George Zimmerman Trial: Defense Rests

The defense has rested in the George Zimmerman trial. It did not introduce any evidence of Tryavon Martin's marijuana use or fighting.

Its final two witnesses were Olivia Beltaran, a former resident at Retreat at Twin Lakes whose home was burglarized in August, 2011, and Robert Zimmerman, George's father. Mr.Zimmerman was only asked about the voice screaming for help in Jenna Lauer's 911 call, and his identification of George as the person screaming when he was interviewed by FDLE early on in the case, before Zimmerman was charged.

As to why the defense called Olivia Bertalan:

Two of the five calls the state played for the jury pertained to the home invasion at Bertalan's residence.

It was Olivia Bertalan, not Zimmerman, who called police to report a home invasion at her home while she and her infant son were home. She saw the perpetrators, hid in a bedroom and called 911 at 11:00 a.m. Bertalan described the perpetrators in her 911 call to police as two young African American males. Shelley Zimmerman also saw the suspects and provided a description to police.

Later that day, at 5:00 p.m., Zimmerman went to her home and brought her a new deadbolt because hers wasn't working. At 6:45 pm Zimmerman called the non-emergency number to report he spotted someone who fit the description Bertalan had given police of one of the suspects. The police did not catch him that night.

On August 6, Zimmerman called non-emergency again to tell police that the male fitting Bertalan's description was back in the neighborhood, and that he and Shelley had just seen him again. He told police they might want to send someone over to Calabria Cove apartments because he thought that's where the male would run to. Again the police didn't catch him. The case was placed on inactive status.

In September, police got a latent print report from the lab which showed that two prints found on the wall between Retreat at Twin Lakes and Calabria Cove apartments matched someone named Emmanuel Burgess. Bertalan identified Burgess from a photo lineup and charges were filed.

Emmanuel Burgess, who lived with his parents in the neighborhood, was on juvenile parole and and in and out of detention facilities. He lived with his parents at Retreat at Twin Lakes, and was finally arrested in February, 2012, after another burglary at the complex on February 6. His juvenile probation was terminated, he was transferred to adult court, where Judge Nelson presided over his multiple cases, consolidating them. He pleaded guilty to both the burglary at Bertalan's home in August, 2011 and the Febrary 6th burglary . Zimmerman had nothing to do with reporting the February 6 burglary. Burgess was sentenced by Judge Nelson to five years in prison. The dockets are here and here.

The full police reports the Bertalan burglary are here (they will take a while to open.) The report for the Feb. 6 burglary is here.

O'Mara called Bertalan to refute the state's allegation that Zimmerman was a wannabe cop who improperly profiled young African American males by seeking them out, reporting them as suspicious and claiming they always got away. (At another motions argument during the trial, O'Mara mentioned Emmanuel Burgess' name and reminded the Judge that she would be familiar with his record.)

Of the five calls the state introduced as supposed support for its theory that they showed Zimmerman's state of mind as a profiler and wannabe cop, two of the calls pertained to the Beltaran home invasion, in which he didn't profile anyone. He reported seeing someone who matched the description the homeowner (and his wife) had initially given police. The person he reported not only turned out to be the perpetrator, but the perpetrator was only able to be charged after his latent prints were found on the wall he had jumped over from Retreat at Twin Lakes to the neighboring complex. Burgess didn't just commit one burglary, but several, and he was found in possession of some of the stolen property when he was arrested. He had a long record as a juvenile and he lived in the neighborhood.

In the third of the five calls, Zimmerman didn't report anyone. He called to report an open garage door after 10:00 pm.

That leaves a total of 2 calls prior to February 26 in which he reported African American males as suspicious.

In one, on Feb. 2, the male appeared to him to be casing Frank Taafe's house, located at the shortcut from the main road. Zimmerman said the guy kept walking up to Taafe's house and away from it, and he knew the guy didn't live there. By the time police arrived, the male had left. Taaffe was out of town.

In the other of the two calls, during October, 2011, Zimmerman called to report seeing two older (late '20's to '30s) African American males hanging out at the entrance to the gated community at 1:00 in the morning. He reported them for loitering.

After the defense rested, it moved for a judgment of acquittal. The judge denied it, saying there was substantial direct and circumstantial evidence to submit the case to the jury.

