The Backwards Trial

resumes:

Unlike Zimmerman’s account, the accounts of the prosecution witnesses would change, abruptly and dramatically, and certainly not to Zimmerman’s benefit.

Following opening statements, the prosecution normally produces a succession of fact witnesses, people that can testify to the facts — the evidence — necessary to establish the elements of the offense and to prove that the defendant committed it. Their ultimate job is to leave no room for reasonable doubt. In this case, the prosecution must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman did not act in self-defense.

But this is the George Zimmerman prosecution: a backwards case where the roles of the prosecution and defense are reversed.

Normally, prosecutors are careful to fully question each prosecution witness to obtain all of the evidence their testimony can produce. They do this so that the defense is not able to reveal previously undisclosed evidence, which tends to suggest prosecutorial concealment. But during the first week of this case, the prosecution established a pattern of asking only the bare minimum of their witnesses. In virtually every case, defense cross-examination reveals a great deal the prosecutors avoided bringing to light, and that information either fully supports George’s Zimmerman’s unchanging account, casts doubt on the “narrative” — which is actually the prosecution’s case — or both.

This bizarre turn of events has caused the prosecutors, particularly Bernie de la Rionda, to engage in the spectacle of aggressively cross-examining their own witnesses, trying to get them to mischaracterize, ignore, disown, or soft-pedal their testimony.

Another and disturbing pattern established by prosecution witnesses is that of changing their testimony in significant and ethically questionable ways. A number of prosecution witnesses have testified to important changes in their prior testimony they never before mentioned — not in multiple law enforcement interviews or depositions. This directly suggests that they’ve not only been coached, but perhaps that the subornation of perjury is involved.

Why is this not prosecutorial misconduct?

84 thoughts on “The Backwards Trial

  1. Leland

    The same reason the US AG has been held in contempt of Congress, yet no one has tried him for the contempt. Do you think anyone will be taking up the case of prosecutorial misconduct?

    Compare Zimmerman’s prosecution with the prosecution of Nidal Hasan.

  2. Brian

    This is bad. I have a feeling that the aftermath of this trial is going to be ugly, I’m talking Rodney King ugly, regardless of the verdict.

  3. danoso

    We have a president taking sides in the case based on skin color, supporting the guy that looks like him. Hard to imagine this case being anything but ugly when it ends.

  4. Arizona CJ

    I think the prosecution has made an effective and convincing case for the defense so far, and have gone a long way towards proving, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman is innocent.

    I also think Zimmerman should sue CNN.

    1. Arizona CJ

      The lead of the Sanford PD investigation, a key witness for the *prosecution*, testified that he was under tremendous pressure to find a way to charge Zimmerman.

      He also testified that he thinks Zimmerman is telling the truth, and that no evidence contradicts Zimmerman’s story.

      He’s further testified that, again under pressure, he performed a challenge meeting to try to shake Zimmerman into changing his story. In that meeting, they lied to Zimmerman, telling him they had video tape of the encounter.

      Zimmermans’ response? “Thank God”.

      And that’s what the jury was left with at the close of court today.

      At this juncture, I think this clinches it; the prosecution’s witnesses have now proven Zimmerman innocent beyond reasonable doubt (the exact opposite of what they intended).

      Prosecutorial misconduct? I think there are two clear cut examples. One is the political pressure to charge the case. The second would be the prosecution conducting its deposition of the girlfriend in Martin’s mother’s house, with her sitting right there with her. That’s blatant coercion as well as being so irregular that the testimony should be thrown out.

  5. DaveP.

    I remember a lot of posters, here and elsewhere, announcing their expert opinion that Zimmerman was a murderer and that poor innocent Trayvon child was shot down in cold blood on his way to fetch Skittles.
    Any of that stouthearted band willing to either double down or apologize now?

    1. kayawanee

      You heard that HERE? I don’t ever recall that being the consensus here. Maybe the likes of Jim and a few other Democrat propagandist trolls, who occasionally post here, promoted that storyline. However, you’ll be waiting an eternity before you ever get an apology from them.

      1. Michael Kent

        “You heard that HERE?”

        Yes. Chris Gerrib, for one, swallowed The Narrative hook, line, sinker, rod, & reel.

    2. Chris Gerrib

      I for one don’t ever recall saying Zimmerman was a murderer or a racist.

      I do recall saying that, as Tim points out below, Zimmerman’s pursuit of Martin did give Martin reason to be fearful. Martin’s girlfriend testified to that effect, and contradicted Zimmerman’s story of the start of the fight. I do also recall saying that there’s no requirement to believe anything Zimmerman said.

