Zimmerman: Representing Him and the Inevitable Question: My God, What Have I Become?

Brown posted this comment Sunday night at 8:31 pm:

“Correct, but what I was trying to convey was that DeeDee might not understand that he would of been justified. Let’s just say that yes TM told DeeDee that he might have to turn around and face this dude and fight him because he felt threaten. DeeDee as a young teen who doesn’t know anything about SYG, might not understand that TM would of been in the right. If you look through her eyes, she only sees TM a kid who doesn’t fight had to fight against a grown white man. Do you see how it might put her in a position of thinking that if she were to say something like that, her thought process might be, OH boy if I say that TM would be in the wrong. She doesn’t understand that the law was on his side as soon as GZ followed him.”

Although Brown’s comment is about Dee Dee, her comment also is applicable to what clients say to their attorneys. For example, I have previously stated that the Fifth Commandment mandates that lawyers should not assume that their clients tell them the truth.

Brown’s comment pinpoints one of the reasons why clients will lie to their lawyers. For example, because the client might not realize that he has a valid self-defense claim in a murder case where there were no eyewitnesses (or he fears that no one will believe him if he tells the truth), the client might tell the lawyer that he was at a family BBQ when the death occurred. This is a false alibi defense that he also might have provided to the police.

Now let us assume that you are the lawyer and your reliable investigator, Paul Drake, has interviewed everyone who was present at the family BBQ and no one recalls your client being there until a couple of hours after the victim was killed. In other words, your client had plenty of time to kill the victim and get to the BBQ before the witnesses saw him.

You decide to confront your client. Lawyers often refer to these confrontations as a “come-to-Jesus moment.”

After telling your client that his alibi defense is not going to work, he tells you what really happened. You realize that he is describing a situation that constitutes self-defense under the SYG law in your jurisdiction.

Let us say this happens mid-trial after the prosecution rests its case and now it’s time for the defense to go forward.

Now what do you do?

In Nix v. Whiteside, 475 U.S. 157 (1986), the SCOTUS considered a similar fact situation. The Court held that the Sixth Amendment right of a criminal defendant to assistance of counsel is not violated when an attorney refuses to cooperate with the defendant in presenting perjured testimony at his trial.

In a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice Berger, the SCOTUS said:

Page 475 U. S. 160

I
A

Whiteside was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury verdict which was affirmed by the Iowa courts. The killing took place on February 8, 1977, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Whiteside and two others went to one Calvin Love’s apartment late that night, seeking marihuana. Love was in bed when Whiteside and his companions arrived; an argument between Whiteside and Love over the marihuana ensued. At one point, Love directed his girlfriend to get his “piece,” and at another point got up, then returned to his bed. According to Whiteside’s testimony, Love then started to reach under his pillow and moved toward Whiteside. Whiteside stabbed Love in the chest, inflicting a fatal wound.

Whiteside was charged with murder, and when counsel was appointed, he objected to the lawyer initially appointed, claiming that he felt uncomfortable with a lawyer who had formerly been a prosecutor. Gary L. Robinson was then appointed, and immediately began an investigation. Whiteside gave him a statement that he had stabbed Love as the latter “was pulling a pistol from underneath the pillow on the bed.” Upon questioning by Robinson, however, Whiteside indicated that he had not actually seen a gun, but that he was convinced that Love had a gun. No pistol was found on the premises; shortly after the police search following the stabbing, which had revealed no weapon, the victim’s family had removed all of the victim’s possessions from the apartment. Robinson interviewed Whiteside’s companions who were present during the stabbing, and none had seen a gun during the incident. Robinson advised Whiteside that the existence of a gun was not necessary to establish the claim of self-defense, and that only a reasonable belief that the victim had a gun nearby was necessary, even though no gun was actually present.
Until shortly before trial, Whiteside consistently stated to Robinson that he had not actually seen a gun, but that he was

Page 475 U. S. 161

convinced that Love had a gun in his hand. About a week before trial, during preparation for direct examination, Whiteside for the first time told Robinson and his associate Donna Paulsen that he had seen something “metallic” in Love’s hand. When asked about this, Whiteside responded:

“[I]n Howard Cook’s case, there was a gun. If I don’t say I saw a gun, I’m dead.”

Robinson told Whiteside that such testimony would be perjury, and repeated that it was not necessary to prove that a gun was available, but only that Whiteside reasonably believed that he was in danger. On Whiteside’s insisting that he would testify that he saw “something metallic,” Robinson told him, according to Robinson’s testimony:

“[W]e could not allow him to [testify falsely], because that would be perjury, and, as officers of the court, we would be suborning perjury if we allowed him to do it; . . . I advised him that, if he did do that, it would be my duty to advise the Court of what he was doing, and that I felt he was committing perjury; also, that I probably would be allowed to attempt to impeach that particular testimony.”
App. to Pet. for Cert. A-85. Robinson also indicated he would seek to withdraw from the representation if Whiteside insisted on committing perjury. [Footnote 2]

Whiteside testified in his own defense at trial, and stated that he “knew” that Love had a gun, and that he believed Love was reaching for a gun, and he had acted swiftly in self-defense. On cross-examination, he admitted that he had not

Page 475 U. S. 162

actually seen a gun in Love’s hand. Robinson presented evidence that Love had been seen with a sawed-off shotgun on other occasions, that the police search of the apartment may have been careless, and that the victim’s family had removed everything from the apartment shortly after the crime. Robinson presented this evidence to show a basis for Whiteside’s asserted fear that Love had a gun.

