George Zimmerman's Bail Set at $150k

Bail has been set for George Zimmerman in the amount of $150,000.

< The Burden of Proof at George Zimmerman's Bail Hearing | Masel Tov! Happy Ben Masel Day >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Wow (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by oldmancoyote22 on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:29:27 PM EST
    It appears the prosecution's legal strategy is... (wait for it)... The Sneering Tone of Voice.  

    Other than that I can't really see what he accomplished except to indicate to the judge he's a jerk.

    Also in agreement with you and BTD (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Mitch Guthman on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:08:48 PM EST
    It seems to me that if the judge was going to allow Zimmerman to testify about what happened that night, the prosecution was entitled to a very wide ranging cross-examination and should have been prepared to make Zimmerman pay if he took the stand.  I'm not talking about a hostile cross-examination but a productive one that would either keep Zimmerman off the stand at trial or would lock him in to the specifics of his future testimony before receiving discovery from the prosecution.

    What was the point of the sneering and the focus on why Zimmerman was apologizing? This guy was very ineffective and totally squandered an almost unheard of opportunity to force a defendant to totally commit himself to a story or time-line before any discovery.   Walk him through the "tick-tock"; what did he do exactly; what did he perceive exactly and when; how could Martin have possibly snuck up on him and generally force him to commit to how good his memory of events is (which are clear and which are blurry)before he and his lawyer can decide about what he does and does not remember about that night.  The guy made Larry King look like F. Lee Bailey.  

    I also have to hand it to O'Mara (about whom I was very critical yesterday). Very gutsy call but it seems to have really paid off.  Zimmerman got his story out to the public; presented himself well to potential jurors and looked calmer and more rational than the prosecutor.  The defense took a big step today towards humanizing Zimmerman.  A very big day for the defense.


    Good point, I hadn't thought of it that way (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by ruffian on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:57:31 PM EST
    Maybe O'Mara has had some experience with this prosecutor.

    The prosecutor was fairly restricted in... (none / 0) (#175)
    by Gandydancer on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 10:30:12 PM EST
    ...the scope of the questions the judge allowed him to ask Zimmerman. They had to relate to the apology, apparently. A video of Z's appearance on the stand is here (hird one down): http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/20/11304742-zimmermans-bond-set-at-150000-he-apologizes-to -trayvon-martins-parents?lite

    You italacize "how could Martin have possibly snuck up on him". You do realize that the Z accounts include preliminary conversation, terminated by a punch to the nose that did not come from behind?


    Totally agree (none / 0) (#61)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:30:29 PM EST
    Cross-examination (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Thaumaturgist on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:52:23 PM EST
    What was at stake in this hearing was the bond.  The prosecutor lost the bond issue when Zimmerson turned himself in.  The only reason for cross-examination at this stage is discovery.  What would the prosecutor learn that she already does not know?  She has prior inconsistent statements in the police reports.  Granted she could get a few more inconsistent statements through cross- examination at this stage, but she would also have offered the defense an opportunity to rehabilitate Zimmerman's admission that he did not know whether Trayvon was armed.  I would have shut my mouth and taken my seat.

    Well (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:01:03 PM EST
    I doubt they have much from Zimmerman on the record regarding the night in question and guess what? A lawyer ALWAYS loves a chance to ask the same questions again.

    Why? To get even more contradictions? You know the objection "asked and answered?

    You ever wonder why lawyers raise it?


    They've got quite a bit... (none / 0) (#176)
    by Gandydancer on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 11:04:54 PM EST
    ...from Zimmerman re the night in question. Statements at the scene, either three of five recorded interviews, a reenactment...

    I do hope the recused judge's husband's law (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:10:08 PM EST
    partnerlaw partner will clarify on CNN whether Zimmerman's testimony @ bail Hrg. Is admissible @ trial if he takes the stand then.  

    He did kind of screw things up (none / 0) (#90)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:51:16 PM EST
    He said he thought Trayvon was only a couple of years younger than he (Zimmerman) was, but on the 9-11 recorded call he told the dispatcher that Trayvon was in his late teens.

    Well (none / 0) (#91)
    by jbindc on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:55:31 PM EST
    The State Investigator is on record saying that Zimmerman did sustain injuries and they could not determine who started the altercation.

    And did anyone know Zimmerman is married??

    And where is Martin's father's fiancee - since it was her house Martin was staying at?  Has she been heard from?


    Why should the fiancé speak or show herself (none / 0) (#93)
    by Angel on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:03:56 PM EST
    in public?  I think she is smart to stay out of the camera lights.

    Just curious (none / 0) (#94)
    by jbindc on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:10:50 PM EST
    Especially when we keep hearing that Mattin's parents weren't told about his death for 36 hours (debunked, I believe).

    You think we'd at least heard something about her since it's her neighborhood where Martin was killed.


    I wasn't aware that had been debunked (none / 0) (#132)
    by shoephone on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 02:16:26 AM EST
    Do you recall the source for that?

    The only timeline I saw (none / 0) (#141)
    by jbindc on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 06:55:41 AM EST
    Came from Martin's father himself, so take it FWIW.

    The father said he and his girlfriend were out to dinner, came home, didn't see Trayvon, but weren't worried because he sometimes went out with a cousin.  He and the girlfriend went to bed and when the woke up, Trayvon wasn't there - they still didn't worry because he didn't come home sometimes.  It was later when he tried calling the police to file a missing person report that things started to come together and when he eventually found out that his son was dead.

    But even if that story is the real deal (and I'm not saying he's wrong), that doesn't prove that the police didn't try to contact the parents.

    I don't know when they tried to contact his mother.


    But I know (none / 0) (#142)
    by jbindc on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 06:56:13 AM EST
    Jeralyn has commented on this throughout these seris of posts - I just can't find the specifics right now.

    Debunked and withdrawn (none / 0) (#151)
    by RonK Seattle on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 02:48:49 PM EST

    SPD met with Martin's father at his girlfriend's residence before 8am the morning after the shooting.

    Possible miscommunication, tangent to parents' complaint that Martin's body was not released until Wednesday following the Sunday shooting.


    The Volusia Medical Examiner (none / 0) (#152)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 03:35:09 PM EST
    explained it, telling the Orlando Sentinel:

    It picked up the body at the scene just after 10 p.m. Feb. 26 and notified a Fort Lauderdale funeral home 39 hours later that the body was ready. The funeral home, Roy Mizell and Kurtz, did not pick up the body for an additional 24 hours, the medical examiner reported.

    Volusia County spokesman David Byron said it would be impossible to find out the average length of time the medical examiner there keeps bodies, but said it can vary by several days, depending on circumstances -- for example, if there's a dispute among family members about what to do.

    Dr. Jan Garavaglia, medical examiner for Orange and Osceola Counties, said her office generally releases bodies in 24 to 36 hours.