      There are several questions for the jury:
      1) Were the events of that night one continuous incident or multiple incidents?
      2) If it was one incident, was Martin reasonably fearful of Zimmerman? Fearful enough to respond aggressively when stopped?
      3) Is Zimmerman’s story of the final encounter with Martin believable? Do they believe that Zimmerman, after pursuing and finally catching Martin, just said “no, man, I don’t have a problem with you.” Or do they think the guy who didn’t want “fucking punks getting away” might have been more aggressive?
      4) Do they believe that Zimmerman was getting pummeled despite Martin having only one small cut on his hand? Or do they think that the “MMA pound and ground” was really a struggle for Zimmerman’s gun? (That appears to be more consistent with the evidence.)

      I don’t know how the jury will answer these questions. I have a day job, and so haven’t watched the trial, but as far as I’ve seen nobody’s addressed #1. We’ve heard evidence in support of #2. The detective believed Zimmerman in #3 and at least in the written reports had doubts about #4.

      1. Rand Simberg Post author

        There is little evidence that Martin was “fearful.” It sounded more like he was angry, based on the testimony of Jeantel (to whatever degree she has any credibility, which isn’t much) . A fearful person would have run home, not confronted someone.

      2. Rand Simberg Post author

        Do they believe that Zimmerman was getting pummeled despite Martin having only one small cut on his hand?

        Why would pummeling someone necessitate injuries? Noses aren’t hard, and holding someone’s face wouldn’t be injurious, except to the person whose face is being held. You continue to grasp at straws. The doubt is more than reasonable. The prosecution has no case, and never did.

        1. Chris Gerrib

          Zimmerman in his statements said he was afraid of Martin, which was why he didn’t ID himself as neighborhood watch. If Zimmerman was afraid, why didn’t he run home?

          My understanding was that the adults were not at home. Martin, who may not even have had a key, may not have wanted to lead his pursuer to a house that just had a younger kid in it. Especially if it would mean him ringing the doorbell and waiting to be let in.

          Regarding pummeling – two thoughts. One, to pummel means to hit. Two, hold Zimmerman’s face how? He had a crewcut at the time, so the only way to do that would be to hold by the ears. Ever hear of cauliflower ear? Zimmerman didn’t have that.

          1. Rand Simberg Post author

            Zimmerman in his statements said he was afraid of Martin, which was why he didn’t ID himself as neighborhood watch. If Zimmerman was afraid, why didn’t he run home?

            Because he was armed, and Neighborhood Watch isn’t supposed to “run home.”

            And Zimmerman testified repeatedly that Martin was holding him by his (broken) nose and mouth, making it difficult to breathe. Gee, it’s almost like you’ve been paying no attention at all for the last year and a half.

          2. Rand Simberg Post author

            Some people do what they think needs to be done, even if they’re afraid. Maybe you personally don’t know anything about that.

          3. Leland

            If Zimmerman is afraid, why did he get out of the car?

            He got out of his car to check the street sign for a name. He wasn’t afraid until Martin confronted him. Zimmerman’s statement are after the fact he was pummeled by the guy. He didn’t run home because Martin was sitting on him pummeling his face. At least this is what was stated in testimony by witnesses for the state’s prosecution.

        2. Tim

          Actually neighborhood watch is not supposed to follow him either, the policy of the watch group was not to engage like that, wait for the police, mirroring the “instructions” of the 911 dispatcher of “we don’t need you to that”, meaning following Martin. And that’s what this case will ultimately default to, the idea that Zimmerman is at fault for causing the situation leading to the violent confrontation. There is a reason Rand why successful self-defense cases are so rare in this county, maybe 200-300 cases a year wining for the defendant. The deck is deliberately and intentionally stacked against the defender, “duty to retreat” (which doesn’t seem to apply here) being the more commonly known one, but “at fault for causing the situation” and even wider latitude for the prosecution. The state simply doesn’t like the idea of us serfs defending ourselves with deadly force, they prefer to think that only the government should have the right to kill citizens, criminals or not.

          http://articles.philly.com/2012-06-0…-nonjury-trial

          Despite ‘Castle Doctrine,’ defendant is convicted in slaying

          PHILADELPHIA JUDGE said Wednesday he was convinced that a disabled, retired Marine was being attacked in the moments before he fatally stabbed a man last October, but he concluded that the stabbing was still a criminal act rather than self-defense.

          Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner then convicted Jonathan Lowe, 57, of voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument of crime. The judge found him not guilty of the more-serious charges of first- and third-degree murder.

          Lowe, who wears a pacemaker and has survived two strokes and two heart surgeries, could face up to 12 1/2 to 25 years in prison when Lerner sentences him Aug. 16…..Assistant D.A. Carolyn Naylor argued this week that Lowe had been the aggressor.

          Lowe testified that he used a small, quick-open knife to stab Manning after being knocked to the ground and choked during a robbery attempt.

          Two Temple University students said Manning was chasing Lowe and trying to hit him with a metal pole before he caught him. Manning then pinned Lowe to the ground, they said…..Naylor seized on inconsistencies between the testimonies of Lowe and the students, including where the stabbing took place. She argued that before the students came upon the struggle, Lowe stabbed Manning from behind before both men ended up on the ground.