The jury returned a verdict of second-degree murder, and Whiteside moved for a new trial, claiming that he had been deprived of a fair trial by Robinson’s admonitions not to state that he saw a gun or “something metallic.” The trial court held a hearing, heard testimony by Whiteside and Robinson, and denied the motion. The trial court made specific findings that the facts were as related by Robinson.
The Supreme Court of Iowa affirmed respondent’s conviction. State v. Whiteside, 272 N.W.2d 468 (1978). That court held that the right to have counsel present all appropriate defenses does not extend to using perjury, and that an attorney’s duty to a client does not extend to assisting a client in committing perjury. Relying on DR 7-102(A)(4) of the Iowa Code of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers, which expressly prohibits an attorney from using perjured testimony, and Iowa Code § 721.2 (now Iowa Code § 720.3 (1985)), which criminalizes subornation of perjury, the Iowa court concluded that not only were Robinson’s actions permissible, but were required. The court commended “both Mr. Robinson and Ms. Paulsen for the high ethical manner in which this matter was handled.”

B

Whiteside then petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. In that petition, Whiteside alleged that he had been denied effective assistance of counsel and of his right to present a defense by Robinson’s refusal to allow him to testify as he had proposed. The District Court denied the writ. Accepting the state trial court’s factual finding that

Page 475 U. S. 163

Whiteside’s intended testimony would have been perjurious, it concluded that there could be no grounds for habeas relief, since there is no constitutional right to present a perjured defense.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed and directed that the writ of habeas corpus be granted. Whiteside v. Scurr, 744 F.2d 1323 (1984). The Court of Appeals accepted the findings of the trial judge, affirmed by the Iowa Supreme Court, that trial counsel believed with good cause that Whiteside would testify falsely, and acknowledged that, under Harris v. New York, 401 U. S. 222 (1971), a criminal defendant’s privilege to testify in his own behalf does not include a right to commit perjury. Nevertheless, the court reasoned that an intent to commit perjury, communicated to counsel, does not alter a defendant’s right to effective assistance of counsel, and that Robinson’s admonition to Whiteside that he would inform the court of Whiteside’s perjury constituted a threat to violate the attorney’s duty to preserve client confidences. [Footnote 3] According to the Court of Appeals, this threatened violation of client confidences breached the standards of effective representation set down in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U. S. 668 (1984). The court also concluded that Strickland’s prejudice requirement was satisfied by an implication of prejudice from the conflict between Robinson’s duty of loyalty to his client and his ethical duties. A petition for rehearing en banc was denied, with Judges Gibson, Ross, Fagg, and Bowman dissenting. Whiteside v. Scurr, 750 F.2d 713 (1984). We granted certiorari, 471 U.S. 1014 (1985), and we reverse.

I believe The SCOTUS decision in Nix v. Whiteside can be distinguished from the facts in my hypothetical because of the lack of certainty that the client intended to commit perjury.

This distinction is important as it helps to define the boundary between a lawyer’s duty to provide effective assistance of counsel to his client and his ethical and legal obligation not to assist the client to commit perjury to beat the charge.

Criminal defense attorneys routinely navigate close, but not too close, to the land of perjury.

Many times they do not want to know the truth and you should take that into account when you hear Mark O’Mara or any other criminal defense attorney speak about a case.

This is why I say that a criminal defense attorney should never judge his client. That responsibility is assigned to judges and juries.

But sometimes, you cannot help it and therein lies the rub as well as the doubt and the inevitable question:.

My God, what have I become?

102 Responses to Zimmerman: Representing Him and the Inevitable Question: My God, What Have I Become?

  1. Malisha says:

    Xena, LMAO FOTFLOL ROFCNGU Help Help I can’t breathe!!

  2. Brown says:

    following blog…..

  3. BREAKING NEWS:

    brought to you by Trent Sawyer!

    http://t.co/wOfGjW9O

    Lookie here.#zimmerman lawyer @GZlegalCase is BEGGING 4 help from all his loyal racist/bigots. GZ fans work PRO BONO! pic.twitter.com/wOfGjW9O

    LOLOL

    • Xena says:

      Here is the communication.

      Annette Elaine Kelly CONFIDENTIAL – Carole Green go [sic] this email from the legal team. Please send anything you think will help. – All this week we’ll be preparing to defend ourselves against the State’s renewed motion for a Gag Order. We’re confident that everything we’ve posted, and everything we’ve said publicly is proper and well within our rights, but we know that on Friday, the State is likely to find the most questionable thing Mark’s said and present it to the Court. I’d like to ask if you and other supporters could help us scour the web and, strange as it may sound, send us links to the most potentially questionable statements we have made during this process. Again, we’re confident ALL our statements are easily defendable, we just want to know what we’re likely to have thrown back at us. Let me know if you think you can rally some people to help. They can send links to this address: gzmediamail@gmail.com.

      • Jun says:

        LMAO like those idiots could do anything. The state has them all on watch. They have all their hate filled racist and angry messages they have written all over the internet. The judge would easily see through it all.

      • Malisha says:

        “Defendable”? Does she perhaps mean defensible? Like George?