The state began its rebuttal case. The state re-called gym owner Adam Pollack, and asked whether he advertised that his gym trained George Zimmerman. He said "absolutely not." The defense objected and the court sustained the objection. The state decided not to forego questioning him further.

The state said it intended to call FDLE Agent David Lee, but changed its mind. Its only other witness is Paul Fleischman, the ATF agent in Zimmerman's 2005 bar arrest. The charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and dismissed after Zimmerman completed pretrial diversion. The court said it will rule tomorrow on whether he can testify. The defense said if the state calls Fleischman, it will call a rebuttal witness. Perhaps it will call this friend of Zimmerman's who witnessed the arrest.

The judge then asked when the parties want to address jury instructions. The jury was dismissed.

O'Mara mentioned he wanted to submit a definition of provoke since the instructions don't define it. It sounds like the defense is anticipating the court will include the aggressor portion the self-defense instruction. While I think that would be error given the testimony and evidence at trial, for reasons I've stated many times, given today's testimony of defense expert Dennis Root, I doubt it will make a difference.

The court addressed sanctions for witness violations of the sequestration rule. It refused to strike witness Donnelly's testimony and denied the state's motion for sanctions.

The judge is not addressing substantive instructions today. The state will be asking for lesser included offenses of manslaughter, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm and discharge causing death.

Closing arguments will be tomorrow. The state will get two hours for its first argument and one hour for its rebuttal. The state gets two bites of the apple, an opening and rebuttal argument, because it has the burden of proof.

< Judge Questions Zimmerman on Right to Testify | Benjamin Crump: Who Screamed Doesn't Matter >
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  • Display: Sort:
    If the jury believes (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by goddessoftheclassroom on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:28:33 PM EST
    that the prosecutions has not disproved self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, they must acquit, correct?  If it was self-defense, there is nothing to compromise.

    correct (none / 0) (#32)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:31:26 PM EST
    If they find self-defense, it is justifiable homicide. Justifiable homicide is not unlawful, therefore he cannot be convicted of murder2 or manslaughter.

    If they find him not guilty of murder 2 but don't think the killing was justified, for example, they don't think he acted with ill-will, hatred, etc. they can consider manslaughter or other lesser offenses.


    I'm lost... (none / 0) (#52)
    by chezmadame on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:14:06 PM EST
    does this mean that if the jury finds that GZ acted in self defense, he can't be convicted of any the lesser included charges?

    Former Chief Lee gave an (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:53:16 PM EST
    interview to CNN, too. I guess now that his testimony is over he wants to clear the air. He really should have tried to do something last year. Maybe he tried, but once he was fired he was helpless to stop it.

    He thinks his officers are vindicated through their testimony.

    He should wit for the verdict. (none / 0) (#42)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:57:39 PM EST
    Oculus, the Martin family (none / 0) (#68)
    by Teresa on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:04:59 AM EST
    attorneys do it every day. He does it some to bring attention to help raise money from what I gather. He and West aren't being paid but they have additional office space, experts, IT and security expenses. I think it pays for GZ's lodging but I'm not positive. It's not like it's safe for him to work.

    IANAL but it sure seems as though (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Darby on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:55:50 PM EST
    Including lesser charges is aome kind of double jeopardy. If the defendant is charged with murder 2 and disprooves ill will, how can they at the end of a trial be convicted of charges they never even defended against?  Seems worse than double jeopardy since no opportunity to defend oneself.  What am I missing?

    Lawyers on CNN had a great debate (none / 0) (#70)
    by Teresa on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:09:09 AM EST
    on that late in the 10:00 EDT hour. Not just specific to this case. I'm sure it's legal all the way to the Supreme Court, but I want to ask Jerlayn & Oculus their views. I don't think it's right either, in any case, because it's not justice they're after in my mind. Or not the main point anyway. If you've got the goods, charge it up front.

    Necessary Lesser Included (none / 0) (#81)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 03:57:38 AM EST
    It's not double jeopardy, because only one of the charges can be applied.

    Assuming the primary charge is supported with evidence adduced at trial, the defendant will have defended against all elements of the necessarily lesser included offense(s).

    Say Murder 2 has elements, A, B, and C; manslaughter has elements A and B, and aggravated assault has elements A and D.  A murder 2 trial covering A, B, and C will cover all the elements of manslaughter, so if "C" isn't proven (depraved mind), but A and B are proved, then manslaughter has been proved.  Aggravated assault should not be included in the instructions because element D was never before the jury, and as you point out, defendant wasn't given the opportunity to defend against allegations of "D".