          She noted that two stab wounds were in Manning’s back. She also said Lowe showed intent to kill with malice because after Manning fell mortally wounded, Lowe taunted him and even tried to stab him some more.

          1. Leland

            There is a reason Rand why successful self-defense cases are so rare in this county, maybe 200-300 cases a year wining for the defendant.

            There’s also the fact that most self-defense cases never go to trial, and usually when they do, it’s because it never really was self-defense. It’s sort of like those numbers used by MAIG that includes the shooting of the Boston Bomber suspect. Jody Arias claimed self-defense and lost, her circumstances with far different than Zimmerman’s.

          2. Chris Gerrib

            I don’t know what happened in this case. I could only find two articles (as opposed to blog reposts) on this year-old case.

            The second one noted that the judge sentenced Lowe to 11 to 23 months as opposed to 12 years. It’s possible that there were details to the case not reported in the news.

      3. Al

        Cuts on the back of the head and a broken nose are more consistent with a “wrestle for a gun” than the eyewitess + Zimmerman testimony of MMA mount + blows-to-the-face + head-to-the-pavement?

        What color is the sky there?

        1. Chris Gerrib

          Those injuries are supportive of one or two blows and falling down. The one cut on Martin’s hand is supportive of one or two punches. None of this supports “dozens” of blows per Zimmerman. I’ve seen the MMA mount, and the guy on top is raining blows down.

          I also doubt Zimmerman’s statement that he “forgot” about his gun. I don’t know about you, but if a “f-ing punk” hits me and knocks me on the ground, I’m pulling my gun.

          Unfortunately, if Zimmerman did pull his gun, then Martin, still in fear for his life, has every legal right to (at least) knock Zimmerman out, if not kill him. It’s self-defense. Martin absolutely has the right to try and take Zimmerman’s gun away.

          1. Rand Simberg Post author

            Unfortunately, if Zimmerman did pull his gun, then Martin, still in fear for his life, has every legal right to (at least) knock Zimmerman out, if not kill him.

            Unfortunately for your continued delusions, that is completely irrelevant to this trial, since there is absolutely zero evidence that Zimmerman pulled his gun prior to being on the ground, or that he is lying about what happened. That’s why the prosecution has no case.

          2. Al

            Also, if I recall correctly, every single eye/ear witness, even the girlfriend, has said not one word about the gun being ‘out’ prior to the “mma mount” step.

            You can try to wrestle the guy you’re sitting on for his gun, but IMNSHO it’s self-defense to shoot anyone doing that too. Pretty much regardless of how you arrived at that position.

          3. Leland

            Martin absolutely has the right to try and take Zimmerman’s gun away.

            Please remind everyone that you don’t provide legal advice, because this advice would be wrong. If you don’t believe this, go look for an armed security guard (a person not deputized as a LEO) and tell him you plan to disarm him for carrying a firearm because his possession scares you. Go. I’ll wait here while you find out what happens.

          4. Rand Simberg Post author

            If a non-uniformed person points a gun at me, especially for no good reason, I have every right to attempt to disarm him.

            Which, again, is irrelevant to this case, since there is zero evidence that Zimmerman pulled his gun prior to being attacked.

          5. Leland

            If a non-uniformed person points a gun at me, especially for no good reason, I have every right to attempt to disarm him.

            Emphasis on your own qualifying caveat. Zimmerman’s reason was that Martin was sitting on him and pummeling him. In fact, the evidence provided by the Prosecution says that the gun didn’t even come into play until Martin noticed the gun, made a threat to kill Zimmerman, and then tried to get to firearm before Zimmerman.

            As Rand has stated a couple of times, your hypo doesn’t fit the evidence presented in this case. And as I say, go try this in real life and see what your rights are. If you’re smart, you might try asking an attorney if you have the right to disarm anyone simply because you know they are armed.

          6. DaveP.

            “Unfortunately, if Zimmerman did pull his gun, then Martin, still in fear for his life, has every legal right to (at least) knock Zimmerman out, if not kill him.”

            So the assailant has a perfect right to murder his victim in self-defense… right, Chris?
            Jeez. I don’t even have to say anything here, do I?

          7. me

            Er, no. “Stand your ground” laws do not ascribe any rights to an unlawful initiator of force.

            If, as the defense asserts, and the evidence thus far presented supports, Martin struck the first blow, thus initiating the use of force before Zimmerman drew his weapon, then Zimmerman was the one who had the right to stand his ground, because Zimmerman was the one defending himself against an unlawful attack.

            Jeez. Shall we put on a skit for you, with big fuzzy puppets? “This episode brought to you by the letter K, for ‘Kill Whitey.'”

