Zimmerman: Pssst! Hey Buddy, I Hear You Need an Expert Witness

Let us say that you are a prosecutor representing the State of Florida in State vs. George Zimmerman. You have been added to the trial team and you are going to be in charge of forensics and expert witnesses. Angela Corey wants to meet with you tomorrow morning at 7 am sharp. What do you do?

(a) Announce you are opting for early retirement to spend more time with your family;

(b) Look up the word forensics to see what it means before you announce that you are opting for early retirement to spend more time with your family;

(c) Call the Director of the Crime Lab and ask for help; or

(d) Make sure you know how to spell forensics and then pretend you know everything there is to know about the subject.

The correct answer, as it is in all cases where you know that you are not an authority on a subject, is to contact someone who is an authority and ask for help.

Prosecutors are fortunate because they can contact the director of their state crime laboratory.

Defense counsel who know little about science and even less about forensic science need to call someone like me who can review the case, spot forensic issues, and steer the lawyer in the right direction toward knowledgeable and respected experts in the various areas of forensic science that are relevant to their case.

I used to do that when I was a co-chair of the Forensics Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. All calls from member lawyers west of the Mississippi River were referred to me and I spent many hours helping people out.

Let’s take a look at the rules of evidence and see what they have to say about expert witnesses. Evidence Rule 702 provides:

Testimony By Experts

If scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if

(1) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data,

(2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and

(3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

Most of the witnesses who testify in trials are fact witnesses. They testify about something that they perceived through their five senses that is relevant to determine the outcome of a lawsuit. They are called fact witnesses because, with few exceptions, they are not permitted to express their opinions about facts they observed or infer the existence of facts that they did not actually observe.

Lawyers must be ever vigilant to spot and object to a fact witness expressing their opinion by representing it as a fact they observed.

If that happens, the lawyer should stand and say,

“Your Honor, I object because this witness is impermissibly expressing her personal opinion as fact. May I briefly voir dire the witness to lay the foundation for my objection.”

The judge will allow you to break in to opposing counsel’s examination.

Then you look the witness in the eye and ask,

Q: Ms. Witness, You just testified that my client stuffed a crocodile under the back seat of your patrol car, didn’t you.

A: Yes, I did.

Q: This was on the way to the jail, correct?

A: Yes.

Q: You were driving correct?

A: Yes.

Q: Watching the road ahead of you, right?

A: I reviewed your report, but I didn’t see you mention anything about seeing a crocodile in your rear view mirror, correct?

A: Yes, but

Q: And my client was handcuffed with her wrists behind her back, right?

A: But, but she had to have done it because . . .

Your Honor, this witness expressed an opinion, which is improper. Therefore, I move to strike her testimony when she said my client hid the crocodile under the back seat.

I also ask you to instruct the ladies and gentlemen of the jury to disregard that testimony.

The judge should comply with your request. Then you thank him and sit down.

Now opposing counsel gets to resume questioning the witness.

This type of interruption can throw opposing counsel off stride, but an experienced lawyer will just smile and remind the witness to stick to the facts they observed.

Another way to accomplish the same result is to wait and do it during cross examination.

Expert witnesses, unlike fact witnesses, can express their opinions. Depending on the complexity of the case you have, there may be any number of areas where you want to put an expert witness on the stand to express an opinion regarding a matter and this is where science enters the courtroom to establish facts and resolve disputed issues of fact. We call this forensics.

Under Rule 702 an expert witness may testify in a case whenever a jury is likely to need assistance to understand or to determine a fact in issue in a trial.

There are many disputed questions of fact in the Zimmerman case that cannot be resolved by ordinary fact witnesses,

In fact, very few disputed issues of fact in this case can be resolved by the fact witnesses who are all over the place with conflicting and confusing statements about what they saw or heard.

Only one fact witness, George Zimmerman, knows what happened because he killed the other witness, Trayvon Martin.

The case would be open and shut, if there were no forensic evidence and George Zimmerman’s statements were consistent with each other and consistent with the forensic evidence. As we have seen, however that is not the case.

To solve this case, we have to put aside our fear of science, roll up our sleeves and grapple with science.

Okay, now pick a side, either defense or prosecution and pretend you have to meet with Mark O’Mara or Angela Corey tomorrow morning and tell them in which areas of science they need to retain experts.

We already know some areas from the reports we have read: DNA, blood spatter, pathology, toxicology, firearm identification, trace evidence analysis, audiology, voice stress voice comparison analysis.

What other areas of science do you think should be investigated?

Another thought to consider is that our legal system is an adversarial system where each side hires its own experts to fight it out in front of a jury that knows little about science.

Would it be better to have the court appoint independent experts to to examine the evidence and testify subject to cross examination by both sides?

Should the Court or the jury decide disputed issues that can only be resolved by scientific analysis?

What about the problem of junk science?

Pleasant dreams.

213 Responses to Zimmerman: Pssst! Hey Buddy, I Hear You Need an Expert Witness

  1. Malisha says:

    The part I like is the part where George has NO HANDS while he’s being beaten up; all he can do is “squirm” so his head will hit grass instead of concrete. But then, when Trayvon says, “You’re gonna die tonight motherpunker,” THEN he finds a couple of hands and manages to make the one hand not shoot the other while he kills an unarmed kid with a potty mouth.

  2. Lonnie Starr says:

    Don’t forget martial arts experts and hand to hand combat experts as well as a physical contortionist expert. Because GZ suggests things that appear to be physical impossibilities.

  3. Malisha says:

    I’ve seen ADHD used as an excuse for all sorts of bad behavior and it is NOT really an excuse and shouldn’t be used for one. In a New York custody battle in about 1999, a guy who was clearly a cocaine addict and had gone to Silver Hill Rehab for their 6-week rehab “blue chip” session, got custody because he claimed that the wife was “poisoning” her child’s mind against Daddy by her insisting he should do drug testing before visits with the boy — this after the boy suffered burns on his hands because daddy fell asleep while cooking and the kid tried to deal with a bad kitchen scene. Because the wife could prove the husband had been to Silver Hill, but couldn’t get the actual medical records, the judge let the guy get away with claiming that he had been there for help with his ADHD. He produced two bozo physicians who were willing to put in affidavits saying he had a diagnosis of ADHD (remaining silent on whether there was another diagnosis, of course). THEN a little research showed that one of those two doctors had actually gotten a hefty grant to do research on people with the DUAL DIAGNOSIS of cocaine addiction and ADHD. This doesn’t implicate Zimmerman; I’m just saying that the use of the “classier” diagnosis of ADHD is quite common among people trying to reach for a mental health excuse for criminal behavior. Nothing new. It’s all the vogue now.

    “Oh I couldn’t remember the name of a street because I have ADHD.” Match that up with, “The suspect was near my friend’s house, where I had recently saved my friend’s house (Taaffe) from being burglarized by a Black man…” Match that up with, “They asked me for an exact address so I had to go searching around in the neighborhood on foot…” Match that up with, “There’s some ridiculous excuse for everything I did; and if the various excuses are all different and disjointed and even mutually exclusive and inconsistent with the physical evidence, that doesn’t matter; the only reason a person would fail to believe me is that they’re racist against white Hispanics…”

    More and more and more and more drivel…Hannity, Stutzman, really, puh-leeeeeeeeZ!

  4. Vicky says:

    Wisenupoet, your comment unthread regarding individuals with ADHD was very thoughtful and informative. Hats off to you for being the type of parent who has taken charge of making certain your child has had the best chance possible of overcoming the challenges associated with ADHD. I’m certain there have been times when your patience and understanding have been pushed to the limit, but your child will thank you one day for being the kind of parent who cared enough to learn about ADHD, hold him accountable for his behavior, and establish boundaries and stick with them.

  5. lynp says:

    George charming???????? We have all seen and heard George. Never in anyone’s widlest dreams could he be considered anything but a dud. As Goucho would say “Are you going to believe me or your own lying eyes”?
    George and the cousin are a year and a half different in age. She was 6 and he was 71/2. 71/2 year old letchers are few and far between. I see no validity in her story including the part where she “escaped” the 205 lb George after going voluntarly to his house when they were teenagers. Story does not hold together.
    Would sure like to see her under oath in court too.

  6. Malisha says:

    Bordelaise, you’re right. Thanks for your explanation, very helpful.

    I keep finding myself trying to “DEFEND” from every nonsensical idiotic thing I read on-line. Clearly, that’s not the way it will play out.

    Of course, I’m still of the opinion that there will never be a trial.

  7. TruthBTold says:

    Outside of what you listed Professor, I think the suggestion of a simulation or reconstruction of sorts should be explored.

  8. ajamazin says:

    “George Zimmerman’s lawyer has scheduled a hearing Friday morning because of a disputed subpoena.

    It’s not yet clear what subpoena Mark O’Mara is challenging or his objection, but attorneys for both sides are scheduled to be in court in Sanford Friday at 8:30 a.m. before Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr.”

    • bets says:

      The prosecutors want George’s medical records. O’Mara is challenging it on the basis that his medical records contain info that is not relevant to the current case. He suggests that the judge either quash the subpoena or review the material in camera, making only that relevant to the case available to the prosecution. A review sounds reasonable imo. Or the prosecutors rewrite the subpoena to be more specific to their needs.

  9. Digger says:

    I have a feeling God is keeping a close watch over all. Have to say Patricia, fauxmccoy, and Everyone, you gave me my belly laugh for the day. Thanks.

  10. Patricia says:

    After giving mature consideration to the issue, and a good night’s sleep, I am prepared to request one expert witness for the defense:


  11. Sandra E. Graham says:

    The defence will call witnesses to that will paint him as a choir boy who would never profile anyone, never seen him angry, etc. – model caring citizen who cares about his neighbourhood and defends the underdog.

    Would someone close to the incidents where he was violent, there are a few, be considered valuable witnesses to contradict the defence character witnesses. I think they would be called for sure. Does someone know, without my looking it up, if any one of them are on the witness list supplied by the prosecution.

    • lynp says:

      I wanna see the preported coworkers like the bouncer and middle east guy accussors in Open Court, under oath repeat their accussations too. Also the few witnesses that changed their stories to fit the early news reports like Mary Cutcher and Selma Mora who describle hearing a little boy. Does anyone in America believe that a law suit would not follow a “throwing a woman accross the room” event in the real world? In fact, George was an Altar Boy in the Catholic Church. I want to see everyone close or remotely connected to this case testify. The Truth Will Set Us Free.

      • Sandra E. Graham says:

        That is why it is called justice and the quest is to get to the truth. Because some feel GZ is a good guy, there are others that think he is not. Yes, the truth Shall Set Us Free — no argument here. Yes, GZ was an alter boy in the Catholic Church. This does not mean anything. There are leaders in religious organizations that have done some pretty nasty things to people throughout history. So, an altar boy, IMO, does not a good person make.

