Zimmerman stuns court waives stand your ground

Posted in the Columbus Forum

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Oliver Canterberry

New Albany, OH

#1 Mar 5, 2013
George Zimmerman's attorneys stunned court observers Tuesday when they waived their client's right to a "Stand Your Ground" hearing slated for April that might have led to a dismissal of the charges in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin a year ago.

However, the defense lawyers didn't say whether they would waive the immunity hearing outright. They left open the possibility for that hearing to be rolled into Zimmerman's second degree murder trial. Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain in his Florida subdivision, shot and killed the teen, who was visiting a house in the area.

The move allows the defense more time to prepare for the trial this summer, but also raises the stakes.

Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law entitles a person to use deadly force if he believes his life is threatened, and absolves them of an obligation to retreat from a confrontation, even if retreat is possible.

In recent weeks, the Zimmerman defense has suffered several legal setbacks. Judge Debra Nelson has ruled in favor of the state that Zimmerman's bail conditions should not be loosened, and that Trayvon Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump was not required to sit for a deposition about his interactions with the state's most important witness, a young woman who was the last known person to speak with Trayvon Martin before his death on February 26 2012.

It was the defense's legal maneuvering which put Judge Nelson on the bench in this murder trial. Last summer Zimmerman's team successfully argued that the previous judge, Kenneth Lester, was unfit to preside over the trial after a caustic bail ruling where he blasted Zimmerman for misleading the court about his financial situation.

Zimmerman contends that he shot and killed the 17-year-old Martin after the teen confronted him as he walked to his father's girlfriend's house. Were Judge Nelson to have accepted his account under Stand Your Ground, all criminal proceedings would have immediately stopped, and Zimmerman would have walked free.

But another unfavorable ruling by Nelson could have been interpreted by jurors as a sign of guilt. Waiving the hearing could also prevent the prosecution from picking apart Zimmerman's testimony.

Before the April hearing was waived, Zimmerman's defense set out to attack the credibility of witness 8, arguably the key witness in the upcoming trial.

Defense attorney Donald West asked the court for more information about the allegedly false account she gave attorneys. According to records obtained by ABC News she was on the phone with Martin as his confrontation with Zimmerman began. She claims he told her that he was scared of a strange man following him.

The state admitted that witness 8 lied when she stated that she did not attend Martin's funeral because of a medical issue and that there are no medical records to support that claim. The defense wanted Nelson to question prosecutors about how they first learned that this claim was not true, but Nelson refused.

The defense also asked for law enforecement biographies of both Zimmerman and Martin, in particular Martin's social media history. "It's time and money to get some of the information here and we are running out of both," said West.

In an earlier hearing the judge ruled that Zimmerman's defense could subpoena Martin's social media history but the undertaking is timely and expensive. Authorities agreed to hand over the documents to the judge so that she could review them and determine if the defense should have them.
hey now hey

Columbus, OH

#2 Mar 5, 2013
Straight self-defense. Equals a walk. Equals a chimpout! rioting with arsons and general afri-mayhem. At least that's how obama is instructing the Grievance Industry Partners, Inc. on how to plot unrest.
Enzyte Bob

Blacklick, OH

#3 Mar 5, 2013
I'm guessing they don't want to show their cards to the prosecution.

“Don't trust the internet!”

Since: Jan 12

Location hidden

#4 Mar 5, 2013
I don't think they actually have many cards--from the fishing expeditions that they have been going on. Apparently what they wanted from the bios (and got) are social networking user-names. That's not likely to get them much from accounts that have been closed down--unless Facebook and Twitter cede client info without a legal fight, which is dubious.

Likewise the request for 6 months of Witness 8's medical records. Allegedly that had to do with confirming (or denying) the witness's statement about why she wasn't at Trayvon's funeral. Actually what she said under oath was pretty noncommittal on that topic--investigator asked her is she went. She said, no, she didn't feel well. He said, well, you went somewhere, the hospital or something. She said "yeah." The prosecution squelched that request by telling the judge there was no medical record. But a request for 6 months following the murder is pretty excessive just to establish whether she got medical treatment on the day of the funeral.

