[MSNBC has 183 pages of documents]
[UPDATE: ABC News has quite a headline:
Cops, Witnesses Back Up George Zimmerman's Version of Trayvon Martin Shooting
Court docs: Trayvon Martin shooting 'ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman']
JACKSONVILLE - Never before seen evidence in the case against George Zimmerman shows that Sanford Police believed the encounter between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was "ultimately avoidable," if Zimmerman had "remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement," according to hundreds of pages of evidence in the case released this afternoon.
Direct TV prepared the arrest affidavit: "Don't get out of your car. If you get out of your car...".
Somehow, an even more helpful societal message - don't punch strangers in the face - seems to have been lost.
There is a cryptic tox result:
The autopsy report says there was THC — the active chemical found in marijuana — in Trayvon's blood and urine.
Before I say "I told you so", let me ask this - would this result indicate recent drug use, as in, Martin went out for a smoke to prime himself for the NBA All-Star game, or would it mean he had smoked in the previous weeks or month (Martin was on suspension for having an empty marijuana baggie, after all)? I know the normal employment test can pick up deferred use, but maybe this was a more time-sensitive blood test or some such. [In UPDATES I am currently concluding the drug use was probably *not* recent, but I am hardly an expert.]
Zimmerman did say on the 911 call that Martin looked like he was "on drugs or something". The defense will find this to be very interesting.
The report by Serino said Martin had $40.15, Skittles candy, a red lighter, headphones and a photo pin in his pocket.
A lighter but nothing to light. He smoked 'em, he ditched 'em, he never had 'em. Pick one.
(CNN) -- Trayvon Martin had drugs in his system when he was fatally shot earlier this year by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, according to autopsy results released Thursday.
Martin's blood contained THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, according to an autopsy conducted February 27 -- the day after the teenager was shot dead.
Toxicology tests found elements of the drug in the teenager's chest blood -- 1.5 nanograms per milliliter of one type (THC), as well as 7.3 nanograms of another type (THC-COOH) -- according to the medical examiner's report. There was also a presumed positive test of cannabinoids in Martin's urine. It was not immediately clear how significant these amounts were.
Concentrations of THC routinely rise to 100 to 200 ng/ml after marijuana use, though it typically falls to below 5 ng/ml within three hours of it being smoked, according to information on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website.
While some states have zero-tolerance policies for any drug traces for driving while impaired, others set certain benchmarks, the website of California's Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs notes. In Nevada, that equates to 2 ng/ml for THC and 5 ng/ml for THC-COOH -- also known as marijuana metabolite. The cutoff level in Ohio is 2 ng/ml for THC and 50 ng/ml for THC-COOH.
If I am following along, this means that Martin exceeded one impairment threshold but not the other in Nevada and was below both thresholds in Ohio. And the obvious caveat is that the autopsy was a day later; I have no idea whether death would halt the breakdown of those drugs, but I bet we will find out.
From the California branch of NORML:
Blood tests are a better detector of recent use, since they measure the actual presence of THC in the system. Because they are invasive and difficult to administer, blood tests are used less frequently. They are typically used in investigations of accidents, injuries and DUIs, where they can give a useful indication of whether the subject was actually under the influence.
We also learn that as THC is metabolized it forms
THC-COOH, which can linger in the body for days and weeks with no impairing effects.
And pressing on:
Unlike urine tests, blood tests detect the active presence of THC in the bloodstream. In the case of smoked marijuana, THC peaks rapidly in the first few minutes after inhaling, often to levels above 100 ng/ml in blood plasma. It then declines quickly to single-digit levels within an hour. High THC levels are therefore a good indication that the subject has smoked marijuana recently. THC can remain at low but detectable levels of 1- 2 ng/ml for 8 hours or more without any measurable signs of impairment. Chronic users have been found to show residual blood THC levels of 1.5 (+/- 0.5) ng/ml for a full week after ceasing use [Karschner].
Note: THC blood levels above are recorded in terms of concentration in serum or plasma. Most U.S. labs report levels based on whole blood instead. Concentrations in whole blood are about half as high. Therefore 1 - 2 ng/ml in plasma is equal to 0.5 - 1.0 ng/ml in whole blood.
Unlike urine, blood test results can give a useful indicator of whether one is impaired by marijuana. Studies have shown that high THC blood levels are correlated with impaired driving. An expert panel review of scientific studies on driving under the influence of cannabis concluded that THC levels above 7 - 10 ng/ml in plasma or 3.5 - 5 ng/ml in blood indicate likely impairment [Grotenhermen].
Marijuana and Impairment
In A Primer of Drug Action, pharmacologist Robert Julian, MD, PhD, wrote, “ . . . absorption of inhaled drugs is rapid and complete. The onset of behavioral effects of THC in smoked marijuana occurs almost immediately after smoking begins and corresponds with the rapid attainment of peak concentrations in plasma. Unless more is smoked, the effects seldom last longer than 3 to 4 hours.”
In the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, Franjo Grotenhermen, MD, wrote, ”Pulmonary [lung] assimilation of inhaled THC causes a maximum plasma concentration within minutes, while psychotropic effects [the “high”] start within seconds to a few minutes, reach a maximum after 15 to 30 minutes, and taper off within 2 or 3 hours.”
In summary, any mental or motor “impairment” is associated with the psychotropic effects (the “high”), and these effects are equally associated with pain relief. When the plasma THC levels return to low-levels at 3 hours and baseline around 4 hours after smoking marijuana, the high resolves, and so too does any impairment. This is important: no impairment after 3 or 4 hours from taking THC.
Nevada talked about raising the level to 15.
And this chart (from a marijuana advocacy group) shows THC and THC-COOH levels after one joint. If we work with that, it is hard to see how Martin could have smoked a joint in the previous hour.
IF I CAN GET OFF DRUGS FOR A MOMENT: The Orlando Sentinel is continually updating their story, which now includes this on the screaming:
Two FBI audio specialists tried to identify who was screaming in the background of one 911 call and concluded it was impossible, according to the documents. The quality of the recording was not good enough and the screams didn't last long enough, they wrote.
The FBI report audio report starts on p. 146. The FBI took a listen to the "Effing Punks/Phones/C**ns/Pukes" mystery but came up empty; the FDLE took a stand in their arrest affidavit, apparently on their own initiative.
As to the screaming (p. 147-8):
"ULTIMATELY AVOIDABLE": Several news outlets are keying on the notion that the tragedy was "ultimately aviodble" if Zimmerman had stayed in his car. The complete passage includes a second scenario - Zimmerman identifies himself as a concerned citizen:
It is not clear at all as to how their encounter unfolded, so how do we know this did not happen? And in any case, both Jeralyn Merritt and Bill Jacobson explain that this "Butterfly Effect" theory of the crime is not how the law works.
THE CHALLENGE OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY: Two people (the 13 year old and a woman) saw someone lying on the ground calling for help, but no assailant. That's on p. 42.
ID'ING The SCREAM: Mr. Martin's statement (p. 56) that the screaming heard on a 911 call was not from Trayvon was not helpful to an arrest:
This 7-Eleven video seems to have a timeatamp in the upper left corner. One set of numbers is fixed at 18:9:9, which woul dbe one second short of 7PM.
However, the numbers that actually change as the 'action' unfolds run from 23:44 to 24:14 (roughly half a minute), with the lead numbers apparently cut from the picture. Presumably the missing hour number does not correspond to 7PM, so I infer that either (a) Martin left the 7-Eleven at 6:24 and took a slow walk home, or (b) that timestamp means something else entirely, or is erroneous.
Presumably the police have pinned this down, but I don't see it in the reports.