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April 14, 2012

Comments

Clarice

TM, Kopel's view seems to me a good, common sense interpretation.

Steve

Stand your ground could apply as a justification for Zimmerman to follow Martin even after being advised not to by the dispatcher. Zimmerman's ground was the entire housing community. He was functioning as a neighborhood watch member. As a protector of the community so to speak, Zimmerman is almost required to check on unknown people he sees in the area.

Tom Maguire
Do a fake FBI analysis that has Zimmerman saying "fucking coons," The press seems willing to follow whatever the expert of the day says, and yesterdays certainties are today's falsehoods.

At which point I become a total fanboy of Corey, her investigators, and the sworn affidavit that claims he said "Effing punks".

My guess is that the Feds can conclude whatever they want if this is their hook for a Federal trial, but... is there even the slightest chance that Corey included this otherwise gratuitous 'puks' comment to keep the Feds at bay?

Wheels within wheels, and me without my tinfoil...

AliceH

A 2nd degree murderer does not talk to the police without having a lawyer present.

I keep seeing this sort of argument (and heard it during jury deliberations more than once) but really what does it boil down to but "a criminal wouldn't be that stupid"? I happen to think a whole lot of criminals are.

Steve

"... is there even the slightest chance that Corey included this otherwise gratuitous 'puks' comment to keep the Feds at bay? ..."

more likely she is acting at the direction of the feds. Holder and Obama. The last thing Obama wants is a riot in Florida before the Nov election.

Tom Maguire
Unless there is an exception to the hearsay rule when the declarant is dead, the jury will never hear Dee-Dee say "Yrayvon said he was running away."

The timing is so bad I don't mind if she does get to say it. If Martin runs his re-appearnce is inexplicable. Without her testimony the prosecution could at least pretend he curled up in a ball and shivered in terror, awaiting execution from the Scary man With A Gun. A Gun!!

Steve

"... but really what does it boil down to but "a criminal wouldn't be that stupid"? I happen to think a whole lot of criminals are. ..."

I do not see Zimmerman as a criminal type at all. A bit over zealous in confronting people up to no good. I think that type of person is going to have a very hard time withholding the truth from a police investigator.

Steve

I think the prevention of rioting is the primary motivation of the state and federal officials involved in this case. And Zimmerman could even be motivated to go along with the incarceration and prosecution show so that he can regain some degree of anonymity in his life.

Clarice

I, too, think Corey included that affidavit on the 911 call to tamp down the lynch mob. The rest of her action , it seems to me, was to endure her re-election.
Time, once, again, for a little sherbet--SNL of the case:

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_tv_tvblog/2012/04/saturday-night-live-skewers-florida-piers-morgan.html

jwest

“Without her testimony the prosecution could at least pretend he curled up in a ball and shivered in terror, awaiting execution from the Scary man With A Gun. A Gun!!”
Posted by: Tom Maguire | April 15, 2012 at 10:10 AM

This is where the prosecution is going. DeeDee will never be called as a witness.

The narrative is already set, so there is no reason to bring someone forth that can only muddle what is already established as fact. Of course, the prosecution will allude to “facts and testimony that are not being allowed”, which of course they can’t do but they will, bringing the specter of mysterious forces that trying to suppress the truth and deny justice for poor Trayvon.

Luckily, the jurors who all swore that they hold no preconceived notions or even heard of the case prior to being chosen will all know the DeeDee story and sympathize with her being blocked from detailing how poor Trayvon was hunted down like a hoodie-wearing dog.

MarkO

It remains true, Clarice, I like your best. Great job.

AliceH

You've gone in a circle there, Steve. First you say his behavior is reason to believe he's an innocent man, then you say BECAUSE you think he's innocent that's reason to believe his behavior is not that of a guilty, not-so-smart criminal.

MarkO

*yours*. Egad. Another day with poor typing.

derwill

Corey's contention is profiling + pursuing = depravity. But if you look more closely at the evidence available so far, I think it tends to undercut rather than support her contention.

#1. There had been a rash of burglaries in the neighborhood. Z, on the way to store, sees someone behaving suspiciously and he calls the police. That is the act of a responsible citizen and neighbor, not that of a depraved mind.

#2. What was the suspicious behavior that prompted that call to the police? There is absolutely no evidence from the 911 tapes to support that it was walking while black and eating skittles. It is the dispatcher who first brings up race, and Z's response of, "He looks black," suggests that he wasn't sure even in his own mind what race M was. Also, from what Z tells the dispatcher, M. was not walking down the sidewalk, but rather he was in the front yards, close to the buildings. Sure, there could be an innocent explanation for this--it was dark, raining, and M. could have been lost--but Z can't know this, which is why he called the police in the first place.