There's an attorney blog I've been following. That fellow suggests that "rolling the self-defense into the trial" would not meet with the approval of the court (but has not officially been asked)--and would violate Florida law or constitutionality. My personal theory is that O'Mara wants to use the notion of self-defense to soften the jury without actually having to make a case and have a judge rule on it. It's not very likely he could make a case that could pass muster with the judge--and having the judge's ruling on self-defense would make a pretty strong statement to a jury. By avoiding the immunity ruling he can try to imply self-defense and hope that the jury will either find him not guilty (pretty unlikely) or go for the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Enzyte Bob

Blacklick, OH

#5 Mar 5, 2013
FKA Reader wrote:
I don't think they actually have many cards--from the fishing expeditions that they have been going on.
It is up to the prosecution to prove things, not up to the defense. All the defense has to do is poke holes in the prosecution's case. Tactical strategy says you save what you have for the big trial.
hey now hey

Columbus, OH

#6 Mar 5, 2013
FKA Reader wrote:
I don't think...
You're right. You don't think.

“Don't trust the internet!”

Since: Jan 12

Location hidden

#7 Mar 5, 2013
Enzyte Bob wrote:
<quoted text>
It is up to the prosecution to prove things, not up to the defense. All the defense has to do is poke holes in the prosecution's case. Tactical strategy says you save what you have for the big trial.
My understanding is that in an immunity hearing it would be up to the defense to prove a reasonable person in the situation would have been in fear for their life. The only way they can do that is to put Zimmerman on the stand and allow him to be cross-examined. Which would be a tremendous risk as he has a lot of contradictory stuff on record that can be brought in to discredit him.

I think that O'Mara has been focusing his efforts on discrediting witnesses, but I think that the prosecution's case is going to rest on forensic. Should be an expert vs expert sort of case--but Z's side cannot afford much in the way of experts.

Unless George has made a major donation recently.

Since: Dec 11

Middletown, OH

#8 Mar 5, 2013
They won't have enough money to prosecute due to the sequester. No wait, I have it wrong. Nuclear war is coming and it's going to be real bad unless we can elect a full politburo in 2014.
Skittle and fists, skittles and fists. Learn to fight like Obama's adopted son. Stand your ground.
Che Reagan Christ

Lodi, OH

#9 Mar 5, 2013
Enzyte Bob wrote:
<quoted text>
It is up to the prosecution to prove things, not up to the defense. All the defense has to do is poke holes in the prosecution's case. Tactical strategy says you save what you have for the big trial.
Except that self defense, at least in Ohio, is an affirmative defense.

“Larchmont's Leading Citizen”

Since: Dec 12

Hilliard, OH

#10 Mar 5, 2013
Lawyer: State's most important witness in George Zimmerman murder case lied

SANFORD — Trayvon Martin's girlfriend, the state's most important witness in the George Zimmerman murder case, was caught in a lie Tuesday.

It was not the first piece of misinformation tied to her, but it was the most damaging to date and left prosecutors in a very awkward position.

They had to publicly acknowledge that their star witness had lied under oath and had to answer questions about what they intend to do about it.

The woman had told prosecutors she was in the hospital on the day of Trayvon's funeral.

"In fact, she lied," defense attorney Don West said.

Despite's Tuesday's revelation, there is no indication the woman lied about what she heard on the phone the evening Trayvon was shot. But she appears to have given Crump another piece of bad information: her age.

He told reporters in March, when he played excerpts from the recorded interview, that she was 16 years old. In fact, she was 18 at the time. Crump has said he did not knowingly misrepresent her age.

O'Mara would not say whether the woman should be prosecuted for perjury for lying under oath about being in the hospital.

But months ago, he and co-counsel Don West began trying to investigate her. They earlier persuaded the judge to allow them to subpoena her Twitter and Facebook accounts so they can read her posts.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/bre...

“Don't trust the internet!”