    In this case, aggravated assault includes the making of a threat, and I know of no allegation or evidence that Zimmerman made a threat.


    Except If you are charged with a crime (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Darby on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 08:06:43 AM EST
    Requiring elements A B and C. Don't you have to just disproove only of the elements?  If that is true, it seems wrong st the end of the trial to now say you had to disproove all three because we are adding charges on at the end of the  trial.

    Well, I have weighed in... (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by bmaz on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:05:33 AM EST
    ...on where the case stands at this point.

    Uncomfortable Truth: The State Of Evidence in the George Zimmerman Prosecution

    I highly doubt that any readers of Talk Left will be surprised at the discussion and/or conclusions.

    Manufactured Sturm and Drang (none / 0) (#85)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 09:12:49 AM EST
    Nice recap. Hope it helps, but I doubt it as this case is being used by many who have agendas that have nothing to do with justice or law. Sadly many who are at the raw end of the stick in our skewed justice system are on the wrong side of the fence here.

    Hard to blame them because as usual, those with power and influence are motivated by greed and self-interest.


    Smart move to not go forward with MJ (none / 0) (#1)
    by magster on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:43:55 PM EST
    or texting evidence. The case is won for GZ it seems. All the new evidence would do is open up GZ to unintended consequences.

    State's adding aggravated assault (none / 0) (#4)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:05:51 PM EST
    unless O'Mara can talk judge out of it (I bet no way that happens). That sounds like a nice compromise for the jury who'll feel bad for TM's family.

    But, in FL because of the gun resulting in death it is a minimum sentence of 25 years. Could be life if judge wants. (Per a lawyer in FL who tried a similar case & wrote on GZ so maybe he's wrong but I don't think so. It's the 10-20-life thing they just asked for in instructions)

    My prediction (before closings) is they come back with agg assault thinking he'll get a few years and they'll be sick when they find out it's 25 years. The reason I think that is they saw the same trial I did and the state didn't prove anything except TM is dead which they all knew. But, they'll feel like they have to do something and what sounds like a fairly innocent compromise to them is a very very long sentence.

    Now, someone tell me why I'm wrong. I believe this is what will happen, not what I'd do.


    You have. O faith the jury will (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:19:43 PM EST
    follolw the jury instructions?  

    Lol, I love you oculus! (none / 0) (#11)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:25:21 PM EST
    It sounds like O'Mara thinks that's out and I really hope it is. He said he wants no compromise verdict for GZ.

    He said he doesn't want GZ to get off because they feel sorry for him, but because the state didn't prove their case at all. He said he doesn't want them feeling sorry for either side, just decide by the law.

    So I take it you don't believe juries do that? (My brother didn't)


    Here are the applicable instructions: (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:33:47 PM EST
    3. This case must not be decided for or against anyone because you feel sorry for anyone, or are angry at anyone.
    1. Remember, the lawyers are not on trial. Your feelings about them should not influence your decision in this case.
    2. Your duty is to determine if the defendant has been proven guilty or not, in accord with the law. It is the judge's job to determine a proper sentence if the defendant is found guilty.

    Not speaking of this case, but that (none / 0) (#15)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:51:33 PM EST
    don't feel sorry for part would be really hard for me to do, for either side depending on a case. I don't know how people take their human side out. I'd give it my best shot, but it would be against my nature.

    The jury would pay more attention (none / 0) (#49)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 08:25:04 PM EST
    to a special verdict form that requires them to make specific findings imo.

    Magster (none / 0) (#6)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:11:36 PM EST
    I did read another attorney say they can argue that to prove that, the gun must be out prior to assault. That might be the only way I change my prediction. If that's right & O'Mara argues it well in closing, assuming it stays in instructions, which I don't see Judge Nelson denying the State. Maybe she'll surprise me.

    State closing arguments (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:49:34 PM EST
    tomorrow afternoon, defense Friday morning.  That means the state's closing gets to be in the jury's mind all night.

    Closing Arguments (none / 0) (#3)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:00:51 PM EST
    I heard Nelson say both state and defense on Thursday, state's rebuttal on Friday.

