George Zimmerman Trial: Walking Back the Damage

The state tried its hardest this morning to walk back the damage from yesterday's testimony of two of its own witnesses, Officers Chris Serino and Doris Singleton. I don't think it succeeded.

Yesterday, officer Serino testified that he believed George Zimmerman was telling the truth. Both he and Singleton testified the inconsistencies in Zimmerman's statements to them the week of the shooting and during his re-enactment of the event did not amount to significant differences. Serino and Singleton both testified to a point I have made here repeatedly: No one recounts an event the exact same way every time. If they did, it would be suspect. Variations are not the equivalent of significant differences.

Serino testified yesterday that when he told Zimmerman that Martin may have videotaped the encounter (a police ruse to get him to think he wouldn't get away with lying), Zimmerman's response was, "Thank G-d, I was hoping someone had videotaped it." It was after this that Serino said he thought GZ was telling the truth. [More...]

Today, the state began by moving to strike Serino's opinion that Zimmerman was telling the truth. Prosecutor De La Rionda said it was improper for him to express an opinion on credibility. Why didn't De La Rionda object yesterday? Maybe he was too immersed in his charts to notice? Here's a picture from today of De La Rionda during the playing of the Sean Hannity interview. (And no, I don't know if he had these in front of him yesterday. I just find them curious.)

The Court granted the motion to strike, and instructed the jury to disregard Serino's opinion that Zimmerman was telling the truth. O'Mara finished his cross, during which Serino again said he didn't think Zimmerman's account contained significant inconsistencies and also said GZ's actions in getting out of his truck, following Trayvon, and even speaking to him were not a crime.

The state then proceeded to walk Serino back through his other statements. BDLR asked Serino whether referring to people as "as*holes" or "punks" wasn't evidence of the person's ill-will and spite. He said yes, but on cross, acknowledged that it depends on the circumstances and isn't always indicative of ill-will or spite, and unlike when De la Rionda asked him the question, Zimmerman had no hostility in his tone when he used the word on the call to non-emergency.

I had to take a break when O’Mara was cross-examining Serino, but I heard him mention Emmanual Burgess, who committed several of the prior burglaries in the neighborhood. I have always thought that Burgess is Zimmerman’s best argument for using those phrases, particularly "they always get away." I’ve briefly mentioned him in comments, but I have a long post on him and the other non-emergency calls and neighborhood burglaries almost ready to go.

To prove second-degree murder, the state must prove Zimmerman acted with "a depraved mind regardless of human life." A depraved mind requires evidence of "ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent." Case law is clear that "an impulsive overreaction to an attack or injury,is insufficient to prove ill will, hatred, spite, or evil intent."

See Dorsey v. State; Poole v. State, holding that defendant's act of stabbing victim once after the victim lunged at him in closed quarters was not sufficient to support second-degree murder verdict but was "an impulsive overreaction" to the victim's attack; Williams v. State, holding that defendant's act of stabbing the victim to end his attack was excessive but insufficient to support a second-degree murder conviction; Stinson v. State and the other cases I cite and link to here. Also check out Legal Insurrection.

What would be a significant difference in Zimmerman’s retelling of what happened to warrant the jury rejecting his version? To my mind, it would be a substantive contradiction, for example, if at first he said he shot Martin to protect himself and in later statements he claimed it was an accident and still later claimed the person shot himself. (This happened in one Florida case.).

Here are my thoughts on the other witnesses so far today. This is not a re-telling or recap of the day’s testimony, it is just the points that stood out to me.

The state called Mark Osterman, a federal air marshal and friend of Zimmerman's. Osterman and Shellie picked George up at the police station that night and the Zimmermans stayed with them for the next month.

Osterman wrote a book about George and the shooting and went on the Dr. Phil Show. In the book, written four months after his conversations with George, during which he didn't take notes, Osterman recounts his recollection of what George told him. The state pounced on a discrepancy as to whether Zimmerman said he holstered the gun while on top of Martin after the shooting and whether he said Martin had reached his gun or was reaching for his gun. O'Mara brought out Osterman had not taken notes of the conversation and he was writing of his recollection of what Zimmerman told him. Translation: Any inconsistencies may be due to Osterman's recollection, not Zimmerman's recounting of the event.

O'Mara asked Osterman if he was familiar with George's voice. He was going to ask him if the voice crying for help in the 911 call sounded like George's voice. The state objected as being outside the scope of direct and the court sustained. O'Mara will bring Osterman back to say it's Zimmerman's voice during the defense case. He remains under subpoena.

The court broke for lunch. After lunch the state played the video of Sean Hannity’s interview of George Zimmerman. There were no witnesses to introduce it and no testimony about it. Since Zimmerman’s version as provided to Hannity is consistent overall with his other statements, I’m not sure what the jury will make of it. They weren’t told what to look for.

The state called a medical examiner/pathologist Valerie Rao. She acknowledged Angela Corey recommended her to the Governor for one of her two positions. (Actually, as O'Mara originally asked her, and despite her runaround answer, she was appointed by Angela Corey to serve as Medical Examiner for the Fourth Judicial District.)

O'Mara didn't bring up the ten years of complaints in multiple cities against her including concerns expressed by law enforcement, funeral homes and organ donor organizations. Or the complaints by co-workers who said she called employees rednecks and criticized their weight. (These are in addition to the criticisms of her as an ME.) Her contract was not renewed.

Two internal memos on Valerie Rao are here and here.

She says Zimmerman's bruises did not appear significant. But she never examined Martin’s body and wasn’t on the autopsy team. She was emailed photographs and reports by the state and at times she said the photographs were poor and difficult to judge from. .

On cross-examination, Rao acknowledged Zimmerman’s injuries were consistent with his head meeting concrete, and that he could have been hit by Martin more than once. She says the abrasions on Martin's finger are consistent with him having struck someone. She says Martin had no other injuries. I think this hurts the state’s argument that Martin was screaming on the call. The only person with visible injuries who would be crying out for help and yelping as if in pain is Zimmerman.

Later she admits it's possible he was struck on the left side of the head four times, and the right side four times. She thinks it's one injury but it could be more. She identifies an area of swelling on his head not as a bruise or injury, but the result of his misshapen skull. When asked what slammed means (as in his head was slammed into the ground) she starts to give a definition from the dictionary. Objection by O’Mara, bench conference, sustained. The prosecutor then asks, “What does slammed mean to you?”

O'Mara keeps saying to her, "Your testimony is...." Why? Because he will call an expert who contradicts her testimony. His expert is Vincent di Maio, one of the country's foremost experts on gunshots and firearms evidence and a pathologist/medical examiner. He will testify Zimmerman's injuries are consistent with Zimmerman's account, and they were very serious.

O'Mara asks the state's expert if she understands that the extent of Zimmerman's injuries are not significant in this case. She can't answer, the state objects and the Judge tells O'Mara to move on.

O'Mara rephrases: You testified the injuries weren't life threatening? What about the next injury (meaning the one he didn't receive but could have had he not shot Martin?) The state objects, the court sustains the objection, but I doubt the point will be lost on the jury. Was he supposed to wait until he was struck with a blow that could cause death or great bodily harm before acting to stop the assault? Even Serino acknowledged that Zimemerman's injuries don't have to be serious for him to have a valid self-defense claim and indeed, he could still have acted in self-defense if there were no injuries.

The test is whether Zimmerman reasonably believed deadly force was necessary to prevent (1) imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or (2) the imminent commission of a forcible felony by Martin against him, such as aggravated battery.

While the jury does not have to accept Zimmerman's account, I think it will want much more to discredit his account than the state has provided thus far.

Then the court broke for discussion on exhibits the state wants to introduce from Zimmerman's college professor. Zimmerman took a criminal justice course and got an A. According to the state, the course book has a chapter on self defense. The state wants to show Zimmerman had some knowledge of or access to information about stand your ground, which he previously told Hannity he did not. The defense says stand your ground is not included in the course book. The state says the professor talked about it one day in class. The defense asks where's their proof Zimmerman was there that day? The state says it doesn't need any, that's a weight of the evidence not admissibility issue.

The judge gives the defense 30 minutes to look up case law. She's inclined to rule O'Mara introduced the topic of GZ's familiarity with such matters during questioning of the officers who conducted his interviews. When they returned, she decided to kick the can down the road until tomorrow, and told the state to call it's next witness. The next witness was a latent print person who testified about latent prints in general. I don't know what the purpose was, since I didn't hear her say anything relevant to this case. Maybe she said she there were no identifiable prints because O'Mara on cross pointed out that the lack of identifiable prints could have been due to the rain. No points to the state here.

The state also wants to introduce Zimmerman's letter of rejection from a police academy in 2008 and his request to ride along with the police in 2009. The judge asked for the dates and then said she'll rule later. This seems way too far removed in time to have any relevance.

None of the school material the state seeks to introduce has anything to do with the charge in the case. It is an attempt to impeach GZ on his statement to Hannity that he was not familiar with stand your ground. Apparently, it’s not in the course book but the the professor will testify he discussed it in class one day. How is having heard it mentioned in class (assuming he was there) probative of an incident two years later? Was there a test on it that GZ aced? That seems unlikely if it's not in the course book chapter on self-defense and the professor just discussed it in passing in class. The professor is hiking in New Mexico, and will testify by videophone if he gets near cell service.

I don't think the state disproved anything today or made any leeway into impugning Zimmerman's credibility. At most, it created question marks for the jury. The state's burden is not to create uncertainty but to disprove Zimmerman's self defense claim beyond a reasonable doubt. The impeaching material is so far afield, and in the case of the school information and police ride-along, so dated it's unlikely in my view to have an effect on the jury. At most, it might result in some uncertainty (that I expect will be resolved favorably to Zimmerman when the defense puts on its case.)

If at the end, the jury is uncertain about the evidence, their verdict should be not guilty.

I also think the state is grasping at straws and damaging its credibility with the jury by arguing that Zimmerman’s reference to home invaders in his neighborhood who get away as “as*holes” and “punks” means Zimmerman acted with a depraved mind, an indifference to human life, ill will hatred or spite towards Martin. By over-charging Zimmerman with second degree murder, it has put itself in a pickle. But it has only itself to blame. When Prosecutor Angela Corey decided to avoid the grand jury and make the charging decision herself, I wrote that it was because she only had half a ham sandwich and forgot the mustard. The way I see it, on this 7th day of testimony, even that’s been gobbled up, and all that’s left is the pickle of the state’s making.