        • Xena says:

          Know what I find interesting? She’s looking for folks like those at the treeslum to comprehend comments made by others so MOM and West will know what is “likely to have thrown back” at them.

          So, for instance, they will tell her;
          “On such and such date, Xena said that Mark O’Mara only wrote about the elephant in the room after he looked at the weight that George has gained. See, even the Trayvonites don’t believe that the elephant is about race.”
          LOL!!

      • bettykath says:

        Relax. What she’s looking for are comments made by MOM that might be out of line. Not comments made by others.

        • Xena says:

          Relax.

          What? Did I sound upset? No. Just LMAO.

          What she’s looking for are comments made by MOM that might be out of line. Not comments made by others.

          Did you read the State’s motion? What people “hear” is very important. It’s kinda like yelling “fire” in a crowded shopping mall.

          If what you say is true, then his staff is not very good in organizing their PR because they should have copies of every newspaper clipping and video where MOM has talked about the case.

      • Rachael says:

        @Bettykath, I’m not sure the outhouse crowd gets it lol

      • Jun says:

        I am sure the Conservative Tinfoil Hat has photoshopped and edited Omara’s material to submit to the court as the “real” evidence

    • Xena says:

      Now, if I remember the State’s motion, the main issue was O’Mara’s posting subpoenas for Trayvon’s school records on the gzlegaldefense site. The Zidiots had orgasms behind that, not realizing that the subpoenas were issued under the incorrect Rule.

      I remember that we here considered it could be a clerical error, but when considering that MOM allowed them to be posted knowing that the court had not issued them, I am doubting the clerical or staff error excuse. Rather,IMO, he did it deliberately to excite GZ’s supporters and give them more opportunity to speculate what the school records contain so they could demean Trayvon Martin.

      That was followed by the elephant in the room diatribe. IOWs MOM gave GZ’s supporters more opportunity to demean Trayvon Martin AND his race, IMO.

  4. Brandi Kansas City says:

    Mr Leatherman esq.
    Omare filed this emergency motion can you tell me how it constitutes an emergency. If not would it be an example of him trying the case in the public? http://www.flcourts18.org/PDF/Press_Releases/Emergency%20Motion%20for%20Protective%20Order.pdf

    • grahase says:

      I am anziously awaiting a response from the Professor. Arent depositions just a means for the prosecution and defense to learn what the person testifying knows or what they will say in court and the details are not for public consumption. Exactly what is the emergency. After all, the motion has been made public — so Elvis has already left the building.

  5. Xena says:

    In the John Goodman trial, I watched attorney Roy Black assert Goodman’s story during opening statement. The thing that stuck out the most was Goodman saying he went to a friend’s “man cave” looking for a phone. The “man cave” had open bottles of liquor and he was in so much pain that he drank before leaving the “man cave” and finding a trailer where the occupant was inside.

    On the stand, the owner of the “man cave” said that he was not present, there is no phone in it, and there is liquor.

    Roy Black tried his best to defend his client’s “man cave” version. He even provided a medical report for Goodman’s injuries.

    Then the State presented pics of the property, and an investigator testified that footprints stopped at the trailer —- they did not go to the man-cave.

    The jury believed the State, which also meant that the story about Goodman drinking after the accident was not credible. Along with this, it also meant that drinking because of pain was not credible, in spite of injuries.

    So here, O’Mara can believe and present GZ’s story about Trayvon appearing out of nowhere, punching him in the nose, etc. It’s the State that will prove that story is not true.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      That sounds very logical to me, Xena The evidence in this case can certainly be looked at in more than one way. OM will present a version of events that is favorable to GZ and hope for reasonable doubt of his guilt.

      I used to argue often with the GZ fan club. Many couldn’t seem to grasp how the evidence could be used against GZ. I always said from the time that the bulk of the discovery had been revealed that the prosecution can and will use the very same evidence to convict him.

      • Xena says:

        OM will present a version of events that is favorable to GZ and hope for reasonable doubt of his guilt. I used to argue often with the GZ fan club. Many couldn’t seem to grasp how the evidence could be used against GZ. I always said from the time that the bulk of the discovery had been revealed that the prosecution can and will use the very same evidence to convict him.

        Absolutely! GZ’s statements, the bullet casing, and the location of Trayvon’s body. That refutes GZ’s story without even getting into the timing. Include with this that his tactical flashlight was found close to Trayvon’s body. Is he really going to say that he stumbled, was dizzy, and shimmied holding that flashlight for 40 feet?

      • rachael says:

        LOL @Professor

      • Jun says:

        LMAO George got owned by Singleton because she made Zimmerman own up to his claim that he got hit and he right away fell on his ass, and Trayvon proceeded his “death beating” which was cured with magical butterfly bandaids LOL

        Then comes D-day with the Trayvon hit him, and Zimmerman did not fall on his back this time, he threw some tiger swipes and then fell on his back a couple feet from the T.

        • Xena says:

          Had I been Singleton, my question for the heck of it would have been, “You looked down the T and didn’t see him, right? What if you had seen him? What would you have done?”