Since: Jan 12

Location hidden

#11 Mar 5, 2013
It would be an incredible stretch to call this lying under oath, let alone perjury. From transcript:

BDLR:_ OK._ I’m not saying that they did._ I’m just making sure the records’ clear on that….Um…you obviously found out about what happened to Trayvon, right?_ And at some point you ended up knowing that he was killed, right?

Dee Dee:_ Yeah.

BDLR:_ Were you able to go to the funeral or to the wake?

Dee Dee:__I was goin’ to go, but…

BDLR:_ OK, what happened?

Dee Dee:__I didn’ feel good.

BDLR:_ OK, did you end up going to the hospital or somewhere?

Dee Dee:_ Mmmm…Yeah, I had high blood pressure.”
http://frederickleatherman.com/

“Larchmont's Leading Citizen”

Since: Dec 12

Hilliard, OH

#12 Mar 5, 2013
FKA Reader wrote:
It would be an incredible stretch to call this lying under oath, let alone perjury. From transcript:
BDLR:_ OK._ I’m not saying that they did._ I’m just making sure the records’ clear on that….Um…you obviously found out about what happened to Trayvon, right?_ And at some point you ended up knowing that he was killed, right?
Dee Dee:_ Yeah.
BDLR:_ Were you able to go to the funeral or to the wake?
Dee Dee:__I was goin’ to go, but…
BDLR:_ OK, what happened?
Dee Dee:__I didn’ feel good.
BDLR:_ OK, did you end up going to the hospital or somewhere?
Dee Dee:_ Mmmm…Yeah, I had high blood pressure.”
http://frederickleatherman.com/
"... left prosecutors in a very awkward position.

They had to publicly acknowledge that their star witness had lied under oath and had to answer questions about what they intend to do about it."

We read you loud and clear, Reader...sainted black girl can't lie, but nasty "white" pet-killer Zimmerman is all lies.

You're a real piece of work.

“Don't trust the internet!”

Since: Jan 12

Location hidden

#13 Mar 5, 2013
Hugh Victor Thompson III wrote:
But months ago, he and co-counsel Don West began trying to investigate her. They earlier persuaded the judge to allow them to subpoena her Twitter and Facebook accounts so they can read her posts.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/bre...
O'Mara and West have apparently been spending too much time following conspiracy theorists and hackers online. Apparently there has already been a problem of "doxing" (digging up inflammatory documents about) someone the theorists believed to be Witness #8. The were wrong, but that's not much consolation to some minor (perhaps more than one) who has been cyber-violated.

“Don't trust the internet!”

Since: Jan 12

Location hidden

#14 Mar 5, 2013
Hugh Victor Thompson III wrote:
<quoted text>
"... left prosecutors in a very awkward position.
They had to publicly acknowledge that their star witness had lied under oath and had to answer questions about what they intend to do about it."
We read you loud and clear, Reader...sainted black girl can't lie, but nasty "white" pet-killer Zimmerman is all lies.
You're a real piece of work.
Where is the lie?

As for the rest of that ("pet-killer"), well pretty ugly, particularly from someone who claims to stick up for minors being trashed online.

“Larchmont's Leading Citizen”

Since: Dec 12

Hilliard, OH

#15 Mar 5, 2013
FKA Reader wrote:
<quoted text>
Where is the lie?
As for the rest of that ("pet-killer"), well pretty ugly, particularly from someone who claims to stick up for minors being trashed online.
Ask the prosecutors. They admitted it.
I don't stick up for thugs or criminals of any age. Ashtray was both.
Enzyte Bob

Blacklick, OH

#16 Mar 5, 2013
Che Reagan Christ wrote:
<quoted text>
Except that self defense, at least in Ohio, is an affirmative defense.
It seems to me that if they blow their wad at this hearing and lose, that the prosecutors will have the heads up on what to expect at the second trial. Not to mention the fact that everything that comes out in the first hearing would have been widely disseminated by the media and potentially 1) could have prejudiced the jury pool; but more importantly (at least the way I see it) 2) loses its effect on the jury.