      • Justkiddin* says:

        You know if you go back and read some of the witness testimony you will see where the witness wrote an officer told me it was Z screaming or an officer told me that, of course their stories changed. They told their story not the one the police told them. When the co-worker goes in to testify you can bet they will have the dated HR report of the abuse, are you saying something that happened years ago and is documented in a employee file is a lie?
        Is your kool-aid grape or cherry?

      • Justkiddin* says:

        Actually the Alter boy could explain the whole situation with the cousin. Or do you believe she lied too? jmo

      • Rachael says:

        It is not hard to believe at all that a law suit would not follow a “throwing-a-woman-across-the-room-event” in the real world. These were “illegal house parties” that he was working. Depending on what was illegal about them, the woman possibly should not have been there – nor should Zimmerman for that matter. Zimmerman (or his daddy) could easily have told this woman that to try to bring a law suit would only be bad for her because she would be in some kind of trouble for being where she should not have been so it wouldn’t go in her favor to begin with.

        Like you though, I would like to see everyone testify.

      • Dave says:

        You and I and a lot of other folks might want to hear the testimony of all these people but I can say with some confidence that the ladies and gentlemen of the jury will not. They will want to see the case wound up and return to their normal lives as quickly as possible. Dragging in busloads of character witnesses and marginally relevant expert testimony by either side
        is just going to get the jurors pissed off with the attorney who is wasting their time.

        You can dig up “evidence” that just just about anyone is a good person. Most of us have seen old photos of Adolph Hitler drinking tea with sweet little old granny ladies, stroking the fur of little kitty cats, playing with his dog, smilingly accepting flowers from pretty little Aryan girls and so forth. Nice guy. But every once in a while he could be a real asshole.

      • Yikes!

        GZ cannot introduce evidence of good character without opening the floodgates of bad character evidence.

        Would be a catastrophic decision for him to do that.

      • lynp says:

        First I have read of “Illegal house parties”. I though there were employment files, HR, documenation and the like. I would think though that any one who attends an illegal house parties, they would expect to get what they get.

      • Rachael says:

        @ lynp,

        Yes, that is my point – sort of. But you kind of make it sound like someone who is raped deserves it.

        Anyway, here is one article – there are no names so take it with a grain of salt if you want, but then, I can’t find the name of the church where GZ was an alter boy either and him being an alter boy was according to his dad, who has about as much credibility with me as GZ does and I have yet to see anyone from the church where he was an alter boy come forth and the fact that he was an alter boy does not impress me any more than pictures of Trayvon at 12 years old impress Zimmerman followers but anyway:

        Zimmerman, the 28-year-old Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the unarmed 17-year-old Martin to death last month, was fired from a job securing illegal house parties for “being too aggressive,” according to the New York Daily News, which quoted a former colleague of Zimmerman’s. According to the co-worker, Zimmerman worked for two agencies that provided security for house parties from 2001 to 2005.

        “Usually he was just a cool guy,” said the former co-worker, who the newspaper didn’t name. “But it was like Jekyll and Hyde. When dude snapped, he snapped.” The Daily News said Zimmerman earned $50 to $100 a night for the parties. He was fired for being too aggressive with patrons.

        “He had a temper and he became a liability,” the newspaper quoted the former co-worker as saying. “One time this woman was acting a little out of control. She was drunk. George lost his cool and totally overreacted,” he said. “It was weird, because he was such a cool guy, but he got all nuts. He picked her up and threw her. It was pure rage. She twisted her ankle. Everyone was flipping out.”


        This is just one of many accounts of this. Some may have more definitive information.

    • lynp says:

      Yes, I do believe the cousin is making up a story to inject herself in this tragedy. The first thing kids do when someone is touching them that they don’t want to do so is yell “Ewww get away” and bat at them with their hands. She was 6 and George was 7 1/2 in front of adults. She was not defenseless and he was not powerfull. I find it odd that she would voluntary go to George’s house as an 18 year old when she claims all this “touching” history with him and warded off the 205 lb George. George is many things but charming is not one of them. It is obvious that George is a clumsy uncoordinated guy.

      • lynp says:

        Documented in an employee file?????? I wanna see that.

      • lynp says:

        Actually, Austin’s Mother said that about the police while his own voluntary statement was “I saw a MAN laying on the ground, needing help and screaming”. He also volunteered that the Man was wearing red.

      • Rachael says:

        I don’t think I believe the cousin’s story either, but I disagree with you that “The first thing kids do when someone is touching them is to yell “ewww, get away.'” In my work with physically and sexually abused kids, ESPECIALLY if it is someone they know, that is the LAST thing they do. Yes, we teach our kids about stranger danger, but when an older family friend or relative starts touching, they are usually told by the toucher not to tell anyone (sometimes saying something bad will happen to them or their parents) and because it is a family or friend and they are older, they are usually terrified and say nothing. And this can go on for years. So does the guilt in the victim.

      • bets says:

        I believe the cousin. George was exhibiting bully behavior. I was similarly assaulted by a neighbor. I never told, ever. This is the first time I have admitted it. He was a bit older and bigger. I was ashamed for years. I was relieved when he was killed in an auto accident years later. Good for her for speaking out.

      • KA says:


        The employee letter to HR was documented and validated by HR. I had thought there was a copy of the letter released and it was dated in 2008.

        Actually there have been two accounts of people calling him “charming”. Both the cousin said it and the employee said it.

        The cousin called just days after the killing, it was not anywhere close to national news. She was hysterical. I believe her story. It is very consistent with childhood abuse. I would not be fooled by mere ages. There is a pecking order in families and a sense of power and status that early on. I thought her story consistent with other sexual abuse stories dealing with children.

  12. Dave says:

    I agree with boar (which is usually a safe move). The prosecution will want to focus on the basic narrative:

    GZ spots TM.
    GZ profiles TM as a bad guy.
    GZ reports TM to NEN.
    GZ chases TM.
    GZ confronts TM.
    GZ shoots TM without legal justification.
    TM dies.

    Unnecessary expert testimony will burn time and money. Contentious expert testimony, which could drag on for many days, is likely to leave the jurors bored, confused, and distracted from the core issues. For that reason I would skip the audio expert. The case is not going to hinge on what particular pejorative GZ used to describe TM or what the background noises on the NEN call might be. As for the screams, I believe that the jurors can identify the source without expert help.

    • Xena says:

      @Dave. In O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, I remember commentators saying that the presentation and explanations of DNA bored and confused the jurors. In the end, the decision rested on “If the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit.”

      It appears that MOM is going to defend based solely on GZ’s injuries. He has photos and statements from the paramedics. What he does not have are x-rays or any medical opinion that the injuries were life-threatening.

      What the prosecution has are GZ’s statements that he had already shimmied off the concrete. That means the only thing that GZ found threatening thereafter in terms of injuries would be that Trayvon’s hand was over his nose. The lab report refutes that. Also according to GZ, he had restrained Trayvon’s wrist and arm preventing him from getting to the gun. Thus, GZ had controlled the situation and was not in fear for his life.

      Idk, but it seems that the prosecution might object to the photos taken by the resident for lack of chain of command.

      • lynp says:

        Clark and Dariden tried a terrible case. No wonder they lost. The explanations bored and confused everybody. Keep it simple. The injuries don’t have to be life threatening. Just that George feared for his life. O’Mara might come up with an x-ray showing calcification of the nasal bones due to a break.

        • You said,

          “The injuries don’t have to be life threatening. Just that George feared for his life.”

          You left out a critically important word:

          The injuries don’t have to be life threatening. Just that George REASONABLY feared for his life.”

      • EveryoneIsEntitledToTheirOpinion says:

        I have one question for Super Hero “Zimmerman.” What in the hell was your problem you don’t touch people; you are not an authority of the law.. complete idiot…

      • Rachael says:

        lynp, I understand totally that the injuries do not have to be life threatening, just that he feared for his life, but his claims go back once again to his ability (or lack of it) to tell the truth. He claims he was hit like 14-25 times and Trayvon took his head and pounded it into the concrete multiple times.

        People go on and on about how Trayvon was no longer this cute little 12-year old boy, he was a big man-sized teen. Do you really think a reasonable person would think that after a big man-sized teen had pummeled his face and pounded it against concrete again and again until his head felt like it was going to explode and he would just be able to get up and walk around as if nothing had happened? And with the minimal injuries he sustained?

        Have you ever seen someone who has had their face pummeled? Have you ever seen a head that was smashed against concrete?

        A reasonable person would have to see him and think no way.

        And then to not even have gone to the emergency room? I understand money was tight, but was he more afraid of a hospital bill than he was of the possibility of an underlying brain injury if he had sustained such a beat down?

        The injuries are indeed minimal. I understand that is not what is in question here. What is in question is does his story does not match his injuries. Sure an expert neurologist or trauma doc could give their opinion, but I think any lay person, any reasonable person can see for themselves that his story does not match his “injuries.”

    • bets says:

      I agree.

      • lynp says:

        Yes Rachael I have. Spent years working as an RN in Inner City Emergency Departments prior to my 5 year jail stint where lots of folk are beat up too at booking. As you say, George’s injuries appear minimal for sure, although the black and white photo does give some credience to a nose injury with blood on his mustache. Looks to me like George was terrified and is basically a clumsy, uncoordinated, scardy cat guy. Martin is dead. George admitts to firing the shot that killed him and will do time for that tragedy.
        I think but when OJ got off, shows anyone can get off with a good defense. Are they going to throw the key away? I doubt it cause in my opinion George had no premeditated attempt and did not intend to kill poor Martin.

      • Dave says:

        lynp–So that bullet through the heart was meant as a warning shot?

      • Rachael says:

        You have a point there with regard to OJ. But as far as “had no premeditated attempt and did not intend to kill poor Martin,” it doesn’t have to be premeditated or intentional for second-degree murder:

        Fla. Stat. Ann. § 782.04(2). Second degree murder.—

        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.

        But I agree, they probably won’t throw away the key.

    • whonoze says:

      I’m telling you, if the prosecution doesn’t account for the two minute gap between the end of NEN call and the start of the fight, they will be at extreme risk of either an acquittal or a hung jury.

  13. fauxmccoy says:

    professor leatherman – i have a potential article topic for you to consider and that would be the conduction of examination on a minor witness, in this case, DeeDee.

    i hear many zimmerman supporters state how o’mara will ‘rip her to shreds’ on the stand which i just do not see happening. it will put the defense in a horrible position to become combative with a 16 year old, woefully inarticulate girl who has suffered great loss and done nothing wrong.

    i would love to hear from your prospective how she would be handled by both the prosecution and defense and what allowances the court makes for witnesses who are minors.

