Zimmerman: How to Interpret a Witness List in a Criminal Case

Many of you have commented recently on the defense and prosecution witness lists, and I have noticed some fundamental misunderstandings about their use in criminal prosecutions.

We start with the general rule that a lawyer must list each witness whom he or she intends to call to the stand to testify during the trial. If the lawyer calls a witness to the stand who is not on the list, the opponent generally will be entitled to a continuance to interview the witness and prepare for cross examination. In rare cases, upon a showing of substantial prejudice, the judge might bar the witness from testifying.

Therefore, trial lawyers cast their nets far and wide for witnesses to include on a list. They typically will include everyone whom they might call, whether or not they actually intend to do so. This is an illustration of the principle, better to list than to be sorry.

Prosecutors start out by listing all of the cops who had anything to do with the investigation and the chain of custody for evidence they plan to introduce at trial. Then they add all of the forensic analysts and experts whom they intend to call. Finally, they add all of the civilian witnesses whom they might call.

In a complex homicide prosecution it is not unusual for the prosecutor’s witness list to exceed 100 people.

Even if defense counsel believe that they might only call the defendant, and perhaps not even him, they still feel like they need to have a witness list with a bunch of names on it, if only for the sake of appearances. Perish the thought that someone might think the defense should not be taken seriously, given the lack of a long list of witnesses. Therefore, they will add friends and family of the defendant and a lot of cops who investigated the case, however minimal their actual connection to the case might be.

Neither side has to list rebuttal witnesses, since it is difficult to foresee whom you might need to call to rebut witnesses who have not yet testified.

In Florida, each side gets to depose the other side’s witnesses and through this process each side can pretty accurately determine who will testify and who will not. Usually, the actual number of witnesses who testify will be far less than the number of witnesses listed. For example, if three witnesses saw the same thing and the testimony of two witnesses would be merely cumulative of the first witness, there would be no reason to call the other two witnesses to the stand.

The rules of evidence also exact a toll on the number of witnesses who testify. For example, the hearsay rule results in the exclusion of many witnesses who heard other witnesses say certain things. The lawyers end up calling the witness who made the statement and excuse the witnesses who heard it.

Another reason to not call a witness to the stand arises when the lawyer is uncertain if the witness will waffle or change their story. The lawyer may decide not to call the witness for fear of weakening their case. For example, this situation might come up for O’Mara regarding whether he calls the PA from the clinic to testify about Zimmerman’s “broken nose” and head wounds.

If he does not call the PA, do not be surprised if the prosecution puts two and two together and calls her to the stand as a rebuttal witness, assuming Zimmerman testifies during the defense case.

Finally, keeping the opponent’s supporters out of the courtroom is a little known reason to the public, if not the lawyers, to increase the size of a witness list. People listed as witnesses are excluded until after they have testified and been excused from remaining in attendance by the judge. Until then, they are forbidden from discussing the case with others or sitting in the courtroom watching other witnesses testify. For this reason, lawyers often list the names of potential supporters of the opposition party, even though they do not intend to call them to the stand, in order to keep them out of the courtroom during the trial. They hope the jury will notice the absence of supporters and conclude that no one supports them.

Excluding the opponent’s supporters by putting their names on your witness list is a really sleazy trick, but it happens nevertheless. For example, consider whether the defense will list Tracy Martin as a potential defense witness ostensibly because he did not immediately identify Trayvon as the person screaming on the recording that Serino played for him at the station house. By listing him as a witness and not calling him, the defense could effectively exclude him from the trial and he would not be able to support Sybrina Fulton as she sits through it all.

I note parenthetically that the State almost certainly will call her to the stand to identify Trayvon as the person screaming for help.

Hopefully, Judge Nelson will accommodate both parents and allow them to sit together throughout the entire trial and I hope she makes the same accommodation for Zimmerman’s family.

After all, fair is fair.

The point is lawyer’s play games with witness lists in order to fool each other and the court. Therefore, you should not assume anything about the strength or weakness of a case based on the length of the witness list.

As always, the strength or weakness of the relevant and admissible evidence is what really matters and the witness list only provides some clues as to the identity of the actual witnesses who will testify about that evidence.

With the exception of Zimmerman’s cellular records and medical records and Martin’s school records, which are private and will not be disclosed unless they are deemed relevant and admissible at trial pursuant to the rules of evidence, we have seen most of the evidence and have a far better understanding of the case than we would have from merely reading the names on a witness list.

I hope this article assists all of you to better understand the use of witness lists in trials.

84 Responses to Zimmerman: How to Interpret a Witness List in a Criminal Case

  1. gblock says:

    On the previous post, there was some discussion of what to examine in order to determine what caused George’s boo-boos, including the dog path sign at the T. But if George actually went between the buildings to cut Trayvon off, it is possible that they were never at the T during their encounter. Were there any signs along the dog path other than at the T?

  2. cielo62 says:

    >^..^< so, it's possible maybe that the prosecution could list Shellie in order to keep her away from her sugar puss during the trial?

  3. Jun says:

    I think it would be pretty funny if Omara just up and went “I Got Nothin'” LOL

    • Malisha says:

      He can’t say “I got nothin.”

      He’s got to say, “You should never have charged my client with any crimes. Everybody agrees he had a broken nose. Even if everybody DOESN’T agree, I think it’s already a matter of recorded that dozens of people already agreed he had a broken nose, including blind people, people who never saw a picture of Zimmerman’s nose, and people who do not know what a nose is. All the police agreed that there was already an agreement to not charge my client with any crime. So there was agreement that he had a broken nose and that he shouldn’t have been charged with a crime. I move to dismiss. Oh yeah, and tell NBC to give me a million dollars. I’ll deduce my fees and give George that $15 change; he was talking about that $15 to Shellie when he was in the jail cell, remember? When they were discussing his nose.”