    Closing arguments start at 1:00 PM, so state alone would only go to 3:00 PM.


    No, it's bring in the jury at 1 (none / 0) (#5)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:07:31 PM EST
    for state's closing. The rest is Friday. She changed it.

    Short Day? (none / 0) (#78)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:35:41 AM EST
    I find it hard to believe that Nelson intends to dismiss court around 3PM.

    You Were Right (none / 0) (#83)
    by nomatter0nevermind on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 07:53:15 AM EST
    I listened to the video, and you are correct. Nelson did say defense starts on Friday morning.

    She made the change because O'Mara asked for more time to prepare.


    O'Mara just now, he thinks he can get (none / 0) (#7)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:13:40 PM EST
    that charge thrown out, I believe.

    Ok, IANAL obviously (none / 0) (#8)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:16:36 PM EST
    Mark Nejame just said agg assault is 3 years minimum. He must believe that O'Mara gets the 10-20-life thing thrown out.

    Sorry if I played lawyer based on reading. Jeralyn, you can delete me if that lawyer is wrong, and I'd be happy.

    Jeralyn, if the prosecution (none / 0) (#10)
    by Buckeye on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:25:02 PM EST
    asks for lessor charges, how often in your experience do juries deliver "compromised verdicts" from pure emotion or expediency?  

    For example, in this case let's say tey jury does not believe proof beyond a reasonable doubt was achieved by the prosecution that Zimmerman was not defending himself.  However, they think the idea of a guy going free when there is a dead 17 year old who was unarmed is not a good direction to go.  So they acquit on murder 2, but (even though the law does not really justify it), we will come out with a compromised verdict and convict on  manslaughter.

    Do juries do that a lot in your experience.  

    I can't really say for Florida (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:05:53 PM EST
    since I don't practice there. It could depend on which lessers, if any, in addition to manslaughter the judge agrees to give, how she words the self-defense instruction, whether she instructs them on the order they are to consider the charges and even the verdict form. I may have an opinion after I read the final instructions. If I do, I'll post it.



    thanks (none / 0) (#21)
    by Buckeye on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:14:19 PM EST
    Not Chief Lee... (none / 0) (#12)
    by unitron on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:28:15 PM EST
    ...David Lee, a supervisor with FDLE.

    What they were going to have him testify to I have no idea.

    Speeding ticket (none / 0) (#14)
    by ZucchiTadre on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:41:43 PM EST
    Zimmerman got real mouthy one time during a traffic stop while doing 58 in a 55 zone.

    58 in a 55 (2.25 / 4) (#25)
    by Jack203 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:36:17 PM EST
    Can be introduced, but the mountains of evidence St.Trayvon was a completely out of control teenager can't?

    well.. (1.00 / 1) (#74)
    by ZucchiTadre on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 01:16:40 AM EST
    what I said was just a tad bit sarcastic :)  It never really happened lol

    It's sad (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Jack203 on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 08:21:33 PM EST
    But I couldn't tell you were joking.  Not with this case.

    thanks, I changed it (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:53:40 PM EST
    Any idea... (none / 0) (#22)
    by unitron on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:23:06 PM EST
    ...to what they would have had him testify?

    Speaking of former Chief Lee (none / 0) (#16)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:53:06 PM EST
    He gave a let it all hang out interview today.

    When will the court instruct the jury in relation (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:00:06 PM EST
    to closing arguments?

    Oculus, is that a separate (none / 0) (#27)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:01:34 PM EST
    instruction than the other ones? If so, why?

    I did not write a clear question. (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:22:56 PM EST
    My question is, will the court instruct the jury before or after closing arguments?

    Ah, ok, sorry I got confused. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:24:56 PM EST
    When she went over her timeline, I don't remember if she said that. I take it that can vary by state?

    Does anyone here think (none / 0) (#19)
    by DennisD on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:00:19 PM EST
    a neutral jury could find that Zimmerman did not reasonably fear great bodily harm beyond a reasonable doubt? I don't see how, but I think O'Mara needs a strong closing to cinch it. I hope he's up to it.

    I have full confidence in O'Mara... (none / 0) (#48)
    by Cashmere on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 08:14:38 PM EST
    Very impressive...  and I certainly hope he delivers the closing arguments as I find him preferable to West.