    • Sandra E. Graham says:

      Re: DeeDee’s testimony – she will be asked – Why didn’t you call someone when you heard part of the altercation and knew Trayvon might have been in trouble with the old man. Didn’t Trayvon say someone was continuing to follow him and he was scared. That would be a start. I am a justice for Trayvon supporter – and I still can not figure out those who aren’t. But, I have a problem with her testimony and how the ADA asked her at the time of her statement. She is very young and, IMO will be ripped to shreds.

      • Karma says:

        Keep in mind,young ppl alot of them cant walk and chew bubblegum at the same time.Trayvons g/f heard the altercation,but who was she to call?She was in Miami,He was in Sandford Fla.As far as calling the police,that wasnt gonna help when they themselves were in on the murder and tried to cover it up.Its much to late with the shoulda,woulda,coulda,mentality.There is a 17 yr old Black unarmed child murdered by a crazed,wanntabe cop that is a racist,con man.This guy needs to be convicted,or its not gonna be pretty.Between GZ murder of Trayvon,and these RascistRepublicans trying to rig and steal this election,it more than alot of ppl can deal with.

    • lynp says:

      I doubt that lawyer O’Mara is “ripping anyone to sheds” let alone a 16 year old inarticulate female. No doubt with his courtly manner, he will however expose the truth with all the witness. I don’t know if these 2 are on the witness list but would love to see the defense question the ever changing Mary Catcher and Selma Mora testimony and the few others who felt the need to “change their stories including the voice of the young boy”.

    • Dave says:

      I don’t think that it would be all that useful for the prosecution to call DeeDee. Her testimony would contribute to the jury’s understanding of Trayvon’s state of mind–his fear of the creepy guy pursuing him–but that was established by GZ’s statement, “He’s running!” I don’t think that her testimony would be that useful in establishing a timeline. She is young, shy, emotionally devastated, and not too articulate. A competent attorney would gently, kindly, and avuncularly cut her to pieces.

      On the other hand, DeeDee’s phone records, showing that she was talking to Trayvon almost to the moment of his death, would strongly reinforce the ridiculousness of GZ’s claim that Trayvon was the aggressor.

      • whonoze says:

        The phone records are useless without her testimony about what was occurring in the conversation at each connect and disconnect point. Simply making a phone call does not prove one is not an aggressor, or did you forget that GZ called the police just minutes before shooting Trayvon?

      • Dave says:

        Trayvon was on the phone with DeeDee seconds before he was shot.

      • CommonSenseForChange says:

        @whonoze –

        It is true that being on the phone with the cops is not proof that one is the aggressor, one having their phone call interrupted abruptly does seem to slant towards being the one attacked. Trayvon Martin’s phone call was interrupted. George Zimmerman ended his call deliberately.

  14. Malisha says:

    I would think that an independent, experienced forensic psychiatrist should be engaged by the court itself to evaluate George Zimmerman and do a battery of tests on him, and to separately do what can be thought of as a “psychiatric autopsy” of trayvon Martin, interviewing just about everyone who knew him who is willing to speak about him, so that a kind of “profile” can be made of the deceased, as well as a forensic work-up report on the shooter.

    That way, the jury can ponder the grey areas in this case:

    How likely is it that Trayvon Martin would decide to assault a guy and threaten to kill him while he was in Sanford at the home of his father’s girlfriend?

    How likely is it that Trayvon Martin would have emerged from the darkness to circle Zimmerman’s car before again disappearing into the darkness?

    How likely is it that Trayvon Martin would have taken a phone call from his girlfriend while he was planning an attack on a guy who had gotten out of his vehicle to find a street sign?

    How much actual malice is represented by George Zimmerman’s words in the 311 call to the police?

    How likely is it that George Zimmerman would have forgotten that he was carrying a loaded gun as he searched for a street sign or a house number on a dark February evening in Sanford?

    and all like that.

    If the court appoints an expert, there’s a lot less room for “making it up as they go along.”

    THere are fight choreographers on Broadway who can really show you what is and is not possible in the middle of any environment. Stunt-actors are really good at that too. Exercise physiologists, etc. That would be essential IMO.

    There’s a lot of physics in the real story of what went down that night; there’s a lot of unreal physics in George Zimmerman’s story of it, too. But a real physicist is needed to show what is and isn’t.

    But all that doesn’t matter if God’s plan is to change the laws of physics, retroactively, so that George goes free.

    • Sandra E. Graham says:

      I think it fascinating that some think GZ watched too many cop movies because of some of the things he said. He has a tattoo of the theatrical faces for comedy and tragedy and this case has all of that.
      Some of the experts we would like to see are:
      Stunt people
      Sound engineers
      and we have the worst actor
      so far

      We even have backers for GZs fantasy

      Come to think of it, GZ, created his own B movie.

    • boar_d_laze says:

      There are very, very, very few situations where the court can appoint its own “independent expert” to give an opinion on a matter in controversy. None of those exceptions exist in this case.

      Independent psychiatrist? No. Mr. Zimmerman’s sanity is not at issue.

      You really, really don’t want the State requiring psychiatric evaluations and acting on them, unless there are conclusive signs that a defendant is incompetent, or a danger to himself and/or others. Kafka come true; and no thanks.

      Similarly, you don’t want an evaluation of “how likely it would be…” used in evidence to prove or disprove a crime. The Minority Report wasn’t even a good movie but it managed to show the potential for abuse.

      Similarly, the anti-science of psychiatric prediction of future behavior is so bad, most states don’t it for civil commitment of sex offenders any more.

      Several of your issues are simply “common sense” and don’t require expert testimony. For instance, “how likely is it that Martin would be on the phone with DeeDee while simultaneously ambushing Zimmerman.”

      In fact, expert testimony would be more confusing than no expert testimony because the defense would bring an expert to contradict the prosecution’s witness. The “dueling whores” paradigm tends to create reasonable doubt rather than erasing it; and is best avoided when possible.

      An expert is not allowed to give an opinion on ultimate issues like “how much malice.” Neither is any other witness.

  15. boar_d_laze says:

    Because the homicide is admitted, and the identity of the killer know, the prosecution won’t require a lot of expert opinion. Pathologist who did the autopsy, DNA expert, police reconstructionist, perhaps another pathologist to explain the path of the bullet, and perhaps an audio expert.

    The pathologist(s), DNA expert, and the reconstructionist will all probably be full-time Florida employees; which means they won’t be too bad or too good. I don’t know if there’s enough work for the State to keep an audio expert on tap.

    The defense will match the experts one to one with private experts each of whom has an excellent reputation. Private experts tend to have better credentials and make smoother, more confident witnesses.

    Each side’s expert testimony usually cancels the other, which can be a problem for the jury. Jurors tend to like experts whose conclusions run closest to “common sense” which unfortunately, frequently means the conclusions don’t disturb the jurors’ long standing biases.

    Because it’s not too difficult to find an expert who will say whatever it is a party wants said, trial attorneys refer to experts for either side as “whores.”

  16. CherokeeNative says:

    Wow, this is really a difficult decision especially if you figure the prosecution is under budget constraints and cannot pander for money:

    Ballistics / firearm expert to address the shell casing and to discuss the probability of GZ being able to (1) unholster his gun and fire while in the position he described; and to discuss the bullet trajectory given that description, etc.

    Crime Scene Reconstructionist to examine the 311 tape and demonstrate that GZ’s reenactment and statements are not consistent with the facts and evidence.

    Psychiatrist or psychologist to address ADD and ADHD issues

    Emergency medical physician to address GZ’s claims of life threatening injuries; likelihood of injuries being caused by something other than head bashing and punch to the nose; GZ’s refusal to be seen by a medical professionals following shooting.

    Medical physician to address likelihood of Trayvon speaking, etc. after being shot.

    An eye/ear Witness expert to explain to the jury the likelihood of a witness getting wrong what they saw and mind over suggestions of Mark O.and GZ making impressions on witnesses who mingled at the crime scene.

    DNA expert to discuss possibility of Trayvon being able to do what GZ claims without getting any blood evidence or DNA on his hands, fingernails or the cuffs of his sleeves.

    Body mechanics Expert who can give testimony on the nature of physics as to whether or not GZ, who is 40 lbs heavier than Trayvon at the time, would have been incapable of escaping Trayvon’s supposed hold upon him.

    Violence Expert to discuss the lack of defensive injuries to both GZ andTrayvon in comparison to a real life and death struggle and explain the types of warnings necessary before using lethal force on an unarmed person. This may be the same as a use of force expert mentioned below.

    Sound expert to decipher everything that was heard and said on the 311 tape and 911 tapes.

    Use of Force Expert – to discuss nature of self-defense and whether or not GZ was in a life or death situation, etc.

    Jury consultant.

    Another thing I ran across and wanted to mention:

    The court of appeals decided State v. McDowell, __ N.C. App. __, 715 S.E.2d 602 (2011). The defendant was convicted of first-degree murder notwithstanding his claim of self-defense. A passage from the court’s opinion caught my eye:

    “Dave Cloutier, an expert in use-of-force science and self-defense tactics, testified that, given Defendant’s account of the events that occurred at the time of the shooting, Defendant’s initial decision to use force against [the victim] was reasonable given the “pre-attack cues” that Defendant had received and applicable “use-of-force variables.” The factors that Mr. Cloutier deemed relevant included [the victim’s] decision to point a shotgun at Defendant, the fact that [the victim] threatened to kill Defendant, the fact that Defendant feared for his life, and the fact that Defendant needed to react quickly.”

    The expert’s testimony wasn’t an issue in the case, but what caught my eye was “the fact that the Defendant needed to react quickly” – which is the same statement made by GZ in his recent interview with Hannity. GZ’s statement caught my attention because it was the first time he has ever made that comment and it is something he has obviously picked up from legal counsel to mention. To that end, I would respond that need to “react quickly” was not dire enough that you didn’t have time to “aim” to insure you did not hit your own hand….Hmmmm.

    • lynp says:

      The Prosecution has the full power, weight, money and resources of the State of Florida behind them, against a nobody. Hard for me to feel any sympathy for the Prosecutors.

      • lynp says:

        I am absolutly certain that the budget to try and convict George Zimmerman is limitless. For sure, the Prosecution does need to pander for money.

      • EveryoneIsEntitledToTheirOpinion says:

        Wait! George Zimmerman isn’t a nobody. He’s a wannabe “Cop!” Just an idiot…

      • lynp says:

        I don’t know about the wannbe cop but clearly George is not the brightest person around – dumb actually but still was a nobody.