      4. Leland

        Oh, what fun!!! Gerrib is back to face his analysis.

        Here’s a favorite from July 8, 2012: Serino’s question during his interrogation of Zimmerman (I listened to the audio) is still good. “What set Martin off?” Serino asked. Nobody seems to have an answer to that. Answer: Zimmerman is a “crazy-ass cracker”.

        1. wodun

          Indeed, the hurling of racial slurs by Martin shows that he was being aggressive and not the peaceful child people claimed he was. Martin’s combative behavior is enough to create doubt as to who was the instigator of physical contact. The defense just has to create a reasonable doubt about the state’s version of events but it looks like the prosecution is doing all the work.

  6. Tim

    So far it does not appear as if we are anywhere close to meeting the legal standard of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for the charge of 2nd degree murder. My understanding is that under Florida law the jury can say as much, but still find him guilty under the lesser charge of manslaughter. When the prosecution realizes they are losing, they may finish with a strong appeal to that by arguing that Zimmerman is a fault for having caused the situation. If he hadn’t profiled the teenage Martin, following him precipitating the violent encounter, if he had followed the neighborhood watch group he was a captain of policy of not engaging or following, no confrontation, and Martin still alive. That only leaves the defense arguing that it makes no difference if that is true, by the letter of the law at the moment Zimmerman fired Martin was on top of him pummeling him, you must find in favor of the defense. That might be legally true theoretically, but I would love to see the data on how often a defendant perceived as being at fault for causing the situation leading to the deadly force still manages to get self-defense in court. The only law that really counts is the verdict in court, not legal theory. I have a CCW, would never had followed someone under those circumstances, and if I did I would make sure I have an I-phone or similar smart phone camera switched on to record everything that happened.

    1. McGehee

      In Russia dashcams are ubiquitous because of rampant disregard for traffic laws. I can see them becoming de rigueur for Neighborhood Watch volunteers after this.

      1. Al

        They -should- be required for all police. But under the seal of the Judicial branch.

        So the state has to rely upon the officer’s testimony, but the defense can say “I’d like the tape played for the jury.”

  7. ErisGuy

    Perhaps the prosecutors think if the lose by seeming incompetant, laughter and ridicule will be enough embarrassment and spare them revocation of their licenses.

    When Zimmerman is convicted, White Hispanics should riot to reclaim the rights of Americans from the racist regime that oppresses them.

    More likely the Zimmerman trial will be the last appearance of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence in a serious trial. Soon trials will be conducted according to the standard of Social Justice jurisprudence, with the proper weight given the race, class, and gender of the plaintiff and defendant until the adversary system of justice itself is discarded in favor of magistrates of social justice who have the power to investigate and punish crime.

    1. me

      “Soon trials will be conducted according to the standard of Social Justice jurisprudence, with the proper weight given the race, class, and gender of the plaintiff and defendant until the adversary system of justice itself is discarded in favor of magistrates of social justice who have the power to investigate and punish crime.”

      Look around you. It’s happening right now. It’s the whole reason Zimmerman is on trial.

      1. Leland

        Also why it has taken 3.5 years to bring the Ft. Hood Shooter to trial and why he’s remained a paid employee of the United States for all that time. Compare to Robert Bales, when it took a year. If you make a youtube video unacceptable to the Administration, it takes about a month.

  8. Chris Gerrib

    Responding to a number of posts:

    Zimmerman has confessed to killing Martin. He has to prove that a reasonable person would fire a gun in his situation.

    You have to believe that a reasonable person, after getting knocked to the ground by somebody he describes as a “punk” would “forget” about his gun and not immediately go for it, yet isn’t afraid to get out of his car and go after the “punk” because he’s armed.

    Jeantel’s story of how the altercation started is wildly at odds with Zimmerman’s. At any rate, there are only two people who know when the gun came out. One of them is dead and the other one has a powerful motive to lie.

    You have to believe that Martin goes off and attacks every “crazy-ass cracker” he sees – especially on cold and wet nights when he’s trying to get home to watch a ball game, and the cracker in question is his size and not obviously a soft target.

    Wrestling for your gun is self-defense. You wrestling for somebody else’s gun is also self-defense. If both parties can claim self-defense, then don’t we have to go back to how the fight started?

    1. Rand Simberg Post author

      yet isn’t afraid to get out of his car and go after the “punk” because he’s armed.

      Once again, he didn’t get out of the car to “go after the ‘punk.'” He got out of the car to look for the street address.

      when he’s trying to get home to watch a ball game

      I thought you told us that he couldn’t go home, because there was no one there and the door was locked. You can’t even keep your own excuses straight.

      You have to believe that Martin goes off and attacks every “crazy-ass cracker” he sees – especially on cold and wet nights when he’s trying to get home to watch a ball game, and the cracker in question is his size and not obviously a soft target.

      Nonsense. There is no need for such a belief.