#3. Pursuing. At one place in the 911 tape, the dispatcher seems to be encouraging Z. to keep M. in sight and describe what he is doing, which would be hard to do without pursuing. And later, when the dispatcher seems to suggest that he stop observing (You don't need to do that.) Z. says OK, which suggests at the least a willingness to comply.

#4. Dee Dee and running home + hoodie. It's always struck me as odd that after M. tells her that he's be followed, they then have a conversation about whether he should run or not. I mean, if you were scared, you wouldn't talk about running, you'd just do it. OTH, if you were casing out houses and you thought the follower could be a cop, you might debate whether running would make you look guilty. Also Dee Dee says T. told her he was now pulling up his hoodie. Again, it's a strange thing to say. If you're scared of the person following, why would your hoodie being up or down matter? OTH, if you were up to no good, you might think of pulling your hoodie up to hide your face making it harder to identify you in line-up later on down the road.

If I were the SP, I would be worried about putting Dee Dee on the stand. There are some really fishy parts to her story that are already out there on the record and that a skillful defense attorney could use to create reasonable doubt.

half canadian

I've been wondering why the girlfriend didn't call back, or didn't call 911, or something.
Pure speculation, and should be considered BS, but maybe they were having a fight over the phone. She was nagging him for getting suspended from school, he was putting her in his place, and she hung up on him.
Crump finds out that she was on the phone with him, she doesn't want to admit that they fought on his last night on earth, and he coaches her through a plausible scenario.

East Bay Jay

Z's testimony the night of the killing has always been the key. If he gave testimony freely that night and they have yet to find anything definitive (something that scales 'beyond a reasonable doubt') contradicting his statement you have to believe he made up a story when he could not know if there were witnesses to the real story.

Don't forget Trayvon's profiling of Zimmerman. He assumed, correctly, that the short, chubby White Hispanic would drop from being sucker punched. The society of short chubby white hispanics put out the following statement: we've been fighting 'glass jaw' prejudice for decades and enough is enough!

Steve

"... I've been wondering why the girlfriend didn't call back, or didn't call 911, or something. ..."

What if the police did not find a phone on Martin's body? Wasn't his body unclaimed for 3 days after the shooting? If the police had his phone they would have called the numbers he had stored in the phone.

Here is the theory ... Martin ran home to drop off everything he had. Then he went back to confront Zimmerman.


Clarice

Thanks, Mark.

Steve, there is no evidence to support the claim--first made i think by Sharpton--that the body remained in the morgue for three days, a claim made to show police indifference. Mr Martin was informed of his son's death and whereabouts the morning after he was killed.

I don't recall anything definitive about where the phone was found, but per Dee Dee's testimony he must have had it on him when the fight took place.

Steve

... Steve, there is no evidence to support the claim--first made i think by Sharpton--that the body remained in the morgue for three days ...

thanks for the correction.

from wikipedia: "... Martin's body was taken to the morgue where he was tagged as a John Doe as he was not carrying any identification.[20] Martin's father, Tracy Martin, called to file a Missing Persons report early on February 27 and police officers arrived at his fiancée's condo with photographs of his dead son before 8 am. ..."

The police did not find any identification. They must not have found a cell phone.

Steve

the Reuters report cited by Wikipedia says the body had a cell phone. Also had a can of iced tea and the bag of skittles.

How does he hold onto the iced tea? And why not use the cell phone to contact people on it? Maybe it was too late and they would do so later. The Father called very early the next morning. But then, if the police had the cell phone, why not call everyone on it after the body was identified? Maybe Martin had mentioned encountering Zimmerman earlier.

The reuters report has good info. It describes what Mr. Martin says the police told him what Zimmerman had said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/03/us-usa-florida-shooting-trayvon-idUSBRE8320UK20120403

At the time of the shooting, Trayvon Martin was not carrying identification - only $22, a cellphone, and the now familiar bag of candy and can of iced tea. His body, taken to the Volusia County Medical Examiner's office, was tagged as a John Doe.

Although Martin had identified his son to police on Monday, February 27, and asked Serino the next day to issue police clearance for releasing the body, not until Wednesday was a funeral director permitted to drive it back to South Florida. In Miami, the boy's mother, Sybrina Fulton, 46, a program coordinator for the Miami Dade Housing Authority, stayed home in bed.


Clarice

So, you see, the body was not as Sharpton claimed "unclaimed" for three days in the morgue. It was kept there as the investigation continued.

As for the iced tea, I believe that others noted a report that the pocket of the hoodie bulged as though something--say the bottle of tea--was in it.

I wouldn't rely for the truth of the matter what Mr. Martin tolf Reuters the cops told him that Zimmerman said. Just saying--ever play the game "telephone"? That's why not to talk it as the last word on the subject of what Zimmerman told the police.