  6. Y’all are getting pretty sophisticated. You’ve come along way and I’m proud of you.

  7. Malisha says:

    O’Mara’s strategy clearly is “a good offense is the best defense.” But this is not defense of a case in which two guys got into a fight. One guy decided to do something to another guy, and he DID something to the other guy while possibly, the other guy tried to prevent it. Big difference. So “a good offense” comes off simply as “Blame the victim.” This is not BELOW George Zimmerman because nothing IS.

    But it is looking pretty low for O’Mara and West.

    • Jun says:

      I actually think its okay because it further proves Zimmerman’s depraved mind and disregard for Trayvon, even after death. I think its low but they have to do something, and Zimmerman has not left them much to work with, otherwise Zimmerman has a claim of not having a proper representation. I would not do it myself as a lawyer, but its typical of defense lawyers I have seen in the cases in the news lately, such as Sandusky & Peterson.

  8. I don’t think Omar has to suborn perjury as long as he states facts as ‘he’ sees them. Example; Omar has already stated GZ’s nose was broken only based on GZ’s word and suggestion of the PA GZ saw the next day. Is that a lie? Or is that Omar’s interpretation? It hasn’t actually been disproved since GZ never went for tests.

    in other words, as long as the lawyer stands there with his fingers plugging his ears saying “lalalalalalal, i can’t hear you” to everything he doesn’t wanna hear, and only presents what he thinks will bolster his claims, he’s not lying is he, he’s only using what will support his case, right? Maybe he’s not being honest with himself but that’s not the same as lying to the court?

    this is a complicated situation Professor, and i’m not ashamed to admit that i can’t seem to wrap my mind around all the legalize in the case you referenced up there so i’m just winging it here! 🙂

    • Jun says:

      I think Omara caught on and now has gone on to state “My client claims…”

    • bettykath says:

      In one interview MOM indicated that ” it’s been pretty well established that GZ’s nose was broken” (paraphrased). I wonder what he would say if GZ was accused of breaking someone else’s nose? Maybe, “you know, it hasn’t been established that his nose was actually broken.” It just depends on which side of the street you’re working.

    • Lonnie Starr says:

      Lawyers can pose whatever they want in front of a jury, the question is, “Will the jury believe it?” Obviously if the jury has an alternative offer that makes more sense, they’re going to choose to believe that instead of what the defense want them to believe. So, presenting a story that’s unbelievable to a jury is an option, but it’s not a very good option, if one has certain results they consider desirable.

      Unfortunately for GZ, he has not left the defense with any believable stories to present to a jury. Any theory of innocence that a defense attorney might have been able to weave, was cut off at the knees, by GZ stupid insistence that glaring errors etc., could easily be “repaired” with a patchwork of lies. GZ wound up playing “wack-a-mole” with his testimony, every time he lies to patch one point, he creates several new points that need patches too.

      It would have made more sense, and been better for the defense, if this patchwork of lies, followed a plausible narrative that connected closely with the evidence. Unfortunately, as can be shown, these differing stories only emerge, as lies are added to meet specific challenges. Without TM’s knowledge of being followed being changed, “running” is changed to “skipping”. Ah, GZ has no chance unless he can some how manage to walk through the looking glass, traipse down a rabbit hole and enter a strange new world.

  9. Malisha says:

    Whonoze, I sent you an “answer” to a question over on the DeeDee thread. 🙂

  10. Malisha says:

    I don’t worry about Mark O’Mara but the issue is a larger one here. EVERY criminal defendant deserves a vigorous defense and deserves to get off if his defense can get him off. That is because our society is [wrongfully, in my opinion] an adversary-based society and our justice system is [even more wrongfully, in my opinion] ruthlessly adversarial and weighted AGAINST defendants.

    That said, what does one do when it is obvious that the ONLY defense a person has is (a) lies and (b) damn lies because they implicate the victim as a post-mortem criminal?

    O’Mara’s no idiot. He knows Trayvon Martin did not attack George Zimmerman and put him in fear for his life. HE KNOWS THAT!

    His problem is larger than we imagine. NOT ONLY does he have to try to show that something obviously false is arguably true, but he has to do it without his own client’s testimony. Uh — effin — OH! ❗

    If he puts George on the stand, he cannot win the case. George will open up areas for further questions that O’Mara cannot even prepare for. George is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier to start with, and add to that he’s so arrogant he thinks his lies sound GOOD, and add to that he has already told so many screamers that he won’t be able to find his way out of the forest with a searchlight and a long leash and a note from mommy! 🙄

    So what does O’Mara have left to work with? An attack on Trayvon. An attack on DeeDee. An attack on the “political motivations” that led to his client’s arrest. Attack Attack Attack. But does he have anything else to work with?

    I ask you. I couldn’t find a thing. 😯

    I don’t feel sorry for him. This case will bring him plenty of lucrative business. It’s his own issue what he pleads when and if he gets to the pearly gates. This is “law” and it’s in Florida. 😐 Nuff said.

    • rachael says:

      I disagree. I do not believe it is the defense attorney’s job to get his client off. His job is to see that his client gets fairness.

      There is no question GZ shot and killed Trayvon. It is not necessarily O’Mara’s job to get him off but to see that he gets a fair trial and a fair result.

      Here is a good article written by a defense attorney.

      http://www.denbar.org/docket/doc_articles.cfm?ArticleID=4598

      • @Rachael, i like your answer best! And not just because you’re right, but because it makes the justice system fair for everyone. It’s not fair to get away with murder because of trickery and theatrics and trial by ambush, or especially if the killer has means to pay for some special advantage over other killers. All lawyers should follow the rules.