    Z may have thought (none / 0) (#107)
    by SuzieTampa on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 07:56:26 PM EST
    Martin was in his late teens when Z first called in, but may have thought differently when he saw him up close.

    Good point, MT (none / 0) (#129)
    by shoephone on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 02:11:04 AM EST
    only for imeacment (none / 0) (#131)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 02:12:08 AM EST
    should he testify differently at trial to what he testified to today, and then, only the inconsistent statement would be admitted.

    A party admission can come in during (none / 0) (#134)
    by expy on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 03:00:45 AM EST
    the case in chief.

    I doubt that the prosecution would have any need to bring the bail testimony in, but any statement deemed an admission is an exception to the hearsay rule & could be used.    


    You (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by bmaz on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:23:40 PM EST
    You mean a history of no-files, dismissals and/or acquittals?? The judge was about a half step away from laughing at this junk today.  

    Facts don't matter (1.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Rojas on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:38:09 PM EST
    Just lead with yer gut. If that don't seem to work just sling trash.
    A real Georgia peach we got here.

    No (none / 0) (#108)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 07:58:27 PM EST
    I'm talking about why he even got the permit in the first place.

    I do not believe there was any (none / 0) (#109)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 08:01:33 PM EST
    FL. statutory bar to Zimmerman getting a permit to purchase a firearm.  Am wondering what the requirements are to carry a concealed weapon.  

    I deleted that comment (none / 0) (#128)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 02:10:10 AM EST
    for false information. He has never been charged with a domestic violence crime, let alone convicted of one. His ex girlfriend and he each got restraining orders against the other.

    Nor does he have a conviction for a violent crime. He was charged with a felony, the DA reduced it to a misdemeanor, adjudication was withheld pending his completion of an anger management class (standard in those cases) and the case was dismissed.

    It was in 2005 when he was 21. This is 2012.

    There is no proven record of violence.


    Makes sense (none / 0) (#1)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:08:25 AM EST
    It was a fair decision by the judge.

    How So ? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:19:53 AM EST
    Seems like one would need to know his financial status to make that determination.

    If he can't post it, would you still think it's fair ?


    Good point (none / 0) (#5)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:23:02 AM EST
    I think he claimed he was broke.

    Did the prosecutor state amt. of bail (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:15:03 AM EST
    Prosecution requested?  Seems low.  

    Yes (none / 0) (#3)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:18:43 AM EST
    They asked for no bail or a 1MM bail.  So 150m seems low compared to that but the added restrictions are quite severe.

    I was wondering if they were (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:33:14 AM EST
    GPS monitoring?  He has to wear a monitor?  And checking in with authorities every 3 days?  That isn't common is it?

    If accused murders are routinely granted.bail (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:38:29 AM EST
    in FL state trial court, let's hope there is also such a requirement. Skipping bail would be my first thought facing prison for up to life.  

    Could be (none / 0) (#50)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:48:37 PM EST
    He also has a "sundown" curfew (7pm to 6am).

    He also took the stand: (none / 0) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:25:30 AM EST
    Zimmerman also unexpectedly took the stand in court Friday during his bond hearing, causing gasps in the courtroom, and told Trayvon's parents he is sorry for their loss. He spoke, almost two hours into the hearing in Sanford, telling the court that his statement was for "the mother and the father."

    "I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. And I did not know if he was armed or not.

    Was he cross examined? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:30:01 AM EST
    This strikes me as astounding.

    Me too. Unless in FL his statements absolutely (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:32:27 AM EST
    cannot be used against him at trial. Also doesn't demonstrate  client control by attorney.

    Causes me to wonder about his defense counsel. (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by rhbrandon on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:44:07 PM EST
    Unless Mr. Zimmerman insisted on taking the stand, which is his right. Of course, it was his right to contact the prosecutor pro se as well as Sean Hannity. Not advisable, but nonetheless his right.  I hope counsel advised him not to and documented it in his file. His lack of a significant criminal record coupled with the defense he would assert with the facts that are known to the court should've gotten him some sort of surety/property bond anyway.

    However, the "apology" is a statement against interest, and the testimony re. his perception of the victim's age is impeachment material. Not sure that was a price I would've advised paying to get a bond.

    But he has a bond now, but I can't see anything good out of his testimony. I understand his father is making the financial arrangements to bond him out. For his own good, he's not a flight risk; the media would be all over that if even a rumor got started. Probably won't get to a trial before next year; perhaps the media scrutiny will settle down enough that both sides can have a fair trial with a relatively untainted, if not unknowledgable, jury.


    Nothing succeeds like success. (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Mitch Guthman on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 08:49:12 PM EST
    Yes, it was a huge gamble that whoever the prosecution sent to the bail hearing wouldn't be the lead trial lawyer and wouldn't be ready or willing to to a proper cross-examination.  Balanced against that was the potential for a huge day for the defense and the gamble paid off handsomely.  (Unless, of course, if this guy really was the first chair then the case just experienced its first Chris Darden moment).

    Zimmerman told his story on television and on the witness stand thereby gaining considerable credibility with potential jurors. He looked good.  He didn't look like a nut-case and he didn't just sit passively at the defense table. He went a long way towards presenting himself to those potential jurors as a decent human being caught up in a tragic event that spiraled out of control.  

    The prosecutor didn't lay a glove on Zimmerman on cross and he wasn't forced to commit himself to any particular version of events or to say anything that could later be contradicted by others or by the physical evidence.  He still has total flexibility depending on what the prosecution discloses during discovery.

    What's more, I would guess that he's now going to be a much better witness, a much stronger witness who certainly will be much more comfortable on the stand if the testifies again at trial.  (Which he's still free to do because he's not locked into any kid of testimony).  He's sat on the stand and experienced a prosecutor's aggressive questioning.  It was a live fire exercise.  He came through with flying colors and he going to be infinitely more difficult to cross at trial.  That's huge for the defense.

    As for the apology being against interest, it's really not damaging at all since he's already admitted (and could not possibly have disputed) that he killed Martin.  The action pre-trial and at trial will obviously be elsewhere---probably mostly on the things Jeralyn has been talking about but also, I suspect, the physical evidence and expert testimony about that evidence (wounds, clothing, injuries being consistent with prior testimony, etc).  He admitted nothing new and opened up no new avenues for the prosecution at trial.


    Sounds like he was x examined: (none / 0) (#14)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:36:56 AM EST
    I dunno (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:38:34 AM EST
    just as a lawyer, based on what he is reported to ave said, his cross examination would still be going on if I was the prosecutor.

    He seemed to open every possible door imaginable.


    I'm watching it now (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:41:39 AM EST
    And that is just incredibly incompetent to me,

    Think about the following questions.

    When did you first observe Martin? Why? What did you see? What did you do? and so on.

    Are you kidding me?