These media cases tend to have some zinger presented by defense counsel that gives jurors pause and leads to a not guilty vote. I think your zingers lose effect if what you're going to argue is widely known by the public.

For that reason, I think it's tactically smart to have both of these issues heard at the same time.

“Don't trust the internet!”

Since: Jan 12

Location hidden

#17 Mar 5, 2013
Hugh Victor Thompson III wrote:
<quoted text>
Ask the prosecutors. They admitted it.
I don't stick up for thugs or criminals of any age. Ashtray was both.
I would say that the "admission" is a reporter's interpretation.

An officer of the court told the judge that there were no medical records. Don West had a bit of tantrum and wanted him cross-examined as to how and when he knew and so forth. The judge declined to do so.

End of story.

And if you read the transcript, you can see that there was no statement that the witness was hospitalized, or did anything that would necessarily generate a medical record.

As for the rest of your slur against the victim--facts not in evidence.

“Don't trust the internet!”

Since: Jan 12

Location hidden

#18 Mar 5, 2013
Enzyte Bob wrote:
<quoted text>
It seems to me that if they blow their wad at this hearing and lose, that the prosecutors will have the heads up on what to expect at the second trial. Not to mention the fact that everything that comes out in the first hearing would have been widely disseminated by the media and potentially 1) could have prejudiced the jury pool; but more importantly (at least the way I see it) 2) loses its effect on the jury.
These media cases tend to have some zinger presented by defense counsel that gives jurors pause and leads to a not guilty vote. I think your zingers lose effect if what you're going to argue is widely known by the public.
For that reason, I think it's tactically smart to have both of these issues heard at the same time.
I think the defense is still groping around in hope of a zinger--and hoping to turn up something admissable in the social media (or 6 months worth of medical records on Witness #8).

I think that the zinger is likely to pop up in the form of Zimmerman's phone records (who did he call immediately following the killing), and possibly texts (was there any collusion with witnesses). Apparently Zimmerman's good buddy Osterman picked up Shellie immediately and rather than heading straight to the PD (where George was being questioned) went to the scene.

There has also apparently been recent forensics from Trayvon's phone. Speculation is that this was GPS data tracking Trayvon's path that night. O'Mara made a big noise about not getting it (apparently despite an invitation from the prosecution to go with them to talk to the whoever did the work). He got very quiet about it as soon as it was handed over to him.

“Larchmont's Leading Citizen”

Since: Dec 12

Hilliard, OH

#19 Mar 5, 2013
FKA Reader wrote:
<quoted text>
I would say that the "admission" is a reporter's interpretation.
An officer of the court told the judge that there were no medical records. Don West had a bit of tantrum and wanted him cross-examined as to how and when he knew and so forth. The judge declined to do so.
End of story.
And if you read the transcript, you can see that there was no statement that the witness was hospitalized, or did anything that would necessarily generate a medical record.
As for the rest of your slur against the victim--facts not in evidence.
"Victim"? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!! You mean attacker who paid for his crime.

“Don't trust the internet!”

Since: Jan 12

Location hidden

#20 Mar 5, 2013
Enzyte Bob wrote:
<quoted text>
It seems to me that if they blow their wad at this hearing and lose, that the prosecutors will have the heads up on what to expect at the second trial. Not to mention the fact that everything that comes out in the first hearing would have been widely disseminated by the media and potentially 1) could have prejudiced the jury pool; but more importantly (at least the way I see it) 2) loses its effect on the jury.
These media cases tend to have some zinger presented by defense counsel that gives jurors pause and leads to a not guilty vote. I think your zingers lose effect if what you're going to argue is widely known by the public.
For that reason, I think it's tactically smart to have both of these issues heard at the same time.
I think legally there is a question of whether that is/will be possible. The prosecution asked the judge for clarification on whether the immunity hearing would be rolled into the trial. She did not respond directly, saying that no such request has been made--which leads me to believe that she'll deal with that should it come up, but that it would have to be in the form of a motion from defense.

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