After today’s hearing and reading some of the headlines in the papers, you would think the Prosecution had won its case. At the very least it had dealt a serious blow to the Defense and its ability to present its own case to defend George Zimmerman. But, did this actually happened? Or it is all hyperbole by the Martin lawyers and their supporters. What does it mean, what happened? H/T Libby + Communist News
A year ago: “Trayvon Martin was an innocent little angel, and anyone who says otherwise is a stereotyping racist.”.
Today: “Trayvon Martin’s character is completely irrelevant, and anyone who says otherwise is a stereotyping racist.”
Before we tally and try to explain the proceedings I would like to mention a couple of things which will not be discussed in the mainstream media. Last week the Defense Team released its 2nd and 3rd Reciprocal Discoveries to the Prosecution and posted the same on its website. Ever since then the Martin Family through its lawyers, Natalie Jackson in particular, have been fire-breathing on the Social Networks, in print and televised interviews, about how irresponsible and racist the Defense released of the discovery is. Implying the media who have been they biggest advocate for over a year is racist for reporting on the discovery, in other words she went nuclear and used the race card.
One thing that none of the Scheme Team would say is that this is the prosecution’s discovery, yes the prosecution’s discovery. This is what they gave the Defense in January and February, only at that time they gave the .bin file, just a series of 0000 and 1111 that needed to be converted out computer speak into something we human could recognize. Let me repeat, this was the prosecution’s discovery that they had in their possession for at least 5 months but did not release. The prosecution had been sitting on this information, failed to disclose as was their duty, and lied under oath that they did not have on April 25th.
A whistleblower from Corey’s own office in Jacksonville, the information-technology director, Ben Kruidbos has come forward to testify that the prosecution has been hiding evidence, including a video filmed by TM of 2 of his friends beating up a homeless man, pictures of an underage girl and more gun and drug pictures. His attorney a former SA in Jacksonville, Wesley White who had resigned from the office in December testified that the prosecution was withholding discovery, as his client has stated. There will be a hearing on June 6th and 7th if needed to address this development.
Let’s recap the other decisions made and whether they are as dire as some would like the public to think. You can follow this link to watch the whole hearing, http://youtu.be/uAQkH_0Qvi0 Thanks to Diwataman
The first motion was to require Shellie Zimmerman to submit to a deposition. Shellie is facing charges on separate charges stemming from the case but this deposition is not for that case, the prosecution is fishing for anything to use against GZ. The judge granted the motion but, Shellie can invoke the 5th on a question by question basis. Is this a prosecution win, well partially as Shellie can on her own fight the deposition on 2 grounds the judge cannot tell the defense who their witnesses are, this is the lame prosecution excuse it used to compel her deposition that she was listed as a Defense witness. She can also appeal to the DCA that the conflict due to her own case being prosecuted by the same office (Corey’s) with one of the same SA (John Guy) prosecuting her husband. She might not win but it would delay the deposition and with Judge Nelson insistence that this case go on trial on schedule, the trial could be over before a decision is rendered. Partial victory, inconclusive.
Motion in limine regarding opinion as to appropriate penalty or disregard of law– In Florida the juries determine guilt and the judge the sentencing, juries are not allowed to consider sentences in their deliberations. Granted
Motion in limine regarding prior criminal history– granted While this looks like it would limit the Defense’s ability to present a defense, it is the law, past criminal history. This works both ways, it prevents the Defense from mentioning GZ lack of criminal history( regardless of what Scheme Team says or believes) but it also means that the prosecution cannot say that TM had a spotless record. As long as the prosecution does not open the door this will not be discussed. Tie-both will have to abide by the decision.
State’s motion in limine regarding calling of witnesses– granted, but here is a caveat. The defense can still remind the jury that they were the ones who called this witness, even if the prosecution didn’t, they just cannot imply that it was because their testimony was detrimental to the prosecution. This is one of the motions that makes the State’s case weak, they cannot prevent the Defense from calling a witness, so it is of little value just to prevent the Defense from implying that the prosecution was scared of the testimony presented by the witness, since the jury would have heard the testimony anyhow. Waste of time for prosecution, nothing gain.
State’s motion in limine regarding CSVA – Granted. This is another motion that in my opinion demonstrates the weakness of the Prosecution’s case. The Computer Stress Voice Analyzer could not be use by the Defense to prove or establish innocence, it is mostly just an investigatory tool. Yet, the prosecution did not want the Defense to mention on Opening that GZ took a lie detector test, the CVSA, and passed. They feel that if the jury heard that it would be so impressed to affect the outcome. Anyhow the Defense cannot mention the CVSA in opening but could at a later date to rebut the prosecution. Waste of time, defense can still use it.
Motion in limine regarding self-serving hearsay statements of defendant– Granted, another motion that showcases the weakness of the State, any “self-serving” statements will be dealt with as they come up, as they can be used under the Hearsay exceptions rules, just don’t mention any at opening. Waste of time, nothing gained.
- School suspensions Granted, Cannot be mentioned at all by either side, without prior ruling from the court. This leaves it open for the Defense to respond if the State opens the door.
- Texts or communication about prior marijuana use-Granted, no mention of prior pot use by TM will be allowed. Victory by the prosecution.
- Fighting, acts of violence Granted but only in regards to opening statements fighting will be allowed to come in if the Defense can clear the hurdle of authentication and hearsay, Defense says it can.
- Screen Names Granted but only in regards to opening statements fighting will be allowed to come in if the Defense can clear the hurdle of authentication and hearsay, Defense says it can.
- Gold Teeth-WTF!, Granted. The mention of this in the motion show what the Prosecution thinks of the Defense and how petty the prosecutors are.
- Schools records-Granted, except for documented acts of fighting or violence. Fighting not to be mentioned by either side in opening.
- Text prior to Feb.26th- Granted, but the Defense can argue on the admissibility of the evidence during trial as it comes up.
- Text on Feb 26th-Granted, their relevance will be determined by testimony at trial. Basically, Judge Nelson used very strict interpretations of the law, and any ties went to the prosecution, but allowed that the Defense if the burden is met could use the evidence. Mostly the only thing affected will be the opening statements where the Defense and the Prosecution will not have the lee-way allowed by other judges.
Motion to limit/exclude improper opinion evidence– Granted, but only in opening statements, later determinations will done in trial as they come up. Nothing really gain, just limiting the opening statements.
Motion for protective order/motion in limine regarding toxicology– Granted but only on opening statements, later determinations will be made after the Judge talks to the experts during trial.
So far the Prosecution managed to limit the scope of the Opening Statements. Aside from the prohibition on the past marijuana use, and school records aside from any documented fighting, the prosecution has limited itself as much as it has limited the Defense. The other motion from the State, the Gag order was denied. For the Defense, only the denial of the Motion for a Continuance and the Motion to have jury inspect the scene are blows to the Defense.
Final words, the Judge is definitely showing her bias against the Defense, during one exchange; when O’mara was exclaiming that she could not in limine declared some things out-of-bounds as they go directly to the Defense’s case and that it was invalidating their defense. The Judge replied that it was the rules of evidence that were in the way, that is yet to be determined but the telling thing is that as she said this she was smirking, mockingly as she said it. It was a totally inappropriate reaction on her part.
The Prosecution will get some good PR in the media, but not much else. The Defense stole the thunder with the revelations about the Prosecution’s probable misconduct and the news of the whistleblower from Corey’s office. The Judge followed the law in her decisions though with very strict interpretations. What she did not do, though not mentioned in the headlines is shut the Defense down, most of the decisions left the Defense with an avenue to pursue. I mentioned on other occasions that unless it is black letter law, the Judge would not side with the Defense, but it seems that if the Defense has the law on their side that she will followed the law or so I hope. The trial is set to start June 10th, help the Defense Fund if you are able. http://www.gzdefensefund.com/donate/