    This prosecutor is focused on why and when he apologized.

    Awful. Atrocious. Incompetent.

    Ok, I'm not a criminal lawyer, but I am a lawyer, and dammit, this is ABC stuff.


    My point is (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:43:19 AM EST
    none of these questions were asked.

    They were all raised in his direct.

    In fact, there are questions about Zimmerman's phone which were not part of the direct testimony.

    I'm zorry, amazingly inept stuff imo.
    ut, I'm not a criminal lawyer,maybe the rules are different.


    All right (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:46:10 AM EST
    I give up.

    Someone needs to explain to me what in heaven;s name that prosecutor was thinking.

    What an opportunity wasted. As a lawyer, it offends me.

    Unless there is some procedural issue I do not know about, there was room for a full day of cross examination that sprang from Zimmerman;s direct testimony.

    Someone explain this to me.


    It's a bail hearing (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by expy on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 07:16:28 PM EST
    Unless there is some procedural issue I do not know about, there was room for a full day of cross examination that sprang from Zimmerman;s direct testimony.

    The judge had discretion to shut down the cross-examination any time. It doesn't matter what doors were opened on direct, it matters what is relevant to the issue of bail.


    Seems like a show (none / 0) (#48)
    by waldenpond on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:48:05 PM EST
    I thought the prosecution would let the trial go during the trial not before.

    He's thinking that the trial comes later (none / 0) (#102)
    by expy on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 07:13:17 PM EST
    It would be sheer idiocy for the attorney to preview his trial cross-examination at a bail hearing -- and the judge would probably stop him at some point anyway. There's some very potentially damaging stuff in cell phone text messages.   We don't know what it is but the prosecutor does, and he wanted to set a trap & box Zimmerman in on that now.   He doesn't have to confront Zimmerman with the conflict about Martin's age because he's got that on tape - no reason to give Zimmerman the opportunity to invent some sort of explanation at this point.   I think the apology stuff was just mostly for distraction (get the witness focused on thinking about the apology, then sneak in the cell phone questions) .... but maybe the prosecutor also wanted to test Zimmerman a little to see how he stood up, again for future info.  

    Law practice is kind of like a chess game. You don't start off by playing your queen -- you hold that for the end game.  


    not a very good prosecutor. There really isn't any "good stuff" to save for trial. The defense gets to see pretty much all of the prosecution's cards before trial so you really can't save anything in the way you're suggesting.

    I think that ideally the prosecutor's objective here is not a "devastating" cross-examination but rather it is to lay the foundation for the cross-examination at trial or perhaps even to keep the defendant off the stand altogether.  This was a very rare opportunity that shouldn't have been wasted.

    I can only really speak from the perspective of a former prosecutor and so my perception of how defendants prepare for trial is probably different from that of a defense lawyer who might find my perspective somewhat insulting.  Nevertheless, one of the reasons why prosecutors don't like cross-examining defendants (especially those with clean records) is that by the time they testify at trial the testimony of nearly all criminal defendants will conform remarkably closely to and avoid conflicting with the physical evidence or other highly credible prosecution testimony.  Many prosecutors attribute this phenomena to the fact that defendants testify after discovery and after the prosecution has put on its case.

    Therefore the critical issue for the prosecutor in this type of situation would be to begin the narrow the defendant's opportunity to shape his testimony at trial so that it can accommodate irrefutable prosecution evidence.  Here, the prosecutor had the opportunity to take Zimmerman through the night's events step-by-step in a way that would have forced him to either testify truthfully or else take his best guess at how the physical evidence, etc is going to turn out before seeing any of the prosecution's cards.  If he says he remembers something vividly, he must continue to remember vividly.   If he can't remember something today, it will be much more difficult for him to suddenly claim a memory flash a year later at trial. And so forth. So the goal of the prosecutor (who does have some idea of where the physical evidence and eyewitness testimony is going) is to force the defendant to commit himself irretrievably to a version of events and to do so while blind to the state's evidence.  This is a part of doing the ground work for the cross at trial.  Hearings like this are sometimes where you get the "good stuff"----you get it the same way a bridge master makes his trumps good.  

    What's more, such an opportunity can payoff in important ways.  For example, I think there is a high likelihood that Zimmerman will want or need to testify. The case is completely about him and there's nobody else who can tell his story for him (ironically enough since he's the only one left alive to tell the tale).  Plus, of course, we don't know what the physical evidence says and it may also be that the prosecution's case-in-chief is so strong that Zimmerman is practically compelled to testify. (If today is any indication that seems unlikely. But I'm really speaking hypothetically here).  And juries always like to hear a defendant testify, no matter what the judge instructs them.   There's also the fact that he's got a clean record and seems fairly intelligent and well spoken, all of which makes him difficult to cross.

    What does this have to do with today's hearing?  His testimony today would have been set in stone. If it turns out to be sufficiently inconsistent with, say,  the physical evidence  he might not realistically be able to get on the stand because he can't maintain his prior testimony (because it's got too many holes in it or whatever) but because he's locked in under oath, he really can't take a different testimonial tack either.  In effect, this would be a powerful victory for the prosecution because his early testimony might ultimately have prevented him from personally persuading the jury of his innocence and then, too, juries do tend not to like it when defendants don't testify.  

    My point is that today the prosecution had everything to gain from a good cross-examination and really nothing at all to lose. In my opinion, this was a huge breakdown by the prosecution.


    Actually, the court cut the prosecutor off (none / 0) (#125)
    by expy on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 01:40:45 AM EST
    Here, the prosecutor had the opportunity to take Zimmerman through the night's events step-by-step in a way

    See http://tinyurl.com/6vmaj5t

    When Zimmerman was on the stand, Mr. De La Rionda asked him about whether, when police asked him about inconsistencies in his story, he began to say that he didn't remember exactly what happened. The judge cut off that line of questioning, saying it veered into evidence that should be introduced at trial.

    Video link to full testimony (none / 0) (#127)
    by expy on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 02:07:04 AM EST
    Here's a link to the full testimony:

    It's very clear that the Judge is cutting the prosecutor off for anything beyond the scope of the "limited" testimony -- and the prosecutor specifically asks whether he will be allowed to proceed further about 6 minutes into the video; the first "beyond the scope" objection is raised about 4 minutes in.


    He wanted to ask about (none / 0) (#148)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 10:44:02 AM EST
    cell phone records.

    our citations do not support your assertions.


    Absurd (none / 0) (#113)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 08:52:53 PM EST
    That Perry Mason nonsense. Not real litigation.

    ianal of any type (none / 0) (#23)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:47:38 AM EST
    but it seemed to me that the prosecution was allowed to x-examine anything that related to Z's statement, the statement being an apology to M's parents.

    The prosecutor seemed to think Z texted something from his phone that was related, somehow, to the subject of an apology to M's dad, so he asked Z about the phone.


