George Zimmerman's Lawyers Seek Donations

Via Mark O'Mara and the Zimmerman defense team: They need money and explain why. In order to come up with an additional fee for the bondsman of $85,000 ($100,000 less the $15,000 premium paid for the first bond the bonding company is apparently going to apply to the new bond), they won't have enough left for the costs associated with George Zimmerman's defense (let alone legal fees.)

For those who have given in the past, for those who have thought about giving, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman was justified in his actions, for those who feel they would do the same if they were in Mr. Zimmerman's shoes, for those that think Mr. Zimmerman has been treated unfairly by the media, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman has been falsely accused as a racist, for those who feel this case is an affront to their constitutional rights -- now is the time to show your support.

The defense fund is at GZDefenseFund.com.

Doesn't the Court accept real property bonds? I'm surprised there isn't a wealthy Zimmerman supporter in Florida who wouldn't put up real property with $1 million in equity, to avoid needing a bondsman entirely, saving the defense $85,000. The Judge's order doesn't specify it has to be a cash or surety bond. The Judge's approval might be necessary, but it doesn't seem to be prohibited by statute. Other Florida counties/districts take them: [More...]

Florida Attorney General opinion:

Section 903.05, F.S., specifically authorizes a resident of this state or a person who owns real estate within this state to act as surety for the release of a person on bail. Therefore, a person other than a bail bondsman may act as a surety for the pretrial release of a defendant.

Thus, pursuant to Ch. 903, F.S., real property owned by a third person may be pledged to secure the release of a defendant if the court determines that the use of such property as bail will ensure the appearance of the criminal defendant and protect the community against unreasonable danger.

Here's Section 903.46 which also mentions real property bonds. Here are the latest 18th Judicial Circuit bonding rules. There's no mention of a real property bond.

I realize George doesn't like being in jail, but I think he should appeal the bond ruling or file for reconsideration. For the chance to save $85,000., George could spend a few more weeks in jail while O'Mara makes the point to the Judge that if the defense fund money goes to bond, there's not enough left for costs (expert witnesses, forensic testing, private investigators etc) needed to defend the case, and the state of Florida will end up picking up the tab.

I see an indigency motion as a result of this bond amount. Why should a bondsman and his insurance company pocket another $85k when the result is likely to be that the citizens of Florida will have to pick up the tab? And that's not all. The state may end up having to provide Zimmerman with lawyers at its expense if there's no money to pay O'Mara and his team.

This was a really bad bond ruling. (You can read it here.) It there aren't enough contributions in the next few days to both post the bond and have enough left for defense costs, I hope O'Mara doesn't post the bond, and asks the Judge to reconsider. Then it's the judge's decision: Line the pockets of a private bonding company, leaving the defendant with insufficient money to fund the cost of his defense and legal fees, resulting in Zimmerman being declared indigent and the state picking up the cost of defending him, or set a reasonable bond. $300,000., a doubling of the original bond, would have been more than sufficient. $1 million in a case where the issue is self-defense is way over the top.

I also think O'Mara omitted three additional groups of people who might want to contribute: (1) Those who think a public relations campaign orchestrated by private lawyers unduly interfered in the orderly progression of the investigation and pressured the state into bringing charges; (2) Those who think prosecutors intentionally and improperly overcharged the case as second degree murder; and (3) Those who think the entire prosecution is politically motivated.

Today it's George Zimmerman. Tomorrow it could be you or one of your loved ones. I hope people donate to his defense fund.

(Since I'm only going to be covering the George Zimmerman case here on the front page of TalkLeft when there's news, please come join us at the newly upgraded TalkLeft Forums to continue the discussion on this and other facets of the case.)

< Thursday Morning Open Thread | Scott Peterson Appeals Death Sentence >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    What's the point of donating towards another bond? (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by redwolf on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:40:24 PM EST
    The judge already said he'd revoke it the moment the DA bring a perjury charge against Zimmerman and I'm sure this DA will do so just to keep Zimmerman in jail.  It'd just be 100k down the drain and Zimmerman back in jail.  The game appears to be rigged.

    Isn't something blatantly ... (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by heidelja on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:14:46 AM EST
    ...wrong in a judge's sense of judicial reasoning when he solicits additional (actually petty) charges? Especially a flimsy charge of "perjury" against a defendent's wife that will accomplish little more than bring her into the public spotlight because she had not been asked the specific questions to garner the specifc answers she has been alledged to have known and that judge wanted...in hindsight? And if she is acquitted, as she should be, it acually does more public harm than good by underminding his judicial opinions. This case being politically charged to be one of unfair justice affecting blacks only is reaching the catastrophic proposrtions of the Rosenbergs of 1953.

    Lester said ... (4.50 / 2) (#7)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:10:03 PM EST
    In two places in his opinion, Lester says that a charge under 903.035(3) would not be grounds for revocation of bond.  The act is not a new crime committed while Zimmerman is on pretrial release.  See middle of page 4, and (j) on page 7.

    And that is (none / 0) (#12)
    by bmaz on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:28:55 PM EST
    exactly what I would appeal while I was making preparations to post up the second an appeal was denied.  No reason to not start putting Lester's somewhat hyperbolic legal decision process on display.

    I hadn't thought of it that way (none / 0) (#13)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:38:22 PM EST
    If the 903.035(3) violation isn't grounds for revocation, then the first bond should be in place.

    I think it's a moot point, as the Court in general needs to have a way to increase and decrease bail, and to otherwise modify conditions for release; and the court has offered release on bail.  The issue now is the size of the bail.  IOW, at this point, Zimmerman is not being held on a no bond status.

    Lester says Zimmerman can make the million dollar bond. Period.  But O'Mara suggests that without donations, Zimmerman can't make bond; or that if he makes bond, his defense somehow goes kaput.


    Unless you have great representation ,,, (none / 0) (#16)
    by lousy1 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:55:58 PM EST
    you are at risk of false imprisionment.

    Lest we forget.

    Duke lacrosse case  

    Accusations of intimidation tacticsDefense lawyers also suggest that police have used intimidation tactics on witnesses. On May 11, Moezeldin Elmostafa, a black taxi driver who signed a sworn statement about Seligmann's whereabouts that defense lawyers say provides a solid alibi, was arrested on a 2½-year-old shoplifting charge. He was not the accused shoplifter, but had driven them in his cab.[91] Mr. Elmostafa was subsequently tried on the shoplifting charge and was found not guilty.[92]

    Maybe Lester (none / 0) (#17)
    by expy on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 09:00:12 PM EST
    is including his estimate of the defense ability to raise fund via donations in his conclusion that the defendant will be able to make a $1 million bond.

    Given that there does appear to be well over $85K cash on hand, Judge Lester would be right, at least in terms of the 10% needed for the bail bondsman.

    I didn't see anything in Lester's order precluding the defense from continuing to raise funds through private donations. As a starting point, they certainly have an email list of all the original donors to work from.


    The first bond.... (none / 0) (#19)
    by bmaz on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 09:42:24 PM EST
    ....should still be in place. Exactly, or the new one set on the same terms and conditions. That is exactly the resultant of my view of this.

    Cboldt, it's 903.035 (1) that gave the (none / 0) (#24)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 12:15:36 AM EST
    judge the authority to revoke the bond,  (sections a and b), but the statute is implemented by Rules set by the Fla Supreme Court.  903.035(1) is implemented by  Criminal Rule 3.131((5) which is what the judge used. The language of rule is identical to the language in 903.035(a)(1) and (2. The rule adds one line not applicable here.  The rule is what the Judge read aloud on June 1 when he revoked bond.)  

    5) All information provided by a defendant in connection with any application for or attempt to secure bail, to any court, court personnel, or individual soliciting or recording such information for the purpose of evaluating eligibility for or securing bail for the defendant, under circumstances such that the defendant knew or should have known that the information was to be used in connection with an application for bail, shall be accurate, truthful, and complete, without omissions, to the best knowledge of the defendant. Failure to comply with the provisions of this subdivision may result in the revocation or modification of bail. However, no defendant shall be compelled to provide information regarding his or her criminal record.

    There's no requirement he find GZ to have violated Section 3 of 903.035 and that sub-section has nothing to do with bond revocation. It merely defines a crime for providing false information during the bond process. GZ is not charged with that crime. The Judge can't charge him, only the state's attorney can. So the judge saying he thinks there is probable cause to charge George with the offense under sub-section 3 is a throwaway line. It has no effect. It was conduct that occurred before bond was set.

    Also, the elements between 903.035(1) and (3) are different. For subsection (1), it's that the information a defendant provides to the court and various personnel shall be "accurate, truthful, and complete without omissions to the best knowledge of the defendant." Section 3, outlining the crime, pertains to "any person" (not just the defendant) and requires the person "intentionally provide false or misleading material information. The mental state is different, the persons it applies to are different, and only the crime has the requirement the false information be material.

    Again, on June 1, when revoking bond, the judge quoted only subsection the rule which is the same as 903.035(1). That section gives him power to revoke bond. There's no need for a crime under section 3.

    The title of the statute is "Applications for bail; information provided; hearing on application for modification; penalty for providing false or misleading information or omitting material information." Those are all separate and distinct topics. The first section is about bond revocation. The second section is about notice when a defendant moves to modify bond. And the third spells out the elements of a criminal charge. Only section 1 pertains to Zimmerman.

    That said, I don't think the Judge was correct in revoking bond because GZ didn't provide information to the court or court personnel. His lawyer did, by calling his wife as a witness. The section the judge relied on pertains only to defendants. Perhaps he was using an aiding & abetting or conspiracy theory, the rule and statute don't state anyone other than "the defendant" and GZ didn't provide information.

    (1)(a) All information provided by a defendant, in connection with any application for or attempt to secure bail, to any court, court personnel, or individual soliciting or recording such information for the purpose of evaluating eligibility for, or securing, bail for the defendant, under circumstances such that the defendant knew or should have known that the information was to be used in connection with an application for bail, shall be accurate, truthful, and complete without omissions to the best knowledge of the defendant.

    That third person (the one soliciting information is the pre-trial release officer. George's interview with the pre-trial officer was truthful according to the form she filled out. (The criminal history section is crossed out or blank because they don't ask the defendant for his history, they look it up.)

    I also think the Court should not have revoked bond at a hearing GZ was not present at. Unless there was an emergency need to have him arrested, and if there was, he would have sent the sheriff's out, not given him until Sunday to surrender, it seems like a due process violation to me. (But I couldn't find anything directly on point to support this.)

    I reviewed all this here, here here and here.

    In any event, O'Mara decided not to challenge the revocation, probably wanting to stay on the judge's good side until he decided whether he would re-bond him.

    But the judge can revoke bond under 902.035(1)(b)if he finds the defendant violated 903.035(1)(a) as applied through Criminal Rule 3.131(5), and that's what the judge found.


    The Judge believes (none / 0) (#27)
    by expy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:32:56 AM EST
    that George Zimmerman orchestrated the handling & concealment of the money, base on the jail tapes where he is clearly giving his wife directions on how the money is to be handled.

    That defeats any argument that GZ "didn't provide the info" because his attorney & his wife did -- because it shows GZ actively involved, albeit outside of court.

    The Judge obviously was frustrated with the defense at the bail hearing for skirting around the issue. The forensic accountant could explain the $9999 transactions (PayPal policy), but I don't think any explanation was offered as to why money was being split between various family accounts (I think the wife, the sister, & maybe cash also in a safe deposit box).  

    It looks like a plan to conceal funds.  Maybe it wasn't -- maybe GZ just wanted to get the funds out of PayPal and available to the family members who weren't in jail -- but that explanation wasn't offered. Instead, O'Mara appeared to concede the intent to conceal funds, but argued that GZ was frightened & confused & felt betrayed by the system -- all of which probably struck the judge as being a lame excuse.  

    Unfortunately for GZ, the jail tapes are pretty damning. Focusing on the logistics as to when GZ should have spoken up in court is missing the focus of the Judge's concern.  


    No, O'Mara argued (none / 0) (#30)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:44:15 AM EST
    he intended to conceal the funds but not from the court. He argued strenously there was no intent to decieve the court and said that there isn't a single jail call out of the 150 that show differently. He gave examples of who he might be hiding it from, but obviously, without putting GZ on (which was the right call) and being unable to put Shellie on (since her lawyer rightly said no) that's all he could do.

    Again, you are imposing an aiding and abetting or conspiracy theory onto the statute and rule when it says "the defendant". The legislature clearly knew what words it was using since in section (3) it says "any person." Do you have any cases applying subsection 5 of the rule to defendant when he didn't provide the misinformation but his cohort did? Under federal law, aiding and abetting is an element of every crime, but this is Florida and state court and we're not talking about a criminal offense but a criminal rule that applies to bond.

    It wasn't illegal for him to acquire and spend and move money.


    my point (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by expy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 03:57:06 AM EST
    is that the Judge did not buy O'Mara's argument.  

    The Judge drew his own conclusions based on listening to the tapes. He heard GZ giving his wife specific instructions as to what to do with specific sums of money -- which account(s) to put it in, where to move it, what to reserve for bail.

    O'Mara's argument as to "intent" is not evidence.

    I interpret the phrase "All information provided by a defendant" to include information provided by a defendant through counsel. Any other interpretation  would encourage defendants to fabricate false information to feed to their lawyers.

    There could be a situation where the defendant was entirely removed from the process. For example, if  GZ had not been aware of the amount of money in the account, and all financial transactions concerning donated funds has been handled by Zimmerman's wife and brother without consulting or advising him -- then he would not be responsible for the omission. I think the Judge originally gave him the benefit of the doubt when he did not immediately revoke or increase bond; but the jail tapes showed that GZ had an active hand in the process.  

    My point is, however the statute is interpreted, the Judge decided based on the tapes that GZ had an active, personal role in the circumstances that lead to significant misrepresentations being made to to the court.  


    No case, but perhaps a rule (none / 0) (#50)
    by Michael Masinter on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 10:11:58 AM EST
    Treat this as speculation.

    Rule 2.505(h) of the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration states:

    (h) Attorney as Agent of Client. In all matters concerning the prosecution or defense of any proceeding in the court, the attorney of record shall be the agent of the client, and any notice by or to the attorney or act by the attorney in the proceeding shall be accepted as the act of or notice to the client.

    Judge Lester seems to find that MOM (the agent) innocently presented what GZ (the principal) knew to be false testimony at the bond hearing. The rule, like agency law generally, makes the principal responsible for the acts of his agent.  Perhaps he reasoned that MOM's principal, GZ, bore an affirmative duty to prevent his lawyer from presenting what he knew to be false testimony at a bond hearing, at least when he could do so without incriminating himself.



    With or without (none / 0) (#63)
    by bmaz on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 02:17:40 PM EST
    such a rule, I think there is at least some merit to that thought.  By the same token, correcting within four days or whatever after having a chance to talk in private with O'Mara could argue in mitigation a little.  At least to my sensibility (that may be a joke, not sure) it is still a little tenuous for the extreme path Lester went down.