      • CherokeeNative says:

        The prosecution’s money and resources are hardly limitless. They must work within budgets just like any other portion of government. My comment was not for purposes of having anyone feel sorry for them – and if that is what you took from my statement, you interpreted it wrong.

  17. whonoze says:

    The scientific method is supposed to yield results that do not require an expert to interpret them (why psychoanalysis isn’t considered science). That is, the expertise is setting up the investigation to be valid. Anyone should be able to interpret the results (as long as they understand the basic principles involved). Specifically, interpreting tchoupi’s analysis of the path of GZ’s truck does not depend on tchoupi. Anyone with an understanding of the basic principles of physics involved can look at the data he’s compiled, and make a judgement regarding it’s persuasiveness. I’m pretty picky about this stuff, and have given his analysis a moderately thorough going-over, and it’s solid work as far as I can tell.

    A lot of the ‘amateur’ forensics works done by folks like tchoupi and myself suffers from our not knowing certain things the police and prosecutors DO know but have not released. Info from the dashboard cams of Smith and Ayala’s cruisers would be key. Also, the State has never verified which 911 call came in when. At this anybody who discusses the 911 calls seems to be using the PROBABLE correlations i deduced as if they were verified fact. And the start times i used had only been reported in one news story — I think someone made a mistake and told a reporter too much — and have never been officially confirmed. When I spoke to Frances Robles for her article on bloggers she told me she had asked the prosecutors for this information — when did the 911 calls actually come in? — and they refused to tell her. You’d think this would be part of the discovery. It’s awfully important in establishing timelines and what not. But it has yet to be disclosed. (And I’m not talking about the identity of the callers, just the times that each of the calls we’ve already heard were received.)

    I mention this because tchoupi has to make an educated guess about how the security camera videos correspond to actual clock time, but the police and/or prosecutors have info that could establish this exactly…

    • bets says:

      Perhaps I used the wrong word but I think not. You’re assuming that all member of the jury have a nodding acquaintance with the rules of physics. The keyword is assume.

      I guess tchoupi is the one who made the photos of the club house videos and interpreted what s/he saw. The results are not self-evident. tchoupi’s interpretation is opinion, persumably well-founded. I believe tchoupi, expert or not, would be needed to identify what’s being shown and to answer questions from the prosecutor and to defend it in cross examination.

      The same is true of the analysis of the NEN call background noises. You did those? With help I could hear some of what was claimed but without that help it’s just noise. And even with help, I didn’t hear what was claimed and in part, I disagreed with the analysis (I heard windshield wipers, not what was claimed). So, the person who did that analysis would have to identify the work that was done and explain the result. The explanation is interpretation/opinion that needs to be done by an “expert.”

      • whonoze says:

        I made a few guesses about some of the background noises, which I labeled as guesses. Nothing I’d call an ‘analysis’ except my rebuttals of the folks who think the clicking noises are GZ racking his gun magazine, as these folks don’t even know how how to read their own waveforms.

        You’re right that science (e.g. tchoupi’s security vid analysis) is neither self-evident or conclusive. Somebody has to explain it, and the results are arguable. But it CAN be explained. tchoupi’s method is out there in the open for anyone to see. Some ‘experts’ though, are more interpretive rather than purely scientific. They’re basically saying, ‘you have to take my word for it, because i know more than you do.’ In Aristotelian terms, their presentation is more ‘Ethos’ than ‘Logos.’ I probably over-stated my point. In practice (e.g. a sitting jury listening to actual trial testimony) I’m sure there isn’t bright line between the two, buts there’s still some degree of distinction that ought to make some degree of difference.

    • CommonSenseForChange says:

      @bets –

      Exactly! And then you have the people on the jury that need to be convinced. I agree with a lot of the noises heard, too, but not all.

      I heard (eventually) punks, for example. But it was difficult to get there. For one thing, the sound quality of what was released by SPD in the original NEN call is significantly poorer for some reason than the quality heard on the same NEN call played back at the station during the Serino interview.

      I also don’t hear the keys are in the truck claimed by some (nor any variation of anything having to do with keys). I heard “they’ll see me by my truck” (or something like that — not listening right now, though).

      If this were a key piece of information (and it’s not) and if I were a juror and wasn’t convinced, Zimmerman wins his case. Experts are needed, but we’re free to speculate.

      I think I hear also that on the 9-1-1 call, Trayvon Martin says “I don’t know”. I also hear “Mama”. I also hear “Stop”. I also hear “No-o-o”.

      Someone needs to figure out what was said. It is most definitely not “You’re gonna die tonight mother f*cker”. It is most definitely not “ow, ow” and it is most definitely not “Shut the f*ck up.”

      • Rachael says:

        OMG this is so hard.

        I think I hear also that on the 9-1-1 call, Trayvon Martin says “I don’t know”. I also hear “Mama”. I also hear “Stop”. I also hear “No-o-o”.

      • CommonSenseForChange says:

        @Rachael –

        I’m here ’cause I heard it. Crying for ‘mama’ from a mama’s boy is debilitating to me. I first heard the “mama” cry when the SPD first released their 9-1-1 calls. The “I don’t know” is implies to me that an interrogation similar to a waterboarding took pliace. Thanks Cheney for making citizen interrogations ok!

        I haven’t been *right”/*normal* since I first heard it (cries for mama).

        I almost hope I’m wrong on what I heard! Very disturbing and its an emotional rolocoaster for those of us that don’t think its right.

      • Rachael says:

        It is debilitating to me too (the cries for mama). I mean it already was, but this is just too much for me. As a parent, this is more than I can take. My heart goes out to his mom and dad. The thought of them having to hear this just tears me up more than you know.

  18. whonoze says:

    bets wrote:
    “My first take is that there are some experts that I would like to look at certain things and, depending on what they find, decide whether or not they are needed at trial. ”

    Prof. Fred: In the context of the current adversarial system, my understanding would be that once the parties commission an expert analysis they are more or less required to include the results in discovery. So if Corey had an expert conduct an ‘experiment’ that proved non-conclusive and would not help the prosecution at trial, she would have to let MOM know, and then he could say “But the tests were inconclusive, so the glove doesn’t fit and…”

    Do I have that right?

    • Good question.

      The Brady Rule (Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963)), requires the prosecution to turn over to the defense all exculpatory evidence within its possession, custody and control as soon as reasonably practical.

      The reason for this rule is that the prosecution has substantially greater resources available to investigate cases and analyze evidence compared to the defense. In an adversarial system that gives the prosecution a substantial and unfair advantage over the indigent defendant. Since the stated goal of the criminal justice system is to produce justice and the prosecution is far more likely to uncover exculpatory evidence than the indigent defendant, the SCOTUS decided in Brady to create a rule that evens out the playing field somewhat by requiring the prosecution to reveal exculpatory evidence.

      Makes sense, right?

      With that background in mind, let’s take a look at your question.

      ” So if Corey had an expert conduct an ‘experiment’ that proved non-conclusive and would not help the prosecution at trial, she would have to let MOM know, and then he could say “But the tests were inconclusive, so the glove doesn’t fit and…””

      An inconclusive result does not mean anything so it isn’t “exculpatory,” however, there is no good reason not to turn it over. Therefore, prosecutors routinely turn over all results, whether inculpatory, exculpatory or inconclusive.

      They do the same with the police investigation reports because, if they turn over everything, they don’t have to worry about committing a Brady Violation.

      The defense, however, is not required to turn over inculpatory evidence. For example the results of scientific testing that inculpate the client are considered attorney-client work product that is protected from disclosure by the attorney-client work product privilege, and cannot be disclosed without the client’s consent.

      When that happens, the defense lawyer tells the forensic scientist not to produce a written report.

      “Just send me your bill and I will submit it to the Court for payment. Thank you.”

    • bets says:

      I have no problem with that. In the example of the NEN call, if it shows that there was someone else speaking from the truck, then there is another witness and perhaps someone to be charged. The investigation continues. How it plays out depends on the results of the investigation. If it shows no one else or is inconclusive, clearly the expert is not needed at trial.

      • bets says:

        After thinking about this some more, I wouldn’t pursue the background noises that suggest someone else in the truck. It’s an unnecessary complication that would confuse the jury. For the case against GZ, those sounds are of no consequence.

        If the prosecution has determined that someone else was in the vehicle and is ready to make an arrest of an accomplice or to subpoena a witness, these sounds would be of consequence. (I’m willing to hear arguments in opposition.)

        There are sounds that are readily recognizable when pointed out that identify when he left the truck.

  19. whonoze says:

    Again on the subject of audio: If the prosecution were to consider that what GZ said “coons/goons/punks/cold/boots” matters – and given that Tom Owen the voice recognition guy didn’t come close to getting it right – they would want to get a top-flight professional dialogue editor for films (Jay Rose, who writes about this stuff for production magazines and training books would be perfect). Such a person could use the methods I did in my analysis, but do it better, breaking down the utterance into isolated phonemes, comparing them with other exemplars from GZ’s recorded words. Re-constructing GZ saying each each of the claimed words from known phonemes, and comparing the whole words to the mystery words. This isn’t ‘science’. It’s craft. But it’s valid because it works, and produces results a layman can hear and comprehend.

  20. Justkiddin* says:

    Alright that is it, no more age dropping-unless you are older than 88! I am hanging out with a bunch of babies. 47? Yep I am older than dirt. fauxmccoy you are truly an amazing soul. You make me proud just to be able to converse with you.
    Z’s jacket has always been of interest to me. I recall the gunshot residue being on the back of the jacket. As far as the zipper noise on the NEN call the only thing that instantly came to mind is of course you hear it. Easier to get to the gun if you remove the top layer. So many great thoughts on Trayvon’s position before the shot. For some reason I assumed he was on the ground but on his knees desperately trying to pull away from the idiot with the gun. That would explain him face down, Z pulling on him, shoots, Trayvon just falls forward. Then Z abuses his body more by climbing on top. I think that was for show. He knew everyone heard the gun shot, make it look like your victim is still fighting you.
    Now to the photo of Trayvon after the shooting, that would crush any parent and not just Trayvon’s parent. How telling, a tear and saliva. A person who is crying or screaming more than likely is not sucking/swallowing the spit back down. That picture alone should get him a life sentence just for the shear terror Trayvon must have felt. My hands shake just thinking about the poor baby fighting for his life and then dying with a over weight cop want to be sitting on his back, how horrific. All alone in the rain, in the dark and the devil sitting on his back. Well of course that is just my thoughts.

    I have lived a long life, if I could trade places with Trayvon I would in a heart beat.

    • fauxmccoy says:

      Yep I am older than dirt. — i guess this makes me dirt’s half-life? i can live with that 😉

      You make me proud just to be able to converse with you. — likewise, sister!

      and all around good commentary above. dang, i should be sleeping, kids get up in 3 hours, i am going to be a zombie mom on first day back to school.

