Zimmerman Contributions Rise After Most Recent Request

When Mark O'Mara was interviewed by Fox 35 in Orlando the other day about his motion to continue George Zimmerman's trial, he said (3 min. 30 sec mark) the defense fund was down to $5,000. and he might have to ask that the Court declare George indigent so that the state would pick up some expenses. In the 24 hours after the interview, Zimmerman's attorneys say 160 people have donated $5,200.00. They would like the contributions to keep coming. [More...]

Neither O'Mara or his co-counsel, Don West, have been paid any legal fees to date. All the money raised has gone to bond, security, living expenses and costs associated with the defense.

The parties are not on an even playing field. According to the recent motions filed by O'Mara, the state is delaying releasing important discovery.

The state has taken a formalistic approach to their discovery responses, both in their specific discovery filings, and in their positions taken with regard to "informal" discovery. While this more limited or static approach to discovery disclosure is not in violation of the rule, it does require a great deal more vigilance by the defense, and carries with it inherent delays in the discovery process.

Rather than being able to simply address and resolve concerns with ongoing discovery, the State has taken the path of requiring formal discovery demands and litigation.

Which means, the defense has to shoulder much of the investigation. While the state has access to whatever expert assistance it desires, Zimmerman does not. Nor can he compel the state to conduct additional testing or investigation.

Today, the state filed its response to Zimmerman's motion (available here)to continue the trial. It objects and says it should not have to do the defense's job for it.

Defendant has decided there are other things more important than following the Court's suggestions and going directly to the source to look at the information available. Defendant wants the State to do its job.

As an example of the kind of ritualistic opposition the state and FDLE offer in response to defense requests for discovery, consider this one filed today by the FDLE, which the state has adopted, opposing the defense request for production of the biographical profiles it compiled on the participants in the case, including Zimmerman, Martin and witnesses. Among its objections:

Defendants who are accused of homicide face enormous pressure to secure an acquittal. If the defendant is convicted as charged, the consequences could he substantial. As a result, it will be tempting for the defendant to use the witness information for the purpose of threats or bribery. Alternatively, the defendant could use the bio's to acquire credit cards in the witness's name or otherwise appropriate the witness’ identity.

Is there any evidence George Zimmerman would do any of these things? I doubt it and none is presented.

FDLE also casts unwarranted aspersions on the defense team:

But even if the defendant lacks any nefarious intent, the extensive media and public interest in this case makes it likely that any items provided by FDLE will be obtained by the media or seen on the internet. Given the extraordinary number of documents provided to the defense, and given the size of the defense team, it is almost inevitable that these biographies will be inadvertently posted or revealed to an improper recipient.

The defense has not improperly revealed any non-public information. The state, on the other hand, has done so twice, first releasing a photo of Trayvon Martin's body at the scene, and then George Zimmerman's school records. While both were done inadvertently and quickly removed from the public domain, the defense is not the party responsible for restricted information being publicly released.

These kind of responses are what cause delay in trial preparation. The court has previously ordered FDLE to allow the defense to review its entire file at FDLE offices. Yet when the defense goes to do so, it claims privilege as to some documents, forcing the defense to seek relief from the Court.

It was the state that chose to wait until January, 2013 to have Trayvon Martin's cell phone, which it obtained on Feb. 26, sent out to Cellebrite for testing. It didn't provide the results to the defense until Jan. 18. The defense says the results provided show data is missing for the day of the shooting. Obviously, the defense needs to have its own expert examine the results and the phone. It should not be penalized for the state's late testing and disclosure.

Declaring indigency is not a good solution for Zimmerman or the taxpayers of Florida. The funds the state will provide for expert services and investigation will be quite limited, and certainly insufficient for this kind of a case.

Zimmerman has a legitimate and critical need for forensic experts and investigators. For those who want to contribute to his goal of receiving a fair trial, his donation page is here.

< Age of the Tele-Rat: Trayvon Martin's Missing Cell Phone Data | Friday Night Open Thread >
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  • Display: Sort:
    The way the prosecution and the FDLE are behaving (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Cashmere on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 05:14:35 PM EST
    seems absurd to me.  I did hear Judge Nelson state that the defense team can go directly to the FDLE for any evidence they want.  How is it possible that they are still witholding requests?  Their reasoning is absurd.  Is this about providing a fair trial to the accused or about the prosecution winning at all costs.

    I am also so tired of reading on other sites how many are misinformed re: the evidence that has already been revealed to the public via the sunshine law.  Many posters over at Huffington are extremely misinformed.  They lash out against this request for a delay as if the defense has been lazy and they are just trying to keep Zimmerman out of jail a little while longer.  It disgusts me how many have convicted Zimmerman already and call him a racist repeatedly.  This is a very nasty situation.  I prefer to wait until after the trial to opine on whether he is guilty or not.

    Meanwhile, I agree that Zimmerman and his defense team need help, which is why I donated a few days ago (apparently I am one of the 160).  I am also tired of the insults thrown at those of us that do donate (not here, but at Huffington...  claiming those who donate are stupid, racist, etc.).  I am none of these things.   They also label those who donate as Republicans....   I am also VERY liberal politically.  Thanks for letting me rant, and thanks for the accurate information that is available to us on this site re: this case Jeralyn (and other cases).

    J. Merritt warned against a rush to judgement... (none / 0) (#7)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:08:54 PM EST
    She may have been the only blogger on earth's surface to do so, or one of the few.  The media mediated frenzy resembled what Justice Thomas once described as a high tech lynching.

    Thanks Jeralyn (none / 0) (#2)
    by Slayersrezo on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:58:49 PM EST
    For laying out the prosecutions tactics for us. Apparently the idea is to draw it out a very long time to try to exhaust the financial resources of the defense.

    This is disgusting, and in my opinion SHOULD be grounds for legal action against the agents in the prosecution who are dragging their feet. Alas, I know there is no legal remedy for this unless the Judge puts her foot down and starts censoring the prosecution for their disregard of her orders.

    regarding: (none / 0) (#3)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 08:55:24 PM EST
     "Yet when the defense goes to do so, it claims privilege as to some documents, forcing the defense to seek relief from the Court."

    Do we have any numbers about how many times the defense has sought relief from the Court? And, what was the Court's response?

    i'm not asking anyone to do any work for me, just please point me to a source, if available.