    For instance, let's assume that agency provides the basis, there is still no basis for revocation prior to hearing on the merits. If there was, there should have been arrest warrant issued instead of a self surrender within a few days order.


    I'll just say we disagree (none / 0) (#35)
    by cboldt on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 04:59:43 AM EST
    I disagree with your conclusion that the June 1 order holding on no bond would have been lawful, if George had been the one giving false information.  I disagree that 903.035 standing alone or in combination with Rule 3.131 gives any Florida court the power to revoke bond.

    My authority for the proposition is the Paul case, summarized at FN14.  Lester did not make one of the findings necessary under the FL constitution and FL law (907.041) to deny bail.

    Sometimes a lie on a bond application is enough to make the findings under 907.041, sometimes it is not.  But in either event, Judge Lester did not justify his June 1 no-bond order by making the findings required under 907.041.


    Fact error on may part (none / 0) (#37)
    by cboldt on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 05:16:13 AM EST
    I don't believe it affects your conclusion, but it renders part of your response superfluous.  I agree that there is no claim of a 903.035(3) violation.  What I should have said in the first place was that if a 903.035(1) violation (following Rule 3.131(5)) isn't enough to deny bail now (see June 29 order), then it wasn't enough to deny bond on June 1, either.

    That is what I've been saying (none / 0) (#40)
    by bmaz on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:33:35 AM EST
    ...for a while now. And, as Jeralyn says, it really needs an aider and abetter theory to hold under Lester's path. Heck, maybe that can be inferred in as others have proposed from the jail calls.  But, then you read the actual code sections and it really does not fir with letter or apparent intent well at all.  It boils down to pretty nuanced argument either way, in a sense, and I suppose maybe Lester's order stands up on appeal.  But this argument is certainly substantial.

    Even if he fits under aider/abetter (none / 0) (#42)
    by cboldt on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:05:35 AM EST
    Not that there is only one way to break a chain that result in a conclusion that a no-bond order is justified, or that a court is limited to one error in a decision.  I agree that if Zimmerman doesn't fit under the definitions, the conclusion is foregone for that reason.  My argument is that in order to sustain a no-bond order, Lester has to include the 907.041 calculus in his chain.

    He can find Zimmerman to be "the liar," and he can find that 903.035(5) allows revocation of bond for what Zimmerman did.  But that is not enough.  In order to justify holding on a no bond status, the court has to continue its argument through the steps and findings that are legally mandatory in order to justify the no-bond order.  Those steps are described in the Paul case.

    Lester's order of June 1 / June 11 is fatally flawed because it does not make a finding that is required to justify holding without bond (flight risk, danger to community, or release will affect the fairness/objectivity of the trial process), and it does not apply the legal standard for holding without bond.

    Lester's order of June 29 may be flawed too (I think it is), but for a different reason or reasons.


    But, despite revoking the bond (none / 0) (#44)
    by bmaz on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:48:06 AM EST
    ...was Zimmerman ever really held "no bond"? I don't think so.

    "No bond status" (none / 0) (#47)
    by cboldt on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:09:31 AM EST
    Lester ordered Zimmerman held on no bond status in his June 11 order.  "ORDERED AND ADJUDGED - The Defendant's bond is hereby revoked.  He shall be held in the John E. Polk Correctional Facility on a no bond status until further order of the Court."

    I think all the bold is in the original, but the quality of the pdf doesn't permit me to say so with 100% certainty.


    Crikey (none / 0) (#48)
    by bmaz on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:00:54 AM EST
    Thanks, had forgotten the wording, you are right. Honestly, for my argument, I didn't think there was sufficient cause to even revoke pending new determination; certainly not to no bond on the spot.

    You've missed (none / 0) (#69)
    by expy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 05:17:16 PM EST
    the "until further order of this court" part.

    The crime that GZ is charged with carries a potential life sentence. Therefore, by definition, there is never any bond until the court orders one. (This is in comparison to other offenses where there is a statutory bond amount set automatically).

    GZ surrendered himself to custody on a Sunday. In most jurisdictions, a lawyer could get a Sunday-surrender onto calendar for a hearing by Tuesday.

    O'Mara chose to wait. There is absolutely no evidence, anywhere, that O'Mara ever requested an earlier hearing date than the one he got.

    There might be an argument to be made if there was a different fact scenario -- that is, if the lawyer was trying to get the matter on calendar for a bail hearing and the court refused to consider the matter in a timely way.   But that isn't what happened.  (I think O'Mara wanted and needed more time to prepare)


    AND proof of of guilt is evident (none / 0) (#76)
    by MJW on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:28:48 PM EST
    The crime that GZ is charged with carries a potential life sentence. Therefore, by definition, there is never any bond until the court orders one.

    You left off the important condition that proof of guilt is evident or the presumption great.  If proof of guilt isn't eveident or the presumption great, the defendant is entitled to bail under the same criteria as any other defendant.


    No, you misunderstand what I am saying (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by expy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:22:40 PM EST
    If a person is arrested in Seminole county for burglary to a dwelling, their bail is automatically set at $4900. They don't have to wait until their first court appearance to bail out -- if arrested on  a Saturday, the suspect can post bond on Sunday.

    If the person is arrested for DUI, the bail is $500. If arrested for manslaughter,, the bail is $10,000.

    But for any offense carrying a life sentence, there is "NO BAIL" until set by a court at the first appearance.  

    Google the phrase "Seminole County Bail Schedule" and it will take you to a link that you can use to download a PDF of the bail schedule. If you go to page 3 of that schedule, you will see the words "NO BAIL" printed for all the offenses for which bail may be denied after an Arthur hearing.

    The revocation of a previously set bail essentially puts the defendant in the same position as he was on the day of arrest: no bail, pending hearing.  

    In this case, the court set bail in April based on  certain factual representations. The facts that the court relied on in setting the bail amount turned out to be false -- so the judge revoked bail.  That is what the statute allows him to do.

    There is a difference between revoking bail (reverting to "no bail" status), pending further hearing, and denying bail for the duration of the case. GZ had the right to seek a prompt hearing; his lawyer chose instead to seek a somewhat delayed hearing; and at the hearing, the Judge heard evidence and did indeed grant bail, setting a higher amount and more stringent terms as before.


    Okay, I see what you're saying (none / 0) (#84)
    by MJW on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:43:22 PM EST
    Though I don't think my original interpretation was unreasonable.

    What the statute allows/allowed... (none / 0) (#131)
    by heidelja on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 03:36:58 AM EST
    ...Lester also to do (have done) was simply modify the bond. He could have done this on Apr 27 when the "false information" conveyed on Apr 20 was corrected by O'Mara. After all, Zim had never seriously violated the conditions of his bond.

    Shouldn't the fiasco over GZ's bond during June be seen as no more than an extenuation of the grandstanding of the State's motion to revoke bond on June 1? Given the Court's flaunting order restating bond on July 5, might the Court be eventually left with egg on its face when Shellie Zimmerman is acquitted of the notion of perjury resulting from her "complicity"?

    I think in the long run the Court's credibility for impartiality will be more jeopardize by its belligerent order on July 5 than having instead "quietly" modified bond on Apr 27. For this reason all for June 2012 should be seen as "Count 1" for Lester being a doofus in the matter of State v George Zimmeman.


    perhaps (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by expy on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 06:24:27 PM EST
    the defense lawyer should have been proactive and requested a hearing to review the bond - and requested a ruling - when he submitted the information about the assets.

    It would have been counter-intuitive to do so -- why ask the court to potentially raise bond when the client is out? -- but it would have shut the door on the bond issue rather than leave it "pending", with the door open to the prosecution to submit new evidence at any time.

    If, for example, a 2nd bond hearing had taken place at the defense request in early May, limited to the financial issues - at which O'Mara made full disclosure of finances -- it's possible that the Judge may have let the existing $150K bond stand, or raised it only moderately (say, to $250K) -- giving the defense a reasonable time to post the raised amount.  

    I think under that hypothetical scenario, (a) the prosecution would have had to file a formal noticed motion before having the bond issue reconsidered, and (b) they would have been less motivated to review the jail tapes to deal with the money issue. Shellie Zimmerman could have come to court to "correct" her testimony as well, avoiding the later-filed perjury charge.  

    I have a hard time seeing how the court would justify jacking up the bail based on jail tapes in the context of having already made a determination fully considering the finances, as well.  

    I can't say that I would expect any but the most prescient defense lawyer to anticipate this... but in hindsight it probably was a mistake to walk out of court when the issue was first raised without a date certain for the court to make a determination on the bail question.  


    Don't disagree with that (none / 0) (#94)
    by bmaz on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:21:23 PM EST
    in the least, in fact I think it spot on.  My point is somewhat different, but you are correct on that part.

    I still (4.00 / 1) (#3)
    by bmaz on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:52:40 PM EST
    do not think that would hold up. That would not be an offense committed while on bond, so I do not think it could legally revoke this new bond.

    What were the grounds for revoking the first bond? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by redwolf on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:09:30 PM EST
    I didn't see how Zimmerman violated any the terms of his first bond and yet it was revoked.  The judge seems to have a wide desecration when it comes to revoking bonds.

    It's an interesting point (none / 0) (#9)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:12:02 PM EST
    Lester essentially admits in this order, that "the lie" did not justify revocation of the bond in the first place.  If the lie can't be used to revoke bond now, it couldn't on June 1, either.

    he didn't violate the terms (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:53:38 PM EST
    of his first bond. It was revoked under the section of the bail statute that says a judge can revoke bond if the defendant provided false or incomplete information when applying for bond.

    (1)(a) All information provided by a defendant, in connection with any application for or attempt to secure bail, to any court, court personnel, or individual soliciting or recording such information for the purpose of evaluating eligibility for, or securing, bail for the defendant, under circumstances such that the defendant knew or should have known that the information was to be used in connection with an application for bail, shall be accurate, truthful, and complete without omissions to the best knowledge of the defendant.

    (b) The failure to comply with the provisions of paragraph (a) may result in the revocation or modification of bail.

    Of course, he didn't provide any false information directly. O'Mara called Shellie as a witness who provided information. O'Mara told Piers Morgan that in one of the taped jail conversations before the April 20 hearing, Zimmerman told Shellie to tell the truth at the hearing.

    Nonetheless, the Judge didn't say he violated a condition of bond and even if he is charged with the crime of presenting false information at a bond hearing, it wouldn't affect the new bond as BMazz and others say, because it happened before he was released on bond.


    That's the same statute (none / 0) (#18)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 09:04:23 PM EST
    I agree, that's exactly what Lester cited in June 11.  It's my position that the June 11 revocation of bond was unlawful, because it did not apply the correct legal authority for revocation of bond.  Both you and Lester cited 903.035.  The third numbered part of that, 903.035(3), is what makes giving false information a crime of its own right.

    I think that some types of false information are grounds for revocation of bond (like saying you live in the state, but you don't), and other types of false information are not.  In any event, bond revocation requires conformity with 907.041, as Lester correctly notes in today's order.  Lester did not apply 907.041 in his June 11 order.

    There is no allegation of a violation of a bond condition.


    Pro bono, not pro bono, now what? (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by lawstudent on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:11:15 PM EST
    O'Mara originally agreed to take this case pro bono.  And unless I'm mistaken, he was not appointed as counsel and that was a voluntary decision on his part.  Subsequently, Zimmerman came into a windfall of cash from his website.  At some point, O'Mara then became a paid attorney.  Now, the judge has ordered Zimmerman to post a hefty bond, thus depleting his funds, leaving O'Mara with the choice of returning to his pro bono status or soliciting more funds from the public.  

    While I agree that the latter is the more favorable option to O'Mara, if he was truly committed to serving pro bono in the first instance, why is that option seemingly no longer on the table?  He makes it seem as if without donations, Zimmerman will be unable to defend his case.

    Costs associated with the trial (none / 0) (#10)
    by nycstray on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:21:40 PM EST
    who picks up those if O'Mara goes pro-bono?

    fair point, but... (none / 0) (#11)
    by lawstudent on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:25:03 PM EST
    Who was going to pick up those costs in the first instance, when the case was still being handled pro bono?  

    The funds raised via first site? (none / 0) (#21)
    by nycstray on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 09:59:06 PM EST
    Or perhaps the tax payers? Not really sure how it all works (my degree is in paint and pastels :) ), but it seems the only way GZ could have a fair trail, is if he has access to all those things that go along with a trial that cost money aside from the pro-bono lawyer.

    the state would pick them up (none / 0) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:34:12 AM EST
    if O'Mara was pro bono and GZ was indigent.

    The state would not pick up any costs if O'Mara was pro-bono and GZ was not indigent.

    With the donated funds in place with O'Mara for costs, he wouldn't apply to the state for funding for costs. He said so.


    Seven words: (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 02:45:54 AM EST
    This is their problem, not mine. Sorry.

    Anne (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 03:03:06 PM EST
    It seems sometimes like that is the standard. We are bending over backwards to criticize everyone other than the defendant and their family, who have a bubble of reasonable doubt around them that extends beyond the actual case itself, so that all Zimmerman's have become untouchable.

    But what we have now, that we didn't have before, is a judge making express statements about his view of Zimmerman.  Not his wife (who is charged with perjury). Not his family (who have made statements as prejudicial as any made by the Martin family).

    But Zimmerman himself:

    "Under any definition, the defendant has flaunted the system," . . . "Although there is no record of flight to avoid prosecution, this court finds that circumstances indicate that the defendant was preparing to flee to avoid prosecution but such plans were thwarted.  . . .Notably, together with the passport, the money only had to be hidden for a short time for him to leave the country if the defendant made a quick decision to flee."

    It was just a few weeks ago that the passport was argued to be an innocent mistake and the money issues were just a simple understanding.  

    Now we have a trier of fact weighing in officially and on the record about Zimmerman's intent and motives with respect to one particular issue and when that does not reflect Zimmerman positively, we don't reevaluate Zimmerman's credibility  . . .

     . . . we question the judge's credibility?

    I'm just saying.

    You nailed it, ABG! (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 05:13:10 PM EST
    But, it goes beyond just Zimmerman and Lester. I'll bet if you Googled around the Net you could even find blogs where commenters express that very same delusional attitude surrounding President Obama:)

    (lol. ABG, talk about tossing a "fat one" down the middle of the plate.)


    I think the tipoff (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by Juan on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:01:40 PM EST
    to Lester determining GZ was preparing to flee was that he paid off his outstanding debts. Isn't that what most suspects do when they decide to go on the run ?

    Absolutely (none / 0) (#105)
    by unitron on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 03:24:42 AM EST
    Having Interpol chasing you around the globe is bad enough, but even the most desperate and hardened criminals know better than to risk bringing the full might and fury of the BlockBuster late fee department down upon their heads.

    : - )


    Absolutely, kind of. (none / 0) (#158)
    by Dilbert By Day on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 07:38:21 PM EST
    Is there any indication that Shellie Z intended to spend the balance of her life as an Andean cave dweller, weaving Alpaca sweaters? Maybe they agreed to settle their financial obligations before hubby Z absconded to his cavern in the Peruvian Highlands.