    • Jun says:

      I have to agree with Rachel. Any underhanded actions by Omara will be negative to himself and GZ’s defense. I also personally feel the defense that GZ is using also further proves his depraved mind.

      • Xena says:

        @Jun. Your following words hit me pretty hard.

        I also personally feel the defense that GZ is using also further proves his depraved mind.

        You know, all he should need to prove is that his head boo-boos were the result of Trayvon bashing his head on concrete. But, we don’t have blood on the sidewalk. He would need to prove that his nose was broken, but we don’t have professional medical imagining providing that evidence either.

        So, GZ takes the posture of a deprived mind rapist; i.e., let’s prove that the victim was not a willing participant (although I profiled her as a slut), and would not allow me to restrain her. She fought back, so I killed the slut in self-defense. All MOM has to prove now is that she was a slut.

        Maybe he did molest his cousin for 18 yrs.

      • Jun says:

        Thanks Xena

        We on the same page. The way Zimmerman is acting, he does not want to take responsibility, and is further showing disregard, even after death for Trayvon. If I was a state prosecutor, I would def bring that up during closing and sentencing arguments.

    • Lonnie Starr says:

      Well said Malisha, very well said. We should have, long ago, transitioned to a truth based system, where the state supports both the defense and the prosecution, making the truth the most valuable asset, rather than a mere shuttle cock. This view that the adversarial system is the best we can find, spills over into everything else, thus we have adversarial politics, where it’s not the truth that wins elections, but spin and personality.

      The most appealing persona it appears is the paternal figure, something that is most easily captured by the dimmest bulbs in the lamp. Hardly a wonder then that as our treasury is emptied we take on ever greater expense. We keep the economy growing by buying products produced overseas to be sold here by merchants. Then we cut education and research budgets and hope that the future will somehow become brighter. Go figure.

  11. grahase says:

    I agree with CherokeeNative. However, in the Zimmerman case, Zimmerman has several accounts leading up to the killing of Trayvon Martin. Has the – Come To Jesus – moment occurred between O’Mara and Zimmerman. Zimmerman has been under oath each time he has appears to have perjured himself. The latest was during his bond hearing where he is giving his I am sorry for your loss statement to the parents of Trayvon.

    “I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not,”

    In the NEN call, Zimmerman refers to Trayvon as being maybe late teens and the – I don’t know where this kid is.

    So, was he perjuring himself when he says – I did not know how old he was. This statement was true both during the NEN call and under oath.

    Was he perjuring himself when on the stand he says – I did not know if he was armed or not. This statement is true both during the NEN call and under oath.

    All in all, whilst we need not assume that a client is telling the truth or is lying, I think alot of what Zimmerman has said is the truth – to a point. The rest is word play and open to interpretation.

    OMara must use that word play to his advantage. For example — were you following him. No. I was just going in the same direction.

    George has told his story, quite obviously, to a friend or two or more after the killing. This has caused the word play aspect. OKay, George – when you were asked – are you following him and you said yes – this is how you can get around this statement. Just say, I was going in the same direction looking for an address not the kid.

    Etc., etc.

    If you align his various accounts, they are more or less consistent. Just interpreted differently each time.

    Is it perjury. I don’t think so. His statements are all open to interpretation. OMara needs to find a way to weave a defence interpretation. Zimmerman says – I think – I thought throughout his many stories. Rarely, if ever, does he say — I was doing such and such.

    • Tzar says:

      so in your mind George has not perjured himself or lied to the police? yes or no please…

      • grahase says:

        Yes (EMPHATICALLY). The evidence shows it and it contradicts most of what he has said. But, it is only perjury if he changes his established story, isn’t it. He can’t come along and say – When Trayvon put his hand in his waistband, I saw something silvery and metallic,. To me — that is perjury.

    • grahase says:

      Further, in fact, when he says to the Trayvon Martin family members – I am sorry for the loss of your son – at the bond hearing, the news agencies, and many posters interpreted his little speech to be an apology. However, he did not apologize in any way, any shape or form. Otherwise, he would have said, I am sorry I had to kill your son, or I am sorry your son forced me to have to shoot him because I thought he would kill me . His statement in court was NO apology. Yet, many, many people interpreted it as such — more word play, thats all it was.

      • Malisha says:

        “I’m sorry for the loss of your son” and “I’m sorry you had to bury your child” and “I’m sorry that something I did divided America” and all that crap — none of it is an apology. “I’m sorry I killed your son” would be an apology. George will never say it. In fact, George is not sorry.

        As Hannity interviewed him (I watched it live), I grew more and more appalled as Hannity asked about regrets and George kept up his smug refractory “no” “no” “no” answers. I wanted to have Hannity follow up:

        “Are you sorry you went to Target that night?”

        “Are you sorry you went out at all that Sunday night?”

        “Are you sorry you began to get involved in Neighborhood Watch?”

        “Are you sorry you cared so deeply about burglaries?”

        “Are you sorry that fear of a puppy-doggy made you buy a gun?”

        “Are you sorry you moved to Florida?”

        “Are you sorry for ANYTHING you plaster-faced automaton?”

      • FYI: A person has to be under oath and assert something that they know to be materially false wit specific intent to deceive in order to commit perjury.