Of course, no one should declare victory as the case is far from over. The state has many more witnesses and the defense has yet to present its case. It would be foolish for anyone to say how it will end at this point. My thoughts are merely my perception of the weaknesses in the state’s case and the opportunities the defense has had to expose some of them to the jury.

< Tuesday Open Thread | George Zimmerman Trial: State May Rest Today >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Call any college professor to the stand (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Towanda on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 07:37:21 PM EST
    to testify as to how well even a student who received an A in a prereq course then can recall the information in a later course, especially years later.  There is a reason that the first week(s) of the semester often are spent on review (and why students who took a prereq too many years earlier often has to repeat it to use it as a prereq).

    I also would want to see the syllabus and the tests and the attendance record and the gradebook to determine whether Zimmerman was in the class on the day that SYG was discussed -- and what did the instructor say about it? -- and whether there then was an assignment on SYG and/or a question on SYG on tests, and if so, how Zimmerman did on such an assignment and such a question.

    And let's also look at the gradebook to assess the average and median final grade in the class -- was it an easy A? -- and . . . oh, fuggedaboudit, other than for the entertainment value of that testimony for any teacher who was watching.  (For this and for other reasons, on other testimony, I still am interested in whether one or more of the jurors are teachers; the proportion of teachers in a jury pool is far higher in summers than in the school year).  

    Sounds like (none / 0) (#116)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:52:50 AM EST
    Prof. Carter, like many of the other state's witnesses, just did a great job - for the defense. Especially where Carter pointed out that 1) little or no injury has to be shown for someone to believe they are in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and 2) that the person who initiated the situation can be put on the defensive - i.e. that the "aggressor" can change.

    Professor testifying (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by ceili221 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:37:16 AM EST
    I am a professor of English.  I find it ridiculous to impeach someone on their knowledge based on lecture material given in a class years ago.  Even though I think this professor's testimony ultimately benefited the defense (like a majority of the state's witnesses so far), that kind of impeachment is unfair.  I have given thousands of lectures and there is no way I can guarantee (a) my students listened at all, (b) understood, (c) remembered.

    I completely agree (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:02:30 AM EST
    I think this the fact that this witness had to testify was total nonsense.

    Especially if someone was interested enough in a subject, they could Google it and find out as much or more information than may be presented as part of a lecture in class.


    Well, at least we found out (none / 0) (#182)
    by Towanda on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 02:44:21 PM EST
    that the guy isn't a professor. And apparently taught the course only once?  (Did I miss a question on why he wasn't hired again as an adjunct? Once they get a course, they usually can keep it, if only to simplify the scheduler's life.)

    Not the basis, statistically in terms of number of students nor in terms of long-term teaching experience, needed for a rating of a student as one of the best to matter at all.  

    But he was used to bring in other statements on the case.  (I do not understand the lack of objections int his as in much else.)


    Yes, because... (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by bmaz on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:05:35 PM EST
    ...he went into the military and is now a full member of the JAG Corps. Is that good enough, or you want to cast other ridiculous aspersions?

    He was testifying as a teacher (5.00 / 2) (#195)
    by Towanda on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 10:48:25 AM EST
    not as a JAG.

    Ridiculous is to claim that JAGs are teachers, experienced teachers.  

    You can take your aspersion and put it. . . .


    God's plan (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by MJW on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:20:23 PM EST
    I'm surprised the defense didn't file a motion in limine to prevent the use of the "God's plan" comments. The remarks prove nothing about Zimmerman's intent on Feb. 26th, but could be highly prejudicial for some jurors. I think it's a First Amendment issue. Jurors who share the predestinational religious view will see the statements as acceptance of a widely-held doctrine, while those who reject that view may see it as callousness.

    God's plan remarks (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:45:23 AM EST
    go to his state of mind. Zimmerman said that without someone putting those words into his mouth.

      Those remarks when combined with his statements that he regretted nothing he did that night suggests a state of mind that was indifferent to killing....And in Zimmerman calling Martin a "punk" when talking to the detectives, you have a state of mind that supports in my opinion the State's theory.


    You are taking the comment out of context (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:04:06 AM EST
    and twisting his meaning. GZ was not able to speak freely during the Hannity interview, the question about regrets was a trap he had to avoid, the God's plan comment refers to how religions people accept the burdens life puts on their shoulders and try to do so without resentment. Clearly you are not a Catholic, that kind of thinking is Catholic 101. Officer Singleton understands it, and in her testimony she made it abundantly clear that GZ was remorseful and very concerned that as a Catholic he should not kill. check out Singleton's testimony where she consoles GZ explaining that if everything he says is true God understands the need for self defense.

    Then let Zimmerman take the stand (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:09:44 AM EST
    and explain it himself....

    Hannity was not there to trap Zimmerman....Zimmerman said it, it is relevant--directly so--and he did not qualify his comments at all.  No regrets about getting out of the truck, all part of God's will.  His words...


    reread what I said about being Catholic (none / 0) (#52)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:21:24 AM EST
    You might think it reprehensible that George followed the path TM used in an attempt to see where he went. Many including me she nothing wrong with that whatsoever. I have followed suspicious people to the corner to see which street they turned on and plenty more proactive in crime prevention than GZ.

    But to TM, it was (2.00 / 2) (#165)
    by IndiDemGirl on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:31:05 PM EST
    Zimmerman who was suspicious.  And do you carry a gun and shoot an unarmed person when you follow them?  Do you say they jumped out of the bushes when there are no bushes near?  Do you say they tried to grab the gun, but no DNA exists to prove that?  Do you not wait for the police after you call them?  Every decision GZ made after calling the police was wrong.

    I only wish TM had a gun.


    You wish Trayvon had a gun? (1.00 / 3) (#171)
    by MiddleOTheRoad on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:20:50 AM EST
    Then this event would just be one more unsolved murder committed by an angry young man. He could have come back to teach the guy a lesson and shot him instead of beaten him up. /snark

    I'm amazed at the amount of hatred people express toward George Zimmerman. Perhaps they've never experienced or heard of a "punk" attacking someone and hurting or killing them just to make a point.


    Every decision GZ made after calling the police... (none / 0) (#169)
    by heidelja on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 05:47:20 AM EST
    ... was wrong? Well, he continued to wait for police after he had shot TM, which was AFTER he had called police, and not run. Was this wrong?

    As for suspicions, who shouldn't now be very perplexed over a kid's behavior who had every chance to reach the safety of his home without being shot, but made the more risky decision that led to his death? Clearly, TM saw GZ talking on his phone. TM's lack of inclination to sense GZ would not be calling the police and his presence might be seen as suspicious and he be "getting into trouble" is further odd. Although this latter point is more complicated than the former.


    Doing good until you said you wished Trayvon (none / 0) (#172)
    by Angel on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:55:02 AM EST
    had carried  a gun.  

    Trayvon was the victim (none / 0) (#202)
    by IndiDemGirl on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:09:13 PM EST
    If one person had to be injured I'd prefer it to be the one who caused the entire fiasco.  Justice would mean that Zimmerman be the one shot. Ideally, Zimmerman should have stayed in his car until the police came, and then the enitre matter would not have happened.

    no defendant has to testify (none / 0) (#63)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:48:01 AM EST
    and the jury is not allowed to even consider the fact that a defendant does not testify. Mistrials are granted when prosecutors refer to a defendant not taking the stand or exercising their right to remain silent. Please don't bring that kind of thinking here.

    As for religion, that's off topic. The state introduced Hannity's interview for the purpose of showing that GZ told him he didn't know about SYG. The goal is to have a basis for calling a professor of GZ's from a few years ago who will say he once discussed SYG in class.

    The defense argues there should be some proof that Zimmerman attended that class. The state argues it goes to weight, not admissibility.

    The judge is allowing it.


    Should be, but isn't (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by MJW on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:13:07 AM EST
    As for religion, that's off topic. The state introduced Hannity's interview for the purpose of showing that GZ told him he didn't know about SYG.

    If it were off-topic, the comment should have been redacted. Several commenters on TV singled out the "God's will" remark as the most problematical statement for Zimmerman from the Hannity interview. The jury heard it, whether it's off-topic or not.


    Certainly, (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by Palli on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:57:05 AM EST
    Thou shall not kill is off the table.

    The Bible (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by Char Char Binks on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 05:55:51 PM EST
    is not the law in Florida.  And that quote is a mistranslation;  it should be, "You shall not murder".

    In other words, his response was (5.00 / 4) (#100)
    by melamineinNY on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:30:11 AM EST
    all about George (that he's being tried) and not also about the larger fact that a young man was dead, even if one accepts "through no fault of his (GZs)". No regrets about that and wouldn't it have been better if he had only been injured, or that the encounter had never occurred... I guess GZ's "God" solves all those annoying problems of conscience for him, but it didn't look good at all to me and I think there are Catholics who are feeling the same.

    You are exactly right lilly (2.00 / 4) (#167)
    by Jack203 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:02:31 PM EST
    Out of context the statement is callous, and I don't like GZ said it.

    But there is an other side.

    GZ clearly displayed regret and sorrow during the interview and witnesses have reported he was extremely shook up and depressed over the event.  I don't think he ever returned to his job.

    And if he did go into how sorry he was for the incident, the scheme team would be all over that.

    Look at the absurd hoopla the lynch mob has made over the scream comment that it didn't even sound like him.  They'll just completely ignore the other 50+ times GZ has adamantly claimed he was screaming for help, including within minutes of the actual event.

    That this is used against George is just another example of the type of attacks leveled against the man.  

    It would be comparable if people were critical over Trayvon's attendance and suspensions at high school, but in TM's defense he was actually going to another highschool and a model student.  Of course we know that is not the truth.  

    The Trayvonites have a very difficult time looking at things objectively from more than one point of view.


    edit should be " religious people" (none / 0) (#43)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:05:08 AM EST
    Punk (5.00 / 2) (#142)
    by Char Char Binks on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:03:51 PM EST
    That TM called him a "creepy-ass cracker" showed that he had contempt for GZ and used dehumanizing language to  justify the beating he was about to deliver.

    interpretation (none / 0) (#38)
    by bocajeff on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:55:31 AM EST
    I take it as meaning that he feels confident in what he did was the right thing. Doesn't mean he doesn't feel remorse. It doesn't mean he didn't think Mr. Martin was a punk. It just means that he didn't have a choice.