    The statement said (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:57:26 AM EST
    I did not know he was not armed. I did not know how old he was.

    The door for ALL of Zimmerman's interactions with Martin were completely opened by that statement.

    I suppose the prosecutor will call Zimmerman as a hostile witness and argue waiver of the 5th but that seems a tricky proposition to me.

    Again, advice from criminal law experts very welcome on this.


    Agree with you (4.00 / 1) (#38)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:20:09 PM EST
    There seemed to be a lot to work with like how, paraphrasing, "I didn't know whether he was armed" undercuts the "he went for my gun" story but, the judge seemed to want to limit the cross or the prosecutor was just not that good today.

    I thought the questions were poorly framed (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:25:33 PM EST
    For example - here is how I would have asked some questions -

    "Mr.Zimmerman, you testified you did not know Mr. Martin was not armed. Did you make an evaluation of whether Mr. Martin was armed?

    If so, "When did you make that evaluation?"

    "What did you determine?"

    "Where were you when you made that determination?"

    "Where was Mr. Martin?"

    "What distance were you from him?"

    "Did you observe him?"



    "What did you see?"

    and so on.


    to take the stand, should we assume the prosecutor was surprised as well and was unprepared?

    Also, can the prosecutor go back to today's testimony and re-cross-examine Z about this testimony?


    I think so... (none / 0) (#47)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:44:21 PM EST
    Though the prosecutor fumbled a bit, Z's categorical denial that he never gave conflicting statements to the police/investigators, the phone thing and maybe the "armed" statement could be problems.

    Could Zimmerman have stopped answering (none / 0) (#41)
    by ruffian on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:35:05 PM EST
    at some point? If he had, would it mean he would not have been able to testify at trial?

    The whole thing seems crazy to me - seems so nuts for him to have testified at all that I am not surprised the persecutor was caught off guard, though it seems he/she should have been better prepared to take advantage.


    Not for nothing (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:43:06 PM EST
    But I am not following the case all that closely and I came up with that off the top of my head.

    Instead, the prosecutor asked if Zimmerman ever told the police he was sorry.

    I mean WTF?


    yeah, really no excuse (none / 0) (#49)
    by ruffian on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:48:21 PM EST
    I will be generous and speculate (none / 0) (#51)
    by ruffian on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:51:31 PM EST
    that maybe the prosecution has statements from the officers that Zimmerman did show remorse at the scene, maybe in an incriminating way, and the prosecutor was trying to catch him denying it.

    I think it's the opposite (none / 0) (#53)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:58:18 PM EST
    The prosecutor was on Z about the timing of apologizing now. I think he was implying that he never indicated remorse in his previous statements.

    And the relevance of that is what? (none / 0) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:59:09 PM EST
    Perhaps (none / 0) (#56)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:04:12 PM EST
    In the big scheme of things it might not mean much  but it doesn't hurt to establish a record.  

    Hey, cut the guy some slack. (none / 0) (#83)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:07:46 PM EST
    Perhaps it was his first time at the rodeo, and Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden were unavailable. (Snark.)

    I have to agree with you. WTF, indeed. This was a golden opportunity lost, perhaps never to be regained.

    Gotta hand it to Mr. O'Mara, though. He took a big chance and rolled the dice, and came up big. Good day for the defense.


    Great questions (none / 0) (#42)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:39:23 PM EST
    That door was certainly open.  Also, I'm beginning to see why his previous counsel, bad as they might have been, had issues with Z and his family.  

    That seems right (none / 0) (#24)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:55:36 AM EST
    I don't know if was actually limited to Z's statement on the stand but the judge certainly limited him.  Even with that, Z had some trouble that will probably come back to bite him (e.g. phone records, probable conflicting statements).

    Z's statement opened the door (none / 0) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:58:11 AM EST
    to just about everything about that night imo.

    The questions on the phone were... (none / 0) (#177)
    by Gandydancer on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 11:14:59 PM EST
    ...apparently supposedly in regards to texting on the subject of or relating to an apology. Bernie didn't get there fast enough and the judge shut him down, as I recall. Again, stepping him through the night of the homicide was not on offer.

    Indeed (none / 0) (#16)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:37:28 AM EST
    Yes he was.  It had the feel of a client insisting on something.  Up to that point, I thought the defense did well but even in the limited cross that was allowed by the judge, Z started to look  shaky.  

    yes he was cross-examined (none / 0) (#25)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:57:05 AM EST
    and the prosecutor was quite hostile.

    I saw it (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:01:27 PM EST
    I did not understand what the prosecutor was trying to accomplish.

    Asking whether he said he  was sorry to any cops? Wha?

    Again, I'm not a criminal lawyer, but I thought Zimmerman's statement opened the door to questioning on the entire evening.

    I don't understand why he made the statement but I really don't understand what in heaven's name the prosecutor was trying to accomplish there.

    Maybe it is a criminal law thing, but as a civil litigator, I must say to be heartily unimpressed with the lawyering I saw there by the prosecution.


    His statement isn't helpful to his defense. (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:30:06 AM EST

    Wouldn;t a prosecutor (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:32:47 AM EST
    want to take the opportunity to cross examine him?

    Has he waived the 5th already?


    Who knows? It's FL state court. (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:34:32 AM EST
    I've never heard of any type of hearing (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:36:57 AM EST
    where a witness can testify and not be cross examined.

    But it looks like there was no cross examination.

    This all seems insane to me.

    Can a criminal law expert please explain this to me?


    he was cross-examined (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:59:12 AM EST
    I just watched the video. the prosecutor was quite hostile. And objectionable, in my view. He kept asking questions that began with "after you committed this crime". No crime had yet been proven, only alleged.  

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:03:01 PM EST
    I object on lawyering grounds. He missed an opportunity to get Zimmerman to make statements about the night of the incident.

    In terms of the form of the questions, well, there was no jury there, so I'm not seeing that as the big deal you are.


    when the prosecutor started a question with "after you committed this crime"?

    No doubt (none / 0) (#54)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:58:22 PM EST
    Even a non criminal lawyer like me knows that.

    But there was no jury so the prejudicial effect is nonexistent in formal terms.

    In my experience, when it's just testimony before a judge, judges don't have much patience for those types of objections, at least in civil litigation.

    The objections I saw were about going outside the scope of direct, which makes perfect sense to me.

    Again, not a criminal lawyer.


    Is Z's testimony from today (none / 0) (#58)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:27:25 PM EST
    available for the jury to review and/or allowable for the prosecution to present to the jury and then re-x-examine?

    That's a good point (none / 0) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:29:58 PM EST
    I would argue the answer maybe but not the question.

    no, unless (none / 0) (#126)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 02:02:09 AM EST
    he testifies differently at trial than he did today. In that event, his testimony from today could be used to impeach him.