    • Sandra E. Graham says:

      I am not a medical expert. But, foaming at the mouth is indicative of a lung puncture, I think. I was an actor playing a victim in the training of first responders years ago. I seem to remember there were capsules that when bit, instantly simulate the foaming at the mouth. This is why I think the photos of GZs head and the blood trail look like a poorly attempted simulation bleeding from those minor wounds. But, the experts would be needed, of course.

  21. fauxmccoy says:

    professor, you asked a lot and then wished us pleasant dreams, it is approaching 2 am for me in california and i do need some sleep. i shall deal with your latter questions first.

    in regards to your question of state appointed experts versus adversarial experts, i would argue toward adversarial because i believe this allows the defendant a better opportunity to develop and present their own case. as a defendant, i would be wary of state appointed experts because i think it weights the process unfairly toward the state and i become less trusting of the state daily. that said, the current system still leaves the poor at horrible disadvantage even with state funds to acquire expert testimony. ugggg…. there is no ‘perfect’ answer, is there?

    Should the Court or the jury decide disputed issues that can only be resolved by scientific analysis? right now, the court certifies ‘experts’ and almost anyone can be one – i have personally been an ‘expert’ witness twice in two very different fields (organic farming certification at the invitation of the California State Board of Agriculture which was a state hearing and not a criminal proceeding and in domestic abuse case). i think the process of being certified as an ‘expert’ is a bit ‘iffy’ and really do not think the jury would do the job better.

    What about the problem of junk science? aaaa haaa, now this is interesting. to me, the one true science other than math is DNA evidence. we have seen long standing forensic sciences become arcane within our lifetime. fingerprint analysis, once considered as good as it gets is much less certain these days as some folks at gitmo can tell us personally. i have relative faith in ballistics, physical anthropology and vocal ID with lesser certainty toward the latter. lie detection in any form is naught but a parlor trick in my book and i’m in good company.

    i may be at some advantage here because of education and life experience. my bachelors degree is in anthropology and i had the fortune of learning at the feet of some of the best. P. Willey, John Furry and much of the rest of the department at CSU Chico are all outstanding in their fields – i would expect that you will have at least heard of them, if not seen or worked with either. with this fascinating, yet next to worthless degree, i worked 2 jobs throughout my career before becoming disabled at 40. i worked my way through school throwing crates of organic produce at some of the finest co-ops in northern california and worked as an intake counselor/house supervisor at my local battered womens shelter. both fabulous jobs which paid miserably, involved hard and sometimes heartbreaking work, but which i found fulfilling.

    i also have a long and complicated health history for a woman of 47 who was fortunate to have an RN for a mother who specialized in rehab management.

    with those things in mind, i shall now sleep on it to prepare my list of desired experts.

    pleasant dreams your own sweet self.

  22. An expert in ballistics will definitely be called by the state.

  23. bets says:

    Has anyone postulated a reason for only one tiny speck of gunshot residue on GZ’s jacket, on the back upper sleeve, none on the front?

    or is that one of the experts we need?

    • Sandra E. Graham says:

      Did he even have his jacket in at the time. Some say they heard a zipper sound immediately after he left the vehicle – either zipping or unzipping his jacket (I hope). Maybe he put the jacket on after the incident. I agree, that jacket has been a problem for me from the beginning.

      • Sandra E. Graham says:

        Gray Hoodie, gray T-shirt, white T-shirt. Hmmmm…

        • Patricia says:

          Sandra, maybe he just shimmied out of it …

          Seriously, I want to know if GZ’s blood is inside that band collar of the jacket. We write a lot about GZ’s blood curling from the top of the back of his head, across his cheek into his goatee – the shot filmed by the neighbor’s cell, just after the murder. But on the right side of the back of his head, there was plenty pooled at the base of his neck in back. That would press against the band collar of the jacket. If it’s not there, GZ had that jacket off during the final wrestling match (why, I don’t know). But that would leave his light-colored shirt visible in the gloom of night. As – on top of the victim.

          • Sandra E. Graham says:

            I agree – that jacket has the potential of answering alot of questions. I could not see any evidence of GZ having that jacket on until after the altercation while he is in the cruiser car and at the police station. Yet, witnesses claim to have seen the guy in red jacket. But, like everything else in this case, it does not make sense – grass stains, blood, sweat (TMs or GZs) gun shot residue, etc., etc.

          • Sandra E. Graham says:

            Patricia – Re: That jacket – From reading your comments, you know much, much more about this case than I do. What do you make about GZ wearing that jacket in the cruiser car. Why would it not have been bagged at the scene. Why were the police giving him a pat-down at the station. I have little trust of those photos of GZ taken at the scene.

    • Mirre says:

      I would like an expert’s opinion on that. I believe it was the upper back portion of the right sleeve. The part that would’ve been on the ground in GZ’s story. It would make sense to me, if GZ was holding Trayvon with his right hand and shooting with his left, with the gun crossing his right arm.

      • bets says:

        GZ writes left handed but shoots right handed. This is shown in the walk-thru and in the interview with the voice stress administrator. In each case when he talks about his weapon he reaches for it with his right hand.

  24. CherokeeNative says:

    At one time, fingerprints and DNA used to be considered junk science. Today, less established techniques must pass the standard set forth in the SCOTUS decision in Daubert by following a specific legal analysis to determine if the evidence results from a scientific theory or scientific principles generally accepted as legitimate by the scientific community. If the technique sought to be introduced into GZ’s case can pass the Daubert standard, I believe it should be allowed.

    I am in favor of the Court deciding disputed issues that can only be resolved by scientific analysis.

    As for experts, I believe we should have independent court appointed experts who are subject to cross-examination. This would help eliminate the “hired gun” who will say whatever you want for the right amount of $$$.

    It’s too late to go any further, so tomorrow morning I will list what areas of science I believe the prosecution needs to request the Court retain experts for (since I chose independent court appointed experts).

    Night Professor and Crane.

    • Sandra E. Graham says:

      Good Night CherokeeNative. I look forward to hearing what you have to say. So, I hope you get a really good night’s sleep and have set the alarm nice and early.

    • Sandra E. Graham says:

      mainstreamfair – what about the rest of us – Good night. I love reading your input and am really excited about comments made tomorrow. It is good to have experts in out midst.

  25. bets says:

    I like the idea of a single set of experts that are cross examined by both sides. If both sides also have to agree on the experts, I would hope that the experts would be “politically” neutral and true experts in their field and not just “experts for hire as in what do you want me to say”. It would cut costs for both sides. Far too many people are convicted because they don’t have their own experts and they have to rely on astute cross examination by the public defender.

    I like what seems to be happening in making a list of all possible experts. Good brainstorming. At some point, the list needs to be prioritized into essential, nice to have, and don’t really need it.

    My first take is that there are some experts that I would like to look at certain things and, depending on what they find, decide whether or not they are needed at trial.

    For example, it would be interesting to understand all the background noises on the NEN call. What if it’s determined that someone else was in the truck? That’s another whole investigation. But if the noises cannot be determined with certainty, or if the other investigation goes nowhere, that expert wouldn’t be needed for trial.

    What about the security videos? It might be useful to determine GZ’s path. I did see an analysis that showed a vehicle, GZ?, not stopping at the clubhouse, possibly going past the clubhouse eastbound then westbound then eastbound again to TTL, turning around with headlights facing the clubhouse. I don’t know the level of expertise of the person who did all that work. But is it really needed? I think the case is made based on the NEN call and what happened, regardless of whether GZ was at the clubhouse or not when he initiated the call. But it would be helpful in showing another whopper if the videos could be analyzed with certainty. Without certainty, it’s just something to add unnecessary complexity.

    I think that’s the case with many of the experts already listed. Some would be useful in helping to understand all facets of what happened, but many really aren’t needed for the trial.

    • Sandra E. Graham says:

      If the prosecution is attempting to prove that what happened is not true and G is a liar — the strongest evidence is the NEN call, as a juror, I would think – if he is a liar, why are they depending on the call to ascertain the scenario. GZ, may even have been following TM from the 7-11 or parked at the mailboxes. Whatever. I have made up my mind thinking as a juror and my decision was not based wholly on the NEN call, for sure. GZ lies. Donèt confuse the jury by thinking he told the truth in that call but lied everywhere else. So, whatever other evidence the prosecution has, video, audio, witness testimony — should be used as much as possible, thinking with my jury hat on.

      • bets says:

        I think you misspoke. The prosecution is trying to prove what really happened and it shouldn’t use Zimmerman’s account. It should use the evidence and whatever experts are needed.

        This would include videos, with interpretation, of Trayvon’s and George’s movements, the NEN call (for timing and malice), a reenactment specialist for the struggle, the shot, etc. The fact that the charge is 2nd degree murder says that the prosecution does not believe there is evidence of self defense so it wouldn’t be shown.

        Apart from the NEN call, they don’t even need anything GZ said! He was at the scene and it was his gun, but there is a problem in that there is no gunshot residue on his jacket or person. I still don’t understand that. (Did they test his shirt? It was white and might be the explanation for the witness who saw someone in a white shirt on top) I still don’t understand that. But they will probably pick and choose a statement where GZ made an admission that he did it.

        [snark alert] No matter which statement they use they might even have to include his statement that they had lots of break ins in the neighborhood and he formed the NW, and he mentors two AA kids.

        The objective, imo, is to get Zimmerman on the stand, to make his own claim of what happened and his self-defense claim. Then use his many stories to impeach his testimony.

        His injuries would be introduced by the defense and probably dealt with thru cross examination of his witness, if not, call a rebuttal expert.

        The groundwork for the impeachment of GZ testimony is in the reconstruction of the crime from beginning to end based on the evidence and the testimony of the experts on the interpretation of that evidence.

        One other point, too many experts could result in a confused and/or bored jury.

  26. dylan1086 says:

    Completely off topic but it looks like Zimmerman might appear on Dr. Phil during a taping in Los Angeles sometime in the near future:


    Looks like they’re inviting people to submit their thoughts, questions, etc on Mr. Zimmerman and the case. Why would O’Mara allow his client, who is on trial for Murder 2, be subjected to this potential nightmare. Seems like a terrible, terrible idea. But good TV haha.

    • Sandra E. Graham says:

      The question thoughts and answers may yield a brainstorming effect where MOM can gleen a few defence ideas without having someone in his office paid to go through all that information found on the internet – YouTube, etc.. May I ask why this is allowed to happen – the Websites, the TV appearances. Is the prosecution able to curtail it in some way. By the time the case gets to court – I would call all of these appearances – jury tampering!! Never saw anything like this before — have a defendent testify outside of court — Trayvon Martin (prosecution ) cannot cross-examine him, can they. It is not just the show itself. It is the networks and newspapers picking out highlights, etc — always skewed one way or the other. Unbelievable!!!