      If both parties can claim self-defense, then don’t we have to go back to how the fight started?

      Once again, there is zero evidence that the fight started in any manner other than as Zimmerman described it. That’s why the prosecution ultimately has no case.

      1. Chris Gerrib

        He got out of his car to look for a street address in a subdivision with 3 streets? You believe that? If so, why did he tell the police dispatcher he was following Martin?

        I thought you told us that he couldn’t go home – obviously you’ve never seen a horror movie where the victim is either killed on their doorstep while trying to get in and/or the door is opened in time for the bad guy to force his way in.

        No, actually Jeantel’s testimony and the two neighbors who heard an argument contradict Zimmerman’s story.

        1. Leland

          He got out of his car to look for a street address in a subdivision with 3 streets? You believe that?

          I have no reason to not believe him. Certainly no evidence to believe him. I live near a corner in my subdivision. Only two houses away. I couldn’t tell you the name of the intersecting street.

          obviously you’ve never seen a horror movie

          Horror movies, with a few rare exceptions, are works of fiction. To help you further, please note that despite all the Star Trek shows I’ve seen; I don’t believe we have warp drive or teleporters.

          And again, Jeantel’s testimony contradicts Jeantel’s testimony.

          1. Chris Gerrib

            no reason to not believe him – I do know the name of my cross-streets, and I’m not neighborhood watch.

            You also tell me (and I believe, sometimes despite evidence to the contrary) that you’re not 17 years old. Martin was.

          2. Leland

            What does Martin’s age have to do with Zimmerman needing to check the street sign? For that matter, what does Martin’s age have to do with anything related to Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence?

        2. Chris Gerrib

          Martin’s age is relevant because Martin is a minor and Zimmerman is the adult, and may tell us why Martin didn’t run straight home. Although “stand your ground” applies to Martin as well, meaning he had no legal requirement to run.

          1. Leland

            Martin’s age is relevant because Martin is a minor and Zimmerman is the adult, and may tell us why Martin didn’t run straight home.

            Ok, I’ll bite. How does Martin being a minor explain why he didn’t run home?

            If that’s a tough question, then explain how Martin being a minor means Zimmerman doesn’t need to check the street sign?

    2. Leland

      Zimmerman has confessed to killing Martin. He has to prove that a reasonable person would fire a gun in his situation.

      Not according to the Judge or the state of Florida.

      Jeantel’s story of how the altercation started is wildly at odds with Zimmerman’s.

      Her story is widly at odds with her story during any given month since the shooting. To believe Jeantel, you have to believe she could write in cursive to provide written testimony, but not read in cursive.

      You have to believe that Martin goes off and attacks every “crazy-ass cracker” he sees

      Nope. Don’t believe it at all. No evidence supports that he did this everytime. Nor is it germane to this case. Only need to know he did it this one time, which is what Jeantal suggests.

      Wrestling for your gun is self-defense.

      Nope.

      You wrestling for somebody else’s gun is also self-defense.

      Nope. Again, I ask that you try wrestling a gun from a security guard and say it is self-defense.

      If both parties can claim self-defense, then don’t we have to go back to how the fight started?

      Sure. And so far, it appears that the Prosecution has made the case that Zimmerman claimed on the night of the shooting. I’m not sure the defense even needs to call any witness to the stand, which again speaks against your claim that Zimmerman has to prove anything.

      1. Chris Gerrib

        Zimmerman is not a security guard. He was not uniformed. He did not identify himself.

        There is no way for Martin to know who Zimmerman is. Zimmerman could be a serial killer for all Martin knew.

        1. Leland

          If Martin doesn’t know who Zimmerman is, then Martin especially has no right to assault him. It doesn’t matter what Martin thought Zimmerman was doing no more than it matters what Zimmerman thought Martin was doing. What matters is that Martin physically assaulted Zimmerman, took him to the ground, continued to fight with Zimmerman even when Martin had the upper hand; and it was then, as prosecutor’s evidence tells us, that Martin noticed Zimmerman was armed.

          He did not identify himself.

          It doesn’t seem Martin gave Zimmerman much of a chance to say he was with the neighborhood watch. Perhaps if Martin had asked rather than assuming Zimmerman was a “crazy-ass cracker”, Martin would be alive today.

          1. Chris Gerrib

            So if somebody is following me, finds me and starts fishing around in their pockets for God knows what, if I don’t know who they are I can’t defend myself?

            It’s not “the prosecutor’s evidence” as to when the gun came into play, it’s Zimmerman’s statement. Which is at issue here.

            Per Zimmerman, Martin did ask “do you have a problem with me?” Seems a perfect time to say “Yes, I’m neighborhood watch.” Per Jeantal, Zimmerman started by asking Martin “who are you and what are you doing around here?” Again, perfect opportunity to say “Hey, I’m neighborhood watch, and we’ve had some problems lately.”

          2. Leland

            So if somebody is following me, finds me and starts fishing around in their pockets for God knows what, if I don’t know who they are I can’t defend myself?

            Correct.

            Just because you’re a paranoid asshole that watches too many horror movies you think are real; doesn’t mean the person walking along the same path as you isn’t trying to get a bag of skittles out of his pocket. Now once said person decides you are a crazy-ass cracker and decided to beat your ass; then you can to defend yourself. And in some states, you’d even be within the law to use deadly force for for defense.

            Per Zimmerman, Martin did ask “do you have a problem with me?” Seems a perfect time to say “Yes, I’m neighborhood watch.”

            Sure. It would have also been a perfect time for Martin to listen rather than fight. In fact, Martin could have ran for his life if he feared Zimmerman was a rapist or serial killer, but Martin didn’t do that either. Martin can also stand his ground, but standing one’s ground by law requires the other person to first do something illegal. Perhaps, Gerrib, you can point to the evidence that Zimmerman was doing something illegal prior to Martin pummeling him?

          3. Chris Gerrib

            Per Zimmerman, Martin did listen. Zimmerman told Martin a lie (“I don’t have a problem with you.”)

            Your theory of self-defense seems to be that I have to take the first hit. Not sure I agree with it or that it’s legal, but since neither of us are lawyers I’ll let it go.

            You don’t have any evidence that Martin hit first. All you have is Zimmerman’s statement, which is by definition biased. I keep quoting it because you seem to think Zimmerman’s work is Gospel, but it’s inherently less reliable because it’s self-serving.

            There is a contradictory statement – Jeantal’s – which you and I can debate the validity of. The jury’s opinion on that is what will matter. There is Zimmerman’s concern about “punks always getting away” which does not suggest fear or caution, rather an aggressive attempt to stop somebody.

            In short, we get back to my four questions above. The jury will have to decide who they believe and what a reasonable response would be.

          4. Leland

            All you have is Zimmerman’s statement, which is by definition biased. I keep quoting it because you seem to think Zimmerman’s work is Gospel, but it’s inherently less reliable because it’s self-serving.

            Nonsense. Over and over in this thread, I stated I based my evidence on what the prosecution brought to the trial. Do you know how today’s events started? The Prosecution had to request the Judge to strike the comments made by Serino, because Serino, when asked, said he believed Zimmerman was truthful in his statements to him. That’s Serino, not me. Alas, the Judge agreed with the State, and struck that testimony from the State’s own officer.

            In short, we get back to my four questions above.

            Your 4 questions are irrelevant because they are not the questions that will be posed to the jury. Both Rand and me answered your questions. Your very first one is completely bogus, as it is the State’s requirement to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman murdered Martin. That’s always true in a United State’s court. Don’t believe me, go check in on the Nadal Hasan trial. Oh, and Hasan claimed self-defense too.

          5. George Turner

            @Chris,

            You don’t have any evidence that Martin hit first.

            There is no evidence that Zimmerman ever struck any blow, yet he obviously received a great many, both according to the forensic evidence at eye witness testimony. So that would indicate that Martin struck the first blow and every other blow, including the last one.

    3. wodun

      “Zimmerman has confessed to killing Martin. He has to prove that a reasonable person would fire a gun in his situation.”

      No, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was responsible. From the testimony so far, it doesn’t look good for the prosecution.

      “If both parties can claim self-defense, then don’t we have to go back to how the fight started?”

      That is a good question but you toss out lots of theoretical sequence of events that are not backed up by any witness testimony or forensic evidence. There are a lot of possible scenarios but you have to look at the evidence for them.

      “There is Zimmerman’s concern about “punks always getting away” which does not suggest fear or caution, rather an aggressive attempt to stop somebody.”

      Actually, it suggest frustration and resignation, like there is nothing he can do but report what happened just like he had done several other times.

    4. me

      “You have to believe that Martin goes off and attacks every “crazy-ass cracker” he sees – especially on cold and wet nights when he’s trying to get home to watch a ball game, and the cracker in question is his size and not obviously a soft target.”

      Except that the late Mr. Martin stood six foot four and weighed 250 pounds, and was built like a defensive lineman. Zimmerman is 5’7″, if that, and pear-shaped, about the same weight. Not that this kept Mr. Martin from circling back and attacking him from behind; this behavior is normal in a culture where they don’t get brave until it’s six on one, preferably against an eight-year-old white girl or an octogenarian grandmother.

      And yes, such thuggish behavior is not in the least uncommon among violent, sociopathic “diverse urban yoots” and “No-Limit Niggas” like the late Mr. Martin, who tend to walk around with a chip on their shoulders, with something to prove and a hatred of “crackers,” who are anyone with lighter skin than their own, especially if they appear to work an honest job for a living instead of standing on the street corner all day pushing dope. This is actually pretty common knowledge among people who’ve had the misfortune of having to deal with such individuals long enough to notice the pattern.

  9. Paul Breed

    I may be wasting my time.. but I’ve got to try…. someone is wrong on the internet…. Is there any evidence of any kind that contradicts Zimmermans story? Is there ANY evidence that GZ pursued TM? Based on where TM was reported to be and where the final confrontation happened TM had to be the one that turned around and came back. Is there any evidence to contradict GZ testimony that he got out of his truck to read a street sign and was returning to his truck when attacked? The location where he finished his 911 call and the location of the final confrontation is roughly between the end of the 911 call and the truck…. The fact that when the police told Zimmerman they had video tape and he said “thank god” says it all…. You can’t look at GZ’s history and call him a racist, he caused a big stink about and incident with a homeless black man where he protested the police actions…

    1. Rand Simberg Post author

      Is there any evidence of any kind that contradicts Zimmermans story?

      No. That’s the problem that the prosecution and the other race baiters have.

      1. Leland

        He also told the police dispatcher he would discontinue the pursuit. Evidence provided by the prosecution seems to support that he indeed got out of his car to check the street sign and was returning to it, as Paul just noted.

          1. Leland

            He told the dispatcher he stopped. Did he?

            Doesn’t matter if he did or not; you just perjured the evidence you claimed showed that Zimmerman continued to pursue Martin. He told the dispatcher two statements. When you keep them in sequence, you learn that the pursuit was past tense.

  10. Paul Breed

    Also lets say the story went down exactly as the pro Martin people say…. At the point Martin has Zimmerman on the ground and starts pounding him with no chance for Zimmerman to escape it becomes self defense regardless of how it started… Zimmerman had a bloody nose and Martin had ZERO injuries other than the gun shot… tell me who started the physical altercation?

    1. Tim

      Does it? Even if I am perceived as being at fault for having provoked the attack? Theoretically you are saying according to the legal statutes it doesn’t matter at that point, but what about the reality of court case verdicts under similar circumstances, which is the only real law? Would love to see the number of times defendants perceived as being at fault for provoking the attack still get acquitted on self-defense.

  11. Texas CJ

    From the above…Chris notes that “He told the dispatcher he was pursuing” and cites that as proof. He then told the dispatcher he stopped…but now he’s lying? Really? R E A L L Y?

    1. Karl Hallowell

      Chris is doing adversarial argument. By that, you can accept claims made by the opposition which hurt their case and discount claims which favor their case. But I wonder why Chris is arguing more like a prosecutor and less like a commenter on a blog. That’s pretty strong bias without much reason for having it.

      1. Chris Gerrib

        My bias is that I see no particular reason to believe Zimmerman. He’s telling a story that makes him out to be the good guy, and maybe he is.

        But Zimmerman’s story doesn’t make sense to me. He tells the dispatcher that he’s following somebody, then police later that he’s looking for a street sign.

        Zimmerman meets up with somebody he’s been following and called police on, and rather than ask “who are you?” he waits until the person is in front of him and then when asked says “I don’t have a problem with you.” Really?

        Per Zimmerman, Martin supposedly decides to start a fight with an unknown man of roughly equal size for no apparent reason. This fight supposedly involves a lot of pummeling, yet Zimmerman’s injuries consist of a broken nose and two scratches on the back of his head.

        Per Zimmerman, (AKA, “the version of events most favorable to Zimmerman”) Zimmerman never identifies himself or makes any effort to assuage the fears of somebody he’s following.

        If I put Zimmerman’s story in a novel, people wouldn’t believe it. Martin is doing stuff “for the convenience of the author” instead of what you’d expect a character in his situation to do, and Zimmerman is repeatedly acting in contradiction to his stated motives.

        Since Zimmerman is acting in contradiction to his stated motives, I have to suspect that his real motives were different. The most reasonable motive for those actions is to stop and detain Martin – something Zimmerman had no authority to do and knew so.

    2. Leland

      Not to distract from Texas CJ’s comments here and below but:

      Per Zimmerman, Martin supposedly decides to start a fight with an unknown man of roughly equal size for no apparent reason.

      Martin supposedly decided to engage the unknown man of smaller size because he was a crazy-white ass cracker that might have been up to no good. At least that is the evidence submitted by the prosecution via Martin’s girlfriend. That alone casts reasonable doubt that Zimmerman started the fight.

      If the lack of cuts on Martin’s fists suggest he didn’t fight, then the similar lack of cuts on Zimmerman would mean the same, but we have an eyewitness that confirms Martin was on top of Zimmerman, and at the very least, hurling his arms toward Zimmerman. This to provides reasonable doubt that Zimmerman initiated the violence.

  12. ken anthony

    Chris, how did your reality get so warped?

    Let’s say we can not believe a word from Zimmerman even though he is consistent both with his own statements and the facts.

    Let’s say Zimmerman was a crazed racist killer with gun drawn, perhaps even firing at shadows for effect.

    Now let’s work backward.

    The kid was shot, right? That produces trajectory evidence, right? You know what that tells us, right? Now let’s move back some more.

    At some point they are both on their feet. You want us to believe Zimmerman had his gun out ready to kill.

    Question: If you have a gun, ready to kill and the other guy has nothing. How do they end up fighting on the ground?

  13. Shibes Meadow

    If GZ is found not guilty: riots.

    Therefore he will be found guilty.

    And if by some miracle he is not?

    Well, let’s just hope he’s kept his life insurance premium current. There’s a reason he wears a ballistic vest. Too bad he can’t wrap his head in one. Sooner or later… whether by an FBI sharpshooter, a tactical cop, or a “disgruntled youth”…

    Black Run America is not mocked. Those who dare defend themselves will be dealt with — one way or another.

  14. Leland

    I realize many, who actually paid any attention to the trial, know this, but to clear things up for Gerrib; here is the Florida Law regarding 2nd degree murder:

    (2) The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual, is murder in the second degree and constitutes a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

    This is what the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

    1. Chris Gerrib

      I don’t know why the state charged murder – I have always said this was manslaughter. But manslaughter is a lesser included charge, and the details are any or all of:
      Manslaughter by Act: Committing an act that was neither excusable, nor justified that resulted in the death of another person.
      Manslaughter by Procurement: Persuading, inducing, or encouraging another person to commit an act that resulted in the death of another person.
      Manslaughter by Culpable Negligence: Engaging in “Culpably Negligent” conduct that resulted in the death of another person.

      I go with “culpable negligence.” Zimmerman’s actions and state of mind make me think of the case where a couple was confronted at gunpoint by neighbors and then arrested and forced to spend the night in jail when they tried to move into the home they had just purchased.

      I see in Zimmerman the same over-zealousness and self-justification, just with a much worse outcome.

      1. Texas CJ

        Let’s say GZ was driving thru the bad part of town as a shortcut to get home and KNEW that to stop for any reason in that part of town would invite trouble. GZ gets a flat tire in the middle of this ‘bad zone’ and sub-sequently gets attacked while changing the tire due to his ‘cracker’ status. He manages to kill the assailant w/ the tire iron.

        Is that self defense or culpable negligence?

        1. Chris Gerrib

          Self-defense. Completely irrelevant to this discussion, but self-defense.

          In this hypothetical, Zimmerman didn’t initiate any action that could even be construed as threatening. There’s no reason to doubt his story – he’s acting based on clear motives – to get home.

          1. Texas CJ

            In the hypothetical, GZ didn’t initiate any action that could even be construed as threatening. Hmmmmm.

            GZ, Neighborhood Watch Captain, on his rounds around the housing development. Sees a guy he doesn’t recognize, who’s behaviour indicates a pending robbery. He decides to follow him to see what he’s up to (not a crime and not threatening), calls 911 (not threatening), talks on the phone (not threatening) follows a bit more to get a clearer description, hangs up and walks back to his car checking street signs on the way (not threatening), calls 911 again (???), gets jumped.

            He’s acting based on clear motives – to identify and report a perceived threat to the community.

            At some point TM became aware of GZs presence. But up to this point…nothing illegal has occurred. So TM, a 6’5″ 250lb man, decides to jump a smaller man to get him off his back because he ‘felt’ threatened? That’s not self-defense…it’s assault…a culpably negligent behavior that turned out bad for him.

          2. Chris Gerrib

            who’s behaviour indicates a pending robbery What, walking while talking on a phone?

            follows a bit more to get a clearer description – AKA, “gets out of the car and runs after” = threatening. Remember, Martin doesn’t know Zimmerman’s on the phone, let alone with whom.

            walks back to his car checking street signs on the way – checks street signs at the corner of 2 streets in a community with 3? Walks back to his car while a “punk is “always getting away.”???

            gets jumped – so Zimmerman says. We know there was a fight, yes, but we don’t know how it started. BTW, Travon was 5 foot 11 inches and 158 pounds per the autopsy.

          3. Tim

            Yes I don’t know where that 6’5″ 250lb came from, I got the same autopsy results from Wikipedia. Still think little chance of Murder 2, but the jury can still find him guilty (I believe) by Florida law on the lesser charge of manslaughter. By the letter of the law even if he is at fault for causing the situation (his pursuit of Trayvon Martin), the defense can say he regains defender status because Martin was (allegedly) on top of him raining blows down making it impossible for him to disengage. However if the jury believes him to be at fault for causing the initial situation, they may not care about the letter of the law, wouldn’t surprise me to get a guilty verdict (or hung jury) on manslaughter.

    2. Leland

      Manslaughter points to section 776 for exceptions which includes:

      776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
      (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony;

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