    Zimmerman specifically said (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:03:48 AM EST
    he did not regret getting out of the truck....He clearly had a choice at that point to stay in the truck.   That is very telling--in my opinion.

    He was told he did not need to follow Martin.  The Neighborhood Watch captain said their protocol was just to call in suspicious people to the police and to not follow....

    Zimmerman very clearly had a choice, and he says also very clearly that the choice he made was "God's will."


    Stipulated Redactions (none / 0) (#11)
    by cboldt on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:26:44 PM EST
    The issue of Zimmerman's awareness of SYG law (whatever that means) came up late today.  O'Mara argued that the state can't introduce that in the Hannity interview, and then call a professor to impeach what the state already introduced.

    One of the arguments that Nelson countered with was that the defense could have had that redacted from the Hannity interview, as redactions were stipulated to by both parties.

    I assume the same argument would play as to redacting the "God's will" remark.  The defense had opportunity to demand it be redacted.


    Stipulation (none / 0) (#13)
    by MJW on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:38:47 PM EST
    I assume the same argument would play as to redacting the "God's will" remark.

    I think that's probably true, I just don't understand why the defense wouldn't fight it, much less stipulate to it.

    As far as the rebuttal of the SYG comments, it seems to me that may fall under the principle that a witness can't be impeached on a collateral issue, as stated in Gelabert v. State, 407 So. 2d 1007 (Fla. 5th DCA 1981).


    I find this case terrifying (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Darby on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 11:02:23 PM EST
    That Zimmermans life is in jeopardy because  of such flimsy "evidence" as  he may have learned about SYG in a class years ago so there fore he decided in the middle of a beating it was a good cover to kill someone.
    Or because he referred to criminals in his neighborhood as effing punks he was of such depraved mind to kill someone.

    This sounds like a case made by the former KGB

    Zimmerman did kill someone (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:40:27 AM EST
    That will get a lot of attention.  Especially when that someone was unarmed.

    According to lead investigator Serino testimony (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:55:04 AM EST
    he admitted that TM was armed with concrete.

    Armed with concrete? (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:59:33 AM EST
    That is a stretch....

    Medical Examiner would not agree...


    Yeah and that incompetent woman (3.67 / 3) (#56)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:29:35 AM EST
    does not agree with O'Mara that the head is a sphere she thinks it is an oval, oval is a 2 dimensional shape.

    If we believe her it is time to repeal helmet laws.


    What about "vertical" (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by cboldt on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:21:26 AM EST
    John Good and IIRC, Jane Surdayka used the word "vertical" referring to a person lying on the ground.  What they were describing was a linear direction, like if you are facing north, a line on the ground that runs south-north is a vertical line, and a line on the ground that runs west-east is horizontal.

    It's highly unusual for a person to speak in precisely correct terms.  The closest that come to my mind are doctors when clinically describing observations in medical terms, and "oval" isn't a medical term.


    So the head is a sphere? (5.00 / 3) (#93)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:48:05 AM EST
    I nearly snorted my water when O'Mara said that. Ridiculous. She is the only witness so far to question the propositions he is able to make most of the witnesses go along with. I think he over-reached a tad on that one.

    not a sphere? (3.00 / 2) (#101)
    by AghastinFL on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:36:22 AM EST
    Please do explain to me how the brain the primary component of the head is then divided into HEMI-SPHERES?

    Of course the head is more like a sphere than an oval, the point is that for two injuries to occur on different points of the head it represents more than one blow.


    you know what else is a shere? (3.00 / 2) (#174)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 08:27:14 AM EST
    The Earth. Is it a perfect sphere? Nope! Do we live in the western hemisphere? Yup.....MOM was right. The ME was being argumentative or just stupid. I think argumentative.

    "Incompetent women" for being correct ? (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by gbrbsb on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 05:57:35 AM EST
    It appears you are confusing contour (i.e. outline) with mass, so it is advisable to check facts before calling an expert incompetent gratuitously.

    The full exchange was:

    MOM: The contour of the head is somewhat, hmm... sphere like, is it not?

    RAO: Umm... Oval.

    Not even O'Mara was sure what term to use, but "sphere like" is NOT "a sphere", as you are interpreting, nor did O'Mara say the head was a "a sphere" which it clearly is not.  Indeed, O'Mara was referring to "the contour" which, as Rao clarified for him, is oval to all intents, but even had O'Mara referred to the mass as you appear to think he did, "oval", as YMAN notes, is common in lay terms for both 2D and 3D.

    As an illustrator (and I am sure for a Dr or anatomist the same), the geometrical descriptor for the "contour" of a head would be "oval" from any angle simply because "heads" are based on an "oval" shape, and when referring to the head as a mass "ovoid" or "ovoidal" would be the terms used, NOT "sphere".

    Finally, had O'Mara said "cranium", Rao may well have gone with "sphere like", if only for the sake of the jury's understanding, but even the cranium is not "a sphere", rather half of one with two sides cut off.


    Drawing the human head (3.00 / 2) (#197)
    by lily on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 04:50:34 PM EST

    "Think of this as a 3D sphere, which you should do anyway, because what you draw will ultimately be 3 dimensional.   Once the sphere has been evenly divided you are going to find the golden cross section that dictates and determines the size, shape, tilt, character, and proportions of the head to be drawn."


    Sorry, geometry & drawing are not your forte (3.67 / 3) (#199)
    by gbrbsb on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 10:52:43 PM EST
    because, not even the segment of the lesson you quote calls the head a sphere, indeed had you continued to the end of "step 1", you would have read:

    "... your next step is to shave two sides of our sphere on either side of the cross section.  This will help you begin forming the side planes of the head.  Why shave them?  Well, the skull isn't actually round like a ball, but flattened on all sides with a fairly round top for the skullcap."

    The fact you can construct a head starting with a sphere, only to pare off the sides (so no longer a sphere), and merge it with an open oval at the bottom to form the complete head, still does not make the head a sphere, because as the second and third sets of drawings in your link show, the head is an ovoid, ovoidal or an oval shape, exactly as I said.

    Anyone for drawing classes ?  ; - )


    Wow, gbrbsb (1.00 / 1) (#188)
    by MiddleOTheRoad on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 08:22:15 AM EST
    Are you a second TL account owned by YMAN? Heh.

    Nope MOTR, not YMAN, just li'l ol' me, (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by gbrbsb on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 09:51:09 PM EST
    who many years ago, as a fine arts student, had to study basic human anatomy, and as a professional illustrator I reckon I should know on which general geometrical shape to base the human head... not convinced, take a look at an artist's lay figure, the head is an ovoid, (or oval shape), with the bottom chopped off.

    "Incompetent woman"?!? (4.20 / 5) (#89)
    by Yman on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:08:30 AM EST
    Because she used the term "oval"?

    Because the shape of the human head is irregular, there is no standard geometric term for the human head.  OTOH, "oval" is commonly used to describe any shape that is similar to an egg shape, which is far closer than a "sphere", which is a "perfectly round 3 dimensional circle".

    Oval - An oval (from Latin ovum, "egg") is a closed curve in a plane which "loosely" resembles the outline of an egg. The term is not very specific, but in some areas (projective geometry, technical drawing, etc.) it is given a more precise definition. In common English, the term is used in a broader sense; any shape which reminds one of an egg.

    The reality is people are attacking her because they don't like her testimony.


    the Oval reference was one of many (3.00 / 2) (#114)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:44:11 AM EST
    not precise terms used by a person who claims great knowledge. I could have listed many other examples from her bizarre testimony.

    Another great example was her pretending to not comprehend the edge of the sidewalk as another factor which could be responsible for the swelling and knot on GZ occiput.

    I will ignore the last sentence which is both inaccurate and predictable from you.

    As I have written her before, my friend Chuck 27 died from blunt force trauma to the head, not a single mark on his head or body just blood dripping from his ear, the brain bounced back and forth inside his intact skull, Chuck was brain dead in 2 minutes. My friend Charles 53 died from blunt force trauma to the head, stomped by his drug dealer over $20 debt. Again, skull intact, no cuts or abrasion from the sidewalk, all internal injuries to the brain.

    Not to mention my own son,13 at the time stomped multiple times in the head. Like GZ he told the cops he was kicked 30 times, more likely from the injuries he was kicked a dozen times, but the trauma, fear, anxiety made the beating feel endless. My son head looked very similar to GZ in the crime scene photos. Like Shelly I was the one who iced my son head.

    Now how about a brain injury which includes a cracked skull. Well my husband was 7 when the river bank collapsed resulting to a massive crack in the temporal bone protecting the brain. The family was camping in Rocky Mountain, they had to drive hours for medical care, the next day they flew back to Denver for brain surgery, my husband remained aware, talkative, conscious for the entire two days up until he was sedated for surgery to remove bone fragments from the grey matter.

    And you think I could ever believe the absolute nonsense from that woman's mouth. Thank God she is not a medical clinician.


    Don't really care if you believe it (3.50 / 8) (#140)
    by Yman on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:23:00 PM EST
    I'd take her testimony over that of a biased layperson any day of the week.  Frankly, some people would claim she was "inaccurate", "imprecise", "bizarre" no matter what her testimony was - unless, of course, it supported Zimmerman.  My last sentence is entirely accurate.

    As far as your anecdotal stories, they're not evidence - or even data, for that matter.  People have died from minor blows to the head.  Kids have died from being hit with a baseball.  People have even died from very slight injuries to a finger.  According to your logic, any minor scuffle or fight involving someone's head would justify the use of deadly force.  Fist fight with a punch to the head?  They could die ... shoot 'em!  Scuffle on the ground occurring where there is any type hard surface or object?  Yep ... justified.  Someone threw a baseball at you and has another one?  People have dies from that ... justified!

    Her testimony is relevant to two issues:  1) Assuming George Zimmerman was actually (subjectively) in fear for his life or serious bodily injury, was his fear reasonable? and 2) Do his injuries tend to prove or disprove his version of events (credibility).


    Will someone please call TLC (3.00 / 6) (#160)
    by TeresaInPa on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:23:24 PM EST
    and get Yman his own reality show?  
    Yman, you are amazing, you reach right in to people's minds and know why people are "attacking" (that's a bit dramatic) the ME.  It can't be because she is bad at her job (forget that there are years worth of complaints about her) and no reasonable person could ever conclude she was whiney and unpleasant on the stand (ha).... no it must be because they don't like her testimony.