    • Rachael says:

      NO NO NO – Zimmerman is NOT going to be on Dr. Phil. Mark Osterman is and Dr. Phil is looking for:

      Did you or someone you know act in self-defense, but got punished?

      Did you or someone you know do the right thing even though everyone else thinks it was wrong?

      Are you being harassed or judged for your actions?

      Do you know someone who was killed or injured for no good reason?

      If you can relate to any of these statements and want to have your story heard on our show, apply below!

      As well, he is looking for strong opinions regarding Zimmerman and this is ONLY for people living in LA. But maybe that is only what he is using for his show, because I might just send him a strong opinion anyway.

      But regardless if Zimmerman is on there or not, it obviously will be about him.

      HOW DARE this stuff happen then they complain about it being tried in the media. HOW DARE they do this kind of stuff and then complain that he can’t get a fair trial. HOW DARE they do this kind of stuff and claim they can’t find a jury.

      IF GZ really was in fear of his life such that he needs security, he has only himself to blame. But then, he has only himself to blame for everything but y’all know how that goes.

      • edgySF says:

        I didn’t know Phil was still on.

        I won’t be watching.

      • KA says:

        He killed an unarmed high school student, did he expect to go to work the next day and just live his life?

        I remember when he was arrested O’Mara would talk about how frustrated he was that he was charged and in this situation. His family and “friends” go on network TV and blast the family of the dead teen, did he expect everyone would just take his word for it?

        He is an entitled, privileged man-child that seems to not have a clue of how to take responsibility for his own life and decisions.

  27. aussie says:

    One thing that would not need an expert — the clubhouse light analysis.

    All they need is pick a rainy night and drive up and down at specific times in specific patterns. Then take the tapes and see the patterns each trip makes on the videos. This would serve to confirm tchoupi’s analysis.

    It still would not prove which vehicle was whose, but would show that SOME VEHICLE did drive up and down, then wait at the mailbox, then do a u-turn in TTL, at the same time that GZ was making the NEN call.

    Another thing that could be proven/disproved by reenactment would be the “fight”. Using actors, reenact various versions of GZ’s story about the fight to see if his claims about pinned arms, TM having 4 hands etc are possible or not.

    Computer animation will NOT DO for this purpose. We know that can make people fly through the air etc. It has to be real human beings of the right size and shape. To save injury to the actors, the “concrete” could be replaced with grey foam blocks.

    I’d also like to see an actor walking through the NEN call along GZ’s route, to demonstrate how very long 2 1/2 minutes is, to be standing still in the rain waiting to be sneak attacked by someone who warns you of his presence by calling out to you. This would be done to a tape of the actual NEN call.

    And then another one, showing GZ move along one of the proposed likelier routes. This is not “evidence”, this is sowing reasonable doubt in a very graphic way, that static timelines don’t do nearly as well.

    I’d do then from a high-mounted camera (cherrypicker??) to give a good over-view of the whole location, with a yellow tarp and the debris field already placed. You’d not even need the “probable route” one, I’d think the GZ version on its own would have the jury laughing out loud. When they’ve done the “shimmy” bit, play the 911 tape of the screams.

    This is 10 minutes for the expert to say how the video was made, 12 minutes or so for the clubhouse light show, and 7 minutes to replay the NEN and screams calls. Rest my case.

    • Mark O’Mara is tall and Angela Corey is around the same stature as Zimmerman. Maybe they will volunteer to do a reenactment. Just don’t give Angie a loaded pistol.

      • Sandra E. Graham says:

        I think the clubhouse tapes would have to be used because it is evidence. To reenact that part is but a reenactment. The lights corresponding to GZs claim to have stopped at the clubhouse and for how long would show on the tape. If it isn’t there, he didn’t stop, back-up, etc.. Attempting to re-enact the scuffle is only a possibe scenario because there is little evidence except for witnesses who each saw portions (maybe) and GZ himself (doubtful).

      • Sandra~~

        If anyone wants to discredit O’Mara, they can file an information with the Florida Bar Assoc. I would caution them to be make sure they have the evidence to back up their claim. Mark is a smart attorney and he knows all about defamation lawsuits.

        A defense lawyer always gets a lot of flack when those opposing him think the defendant is guilty as sin. BTW, a judge can file an information to the Bar Assoc against an attorney if he/she feels there is just cause.

        • Sandra E. Graham says:

          Couldn’t agree more. This is why I believe nothing about the PayPal money issue will be mentioned during the trial or Hearing. Is this what MOM meant by periphery issues.

      • fauxmccoy says:

        msf states: Mark O’Mara is tall and Angela Corey is around the same stature as Zimmerman. Maybe they will volunteer to do a reenactment. Just don’t give Angie a loaded pistol.

        – – – – – – –

        ha ha hahahahahahahahahahahhaha

        yes yes yes, that is perfect, in fact i think we should put them in a wrestling cage and whoever comes out alive wins their case. my money is on angie for this one. 🙂

    • Sandra E. Graham says:

      I donèt know if the jury would be laughing out loud. I had trouble with the timing and the lay of the land in the beginning. The jury is just being introduced to that night. I would ascertain, a few may be unable to create a visual in their mind. So, visuals are always good. As far as the timing goes, it does make a difference where GZ parked. If he parked at the South end rather than at the North end, the the scuffle and result may have never happened at the T, etc., etc..

  28. princss6~~Zimmerman is a deception expert. If O’Mara puts him on the stand, he will testify for the state under cross. Perfect!

  29. princss6 says:

    Deception Expert?

  30. PYorck says:

    I am a little surprised that so many dismiss voice recognition completely. What are your reasons for that? Do you think the numbers are not good enough or do you have fundamental objections? I am aware that the results are not perfect and are sometimes oversold, but I am still curious how that got such a negative image.

    /Linguist, but not a speech guy

    • Prof~~Rather than put a voice expert on the stand ( I don’t think they would make it past the voir dire), I would play the 911 tape where the screams are audible. Put the one of the stand who made that 911 call, in that way the evidence (audio) can be introduced. You could have the victim of this homicide testifying from the grave. In my books, that would supercede any audio/voice expert.

  31. Sandra E. Graham says:

    Fingerprint expert.

    • Prof~~the last I heard was that the defense has rec’d approx 80% of the discovery from the state. When you tried your cases, did you ever define any of the evidence as tangible or intangible? A fingerprint, gun, blood spatter would all be tangible. Blood spatters always remind me of Dr Henry Lee and his Ketchup bottle.

  32. Body language expert- inadmissable. I do not believe I have ever agreed with Dr Lillian Glass who professes to be an expert. Junk Science.

  33. Sandra E. Graham says:

    How about a body language expert. Or is this junk science.

  34. Sandra E. Graham says:

    When GZ left the vehicle, it sounds like he is walking, jogging, or running on grass. Where he apparently parked and in the reenactment, there is sidewalk (concrete). So, did he park there. If it was a grass sound, he could have parked at the cut through (all grass). Again,where he left he parked the vehicle, is important. Then, timing is everything and sound. Can it be determined, by engine sound, if he reversed the vehicle at the clubhouse, did he back up, what speed was he travelling (gear shifting).

    • Sandra E. Graham says:

      Also, with timing, which cut-through did Trayvon use or could he have used the gated entrance, does it line up to GZs call. Pacing for Trayvon as opposed to GZ driving. Where was Trayvon, when.

  35. Sandra E. Graham says:

    I would want someone who could identify who could determine what lock fits that key, does the bigger flashlight have a problem connecting to the battery. I don’t know what the proper name of those experts could be.

    • Prof~~When they did the voice recognition of Zimmerman yelling help, they had to do it under the same conditions as on the evening of Feb 26th. Sound decibles carry differently depending on weather conditions, buildings close by etc. Did they take Zimmerman out to Retreat Circle on a rainy night and get him to yell for help? If they didn’t, it is not worth the tape it is on. Voice stress, polygraphs and voice recognition is junk science in my books and I will file it under inadmissable. Right? Wrong?

      After all that BS, I need to be graded, sir. In every classroom, you have a showoff, ’tis moi. lol

      • Digger says:

        Yes indeed! lol

      • fauxmccoy says:

        most courts recognize the voice identifcation forensics at this point – whether it is junk is debatable. Tom Owen who performed the testing we are familiar with in this case to determine that the screaming was not zimmerman is widely recognized as an expert in his field and has been determined by many courts in many states to be an ‘expert’. he is also on the prosecution’s witness list.

      • whonoze says:

        Sorry, it’s deciBel (named after Alexander G., though they dropped the last ‘l’ for some reason) and decibels don’t ‘carry.’ It’s a measurement scale of sound pressure level. It has nothing to do with identifying characteristics of sounds. But yes, those identifying characteristics are altered somewhat by different physical environments and different recording technologies. Whether and how these things matter depends on what you’re trying to glean from a recording

        I don’t know where Zimmerman’s ‘help’ exemplar was recorded, but some effort was made to simulate some of the conditions of W11s 911 call, and the exemplar could suffice to make a Tom Owen type voice recognition comparison stronger, not because it would also not-match the screams, but if it conclusively DID match GZs NEN call.

        Then the forensic audio expert could say, “See, the software will show a 95% match between the same voice, even when one recording comes from speaking directly into a phone, and the other is screaming recorded at a distance. Thus, the 50% mis-match conslusively and scientifically establishes the screams on the 911 call as not-GZ.”

        If the ‘help’ exemplar was recorded under the exact conditions (minus the rain anyway): at The Retreat, from inside W11’s unit, using her model of phone, and from where she says she was standing during the screaming part of the call (and I doubt that it was…) it would add strong support for one of my contentions: Jennifer and Jeremy say they didn’t see anything and I think the 911 call shows that’s highly unlikely (e.g. I’m pretty sure they saw something, and are covering up for some reason or other.)

        • “I don’t know where Zimmerman’s ‘help’ exemplar was recorded, but some effort was made to simulate some of the conditions of W11s 911 call, and the exemplar could suffice to make a Tom Owen type voice recognition comparison stronger, not because it would also not-match the screams, but if it conclusively DID match GZs NEN call.”

          I had not thought of this. Good point.

    • Sandra~ ~those experts are Energizer Bunnies…inadmissable. Junk Bunnies.

  36. Two sides to a story says:

    I’ll leave forensics and sound analysis to the experts. But those “lie detector” tests that GZ passed and that his supporters tout as proof of innocence are laughably bogus, definitely in the realm of junk science: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/george-zimmerman-lie-detector-421395

    • karma says:

      Charles Mason,Ted Bundy,Green River killer all passed lie detector test.GZ took a voice stress test and asked the softball questions by SFPD HIS BUDDYS.