    It wouldn't be his testimony in the entirety, just  the inconsistent statement.

    If he didn't testify at trial, it couldn't be introduced at all.


    The prosecutor.... (none / 0) (#86)
    by bmaz on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:23:37 PM EST
    The prosecutor made an ass of himself braying belligerently about whether or not Zimmerman made some - any - indication of remorse that the event happened before.  In all the chatting he appears to have done I am sure he made something close enough. Just cannot see what in the world value the prosecutor saw in this line of examination.  Bizarre. And the court seemed a bit annoyed by it to boot.  Wow.

    Prosecutor was trying to impeach (none / 0) (#99)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:28:23 PM EST
    Zimmerman, trying to establish to the judge's satisfaction that Zimmerman was lying.  Not effective.  Sounded like a traffic ticket or DUI trial.  

    Wow (none / 0) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:45:05 AM EST
    that's a great testament to getting rid of this law. This guy was given a conceal to carry permit despite his history of violence then on top of all that Zimmerman couldn't tell if the kid had a gun or how old he was???

    What (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by bmaz on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:26:31 PM EST
    What history of violence??  There are no convictions, and the judge was pretty close to being completely dismissive of this line of "evidence".  There is no there there on "history of violence".

    That's why he's going to beat this (none / 0) (#30)
    by Che's Lounge on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:01:15 PM EST
    He has the law on his side. Plus for someone who's apparently broke he's dressed better than his attorney. Thank you, Dad.

    I could tell this was a political circus from the moment the lead porsecutor opened her mouth at the news conference announcing the charges. She was nauseating. Zimmerman doesn't need a fair trial. The only witness who can convict him is dead. Trayvon Martin will be portrayed as the aggressor who could have run (and nothing says guilty like a running black kid) but instead went after poor Georgie and tried to kill him. What else was poor Georgie to do? Zimmerman will get off. Every lawyer here knows it.


    His suit? (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by jbindc on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:44:13 PM EST
    Why wouldn't he have a nice suit? Why the snarky comment about his dad buying it?  Until a month ago, he was an insurance underwriter and part-time college student.

    I think (none / 0) (#62)
    by Makarov on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:35:29 PM EST
    there are only 2 things that can convict Zimmerman at this point -

    1. George Zimmerman's own statements, past, present and future

    2. Forensics of the crime scene and victim's body. Angle of entry of the bullet could be key. Also, the presence or lack of gunshot residue on the victim and his clothing, and how that relates to Zimmerman's version of events could be very important. Blood evidence, both Zimmerman's and the victim's, might also be crucial.

    That said, based on public information to date, things don't look good for the prosecution.

    Public info being (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:48:23 PM EST
    watching the prosecutor today?

    Cuz I agree.


    I agree. (none / 0) (#66)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:55:15 PM EST
    There was a photo posted today, purportedly of the back of Z's head showing the bleeding.

    From the article:

    The photo shows blood trickling down the back of Zimmerman's head from two small cuts.

    The photographer, who was not immediately identified, told ABC News that he saw Martin's body on the wet grass the night he was killed in late February and gunpowder burns on his now-infamous hoodie.

    I would add.. (none / 0) (#67)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:57:07 PM EST
    Though it keeps getting overlooked, the girlfriend's statement is going to be important.  It seems that they have confirmed that she was on the phone with Martin up until the physical struggle and if her account of Martin being aware of Zimmerman following him and trying to get away from him holds up, that's going to be important.  

    Totally agree. Would like to see an integrated (none / 0) (#71)
    by Angel on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:12:24 PM EST
    timeline of the girlfriend's phone call and the 911 calls from Zimmerman and the neighbors.  That could tell us a lot, I believe.  

    The Age issue (5.00 / 3) (#72)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:19:59 PM EST
    The prosecution should have jumped on the age issue Zimmerman raised today.  Today, he claimed that he thought Martin was just a bit younger than him but on the 911 tape he clearly describes Martin being in his "late teens".  

    Yeah... (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Addison on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:34:21 PM EST
    I don't understand why that (the age thing) was even a part of the "apology". That said, is there any point pushing the idea that "a bit younger" means 2 years younger rather than 10 years younger? It seems like a discrepancy based on my personal definition of "a bit", sure, but is it relevant to anything?

    Maybe not (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:39:11 PM EST
    But, it if you catch him in the moment, I think it plays out differently. It was a horse's mouth kind of thing as opposed to statements of others.  Also, it points to his seeming propensity to embellish his stories.  You now say that you think he was close in age to you but, on the actual night of the incident, you say, correctly, late teens?  

    Z was answering 3 questions (none / 0) (#110)
    by SuzieTampa on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 08:11:06 PM EST
    asked by Martin's mother. Also, it's possible that Z thought M was in his late teens when he called 911, but thought he was older when they were face to face. Whether or not that makes sense, it could be argued.

    Here (none / 0) (#73)
    by jbindc on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:20:41 PM EST
    Not what I was asking for. (none / 0) (#156)
    by Angel on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 11:15:01 AM EST
    Visible gunshot residue on the victim... (none / 0) (#178)
    by Gandydancer on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 11:23:01 PM EST
    ...was reported in the stories on the pictures taken of Z's head wounds 3 min after the homicide, as I recall. FWIW.

    Must 10% be posted in FL.? (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:28:16 AM EST

    He may be able to use (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:00:11 PM EST
    a bondsman

    I wonder if the web site has brought in any (none / 0) (#35)
    by ruffian on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:12:03 PM EST
    donations. Plenty of people view this as a gun rights case, and a chance to protect their precious SYG law.

    Some people also view Gorege Zimmerman as a (none / 0) (#76)
    by redwolf on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:43:36 PM EST
    good man who is being railroaded by a mob that wants his blood.

    Maybe (5.00 / 0) (#77)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:49:28 PM EST
    he is a "good man" but he also would seem to have incredibly bad judgement.

    He also has a history of violence that nobody seems to be mentioning.


    He was good enough to go to bat for a black (none / 0) (#80)
    by redwolf on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 03:27:15 PM EST
    homeless man who was beaten by a cop's son.  He was good enough to mentor black children who needed a big brother.  

    The thing that really cracks me up about this case is Zimmerman was an anti-racism advocating, Obama voting, black liking man. Conservatives wouldn't give him the time of day expect for the law and order/gun issue and probably wouldn't have until the left went after him like an avalanche. Zimmerman was a progressive by any modern measure and yet the progressives are screaming for his blood.  Only evil people are willing eat their own for political gain.


    My (5.00 / 0) (#81)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 03:31:07 PM EST
    point in all this is I think that this is a very bad law. It's why the police were against this law when it was being voted on back in 2005.

    The effect of the SYG law on this case... (none / 0) (#179)
    by Gandydancer on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 11:26:14 PM EST
    ...is that it creates the immunity hearing, and if Z wins he gets costs. Both good things. His self defense case doesn't need SYG.