    Thanks (3.00 / 4) (#166)
    by Yman on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:56:44 PM EST
    I know the truth can be difficult to deal with, but that comment - coming from you of all people - gave me the best laugh I've had all day.

    zimmerman (none / 0) (#102)
    by morphic on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:39:27 AM EST
      The real problem is she casually analyzed a picture. My neighbor fell backward, hitting his head, no external injuries, but he had a blood clot on his brain, which could have killed him. It dissolved, but you get my point.

    Concrete (3.00 / 2) (#143)
    by Char Char Binks on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:06:49 PM EST
    If someone hits your head ON concrete, is that materially different than hitting it WITH concrete?  Would that make you feel better about it?

    That is not an admission. (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:18:10 AM EST
    Yes, (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by Palli on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:59:48 AM EST
    and Trayvon carried it all the way to the store and back...just in case he might need it.

    According (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by ding7777 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:11:16 AM EST
    to the FBI, in 2011, there were 728 victims murdered by  "personal weapons" (i.e, hands, fists, feet)

    you forgot part of the discription (1.57 / 7) (#158)
    by TeresaInPa on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:06:46 PM EST
    the part where you say he was an unarmed.....child with a bag of cheerios and a sippy cup of kool aid.

    Thank you, Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by DebFrmHell on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:16:20 AM EST
    I have a long post on him and the other non-emergency calls and neighborhood burglaries almost ready to go.

    I am so looking forward to this!  You do great work...

    I was wondering this myself.... (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by magster on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:06:49 AM EST
    .... about how GZ was able to unholster the pistol with TM on top of him. Did Serino get questioned about this at all?

    I know it's a Kos diary, where the opinions of this case are 180 degrees from most of the opinions on this case here, but I thought this diary was responsibly drafted and raised some interesting issues.

    I don't know a thing about guns (none / 0) (#136)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:25:46 AM EST
    and wondered that myself. I googled for a picture of his inside the waist holster and it looks more like a "holder" than what I think a holster looks like.

    The google image that came up was from Talkleft


    the photos were in the state's discovery (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:36:32 AM EST
    Those are the state's photos provided to the defense in discovery

    Jeralyn, don't waste your time looking for (none / 0) (#147)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:19:02 PM EST
    it, but if you wrote a post about the ruling that limits Crump's deposition, can you point me in the direction? Forum court rulings? I would like to see your thoughts on why it's limited, if you wrote a post about it. I'll do the looking if you can give me a hint.

    Or anyone who posts in the forum?


    Look Here (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:32:20 PM EST
    Google this:

    site:talkleft.com Crump Deposition


    Squeaky, my link getter :) (none / 0) (#149)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:00:02 PM EST
    Thanks and I need google lessons!

    My Pleasure (none / 0) (#150)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:24:20 PM EST
    You can use the model above and after the url type in what you are searching for.  

    Really helpful (none / 0) (#152)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:57:39 PM EST
    I think I at least have the court rulings. I haven't read all of it yet while I tried to pay attention to DNA stuff.

    I'm wanting to read something about why his deposition is so limited. I know she ruled they couldn't do a deposition at all and it got overturned on appeal. But it was limited. I'll have time to look for it in the forum since my 4th will be 100% heavy rain as far out as the national weather service goes!


    Glad to Help (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:28:59 PM EST
    Is this what you were looking for?

    Sure is! (none / 0) (#157)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:50:04 PM EST
    Thank you, Squeaky

    I don't hate Trayvon Martin (5.00 / 3) (#179)
    by MiddleOTheRoad on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 12:41:55 PM EST
    But I'm disgusted that the media, the attorneys, the family and politicians/public figures have made this into a racist attack when it clearly was nothing of the sort.

    I come from a mixed race family. I don't want the young black men in my family believing and acting on the lies we've been told about this case.

    I hear their friends talk about white people as if they're all the despised enemy. I see them getting fired up and ready to attack the "hated other." So what has this case done for us in our quest to end racism? This stirring up of racial hatred toward white people does not serve us, nor is it justified.

    Dr. Molly, Anne, I've read enough of your comments to think that you're both good people. Perhaps you've never met any young men who feel like busting someone up just because 1) They're from a different group, or 2) They've questioned what you're doing when you're on someone else's property, or 3) They're just full of hormones and feel like hurting someone. Have you checked out Martin's messages saying he'd been in a fight and was eager to do it again? Are you open to the POSSIBILITY that he was an angry young man who decided to circle back to beat up the man he felt affronted him by profiling him?

    Some guys are punks. They're mean and anti-social. Maybe Trayvon wasn't. But the evidence seems to show that he could have escaped Zimmerman's notice and watching, but instead he chose to not to. He was punching Zimmerman for a long time even though Zimmerman was screaming for help. Does that tell you ANYTHING about Martin?

    Yep (3.50 / 2) (#185)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:42:09 PM EST
    Some guys are punks. They're mean and anti-social. Maybe Trayvon wasn't. But the evidence seems to show that he could have escaped Zimmerman's notice and watching, but instead he chose to not to. He was punching Zimmerman for a long time even though Zimmerman was screaming for help. Does that tell you ANYTHING about Martin?

    It tells me he was probably hiding from the stranger who was following him and watching him from his car, then ran after him on foot down a dark footpath when he tried to get away.

    The rest is simply accepting GZ's version of events as though it was fact.


    Yman, I see you like to (3.25 / 4) (#187)
    by MiddleOTheRoad on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 08:16:10 AM EST
    contradict a lot of people here. I usually don't respond to your comments because you tend to force your opinion down the throats of those who disagree with you, but this is an important issue for me given my community's racial mix.

    It seems that your supposition is that Martin was afraid of a dangerous stranger and ran away to hide, but then Zimmerman found him and perhaps used physical force to subdue him and Martin had no choice but to fight for his life. Here's why I think you're wrong in this instance:

    1. If Martin ran because he was afraid and thought Zimmerman might attack him, he clearly had the advantage as a tall, athletic young man. He would be much faster and could have run far away. I understand if he's afraid that he might not go into his father's house, but he could have gone anywhere! Instead, he ended up back where he started. This fact along indicates that he had an agenda, that he made a deliberate decision to come back. Knowing many young angry men, it makes me think he returned in order to attack the man who he may have thought did him wrong by profiling him.
    2. Whatever caused the physical confrontation, even if Zimmerman located and grabbed on to Martin to detain him until the police could arrive, Martin clearly had the upper hand during the fight. The facts show that Zimmerman was being punched and his head was smashed into the cement by Martin. The witness who said Martin was on top punching Zimmerman adds credence to Zimmerman's injuries and claims. Zimmerman called for help for 45 seconds during this time, and Martin didn't stop. It's VERY unlikely that Zimmerman would be clinging to Martin as he pummeled his head into the ground. He would be trying to roll away and escape the beating. So again, Martin had a chance to escape and didn't take it.

    Both of these indicate that Martin had another agenda, and it wasn't escaping a stranger.

    We've talked to the young men in my family about an appropriate response to a situation like this. This is the gist, and if Martin had been advised to do this, he might be alive today:

    1. If someone is watching at you, think about what you're doing. Are you on the phone, hanging out near someone else's house? Are you wearing a hoodie? Are you looking suspicious, like you might be casing the joint? If so, move away. Remove your hood so you don't look like you're trying to hide your identity.
    2. If they start talking on the phone and you think they're calling the cops, don't get an attitude about it. People have a right to call the cops if they think you're up to no good. If you're doing nothing wrong, continue with your business. If you're going home, go there. If you think the person is a predator, keep your distance, stay in lighted areas and/or call for help.
    3. If you think they've profiled you based on your race or age or clothing, man up and deal with it. Again, don't get an aggressive attitude about it. That housing complex had multiple burglaries in the year prior to this incident, most committed by black men. Trayvon Martin may not have known that, but his parents certainly could have told him. That fact doesn't mean people should be suspicious of black men, or that a white person isn't equally likely to be a burglar, but the reality is that humans identify and remember patterns. It's just reality, and we have to live with the fact that other people make assumptions based on what we look like. When you're in the situation Martin was in, it is not the time to try to change that perception. However, it IS appropriate to deescalate the situation by making it clear you're not doing anything wrong.
    4. If the person appears to have profiled you and is calling the cops, after removing your hood, speak to them from a distance to let them know you're not dangerous. Politely ask them what they want. Act maturely and deescalate.  

    My purpose in discussing this with my family members is to prevent potential problems and to help mitigate racial issues. Unfortunately, most of my kid's African American friends are not being told the same thing. They're being pushed into increased racial anger. Their parents and community members are still holding onto "the innocent child was attacked" mentality that makes their kids angry and ready to attack the enemy (white people). That misconception is not just dishonest, it's dangerous for our African American kids. Yes, if Zimmerman had stayed in  his car, Martin would be alive, if Zimmerman had blah blah blah. I know that. But my kids have control over what THEY do, so that's my focus here.

    That's why I hope people like you take another look at Martin's behavior. Because Zimmerman clearly wasn't a predator, so Martin and any other young man in his situation could still have controlled the situation and stayed alive.


    Great Comment MOTR (3.67 / 3) (#190)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 08:45:04 AM EST
    Years ago a black friend of mine told me about advice his mother gave him and his siblings when they were growing up in central D.C.

    Never run when you are in public.

    That story gave me a tremendous amount of empathy as to what it must be like being black in a racist society. Never running in the streets of your neighborhood as a kid... wow.

    His mother was worried about him and his siblings getting shot by the police at worst, and at best getting chased by the police or some "do gooder" and arrested, assaulted etc..

    Any way all the kids are grown, old happy and extremely successful (even famous) and productive members of society. They made it, no small thanks to having a great mom and dad. So hats off to you. You sound as if you are a great parent.


    Thanks. I tell my white kids (3.00 / 2) (#192)
    by MiddleOTheRoad on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 09:40:12 AM EST
    the same thing. If you haven't done anything wrong, don't act like you did. Deescalate, don't antagonize. And if you think fighting is cool, you will likely end up like Trayvon Martin someday.

    This is a tragic event where both sides may have made mistakes.