      • Mirre says:

        For a lie detector test to work, the person has to be able to feel remorse. Sociopaths are notorious for passing lie detector tests while lying.

  37. Sandra E. Graham says:

    I would want someone who would be able to ascertain what witness could see what that night – darkness, haze from the rain, lighting, measurements. At what time was it raining before, during, and after the incident.

  38. Patricia says:

    1. Physiatrist (not misspelling psychiatrist) MD from major university – this is a “body mechanics” MD to testify re possibility of GZ’s gun draw. (Zena and Diary both want this.) Also to testify to body strengths of similar body types to TM and GZ – who could overpower whom?

    2. Pulmonologist (lung MD) to testify to “Trayvon’s last words” AFTER he was shot.

    3. ENT preferably with Sports Medicine experience re broken nose. Bring in Sean Penn to see a real broken nose (sorry that Marlon Brando has gone to that great Polynesian atoll in the sky).

    4. Trauma surgeon – one with experience in cranial damage. Could that head be smashed and show such little damage?

    5. Phone/time data expert to put together the timeline, considering 311/911 calls start when dispatchers hit “enter,” whole-minute data for cell phones, etc. Need great graphic artist to make charts the juror can really understand.

    6. Need jury selection expert!

    7. Statistician to report on how GS abused the 311/911 system – frequency of calls, percentage identifying black males, contrasted to same-size cities’ experience nationally.

    8. Rage expert.

    9. Colloquial Spanish translator for GZ’s jail recordings

    10. Pinocchio expert (Zimm’s nose got smashed because it kept growing so quickly).

    • Digger says:

      Patricia, who the hell are you, you are amazing! I mean are you a law student, etc? You come up with everything that I can not put into words.

    • Rachael says:

      Definitely need #10.

    • fauxmccoy says:

      thanks patricia – i was going to add physiatrist (for the reasons you mentioned and basically, i love them all – they have made life worth living); pulmonologist and trauma surgeon – again for all the reasons you have mentioned. i am blessed/cursed with medical conditions that have required me to have good relations with all and an RN for a mom who could direct me to the good ones in our area.

      i’ll add to my own list later, but nice work.

  39. Sandra E. Graham says:

    Definitely, someone who can offer an expert opinion about the video taken from the 7-11 and the clubhouse. When Trayvon left the 7-11, is that Trayvon in the window heading in what direction, for example. Someone who can enhance the videos and determine if there was a vehicle parked at the clubhouse – arrival and departure. Video is another item where an expert is really needed.

    • whonoze says:

      See, this is what I mean. Video and audio ‘enhancement’ is mostly BS. Junk tech-knowledge-y, not junk sciene. tchoupi, who is a scientist, has demonstrated quite persuasively that GZ was not parked at the cluhouse from the security videos, no bogus enhancement required.

      • Sandra E. Graham says:

        While you feel someone has quite persuasively determined that GZ was not parked at the clubhouse – the jury does not know that. But, the video may give information about TM as well. If you want to rely on GZ answering OK after – Are You following him – then that is going to be debated. But, if there is video somewhere that shows GZ was following him prior to his even getting out of the car – this may soon be considered – stalking. Otherwise, the jury may have a picture of GZ simply observing him along the way – not following (as per gz). In the NEN call, he never, ever admits to have stalked TM at all en route. He is always stopped when TM passes or circles or runs, whatever.

      • Sandra E. Graham says:

        Whenever anyone mentions the word sounds or video, why do you freak and think no one else but you can utter the words. We don’t know what evidence is still to come. The clubhouse videos, if introduced, and me being a jury member, may want to know, something about the case. Most here have been given the evidence already and have made opinions along the way. Not so, the jury. While you have great knowledge about sight and sound, there are others who may be able to help or hurt the prosecution case. From what I have learned so far, the prosecution has to weave the evidence into a story of what happened that night. Am I right.

      • Sandra E. Graham says:

        Well, If I have used the wrong word – enhancement – it is because I am not an expert. The jury members will not be experts either and as they say – I am from Missouri – Show me. Will tchoupi be called to testify as an expert in this case, do you think. If GZs vehicle were at the 7-11, I may want the video footage enhanced to see if license plates at the front of the store could yield the tag number.

      • Pooh says:

        What if GZ had turned off his headlights? He had a habit of doing that, apparently.

    • heartof hearts says:

      I would also want a video expert because the clubhouse does have cameras but according to GZ in his stmt to Det. Singleton they were not working. GZ immediately gives the name of Leland Management and Kent Taylor whose phone number is in his cell phone.
      For a neighborhood that has had a lot of problems and knowing GZ’s obvious concerns about crime and being the neighborhood watch coordinator how long were these cameras down for and why were they not working?
      I am going off of what GZ said in his statement to Det. Singleton.

      • Sandra E. Graham says:

        heartofhearts – yeah, for a complex with a short history of crime, I wondered the same thing. I also thought it strange that the NW guy and the HOA wouldn’t want to put in lighting- even motion lighting at the back of the homes. Criminals like the dark and love patios where they can not be seen breaking in. Very strange. I wonder if they do now. Maybe, after this happened, any criminal would be a fool to try anything sinister.

  40. whonoze says:

    There’s a lot of photo and video evidence in this case, and based on the blog comments, most people don’t know doodly squat about lenses, contrast ration, resolution, compression. Same for basic priciples of sound, and audio recording technology, which are different matters than audiology or voice analysis.

    Also since there are phone calls and cell phones and what-not involved, a good telecom tech person might be handy, especially an ex phone-phreak who can hack and extract data that might be buried in the system.

    Facial recognition analysis, to see if the guy captured on the bank security camera is Mark Osterman.

    • Marilyn says:

      Don’t forget, the bank will know who was transacting business, and on what account, at that exact time. MO will have left a much easier trail to follow than the need for a face recognition expert if he was there.

      • Sandra E. Graham says:

        Regarding MO and face recognition. You say that MO would have left a record of the transaction and that would be better than the face. I have done deposits for my mother on many an occasion because she does not get around much any more. Anyone looking up the records would only be able to ascertain that those are her records. No signatures are required any more. Maybe MO was using someone else’s debit card or credit card. I would want an opinion, should MO, while on the stand, deny it was him. Even a tag number on his vehicle. Was he using GZs vehicle to put a deposit in GZs account because he was over that night possibly borrowing GZ money.

      • CommonSenseForChange says:

        I think these are all valid points. The video without the bank transaction records leave us with exploitable doubt. Having both video and transaction record would put us closer to verifiable evidence that the guy on the video is Osterman using some account he had access to — *if* it’s him.

        Suppose it turns out that it’s not him? Well, that would mean we missed some point of the video being collected and provided as evidence. Could still be just a means of checking lighting, weather, etc., during that time frame. Could just be routine to check any surveillance cameras within an x-mile radius.

  41. Sandra E. Graham says:

    Definitely, I would want a sound engineer (Foley in the theatrical world to determine the sounds in the NEN call whilst GZ was still in the vehicle). Wiper sound, seat belt release, gear shifting, door opening and closing, glove box opening and closing etc. Outside of the car – the running, jogging, the clicks, the knocking, There is alot of unidentified sound in the call. A Foley (sound engineer) could provide an opinion about what those sounds probably are. Sound is a biggy in this case. Need to enhance background sounds and interpret them or alot of the reenactment sound evidence is really only interpretation not opinion as an expert.

  42. TruthBTold says:

    The beginning cracked me up, because option A was sounding real good lol. After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast, I will participate. Good night folks.

  43. Rachael says:

    If you have the court appoint independent experts to to examine the evidence and testify subject to cross examination by both sides, do you still get to choose what kind of experts you want/need?

    Kind of has me wondering if O’Mara is lying about the amount of money that is in the account – expert witnesses are expensive. And if there is money, it could turn into who can affort the most/best.

    However, if there were independent experts, if the prosecution does not like that witness, could that open a door for an appeal?

    Boy, IDK, this is a tough one.

    • EveryoneIsEntitledToTheirOpinion says:

      Oh Mark O’Money is definitely lying… They have plenty of money….Alec and NRA backings…

    • EveryoneIsEntitledToTheirOpinion says:

      Mark O’Money has been busted so many times!!

      • EveryoneIsEntitledToTheirOpinion says:

      • Sandra E. Graham says:

        What if the prosecution were able to discredit MOM himself. I don’t think the money issue will be brought up because it has little to with this case. Discrediting MOM – is that even kosher.

    • EveryoneIsEntitledToTheirOpinion says:

      Sorry check out this website Trent does his research:

      Youtube – Mark O’mara – BUSTED!!!! George Zimmerman Lawyer- Revealed – Lied to Courts by stateoftheinternet..

      Video will not post…

      Professor please delete the two previous video post. For some reason they did not register…

      • Malisha says:

        You can’t bust the lawyer.
        That’s the rules of the road.
        Sometimes, you can’t bust anybody — in this case that didn’t play out exactly as planned — but you DEFINITELY can’t bust the lawyer unless all the power is on the other side. O’Mara is a good part of the system he practices in; he will never be busted for anything and he knows it.

  44. Vicky says:

    I would like to hear from an expert in crime scene reconstruction using computer animation. Specifically, someone who could demonstrate how GZ could or could not have fired his gun from the angle he claims, whether or not Trayvon could have seen GZ’s weapon while straddling GZ’s body, and possibly how Trayvon’s body would have landed from various position after being shot in the chest. Or would that type of evidence even be admissible?

    As for the question about independent experts. If all things are equal, meaning the same amount of money allocated to each side for hiring an expert, I would rather be presented with the opinions of two separate experts. Even if they are completely at odds. I suppose there is the issue of “buying” expert testimony, but science is an ever evolving discipline and if experts are not challenged, how can new techniques evolve or bad science be challenged?
    However, since no such equity exists, I think an independent expert witness might be the best way to go. My question is how does one keep personal bias out of the equation when dealing with human beings? And if the contract goes to the lowest bidder, how does one know that expert is the most qualified to form an opinion. And who pays for the independent expert. Is the cost divided between the opposing sides?

    Another question I would love to hear discussed is whether or not we should use “professional” jurors for crimes involving the death penalty (I am opposed to the DP) or life imprisonment. I realize defendants can opt for a bench trial, but that isn’t the same.

    • edgySF says:

      Early in this case, I saw a good computer animation reconstruction…but it got outdated as more info came out. For example, initially GZ said that TM attacked him by GZ’s truck. So I think it was based on that.

      I would love to see an updated computer animation. I have a hard time visualizing how this happened…and putting together all of the pieces when there’s been so many versions is confusing.