Chubby

((Maybe Axelrod can get some photoshopped pics of the Koch bros. strangling kittens and puppies handed off to the AP and MSNBC.))

even worse, Clarice, pictures of kittens and puppies in carriers strapped to the tops of Koch bros. vehicles

AliceH

Oh, Chubby that's the sort of inspired visual image that makes me wish I knew how to photoshop!

Danube of Thought

MJW is surely correct about the excited utterance exceptiom. That testimony will come in.

Back in the USA.

Ignatz

Is there some significance to Iced Tea and Skittles that I'm not getting other than the possibility they are used to portray Trayvon as an innocent child?

cboldt

-- I've been wondering why the girlfriend didn't call back, or didn't call 911, or something. --


She says she did try calling back, but got no answer. And, after that, she says something like the line went dead, whatever that means.

Danube of Thought

I just read bubu's statement of the teenage view of trial tactics. Absolutely wonderful.

I agree with cboldt: no way a judge will stop this short of a trial. So GZ will be facing the full force of the state, with a special prosecutor with unlimited resources. Corey can apply a lot of pressure on GZ to cut a deal, and he may find it awfully hard to resist.

Danube of Thought

If the defense likes what Dee-Dee has to say, they can always subpoena her as a trial witness. And they may very well be able to take her deposition before trial.

MarkO


Here is the little I know about Florida criminal cases and the excited utterance exception. This is driven by the US Confrontation clause and Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004),

State v. Lopez
Police officers in Tallahassee were dispatched on a complaint of an assault and kidnapping. Upon arrival, Officer Gaston met Hector Ruiz, the alleged victim, and asked what happened. Mr. Ruiz, upset and nervous, blurted out that Mr. Lopez had pointed a gun at him and forced him from his car. Mr. Ruiz told a second officer, Officer Arias, that the gun was still in his car. Officers recovered a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson.

Mr. Lopez was detained, given his Miranda rights, and questioned. Mr. Lopez admitted the .38 was his and that he had hidden the gun when he saw police officers.

The state charged Mr. Lopez with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The victim, Mr. Ruiz, appeared for a discovery deposition and was questioned by the defense. However, Mr. Ruiz could not be found for trial.9

The defense moved to exclude the statements Mr. Ruiz made on scene. The state argued the statements were excited utterances, while the defense argued they were not excited utterances and any mention or admission of such statements would violate Mr. Lopez’s Sixth Amendment confrontation rights. The trial court determined the statements were admissible under the excited utterance hearsay exception of F.S. §90.803(2) (2006). Mr. Lopez was found guilty, with the special finding that Mr. Lopez was in actual possession of the .38.

In its opinion, the Florida Supreme Court held the statements violated Mr. Lopez’s Sixth Amendment rights.10 In so holding, the Supreme Court determined: 1) the statements were excited utterances; 2) the statements were testimonial; but 3) the defense did not get an opportunity to cross-examine the witness.11

http://www.floridabar.org/divcom/jn/jnjournal01.nsf/Author/E6365F0AD031A7B985257567006E0205

MJW

MarkO, keep in mind the critical distinction is between testimonial and non-testimonial statements. A testimonial statement is basically one collected for the ultimate purpose of prosecuting the crime. Use of testimonial hearsay attempts to substitute a non-confrontable form of testimony, and therefore violates the 6th Amendment. The Lopez court quotes the SCOTUS case Davis v. Washington:

Statements are nontestimonial when made in the course of police interrogation under circumstances objectively indicating that the primary purpose of the interrogation is to enable police assistance to meet an ongoing emergency. They are testimonial when the circumstances objectively indicate that there is no such ongoing emergency, and that the primary purpose of the interrogation is to establish or prove past events potentially relevant to later criminal prosecution.
I think it's safe to say that any statement made in the course of everyday life to someone who is not a government investigator is non-testimonial.

cboldt

-- I agree with cboldt: no way a judge will stop this short of a trial. --


Based on the evidence we've seen, I think a judge should stop this short of a trial. I think Zimmerman can show to a preponderance of the evidence that his actions were justified self defense. If a trial judge does not agree, Zimmerman can appeal the decision.