    Good Point (none / 0) (#193)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 10:14:26 AM EST
    Thanks for the reminder that your advice is great for all of us humans.



    Holy smokes! (none / 0) (#200)
    by MiddleOTheRoad on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 08:50:22 AM EST
    I got troll rated by Angel! What the heck in my comment about teaching my kids to behave properly makes it deserving of a 1 rating?

    Bad Parenting? (1.00 / 2) (#201)
    by squeaky on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 09:21:27 AM EST
    Not everyone has been lucky enough to get as good a parent as you are... so you have to forgive the reflexive troll rating by some here, who apparently got the short end of the stick.

    yes, everything that is coming out in the trial (4.20 / 5) (#46)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:13:53 AM EST
    was known last year. We discussed it over and over again here and on other blogs. Those who view this case through the lens of social justice refused to admit the veracity of evidence when it was available.
    This case is packed with disinformation, distortions, outright lies, fabrication that the truth must come out for justice to be served.

    They are punks, stealing, robbing and creating misery.

    I cannot fathom what it must be like for George's parents who both spent their careers working in the court system to experience such horrendous corruption of the system. They know it was George screaming out in desperation, and that he sustained a serious assault and that shooting a man dead has changed him fundamentally, even though the impulse came from the nature instinct of self preservation.

    He still called him a punk (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:18:04 AM EST
    All this could have been avoided if Zimmerman stayed in the truck....

    What about the misery of Martin's parents.  You do not mention that....Their son is dead.


    Zimmerman called him a punk, and others (5.00 / 4) (#115)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:45:39 AM EST
    here have taken to doing that, as well.  Zimmerman calling him a punk was based on nothing more than how he was dressed and that he was out in the rain walking around.  

    Those here who have taken up that label may think they are doing it based on things they have learned about Martin after the fact, but they do so while ignoring the same basic truth they want to apply to Zimmerman: there was nothing illegal about walking to or from the store, in the evening, in the rain, much less walking in the rain in the neighborhood in which you are staying - and that's true whether Martin was a choirboy or the thug he's being characterized as.  

    At the time Zimmerman spotted Trayvon - and I maintain that if Zimmerman wasn't on patrol, and was headed to the store, he had to have been driving very slowly in order to see enough of Martin to make him want to stop and "check him out" - Martin was doing nothing wrong.  If a vehicle slowed down and appeared to be following me, I would be seriously creeped out.  But if George's story is one of upstanding-citizen-looking-out-for-his-neighbors, whatever Martin was feeling or thinking about being shadowed doesn't matter.  And the same people who find it logical that someone who has lived in the neighborhood for several years would be confused about the street name and address can't bring themselves to consider that someone who was just visiting there might be confused - especially if that person was also talking on the phone.  Who here has not been talking on the phone while driving and realized they have no memory of the last three miles?  From what I've seen of the neighborhood, it all looks the same; doesn't the visitor deserve at least as much benefit of the doubt on this as is being given to Zimmerman?  Maybe Martin wasn't as close to his father's house as he thought - if he was doubling back, it had to be with the intent to attack Zimmerman, not because he needed to orient himself, right?

    It should be obvious why Martin has to be a "punk:" If Martin is the punk,then Zimmerman's  braving danger to save the neighborhood from a thug, instead of being an impulsive, resentful, untrained-in-law-enforcement guy who thinks he's smarter than he is.  This is the same guy who, in spite of the warnings about recording of jailhouse phone calls, thought he could outwit the authorities using "code."

    If nothing else matters but what Zimmerman thought in the moments after Martin punches him, he'll be acquitted, but don't we at least have to consider what was in Martin's head at that same moment?  Couldn't that lead to the conclusion that both men were in fear, but since one had a gun, he got the better of the confrontation?

    Should he be punished because his weapon - the gun - prevailed over Martin's weapon - his fists?

    I don't know.  I just know that the cavalier way in which "punk" gets tossed around here, and the offensive way the word "retarded" was played with, takes any discussion to a much lower level than it ever should have been.


    Wrong. punk (2.33 / 3) (#118)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:57:47 AM EST
    was a generic description about those responsible for burglaries, specifically from recent examples in his area.

    TM in George's mind was a kid on drugs(check) who was standing on private property Taffe's lawn (check) who appeared aimless, George speculated that TM could be one of those punks.

    O'MARA: And in that sense, you said that there was no evidence that Trayvon Martin was doing anything wrong, correct?

    SERINO: None whatsoever.

    O'MARA: You don't know that, though, correct?

    SERINO: No, I do not.

    O'MARA: Right. You know that whatever he may have been planning just wasn't completed, correct?

    SERINO: I wouldn't know. I wouldn't know. There was no evidence to suggest that at all.

    O'MARA: As a matter of fact, there was a type of a tool found in the area where Trayvon Martin may have been hiding, wasn't there?

    SERINO: Approximately five, six days after the investigation at the scene, yes.

    O'MARA: Right. When you went back, you looked in the bushes and you found, what was it?

    SERINO: It was a piece of an awning belonging to -- I believe it was a piece of a window -- piece of hardware basically. Looked like a slim Jim.

    O'MARA: Slim Jim, and what's a slim Jim?

    SERINO: A slim Jim is a device used to jimmy locks on vehicles primarily.

    O'MARA: To break into a vehicle?

    SERINO: Yes, sir.

    O'MARA: And that was found a few days after this event?

    SERINO: Yes, sir.

    O'MARA: Not particularly tied to this event by you, but it was there, wasn't it?

    SERINO: Yes, it was.

    O'MARA: In the bushes just off of one of the residences, correct?

    SERINO: In the bushes behind Jonathan Manalo's residence.


    Why ever was Serino permitted (5.00 / 2) (#119)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:01:50 AM EST
    to mention the slim Jim. Did it have decedent's fingerprints, DNA, initials on it?

    "whatever he may have been planning" (5.00 / 3) (#121)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:07:24 AM EST
    seems like something that should have been objected to, as well.

    Was there re-direct that addressed this and whether there was any forensic evidence to connect the "slim jim" to Martin?


    In my opinion, based merely on snippets (5.00 / 2) (#122)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:10:59 AM EST
    of trial transcript posted in these threads, Mr. O'Mara steps at least on the line with some of his questions.  

    My jaw has dropped at the stuff (none / 0) (#163)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:21:15 PM EST
    he has got in.  I did not know if this was somehow allowed in criminal law cases, but from your reaction, I take it that is not the case.

    punks and slim jims (3.00 / 2) (#168)
    by Jack203 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:20:50 PM EST
    If the phone call with NEN ended right after the effing punks comment AND GZ's screams did not exist. I think this might actually be a real case.  Certainly manslaughter would be a very real possibility

    However, over 45 seconds of GZ's recorded screams are real, and there are over two minutes of very calm communication with NEN after the effing punks comment.  

    I don't know what OMara is doing with the slim jim.  Personally it reminds me of the horsecr@p the state throws up against the wall to critique George on.


    None of those things you "checked" (4.20 / 5) (#123)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:13:11 AM EST
    make Martin a punk, nor would they make anyone else a punk.  

    But we get why you need him to be one.


    Getting out of your truck is not a crime (3.00 / 2) (#66)
    by Payaso on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:07:27 AM EST
    All this could have been avoided if Zimmerman stayed in the truck

    Prior to firing the bullet that killed Trayvon Martin, what actions of George Zimmerman that night were illegal?


    None, according to (none / 0) (#68)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:08:41 AM EST
    Officer Serino.

    Why then was Serino's opinion (none / 0) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 04:58:03 AM EST
    That Zimmerman should be charged with manslaughter?

    That's a really good question (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by cboldt on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 05:04:15 AM EST
    IMO, Serino was appeasing some peers on the SPD that wanted Zimmerman to be charged, and he was throwing a hot potato to the state attorney.

    There are two massive "tells" that Serino's heart and mind were and are not really in the "Zimmerman guilty" frame.

    First, if Zimmerman was guilty of manslaughter, he should have been arrested by the SPD.  He was not.

    Second, the so-called "manslaughter" charge that Serino filed depends on assigning criminal culpability to a person on the basis that they could have prevented the outcome, by forgoing a legal activity.  Serino's affidavit says that the reasons Zimmerman should be charged is that he could have prevented the incident by not getting out of his truck, or by announcing to Martin that he was neighborhood watch.  That's nonsense law, and Serino knows it.  He also knows that a substantial fraction of the public will not recognize it as nonsense, so "mission accomplished," the heat is off him.


    The only charge that makes any sense (none / 0) (#82)
    by Payaso on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:00:32 AM EST
    would be involuntary manslaughter under a theory of imperfect self-defense.  Then the prosecution could argue that while self-defense may have been appropriate the use of deadly force was unreasonable and excessive under the circumstances.

    They would not need to show any malice or ill will.  It would not matter who was the aggressor.

    Without all the publicity and pressure they could have worked out a plea bargain with little or no jail time.  Instead they tried for murder.


    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by cboldt on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:58:34 AM EST
    I think that also follows the line that the injuries don't correspond with a fear of serious injury.

    The statutory cite that Serino provided in the capias is exactly what you describe, excessive force under the circumstances.  His basis is as summarized above, injuries aren't commensurate with fear of serious injury or death.

    A similar charge, straight manslaughter without justified use of deadly force, is a necessary lesser included offense, so the state gets that before the jury regardless of the fact that the charge is murder 2.

    It remains to be seen if the state argues that in closing.  As far as trial testimony is concerned, and opening, the state seems to me to be all-in on the ill will, spite, hatred, depraved mind indifferent to human life element.


    Agree. (none / 0) (#103)
    by melamineinNY on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:40:01 AM EST
    The State HAD to charge him (none / 0) (#178)
    by MiddleOTheRoad on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 12:15:40 PM EST
    with murder. Those involved who thought it wasn't murder and didn't warrant a murder charge were being criticized for their completely honest (and correct) assessments.

    Some people even lost their jobs because they did the right thing. Doesn't matter when half the country is screaming that your a racist simply because you aren't making up a false charge.


    Wasn't there an interview with Serino (none / 0) (#109)
    by bmaz on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:24:35 AM EST
    By a local outfit of some kind - I think TV - where he indicated that the decision to charge manslaughter was not necessarily his alone, or that he wasn't sure about it and just wanted the district attorney to make the call or something?