      • Rachael says:

        The God’d plan killed it for me.

      • gblock says:

        Zimmerman wasn’t sorry that he shot Trayvon Martin. He is sorry that he got into so much trouble. He is hoping that if he apologizes enough, he will be forgiven and the trouble will go away.

        Ever since the bail hearing, I’ve wondered about the “I thought he was almost my age” statement. If Trayvon was 27 instead of 17, how would that have made it OK to shoot him?

    • Malisha says:

      George was not under oath when he talked to the cops or when he took the VSA or when he spoke to his friends. It is a crime, however, to make a false police report. What his changing story reveals, other than “perjury” which it doesn’t technically fit, in my opinion, is simply that he has no credibility. Lying is not perjury but HAVING LIED A LOT leads to a conclusion that the witness is not likely to tell the truth and should not be trusted. After all, George never committed perjury about the hidden money at the bond hearing. He did lie, however.

    • rachael says:

      I have always been bothered by “I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son.” He didn’t say “I’m sorry for the loss of your son.”

      Maybe it is just semantics, but to me it sounds like “I wanted to say I’m sorry but I can’t” “I wanted to say I’m sorry but I’m not.” “I wanted to say I’m sorry but I won’t.”

      This has always disturbed me.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Yes. The way GZ speaks is oblique and unusual.

      • grahase says:

        He has developed a knack for non-commital speech. When questioned, he can say – Oh, you must have misunderstood. What I meant was – I was going in the same direction, for example.

      • @ grahase said…..”He has developed a knack for non-commital speech. When questioned, he can say – Oh, you must have misunderstood.”
        This is an intentional way a control-freak operates. You really never know what they are saying because they don’t want you to know. They want to keep your mind spinning around while you’re trying to figure out what’s going on. This is also very typical of domestic abuse control-freaks. I do know about this.

    • rachael says:

      Seems I put my response to this in the wrong place and it was already addressed. Sorry.

    • Jun says:

      I dont think it matters if Zimmerman tries to say all that crap about the following because he is truly backed in a corner

      1) He changes his story too much, he gets impeached

      2) He was stalking the kid by car, and running after him or going in the same direction as him, with a loaded gun, and an ill will toward the victim. Either way, its still a reasonable fear of imminent danger of death or great bodily harm as a complete stranger is invading your personal castle or space with menace

      3) There is no forensic proof that proves that Trayvon attacked Zimmerman, although he was perfectly justified to whoop George’s ass, if he could, but he had no chance

      4) Trayvon was screaming for mercy. Its obviously no longer self defense.

      5) Going behind someone, watching them closely, in the same direction is the definition of following

      6) He is obviously full of crap and I feel the judge and the jury is going to see right through him

      • rachael says:

        I don’t know why anyone but his lawyer defends him. I mean his lawyer has to, that is his job, but this guy has lied so many times. He lied about earning his degree in criminal justice. He lied about his father being a magistrate “judge” These are little things he had NO reason to lie about, so when he lies about things he has no reason to lie about, why would I believe he is telling the truth when he has every reason and motive to lie? I can’t believe the “character” of a dead kid is more important than the character of the person who shot and killed him.

      • Jun says:

        I think character evidence is fairly stupid in most cases because it does not necessarily mean you acted on that particular day in that way. Even if Omara goes after Trayvon’s character as per his crazy ass cult’s wishes, its not gonna lead anywhere, because all it proves is how Trayvon acted on certain days in school, when he was a kid. Besides, Omara is not getting them till the judge looks over them first so Omara cant try that oops it got dropped in public. It also does not really bother me because one person is a kid and the other is an adult, and the adult has a dump truck full of bad history, so I say bring it Omara.

      • grahase says:

        Zimmerman can and does lie more than anyone I have ever known. And, we all know that. But, he has not committed perjury.
        We have heard, read, seen it all in this case. The judge and jury will not. So, we may feel strongly about his credibility, the jury is presuming innocence when they sit down to listen to his story from two different perspectives. The prosecution presents the facts in evidence and the defence will muddy the waters. Defence only needs reasonable doubt. Defence doesn’t need to prove a thing.

      • Jun says:

        There’s not much they can even try and muddy. Its not a case of “who is the murderer”. It is a case of “does this guy have an SYG claim”. Zimmerman knows SYG hence him vehemently claiming he never stalked or followed because he knows if he is caught chasing and stalking a kid with a gun, its a no go.

  12. roderick2012 says:

    I have no earthly idea why everyone is crying for poor Mark O’Mara who knew full well what he was getting into when he agreed to represent George.

    1)He knew that George had attempted to contact Corey directly shortly before he was arrested.

    2) He knew that George had gone AWOL on his original attorneys.

    3) According the jailhouse phone conversation O’Mara knew that George had a substaintial amount of donation funds and was aware that Shelly perjured herself during the initial bond hearing. O’Mara made a false claim after that hearing that his client was indigent.
    4) O’Mara has used this case to become a spokesman for the gun nuts and he’s enjoying it or at least the money he believes he can earn from the rubes.

  13. CherokeeNative says:

    Okay – here’s my response. Go easy, as I have never taken a course in ethics since INAL.

    (1) At what point, if ever, does the evidence against a client become so overwhelming and compelling that his lawyer cannot avoid concluding that his claim of self-defense would constitute perjury, if he testifies to it?