My other remarks above were about the institutional pressure that favors the prosecutor, and about the effect the lynch-mob / press have on the proper application of law to the facts in hand. A judge will have pressure to do the wrong thing, and might do the wrong thing. But I don't think it is a slam dunk that Zimmerman faces trial.

bunkerbuster

Predictably, the identity conservative position went from:
There's no probable cause and anyone who thinks there is is an insane racist libtard who does homoerotic things we can't seem to get off of our minds, to:
Establishing probable cause is a very low standard and really means nothing. The judge should throw the case out because it hasn't eliminated all reasonable doubts, to:
The judge won't throw the case out because all those people who want a trial are an insane racist libtard lynch mob who do homoerotic things we can't seem to get off of our minds.
Identity conservatives whine ceaselessly about how their ideology isn't represented in the quality press and in high-prestige learning institutions. Why doesn't it occur to them that maybe the reason for that is the circular nature of their logic...

bunkerbuster

And there was the whole shibboleth about Zimmerman not having to prove anything, ie being presumed innocent. But now we have cboldt explaining: ``I think Zimmerman can show to a preponderance of the evidence that his actions were justified self defense.''
So, yeah, while in letter-of-the-law theory, Zimmerman can simply say "he needed killin'" and demand the people prove him wrong. But in practice, we all know Team Zimmerman's going to have to prove Martin unlawfully beat Zimmerman in order to prove self-defense, given there is zero presumption that its OK to shoot an unarmed teenager dead. To show Martin acted unlawfully, he's got to provide at an absolute minimum a preponderance of evidence.
The tricky part is going to be that, given that the gash allegedly requiring stitches on his head is probably a zit he scratched and the broken nose was probably just a bloody nose, so the defense is going to focus on the part where Martin tries to grab the gun and threatens to kill Zimmerman.
Martin's father didn't float the gun struggle -- an element apparently absent in the leaked police reports -- to the press just for the hell of it.

cboldt

Charge against Zimmerman reeks of unprofessionalism - Bob Barr

Most prosecutors, however, take their sworn duty to follow the facts and the law seriously and don’t cave to political pressure or public cries for “action” and jump in and level serious charges based on such factors.

Unfortunately, the special prosecutor appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to lead the Trayvon Martin investigation, Angela Corey, succumbed to just those pressures and has filed a charge of second-degree murder against Zimmerman.

The “affidavit of probable cause” filed by Corey last week charging Zimmerman with second-degree murder is woefully inadequate for what it purports to be — a factual basis on which to charge a person with an extremely serious criminal defense. It may be the weakest such affidavit I have ever read (and as a former United States attorney and long-time practicing criminal defense lawyer, I have reviewed many charging affidavits).

jimmyk

bubu doesn't seem to understand the difference between what's required to bring a case to trial, versus to convict. cboldt was talking about the first, which is a lower standard for the state, and therefore requiring more of the defense (preponderance of evidence). But if this piece of crap goes to trial, the defense only needs reasonable doubt, for which the bloody nose, cuts on the head, grass stains on the shirt, and half a dozen other pieces of evidence will be more than enough, at least in any sane courtroom.

Ignatius J Donnelly

I thought I read GZ had turned over medical records? Has anyone else herd that?

Ignatius J Donnelly

Paragraph 7: Paragraph seven is yet more of the same. It describes that Zimmerman believed there had been unsolved break-ins in the neighborhood, and “fucking punks” and “assholes” “always get away”. Credit where due, we finally have a specific attribution point for the statements by the affiants, it is specifically stated to be from the recorded 911 call. See, the state and affiants are capable of proper attribution when they want to. Small victory. The problem is, there is still NO improper or illegal activity described. None. So far, Zimmerman is judgmental and concerned about his neighborhood, but there is not one scintilla of illegal conduct.
Brnz

If the State says GZ said "punks" could the Feds swoop in after an aquittal and make part of their reason for charging GZ with a hate crime that GZ actually said "Coons"?

Ignatius J Donnelly

Whoops
The question should not be in italics.

cboldt

Ok, italics onitalics off somewhere along this line.

cboldt

-- I thought I read GZ had turned over medical records? Has anyone else herd that? --

I heard that the SPD file contains photos taken by SPD of Zimmerman's injuries, and that Zimmerman was treated by a physician for at least one scalp laceration and a broken nose. I don't know the protocol for getting a private medial consultation into the investigator's files, but I'd bet a copy was offered. The doctor can be deposed and give a sworn affidavit, as well.

cboldt

-- If the State says GZ said "punks" could the Feds swoop in after an aquittal and make part of their reason for charging GZ with a hate crime that GZ actually said "Coons"? --


Yes. The federal government is not bound to the rules of reality or the rules of law.

Sara

Why does it matter what happened before Zimmerman was attacked and on the ground? Seems to me that the only thing that matters is GZ's state of mind at the moment he fired his gun. Was he or was he not afraid at that moment for his life or of bodily harm.

When I volunteered at The House of Ruth, I heard dozens of stories of men going from zero to a 100 in a blink of an eye. The first few times the women were shocked, but after awhile they are more prepared and do what they can to mollify the abuser, usually without much success. When Martin cold-cocked GZ, everything that came before is irrelevant since the minute the situation changed to physical violence the mindset of all parties changes.

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