    Has it been made clear (none / 0) (#110)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:26:25 AM EST
    to the jury (or is it relevant) that Serino was demoted back to Patrolman, largely or wholey because of this case?

    Lateral move (none / 0) (#113)
    by cboldt on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:43:14 AM EST
    In his testimony, Serino indicated that moves from investigation to patrol are lateral, and that he had made this move in both directions, more than once.

    Any accusation of politically motivated charging or demotion, etc. doesn't belong in this case, IMO.  That belongs in a case against the state.


    Z could have avoided all of this (3.00 / 4) (#144)
    by Char Char Binks on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:11:24 PM EST
    if he had moved to another state the day before.

    All this could have been avoided if TM went home (2.33 / 3) (#53)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:22:14 AM EST
    And what pray tell do the (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:53:26 AM EST
    "punks, stealing, robbing and creating misery." or in GZ's words "victemizing the community" have to do with Trayvon Martin?

    Come on Dr. Molly (3.00 / 2) (#189)
    by MiddleOTheRoad on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 08:30:33 AM EST
    We all know racism exists. But when you characterize Zimmerman's action with this hypothetical race reversal:

    "if a black man was running around a neighborhood with a gun stalking a white kid, then killed him, then claimed it was self-defense?"

    all you're doing is adding to the problem. We don't know if Zimmerman initiated the physical confrontation, but c'mon, stalking a kid?

    Your biased perspective is exactly what I'm trying to confront in my mixed race family. How do I teach my kids not to be hotheads when people like you continue to act like Martin had no choice in this conflict because some racist white bigot stalked him then killed him?

    Actually (3.00 / 2) (#196)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 10:53:07 AM EST
    As someone said on an earlier blog,

    If the situation was reversed, the headline would be been "Black kid kills Hispanic man on his way to Target."

    So what? (1.00 / 1) (#44)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:06:38 AM EST
    Who cares what Hornsby says.  He does not know....And what he says is irrelevant to the evidence at trial...

    Authoritative sources (none / 0) (#58)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:35:05 AM EST
    are laws, court opinions, jury instructions and sometimes law review articles. Lawyers routinely disagree about the law, and based on my 12 years as a legal analyst for cable news, I can say that very few TV/media legal analysts are authoritative sources on the law. The coverage of this case has been abysmal.

    That's why I provide links to the statutes, cases and jury instructions -- so readers don't have to take my word for it, they can read for themselves. You don't need a law degree to understand a court opinion, especially on issues in these kinds of cases where most of the major issues are routine and fact-based. (As opposed to say a case where the issue is strictly a legal one and complicated. One of my favorite examples: whether under a given set of facts, the charge of aiding and abetting a conspiracy is an impermissible pyramiding of inchoate offenses.


    For one, I care (none / 0) (#72)
    by bmaz on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:48:43 AM EST
    Hornsby is experienced, practices significant criminal defense in the pertinent jurisdiction, pretty informative, and cites the support for his work. Give him a read, it might assist you in participating on a higher plane than just throwing out subjective opinions.

    If it's important, look it up (none / 0) (#78)
    by cboldt on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 04:57:19 AM EST
    Hornsby was speculating, last week and earlier, that the jury might come back with a culpable negligence charge, and Zimmerman would get 60 days.  I speculate that Hornsby got that from the Gibbs case.

    However, extending Gibbs to Zimmerman that way doesn't work, for fairly straightforward reasons.  I looked up the Fl law on lesser included, self educated on necessarily lesser included and permissive lesser included, the different degrees of culpable negligence, how Gibbs case ultimately resolved following her win on appeal, etc., and came to the same conclusion that Hornsby is asserting recently - the only lesser included that flies is manslaughter.

    Anyway, my point (which you already know, I'm sure) is that if any contention is important(even for curiosity), look up and study the relevant law yourself.  I appreciate that Jeralyn points to the authority she uses to reach her conclusions.  I don't trust Hornsby to get it right, but I do appreciate his thoughts too, as they often lead to avenues of study that I hadn't considered.


    Murder2 to Culpable Negligence (none / 0) (#91)
    by RickyJim on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:22:16 AM EST
    Yes, Gibbs was charged with Murder2 but convicted of Culpable Negligence.  So why could it happen there but not in the Zimmerman case?  In one podcast, Hornsby seemed to say that it is not uncommon in Florida cases for that to happen because jurors need to win over a juror who insists on conviction to the main charge while the others want to acquit.

    Missing allegation (none / 0) (#92)
    by cboldt on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:28:08 AM EST
    Culpable negligence is a permissive lesser included, which means that in order to provide the charge to the jury, the charging instrument (the information) has to recite the elements of that crime, and the trial must adduce evidence of the elements of the crime.

    In contrast, a necessarily included lesser offense will have supporting evidence, if evidence is adduced of all the elements of the charged crime, and has all elements included in the charging instrument by dint of the statutes for each offense.

    The 60 day penalty for culpable negligence is associated with exposing a person to risk of injury.  If injury is actually caused, culpable negligence carries a one year penalty.

    In Gibbs, Gibbs shoved the lady.  There were no injuries from shoving.  The lady died half an hour later of a heart attack, and the state used the death to justify a murder charge.  Gibbs claimed self defense, but the jury rejected that claim, and found that Gibbs was first to use force, and was not justified.


    Hornsby Changed His Tune (none / 0) (#107)
    by RickyJim on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:07:45 AM EST
    I see that within a few days Hornsby went from asserting that the jury would probably come up with a culpable negligence verdict to saying that the defense could get that result barred because the elements weren't included in the information.
    Why would the Defense object to Manslaughter by Culpable Negligence, possibly because they know that if the jury is likely to convict George Zimmerman on any theory, it would be on a theory of culpable negligence.

    If they don't have the option to reach a "compromise verdict," they would be left with no choice but to return a Not Guilty verdict.

    Thank you for your advice (none / 0) (#96)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:19:13 AM EST
    But I think I will forego the "higher plane" of someone else's legal advice.  

    Jeralyn's comment about reading the actual instructions and cases makes more sense.  At this point, the jury instructions and the verdict form will become paramount.


    Yeah, and thanks for your response too (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by bmaz on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:35:35 AM EST
    Had you read the latest Hornsby post that was referred to, you would have seen he either delineated or cited current model instructions in Florida as well as appellate citations. Is he always right? No, no one is. This is a legal blog where law is discussed; you seem to not be interested in that, but rather much more fond of throwing out tired old tropes like "golly this never would have happened if Zimmerman had never gotten out of his car". The problem with that is, there was nothing in that act that reached any culpable mental state under the law, it was not illegal, and it is a silly argument.

    I disagree (none / 0) (#126)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:52:34 AM EST
    By the time Zimmerman left his truck, Martin had circled his truck, according to Zimmerman, scaring him, and then Martin ran off.

    A fair inference from Martin's actions, in my opinion, was that he was warning Zimmerman to leave him alone and then retreated. In my opinion, Zimmerman then followed him (he agreed that is what he was doing), and then when he was told by the dispatcher he didn't need to do that, he still continued to go in the same direction.

    That in my opinion is an extremely aggressive, hostile act.

    That the idea has been expressed before does not mean that it is not valid.  


    You can "disagree" all you want (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by bmaz on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:05:59 AM EST
    Legally, it is simply not a crime, and it is tiring seeing the same old ridiculous trope propounded simply because you feel it ought to have some legal significance it doesn't.

    It would be for the jury to decide (none / 0) (#132)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:08:12 AM EST
    Whether it is a crime to get out of the truck is not the issue.  It is about his state of mind.

    Meh (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by MiddleOTheRoad on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 12:50:47 PM EST
    I followed a criminal once. He reached through an open window into my car and had my possessions in his hand, but dropped them when I yelled at him. I asked him his name, but he ignored me and walked off, so I called the cops. They said they'd be there in 20 minutes or so, so I followed the guy to see where he went. The alternative was to tell the cops which way he went, and they would, of course, have never found him.

    I completely understand why Zimmerman followed the guy he though was acting suspicious. Sure, the whole thing would have been avoided if he had stayed in his car. But that doesn't mean he should have not tried to see where Martin went.


    "scaring Zimmerman" (none / 0) (#127)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:54:01 AM EST
    "If the races were reversed" whiner BS (1.00 / 1) (#191)
    by Jack203 on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 09:28:49 AM EST
    Similar case except races reversed.  Black man white kid.  The evidence against the black guy was much much more significant than GZ.

    End result = Not Guilty


    The state appears to have virtually no case on 2nd (none / 0) (#1)
    by David in Cal on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 06:54:36 PM EST
    degree murder, but what about manslaughter?  Jeralyn, or readers, would you care to comment on the likelihood that the jury decides to resolve any uncertainty by finding Z guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter?

    The way I see it (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 07:56:51 PM EST
    Manslaughter under 782.07 is a lesser included offense of murder 2. Here is the jury instruction on manslaughter, 7.7.

    Apparently, FL has two forms of manslaughter. One is manslaughter by act and the other is culpable negligence. Click on the link to see the difference.

    But culpable negligence is more than a failure to use ordinary care toward others. In order for negligence to be culpable, it must be gross and flagrant. Culpable negligence is a course of conduct showing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, or such an entire want of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public, or such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights.

    The negligent act or omission must have been committed with an utter disregard for the safety of others. Culpable negligence is consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct that the defendant must have known, or reasonably should have known, was likely to cause death or great bodily injury.

    The way I interpret this is that if the jury  finds the state did not disprove self-defense, the state gets nothing. That's because a finding of self defense is  a finding of justifiable homicide. Justifiable homicide means there is no crime, the killing was lawful. If the killing was lawful, it can't be second degree murder or manslaughter.

    Only if the jury rejects self-defense, can it find Zimmerman guilty of either second degree murder or manslaughter.

    I just don't know that this is the order of consideration of offenses in Florida. According to the instructions, this is the likely verdict form

    We, the jury, find as follows, as to the defendant in this case: (check only one)

    __a. The defendant is guilty of (crime charged).
    b. The defendant is guilty of (a lesser included offense).
    _c. The defendant is not guilty

    Where I come from, a lesser is only considered if the greater charge is rejected. They don't decide between the two at the same time. I'm not sure how it works in Florida.


    Richard Hornsby discusses this (none / 0) (#15)
    by SuzieTampa on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:34:35 PM EST
    in his latest blog post. He thinks manslaughter by culpable negligence should be off the table because the state didn't allege culpable negligence in its information (or charge). He thinks the only allowable lesser offense is manslaughter by act.  

    That was helpful (none / 0) (#75)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 04:10:02 AM EST
    His actual website, not the blog, describes Aggravated Manslaughter by Act in FL as

    Manslaughter by Act: Committing an act that was neither excusable, nor justified that resulted in the death of another person

    I guess that goes back then to whether or not the jury accepts self-defense. Since he's tried cases before Judge Nelson, including murder/death that involved a minor, I guess he knows what he's talking about.


    The Gun (none / 0) (#2)
    by Luke Lea on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 07:05:48 PM EST
    I thought it interesting the way Zimmerman said, once Martin spotted the gun, that it was no longer his gun.  It was just "the gun."

    Interesting (none / 0) (#17)
    by Char Char Binks on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 10:01:30 PM EST
    Not very -- I can call my pen "my", or "a", or "this", or "that" pen.

    how come? (none / 0) (#3)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 07:19:32 PM EST
    How come the judge tells the jury it can't consider it when Serino says he thinks Zimmerman was truthful, but the defense allows or the judge permits Serino to say he believed that GZ was exaggerating about his injuries?

    Both are statements of the same type:, truthful, untruthful, lying, evasive, defensive and exaggerating are all words we can use to describe another person or his statements or answers to questions.

    This truly baffles me (none / 0) (#27)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:25:27 AM EST
    I think all such testimony constitutes inadmissible opinion or speculation.

    Both prosecutors have seemed at times asleep at the wheel and let in a lot such questions by O'Mara after his mind-meld with the witnesses...The Judge by granting the motion to strike appears to agree.

    But I did see the Judge overrule a Prosecution objection to a question regarding the state of mind of the detectives.....I have no clue why any such evidence would be legally relevant....


    also, re Nancy Grace today (none / 0) (#5)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 07:50:46 PM EST
    Nancy Grace today had a segment with the New Jersey medical examiner . . . she talks over him and cuts him off . . .

    i don't think anyone here (5.00 / 7) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 07:58:14 PM EST
    is interested in Nancy Grace.

    and (none / 0) (#8)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:00:32 PM EST
    I am told that GZ's prints are not on the gun . . . why then would anyone wonder that those of TM are not there?

    The District IV M.E. is Dr. Rao (none / 0) (#9)
    by cazinger on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:09:12 PM EST
    Her name is spelled Dr. Rao - not Roh.  The only reason I mention that is because the M.E. who actually performed the autopsy was a Dr. Bao.

    I theorize that the prosecution may have caught the defense team a little off guard here.  I think the defense team may have expected Dr. Rao to testify as to the condition and injuries of Martin - perhaps even lulling them into thinking that there was some sort of typo on the witness list (Dr. Rao/Dr.Bao - both M.E.s).

    Also, the prosecution already called in the physician's assistant who actually treated Zimmerman's injuries on the day after the incident.  The defense may not have expected the state to call an M.E. (who usually deals with dead people) to testify (based upon her observation of photographs) on the injuries received by ZIMMERMAN.

    I think the prosecution may have surprised the defense here a little.

    Not that that is worth much, but I guess the prosecution is looking for any little victory they can claim.

    If it was a surprise, I think they failed... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Cashmere on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:27:15 PM EST
    miserably.  O'Mara, if surprised, took care of business for the defense on cross.  I continue to think he is a master at his trade.

    Oh, I don't think the prosecution scored a victory (none / 0) (#28)
    by cazinger on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:25:52 AM EST
    Just that they caught the defense a little off guard.  I think that the defense may have been expecting Dr. Bao.  I think if they knew it was Dr. Rao, they likely would have researched her background a little more and brought up the things Jeralyn updated the article above with.

    The state may call both (none / 0) (#73)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 03:03:03 AM EST
    Bao and Rao. At least that was the plan. Bao said in an interview last week he expects to be called this week, and he expects the defense to try and discredit him on the reasons he left his job an Tarrant County, TX. Bao has said he was taken by surprise when this turned out to be a high-profile case. He only spent an an hour and a half on the autopsy.

    Rao was not a surprise, she was disclosed in April, but it was not made public. West and O'Mara recently complained to the judge that they had not been able to depose her despite having tried many times since April. She is not named by name, only as a medical examiner who was not involved in the autopsy.

    For some reason, the parties have not been publicly filing their expert witness reports until there's a challenge (like with the voice expert issue.) Yesterday, the state filed a challenge to an expert the defense wants to call on self-defense. He was an unknown until now. Nor are there any publicly released reports for the defense gunshot/firearms expert, but O'Mara has said he is Vincent diMaio.


    why not a problem? (none / 0) (#104)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:42:51 AM EST
    if she refused to make herself available for deposition, why isn't that more of a problem, perhaps sufficient to warrant her testimony being excluded?

    chiropractors treat (none / 0) (#14)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:08:54 PM EST
    Chiropractors treat a lot of people for injuries that happen at less than 10 mph . . . and which have left no outward marks.  Some of these injuries lead to long-term or chronic pain.

    Many crashes are low speed and result in no apparent injury, but a significant number of crashes cause serious injury and long term consequences for the victims. Up to 40% of whiplash injuries become chronic painful conditions. [2]

    . . . .

    The range of collision speed in most (nearly 80%) rear impact whiplash injuries occur is 6-12 mph.

    Regarding the outcome of whiplash injuries, about 25-50% of whiplash injuries fail to resolve completely. . .

    The latest full scale rear impact crash tests using human volunteers, the threshold for cervical spine soft tissue injury is 5 mph.

    When the body is twisted or the head is turned, or when the occupant is leaning forward or is in some other awkward position, injury is more likely.

    How do jurors think? (none / 0) (#16)
    by rob411 on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:54:52 PM EST

    Maybe Jeralyn can answer this.

    It seems to me that even people supposedly closely following a trial don't understand or don't bother with legal definitions of terms in deciding guilt or innocence.

    Judging by this trial, the presentation of the case doesn't help clarify issues either. For example, if I were a juror, I'd be quite mystified as to whether Zimmerman listening to dispatcher's advice is relevant or irrelevant.

    But lawyers seem fairly confident that the legal issues will carry the day. So what's the magic? How do regular people suddenly become good at thinking strictly along legal lines, often even in high-profile cases with unsympathetic defendants?

    Good question (none / 0) (#19)
    by ruffian on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 10:13:47 PM EST
    I've only had one jury experience, and we all got in the mindset of having a job to do, and the instructions to follow, and went about it as systematically as six strangers could. The problems come in around words like 'reasonable' which everyone has their own range of behaviors that fit the bill.

    Subjective determination of reasonable... (none / 0) (#23)
    by rob411 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:04:32 AM EST
    (based on community standards) seems like the whole point of the jury system, so arguing about it sounds like things working as expected.

    Interesting, Thanks for sharing


    the judge gives lengthy instructions (none / 0) (#65)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:58:39 AM EST
    on the law at the end of the case before they retire to deliberate. The jury will have the instructions in the jury room to refer to. She also read the instruction defining reasonable doubt and a self-defense instruction during voir dire.

    For example, she will instruct them on the factors to consider when determining credibility, their option to disregard testimony if they think a witness has lied, that the testimony of a police officer carries no greater weight than the testimony of a non-police officer, that lawyers' arguments are not evidence.

    If they have a question or disagreement about a piece of evidence, such as a recorded interview, they can replay it.

    Transcripts are not evidence. When used during trial, they are only aids to assist the jury while the tape is being played in court. Transcripts do not go to the jury room.

    At a defendant's request in Florida, the judge reads this instruction:

    In every criminal proceeding a defendant has the absolute right to remain silent. At no time is it the duty of a defendant to prove [his] [her] innocence. From the exercise of a defendant's right to remain silent, a jury is not permitted to draw any inference of guilt, and the fact that a defendant did not take the witness stand must not influence your verdict in any manner whatsoever.

    I hope all jurors at least understand that one.


    Juries always like to hear from the defendant (none / 0) (#84)
    by Payaso on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:09:48 AM EST
    They want him to get up there and deny or explain.

      In most cases that's the only way to get his version into the record.  This is a special case.

    If GZ takes the stand he will just be giving the prosecution a chance to trip him up.


    The kind of "reasonable" (none / 0) (#111)
    by melamineinNY on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:32:00 AM EST
    I'm having the most problem with concerns GZ's fear that night. Was it the fear of a reasonable person? I'm stuck on believing he's not the most reasonable man, and that his fear at the time of the shooting was that of such a man. The conflict for me is that his description of the moments before the shooting presents a plausible explanation for the kind of fear a reasonable person might feel IMO.

    One can only think hypothetically... (none / 0) (#170)
    by heidelja on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 06:38:48 AM EST
    ...here because situations of "reasonableness" are subjective and they vary. But simply if a person has a weapon, GZ's  actions go seen as reasonable automatically, but TM's "weapon" became the (strong armed concrete club of the) sidewalk he goes seen as "unarmed," so hence, GZ's actions are seen considerably less reasonable...automatically by many.

    Thanks for the recap (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 10:08:22 PM EST
    I was on and off my audio stream all day and it was very disjointed. Tuned in midway through the Hannity thing, had to turn it off for a while, then tuned back in soon after it must have gotten done and expected questions after it that would make some kind of a point. But there was the medical examiner.

    Jeralyn, you have said it was a weak case and I did not follow all the ins and outs after the initial charging last year...but I have to say you are right so far based on what I have heard.

    Wait for the pathologist who did the (none / 0) (#47)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:15:46 AM EST
    autopsy and the ballistics expert.

    Would you have called (none / 0) (#54)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:24:14 AM EST
    Zimmerman's best friend to the stand?  The Prosecution suffered a lot of adverse testimony to get that one inconsistent statement.

    I get the idea of calling the other side's witnesses first (under 776, so to speak), so you can frame it yourself.  But I doubt the Defense would have been able to call the friend if the Prosecution didn't.  And when they call third party witnesses as part of their case in chief, and then cannot ask them leading questions, when O'Mara can, they make it seemingly really hard on themselves...

    And it just seemed like they really took this "776" strategy too far and took in on the chin by calling the best friend...

    What would you have done?....  


    Never mind (none / 0) (#55)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:25:56 AM EST
    Probably not allowed.

    I wonder if FL has the equivalent (none / 0) (#57)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:33:56 AM EST
    of 776.

    I am getting the impression (none / 0) (#62)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:45:03 AM EST
    that the De La Rionda and Guy don't believe that strongly in their case and just decided to cast caution to the wind; hence, Guy's Opening Statement starting out with the expletives....Just going for broke....

    That is the impression I get too (none / 0) (#86)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:21:45 AM EST
    Plus, the way GZ described TM right from the start is the best evidence they have for showing the hostility needed for a murder2 conviction, IMO. Not saying it is enough, but I don't blame them for stressing it.

    I too prefer a more calm, less bombastic approach.

    On the other hand I also find O'Mara's slow speech and accent grating.  I can see the jury wishing he would speed it up a little.


    Interesting...I will, but honestly I expected (none / 0) (#87)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:23:16 AM EST
    that to give me the least convincing information, as far as new discoveries.

    the prosecutor is so grating (none / 0) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 11:11:58 PM EST
    in his tone I can only listen to him for a few minutes. He's all bombast, all one tone, no modulation in his voice. I wonder what impact he has on the jury. He becomes more dislikeable every day.

    We must (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by John Shaft on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:14:02 AM EST
    be watching two different trials, because I wonder what impact O'Mara has on the jury. I know many here seem to think he is a zen master bodhisattva; yet, I find the manner in which he speaks grating. It is as though there is too much saliva or too many teeth in his mouth & it makes it really hard to look at & listen to him.

    It's like a textbook of what not to do (none / 0) (#26)
    by Payaso on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:15:26 AM EST
    BDLR seems determined to take a bad case and make it worse.

    I've added some information about the (none / 0) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 11:22:32 PM EST
    medical examiner Valerie Rao to the post with links, referencing 10 years of complaints about her.

    Speaking of Angela Corey (none / 0) (#24)
    by Payaso on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:13:06 AM EST
    Courtroom watchers have stated she is nowhere to be found during the trial.  After her diva performance at the press conference where she announced the filing of charges I think that is very revealing.

    a citizen's grand jury has (none / 0) (#60)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:38:42 AM EST
    indicted her for false information in the arrest report and warrant. Not that it carries any legal significance.

    It's not "A" citizen's grand jury (none / 0) (#108)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:09:47 AM EST
    It's a group CALLED "Citizens Grand Jury" - This is the quote on the Yahoo news site (I can't believe the newswires picked this up in the first place)

    Larry Klayman, a former U.S. Justice Department prosecutor, a Florida lawyer since 1977, and now the "citizens' prosecutor" who presided over the Ocala grand jury said this: "The Supreme Court has confirmed that the grand jury belongs to the American people, not the three branches of government. (504 U.S. 36, 48 (1992) (quoting United States v. R. Enterprises, Inc., 498 U.S. 292, 297 (1991)). By indicting Florida State Attorney Angela Corey, the people are exercising their God given rights, recognized by our Founding Fathers, to mete out justice when the political and legal establishment subverts the rule of law. Hopefully, this indictment will serve as a warning to the political and legal establishment that they are not above the law. Ironically, Corey will now be tried and likely convicted for her alleged crimes - which resulted in Zimmerman being charged under false pretenses, now coming home to roost during Zimmerman's on-going trial. Corruption cannot be tolerated, particularly by law enforcement officers who are elected by the people to serve their ends, not the law enforcement officer's political ends."

    great writing Jeralyn (none / 0) (#31)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:42:17 AM EST

    Amazing (none / 0) (#32)
    by John Shaft on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:43:06 AM EST
    because I have wondered how he ever became a trial lawyer w/ the way he speaks. To me, he sounds as though he has some type of speech impediment. The other one I rarely listen to is Crump, because I find his voice really annoying.

    that is a personal insult (none / 0) (#61)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:40:52 AM EST
    to O'Mara -- questioning his legal abilities based on his voice. Please don't do it again. Your opinion of his speaking voice is one thing. Tying it to his legal abilities with an insult is quite different.

    Was my compliment of O'Mara (none / 0) (#64)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:55:08 AM EST
    amiss?  I am not getting why that one was zapped...

    Trying to comment within your guidelines but somehow I must have missed on that one.  


    I deleted one of your comments (5.00 / 0) (#67)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:07:33 AM EST
    that said GZ called Martin a punk after he shot him during his interview with Serino. That was false and deleted. He used the word punks in his call to non-emergency and it was the non-emergency call he discussed with Serino. If you have a link to a transcript where he calls Martin a punk, please post it (in html format.)

    Thank you for trying to abide by the comment rules. Even though I don't share your views, I have let almost all of them remain because I know you are trying.


    Now that (5.00 / 0) (#71)
    by John Shaft on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:42:36 AM EST
    makes no sense because you were extolling the virtues of O'Mara's professional abilities.
    This site is interesting & has been fun to read; however, it is a bit like high school. And, if you are not part of the "in crowd" your comments are deleted whether or not they follow the rules.
    And, it is Jeralyn's blog & she makes the decisions as to who stays & who doesn't. But is really does not produce a very balanced dialogue.

    Start your own blog (none / 0) (#77)
    by Payaso on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 04:55:54 AM EST
    Spend a thousand+ hours a year on it while maintaining a full time job.

    Then we can see if you can do it better.


    The rules should be applied fairly (5.00 / 1) (#162)
    by IndiDemGirl on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:16:12 PM EST
    Comments about Zimmerman lying (and it is a fact that he and his wife lied about their finances) or being a racist are deleted, yet horrible comments about Martin are left, including those lying about beating up a homeless man, etc.

    If only FACTS are to be commented on, then only FACTS should be allowed for Zimmerman or Martin. U


    Jeralyn (none / 0) (#70)
    by John Shaft on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:29:47 AM EST
    I did not insult his professional abilities as an attorney. Considering, the innumerable types of law to practice, I find it odd that a person who does not have a good speaking voice decides to become a trial lawyer.

    As someone with speech issues myself (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:01:28 AM EST
    I find it admirable that he followed his inclinations and talents in spite of it. I do not find his speech anywhere near debilitating.

    It's what you say... (none / 0) (#99)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:28:43 AM EST
    not how you say it, it's what you do not how you do it.

    It's a drag how superficial people can be, but I guess that's just human nature.

    Not picking on ya John Shaft, I can be as guilty of it as the next guy...appreciate your take on this sad affair.


    Judgmental much? (none / 0) (#151)
    by MikeB on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:40:37 PM EST
    Didn't happen (none / 0) (#33)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:44:21 AM EST
    I also think in my opinion that when Zimmerman calls Martin a punk after shooting him dead

    Not sure your point (1.00 / 1) (#35)
    by MKS on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:49:23 AM EST
    Zimmerman called Martin a punk when talking to detectives after he Martin dead.  That is what I understand the facts to be....

    So, I apologize if I am wrong, but am I?

    Care to explain?


    yes you are wrong (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:19:19 AM EST
    and I deleted that comment.

    Zimmerman used the word punks in his non-emergency call before Martin was shot.


    What is the meaning of the graphic ? (none / 0) (#74)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 03:22:00 AM EST

    Grasping at straws? (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Payaso on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 04:49:59 AM EST
    That's my guess.

    grasping at straws (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 05:31:33 AM EST
    is correct

    What's the evidence of that? (none / 0) (#120)
    by cboldt on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:03:17 AM EST
    Serino rewrote his report a few times, sure.  He had inside pressure to charge (Officer Smith being one), but as far as I know, the sending of the final report to the state attorney happened before Corey was appointed.  My (not detail informed) belief is that the state attorney was unpleasantly surprised that the capias included a recommendation to charge.  Used some rather colorful language.

    I know of no evidence that Corey or anybody from her office was involved at that time.  She was appointed at least a few days later.

    point taken (1.00 / 2) (#135)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:21:25 AM EST
    not Corey, would have been Wolfinger's office.
    I wonder if the political dynamics, the who directed what exactly will ever come out. To my thinking, all those involved demonstrate poor professional ethics and have corrupted justice  with their actions, even Wolfinger, who was silent, when the train hit the tracks.

    you may not declare (none / 0) (#137)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:34:50 AM EST
    anyone corrupt as a fact here. Wolfinger has not been charged with official misconduct. That is your opinion and it is potentially libelous, so please keep it to yourself.

    got it (none / 0) (#141)
    by lily on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:47:17 PM EST

    Things like this make me lose (none / 0) (#125)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 10:49:10 AM EST
    faith in our justice system, including witnesses and jurors. Kathi Belchi of Channel 9 tweeted while the Skype professor was on:

    Kathi Belich, WFTV
    We have found a post on http://change.org  by a Gordon Scott Pleasants calling for #Zimmermanon9 's arrest.

    Maybe it's not him, but we know at least one witness and possibly her husband also signed a petition. Why do they lie? I just couldn't do it. For good or bad, the truth, as best as it can be determined, should be what matters.

    The station that found it (none / 0) (#129)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:05:30 AM EST
    just tweeted:

    Professor quotes in petition what people were saying in regards to #Zimmerman case. #istandcorrected

    Thank you jb, that makes me (none / 0) (#134)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 11:20:12 AM EST
    feel better (I think). I wonder if he just quotes stuff he agrees with? In his defense, I'm sure he never knew he'd end up a witness, though.

    context (none / 0) (#139)
    by Philly on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:11:53 PM EST
    For anyone that hasn't done so, read Pleasant's entire post to change.org.  It's a cleverly crafted essay supportive of both former Chief Bill Lee and Zimmerman's rights.  The quoted parts he leads with refer to the uninformed rush-to-judgement public outcry, and are statements that Pleasant does not agree with.

    Then... (none / 0) (#146)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:16:50 PM EST
    he could be prejudiced toward the defense side? Like I said, I'm sure he never dreamed a course he taught several years ago, online, would ever come up in the court case, but still it bothers me. I guess I'm just glad his testimony was short and didn't seem to matter to either side (if I were on the jury unless I missed something).

    I guess I'm asking people to know the future, which isn't possible. I know the system isn't perfect, but I wish it was.


    Could you post the link (none / 0) (#154)
    by SuzieTampa on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 05:36:36 PM EST
    to Pleasants' essay on Change.org. I can't find it.