    "Go to bat for a black homeless guy".. (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by ks on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:11:00 PM EST
    Has been pretty thoroughly debunked.   The letter you are referring to you was checked out and none of the actual participants remember Zimmerman himself nor anything the letter claims he did.  Also, it has a pretty material error in that it claimed a meeting took place in the City Council about the incident on a particular day when the City Council wasn't even in session.  Check the grio.com for one.

    Whether Zimmerman was a progressive is irrelevant.  


    Debunked? Memory is fallible, BUT records ... (none / 0) (#104)
    by RonK Seattle on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 07:18:58 PM EST
    ... may refresh memory. Here is an advance public posting of the Jan.8 2011 commission forum - which several involved now remember as one that didn't occur and could not have occurred.

    If you fail to recall a meeting at which you were scheduled to preside, can you also fail to recall one flyer among many in a heated controversial setting? Can you also fail to recall one face among many?

    There's no debunking of this particular pro-Zimmerman claim in theGrio.com, just (potentially embarrassing) dismissal. There's likewise no proof of the claim in this piece of the documentary record - but it might help others refresh their memories.


    C'mon now (none / 0) (#155)
    by ks on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 12:17:50 AM EST
    That's a very thin reed you're holding.  The debunking of that letter was pretty complete.  They interviewed people who were actually involved in the incident and none of them recalled Zimmerman himself or Zimmerman being involved. It wasn't just the one person related to the meeting which really was just an add-on point. There also a question about the authenticity of letter itself.  It seems to be pretty weak stuff.

    Complete debunking??? Complete bunk. (none / 0) (#169)
    by RonK Seattle on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:30:19 PM EST
    Sift through the cloud of tangential gripes and accusations, many contradictory on their face.

    The victim's sister "can't say".

    One pastor "doesn't remember" the flyers or the meeting -- which was reported in local press, including quotes from Commissioner McCarty, who also doesn't recall the meeting and doesn't believe it could have taken place.

    A second pastor doesn't recall ... or so we're assured by the first pastor ... and others are "skeptical".

    And a Martin attorney writes that the letter is full of "blatant lies" -- but identifies no particular lies, much less any facts in rebuttal.

    Think what you like. Neither claim nor counterclaim is central to the case.


    Huh? (none / 0) (#82)
    by Addison on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 03:31:44 PM EST
    Zimmerman was a progressive by any modern measure

    Not saying this will wind up wrong, but I don't think you have any basis for saying this.


    To be fair (none / 0) (#85)
    by sj on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:19:26 PM EST
    It might be true if limiting to modern measure.  If using an historical or traditional measure, then agree -- the answer is undefined.

    asdf (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Addison on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:24:14 PM EST
    A progressive in what way? Because he's a registered Democrat who (according to some reports) crossed racial lines to support and tutor black individuals? It's certainly a vague label, but even then I would hope being a "progressive" requires more than that...

    So would I (none / 0) (#89)
    by sj on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:35:51 PM EST
    But apparently that's not the case.  Just recently I was described as an unrealistic and idealistic liberal and was therefore irrelevant.  Apparently.

    Those are better credentials (none / 0) (#105)
    by Rojas on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 07:22:41 PM EST
    Than about 80% of the self identified, so-called progressives/liberals that claim the title around here. And by here I mean on this blog.

    There's a reason the sentencing reform/criminal justice reform subjects that Jeralyn blogs about are empty.
    It turns my stomach to think about it.


    Zimmerman was a Progressive? (none / 0) (#133)
    by observed on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 02:45:29 AM EST
    First of all, you have insufficient basis for making the claim.
    Second, it has zero relevance to the case.
    Third, likewise, the racial aspect of this case has been dismissed as being irrelevant---if it even exists at all.

    Relevance? Ha. (none / 0) (#139)
    by redwolf on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 04:59:34 AM EST
    We have people openly warning that Zimmerman doesn't do hard time there's going to be riots and violence.  We've had home addresses published to intimidate and threaten people.  We've had made up racist remarks and doctored 911 calls to make Zimmerman appear to be racist. We have trumped up charges pressed merely for political reason.  In short this is a modern slow motion political witch burning in action with Zimmerman being cast as the witch who must be burned at all costs.

    And the first two claims? (none / 0) (#144)
    by Yman on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 07:30:54 AM EST
    What evidence do you have that Zimmerman was a progressive?  Why is that relevant?

    Beyond silly.


    that too - either way, perhaps (none / 0) (#79)
    by ruffian on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 03:00:46 PM EST
    he has some financing for his defense.

    Some day I would like to see a Venn diagram showing the intersection of the people that think Zimmerman is being accused with no evidence and the people that thought the same of Casey Anthony. I bet the only one in the intersection set is Jeralyn.


    It's hard to maintain that middle (none / 0) (#106)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 07:51:10 PM EST
    There's a diary up at Orange today speculating that there had to be more than one shooter in the Afghan Bales killings.  I cringe reading it, because in Afghan culture rumors are more easily generated and passed around as facts.  And then people stateside argue that Bales could not have done what he did alone.

    He was special forces, he was a highly trained and skilled sniper who can sneak up to you and be six feet away from you and you don't even know it...and then he can sneak out and you never knew he was there.  His physical fitness level was still peak, even with having lost part of his foot.  And serving where he was serving kind of comes with a level of trust and authority.  I find it funny that people think it odd that he left that FOB easily, and I find it funny that they think that Afghan post guards are improbable.  We are trying to turn Afghanistan over to Afghan forces.

    I fear all the speculating will decrease our ability to properly place him on trial.  It is already very difficult to get testimony and witnesses for these incidents out of Afghanistan.  Had the same problem when we were in Iraq.  And IMO he was very capable of doing what was done all by himself.

    I know it his attorney's job to get him off if he can, but it is depressing in a way to watch.


    I've already expressed my thoughts ... (none / 0) (#118)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 09:36:20 PM EST
    ... in prior posts regarding George Zimmerman, and I'm not going to recount them here.

    Suffice to say they I'm glad that he was finally arrested, but that I take what Jeralyn has to say about this case pretty seriously, and that I have some pretty serious doubts as to whether or not the second degree murder charge against him can be sustained here.

    Yes, Zimmerman used terrible judgment that night and set in motion a series of events that led to tragedy, but I think it's a real stretch to content that he alighted from his vehicle with the intent to kill Trayvon Martin, or even that he acted with depraved indifference. He was reckless and negligent, and that warranted a manslaughter charge at best.

    But murder? Really? There's no real justice to be had, if you're going to overcharge a defendant as a political reaction to public outrage in this case. Two wrongs aren't going to make things all right, especially if by overcharging, you end up making it all the more likely that the defendant could walk away scot-free, when he should have been punished for something.