    Technically, never. So long as the defendant does not admit to his plan of perjuring himself, the defense counsel has nothing to worry about. While defense counsel may believe in his own opinion that the evidence is overwhelming, that decision is ultimately up to the jury of the defendant’s peers on whether to believe a defendant’s claims of self-defense based upon the facts and evidence. It is defense counsel’s duty to present the evidence in the best light favorable to his client without committing perjury.

    (2) Does the Fifth Commandment of Criminal Defense assist in answering this question?

    Yes. Because as stated above, it is not the defense counsel’s job to weigh judgment, only to present every conceivable defense that the defendant is entitled to.

    The Fifth Commandment is thou shalt not assume that your client is telling you the truth. He might be and he might not be. Whether he is or not is not your responsibility or duty to determine. Nevertheless, consistent with your duties to keep your client informed and to be diligent and thorough, you do have a duty to inform your client about any contradictions and inconsistencies between his statement(s) and the evidence.

    (3) Does the Fifth Commandment violate the Nix v. Whiteside Rule? Why or why not?

    No, because so long as defense counsel does not suborn perjury but presents as zealous a defense as possible given the evidence, he has accomplished his job of representation.

    Okay, tear me up….

    • You did great!

      You get an A

      • bettykath says:

        This is pretty much what I said but not as clearly. But what are the alternatives for the defense attorney what the client says, “Right, the evidence doesn’t support my story b/c my story is a pack of lies but that’s what I’ll testify to”

        • The lawyer is supposed to tell the bailiff that he has an emergency matter and needs to talk to the judge in chambers. Once there, he should move to withdraw based on “ethical” reasons that he cannot explain due to the attorney-client privilege. The judge will understand what that means and will usually propose that the defendant take the stand and testify on his own without being questioned by his lawyer. The prosecutor, of course, can still cross examine.

          This way the lawyer is not assisting the client to commit perjury. He just watches it happen.

          The jury may or may not understand what that means.

          I have always taken the position that no ethical problem exists unless the client explicitly and unequivocally tells the lawyer that he is going to commit perjury. Fortunately, I never had a situation where I felt that I needed to withdraw or stand by like a potted plant and allow my client to tell his lie.

      • rachael says:

        I left you a link above Bettykath.

      • bettykath says:

        Thanks. So the attorney is given leave to withdraw on the clear intent to commit perjury, not after the fact.

        Just watched an LA Law episode on self-defense.

  14. jm says:

    “Many times they do not want to know the truth[/b] and you should take that into account when you hear Mark O’Mara or any other criminal defense attorney speak about a case.”

    I would not want to know the truth because if I did I could not in good conscience help to get a person like GZ free to do the same thing again by getting him a not guilty verdict.

    I think the more dishonest/shady things a person gets away with, the more likely they will commit another and bigger crime because they think they are invincible. I think this was the case with GZ who started small and graduated to killing a person. Now that this his killing a black teen has made him a “superstar” and gotten him the cash flow and recognition he has always wanted, the sky is the limit as to what he would do next if not put in prison for this crime, not to mention the copy-cat criminals. So I could not represent a person like GZ if I knew for sure he was lying, although I can’t see how O’Mara could avoid knowing it.

  15. CherokeeNative says:

    “[b]Many times they do not want to know the truth[/b] and you should take that into account when you hear Mark O’Mara or any other criminal defense attorney speak about a case.”

    I must laugh, because I remember at the beginning of this case having this very argument regarding O’Mara with a particular poster at Marinade Dave’s. LOL Glad to see you agree Professor.

  16. Jun says:

    I think Omara needs to actually sit down and read everything because from my standpoint, he either doesnt read or selectively reads everything… he needs to be real to George and tell him whats up… I think George just doesnt want to listen or Omara just did not bother

    I dont think Trayvon caused that mini chicken scratch on George’s head or his bloody nose, but those butterfly bandage thingies George had dont necessarily mean he acted in self defense…

    For example… one time, someone tried to car jack an MMA fighter with a gun… the car jacker ended up with the tar beat out him… and guess what the MMA fighter was uninjured and he has the self defense claim…

    So Omara needs to wake and see that there is a possibility (and a high likelihood) that George will be seen to be the aggressor and using excessive force, especially when he was never in any danger… and just because George had those chicken scratches and bloody nose… it could be found to be justifiable force

    • Xena says:

      For example… one time, someone tried to car jack an MMA fighter with a gun… the car jacker ended up with the tar beat out him… and guess what the MMA fighter was uninjured and he has the self defense claim…

      Here ya go …

      • Jun says:

        That guy looks way worse than George and he has no self defense claim. Also, at least this guy can own up and say, “hey I started it, I got my ass kicked and caught, and that’s that”

        • jm says:

          Is there special training required for MMA fighting? If so is there any evidence Trayvon received training? Can MMA fighting leave the attacker with no DNA on their hands? I’m not an expert on MMA fighting but my neighbors sent their kids taekwondo training. Not sure if this is equivalent to MMA but it doesn’t seem a skill you could pick up without specialized training.