    If I were the penniless, stay-behind spouse I would demand it, and then some.  


    Partially true (5.00 / 3) (#121)
    by NYShooter on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 02:43:14 PM EST
    Just because there's two sides to every story doesn't extrapolate into both sides being equal in numbers, decibels, intensity, logic, reason, empirical evidence, or even goals.

    Of course, my opinion is subjective, but I think if I did a scholarly study I would find that many (most?) Zimmerman followers fall into the "fan," even "groupie" camp.

    Speaking for only myself, I'm not rooting for either side. The only thing I look for whenever I run across a GZ/TM story is, "is the process fair?" Regardless of how dumb I think Zimmerman's actions were, if the reality turns out to be pretty close to the narrative Z has relayed, then he should be released. The fact that I believe the SYG law, and the hurtful, unrealistic agenda that has propelled it, is bad for the country is another story. The law is the law.

    I don't believe that that is the attitude most Zimmerman followers are guided by. They want their guy to win. Period.

    I disagree with you (none / 0) (#136)
    by ding7777 on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 11:08:40 AM EST
    If I believe that a 2nd degree murder charge was overcharged, politically motivated,and corrupt I'm neither a Zimmerman "fan" or 'groupie".

    Angela Corey's "I Prayed With Trayvon Martin's Parents" shows, imo, her bias.

    Angela Corey's decision to forgo a grand jury shows, imo, her need to recoup support she lost  re the Marissa Alexander prosecution.

    Angela Corey's outburst against Alan Dershowitz (if true) shows, imo, her arrogance.  



    I disagree too. (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 12:16:51 PM EST
    Fans and groupies? I don't think so.

    Zimmerman supporters that I've talked to seem concerned that if they're in a situation that truly requires deadly force to survive, they don't want to be railroaded by the media portraying the incident as a racist murder. Even if you inaccurately profile a suspect and then follow him in order to tell the police where he ran to, if the suspect then attacks and beats your head into the ground you're justified in defending yourself. That's what it's about for many GZ supporters I've talked to.


    Parents of teenage boys (5.00 / 4) (#151)
    by expy on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 06:09:43 PM EST
    don't want to be in a situation where their kid gets shot and killed, the police shrug it off and simply accept whatever story the killer gives them, no matter how implausible.

    It seems to me that many people cannot understand that the anger from the Martin family and supporters was directed primarily at the police and law enforcement.  

    A person who has been charged with a crime is not being railroaded; they are just beginning the first step of a process designed to determine whether or not a crime has been committed.  

    Given that in this case there is a dead man and a known shooter, I think it's reasonable that the family expected some sort of formalized process to take place.

    In the recent Texas case where the father caught a strange man in the process of raping his 4 year old daughter, and ended up beating the stranger to death -- the prosecutor opted to submit the case to a grand jury. The grand jury voted no bill. I'm sure that is what the prosecution wanted in that case -- but at least there was a formal process that went beyond the police station.

    If a prosecutor had accepted the police investigators recommendation in March that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter, this case would never have come into the national spotlight.  Zimmerman would have been charged with manslaughter, not 2nd degree murder; he would have had the same array of legal defenses available; his bail would be much lower; and there would never have been a story to gain media traction.

    I don't think parents should have to worry when their teenage kids walk off to the local market the kid will be shot and killed on the way home. Unfortunately, it does happen.  

    I do think that anyone who chooses to carry a gun should expect that if they ever are in a position to shoot and kill someone, that law enforcement will get involved and that they quite likely will be charged with a crime, even if they personally feel the killing was justified. The charge is not the same as conviction -- it is the process by which it is determined by a neutral body (a jury of peers) whether or not the homicide is justified.   It's not a perfect process by any means, but it is the process our society has -- and that is something the gun owner needs to accept as part of the responsibility of killing a weapon.

    This is not an anti-gun position. I would assume that if I ever hit a person with my car, that there would be an inquiry that would go beyond merely taking down my side of the story. Cars are dangerous; people have accidents; and sometimes drivers are determined to be at fault, sometimes not.

    I do realize that the SYG / immunity provisions may be the factor in Florida that prevented this case from being processed and charged as would normally happen.  And I think the unintended result is that the death of an innocent teenager has resulted in provoking enough outrage that the prosecution has taken a harder line that it would have otherwise.  

    Perhaps the Florida legislature should reconsider that aspect of the statute.  It seem to me a huge mistake to pass a law to shield any person who has shot and killed another from the normal civil & criminal processes that apply in every other context.

    Of course he should be able to present his defense in court, and of course the prosecution should be held to the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  What irks the Martin family supporters is the notion of skipping the trial part and going straight to acquittal, via the notion of "immunity".  

    Keep in mind that whether or not GZ is telling the truth, there will always be circumstances in which      people lie about what happened, and there is a huge motivation to lie, especially if "self defense" seems to be some sort of get out of jail free card because of an immunity statute.


    vise versa (none / 0) (#167)
    by IrishGerard on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:48:18 AM EST
    If a prosecutor had accepted the police investigators recommendation in March that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter, this case would never have come into the national spotlight

    Isnt the DA/SA the ultimate arbiter? If the prosecutor believed, based on the evidence, that zimmerman acted in self defense then why would he accept the recommendation of the investigator (SPD).

    why should anyone who acts in self-defense, under the law, be subjected to the perils of a Jury trial?

    I realize that the subtext of your post was greater than this particular paragraph. But I am curious, as to your professional opinion, based on the evidence thus far, do you believe GZ acted in self-defense?


    My opinion (5.00 / 2) (#172)
    by expy on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:22:45 PM EST
    Whether or not GZ acted in self-defense depends on whether or not his story is true. The trier of fact -- a judge or jury -- are empowered by our system to make that determination, best made when testimony is offered under oath & subject to cross-examination.

    So no, the DA is not the "ultimate arbiter."  This is a case where an unarmed teenager was shot, the shooter is identified, and there is an unresolved question of fact as to what happened.

    The problem with the DA acting is "ultimate arbiter" is that it injects bias and disparate treatment into the process. Would he have reached the same conclusion if Martin had shot Zimmerman?  Surely you wouldn't advocate a rule that says that if one person shoots another and there are no witnesses, the killing will always be deemed justifiable if the shooter claims self defense? If not, how does the prosecutor decide why one shooter should be believed and another should not?

    There is plenty of statistical data to show disparate treatment throughout the criminal justice system, both of black defendants/suspects, and in cases where the victim of a crime is black. See, for example, Rejavi & Jacobs

    Prosecutors should exercise appropriate discretion in charging, but when there is a dead body and the killer is known, a prosecutor who does not view the perpetrator's story with a reasonable degree of skepticism isn't really doing his job.

    Again, my point was that, had the prosecutor opted to follow through on the initial recommendation, GZ would probably be facing a lesser charge, free on a lower bond, and would have every opportunity to present his case in court without media hype or internet scrutiny. Under those circumstances he might very well have prevailed in a SYG hearing, and that would have afforded him protections far beyond what is available in most states.


    Not playing it straight (3.50 / 2) (#173)
    by IrishGerard on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:48:40 PM EST
    Whether or not GZ acted in self-defense depends on whether or not his story is true

    Really? That's why I asked, 'based on the evidence'......
    you are aware of the physical evidence and eyewitness testimony?

    Do you honestly think the SA refused to file charges simply because he believed zimmerman's story?

    Police departments dont file charges, prosecutors do. So it doesn't make sense that the SA would accept SPD's recommendation for manslaughter unless there was probable cause to support it.

    Your rationale, I believe, is preciously why states like Florida have moved to expand and strengthen their self-defense laws.


    the evidence (5.00 / 3) (#174)
    by expy on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 01:28:21 AM EST
    is that an unarmed 17 year old was shot in the chest and died while walking home from the 7/11.  

    The evidence is that one of the very last things that the young man was doing before he died was talking on the phone to his teenage girlfriend.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that would provide any reason, motive, or justification for that young man to initiate a physical fight with the defendant.

    So, but for the defendant's story, the circumstances suggest a very different set of events leading up to the shooting.


    the evidence appears to be (5.00 / 2) (#175)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:42:04 AM EST
    that the last thing Trayvon Martin did was punch and beat George Zimmerman. It's not just the defendant's story. He has injuries, photos of his injuries and medical reports to back it up. How can you possibly compare his evidence to the state's: a witness who wasn't there, had lost phone contact before Tryavon's assault on Zimmerman, who didn't come forward for weeks, who was recruited by Martin family lawyers who misstated her relationship to Trayvon, portraying them as some kind of Romeo and Juliet, when she says they weren't even dating.

    Your comment is out of line with the known facts and the law. Like the state, you can keep speculating and searching for reasons why Trayvon would do what he did, but since the state at the bond revocation hearing acknowledged Trayvon hit Zimmerman and has never denied Trayvon was the one who turned the encounter into a physical one, it's not going to be the issue.

    The only issue is whether Zimmerman was reasonably in fear of serious bodily injury after having his nose fractured and head slammed against cement, in which case he had no duty to retreat or diffuse the situation or respond with less than lethal force -- or whether, if the law is incorrectly applied and he is found to have provoked the punch, he had lesser means available while being beaten than deadly force to stop Trayvon's attack on him.


    this statement (none / 0) (#181)
    by expy on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:11:16 PM EST
    is untrue (or wishful thinking)
    since the state at the bond revocation hearing acknowledged Trayvon hit Zimmerman and has never denied Trayvon was the one who turned the encounter into a physical one

    A defense lawyer who is willfully blind to the prosecution's theory and supporting evidence is one who will be "blindsided" later on at trial.

    Mr. O'Mara already has been "blindsided" once (on the bail issue)... I would hope for Mr. Zimmerman's sake that he does not make that mistake in the future.

    A defense lawyer who can anticipate the prosecution's moves is one who will prepare his client and witnesses well for trial and be able to  avoid mistakes during direct examination that open the door to devastating cross-examination & rebuttal evidence.  


    It is true (none / 0) (#182)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:15:57 PM EST
    that the state has not claimed Zimmerman started the physical encounter. The affidavit for arrest said Zimmerman "confronted" Trayvon and a "physical encounter ensued."

    They purposefully distinguished the verbal encounter from the physical one.

    Gilbreath said at the first bond hearing he doesn't know who started the physical encounter..

    O'MARA: So do you know who started the fight?
    GILBREATH: Do I know?
    O'MARA: Right.
    O'MARA: Do you have any evidence that supports who may have started the fight?

    At the June 29 hearing on bond, De la Rionda stated in closing that Trayon hit Zimmerman. He said it was justified because Zimmerman had profiled him as a criminal. He never said it was justified because Zimmerman physically attacked him first.

    Thus, the state has not denied that Trayvon threw the first punch, turning the encounter from a verbal one to a physical one.

    I believe what I wrote is correct and your statement "that's not true" is wrong. If you have something on that point, let us know, I'm willing to be corrected.  I'm talking about what they have said and not denied. You are trying to deflect the topic into one about legal strategy. Strategy is irrelevant to whether they have said or not denied something. They did or they didn't.


    you're fllipping (none / 0) (#183)
    by expy on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:51:24 PM EST
    the statement, "don't know" who threw the first punch, into "accept Zimmerman's claim that Martin threw the first punch."

    The prosecution has never made any concession .

    GZ's statement is NOT proven fact. It is merely his statement.

    It might be the truth, it might be lie.

    The determination of whether he is truthful or lying will be made by a trier of fact, either judge or jury.  

    To state or imply that the prosecution concedes or agrees that TM initiated physical contact is naive at best.  

    Unless and until GZ or his lawyer can figure out a plausible reason why a 17 year old, unarmed teenager would initiate an unprovoked physical assault, GZ's story is going to be a hard sell.


    do not mispresent what (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:57:51 AM EST
    I said. I wrote this sentence responding to a ocmment of yours.

    Like the state, you can keep speculating and searching for reasons why Trayvon would do what he did, but since the state at the bond revocation hearing acknowledged Trayvon hit Zimmerman and has never denied Trayvon was the one who turned the encounter into a physical one, it's not going to be the issue.

    You claimed two parts of that sentence were false:

    1. The state at the bond revocation hearing acknowledged Trayvon Hit Zimmerman and
    2. Has never denied Trayvon was the one who turned the encounter into a physical one.

    I provided the support for the statements. You provided no statement by the state or document in which the state denies Trayvon turned the encounter into a physical one. (You can't refute the first one since you can hear him say it in the audio of the June 29 hearing.)

    Apparently, you can't find anything to refute those statements. So you twist them into something you think you can refute. I choose my words carefully.

    1. The state said at the 6/29 hearing Trayvon hit Zimmerman
    2. The state has not denied Trayvon turned the encounter from a verbal one into a physical one.

    Not denying Trayvon turned the encounter from verbal to physical is not the same thing as conceding Trayvon turned it from verbal to physical. I said the former. You are talking about the latter.

    I have no doubt they are still looking for evidence to be able to claim Trayvon didn't intitiate the physical encounter.  Their silence as to who initiated the physical struggle is exactly what I said it was, the lack of a denial. By the same token, they are now on record as saying Trayvon hit Zimmerman.

    It matters. It indicates to me they don't have any reliable evidence as of now to refute Zimmerman's assertion that Trayvon  initiated the physical encounter. If the state is not going to claim that GZ  physically attacked Trayvon or turned their encounter from a verbal one to a physical one, I believe they will have a tough time arguing he's the aggressor, creating a duty to retreat, since to be the aggressor Zimmerman had to provoke the use of force by Martin. Provoking fear  in Martin isn't enough. And if Martin wasn't justified in his use of non-lethal force against Zimmerman -- if he wasn't responding to a threat of the imminent use of force by Zimmerman, then Zimmerman is not the aggressor and Stand Your Ground applies.

    Either show us a document or a statement that denies Trayvon turned the verbal encounter into a physical encounter or please give it up. And either way, stop misrepresenting what I wrote.


    Hypothetical: assuming any of us owned (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:45:56 PM EST
    real property in FL, would any of us volunteer its use to guarantee Mr. Zimmerman's appearance at all future court dates?

    No (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 10:20:50 PM EST
    If you were inclined to do so... (none / 0) (#38)
    by unitron on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 05:39:34 AM EST
    ...would you still be inclined to do so if your name and address were going to be plastered all over the various media?

    At the least (none / 0) (#67)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 04:54:29 PM EST
    It would have to be arson proof.

    the chance to save $85,000 (none / 0) (#4)
    by expy on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:53:54 PM EST
    Given the possibility that $85,000 can be raised very quickly via donations... that might be a matter of asserting taking the long shot of an appeal vs. the certainty of money that can be raised online in a matter of days. As long as the case remains high profile & controversial, donations should keep flowing in.  In fact, a court order that causes outrage among supporters is likely to produce more donations than one that seems more reasonable.