    OMara is definitely more likable from... (none / 0) (#53)
    by magster on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:17:24 PM EST

    Thank god (none / 0) (#24)
    by observed on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:33:46 PM EST
    I hope justice is served, but speaking for myself, I found this case really uninteresting.
    Except for the possibility of using a stand your ground defense, which didn't occur, it doesn't seem to me that this case has any interesting or unusual elements.

    open and shut (none / 0) (#39)
    by woodchuck64 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:50:01 PM EST
    Has there ever been a weaker case prosecuted?  That's where it was interesting, the extraordinary social pressure that resulted in this happening at all.  And now whether the jury--wise women accomplished in the grey-area  pragmatism of compromise, I'm sure--will conclude that one part of society may better withstand a small shock of injustice than the other, and decide accordingly.

    A question (none / 0) (#26)
    by DebFrmHell on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:42:14 PM EST
    Does the Jury Instructions include a finding of not guilty and innocent of charges?

    self defense (none / 0) (#28)
    by AghastinFL on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:07:01 PM EST
    It is my lay opinion: A finding for self defense, renders all charges moot. The State has made no apparent effort to prove the actions of Zimmerman were not in self defense, therefore the verdict will hang upon the charges and their definition.

    it's guilty or not guilty (none / 0) (#35)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:33:20 PM EST
    verdict forms don't use the word innocent.

    they should say not guilty or guilty, but for some reason they put the guilty first.


    TV lawyers opinion on today (none / 0) (#29)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:13:59 PM EST
    They're making a huge deal out of the dummy demo and the prosecution now saying possibly TM was on top after saying for over two weeks he wasn't.

    They said that's the very definition of reasonable doubt that the prosecution doesn't know what happened.

    Do you all think O'Mara is too exhausted to pick up on that? Not that the prosecutors aren't exhausted, too. She was pushing them all hard.

    I think (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by cazinger on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:33:00 PM EST
    Given the testimony of Goode, DiMaio, and Root, I think the prosecution may have very well given up on any other possible configuration at the time of the shooting.

    when the prosecutor asked (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:35:26 PM EST
    Root "isn't it possible" TM was trying to back off, I was thinking, what good does that do them when their burden is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    That it's possible it may have happened in a way that refutes self defense is so far from what they have to prove.


    Of course O'Mara noticed (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by friendofinnocence on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:39:35 PM EST
    the prosecution injected their own case with reasonable doubt during the dummy demonstration.  They argued Zimmerman was on top until today, when they conceded Trayvon Martin could have been on top.  They showed the jury two competing scenarios, and Geragos said they have to acquit according to the instructions they will receive from the judge.

    I hope so. He seems pretty sharp. (none / 0) (#38)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:44:32 PM EST
    There are a few things they didn't pick up on that bug me. One is the scratches/abrasion on TM's left finger.

    They keep saying it's from the punch, but I think it came from the sidewalk when he had his left hand under GZ's right shoulder/neck pushing him down/whatever Good saw. The reason I think that is because it's one of the few places TM's DNA showed up on GZ's jacket. (From what little survived a month in a wet plastic bag)


    That is certainly a possibility... (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by friendofinnocence on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:04:49 PM EST
    However, I think MOM wasn't too keen on trying to convince the jury the abrasion on his left hand came from anything other than the punch he shows TM delivering to Zimmerman's nose in his animation.

    ME supports you (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:51:56 PM EST
    I think that it is in the testimony of Maio that the abrasions on TM hand are more reasonably from scraping on concrete or something, rather than blunt force trauma . . . and so, I think the abrasions are from rubbing on the concrete or sidewalk . . .

    Core Argument (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Cylinder on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:20:45 PM EST
    Do you all think O'Mara is too exhausted to pick up on that?

    I think that will be one of his core arguments. O'Mara challenged either the state or the court to articulate a cogent theory of guilt in both JOA motions.


    You're right, he did. (none / 0) (#66)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:58:46 PM EST
    It should be interesting to hear the closings. I can already hear the cussing shouts when one you had to strain to even hear. I wish they were on the same day.

    O'Mara just confirmed that the scenario (none / 0) (#33)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:31:27 PM EST
    I wrote above could be true depending on final charges & instructions. (long long sentence on agg assault)

    He said he does worry that the jury could give a compromise verdict and he sounds like he's going to argue hard against manslaughter. He said it's either Murder Two, or innocent from self-defense and that only those two choices are possible based on the trial evidence and, of course, he thinks the state came nowhere close to proving it.