    I'm content to let the court determine what happened here. It may well be that justice for Trayvon will have to be remedied as a civil matter. If it has to be because of what happens in Florida criminal court, then so be it.



    Anyone? Bueller? (none / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:07:34 PM EST
    Am I just off my rocker here? Can someone explain this to me? I'm flabbergasted by it all

    I feel like the crazy uncle (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:10:50 PM EST
    everyone ignores.

    Guess I'll look around and see if there are some explanations elsewhere.


    We hang (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:18:43 PM EST
    around to learn stuff from you and Jeralyn so don't think you're being ignored 'cause the rest of us are ignorant on this subject :)

    You won't learn anything (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:40:36 PM EST
    on criminal law from me.

    Constitutional law and interpretation as an abstract issue is my avocation.

    Commercial litigation, intellectual property, media law, antitrust law, FDA, etc., that I'm pretty expert at and it pays my bills.


    Maybe not (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:09:43 PM EST
    specifically but you were able to point out some of the flaws above simply because you went to law school. That's more than a lot of us know.

    Wish I could tell you, but (none / 0) (#36)
    by me only on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:14:16 PM EST
    I am neither an attorney, nor did I stay in a cheap hotel last night.

    Check out bmaz at emptywheel.  bmaz even made a few comments here the other day.


    Hi Crazy Uncle Armando!! (none / 0) (#92)
    by bmaz on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:01:17 PM EST
    Long time and all that rot.  Here is my take, I am sure Jeralyn has additional thoughts.  NO way Zimmerman plats his butt in that witness chair if I am his lawyer. He wants to make a statement, we can write one out together and I read it in court.  More likely, I just "express on his behalf" if something has to be done in that regard to keep him happy.

    That said, once on the stand, he is open game for the areas he opens. I don't think he opened up quite as much as you suggest, but close enough. The prosecutor guy, de la Rionda, was simply horrid.  He came off as a stomping bully for no reason, and accomplished nothing. As I said somewhere above, I think the examination on whether Zimmerman had expressed any remorse before and when was, well, bizarre.  I would have locked him down on the having no reason to believe Martin was armed, that he was a kid etc.

    The only reason to not get him down on some of those critical facts is if they already know Zimmerman's statements are exculpatory and they have no way to counter them.  Remember, the state also put their lead investigator on the stand today (thought that was all sloppy and stupid too I might add) and the investigator admitted he knew of NO evidence within the states possession that establishes who started the physical struggle. That is close to being a ballgame level of admission. The prosecution has got serious problems, and Judge Lester is clearly no idiot.


    We'd explain if we could, BTD, (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by Zorba on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 12:39:52 PM EST
    but very many of us are not lawyers, let alone criminal defense lawyers, let alone criminal defense lawyers experienced in Florida criminal law and court proceedings.  You're not being ignored, we just have no answers for you.    ;-)

    Preliminary research re whether (none / 0) (#95)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 05:46:10 PM EST
    defendant's statements on the record and under oath during bail hrg. are admissible at trial:

    My prediction no. 2 (no. 1 was a bust):

    Defendant's attorney put him on the stand at today's bail hrg. for the sole purpose of establishing, on the record, at this early stage of the proceedings, defendant's remorse.  This is a factor in sentencing.  Will defendant plead out early?  

    WSJ re a defendant testifying at his (none / 0) (#97)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:15:44 PM EST
    own bail hearing:  link

    This is interesting. One law enforcement (none / 0) (#101)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 06:49:56 PM EST
    witness called by defense sd. he didn't expect to testify today.  A law enforcement witness sd. he "didn't type" the affidavit, admitted he signed it, sd. it was a collaborative effort.  This may be another OJ criminal trial:  try the law enforcement officers, not the defendant.  CNN live blog

    The attorneys & PR guy (none / 0) (#115)
    by SuzieTampa on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 08:57:26 PM EST
    for the Martin family already have tried the Sanford authorities in the media, suggesting that the police and prosecutor are incompetent, if not racist, and had a secret meeting to stop Z from being charged. The original prosecutor, Norm Wolfinger, has just announced that he will not run for re-election. Angela Corey, appointed as the special prosecutor in the case, will be seeking re-election.

    Such a mess (none / 0) (#123)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 12:49:19 AM EST
    He shoved (none / 0) (#111)
    by jbindc on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 08:41:22 PM EST
    An undercover police officer during a bar "altercation".  It was dismissed.

    Jeralyn had also pisted several times about the girlfriend whete they both had restraining orders on each other.

    There's no "history of violence".

    I would (none / 0) (#114)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 08:55:32 PM EST
    think a restraining order would be enough to prevent someone from having a conceal to carry weapon.

    This is just a bad law.


    Ridiculous. (none / 0) (#121)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:38:56 PM EST
    My two neighbors have had restraining orders on each other from arguments over barking dogs. But hey, any chance to advance your personal agenda...

    I don't (none / 0) (#143)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 07:26:50 AM EST
    think this is barking dogs.

    His wife of 5 years (2.00 / 1) (#145)
    by jbindc on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 10:07:20 AM EST
    Testified that he is not violent.

    Which means absolutely (none / 0) (#147)
    by shoephone on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 10:22:05 AM EST
    nothing. Of course she's going to say that.

    just as (none / 0) (#150)
    by jbindc on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 01:57:53 PM EST
    Martin's mother will say ir's his voice.

    Except with his wife, since people like to throw around that he "has a history of violence" of an alleged domestic dispute, then yes, it's relevant.


    Absolutely ridiculous (none / 0) (#149)
    by Yman on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 01:53:29 PM EST
    You mean comparing a restraining order for barking dogs to one for domestic violence?

    Ridiculous because restraining orders (none / 0) (#153)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 05:05:51 PM EST
    are 1) proof of nothing except that someone else got pissed at you and 2) handed out like wet naps at a kindergarten picnic and 3) if you are anti-2nd Amendment, which Ga6thDem is, a parking ticket would be reason enough for him to deny someone their CWP.

    Anything besides unsupported opinions ... (5.00 / 0) (#154)
    by Yman on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 08:13:29 PM EST
    ... to support your silly analogy?

    A restraining order for barking dogs is wholely irrelevant to whether someone has a propensity for violence and whether they should receive a gun permit.  A restraining order for domestic violence is not.  Your unsupported wet naps claim notwithstanding, domestic violence restraining orders are a basis for denying gun permits because, unlike a barking dog, they are relevant.

    In my state, if you have an FRO, you will be denied a permit.  If you have a restraining order because your dog is barking, it won't make the slightest bit of difference.


    My neighbors argued over their fence (none / 0) (#157)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 01:21:20 PM EST
    about their barking dogs, restraining orders ensued.

    Neither of them (a grandmother and a well-respected Captain in the LAFD) would be considered violent, yet, restraining orders were issued based on each being angry with the other.


    Judges don't issue restraining orders ... (none / 0) (#158)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 01:54:07 PM EST
    ... for "being angry" - it's not grounds for a restraining order.

    But domestic restraining orders are relevant to the issuing of a permit, and in many states, grounds for denying a permit.


    based only on the applicant's belief that he/she is "in immediate danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence."

    iow, in FL restraining orders can and are issued when there is no actual domestic violence, but merely the applicant's belief that there could be.

    Both Z and his old GF jointly had restraining orders against each other.


    Forever? (none / 0) (#180)
    by Gandydancer on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 12:51:58 AM EST
    Perhaps (none / 0) (#119)
    by CoralGables on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 09:39:56 PM EST
    "He shoved an undercover police officer during a bar "altercation".  It was dismissed."

    It you want to attempt to correct a misstatement, you should be more accurate in your portrayal of the actual record.


    Fine (none / 0) (#140)
    by jbindc on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 06:44:43 AM EST
    It was reduced to a misdemeanor and then dismissed.

    The point is - he doesn't have a history of violence.


    You're getting closer (none / 0) (#146)
    by CoralGables on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 10:12:43 AM EST
    to honesty, but not quite their yet.

    He said the officer didn't identify himself. (none / 0) (#181)
    by Gandydancer on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 12:54:46 AM EST
    He agreed to take an anger management course. The case was dismissed. There is no "history of violence". So, what's YOUR version of "honesty"?

    A history of occasional altercations, ... (none / 0) (#116)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 09:02:33 PM EST
    ... I'd grant you that. But I wouldn't go so far as to say Zimmerman has a history of actual violence. Nor does he have any history of totally losing it and being out of control, like Mel Gibson ranting at an ex-girlfriend or a screenwriter.

    Exibit A (none / 0) (#117)
    by Rojas on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 09:04:40 PM EST
    "progressive" credentials


    From the hearing, we sort of (none / 0) (#120)
    by rjarnold on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 10:44:27 PM EST
    got an idea on what kind of evidence the prosecution has:

    Gilbreath said that they did not know who started the fight, and they had no evidence as to who started the fight.

    He said that the prosecution had no evidence contradicting George Zimmerman's account that he turned back to his car after losing sight of Martin.

    Gilbreath said that they DO have evidence that Zimmerman's account that his head was banged against the sidewalk was NOT true. (This is part of Zimmerman's story that I am personally skeptical of.)

    Unless I'm misreading something or CNN paraphrased things incorrectly, the prosecution admitted that they had no evidence establishing two key parts of the affidavit: that Zimmerman "disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin" and that Zimmerman "confronted Martin."

    Those aren't "key parts" (none / 0) (#124)
    by expy on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 01:30:40 AM EST
    of the prosecution's case -- they are verbiage in the affidavit, but the prosecution is under no obligation to prove them at trial. Zimmerman is on tape admitting that he was following Martin when the dispatcher suggested that he stop; he also is on tape using language like "a-holes" and "punk" to refer to Martin.  He has admitted shooting Martin. Martin was unarmed, and Martin is dead.  

    The state of mind element for 2nd degree murder (or even a 1st degree case) can be proven by circumstantial evidence - it does not require direct witnesses or testimony.


    How are those not key parts? (none / 0) (#130)
    by rjarnold on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 02:11:34 AM EST
    If they have no evidence that GZ wasn't simply walking to his car, and they have no evidence that he confronted Martin, then they have no evidence on who was the agressor.

    They have evidence (none / 0) (#135)
    by expy on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 03:16:22 AM EST
    that Martin was not the aggressor. They have Martin's cell phone record and the testimony of the girlfriend.  

    Zimmerman apparently told police that he was attacked from behind, but the girlfriend heard Zimmerman talking to Martin, which undermines that story.

    Again, the prosecution can rely on circumstantial evidence. Zimmerman had made statements showing that he had a motive to follow Martin; Zimmerman also reported on tape that Martin was running away from him. Martin was unarmed and had no motive or reason to attack Zimmerman. The jury can draw an inference based on the circumstances that Zimmerman initiated the confrontation.


    Do you have a source (none / 0) (#136)
    by Rojas on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 03:26:27 AM EST
    for this?

    Zimmerman apparently told police that he was attacked from behind,

    That statement is incorrect. (none / 0) (#138)
    by rjarnold on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 03:35:20 AM EST
    "In his version of events, Zimmerman had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from behind, the two exchanged words and then Trayvon punched him in the nose, sending him to the ground, and began beating him."

    Even if his girlfriend's account is true, there is no contradiction with Zimmerman's story.


    the phone friend (none / 0) (#137)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 03:31:20 AM EST
    didn't hear the physical altercation to know who was the aggressor. She heard them each ask a question and then the phone went dead. She said she assumed Trayvon had been shoved. That's complete speculation since the phone went dead.

    The aggressor is defined in the statue as one who provokes the use of force. That's not the same thing as the one who initiated the encounter.

    Before the jury can decide anything, it has to be instructed. I don't think the judge will give an aggressor instruction. The first section of the statute isn't applicable because Zimmerman isn't charged with an independent, contemporaneous felony in addition to the shooting. The second section requires him to have provoked the use of force by Martin. Following someone, even demanding to know what they are doing in a particular place is not sufficient provocation for a punch in the nose, if that's what happened. And it does appear that is what happened. The state cleverly tries to redirect the issue but it never denies Trayvon hit Zimmerman, either in the affidavit, or at the bail hearing.


    Soooooo close (none / 0) (#161)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:13:26 PM EST
    The basis of both of their claims was actual violence, and neither claim was proven or verified.

    iow, the only thing we know for sure is that they both got angry with the other and both convinced a judge to approve restraining orders against the other.

    against the other which enabled each to get restraining orders against each other.

    "Alleged" does not equal "proven" nor "verified."

    Therefor each got angry at the other and convinced a judge to accept each of their subjective beliefs that they could become a victim of domestic violence at the hands of the other.

    Actually you stated the (none / 0) (#167)
    by Rojas on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:51:52 PM EST
    Judge verified....
    Did the judge verify that Zimmerman's wound was due to the dog bite or her clawing him?

    That isn't the standard in CA. (none / 0) (#168)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:17:09 PM EST
    And the petitioner must sign the petition under penalty of perjury and be sworn at the court hearing.  

    Not here in NJ, either (none / 0) (#171)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:41:47 PM EST
    In NJ, it's by a preponderance of the evidence.  I think CA is "reasonable proof of a past act or acts of abuse".

    You contradict yourself. Again. (none / 0) (#172)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 11:18:52 PM EST
    Although you probably won't see it.

    Good luck with trying to buffalo others into believing the restraining order proves he was guilty of domestic violence, you and I both know it is no such proof.