    I don't think an appeal would be particularly fruitful. Let's say that an appellate court determined that $1 million was too high and sent it back to Lester for reconsideration, and he set the amount at $500K instead.  Then the defense would have "saved" $50,000 .... but at what cost in terms of the time spent appealing, and the legal costs that go into litigating that appeal?  

    And what if they lose? Is there any Florida case law that would support a finding that it is an abuse of discretion for bail in a 2nd degree murder case to be set at $1 million, given the known fact that the defense has well over the 10% premium amount in existing available assets?  

    In CA state court, sometimes a criminal (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:58:16 PM EST
    defendant retains an attorney but then runs of money.  Sometimes the same attorney continues representing the defendant after the court determines the defendant is entitled to a court-appointed attorney.

    that's how it works in federal court (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:36:31 AM EST
    in Colorado, I don't know about Florida. Since there are no co-defendants which could raise a conflict, I would think the judge could appoint the public defender to represent him.

    Role of "Strong Case" (none / 0) (#23)
    by RickyJim on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:03:02 PM EST
    Lester said that at the first hearing
    The Defendant certainly indicated through cross-examination that he acted in self-defense but he put forward no evidence of such.  As a consequence the Court found that as a preliminary matter the evidence against the Defendant was "strong".

    O'Mara at the second hearing could have put on evidence that the case was weak but didn't directly do so.  Did he make a mistake?

    He could have claimed that there is now part of the record, evidence that shows that the state has a poor chance of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt either of the following, thus cannot defeat a self defense claim.

    1. Zimmerman could have withdrawn from the conflict with Martin.  (Witness #6 says Zimmerman was on the bottom.)

    2. Zimmerman had no reasonable fear of serious injury of death. (Medical records.)

    Ricky, can you check your comment (none / 0) (#26)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:32:29 AM EST
    He put on a ton of evidence at the second hearing -- the hearing of June 29. He got everything in on the witnesses in to support his case. W-6, 11, 20 , the medical records, the cop's photo of his injuries, the 911 call, GZ's statements and the reinactment video. The judge supposedly spent the last several days reviewing it.(Even though he had seen much of it before, this was the first time he could consider it as evidence.) It was admitted for the purposes of the hearing and the state didn't object. The exihibits are on O'Mara's website. Some, like the FDLE reports on witnesses, we hadn't seen before.

    If you are referring to June 1 when bond was revoked, it's a misguided comment. He had no notice the motion was going to be heard. There was no opportunity to bring witnesses or evidence. He was in court for a hearing on media issues.

    Unless you clarify your comment, I'm going to delete it as being a false statement of the facts.


    What I Meant By My Comment (none / 0) (#45)
    by RickyJim on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:52:36 AM EST
    I did not hear from O'Mara a statement to the effect that the State's case is weak because the two main things needed to disprove self defense could not be established beyond a reasonable doubt.  Yes, he presented evidence without making an explicit argument about what one should infer from that evidence.  I am still confused as to whether either of the two bond hearings were "Arthur Hearings".  If they weren't Arthur hearings what was the legal point of Lester's claim that the evidence was "strong"?  By the way, he is the one who put strong in quotes.  One might argue that the remark was totally gratuitous and indicates Lester has already made his mind about the case.

    One of several purposes of quotes... (none / 0) (#52)
    by heidelja on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 11:18:44 AM EST
    ...particulalry when words are quoted in "legal documents" per here is to:

    Use quotation marks around a word or phrase that we see as slang or jargon

    However... (none / 0) (#53)
    by heidelja on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 11:36:56 AM EST
    ....wikipedia might state it best in the circumspect manner I generally use quotes as:

    Quotation marks can also be used to indicate a different meaning of a word or phrase than the one typically associated with it and are often used to express irony.

    So maybe, yeah, Lester has stated his utter disbelief in the state's case by the trite subtleties of his grammatical punctuation. But not being one to buck "city hall" he is not going to deny the state its full chance at the due process of "justice" in front of the cameras in his Court room! After all, his father just died in April not seeing him achieve greatness.


    Has there been (none / 0) (#25)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:19:23 AM EST

    any explanation, or informed speculation, as to why O'Mara offered to work pro bono in the first place? Assuming everything played out normally, a defense like this one could easily run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, probably millions. Not to mention many months, even years of total dedication to this one, and only, case.

    Either he's the most dedicated lawyer ever, or he was betting that it would never come to a trial.

    I realize the notoriety and instant fame would more than likely make him a highly sought after attorney, and the higher fees he could attain would be substantial, but still............

    Any thoughts?

    I think but IANAL that (none / 0) (#49)
    by Darby on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:46:28 AM EST
    George being declared indigent  made him eligible for state funds  to cover costs such as expert witness,transcripts etc which can be substantial.  I am now thinking that this ruling has tossed George's indigent status out the window, so they are more in need of funds than before.

    Will O'Mara collect as much as Zimmerman? (none / 0) (#33)
    by LeaNder on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 04:22:42 AM EST
    I'm surprised there isn't a wealthy Zimmerman supporter in Florida who wouldn't put up real property with $1 million in equity, to avoid needing a bondsman entirely, saving the defense $85,000.

    Well, in March I read a comment by a blog owner on an article about the Zimmerman case, he took down by now,-his perspective is more foreign policy and defense anyway-there would be more than enough money to defend Zimmerman. What about ALEC or NRA? But consider, what about the demand to disclose supporters?

    It seems that some of the most ardent supporters of Zimmerman don't like to donate money to O'Mara, since they feel he is not trustworthy. Cboldt, can tell them he is only a bit of a coward? Sorry I forget your exact word.

    You are either with us or against us, and if you were really with us you aren't friends with someone like Natalie Jackson:

    Drop the damned pinky finger, ... and help George navigate through the minefield while at least putting on a pretense that you are willing to defend him.   Forget your friendship with Mark Najame, Natalie Jackson and the entire nest of vipers, and start fighting for George.

    It somehow feels if George had kept his paypal account there would be a sum of about 400,000$  by now, after all George is in jail again; and he is the hero Mark O'Mara never will be, ask Shellie.

    link (none / 0) (#34)
    by LeaNder on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 04:27:30 AM EST
    without using the link tools here.

    The Conservative Treehouse, I've No More Tongue To Bite ......

    When Mark O'Mara first stepped onto the scene in the George Zimmerman case, April 10th, I watched intently and deferred opinion in favor of research.  And when I say research, I mean R.E.S.E.A.R.C.H.  deep vetting research. Y'all know how we roll.

    The word I use (none / 0) (#36)
    by cboldt on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 05:10:51 AM EST
    I've been referring to O'Mara as milquetoast, "a weak, ineffectual or bland person."  He's letting Lester lead him around by the nose.

    And now (none / 0) (#39)
    by whitecap333 on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:14:34 AM EST
    Lester is holding over O'Mara's head the threat to stir up a perjury prosecution or initiate contempt proceedings against Zimmerman.

    What are the gritty details... (none / 0) (#56)
    by heidelja on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 12:20:24 PM EST
    ...for O'Mara's "selection" to be Zimmerman's attorney?  Does anyone recall?

    My impression from local Orlando news reporting was that he was "asked" (By who?) to do so. I assume the "who" was someone close to the Court.  After all, Central Florida has just "suffered" through the Casey Athony verdict of innocence achieved brought on by a scrappy little Hispanic defense attorney who would not rollover and play by "the rules" to the embarrassment of the local legal establishment.  

    Just during the last several days Jose Baez's book has been released and it is creating as many local headlines this week as is George Zimmerman. In O'Mara the Court gets a "company man" to play the part of a defense attorney in the state's "show of justice" to appease the black minorities. He will not embarrass the Court. Just today he stated they will raise the money rather than appeal the order.  The Court will get its way by a default and its "legal reasoning" in the local media remains "sound" and unblemished, at least until Shellie Zimmerman is acquitted.  Unfortunately, this is about typical in the "overworked" Florida Eighteenth Judicial Circuit where lawyers serve as mere pawns and clerks of the judges to dispense "justice," NEVER advocates of justice because it would burden the Court if they did.  

    When things quiet down, possibly O'Mara will ask for a modification to GZ's absurd bond stipulations.  He is essentially under house arrest.  He cannot even go to his attorney's office which business address per his website is in Orlando (adjoining Orange County)!


    When Mark NeJame declined to (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by Anne on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 12:37:15 PM EST
    represent Zimmerman because of his CNN analyst gig, didn't he recommend O'Mara to the Zimmerman family?

    Ooooh...I wonder what the conspiracy will be there???

    As an aside, is there a connection between being conservative/right-wing and seeing conspiracy everywhere?   Because, honestly, I don't think I've ever seen so much effort to build conspiracy theories as I have here, on this subject, and it's mostly coming from those who arrived via right-wing websites.  

    A person could overdose on the scare quotes in your comment alone - do you imagine that they help your credibility?


    yes he said he did on TV (none / 0) (#102)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 12:52:25 AM EST
    a few times.

    This found per CNN dated Apr 16... (none / 0) (#134)
    by heidelja on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 08:43:30 AM EST
    ...here dispenses the "hearsay":

    NeJame told CNN that Zimmerman "contacted my office, attempting to reach me, and wanted to hire me to represent him" on March 13. One of his law partners relayed that request to NeJame, who declined. He explained later that he knew how taking on "big national cases (can) take a lot out of you" and wanted to have more time to spend with his children.

    "I decided simply not to," the Orlando lawyer said.

    A friend of Zimmerman's later repeated the request in a direct conversation with NeJame early last week, just as lawyers Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner said they'd no longer represent Zimmerman. By then, NeJame noted he'd been hired by CNN to serve as an analyst.

    NeJame again said he could not represent Zimmerman and offered the names of five lawyers -- topped by O'Mara -- who might be considered instead.

    "They said Mark is the one we want, I put them together, and they took it from there," said NeJame.

    O'Mara had indicated on Friday that the defense might request a new judge, when he said the association between NeJame and the Recksiedlers might become "more and more problematic" given the scrutiny the case is receiving.

    He told CNN on Monday night that he was confident the request to pull Recksiedler off the case would succeed.

    "Early last week".... (none / 0) (#135)
    by heidelja on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 11:04:55 AM EST

    A friend of Zimmerman's later repeated the request in a direct conversation with NeJame early last week, just as lawyers Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner said they'd no longer represent Zimmerman

    would have been on about Apr 9-10, or just days before GZ was arrested and merely days after he set up his website for donations.  In my view, NeJame initially rejecting his request for representation likely increased the sense of urgency GZ had to do something as the noose was tightened while the inevitiable drew closer.

    As for O'Mara topping NeJame's list of five, my previously deleted comment was a no-brainer because of his local TV gig last year over the Casey Anthony trial where the two could be seen on TV being interviewed side-by-side. And, if they were standing when interviewed, O'Mara was obviously taller than NeJame.

    I think establishing this time line is important to better appreciate just how little affective time O'Mara should be seen to have had with Zimmerman before the Apr 20 hearing. From Apr 12 per NeJame (ibid):

    NeJame cautioned that a lot of things need to be learned about the case "before people take these extreme, polarizing sides that they've taken." NeJame called Trayvon's shooting death a true tragedy for everyone involved.

    milquetoast (none / 0) (#72)
    by LeaNder on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 05:53:25 PM EST
    Yes, thanks, I have to keep that in mind. milquetoast

    It's an eponym, named after a fictional cartoon character named Caspar Milquetoast, invented by the American illustrator Harold T Webster in 1924. The strip was called The Timid Soul and appeared every Sunday in the New York Herald Tribune up to his death in 1953. Mr Webster said that his character was "the man who speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick".

    The name is just a Frenchified respelling of the old American English term milk toast, an uninspiring, bland dish which was created from slices of buttered toast laid in a dish of milk, usually considered to be food for invalids. There's an even older foodstuff, milksop, which was untoasted bread soaked in milk, likewise something suitable only for infants or the sick. From the thirteenth century on, milksop was a dismissive term for "an effeminate spiritless man or youth; one wanting in courage or manliness", as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it. Mr Milquetoast is in the same tradition.

    You know what Cboldt, from now on I call you Bold. That's closer to my family name, you only have to add an Italian "yes" in front of it. Since who but a bold man would call another one a coward?. Are you a lawyer by the way?

    Look, personally in this field of colliding ethics I prefer to be a coward, never mind the nomen es omen.


    caution (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by expy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:54:36 PM EST
    Personally, I feel that O'Mara's mistake was in not being cautious enough at the outset.  His personal style might appear softspoken, but he made what struck me as very risky decisions at the first bail hearing, including:

    • making representations to the court about client finances & purported indigency when he apparently had not taken steps to independently verify representations that had been made to him about finances

    • calling his client's wife as a witness to testify about finances, when he had apparently not prepared by having copies of all bank & financial records that her testimony would cover; and also apparently had not spent time in advance with the witness making it clear to her the disclosure obligations under the Florida bail statute

    • putting his client on the witness stand to testify at his own bail hearing as to substantive matters related to the case (example: that he didn't know TM was a juvenile)

    The chickens have already come home to roost on the first two decisions I listed.  O'Mara apparently made the mistake of accepting information he was told at face value, rather than taking steps to corroborate the information. ("Trust, but verify" is obviously the more prudent approach).

    As to the third issue.... the lawyer in me sees a problem that may rear its ugly head far down on the horizon.  

    The problem for me is simply that I don't think any of that testimony was necessary. There was no particular benefit gained... but much potential harm.

    I agree that Mr. O'Mara comes across as being very non-confrontational -- but in sense, he seems like the driver who proceeds extremely slowly across an intersection on an amber light.. when that slow driver should have stopped instead.

    I don't think lay people really understand how much preparation needs to go into lawyering. It's not a matter of showing up to court on the day of the hearing and putting on a good show for the camera. I've seen unprepared lawyers sometimes get away with bluff and bluster, but on the whole that usually is not all that effective.


    Thank you expy (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by labrat on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:29:29 PM EST
    I've never been in court without my lawyer asking me for documentary evidence for anything and everything we submitted into evidence. He always showed up in court with a binder of evidence for each interested party. If MOM intended to ask about assets he should have had a detailed account in front of him with copies of recent statements of all the accounts referred to in the hearing - including any and all defense funds. I was astounded when I watched the first bond hearing and both the defense and prosecution lawyers and the judge all talked about the DF but no one seemed interested in the details.

    Jeebus (none / 0) (#97)
    by bmaz on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:39:55 PM EST
    I am agreeing with you a lot today. Exciting!  Seriously, I agree O'Mara has made some missteps and not properly set some things up as you note.  And the kicker to that is, this FL court seems to be pretty responsive to resetting hearings immediately and quick settings generally. Goes without saying, not all courts are so accommodating. But this one not too bad. O'Mara easily could have slowed things down a couple of days to line up the ducks.  

    The other thing that bugs me about him is that, while he may indeed need to talk to the media in this case to shape public opinion somewhat for his case and client, he seems a little too gabby and rambling in some of his "courthouse steps" and other media appearances. I would prefer much more focused and to the point and get out. But, hey, everybody has their own style, and many of them work.


    grabby (none / 0) (#111)
    by LeaNder on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 06:22:18 AM EST
    he seems a little too gabby and rambling in some of his "courthouse steps"

    I don't think he can avoid the press, assuming that every important media company is chasing the VIP's for interviews at these events. Do you think a: Sorry no comment, would help? That wouldn't signal confidence, don't you think?

    This is the only thing that made me slightly wonder if he was catering to the watermelon juice + Skittles + cough medicine = theorists:

    I've involved myself in cases where drug dealers talk, and they talk about watermelons and things like that.

    I find it interesting to what extend he was celebrated after the first bond hearing and how much he is criticized now. Personally I think he would have gotten GZ a fair bond even if the fund had been disclosed. Also interesting, how the perception of judge Lester changed, apart from Jeralyn's as far as I know. It feels they are railroaded in favor of Zimmerman. They should have known. What about the family members that met and planned security issues with O'Mara? And who is the person, see first page prison call file, that was preoccupied (factually declined to do the job?)thus Shellie had to do the transfers?


    Gracie (none / 0) (#112)
    by LeaNder on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 07:00:24 AM EST
    Maybe I misunderstand this, but it feels to me that "Gracie" initially was the one that should do the transfers. Admittedly it feels "Gracie" (a another family member, after all the sister is involved too?

    ZIMMERMAN: um, Gracie conferenced us.
    SHELLIE: Oh okay, cause he said he wasn't finished
    ZIMMERMAN: judging it up
    SHELLIE: yeah cause he was on the way to, where he was going.
    ZIMMERMAN: I know and I told him I would ask you if you could uh.
    SHELLIE: Oh that's like an idea.
    SHELLIE: Well. Do you need to talk to him right now?
    ZIMMERMAN: No, no but I'm just saying um, you know, it (inaudible due to talking over)
    SHELLIE: Yeah if he can't do it then I definitely can, yeah.
    ZIMMERMAN: Okay, if he, I mean, it's for me. I don't see why he's paying for it.

    The last line admittedly does not fit my theory, and I don't quite understand the bold passage, but interestingly Shellie brings up O'Mara associatively immediately. Prosecution can check easily who Gracie is, he didn't wait in his call for the voice message to end to press the appropriate button. After O'Mara the conversation returns to the transfer, that's why I suspect "Gracie" was initially meant to do the transfers. It feels he could be the same person Shellie refers to at the bond hearing, thus Zimmerman's brother. Didn't O'Mara meet him to plan GZ's security?


    bold passage (none / 0) (#113)
    by LeaNder on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 07:05:53 AM EST
    should have been this:

    SHELLIE: Oh okay, cause he said he wasn't finished
    ZIMMERMAN: judging it up


    Not so much. (none / 0) (#114)
    by Gandydancer on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 09:55:32 AM EST
    ...this FL court seems to be pretty responsive to resetting hearings immediately...

    Not at the materials-for-the-media hearing that turned into a bond revocation.


    Expy (none / 0) (#109)
    by LeaNder on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 05:39:28 AM EST
    I don't think lay people really understand how much preparation needs to go into lawyering.

    Obviously. First of all, expy you are one of my favorites here. May I make a layman's comment about your points above? I only have basic training in German/EU law relevant to my field.

    Point one: Isn't it fair to assume in such matters and in such a specific situation people should be aware that lies can't help their cause? I agree with judge Lester that Zimmerman's knowledge of legal matters should be well above the US citizen. Part of the preparation you mention above seems to be an obligation to provide relevant information by the defendant. No?

    Can you as my lawyer "independently verify" my statement about my finances or bank/paypal accounts? Or would you need a specific consent/capacity-not sure about the exact US legal terms here-apart from my basic authorization for defending me? Would this be your top priority in such a case? Personally I would at least expect prosecution to keep an eye on it. They obviously were unprepared on the issue too. Or did they block the prison phone line to O'Mara? Zimmerman seems to have been unable to reach O'Mara from jail at least during the interval we know. (I have the files on another laptop. Search Jeralyn's prison calls file for "blocked", I think).

    O'Mara was catapulted into the case, I do not assume he had nothing else to work on or finish that needed his attention at the time. I agree with you, it was a grave mistake he didn't check this before, but the people that expected the fund to be high were rare indeed. The much more interesting question for me is, why did GZ do this? It seems naive. But if he was unable to reach O'Mara, why didn't he tell Shellie he needed to talk about matters urgently. On the other hand O'Mara visited him to get a signature, a perfect chance to raise the subject of the fund. I am no lawyer and no American but had I been him, it would have felt important to me in connection with a bond. ...

    Point two, he must have informed her well enough to support Jeralyn`s basic argument (if I understand her correctly "only answer the precise question"?), that Shellie strictly did not lie. She may well not have known the precise sum at that point, due to continued support activity. Jeralyn and Cboldt, it feels, base their arguments on that mainly: She did not lie, she offered a contact, who she said could give the precise sum. Slightly murky here. Why did Lester not follow up on that hint?

    Point three: A big puzzle to me. That seemed an attempt to get his excuse into the media and it worked. Most left out the  whitewash part. Yes I know he simply changed his mind on Trayvon's age, some will tell me. What I personally found interesting how close O'Mara stood while GZ gave his statement. I would love to know more about the genesis of the exact phrasing.


    average (none / 0) (#110)
    by LeaNder on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 05:41:04 AM EST
    I agree with judge Lester that Zimmerman's knowledge of legal matters should be well above the average US citizen.

    Leander - point 1 (none / 0) (#126)
    by expy on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 06:51:21 PM EST
    You asked:
    Point one: Isn't it fair to assume in such matters and in such a specific situation people should be aware that lies can't help their cause? ... Part of the preparation you mention above seems to be an obligation to provide relevant information by the defendant.

    Yes, they should know that, but it's fairly common for people to lie to their attorneys, especially when it comes to money. At the outset, the client typically is trying to negotiate a fee arrangement with the attorney, and its very common for people to minimize their ability to pay in that setting.

    An experienced lawyer should be somewhat skeptical.

    Can you as my lawyer "independently verify" my statement about my finances or bank/paypal accounts?

    I would expect the lawyer to ask the client to simply provide copies of the bank records (statements, or Pay Pal transaction printout).

    In the GZ case, the lawyer announced early on that he was going to accept the case "pro bono" and at the first bail hearing he said that his client was "indigent" and would be applying for court funds to assist with the defense.  Most courts would require a defendant to complete a financial declaration, probably under penalty of perjury -- here's a link to an Indigent Status Form used in Florida.

    I think a capable attorney would have that form already completed and in hand before making representations to the court.

    After all, if it turns out that the defendant has concealed assets, the attorney could be in the position of losing money on a case due to an improvident fee arrangement.

    (It is possible in this case that the lawyer did ask the client to complete such a form -- and perhaps the fact that the form required listing of all bank accounts is what motivated Zimmerman to try to move all his money into accounts in his wife's and sister's name).

    Zimmerman seems to have been unable to reach O'Mara from jail at least during the interval we know.

    Most jails have a system that only allow inmates to make collect calls - billed to the person receiving the calls -- often with companies that charge high fees for the calls.  Although some lawyers will accept such calls, most won't.  Because the calls are also recorded, it is not really appropriate for privileged attorney-client communications in any case.

    However, lawyers can visit their clients in jail, usually at just about any time of day or evening.

    As an attorney, I would never agree to take on case with serious charges without meeting with the client, typically for 1-2 hours for an initial jail meeting. The exceptions would be court-appointed cases (where the attorney has agreed to take on whatever the court assigns), and cases where the defendant was seriously incapacitated, such as a mentally ill client.  But those don't apply in this case.  

    O'Mara was catapulted into the case, I do not assume he had nothing else to work on or finish that needed his attention at the time.

    Lawyers don't get "catapulted" -- they agree to take on cases, and if they are too busy, they turn the case down. Lawyers also have employees and associates who can do much of the legwork if they are tied up in court or other matters. While there is no substituted for a face-to-face meeting between lawyer and client, a lawyer can send certainly assign the task of assembling paperwork to a paralegal or investigator.

    I agree with you, it was a grave mistake he didn't check this before, but the people that expected the fund to be high were rare indeed.

    "Rare?"  I assumed when I first read about the fund being created that there would be thousands of dollars pouring in - it was a high profile case, so why wouldn't people donate to it?  

    In any case, as I have noted, if the fund did not have many donations, that fact also would be worth documenting. That is, as the issue of finances is appropriate for bail, then it would be helpful for a defendant who could not raise money to be able to show the court how little had been donated.

    The much more interesting question for me is, why did GZ do this? It seems naive.

    I think that's simple: to shelter & protect the assets. I think that's fairly normal: he probably figured that if he told his new lawyer that he had raised $100K, then the lawyer would quote a retainer of $100K.  

    On the other hand O'Mara visited him to get a signature, a perfect chance to raise the subject of the fund.

    If in fact O'Mara visited him personally to get a signature on any document, then I think O'Mara should also have used that occasion to consult with and advise his client.  There are more issues than just money to discuss with clients -- for example, it is very common that clients will talk about their cases with other jail inmates who will then inform on them and testify against them, in order to get favorable treatment in their own cases. The jail house informants typically use the conversation to gather enough information about the case to seem credible, but they also will lie to tell prosecutors and police what they want to hear. So I always make it a point straight off the bat to counsel my clients against discussing their case with anyone, no matter how friendly or sympathetic the other inmate seem to be.  

    There are a number of other first-meeting items that I consider important -- that was just an example.  But the point is that there's a lot more to representing someone than having them sign the retainer agreement.


    Leander - point 2 (none / 0) (#128)
    by expy on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 07:22:40 PM EST
    Point two, he must have informed her well enough to support Jeralyn`s basic argument (if I understand her correctly "only answer the precise question"?), that Shellie strictly did not lie.

    In my opinion, that would not be appropriate preparation for a witness in a bail hearing.  That is typical advice a lawyer might give a client preparing for a deposition in a civil case, or preparing for cross-examination in general -- but Florida has a bail statute that requires that specifies:

    Any person who intentionally provides false or misleading material information or intentionally omits material information in connection with an application for bail or for modification of bail is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony ....

    So with respect to a witness at a bail hearing, I would think that the lawyer would need to advise the witness that it is a serious crime to provide misleading information or to withhold important information.  

     She may well not have known the precise sum at that point, due to continued support activity.

    She was not asked the "precise sum". She was asked if she had an "estimate" of how much money had come through the web site account. Only a few days earlier, she is recorded on the jail phone telling her husband that "in total" there is "like $155"

    A truthful answer to the "estimate" question might  have been, "I know there has been at least $155K coming through that account, but a some of that has gone to pay for a number of expenses, so I can't tell you the current balance."

    I agree that the prosecutor's questions were inartful, but given the obligations of the bail statute, the witness should have offered a more forthright answer.  

    And again, the lawyer should have advised the witness of both the nature & purpose of the hearing,, and the legal obligations. That is, a lawyer might say to a family member, "we have to be honest with the court, because there are serious consequences if anyone hides or conceals information."

    Again, the situation would never have arisen if the lawyer had merely said something like this to both the client & wife:  "In a bail hearing, the court can inquire about your finances.  It is very important that I have accurate and complete information. To help me prepare, I will need you to give me a copy of all your bank statements for the past 2 months, including the statements and transaction records for the on line account. I will bring a bail motion just as soon as you get that information to me."

    Why did Lester not follow up on that hint?
     From Lester's written opinion, it appears that O'Mara has a good reputation in the community.  He describes O'Mara as being "very well respected" and observed that "for a considerable period of time, Defendant misled his attorney as to his ability to pay counsel."  

    My guess is that both Lester & the prosecutor felt that they could trust O'Mara, and assumed that O'Mara would have actual knowledge of the client fiances. So when O'Mara announced in court that he would be taking the case without fee and filing an affidavit of indigency, they probably took O'Mara at his word, assuming that he had done "due diligence" in checking his facts.

    Here's an irony: O'Mara probably allowed himself to be "catapulted" into this case because of the high profile nature -- it would be good publicity for him and his law firm, helping to build his national reputation as an able criminal defense lawyer.  Either because his clients misled him, or because of his own failure to verify facts before the April hearing -- the opposite has happened. His reputation as an attorney has been tarnished, and certainly local courts & prosecutors will be more skeptical of his representations, more prone to ask probing questions.


    An interesting case regarding perjury and bonds (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by MJW on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 12:46:39 AM EST
    Someone on another blog cited an interesting case concerned with recantation of a false statement made in a bond hearing: State v. Godby, 498 So. 2d 692 - Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 5th Dist. 1986

    Very Interesting (none / 0) (#133)
    by cboldt on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 06:44:49 AM EST
    I wonder how that plays against a charge of violation of 903.035(3), against George.  Seems he's the one with the most direct recanting.

    The upshot of the case is that the lie causes no harm to the judicial process if Zimmerman appears as ordered, because that is the function of bail in the first place.


    Leander - point 3 (none / 0) (#129)
    by expy on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 07:53:35 PM EST
    I really have no clue as to why O'Mara put his client on the witness stand on April 20th.

    There are other, safer ways to get the client's story out to the media. The lawyer's web site is one. Also, in court he is free to argue whatever he wants, so he could have made the point in court of simply stating that his client has a very strong self-defense claim, well documented by medical records of the injuries he sustained on that night.

    I think the lawyer probably put GZ on the stand at the bail hearing because he wanted the public to have a more sympathetic view of his client, by letting him speak to show that he is a nice, unassuming guy and not a murderous monster.

    Again, of course, that seems to have backfired. Now people who may not have had any opinion before believe GZ to be a liar and a cheat, based on the jail tapes and the hidden money. And the fact that there is an arguable falsehood under oath in a statement about how GZ perceived Martin's age might cause serious problems for GZ if & when he is cross-examined about his self-defense account at a subsequent hearing or trial.

    It's unfortunate, because I assume O'Mara knew  that under Florida law, the police interviews of his client would very likely be released to the public; that some of those were on video; and that those videos would probably have much more impact on how his client was viewed down the line.  

    I don't believe that O'Mara had received his discovery at the time of the April hearing... which again is a reason why it was very risky to have the defendant testify to any facts about the night Martin was shot. Lawyers usually want to have copies of all prior statements of any witness in hand before having that witness testify, especially when that witness is the lawyer's client.


    you thoroughly convinced me Expy (none / 0) (#132)
    by LeaNder on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:46:06 AM EST
    Strictly I have been wondering why Jeralyn considered the whole money transaction affair such a minor story. You don't seem to share her opinion.

    Thanks a lot for the exquisite answer.


    In addition (none / 0) (#46)
    by whitecap333 on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:07:32 AM EST
    to monetary donations, one can also assist by helping educate the public to the fact that this is Duke/Lacrosse redux.  There are tens of millions of people out there who would come down hard on George's side, were they aware of how contrived and flimsy the case against him is.  The media still shows little interest in objectivity.  Even "Faux News" is carefully toeing the "party line."  The media message boards are swamped by anti-Zimmerman diatribes and cheap shots.  Some of these operatives have obviously stooped to creating Archie Bunker "sock puppets," with a view to impressing on the undecided the moral corruption of Zimmerman's supporters. Still, you can get in the occasional word edgewise to do a little "vocalizing," as George puts it.  The pressure of adverse public opinion is probably the only thing that will get the attention of the "system."

    Is it unusual for a criminal defense attorney (none / 0) (#60)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:20:06 PM EST
    to seek contributions to a fund for the defense of his client?  

    Not unusual (none / 0) (#70)
    by expy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 05:30:06 PM EST
    but most cases aren't the sort where it is easy to get substantial donations.

    Two things need to be in play: 1. The case has to be high profile; 2. Either the defendant needs to be the type of person who attracts widespread sympathy or the defendant needs to be associated with a cause or issue that attracts widespread sympathy.

    In other words, it only works if there is a large enough pool of potential donors to make it work.

    For most criminal defendants, the problem is that  nobody knows who they are and nobody outside of immediate family cares what happens to them.  


    Please identify cases in which (none / 0) (#80)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:10:30 PM EST
    strangers have responded to an attorney's request for money to finance a criminal defense.  

    I'm sure there are many (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by expy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:40:05 PM EST
    I've handled several cases of my own with defense funds set up to raise money, though never with the amounts showing up in the Zimmerman case. Before the internet made it easy, we used to do things like hold benefit events or concerts to raise funds.

    Here's a Wikipedia article on the topic:  Legal Defense fund

    It's fairly common, so I'm a little puzzled by your question. More recently I've seen it in cases involving marijuana cultivation (ostensibly for medical reasons) -- that's an example of a criminal statutory scheme with severe penalties, often brought to bear on individuals who can attract widespread support and sympathy.


    Indeed, that's how the Republican Party (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Towanda on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:26:47 PM EST
    was born, at a gathering of "Booth clubs" -- groups that had formed to raise funds for the legal defense of abolitionist Sherman Miller Booth, charged (and later convicted again and again, and then finally pardoned on the eve of the Civil War) with violation of the Fugitive Slave Law.  That, of course, was in 1854.  And I am sure that there were many earlier instances, although I'm less conversant with the details of cases that I seem to recall from the pre-Revolutionary aka colonial era here as well.

    Thanks for the history lesson! (none / 0) (#99)
    by expy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 11:35:17 PM EST
    I also recall reading about defense funds among anarchists in the early part of the 20th century.

    For example, a Wikipedia article about Alexander Berkman and the Preparedness Day bombing reports: "Although neither Mooney nor Billings were anarchists, Berkman came to their aid: raising a defense fund, hiring lawyers, and beginning a national campaign on their behalf."

    I'd think that prior to the landmark holding in Gideon (1963), defense funds would have been the only way for many indigent defendants to be able to afford counsel at all.


    MSNBC says Zimmerman is out on bail (none / 0) (#61)
    by friendofinnocence on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 02:03:05 PM EST
    He made bail

    He will reside... (none / 0) (#65)
    by heidelja on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 02:31:33 PM EST
    ...in a safe house, obviously in Seminole County, FL.

    I didn't get the impression that Lester honestly (none / 0) (#86)
    by Kyreth on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:52:20 PM EST
    believed they were ready to flee...just that the circumstances were there that it could have been a reasonable conclusion of the Court.  While I'm convinced of George's innocence based on the evidence available now, and don't believe he intended to flee the country, I can understand the ruling in that regards.

    IMO Judge Lester had a couple of very specific concerns that he wanted answered, and tried to give the Defense a chance to answer them, and not putting George up on the stand didn't give the Defense any way to do so.

    I still think it was the right call to not put George up on the stand, but still, while I have issue with a few details of the ruling, on a whole I don't have as much issue with it as I thought I would.

    It seems to me (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by expy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:13:16 PM EST
    that although GZ and his wife were probably not conspiring to flee, their conversations can be reasonably construed to laying the groundwork for a Plan B.  That is, Plan A= appear in court and face the charges; Plan B= have money & extra passport ready just in case Plan A isn't working out so well.

    The "Plan B" thing is something that does happen in real life, probably with enough frequency that a Judge would have seen it. That is, plenty of defendants make their court appearances up to a point, and then don't show up on the day of trial or some other critical juncture.

    I really don't think that there is much that O'Mara could have done to counter that inference, with or without his client's testimony. Even his argument about the client being confused and feeling betrayed would play into that; people who flee tend to do so because they are afraid and do not trust the system.

    I think that from the Judge's point of view, it doesn't really matter how likely it was they planned to abscond; the bottom line was that the bail-calculation shifted in his mind. It's analogous to having good credit vs. bad credit. A lender who takes on someone who is a poor credit risk isn't assuming that the person will always default; but that lender sets more stringent terms for the loan (higher interest, requirement of collateral, etc.) because of the degree of likelihood that the person might default.

    So perhaps at the outset the Judge saw it as 99% certain that Zimmerman would show up for trial; and after he hears the jail tapes, his faith is shaken and he now sees it as only 70% certain - so he sets a higher price tag to make it that much more difficult for the defendant to leave.    


    Hmmmm (none / 0) (#96)
    by bmaz on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:31:41 PM EST
    I still believe Lester's order was ill taken, and the fleeing portion fantabulous, but that is by far the most rational and credible explanation for it I have seen.  But were that cogent an explanation actually penned by Lester in stead of his abrupt and facially emotional style, I think it would be a lot less objectionable.

    the judge wrote his opinion (none / 0) (#98)
    by expy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 11:16:46 PM EST
    in the way he thought would best withstand appeal.

    An appellate court may reverse or overrule a trial court on a matter of law, but they give great deference to findings of fact -- so basically, the Judge made the strongest adverse finding possible with the evidence that was presented.

    The part I found most intriguing about Lester's order was his discussion of the Paul case (pages 4-5) -- he made a point of writing that he disagreed with the holding, but felt bound to follow it.  So Lester clearly felt that under the circumstances he should have had "inherent authority" to order pre-trial detention, but was constrained by a state Supreme Court ruling rejecting that argument.  

    So basically you've got a Judge who probably would have liked to rule on different grounds, but felt his hands were tied  by an appellate ruling he disagreed with -- so he felt that he needed to come up with some strong "flight risk" language to justify the high bail & additional bond conditions.

    I don't think it likely that he would have ordered pretrial detention (no bail) in any case -- I just think that he feels he's on a lot stronger footing  if he can say that could do that, painting the $1 million as an act of leniency.


    See, now I think there are several (none / 0) (#100)
    by bmaz on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 11:44:56 PM EST
    attacks that could be made on Lester's orders, both of them. Pretty clearly O'Mara intends to not poke that bear though. He may be right in that regard tactically.

    it's essentially moot (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by expy on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 01:35:08 AM EST
    It's too late to "appeal" the first order, because it has been superseded by the 2nd.

    O'Mara could actually appeal the current order, but I think it would be wasted effort.

    The standard that the court of appeal would be using would probably be "abuse of discretion" -- a mere showing of legal error would probably not suffice to get an appellate court to intervene.  

    Secondly, the fact that one can frame an argument does not mean that the person will be successful on appeal. The person bringing the appeal has the burden of overcoming a presumption in favor of the lower court ruling.  

    The appellate courts have no obligation to hold a hearing or issue an opinion on a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which appears to be the appropriate procedure for appeal of the bond issue. The court could simply issue a summary denial of the petition.

    I'd be interested in knowing whether or not there is any case authority in Florida as to a court's discretion in setting bond amount in any case. Any claim on behalf of Zimmerman that the amount is too high is defeated by the speed with which he & his family were able to come up with the funds.

    So bottom line: Zimmerman & his wife concealed a substantial asset from the court; the court found out about it & now has increased bond to an amount that the court believed the defendant could meet, and the defendant in fact could and did come up with the bond. So what's left to appeal?


    Much case law (none / 0) (#107)
    by MJW on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 04:06:10 AM EST
    I'd be interested in knowing whether or not there is any case authority in Florida as to a court's discretion in setting bond amount in any case.

    There are many habeas corpus appeals the the DCAs claiming the bail amounts were excessive.  The most cited case is Good v. Wille.

    State ex rel. Gerstein v. Schulz confirms the power of district courts to review bail amounts through habeas corpus.

    Most cases, including Good v. Wille, involve claims that the bail amount is so excessive that it amounts to a denial of bail.  Not all do, however.  For example, the decision that bail was excessive in Logue v. Hinote was not specifically based on a claim that the bail couldn't be raised.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#108)
    by expy on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 04:58:57 AM EST
    I note that the cases you provided are NOT involving offenses with potential life sentences; and that the language used by the courts was something along the lines of an excessive bail is the equivalent of no bail at all.

    Also, I did a quick check on an inflation calculator - the one case that said that a $500K bail was excessive in some cases but not others was decided in 1980 -- that would probably equate to a $1.4 million bond amount in 2012 dollars.

    So I still see the appeal as long shot to get a reduction in bail given the 2nd degree murder charge; the history of misrepresentations to the court; and the fact that the defendant was bailed out within 24 hours of the bond setting. I don't think his lawyer's web site posting to the effect that $20K of new donations came in over the course of  single day would help the bail-reduction cause either.  

    IF they had managed to put together a full bond posting, through cash & collateral -- rather than a 10% posting -- then I could see some merit to seeking a reduced bond amount based on the argument that assets that were needed to finance defense costs were tied up in the bond. That is, the high bond in that case could be said to be hampering the lawyer's ability to properly defend the client.  

    But a reduction of bail won't result in return of the bond premium.... so I don't really see the "excessive" argument flying at this point.


    Beating my favorite drum (none / 0) (#119)
    by MJW on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 01:28:07 PM EST
    I note that the cases you provided are NOT involving offenses with potential life sentences; and that the language used by the courts was something along the lines of an excessive bail is the equivalent of no bail at all.

    At the risk of being repetitive, unless the court has found that proof is evident or the presumption great, a defendant accused of committing an offense with a potential life sentence is on the same footing as any other defendant.  Also, I did cite a case where the court held the bail was excessive without finding it amounted to a denial of bail.


    How about capital felonies? (none / 0) (#120)
    by MJW on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 02:26:31 PM EST
    I note that the cases you provided are NOT involving offenses with potential life sentences

    Here are three bond appeals in first-degree murder cases.  In the first, the DCA ordered the bail reduced; in the other two, the DCA ordered the trial court to reconsider the bond amount.

    State ex rel. Bardina v. Sandstrom

    Camara v. State

    Williams v. State


    Camara & Williams (none / 0) (#124)
    by expy on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 06:13:51 PM EST
    Thank you for those citations.  I note that those are both cases where the appellate court remanded to the trial court precisely because the trial court did not take financial resources into account. One was a $5 million bail, the other $1 million -- the trial court was directed to inquire/determine whether the defendants were reasonably able to make those amounts.

    In this case, the trial court specifically did look at the defendant's assets -- obviously, it was the defendant's failure to disclose assets that resulted in the increased bond amount.

    So those cases wouldn't help Zimmerman, because Lester did follow the process that the case law require. At page 7 of the court's order, the court noted that GZ had received donations of almost $200K and had $130K available as of April 20th.

    At page 8 of the order, the court specifically wrote that "the defendant has the ability to pay" the $1 million bail.

    So a writ proceeding would have to be premised on an argument that the court's findings weren't supported by the evidence, and that in fact the defendant does not have the ability to pay.  

    How would he go about arguing, given that the payment was made within 24 hours of the court order?  

    I mean, it still seems to me that the Judge has obviously been vindicated in his factual determination: he thought GZ would be able to meet a $1 million bond, and in hindsight he was absolutely correct.  


    It would be a long shot (none / 0) (#125)
    by MJW on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 06:45:20 PM EST
    I agree that Zimmerman would probably not win an appeal of the bail amount. My comments were only intended to address the questions of whether the bond amount can be appealed or whether it's entirely within the trial court's discretion, and whether a capital or life felony is treated differently when proof of guilt is not evident or the presumption great.

    IF George has a good... (none / 0) (#115)
    by Gandydancer on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 11:09:38 AM EST
    ...explanation of what the heck they were trying to accomplish by putting the money in his wife's account (and I can't figure out what it might be), then I think he should have testified to it. The cross would have to be limited in scope, and not about the crime, right? The stay-quiet horse left the barn eight or so times already, and if the facts are on his side it's worth going all-in on that proposition to potentally save tens of thousands of dollars for other expenses. That's a big "IF" I started with, though. The questions may not have been asked with enough specificity to support a proper perjury conviction, but I can't place enough weight on the "liquidate" part of the relevant question to see Shellie's answer as anything but a lie, so wtf were she/they thinking? They knew the converations were being listened to and the "code" allegation is ludicrous ("If the bond is 50..." - yeah, BDLR would believe Z thought his bond could be $50!) so the -couldn't- have thought they were keeping any secrets!

    What I have a big problem with is a $1M bond when GZ doesn't have any such assets. It's a bit bizarre that he made that bail (how abnormal is it that the bond insurer is taking uncovered risk like that?) but bail is supposed to be something you get back and the bondsman getting it back is not the same thing.


    collateral (none / 0) (#117)
    by Philly on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 11:52:56 AM EST
    I did some googling, and apparently it's often possible to get bond without 100% collateral.  It's at their discretion - if they think the accused is not a flight risk, collateral isn't as important.

    They're effectively placing a "bet" that the accused will show up in court, and by insisting on 100% collateral in every case, a company would be giving up a lot of potential income from clients that couldn't do so.

    I suspect the fact that GZ is monitored by ankle bracelet went a long way towards the bond company's comfort level in this particular case.


    It's also possible... (none / 0) (#122)
    by unitron on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 03:11:53 PM EST
    ...that since the Zimmerman's need to stay in a "safe house" anyway, that the bond company happens to have one that includes one or more of their people on hand 24/7.

    No one tracks people down quite as (none / 0) (#88)
    by Anne on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:07:03 PM EST
    well as creditors, so paying off one's debts just makes sense.

    It also makes sense if, for the first time, you actually have access to enough cash to wipe out all your debt.

    Either way, most people can tell the difference between a conversation that's on the level and one that's all about deception.

    Yes, of course (5.00 / 2) (#95)
    by bmaz on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:25:50 PM EST
    What fleeing felons always do is pay off various unsecured creditor before fleeing the country forever.

    Seriously, is this a joke discussion, or for real??


    If you're an international fugitive... (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by unitron on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 11:31:11 AM EST
    ...it's bad enough to have Interpol on your tail, but the BlockBuster late fees division?  Why do you think Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan all those years?

    oops (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by friendofinnocence on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 11:58:03 AM EST
    I believe you jumped the shark with that one, Anne.

    I think (none / 0) (#92)
    by spectator on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:29:40 PM EST
     the general feeling is 2 or so SPD employees are bad

    Cory/prosecutors are bad

    The judge is confused

    Trayvon was Bad

    Representatives of Martin/Fulton are irrational

    Mark O'Mara made mistakes,is a bit subdued and has missed out on sowing some potent seeds thu the media

    George Zimmerman has been unfairly treated because of his own mistakes but was not properly advised(bad timing)

    The Media has been off the charts.

    Mainly it's still early and most want to see the all the prosecution dots before before they jump in.

    thread cleaned of off-topic comments (none / 0) (#103)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 01:01:44 AM EST
    about theories of shooting.

    While you are free to state your opinion of O'Mara's representation, you may not personally insult or attack him or anyone here (including the judge.) I'm sure you can all make your point just as effectively without resorting to name-calling and insults.

    And if you find a something you find to be a crazy conspiracy theory elsewhere, please leave it there and don't bring it here.

    There certainly may be some (none / 0) (#137)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 12:06:56 PM EST
    Zimmerman supporters who want their guy to win, but I think most people just want to know what really happened and they want the legal process to work properly. IMO, the media distortions have destroyed the court's ability to properly try this case. I doubt Zimmerman will get a fair trial after months of notoriety from media dishonesty and the manipulation of public opinion. Even here at this site, people are still repeating the "poor little boy armed with skittles and ice tea meme." Not that we know what happened for sure, but the evidence seems to indicate that what went down was not a white racist hunting down and killing a black kid, as it was portrayed in the media. Even if GZ is acquitted, for the rest of his live he'll be at risk for retaliatory murder because the media has polarized millions of viewers who will now never change their mind about what happened.

    I have personal reasons for wanting the truth to be known, inasmuch as can be, because I have a mixed race family. If Trayvon Martin deliberately decided to attack Zimmerman because he was p!ssed off for being profiled, then there are some very important lessons to be learned. The first is that profiling is risky for both the watcher and the object. The second lesson may be that situations like this are avoidable by the person being profiled. If standing around talking on his cell phone with Bluetooth is what originally made Zimmerman suspicious, then other teens should be aware that they could diffuse the situation right from the start with a simple wave or statement to the person watching them saying they're on the phone. If they think the person watching them is actually going to attack them (as opposed to calling the cops on them), then running away and staying away are their best options. If Trayvon Martin could have entered his home but went back because he was angry (as opposed to fearful), then I hope other young men realize they can (and should) make a different choice. I hope parents and public figures will teach and encourage those options, because distorting what happened is not in the best interests of African American youth who may face a situation like this in the future.

    Not that no knowing what really happened (5.00 / 4) (#139)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 12:53:55 PM EST
    is stopping you from creating a scenario where apparently only Trayvon Martin had any responsibility for what ultimately happened.

    Seems to me the most important lesson you need to learn is that projecting criminal motives onto someone who - regardless of what he bought at the 7/11, what he was wearing, and whether he was talking on his phone - was minding his own business, walking back to where he was staying, doesn't paint you as someone who just wants to know what happened, it paints you as someone who wants or needs it to have happened the way you imagine it.

    Is it really so out of the ordinary for people to be walking while talking on their hands-free devices?  People don't seem to be able to disconnect themselves from their phones, especially when they are by themselves, to the point where it seems more unusual not to see people doing it.

    We all make choices - George Zimmerman made them, too, didn't he?  And while there was nothing illegal about getting out of his car, or "going in the same direction" as Trayvon, or not simply calling out, "hey, I'm with the neighborhood watch - are you okay, are you lost, can I help you?" - as a way to neutralize whatever threat Martin may have felt - they were still choices with consequences.

    You could put black, Latino and mixed-race kids - people - in Brooks Brothers and Lily Pulitzer, you can make them walk and talk as if they were born on the Main Line, but I can guarantee you that there will still be people who will suspect them of something - and will treat them accordingly.

    Maybe, just maybe, those who assume everyone who looks different is "up to no good" or "on drugs or something," need to do something about the way they think and act, huh?  


    and may be you could (5.00 / 2) (#140)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 01:46:22 PM EST
    familiarize yourself with the reasons Zimmerman gave for finding Trayvon suspicious and stop projecting all of society's ills onto him. And maybe you could put direct some of the criticism for what happened on police and Homeland Security who encourage the formation of neighborhood watch groups and advise residents to phone the police non-emergency line and report people they find suspicious without confronting the person.

    Zimmerman didn't report Trayvon because he "looked different." He didn't report him because of his race. He didn't confront him because he knew police had instructed residents not to do that. The one thing you got right was that he did nothing illegal by getting out of his car.


    Oh, for heaven's sake, Jeralyn, I was (5.00 / 3) (#144)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 03:37:28 PM EST
    responding, in large part, to My Left Mind seeming to put much of the responsibility for these kinds of tragedies onto young people like Martin - you know, kind of like how Geraldo wanted to make it all about the hoodie?  My Left Mind created motives and emotions for Martin out of whole cloth.

    I'm well aware of the reasons Zimmerman gave for why he was suspicious of Martin, but again My Left Mind wanted to put all of the responsibility for that on Martin - and enlarged that to a discussion on young people in general and what they're supposed to do to avoid being profiled.

    With all due respect, Jeralyn, it's frustrating to be responding to the tone and content of someone else's comment, and have you read it as if it were standing alone.  It leaves me feeling as if the real problem is that I'm not reading from the script you want us all to follow.


    Anne (none / 0) (#146)
    by LeaNder on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:19:32 PM EST
    It leaves me feeling as if the real problem is that I'm not reading from the script you want us all to follow.

    Exactly my feeling, Anne. Not sure if I am able to completely decode the rules here in spite of having carefully studied the comment specifics for this case. It feels way beyond in dubio pro reo. Sometimes it leaves me completely puzzled. It feels like a deliberate enforcement of a spiral of silence. But I am pleased to see some don't surrender, and counterpose the Argus-eyed.


    "When in Doubt, For the Accused" (none / 0) (#148)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:37:10 PM EST
    in dubio pro reo, thanks for that phrase. It could be a tagline for the site, except we already have one: (The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles -- Bob Dylan.)

    The commenting rules for this case here comport with that message, they are not beyond, let alone way beyond it. It's also the law and what our system and Constitution guarantee. You are free to choose another country -- or another blog.


    Jeralyn (none / 0) (#155)
    by LeaNder on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 06:27:18 PM EST
    Yes, stern, lady. I happen to be interested in the United States they have a huge influence on us Europeans too. Since it is a big country it also has vast amount of nice people, some on your blog. Besides I respect your position.

    I liked the "old Dylan" and his lyrics a lot, but the last concert I saw was very disappointing.

    What exactly does "politics of crime" mean? I understand the words but maybe not how you want it to be read.

    Do you think Trayvon Martin was the vandal in this case? The Dylan text could suggest, you are on Zimmerman's side since he didn't put up with "the vandals" that take the handles.


    the tag isn't for Trayvon Martin (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 03:05:13 AM EST
    the tagline has been the site's tagline for 10 years. I can't speak to what Dylan had in mind, but for me:

    The pump don't work: the system doesn't work

    Cause the vandals took the handles: Our leaders, legislators and politicians are the vandals, breaking the system, stealing our freedoms and diminishing our constitutional rights.  They are the ones who continuously pass bad laws perpetuating the failed war on drugs, refuse to abandon failed policies of mass-incarceration and more prison building, and reduce our freedom and civil liberties by instilling the fear of terrorism in the minds of the public.

    I'm not on anyone's side. My goal is to protect the rights of every person accused, so that he can have a fair trial along with all the other constitutional rights he's entitled to. It's especially important in cases like this in which  a mob mentality presuming guilt has been created in the minds of the public, spurred on by the media. The accused in this case is George Zimmerman.


    human rights mob? (none / 0) (#185)
    by LeaNder on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:21:15 AM EST
    Thanks for the interpretation of the last line of Dylan's lyrics. My use of the tag in the Zimmerman context was deeply ironic.

    I'm not on anyone's side. My goal is to protect the rights of every person accused, so that he can have a fair trial along with all the other constitutional rights he's entitled to.

    I shifted your blog in my bookmark collection from initially neutral, which means to be on no one's side, to pro-Zimmerman. In Zimmerman's case you have clearly taken the side of Zimmerman. Nothing wrong with that, by the way, since you also seem to be the most ethical in this respect, as far as I can tell. You don't pick up any supportive "evidence" that could help to explain Trayvon's "unprovoked ambush".

    My philosophical question-a hint I do not really expect an answer-would be, don't you indirectly accept a character flaw, a human stain in Trayvon Martin's personal make-up if you accept George Zimmerman's narrative at face value? As far as I can tell, it does not matter in your scenario that Trayvon wasn't the suspect Zimmerman thought he was. Admittedly I wonder to what extend your position firmly rest on the polite standard(?) below:

    It's especially important in cases like this in which  a mob mentality presuming guilt has been created in the minds of the public, spurred on by the media. The accused in this case is George Zimmerman.

    There may be partly a "mob mentality". I am not really familiar with the threat of race riots in the US, admittedly; that surface quite regularly in this context.

    Obviously no one would have heard about this case if Trayvon happened to be born into a different family, if he indeed was "the suspect" Zimmerman considered him to be.

    This mob exists on the pro-Zimmerman side too, e.g. I have seen someone outraged that  Tracy Martin had such easy access to lawyers, which was a slightly less shocking comment. To reduce only the people that take an interest in the story, ask themselves how it could escalate, and instinctively take Trayvon's side to mob mentality admittedly puzzles me deeply, considering your basic political definition and self-perception. But I am willing to learn.


    Media Driven (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by cboldt on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:04:33 AM EST
    The public perception is driven by the media presentation.  If the initial presentation was "Watchman shoots teen who was beating him," and no experts came along with "incredible" analyses that the teen was screaming, etc., the process would have played out similar to many other events of that nature.

    PA Man shoots unarmed teens

    Eight self defense cases in Michigan, circa 2008

    What makes the Zimmerman case different is the diametrically opposite conclusions of the police, vs. the prosecutor.  Serino's recommendation to press manslaughter charges is based on a bogus legal theory, that Zimmerman could have broken the chain of events.  Other than that, all the evidence supports Zimmerman's account.  Corey had to add DeeDee and Sybrina to the evidence, in order to come to the opposite conclusion from SPD.

    It's not that Sybrina and Tracy Martin were just impatient for formal resolution, they do not accept a scenario where Trayvon is at fault.  Their view, that Trayvon was blameless, became the prevailing narrative in the press - and I think it still is the prevailing narrative.

    People didn't reach the conclusion that Martin was blameless, by instinct.  They got there based on a perception planted by the media in the first place.  Once a person adopts a point of view, they are reluctant to reject it, even to the extent of being unreasonable and irrational about it.

    It is not uncommon for bad things to happen for no good reason.  It's interesting to read all the  commentary that Martin must be blameless, because Zimmerman (or his defenders) is unable to identify Martin's reason for acting so aggressively, for such a long period of time.  I read stories like Knockout King, am unable to find a reason assigned for the behavior (not even robbery), but I don't conclude the act didn't occur just because I can't identify a reason for it.

    For what it's worth, the word "mob" generally associates with a group that is acting outside of reason or reasonable basis.  Sometimes a group of people advocating a certain position has the law, logic, and evidence on its side.  That's not a mob.  Part of the human condition is that the public is infinitely stupid and gullible, and it is trivially easy to whip up a group of people using emotional rhetoric following a false narrative.  And, again for what it's worth, close to 100% of the people in the mob believe they are acting perfectly rationally, and following the truth.


    cboldt (none / 0) (#187)
    by LeaNder on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:59:35 AM EST
    Part of the human condition is that the public is infinitely stupid and gullible, and it is trivially easy to whip up a group of people using emotional rhetoric following a false narrative.

    Cboldt, yes, it is  "trivially easy" to whip up the masses, against an evil MMA thug, thief and drug addict, drug user and dealer, Trayvon Martin.

    How about giving me your favorite media whippers?

    Interestingly in your first example to support your theory, that no one usually no one pays attention on such cases, you choose an example were two teenagers try to rob a man. What exactly are you suggesting with this case? That there are bad teenagers, and that Martin simply was one too?

    So we are in fact talking about a Trayvon that "was up to no good" was  "drugged" or carried a gun-"hand in his waistband"-and people like him without hero Zimmerman "always get away", and he out of the blue attacked Zimmerman since he felt like killing someone that night, not just robbing as your example above suggests, and only the media tricks us into believing this isn't the case to whip us up for the powerful Martin/Fulton family?


    I have no favorites (5.00 / 1) (#188)
    by cboldt on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:07:20 AM EST
    -- What exactly are you suggesting with this case? --

    That the first person to resort to physical force was Martin, and that Martin beat on Zimmerman.  I don't know exactly why (Martin would do that), and it doesn't matter why.  I reach the belief that Martin acted that way from the evidence, and from inference about Zimmerman's more likely action, based on calling the police in advance, etc.

    My point was that if the media had portrayed Martin as the aggressor, instead of as an innocent victim, more people would have adopted Martin as the aggressor, rather than as an innocent victim.

    Do you think the media coverage of the incident has been accurate?  Which media outlet is your favorite?


    how convenient (none / 0) (#189)
    by LeaNder on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:52:52 AM EST
    Someone is closely watched and followed as suspect of planning a burglary, which in fact he isn't, "but fortunately" it turns out that he is an MMA fighter and killer, so he can't "get away" nevertheless.

    Quite a bit of accidents in your story, but yes nothing that couldn't possibly happen one day, or Murphy's law? Had Zimmerman known Trayvon was someone that in fact intended to kill him, he surely would not have tried to find out where he went. Right? Remember 02/02/12?

    I can see your strategic advantage clearly, which is, Trayvon can't tell us his story anymore.

    Besides I have to pay more attention "to" punctuation an prepositions ...


    How hyperbolic (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by cboldt on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:58:39 AM EST
    Your "accusations" or whatever.,  Have a nice day.  You and I are through.

    accusation of whom? (none / 0) (#191)
    by LeaNder on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:03:33 PM EST
    I did accuse whom: You, Zimmerman, your intelligence?

    None of those, actually. All I did is take the "non-story" (something that should not make news) and run with it.

    Hyperbole feels more close; how could it be related to irony, sarcasm? I have to think about that.

    My problem is, it does not really feel like hyperbole to me, but it actually is the story you find convincing in a nutshell.

    Besides, as afterthought, research indicates that the recognition of sarcasm demands social intelligence, I would call that basic human empathy. But does one feel empathy for the mob? However defined? So, I did not really expect you to understand, really.

    Fare thee well!


    LeaNder (5.00 / 3) (#192)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:16:47 PM EST
    There are several reason why you, or anybody, may be confused as to how this event has been playing out. One is the term, "all the evidence points to".....Martin initiating the physical altercation. Actually, that term is used repeatedly by, primarily Zimmerman supporters, whenever they`re trying to promote some point. However, what they really mean is, "This is how I choose to interpret the evidence that has been revealed so far."

    Obviously, Ms Corey interprets "all the evidence" as sufficient to warrant a second degree murder charge.

    Another reason for confusion is the fact that so many alternate suggestions regarding the analysis of the evidence are simply not permitted here.


    confusion, yes absolutely (none / 0) (#193)
    by LeaNder on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 03:08:23 AM EST
    confusion is a good way to describe it, NYS.

    It's actually my core problem for longer now. Not just in this case but it's practically everywhere, closely followed by mirrors and double standards. If I may take a random pick: what about bombing countries into smithereens or surrender while declaring it bringing freedom and support for human rights and it's sub-category, women's rights. These high values hardly cover the fact that the vast majority that pays the price are ordinary citizen. But after all, you don't need to publish the numbers. What about the US soldiers?

    I am not a fan of Corey, I admittedly was somehow irritated by her use of religion and prayer, or "sweet parents". Religion should be kept out of the public space, but in the US it has degraded to political lip service, (Rev. Wright?) it feels to me. A ritual, an empty necessity. That's the kind of religion, I deeply distrust, since it can easily be connected to good and evil.

    According to a German scholar of Egyptology and cultural studies, religion has two central elements, one is to care for the other, especially the weak, the other is to fight the other, or the enemy, which obviously is always evil.

    Another reason for confusion is the fact that so many alternate suggestions regarding the analysis of the evidence are simply not permitted here.

    Strictly I can't judge that. It is obviously highly controversial. But I have to admit the level of allowed self-defense, e.g. shooting or stabbing, I don't remember, someone that steals a radio from your car, is absolutely shocking to me. I can understand the anger, but that's about it. So if someone argues from a strictly US legal frame, he may well already lose me. Understand?


    Personally, I think it's fine to (none / 0) (#150)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 06:03:43 PM EST
    say what you think happened. But Anne goes beyond that to ridicule commenters who she disagrees with:
    Maybe, just maybe, those who assume everyone who looks different is "up to no good" or "on drugs or something," need to do something about the way they think and act, huh?

    I didn't assume any such thing. My comment was specifically about what we should teach youth in order to avoid this kind of tragedy. If you look and act a certain way, people will draw conclusions that may not be accurate. There's nothing wrong with understanding that and avoiding conflict by changing what you're doing. You're not a sell out if you don't follow commonly expected behaviors and attire for your "group," whatever it is.

    I take Zimmerman's statements with a grain of salt. I listened to Zimmerman's NEP call, and it seems that Martin reacted with more than just curiosity to Zimmerman watching him. Zimmerman's story seems credible to me, except for the part where he claims to be looking for an address. He may have been looking to see where the kid ran, which is what many people probably would have done. It's possible that he actually found, approached and held onto the kid to keep him from running again, but without more evidence, I wouldn't believe that scenario if I were on a jury. I think Anne and others believe that Zimmerman could have avoided the entire conflict by staying in his car, and they may be right, but I hope a jury won't be angry enough to hang him for that.

    I listened to Martin's girlfriend and her rendition of the incident sounds believable except for when she says Zimmerman attacked Martin. That sounds contrived to me. Almost as if she were coached to say it and was uncomfortable relaying it to the police. I also noted a changed in her voice when she says how Martin described Zimmerman as a white man. Listen to it, you'll hear a change in tone while she's speaking. It makes me think Martin told her some white dude was profiling him. She may have been recalling Martin's voice and attitude when he described Zimmerman to her.

    Aside from Jeralyn's rules for comments on this case, I personally would like to be able to comment without being put down for my opinion.


    if you look and act a certain way (5.00 / 2) (#157)
    by LeaNder on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 07:18:55 PM EST
    If you look and act a certain way, people will draw conclusions that may not be accurate.

    MyLeftMind: people draw their conclusions no matter what you do or how you act.

    Annie does not respond to your polite tone, which I appreciate, but to some of the content. And I can understand her.

    It's not blaming the victim to suggest that if you're being mistaken for a criminal, you could remove your hood to deescalate the situation.

    At what point, when he passes Zimmerman's car? Why should he? Do you have to be always aware someone is watching you and than change the way you act, and how do you than act correctly if you don't know what's on the person's mind?  It is raining.

    Do you have the images in the 711 shop in mind? Is that why?

    You can't be talking about the ambush scenario since in that context it would make no sense at all.

    I teach my children to act smart and drop the bad@ss attitude. In my family, the gansta/gangbanger look is not glorified.

    I didn't see any gangsta/gangbanger look in what Trayvon wore. For an artist like me, he was dressed in a rather aesthetic way, I like slightly oversize clothes too. Much more comfortable. I wear similar colors, if I don't wear black. Should that make me suspicious too. How about forbidding certain clothes and colors?

    It's simply choosing reasonable, appropriate behavior in modern society. As an analogy, a woman has the right to wear whatever she wants, as long as it is in the bounds of the law. But if she's on the streets at 2 am in a pushup bra, tight skirt and high heels, and if some jerk attacks her, could she have avoided being raped by making different choices?

    How do you know anything about Trayvon's behavior was unreasonable? Apart from being in the wrong place at the time?

    But this is classic: I can assure you, in all the rape cases I have studied, especially the more extreme ones ending in the death of the girls, none of the girls wore what you describe above.

    Appropriate behavior and appropriate clothes is in the eyes of the beholder, and even if you deny it, ultimately you are blaming the victim. Or the clothes.

    I have to admit, I am slightly skeptic concerning the ambush scenario. My main question would be, what exactly was Martin's motive? To mug Zimmerman? It somehow makes no sense, just as the looking for an address on another street to be able to give the precise position of his car.

    But I am prepared to change my mind with more information. The only scenario that would make sense to me so far, is that Martin encountered a highly prejudiced George Zimmerman, and responded in a way he shouldn't have. That's true.


    You seem to have "studied"... (none / 0) (#166)
    by Gandydancer on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:46:50 AM EST
    ...a very limited spectrum of rape cases.
    I can assure you, in all the rape cases I have studied, especially the more extreme ones ending in the death of the girls, none of the girls wore [a pushup bra, tight skirt and high heels].
    And I assure you, there are, e.g., quite a few mass murderers who specialized in hookers.

    were you there (5.00 / 4) (#156)
    by expy on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 06:44:15 PM EST
    He didn't confront him because he knew police had instructed residents not to do that.

    How do you know GZ didn't confront Martin?  That is his statement... but even GZ admits to haven spoken to Martin at the outset. And I don't believe that GZ ever said that he didn't confront because of police instructions - he simply denied "following". (Neighborhood Watch also advises participants to "never" carry weapons of any kind... why would he heed one instruction and not another?)

    GZ's statement is just that: his statement. It is not a set of proven facts. It may be true, it may be false, it may be combination of some truth and some untruths -- we don't know.  The judge or jury will decide.

    And part of that process of deciding will be trying to figure out whether it is even plausible that an unarmed teenager walking home from 7/11 and talking to his girlfriend, suddenly drops the call so that he can launch an unprovoked attack on an adult stranger.


    Did I miss something? (none / 0) (#143)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 02:38:31 PM EST
    He didn't confront him because he knew police had instructed residents not to do that.

    He says numerous times (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:26:16 PM EST
    in his prior 911 calls he's doesn't want to confront the suspect and that  police told the watch members not to confront the suspect , just phone the report in. He also says it in his post-arrest interviews. They are all available.

    That's one of his points. He did not confront Martin any more than he confronted others he reported in the past. That's the police' job, not his. His contention is that Martin confronted him, when he was walking back to his car, after getting out to get an address so he could tell police where to meet him. TM was out of his view at that time.

    It would be contrary to the instructions police provided to residents for GZ to say anything to a person he found suspicious, especially not knowing what was in his hands. He's supposed to report, not initiate dialogue.That could be dangerous, especially when he sees an unknown object in his hand at one point and his hand in his waistband at another.

    For the state to suggest he should have asked initiated a dialogue with TM about what he was doing is contrary to the instructions Sanford police give residents in a watch program.

    You will add your "eyes and ears" to those of the Police Department which cannot be everywhere, all the time, by keeping a watchful eye and open ear to what is happening in your neighborhood. You will extend their ability to provide security by reporting anything unusual or suspicious, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so they can follow up on your leads.

    What you will not do is get physically involved with any activity you report or apprehension of any suspicious persons. This is the job of the law enforcement agency.

    Similar here.


    Isn't it also true that (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:56:13 PM EST
    law enforcement advises Neighborhood Watch people not to carry firearms while doing Neighborhood Watch?

    Yes, but isn't the story that he was going (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by leftwig on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 06:11:45 PM EST
    to the store like he always did Sunday after dinner?  Or is it the suggestion that if you are part of a neighborhood watch that you are always on watch and can't ever carry per their rules?

    It's a dilemma. He was wearing (none / 0) (#154)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 06:24:40 PM EST
    two  hats I guess. Which directives to follow?

    Oculus, he wasn't on neighborhood watch (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:45:06 AM EST
    that night. He was on his way to the grocery store (Target) which he did every Sunday night. He had a permit. He was lawfully allowed to have it. He broke no rules. He wasn't trying to confront Trayvon, he thought he had run off.

    So, who was on neighborhood watch that (5.00 / 1) (#178)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 07:02:16 AM EST
    night?  Anyone?  Would George have known who was scheduled to patrol that night?  Was there a list, did the residents know who was on duty that night, did they have a roster of watch patrollers they could call?

    Did the watch group have any kind of procedure for what to do after calling in their suspicions?  Were they supposed to call the cops first and then each other so the rest of the neighborhood could be on alert?  I mean, if you're not going to let your neighbors know there's something hinky going on, what's the point?

    Most groups, at least that I am aware of, have a telephone tree system, so that the entire neighborhood can quickly be alerted to possible trouble - and more eyes and ears can be watching.  Imagine if four or five or seven of the neighbors on the route to Brandy Green's house had been looking out their windows or doors that night.

    So why, with this neighborhood watch program, did George decide he had to handle this all by himself - and especially after Trayvon ran off?

    This is an area we have heard almost nothing about: the watch program itself.  How it was structured, who was part of it, was there a patrol scheduled that night, why George didn't alert someone in the group that night.  "It all happened too quickly," will be the response, I guess, but it highlights for me how really ill-prepared Zimmerman was for doing more than calling in his concerns.


    Anne important issue (none / 0) (#179)
    by LeaNder on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:33:37 AM EST
    In the next dicovery there will be a manager from Leland Management, Ken Taylor. It will be surely the first I will be listening to.

    The only thing we know so far about this really important part of the whole story is the interview with Wendy Durival (sp?).

    In his statement to police, Zimmerman says that he founded the neighborhood watch with his neighbor after she was robbed, if I remember correctly. He even adds that the two guys threatened to attack her. This adds a new twist to the foundation of the neighborhood story, that was not confirmed by Olivia Bertalan, as far as I know.

    Zimmerman's Twin Lakes Community Was on Edge Before Trayvon Shooting

    I think this is the best article on Bertalan on the web. The incident happened on 08/03/2011. She, like many in our larger story, went upstairs and locked herself into a room with her baby. She felt they were still inside her home, but she never said they threatened to attack her. I doubt they knew she was inside, she hadn't answered the doorbell.

    According to the article on March 28, 2012, she moved out one month before the fatal evening. I do not remember her stating in that article she was involved in the foundation of the neighborhood watch program. But she mentions a neighbor who states he would shoot any trespasser getting on his premises.

    There was a little interesting piece of evidence I am still hoping I will understand with the help of the interview of Ken Taylor.

    The Facebook page for the RTL community by Leland Management seems to have been taken down by now. At least I can't get to it anymore.

    There was an entry on Feb 12, 2012, in which it was claimed that the activities of the neighborhood watch had led to "four" arrests. Who but George would have informed them about it?

    Interestingly he is alluding to the case in his interviews, but he gets many things wrong e.g. that the arrest happened on the day of the above Facebook entry, or ten days after he reported someone on 02/06/12. It is also not correct the arrest happened due to the activities of the neighborhood watch. The only thing that fits, is, that on 02/07/12 four men were arrested in connection to the burglary one day before. The information came from roofers working inside the community.

    George may have gotten matters wrong. But he clearly seems to allude to the guy with the "bomber hat" he watched on 02/02/12, being the same as the one committing the burglary. The man supposedly intending to burglarize Taaffe's house, which he supposedly prevented.  It would be interesting, if he gave police a precise description after the event at all. Since nothing happened on that day, is that likely?


    this is misleading (none / 0) (#180)
    by LeaNder on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:43:52 AM EST
    The only thing that fits, is, that on 02/07/12 four men were arrested in connection to the burglary one day before.

    Three of them weren't arrested, strictly. Four were taken to police for interviews and three were released again. It's the Emmanuel Burgess case. Which was in fact what alerted me to Jeralyn's page since I was looking into the same story at the time, and there wasn't much attention on it somewhere else, if I remember correctly, again that is.

    I have to return to my duties.


    I've often wondered why, once (none / 0) (#159)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 07:50:39 PM EST
    George went into "neighborhood watch" mode, and decided he needed to get out of his vehicle, he didn't secure his weapon before doing so; I'm aware that Zimmerman had a legal permit to carry, so there was nothing illegal in him keeping it on his person, but it simply makes no sense to me that as a watch volunteer he wouldn't be packing, but as a private citizen, he would, when nothing about the rest of the situation was different.

    Unless, he routinely carried a weapon while on patrol, too.  


    seems like (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by expy on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 08:04:35 PM EST
    the "Neigborhood Watch" thing is invoked only when convenient:

    Neighborhood Watch says, don't confront: therefore, GZ, could not possibly have meant to confront TM

    Neighborhood Watch says, never carry a weapon: no matter, GZ was off duty, simply returning from the store; the watch rules don't apply.

    Somewhere lurking in the background there's a civil suit against the homeowner's association waiting to be filed.......


    Please stay on topic (none / 0) (#141)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 01:48:44 PM EST
    which is the bail decision and request for donation of funds. Other relevant topics may be discussed in our Forums.

    lawyer (none / 0) (#194)
    by carterjohnesan on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 04:04:11 AM EST
    He was 17 that is a kid, and no Im not going to blast, because I would have stayed my dumb[..] in the car instead of pursing the person in the first place, its not the kids fault this stupid !! could not fight. I was told that if you go looking for a fight then you better know how to !!ing fight. Self defense can only be used if the man was unjustly attacked for no reason and he was forced to use deadly force in fear of his life.
    He is a spoiled low-life who beats women and k!lls kids, I mean even if your just a white man defending your own kind....what type of message are you sending? That this guy deserves any type of sympathy? If thats how you feel then I just feel sorry for you cause your fighting for a criminal and defending his actions which is sad and moronic.
    Well if someone met through accident i would like to suggest that they should immediately contact Car Accident Lawyer

    SITE VIOLATOR! (none / 0) (#195)
    by Zorba on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 09:18:03 AM EST
    And a very long-winded one, at that.