    He also said he doesn't write out his closing arguments. He said he just talks to the jury.

    He said on the texts that the state had that the third week in January and only through a whistleblower in the state's attorney's office did they find out. They got it on June 4. He said in 30(?) years he's never filed a discovery motion with the court and he's filed six in this one case.

    He never writes out his closing (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:51:48 PM EST
    argument. This I gotta hear.

    I think the judge has to instruct on manslaughter as it is a lesser included of murder 2.


    who writes out their closing? (none / 0) (#43)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:57:40 PM EST
    That's lame.

    Yes the judge has to instruct on manslaughter 2. It's a necessarily lesser included offense. We have several posts on this.


    Don't you write prompts? (none / 0) (#44)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:58:40 PM EST
    points to make yes (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 08:55:39 PM EST
    but not the argument itself.

    I think what he said is this isn't (none / 0) (#45)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 08:00:09 PM EST
    a manslaughter case, not that it's not included automatically. He says the evidence says that. I don't know how to explain it, but I know you being a prosecutor you know what he means.

    I didn't write that post very clearly. He did say it's either self-defense or if the jury doesn't believe that, it's Murder Two.


    It was actually hilarious (none / 0) (#46)
    by DennisD on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 08:13:04 PM EST
    watching Bernie, yesterday, and Guy, today, hammer home reasonable doubt. With a few exceptions, the state appeared to use most of its time at trial creating reasonable doubt rather than proving a case. Who can forget Bernie looking to impeach his own witness, Jenna Lauer, with Twitter after she gave testimony advantageous to the defense.

    News alert: Piers Morgan now thinks (none / 0) (#47)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 08:13:19 PM EST
    and said to Crump live on his show just now that he's not sure by FL law that GZ is guilty now because the prosecution is saying TM might have been on top and Piers says that means most likely you'd believe the screams were from GZ.

    Crump's answer: the screams don't matter. Now, I wasn't around for it, but wasn't that one of this big PR campaign things?

    (sorry for the tv play by play. No one's here tonight but you guys :) )

    i was just about to put up a post on that (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 08:56:51 PM EST
    I saw it. Unbelievable.

    Then Piers swung back his same old (none / 0) (#55)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:21:16 PM EST
    way and had two guests who totally misstated the facts!

    I realize you're talking about Crump, but I was shocked at Piers at first, but now he's going back on my not reliable channel.

    From what I've read here this month, I thought that was a major change from Crump.


    Piers and others (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by DennisD on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:44:34 PM EST
    look at this from the stand point many do: This never should've happened; Zimmerman never should've left his car. This should scare the defense and why I think O'Mara needs to have a forceful close: He needs to shut the door on any jury bargaining regarding Lessers.

    I don't recall (none / 0) (#65)
    by friendofinnocence on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:47:03 PM EST
    the jury hearing anyone say Zimmerman should have never left his car.  I don't think that ridiculous assertion has any place in a court of law, and apparently that was the case in this trial.  However, Bernie is desperate, so he could go there in his closing for lack of anything better to say.

    Wolf Blitzer asked Chief Lee about the Serino capias today (the one that described no criminal act), and I was really hoping to find out how it came about.  But, either he didn't answer it or CNN edited it out.  That capias was the original source of the "he should have never got out of the car" talking point.  It wasn't signed by a State Attorney, so it is comparable to legislation that doesn't make it out of committee, i.e. DOA.


    "It never should've happened" (3.50 / 2) (#71)
    by DennisD on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:30:24 AM EST
    is tacit, but Trayvon Martin's mother uttered those words in court, on cross I believe. You also have to remember that a 17 year old unarmed boy who had no original intentions other than to go home is dead. That will, and should, weigh on a jury.

    The jury should NOT convict based on emotions (none / 0) (#76)
    by Synthesist on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:18:02 AM EST
    Emotions like sorrow for TM and family or anger against GZ should NOT be used by the jury as it would violate jury instructions (see comment #13 above). The sole task of this jury is to decide if the evidence and testimony presented in court proves beyond a reasonable doubt that GZ committed 2nd degree murder or the included lesser charge of manslaughter.