      I simply do not see how GZ was able to unholster his weapon, extend his arm, take aim, ensure he doesn’t shoot his other hand (like he said), and fire while being pinned to the ground with somebody sitting on his chest, slamming his head & smothering him.

      I’m not sure if GZ’s account matches the angle of where the bullet went.

      Also, if GZ was able to do all of that…then he was able to retreat.

  45. Yes, I know quite a lot about forensic entomology. I’ve had time of death issues in several death penalty cases that I tried and I almost visited the Body Farm back in the late 90s but couldn’t work it into my schedule. I’m more familiar with Dr. Bill Bass than Dr. Arpad Vass.

    • EveryoneIsEntitledToTheirOpinion says:

      Dear Professor, please delete two videos I was trying to post. Trying to help Rachael out. Will never believe the O’Mara defense is having money problems. O’Mara has been caught in many lies about money…in my opinion. Guess I’d better turn in so I don’t misquote again..

      Sorry for the birthday misquote on previous blog..I read it somewhere a birthday. I started too late tonight… Have a wonderful evening….everyone…

    • Prof~~those little maggots can tell a story. I find that science very intriguing.

  46. Brown says:

    good night people
    I am seeing double letters….

  47. Diaryofasuccessfulloser says:

    There must also be a reinactment of the positioning of TM on top of GZ showing how ludicrous his tale of reaching for his gun through TM’s leg is.

  48. Xena says:

    Ballistics expert to address where the shell casing was found and possible location where GZ fired from.

    Is there such a thing as a “shimmy” expert? 🙂 Someone to present that GZ’s ability to shimmy to expose his waistline also means that GZ was not confined underneath Trayvon?

    • Rachael says:

      LOL @ Xena. shimmy expert. Hahahaha. Someone remind me – how is it that GZ was confined under Trayvon so that he could not defend himself in any way but was able to pull his gun? I know I know, but I can’t remember right now.

      • Xena says:

        @Rachael. I have not read anyone try to explain that. In an earlier thread, it was discussed how GZ could not fire according to his version, and hit Trayvon in the heart in a straight through shot. Either Trayvon was on the ground with GZ standing over him when he fired the gun, or they both were standing.

      • Malisha says:

        Rachael, that was just part of God’s plan. It goes like this:

        I got hands,
        you got hands,
        all God’s chillun got hands,
        but when a thug sits on you
        you just ain’t got hands
        till the thug needs shooting with a weapon,
        till the thug needs shooting with a weapon.

      • Rachael says:


  49. Sandra E. Graham says:

    Professor – Please define junk science. Thanks

    • Digger says:

      Professor, Please define Voir dire. Thanks
      French, I assume?

      • fauxmccoy says:

        old french via latin, meaning to speak the truth. the process of jury selection is what most of us would be familiar with as voir dire, that is questioning of the jury pool to weed out undesirables. (did not have to look that one up … i’m getting better at this)

      • Malisha says:

        “Voire dire” is actually “to see what they’ll say” and it means that someone questions either a proposed expert or a juror to see if that expert or juror is qualified to sit (or testify) in the trial.

  50. Professor~~the Anthony trial was a learning experience for me when it came to expert testimony. The most interesting expert to take the stand for the prosecution was Arpad Alexander Vass, forensic anthropologist from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. I am sure you are familar with him and the body farm. The defense tried to call Dr Vass’ finding junk science. How do you feel about him?

    BTW, I would love to meet Angela Corey, eyeball to eyeball. I would just don brighter lipstick than hers and say, “what’s up, Angie?” BS can baffle brains and some experts who make it past the voir dire can do just that.

  51. Brown says:

    Crime Scene Recontructionist they would be able to prove that he did not fire that gun from the ground.

  52. KA says:

    I think blood flow and wound experts to be important. There is a clear picture now of GZ’s head immediately afterwards. I would think it sufficient to suggest that the head was not on the ground after the injury (ie flow pattern downwards, no gravel or grass, no smearing, etc)

  53. fauxmccoy says:

    will give a more studious reply after i’ve gotten the kids to bed – school start tomorrow. until then,

    marvin gaye 1965 – ‘can i get a witness?’

    enjoy with gusto and wild abandon 🙂

  54. Brown says:

    sorry Reconstructionist
    Its getting late…..

  55. Karma says:

    No one yells for help armed with a 9mm in hand against skittles and Ice tea.

    • edgySF says:


      A man with a gun does not yell for help.

      Especially against an unarmed teenager 40 lbs lighter than he.


      Can you imagine…an episode of Law and Order…or in a movie…where a man with a gun is fighting a kid. And screams for help.

      Unheard of. Unimaginable.

      It requires a suspension of common sense to believe that GZ screamed for help 17 times and for 45 seconds — while armed with a gun.

  56. Brown says:

    I would tell them to hire a Crime Scene Reconstrucionist.

  57. Patricia says:

    Zim wants it his way: Geraldo Rivera and Dr. Phil.

  58. Brown says:

    This class is getting harder and harder.

    • Case#1 says:

      Another good post.

      I would say the only area for potential junk science seems to be the identity for the voice yelling for help. That one can go either way were there no other evidence in the case. The fact there is other evidence makes certain conclusions more likely than others. However, i don’t think the science on the subject helps that much with making a decision and those that are pro the voice being TM seems equally like junk to me.

      Other than that, everything else seems less so. My area of science is not physics, but I understand it enough to get the concepts being thrown about regarding the ballistics to see why its a problem for GZ. I think a jury would get it too.

      Is there any other area other than the two voices that might require expertise of a questionable nature?

      • Diaryofasuccessfulloser says:

        I find the verbiage in both sides of the who-was-screaming issue interesting. Both sources on the TM side said that they can report with certainty that GZ was NOT the one screaming. The FBI rep simply said that they could not determine WHO was screaming, not who was NOT.

        • Brown says:

          Very interesting…….
          I still find it hard to believe that there is no recorded voice of TM. I would think maybe one football game where he was playing maybe taped by a coach. Something… Anything

      • KA says:

        In the audio, I believe the identification of voice could be considered junk science, but it seems the analysis of the words to be more precise and useful in aligning them to the victim. George claims he was yelling “Help”. Any other discernible words (like “I don’t know) could be logically assigned to “not Zimmerman”.

      • Xena says:

        Seems to me that dead people do speak. The photo of Trayvon’s dead face that was presented to his dad for identification, speaks volumes. A tear on Trayvon’s cheek. Saliva on Trayvon’s mouth. That’s the face of someone crying for help. That’s the face of someone screaming “NO!” That is a person in fear of losing their life.

        OTOH, there is GZ who allegedly is crying for help until he fires his gun.n His purported injuries do not prevent him from standing and walking. He is seen pacing and telling a resident to call his wife.

        If I were on the prosecution’s teams, and if the defense has no expert who can clearly establish the voice crying for help is GZ’s, I would argue that matter based on the photo of Trayvon’s dead face.

      • Diaryofasuccessfulloser says:

        I don’t think we have heard the last of this arguement. It’s funny that Tom Owens’s assessments of the “punks” vs “c**ns” was readily accepted by everyone, but his assessment of whose voice was not recorded as screaming was not accepted. This could be the reason why the charging affidavit readily accepted the word “punks” instead of the other word. They wanted to show early credibility to this expert. He is, I believe, on the witness list. This is all, of course, IMO.

      • There is an argument that Rule 702 does not apply because the jury does not need any help from an audiologist to determine if that’s TM or GZ screaming since the scream ends abruptly with the shot and GZ’s voice exemplar that he gave to the police i easily distinguishable from the scream without the use of technological wizardry.

        The down side of that argument is that it is the kind of ruling that would be appealed, if GZ is convicted, and the appellate courts might reverse and remand..

        Also, voice stress analysis is inadmissible under Rule 702.

      • Rachael says:

        @ Brown maybe on his cell phone like if he sent voice messages or left voicemail. But I don’t know how good of quality that would be.

      • Case#1 says:

        Is there any reason why the prosecution must introduce the evidence?

        I mean: How does this help the defense if the prosecution doesn’t introduce it, but the defense does since there is no way to determine who was yelling for help?

        Personally, I think this issue is a wash. One can go back and forth about the timing issue.

        I think from a “winning the case” perspective the prosecution is losing if they must get bogged down in who is screaming for help.

        At that point, the jury is buying a narrative that the prosecution does not want to believe and the wash leads to acquittal.

      • edgySF says:

        “GZ’s voice exemplar that he gave to the police is easily distinguishable from the scream without the use of technological wizardry.”

        I agree.

        I grew up with a big brother who was a bully…he’s now a really nice guy, but in his younger days…not so much.

        I know, from first hand experience, how my brother’s mind works. Because of that experience, here is my *speculation*:

        – GZ tried to smother TM because TM was yelling for HELP

        – GZ knew that somebody somewhere would hear the screams

        – First thing GZ says to cops/witnesses: “I yelled for help but nobody came!!” He was covering his butt because he knew the screams HAD to have been heard.

        – When Det. Serino asked GZ how did he yell for help, GZ provided an example: “Help! Help! Help!”

        – When GZ provided said example, he was unaware that the actual scream for help was caught on the 911 call.

        – His example bared no resemblance at all to the cries caught on tape — GZ sounded like an adult man, or even a LEO, trying to alert neighbors. But on tape, the cries for help were gun-wrenching, desperate….and young.


        Had the cry for help NOT been recorded, GZ would have been in the clear on this one.

        It appears to me that it is not “God’s plan” (to borrow from GZ) that that he get away with executing one of His children. God is in the details, right :?)

        • Good comment!

          If I were defense counsel, I would try to figure out a way to exclude GZ’s voice recording so that the jury would not hear it.

          The outcome of a motion to exclude that recording may determine the outcome of the trial and that is why the defense must come up with the best argument possible to exclude it from being admitted into evidence.

          I call these sorts of motions potential outcome-determinative motions that must be won to have a chance to win at trial.

          If the jury hears that tape and compares it to the terrified scream, the case is over for George Zimmerman.

      • boar_d_laze says:

        I know the only grounds to keep the scream demonstration out is “more inflammatory than probative,” but that’s got zip chance.

        The scream demo came after advisement; Mr. Zimmerman knew it was for identification and gave it voluntarily.

    • Justkiddin* says:

      I totally agree. The only polite thing to do is grab the walker and high tail it out of there. There is no way should I be part of the prosecution team. However I would love to sit right behind them and cheer them on quietly of course.
      Good night all, will read all the comments tomorrow. Forensic is foreign to me so I best not muddy up the waters. I would prefer not to be the first student with an F.

    • Vickie Votaw says:

      Professor , I think you are trying to put the fear in the trolls! What a grand idea!

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