        • Xena says:

          That guy looks way worse than George and he has no self defense claim. Also, at least this guy can own up and say, “hey I started it, I got my ass kicked and caught, and that’s that”

          Ahhh. But he should have said that the guy was driving funny, and he simply went up to the car to see if he was okay when the guy punched him, causing him to fear for his life and pulling out his gun, but he was being beaten so bad that he forgot to move his ankle out of the way before pulling the trigger. LOL!!!

      • Jun says:

        MMA is a concept taken from Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do. Its ideal is to have no way as a way. The idea is to mix various martial arts together to elevate one’s knowledge.

  17. bettykath says:

    If the client insists on a story that is inconsistent with the evidence, I would expect his/her attorney to point that out. Also the attorney should point out that the jury is likely to see the discrepancies and find accordingly. The attorney should present all evidence that supports the client’s story. If the client doesn’t change his/her story, then testifies to the story with the inconsistencies and discrepancies, the story will taken apart by the cross-examination or the rebuttal to impeach his/her testimony. The attorney for the defendant has done her/his job without suborning perjury imo.

    On the other hand, if the client says straight out that he/she intends to lie on the stand, what are the options? One is to strongly recommend that the client not testify. If the client insistes on testifying and commits perjury is it reasonable that the attorney impeach the clients testimony or is this an in-chambers discussion between the judge and the attorneys? How does an attorney tell the court that a client has said “I’m going to lie” and then does? Should the disclosure happen before the testimony? or after? I would think after since the client could change his/her mind about the perjury.

  18. Ethical Questions for O’Mara and everyone else:

    (1) At what point, if ever, does the evidence against a client become so overwhelming and compelling that his lawyer cannot avoid concluding that his claim of self-defense would constitute perjury, if he testifies to it?

    (2) Does the Fifth Commandment of Criminal Defense assist in answering this question?

    The Fifth Commandment is thou shalt not assume that your client is telling you the truth. He might be and he might not be. Whether he is or not is not your responsibility or duty to determine. Nevertheless, consistent with your duties to keep your client informed and to be diligent and thorough, you do have a duty to inform your client about any contradictions and inconsistencies between his statement(s) and the evidence.

    (3) Does the Fifth Commandment violate the Nix v. Whiteside Rule? Why or why not?

    • Jun says:

      1) I think Omara has worked around that with the “my client claims…”, therefore he is no longer presenting it as truth, and will not be disbarred. I think it is also one of the reasons Omara is trying the “victim political conspiracy” angle that Sandusky’s lawyers used, so that Omara wont get in trouble for false presenting. But to answer, it is a lawyer’s job to be real with the client, as to where the evidence is pointing. He/she still has a job to come with a vigorous defense, unless a plea bargain is made, so, he must honor that constitutional right and walk a tightrope, because the sooner they come to realize, the less likely they can get in trouble for false respresentation, which I heard is grounds to be disbarred or even charged. (I am not a lawer so please bare with me LOL)… so ASAP

      2) Yes it does.

      3) I dont think it does. The lawyer was telling him the actual fact of what was going on and what could happen if he made those claims.

  19. Xena says:

    Many times they do not want to know the truth and you should take that into account when you hear Mark O’Mara or any other criminal defense attorney speak about a case.

    When O’Mara first addressed the media after being hired by GZ, he said he did not want to comment because he had not seen the evidence.

    When O’Mara waived GZ’s right to a speedy trial, he said that it would take at least 6 mths to build GZ’s defense.

    At the bond do-over, O’Mara blamed Trayvon for his own death. His “evidence” consisted of Papa Zim saying it was GZ screaming for help, and an Iphone photo of the back of GZ’s head.

    O’Mara now takes a route of discovery for Trayvon’s school records and if he does find something about Trayvon having the propensity to pick fights, he then has to deal with getting a witness or witnesses, correct? He also wants FB and Twitter for Trayvon, while admitting that he is not prepared to battle those corporations if they fight the subpoenas.

    So it appears that O’Mara is looking for evidence to support GZ’s story that Trayvon was invisible when GZ passed him, but became visible to ask if he had a problem. However, GZ’s story is not supported by the physical and forensic evidence.

    The question then becomes, how does O’Mara defend GZ against the physical and forensic evidence, if there is such a defense?

    • Jun says:

      Omara says he needs 6 months, and that times has passed already, and he still not ready LOL

      I personally hope there is just a very small bad thing on Trayvon’s record, so that the state can open up on GZ with his dump truck evidence of history

  20. Two sides to a story says:

    Observing OM, he seems idealistic about defending self-defense cases in general, but he’s also said and done things which seem to indicate that he questions GZ’s innocence. He looked as if he was sucking on lemons during the Hannity interview.

    • Xena says:

      Well, when you have a client saying they killed because they feared for their life confidently sitting on national television saying “The gun” and that Trayvon was “skipping,” that client has ruined all impressions of being afraid of anything.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      I agree, Xena.

      • jm says:

        Two sides says: “He looked as if he was sucking on lemons during the Hannity interview.”

        O’Mara did look like he was disturbed during the Hannity interview which made me think WTF.

        Did they (O’Mara, Hannity and GZ) not go over the questions that were coming up during the interview? Thanks to Hannity’s questions, in spite of Hannity trying to lead GZ, to further malign Trayvon, GZ hung himself with his no regrets, God’s plan, Trayvon skipping answers.

        What were these people thinking?

      • Jun says:

        Zimmerman is a habitual and pathological liar. He lies about things that are not even necessary to lie about.

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