    Emotion wasn't the point (none / 0) (#79)
    by DennisD on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:50:02 AM EST
    but I'd suspect many lawyers will tell you emotions shouldn't but can effect judgment.

    That was bad form (none / 0) (#82)
    by DennisD on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 05:11:31 AM EST
    What I was driving at in my other comments was that this case disturbs a lot of people's sense of fairness, justice, accountability, etc., even given certain facts that some would think should mitigate that.

    when did TM change his mind? (none / 0) (#77)
    by ding7777 on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:34:40 AM EST
    You also have to remember that a 17 year old unarmed boy who had no original intentions other than to go home is dead.

    When did TM decide not to go home?  When did TM decide to linger at the T? When did TM decide to ground and pound GZ's head into concrete?


    Jeralyn, I finally found the full video (none / 0) (#57)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:35:44 PM EST
    of O'Mara's PC from today. I'd only seen clips from CNN where they interrupted it.


    I have no clue who that person is. I just searched until I found one. It's 17 minutes.

    Unbelievable. Thank god the jury is (none / 0) (#64)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:22:05 PM EST
    sequestered. Looks like a coach being interviewed after a pro sports game.

    It was OMara who argued for (none / 0) (#72)
    by lily on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:41:00 AM EST

    I know. Maybe so he could (none / 0) (#73)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:42:55 AM EST
     have press conferences during triall.  

    nonsense (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by lily on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 09:42:32 AM EST
    compare the number of press conferences by Crump and Co since March 2012 with the defense.

    it's posted by an extremely (none / 0) (#75)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:03:36 AM EST
    anti-Zimmerman site. Do you mind if I post a different link?

    As Preperation For Jury Instruction Arguments (none / 0) (#58)
    by RickyJim on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:43:58 PM EST
    Richard Hornsby discusses the possibilities for a compromise verdict.  

    Figure This One Out (none / 0) (#63)
    by RickyJim on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 11:02:45 PM EST
    It is entirely possible the jury could convict him of a lesser offense and not find he possessed, discharged, or caused death with a firearm. In such case the mandatory-minimum would not apply.

    I certainly don't understand how such a thing is possible.


    Judge Nelson's reasons for disallowing TM's phone (none / 0) (#60)
    by David in Cal on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 10:47:11 PM EST
    material were not stated this morning, I believe.  Does anyone know whether she announced her reasons later?  Is she required to give her specific reasons for excluding this evidence? If an appeal is to be made on this issue, I would think the judge's reasoning would be important.

    Nelson said (none / 0) (#67)
    by friendofinnocence on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:00:04 AM EST
    a seven year old could have accessed the contents of that phone.  Don West responded FLE took a year to crack it and needed to write software to do it.  Nelson immediately came back and said someone else could have had the password, without presenting anything to support her argument except her considerable power to do whatever she wants to do.

    To me, her argument could easily be extended to every password-protected computer or phone in the entire world.  Of course, we all know that isn't the case.  But, the experts seem to think it will be inconsequential if Zimmerman is acquitted.


    She gave the reasons (none / 0) (#80)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 03:49:13 AM EST
    The reason was not based on authentication.  She conceded that point.

    She found the evidence was not within the present impression hearsay exception, and further that denying admission did not run afoul of Zimmerman's constitutional rights.  She claimed that she articulated her argument earlier in the trial, perhaps during the sanction hearing.

    I believe that denying admission also disposes of the sanctions motion that was set aside to be decided after trial.


    And now the state (none / 0) (#86)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 09:32:05 AM EST
    I s arguing for 3rd degree felony murder based on child abuse, because Martin was under 18.


    And apparently (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 09:35:46 AM EST
    The judge agrees.

    OMG.  Seriously??


    The judge is making my jaw drop (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Towanda on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 10:17:33 AM EST
    repeatedly this morning.  Messy when drinking my morning coffee.  

    She now has encouraged appealing her errors.


    It sounds like (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 10:20:38 AM EST
    Any appeal might turn into a tome.

    Seriously - textbook issue of how NOT to run a trial.


    It sounds serious (none / 0) (#91)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 11:33:07 AM EST
    Is there something (statute, case law, court rule, etc.) in Florida law that bars the court from including it as a lesser included offense?

    I'm not watching it, but a quick search indicates the following as the definition of "child abuse" in Florida:

    "Abuse" means any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual abuse, injury, or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child's physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired.