odinson in reply to cjharrispretzer. | July 11, 2013 at 5:13 am

        Agreed. It’s totally ludicrous that the guy on top dishing out the beating would be the one screaming for help for 40 seconds, while the guy on the bottom taking the beating and having his head slammed into pavement wouldn’t be screaming for help at all. I’d say that takes the cake, but the silliness of that argument is topped by even GREATER silliness by Trayvon supporters, who’ve started making the claim that because Zimmerman was swallowing blood he couldn’t scream. So you mean to tell me that Zimmerman was choking on so much blood that he couldn’t scream for help… and you think HE was the aggressor?!? I swear, some of these people are downright insane.

      healthguyfsu in reply to Judyt2013. | July 11, 2013 at 12:24 am

      I’m pretty sure now that Rachel was catfishing Trayvon.

      At the very least, I doubt they were as close as the prosecution and the Crumpomatic has tried to direct us to believe.

        Uncle Samuel in reply to healthguyfsu. | July 11, 2013 at 2:46 am

        Jeantel claimed to have known Trayvon in the neighborhood.

        However, Root claimed her testimony about the events that night did not fit with the timeline and testimony of other witnesses.

        She was just more Crump-created false narrative.

    wyntre in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    excellent!

    fogflyer in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Well, I don’t think you can mention the Tox report as it was not ever brought into evidence, or was it? Do the juries have the report and it is just that no one brought up that issue?

    I like most of what you have there, but I would also heavily stress the timeline.
    Specifically the two minute gap between George seeing Trayvon run, and the fight at the T.

    I would show my big map, with Trayvon’s home clearly marked, and pound home the fact that if Trayvon was scared of George, all he had to do was keep running another 300 feet and he was home. How is it possible that in two minutes, an athletic young man did not manage to cover that distance, when the average person could run it in under 20 seconds?

    How did he end up back at the T if it was not for the purpose of confronting George?

    I still am not sure why the defense has not spent more time on this point during the trial. It was really only casually mentioned. I think maybe it is because they also have to explain what George was doing for two minutes, but the prosecution has already made an issue of that, so I just don’t get it.

    I remember when I first heard of this whole thing. Before George was arrested. I found a map and saw where Trayvon was staying and where the incident took place and that was pretty much it for me. Done deal… Self defense. If Trayvon came back to confront George, how could it not be self defense? The injuries and the evidence that Trayvon confronted George is really all you need.

      swimmerbhs in reply to fogflyer. | July 11, 2013 at 12:14 am

      the tox screen is not into evidence as it was never actually introduced so they dont know about it

      Testy Troll in reply to fogflyer. | July 11, 2013 at 12:59 am

      Fogflyer,
      I’ve been wondering the same thing for several days now.
      Hopefully MOM will hammer this home in Final Arguments!

      dnsguns in reply to fogflyer. | July 11, 2013 at 10:05 am

      Also remember that Jeantel said at one point that Martin said he was behind his “baby daddies fiance’s house”. I have always thought that meant he was much closer to home than where he ended up. If he was as afraid of the “creepy azz cracker” as the persecution wants the jury to believe he could have simply gone inside. That alone is the one thing above all others showing who the agressor was. The kid was home. He decided he was going to add to his long list of fight texts about kicking some cracker azz.
      As I have said before this is a trial that should have never been. It’s textbook self defense if there ever was a self defense case. I’m sure the justice dept is immune from malicious prosecution charges in this case but I sure hope somebody pays for this farce. The State and all other bad actors in this case need to be put on notice that we will not stand for it. The use of justified deadly force should not cost you everything for the rest of your life.

    mwsomerset in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Hope the defense points out that Trayvon had over 2 minutes, while GZ was still on the phone with the dispatcher, to get home and mix up a batch of lean with his Arizona watermelon juice and skittles and be sipping it on the back porch. I mean ….if he was so scared of that cracker…

I have trouble with the legality of including any charges less than manslaughter in the jury instructions. Aggravated assault will not fly as it requires placing a person in fear by threat using a deadly weapon and there was absolutely no evidence introduced to indicate that TM was in fear of GZ and no evidence that GZ used a deadly weapon to threaten TM. Aggravated battery would be a more substantial charge. But, as Martin died as a result of GZ’s action, the circumstances which would allow a finding of guilt for Agg Battery, would automatically substantiate a finding of guilt for manslaughter. However,as with all other charges, either of these charges would be soundly trumped by self defense.

Just an aside, the State of Florida has presumption with regard to laws regulating firearms. Because of this, lesser government entities can not enact or enforce any ordinance regulating firearms. As the Legislature has not seen fit to outlaw the discharge of firearms within city limits, no such charge can be pursued. I’m afraid that the only statutes applicable to this case would be those governing homicide.

    fogflyer in reply to Mac45. | July 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    I agree. I don’t see how anything less than manslaughter can be let in, it just doesn’t fit the facts at all… Or I should say, fits them even LESS than Murder2 or manslaughter.

    Why do I think the judge will find a way to get one in though?

    Estragon in reply to Mac45. | July 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    I am also confused by the “lesser included charge” of manslaughter as it will be affected by instructions. This is a LOSD issue we may need to kick to Andrew Branca.

    IF GZ is “not guilty/self defense/justifiable homicide” (or whatever the term is in FL) for second-degree murder, wouldn’t he have to be found not guilty of manslaughter, too? He only acted in self defense once time, there was one shot, if it is self defense at all isn’t self defense for any charge?

    The only way to find him guilty of manslaughter then would be to RULE OUT self-defense but hold the State didn’t prove the elements of second degree. Correct?

    Also – does Florida permit the defense to mention in closing that the sentence for second degree or manslaughter where a gun and a death are involved are substantially the same? That GZ could get 30 years either way?

      swimmerbhs in reply to Estragon. | July 11, 2013 at 12:17 am

      According to MoM press conference today, if they find he was justified in using deadly force, they can not convict on anything

littleredhen | July 10, 2013 at 9:18 pm

People that thought the introductory joke by the defense was a big mistake, think again. If you were on the jury, how would you feel now about Zimmerman as opposed to how you might have judged him in the beginning? Surely (hopefully)the jury has critial thinking skills enough to judge that if you have an open mind and listen to the evidence there is no way Zimmerman is guilty of second degree murder. That is what the defense was conveying with the “joke”.

    fogflyer in reply to littleredhen. | July 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    I thought Zimmerman was a victim of an unjust prosecution since long before this trial started, and I still do.

    However, I still think the joke was a horrible idea.

    Best explanation I’ve heard about the knock-knock joke, is that it was intended to be so garish that it deliberately erased (tabula rasa) all the emotion of the persecution’s opening statement from the minds of the jury.

    I believe it was a complete success.

      fogflyer in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      That’s quite a stretch to get to that conclusion.

      I think it was meant to lighten the mood after the states opening, but I think it was in bad taste and fell flat.

        Matt in FL in reply to fogflyer. | July 10, 2013 at 9:55 pm

        I think that both the “bad joke” and the “tabula rasa” theories are plausible. I hope someone asks him after the trial and we get to find out the truth.

        Fabi in reply to fogflyer. | July 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm

        You maybe right, fogflyer, but I never heard anyone discussing the persecutor’s opening statement, yet I heard lots of folks discussing the joke. Just my $0.02.

      Fabi in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      My thought at the time, was that West was also sending them a little bit of a signal – a brush-back pitch, if you will. That to be seated, you’ve all said you know next-to-nothing about this case, i.e., don’t bring any bias in here.

        fogflyer in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 10:13 pm

        You guys may be right,
        Perhaps it was a well calculated move of brilliance to throw himself under the bus as a distraction.

        Or… Maybe you guys are “looking for zebras”.

      maestro in reply to Fabi. | July 11, 2013 at 2:05 am

      I’m not what, if any strategy there was behind the knock-knock joke, but after watching MOM through this whole trial, I am inclined to believe it was much, much more than a failed attempt at humor. I don’t think anything MOM does or says is haphazard or without a specific purpose.

Having been a juror on a criminal trial as a woman, there were three holdouts, all women, not to convict. Don’t be so sure that women are easy. While that is only my experience, I would rather have women judging me.

Awesome coverage.

    txantimedia in reply to [email protected]. | July 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    I too was on a jury where two women refused to vote guilty. When other jurors began browbeating them, I changed my vote to not guilty and told the other jurors they could browbeat me until the cows come home, but they would not change my vote. I also told them they were welcome to try to convince the women that the defendant was guilty, but I would not change my vote unless they did it without browbeating.

      Thank your for replying to my comment. I got so browbeaded in that jury room, including an attorney who sat on the panel. I’m not against all attorneys, but most (I work in a law firm). That attorney and I went head to head. Bastard. I knew where he was coming from … to get back to his $300 hr. billing (He was young). I would have no part of it.

      In any case, when I sat as a juror, I took it very seriously, as if MY OWN LIFE WAS ON THE LINE. That’s how involved you get.

      I did my duty and took a lot of heat and hate for it.

      GOD BLESS THIS JURY. They are going to need it.

        txantimedia in reply to [email protected]. | July 11, 2013 at 8:43 am

        I was foreman on a petit jury (6 jurors) that found a woman guilty of DUI. Once we had reached a verdict, I looked at the other jurors and said, “God help us. We have just found a fellow citizen guilty of a crime.”

        I meant it with all my heart. The burden of that verdict rested heavily on my shoulders. I knew it was the right verdict, but it didn’t make it any easier to say “Guilty!”

        It’s an unbelievable responsibility, and I wish people would take it more seriously. When you’re on a jury, NOTHING else matters. You have a person’s LIFE in your hands, and if you find them guilty their life will be forever changed. No, it’s not your fault, but it’s still a heavy burden to bear.

    On the jury I was on, a couple of women irrationally didn’t want to convict, two men changed their vote in order to get things over with, and one woman stood alone with me insisting on a guilty verdict. We prevailed, too.

txantimedia | July 10, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Andrew, I got your book today. Thank you sir. I can assure you it will be read from cover to cover and will become an essential part of my arsenal.

    Awesome, let me know if you like it (and let ONLY me know if you don’t like it 🙂 ).

    If you DO like it, we’re always looking for testimonials for our website.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    ok I can see a problem.
    you DON’T use the book as the weapon….
    LOL
    🙂

      txantimedia in reply to dmacleo. | July 10, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      You most certainly do. Your most powerful weapon is your mind. If you know the laws of self defense inside and out, you are much less likely to ever get yourself in a situation where you have to use your weapon because you will realize what an assume responsibility it is.

I still want to know how Judge Nelson could rule against allowing Trayvon Martin’s text messages to be introduced. It was already established, by the prosecution, that the phone was Martin’s and that he had made the phone calls using that phone. That is how the prosecution found Dee-Dee (Witness #8).

So the prosecution can use the information on the phone for the purpose of prosecution but the defense cannot use the information on it for the purpose of defense?

Seems like that would be cause for appeal in and of itself

And thanks, Mr. Branca. I have stayed glued to your tweets.

    swimmerbhs in reply to retire05. | July 11, 2013 at 12:21 am

    the state didnt find deedee as the dad would not give them permission to unlock the phone. crump gave deedee to the state

    Uncle Samuel in reply to retire05. | July 11, 2013 at 8:58 am

    With this ruling, Judge Debbie has just made a whole lot of NAMBLA sicko pedophile sexual predators VERY HAPPY.

      Uncle Samuel in reply to Uncle Samuel. | July 11, 2013 at 9:04 am

      Here’s another opinion from LI commenter, biglawmonies | July 10, 2013 at 12:49 am

      “From U.S. v. Caldwell 776 F.2d 989, 1001-2 (11th Cir. 1985) (applying identical rule as Judge Nelson is applying):

      “Authentication 1002*1002 or identification under rule 901 merely involves the process of presenting sufficient evidence to make out a prima facie case that the proffered evidence is what it purports to be. Once that prima facie showing has been made, the evidence should be admitted, although it remains for the trier of fact to appraise whether the proffered evidence is in fact what it purports to be.”

      The defense has certainly met a prima facie burden; Judge Nelson is holding the defense to a standard that is way too high.”

      Judge Debbie’s ruling would enable pedophiles will be able to freely engage in child porn and prey upon children on the internet with much less danger of conviction.

I predict a mistrial. Jury can’t agree.

    Browndog in reply to Mercyneal. | July 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Can’t agree on what??

      Matt in FL in reply to Browndog. | July 10, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      Who they hate more. BDLR or Mantei. Guy’s good looks gets him a pass.

        Matt, you’ve had me spitting laughter on my computer screen for a few weeks now! Keep up the good work, sirrrrrrrr!

        (You too, Andrew!)

          Matt in FL in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 10:08 pm

          In the truest tradition of “If it saves one child,” my motto is “If it gets one laugh,” it’s worth it.

          (Other than me, of course, because I crack myself up all the time.)

          Fabi in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 11:18 pm

          I know the feeling. I’m laughing waaaaay too much about a murder trial, but I’d have to otherwise cry.

        Mantei, and it’s not even close.

          swimmerbhs in reply to MegK. | July 11, 2013 at 12:23 am

          guy is like the qb, cute but arrogant, bernie is the coach and mantei is the wide receiver that went in for the touch down

          Uncle Samuel in reply to MegK. | July 11, 2013 at 9:13 am

          Aunt Sarah (in her 6th decade of assessing and dealing with the male population):

          John Guy = high risk hunk (liable to be unfaithful, insincere), egocentric, inflated self esteem, political aspirations

          Bernard de la Rionda = Defensive, thin-skinned, self-congratulatory, fragile ego

          Richard Mantei = Little guy syndrome, spiteful, vengeful, disloyal, lots of resentments.

Saw Crump on Piers Morgan a few minutes ago, and PM framed the issue correctly, IE, that who followed whom etc is all meaningless, the only thing that matters is did GZ fear for his life.

Meaning, of course, the state has no case.

Crump responds that he just has to believe that the ‘women on the jury…that are mothers…with so much emotion around the case…’ are going to do the right thing.

See what I mean?

    Browndog in reply to bildung. | July 10, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Playing all the angles…

    From racism to misogyny.

    Matt in FL in reply to bildung. | July 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Wait. Wait.

    Did you just say Piers Morgan formed a rational argument about a subject that involves a firearm? I’m going to have to get independent verification on that data point, or I’m going to have to get my reality meter recalibrated.

      fogflyer in reply to Matt in FL. | July 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      Don’t be so sure.

      I just flipped to Nancy Grace and was dumbfounded when I heard her say that it just doesn’t make any sense that Trayvon would circle back to confront someone if he was so scared.

      Holy cow! Nancy said something that actually makes sense!

      Nope…sorry… I listened a little more and realized that she was saying that as proof that Trayvon NEVER DID go back and confront Zimmerman.

      Wow. How the heck does she explain everything happening at the T and that Trayvon was not safe at home???

      OMG! She just explained part of it….
      Trayvon didn’t go home because he didn’t want the creepy rapist to know where he lived! AH HA HA HA HA!!!!! This lady is hilarious!!!!

      xfactor in reply to Matt in FL. | July 11, 2013 at 1:30 am

      Yeah I saw him tonight and he seemed half rational.

    txantimedia in reply to bildung. | July 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    My takeaway? Even Crump realizes they have nothing left but emotion.

    graytonb in reply to bildung. | July 10, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    I’m not working in FL, but I would prefer a jury of twelve in this case rather than six.

    And just which mother does Mr. Crump think that the mothers on the jury are going to “relate” to:

    – the mother of the young man who attacked an out-of-shape gentleman who was looking out for his neighbors, or

    – the mother cowering in the corner of an upstairs bedroom with a pair of rusty scissors in one hand and her infant son in her arms?

    Sorry, Benny – the mommies on the jury aren’t going to identify with your client…..

    robbi in reply to bildung. | July 10, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Crumb is an idiot. Seriously, women with their emotions, blah, blah, blah. That’s like saying all black people love fried chicken and watermelon.
    Disclaimer- I would never say that. Just pointing out that he can think some white people are racist but he’s a pig in his attitude towards women.

    VetHusbandFather in reply to bildung. | July 10, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Personally I think liberals are some of the most misogynistic people I know. I think it’s because they think that as long as they support free birth control and abortion they are pro-women. But when it comes down to it most of them liberal men I know do not actually treat women with respect.

Paladin1789 | July 10, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Two points I would emphasize —

First, the opening statement creates expectation — even promises — about the evidence. The prosecution said — promised — in opening that a weapon was pressed against TM’s side. I would remind the jury of that. Repeatedly. Ram it up their ass.

I would make that initial demonstration a symbol of cluelessness.

I would likewise mock the mystery tree. It sure packs a punch. The GW nose and head wounds are a matter of record, but the prosecution’s explanation are grasping at straws — or twigs or branches or something.

Every morality tale needs a Villian or a Fool. The State’s opening was an error and the criminal tree was a mistake.

    Ram what up their ass – the weapon? I don’t think that would play well with the jury, unless they’ve been denied conjugal visits…

      Paladin1789 in reply to Fabi. | July 11, 2013 at 2:06 am

      I hope your comment is snark or humor.

      The remarkable fact here is that the prosecution got the science wrong. The State now seems to concede that TM was above GZ, and that the shot was fired 2 — 4 inches from the body — with shirt hanging away from the body.

      In opening, the State said and showed the gun as in contact with TM ‘s body, with both TM and GZ in a standing position. Counsel in essence promised the jury the State could show those facts through evidence. Indeed, the State had 16 months to figure out the physics and science of the relative body positions.

      Opening statements can be referred to in closing argument; for example, a defendant who promises an alibi witness will get heckled by the prosecutor if no such testimony is introduced.

      I haven’t had a case where the State’s science was in such disarray. Body positions and powder burns are not hard to figure out. The State’s failure to prove, or even try to prove, a standing position and gun-to-torso barrel contact could be a repeated theme. “If their witness didn’t even know this, how much else were they mistaken — or worse –about?”

      GZ’s expert even mentioned that his fee was low because this was a simple case. The stand-up stick-up did not pass the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt test; it did not even pass the snicker test.

      Or perhaps the Smittles test.

    Sally MJ in reply to Paladin1789. | July 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Maybe that’s why TM referred to GZ as a Creepy Ass Cracker.

Mark O’Mara’s press conference today. A class act to the very end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0USAp3SX3Eg

    wyntre in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Yes he is. I am very impressed with this man. Maybe we can get him to go into politics.

    retiredprosecutor in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I have dealt with and observed hundreds of criminal trial attorneys over the last 30 years. And, I agree, O’Mara is a class act. He makes logical, cogent arguments. He doesn’t let his opponent or the judge drag him down into the mud of mediocrity.

    I haven’t seen the jurors faces, but I would bet O’Mara is well-liked, respected and, most importantly, trusted by all of the jurors. This will go a long way when he presents his closing argument. His style, together with one of the most persuasive cases of self-defense I have ever witnessed, will play a major part in GZ’s acquittal.

    The only thing standing in the way of the acquittal is a jury that ignores the facts and the law. A jury that is so swept up in the national attention given to this case, that it somehow feels obligated (as non-racist Americans) to convict GZ of something. That something being manslaughter or aggravated assault, and the 10-20-Life sentence that would follow — an unjustifiably harsh sentence that the jury is not supposed to be aware of.

    Despite the politicizing of this case, and the rhetorical race-baiting that has surrounded it from the get go, I believe in the end the rule-of-law will carry the day, and the six jurors can walk out of the courtroom with their heads held high, knowing that they, despite immense pressure to give an eye-for-an-eye, did the right thing. And, because of their commitment to the rule-of-law, they will forever be able to look themselves in the mirror and be proud to be Americans.

      True. Both MOM and West were very respectful toward their witnesses and the judge. All of the prosecution team enjoyed being snarky – esp BLDR and the young guy with the patch of hair in the center of the forehead.

      Completely opposite behavior. And the judge rewarded the prosecution and disrespected the defense.

      The jury has to see that.

      While I am nervous about the external pressures to do ‘ something ‘ .. i.e.. one of the lesser includeds….. I have to believe there will be at least one or two personalities who are strong enough to refuse to defy the instructions given to them at closing.

      As an old goat retired trial lawyer, both in criminal and civil cases, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments, rp. One point MOM made that I was glad to hear was that in FL, the copies of the jury instructions go out with the jury. That plus the jury’s ability to take and consult with their notes IMO make it more likely that this jury will follow the law.

      If they do, there must be an acquittal since the State, again IMO, has offered zero evidence that when GZ pulled the trigger, he was not reasonably in fear of great bodily injury. MOM indicated that he will pound that home in his summation, and from watching him in the presser, I am confident he will do an excellent job in that regard.

      I was also heartened to hear from him in a way that seemed sincere that he loves this part of the case, and that it is the fun part. That he appears to me to be a far more likable and human a character than the somewhat abrasive Mr. Mantai won’t hurt either.

        fogflyer in reply to Jim. | July 11, 2013 at 12:52 am

        Jim, I was dumbfounded when I heard O’Mara say he was happy about the change in law that now allowed the jury instructions to go back with the jury.

        What!?!?!
        Why in the world would it ever be that the jury doesn’t get the instructions of law?!?!
        It just makes no sense! I still just can’t believe it! It seems absolutely ludicrous!
        Are there any states that still do this?????

          Estragon in reply to fogflyer. | July 11, 2013 at 2:05 am

          Years ago in Virginia it was like that. I served on a jury where there was a dispute about the instructions. We had to send a message to the judge via the bailiff, and were brought back into the courtroom with the lawyers and defendant present. The judge read the instruction again, refused to answer the other question submitted, admonished us to only follow his instructions and the evidence in the case, and sent us back to the jury room.

          I think the idea was to avoid jurors arguing the points of law among themselves.

    Sally MJ in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    VERY classy. And respectful of a judge who was very disrespectful of his team.

Fabi – maybe you can shed some light on this. Crump is the guy who wrote a letter to the Justice Dept. claiming to have learned that Detective Serino originally recommended manslaughter charges, but was overruled by his superiors. It was upon the basis of this Crump discovery that DJ opened an investigation into the matter.

We now know that Serino never recommended any charges. He found Zimmerman’s version of the events completely credible. Is anyone holding Crump to account for his blatant lie?

    Fabi in reply to moshe. | July 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Crump wrote a letter to the DoJ, correct (and contacted Al Sharpton, as they both ackowledged on MSNBC tonight). I’m not sure if his impetus was finding out about the alleged charge by Serino or not. If I remember correctly, Serino had several versions of a capias and was getting beat up from both sides at the office – black officers wanting an arrest, and others not. Crump, of course, was also mad about the pace of the investigation / arrest, even though a GJ was to be seated April 2nd by Wolfinger (the original prosecutor).

    Also, Serino got busted for leaking info to the media, which is why he’s now on patrol.

    Hope that answers your question…

    Sally MJ in reply to moshe. | July 10, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Is that right?? All of the articles I read said Serino recommended manslaughter but Chief Lee said there was not enough evidence.

    Have you found something otherwise?

      graytonb in reply to Sally MJ. | July 10, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      It’s my understanding that Serino later said he had been pressured to recommend an arrest on manslaughter by ‘ higher ups ‘.

[…] Branca at Legal Insurrection, as usual, has video for those with the time and inclination.  His commentary is also worthy of your […]

Anybody see the interview that the fired police chief (Lee I believe) gave?

He stated that he had tremendous pressure on him to arrest George, but as there was no evidence suggesting anything other than self defense, it would have been a violation of George’s constitutional rights to arrest him.

I wish this guy was my police chief!

What will you do differently when the verdict comes out? Guilty verdict or innocent?

We don’t have large numbers of the people who are likely to riot so I will just have my guns handy with plenty of ammo.

    fogflyer in reply to ConradCA. | July 10, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    I don’t know… I may actually reconsider carrying concealed if George is found guilty.
    At least not all the time like I do know. Very sad if that happens. For George and all of us.

      txantimedia in reply to fogflyer. | July 10, 2013 at 11:08 pm

      I suspect that’s one of the left’s goals for this trial. Hopefully they lose.

        fogflyer in reply to txantimedia. | July 10, 2013 at 11:37 pm

        I agree, but the sad reality is that if I get killed by some punk, my wife will get my life insurance and be able to carry on. If I end up killing some punk, my family may be bankrupt and I may be in prison. The former sounds better to me 🙁

      VetHusbandFather in reply to fogflyer. | July 10, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      Just make sure that if you have to shoot someone you yell really loud: “My life is in danger and I have no choice but to shoot right now”. Then there won’t be any question of who is screaming on the tapes.

      Matt in FL in reply to fogflyer. | July 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm

      I don’t think that’s necessary, fogflyer. I understand why you say that, but just remember that in this case, the law almost worked exactly as designed. It does work exactly as designed the vast majority of the time. This case is a fluke, an outlier, and making decisions based on outliers is never a good idea. (Outliers got us the Patriot Act and the TSA, after all.)

      Look at it this way: The anti-gun folks like to say that concealed carry is silly, because the chance of needing it (assuming you live a normal safe life) is exceedingly low. But some people do end up needing it. And in most of those cases, the laws work just fine. Occasionally they don’t. Those times when they don’t are a subset of a subset. I don’t believe the chance of ending up as a twice-removed outlier is great enough to stop doing the behavior in question, whatever it is, especially if the consequences of not doing that behavior are equally if not more catastrophic, e.g. not having your gun when you need it.

        fogflyer in reply to Matt in FL. | July 10, 2013 at 11:42 pm

        Yeah, I get that.
        See the post I just left above this for more reasoning.

        Also, I am a white guy and I live in California, so that is two strikes already.
        I will still carry when my family is with me, but I will have to think if I am going to carry solo anymore.

        Hopefully this will be moot, as if the jury acquits, as I expect they will, I will keep my same habits.

    Fabi in reply to ConradCA. | July 10, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    I have a child who is working with black children in the ghetto as part of a week-long church summer camp. She will be picked up Friday at lunch, before a verdict is reached.

      graytonb in reply to Fabi. | July 10, 2013 at 11:19 pm

      I live in a large Southern city with a majority African American population, as well. Thinking about picking up my son and heading to the farm for the weekend.

If a hung jury result, will a different judge preside over a retrial? Wonder who MOM’s new partner would be. Doubt DW could stand another fiasco like this one.
.
There would be ample time to authenticate the cellphone pictures and texts. Guessing the new trial would start Feb. 26, 2014

    graytonb in reply to rekorb. | July 10, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    If the votes for acquittal outnumber the holdouts, I don’t believe the state would re-try. A single vote for acquittal would probably cause them to go back for more, though.

Scott Turow on CNN tonight predicted a not guilty verdict.

Sunny Hostin is an unbelievable piece of work, isn’t she?

So, no THC toxicology evidence introduced, no text messages/fighting and bragging about it introduced. Yet, the prosecution knows they’re losing, so NOW they want to add a lesser charge as a “compromise” for the jury so they don’t lose altogether?

This is the state of America’s legal system, or is this unique to FLA?

    xfactor in reply to avwh. | July 11, 2013 at 1:36 am

    I don’t think a single event has happened during this trial that Hostin did not say was beneficial to the state.

I didn’t get to see much of Root’s testimony, but I saw the state ask him about the holster and a position of Zimmerman’s before the shooting. Are they going to argue in closing that Zimmerman couldn’t get to his gun the way he claims? Did O’Mara re-direct on the holster? And how do you think this will play with the jury considering it didn’t seem that the state really got anything from Root about the holster?

Thanks.

    txantimedia in reply to DennisD. | July 11, 2013 at 12:19 am

    The prosecution is going to lie like big dogs and throw everything they can think of against the wall in a vain effort to convince the jury that someone needs to pay for the death of this poor child. They’re going to use emotion and rampant speculation to try to sway the jury.

    O’Mara devastated their holster arguments on redirect. First he put the doll on the floor and beat the crap out of it. Then he asked Root if that was what happened. Root said, no, it wasn’t quite that violent. So O’Mara beat the doll a little less severely. Root agreed that that was about right.

    That demonstration won’t be lost on the jury.

    Then O”Mara moved up and down on the doll and at each position where he stopped he asked Root could Zimmerman have reached his gun and fired from there. At each position Root said yes.

    Bringing that doll in to the courtroom was a HUGE mistake by the prosecution. It allowed O’Mara to demonstrate what Trayvon did to George without saying it (which would have been objected to, I’m sure.)

    Of all the stupid things the prosecution did, that was the dumbest of all, in my opinion.

      cazinger in reply to txantimedia. | July 11, 2013 at 12:48 am

      With how often they have repeated the phrase “F-ing Punks” and “These @$$holes always get away”, do you think there is any more “punch” left in those words for when they invariably try to emphasize them in their closing?

      I mean the point of obscenities is their “punch” or their “shock value” if you will. You use them for emphasis and people know that you REALLY mean what you are saying. They understand the emotional response those words provide.

      But if you use them too often, they tend to lose their “oomph”. I am reminded of a Guns and Roses concert I worked security for back in the ’80s. It seemed every other word out of Axl Rose’s mouth was the F-bomb. It was shocking at first, but after the first five minutes, it became just stupid and you had to wonder if his vocabulary was just that limited.

      I wonder if the same thing will happen with the prosecution in their closing – they keep trying to hammer those phrases, and now those phrases, both from overuse and from so many witnesses testifying about how GZ did NOT have ill-will or spite in his voice when he said those words, will have completely lost their “punch”.

      DennisD in reply to txantimedia. | July 11, 2013 at 1:03 am

      Thanks so much for the comprehensive reply.

Is there a government body where O’Mara and West could file a complaint against the judge? She’s awful and her bias has been evident to anyone with 2 brain cells.

It seemed the defense was not happy about the jury having tomorrow night to think about the prosecution’s closing remarks before they present theirs. I don’t really see this as a big deal. If the prosecution’s closing remarks are anything like the rest of their performance, they’re going to be awful. It might be good for the jury to think in depth about their concerns prior to O’Mara’s statements.

    fogflyer in reply to Dr Stiffy. | July 11, 2013 at 12:31 am

    O’Mara stepped in that one!
    The judge was going to have them both tomorrow, but OMara asked for more time. He wanted them both to start on Friday morning, but the judge decided on the final format. OMara was bummed.

    No biggie though, he will roll with it.

I have been lurking here since the trial began and really appreciate Andrew’s commentary and videos. The comments have been great as well and I really appreciate all of you.
It was really nice Andrew offered the NRA discount the other night and reminded me I hadn’t bought his book for my husband who is a NRA instructor and dedicated gun-lover.
I hope some of the women on the jury have the same reaction to BDLR that I do. I cannot stand him!!

    robbi in reply to Astroserf. | July 11, 2013 at 12:49 am

    I’m a woman and BDLR is the kind of guy most women would run across the room to avoid. That little creature Montei is another one. We’d also have the number of the cute cad,Guy. He might get a hello but then his butt would go bye bye.

    Speaking of the cad, I thought it was hilarious that the prosecution had him question the homely gun expert,Siewert. She could barely contain herself when Guy asked her a question. I’ll bet money that the women on the jury saw right through that little ploy.

Andrew and everyone else, there is a question that been bothering me. I know that the Defense did a great job throughout, but I am wondering if they made a mistake in not introducing TM tox report. Reason being that they in my opinion did not address why would TM attack GZ.

It seems to me to be a big void. No reason was given to explain that event which led to GZ having to defend himself. Things don’t happen in a vacuum, the State has made clear that their theory that GZ was a wanabe cop, and pursued TM and perhaps tried to detain him. The Defense did not do anything to counter that.

The had an opening with RJ with the creepy ass-cracker and that she and TM referred to people that way routinely, but did not pursued it. The Tox report they fought for and did not use. The just left a big void, that the jury will have to fill. JMHO

    Dr Stiffy in reply to boricuafudd. | July 11, 2013 at 12:24 am

    I was wondering the same thing earlier, but O’Mara held a press conference earlier where he was asked about it. He said that he wanted to have the ability to introduce it, but determined it didn’t really fit into what he was trying to show. It was a really interesting press conference and O’Mara showed a lot of class.

    VetHusbandFather in reply to boricuafudd. | July 11, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Why should the defense have to prove motive? They aren’t trying to prove Trayvon guilty of anything. It’s the prosecution that is trying to prove its case. It’s their burden to prove that George Martin wasn’t in fear for his life.

      boricuafudd in reply to VetHusbandFather. | July 11, 2013 at 1:21 am

      I understand that the burden lies with the prosecution but it is an affirmative defense, and without a motive the SD defense fell a little flat.

      While a motive may not be needed and it is not required some reason or justification would anchor what otherwise is a great case, especially to one not well versed on the law.

        VetHusbandFather in reply to boricuafudd. | July 11, 2013 at 1:47 am

        I’d say take a look at the cost/benefit of bringing up Travyon’s motives for attacking GZ. First off, we don’t know for sure what his motives were. We could be like GZ lynch mob and assume that because TM said ‘crazy cracker’ he’s a big racist the same way that the prosecution claimed GZ was a racist for saying ‘effin punks’. But honestly his motive could have been a number of other things, maybe he was afraid that GZ was going to identify him to the cops, maybe he wanted to test out his newly discovered fighting prowess, maybe he was egged on by Dee-Dee and wanted to impress her. Fact is we don’t really know, and the defense can set themselves up to look like a bunch of jerks if they make assumptions (hey we should know, we’ve been watching the prosecution make themselves look like jerks this way the whole week. On the other hand, what does the defense gain from bringing up Trayvon’s motives? Well it helps make the case that Trayvon attacked GZ. Only the thing is, we already have plenty of evidence that TM did attack GZ, including GZ’s broken nose, head injuries, and the eye witness account of Good. I think it’s pretty safe to say that it is a fact that GZ was attacked by TM. Now could it bolster the argument that TM initiated the fight? Perhaps, but if GZ initiated a fight, then why did TM walk away clean? Is GZ stupid enough to pick a fight with a larger, stronger, youth when he doesn’t even have enough fighting prowess to leave a bruise on the kid? This is something that the defense hammered on today, and I’m guessing its so they can make the same argument during their closing statements.

          boricuafudd in reply to VetHusbandFather. | July 11, 2013 at 2:28 am

          I understand the argument, it just gave the impression of an incomplete narrative. I know the judge rulings made things more difficult by denying the ability to present their whole case. Maybe what I am saying is that the Defense seem disjointed. If they can tie it together at Closing then it won’t matter but right now it seemed they were going in different directions at once.

          They rest of the time they were sharp, and were able to score points with everyone but during their presentation was directionless.

    If the jury is instructed properly, neither one of their motives really matter. There is simply no evidence that Zimmerman attacked anyone. Yes, he followed, at least up to some point. He may have even (if Jeantel is to be believed) verbally confronted. None of this is proof that he initiated a physical confrontation. None of it negates his right to use deadly force if he is imminent fear of death or serious bodily injury.

marshahallet | July 11, 2013 at 12:16 am

I was appalled by how Judge Debra Nelson badgered George Zimmerman and Don West. So what if there were only two more witnesses, Zimmerman did not have to decide at that moment whether or not he was going to testify.
http://georgezimmermantrialwatch.blogspot.com/2013/07/why-george-zimmerman-will-not-testify.html

healthguyfsu | July 11, 2013 at 12:27 am

So the prosecution gets the last word?

Gremlin1974 | July 11, 2013 at 1:28 am

Man Mr. Root just shredded the last of the prosecutions theories. Mr. Guy looked like a fool and it was so obvious that he had no clue about what this witnesses actual role was in the great scheme of things.

Oh, well time to go shoot some unanesthetized bunnies.

    Estragon in reply to Gremlin1974. | July 11, 2013 at 2:15 am

    It seemed to me that Guy must not have deposed Root or even read the deposition if someone else did it.

    All the prosecutors have flailed about at times, fishing for answers – sometimes from their own witnesses – that something or other was “possible” to have happened. They sound like defense attorneys! Don’t they know they have the burden of proof, not the burden of “possibility?”

Andrew, a question. I saw that the judge asked Zimmerman directly if he intended to testify and O’Mara objected. Is there anything to this? I don’t practice in Florida and don’t do a lot of criminal work, but here in Virginia, the judge doesn’t usually ask that question and they never address a defendant directly unless asking about understanding a plea agreement or something of that nature. They always address counsel if they have a question pertaining to the defendant

    Estragon in reply to steer. | July 11, 2013 at 2:18 am

    The point came up earlier, and one commenter answered that they make the defendant acknowledge his right to testify personally because others were contesting convictions with the claim their attorneys didn’t tell them they had the right. So they get him on the record now in Florida.

Uncle Samuel | July 11, 2013 at 2:19 am

Reading the comments @ Youtube on Robert Zimmerman’s testimony shows how toxic and effective the Crump-Martin-Julison-Media Campaign of lies was on those who cannot think beyond what the TV/Internet tells them. It also shows how little to no critical thinking skills have been taught by the public schools.

If any of the jurors swallowed all the toxic Crump Kool-Aid, and/or are sleeper members of the CPUSA, there is no hope for George Zimmerman.

Here’s something interesting that may or may not affect the deliberations: What woman on the jury do you think believes she wouldn’t have pulled the trigger if put in Zimmerman’s position.

[…] have been asking this question lately: Will Trayvon Martin rack up more or fewer dead than Rodney King? Rodney had 50 homicides in […]

Child abuse , felony M-3? I can’t watch another minute of this nonsense.
State is demonstrating its lack of a case.

[…] have been asking this question lately: Will Trayvon Martin rack up more or fewer dead than Rodney King? Rodney had 50 homicides in […]

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