      • Two sides to a story says:

        LOL!

      • aussie says:

        “..people who never saw a picture of Zimmerman’s nose, and people who do not know what a nose is. ..”

        Months ago I saw a post (on HuffPo I think), in deadly seriousness, that stated X-RAYING the nose would not have shown whether it was broken or not, as the nose does NOT CONTAIN BONES and only bones show on x-rays. Therefore it is OK to accept GZ’s word that his nose was, in fact, broken: certainly neglecting to get a useless procedure done on it doesn’t mean he was hiding anything.

        (Though how could boneless soft tissue be broken was not explained by this physiology expert).

      • Jun says:

        Cant forget that Trayvon ran 3 times and then skipped really fast and George wasnt following, he was just closely behind Trayvon, going in the same direction, watching him closely, and George had no ill intent because Assholes always getting away is a Virginia way of saying he is a nice guy, and effin coons or punks is also a term of endearment, kind of like calling Trayvon, his “nigga”

    • racerrodig says:

      A hahahahahahahahaha And at least he’d be telling the truth….
      for once.

      • Malisha says:

        Wait, a nose has no bones?

        I think the guy who posted that was getting his anatomy mixed up. I mean…

        George: “And then he punched me in the nose and broke my … elbow or something and … I fell down immediately and shimmied and I feel like he saw my … elbow or ‘the’ gun or something…”

        Doctor: I am referring you to an ENT and you can get an x-ray of your nose.

        George: Don’t bother. Noses don’t have boneses. They don’t show up on x-rays.

      • Jun says:

        I am taking a wild guess and saying that Omara’s trek into the secret freemason twitter and facebook accounts will turn up nothing

        Too bad the secret freemason technology of causing Neighborhood Watch Guys to stalk and pursue kids and disparage them with hate and racial slurs, as well as confront them, will remain under wraps for now

        The Conservative Tinfoil Hat folks are quite crafty

  4. Groans says:

    Professor, in your experience or knowledge, do prosecutors play games with their witness lists to the same extent defense counsel does? Thanks.

  5. Groans says:

    Speaking of prosecution witness lists (even though we’re not):

    State’s 9th Supplemental Discover was released today (though not necessarily to the press yet, I’d guess):
    http://www.flcourts18.org/presspublic.html

    Also, has anyone else noticed the lack of activity on the gzlegal site since the last hearing? I don’t think there’s been anything new posted since the hearing. I wonder what to make of that.

  6. Malisha says:

    Dennis, you observe that George is the only person who knows the whole truth about the situation. I actually believe he does NOT know the whole truth. He has been lying to himself and to others (starting with Sean on the NEN call, at least, if not even earlier) about it so long that I don’t think he does know the truth now. As it is said, “the truth ain’t in him.” He’s start by giving his lame excuses when the folks were coming out of their doors and asking what was going on. He’d add more lies when the police showed up. Then at the station house he’d write down his lies and embellish them. Then he’d go over them with Osterman and Shellie. By the time he was charged with a crime he probably half believed his crap, having brainwashed himself with it for so long. He’d work backwards from “I cannot be guilty” to “therefore I was attacked” to “he made me do it” to “he was up to no good” to “therefore I was right to be suspicious of him” to “see?”

    Everything he needs to believe about himself, about Trayvon Martin, about Blacks, about poor him and his poor wifey-poo, about big bad Al Sharpton and the bad bad media, he can make himself believe. He can even make himself believe whatever he wants about God.

    • Jun says:

      George is going to continue lying forever. The guy must think his ish smells like roses or something. It is so obvious George went after this kid, the kid screamed for help because of George, then George killed him and did weird things to the kid’s body as he was dying

      • ladystclaire says:

        @Jun, I really can’t get over him sitting his fat stinking a$$ on Trayvon’s back as he lay dying. GOD is really going to work with Zimmerman when his time to meet his maker comes. the same goes for some of those who are supporting him while smearing the memory of this innocent child. they will die a long and miserable death. only they will be deserving of the suffering they will do, before they leave this world.

    • Dennis says:

      It is completely disgusting that O’Mara lies to the media trying to claim that Al Sharpton is starting a race war. Sharpton and his followers want justice. I think we all know O’Mara is a phony by now. He will lie and demonize the victim in the process of trying to defend the degenerate of a human being he calls his client.

  7. Xena says:

    I enjoy watching “In Session.” They present trials after they have been completed, so if I don’t research to know the result, I get to watch trial from the prospective of how it is conducted.

    This week, “In Session” started the State of Florida v. James Martin trial. Christy Martin, the victim, is an internationally known woman boxer. Her husband, James, repeatedly stabbed then shot her and left her for dead. He plead self-defense. Christy was a known user of cocaine and was bi-sexual. Christy said that James often used that as blackmail in the event she reported his abuse or left him.

    In today’s program, the State presented LE testimony for how they secured the crime scene and traced the “blood trail.” I found that interesting because in GZ’s case, the SPD did not look for a blood trail to support GZ’s story of his head being bashed on concrete.

    I did go ahead and research the results of trial. James was found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to the minimum of 25 yrs. He is currently 68 yrs old, and Christy said that a 25 yr sentence at his age is the same as life in prison.

    I would encourage anyone interested in seeing how a trial of self-defense was conducted in this case in Florida. It involves disparaging of the victim; accusing her of being the aggressor and reason for the attack; the accused went into hiding; and WHERE THE ACCUSED TOOK THE WITNESS STAND which appears to be the best and maybe only way that the defense can present testimony of self-defense.

    • Jun says:

      I dont think there ever was a blood trail. There may be perhaps a couple blood drops if George’s chicken scratches were prepared ahead of time or George may have got hit by self defense action from Trayvon. George’s bloody nose seemed really minor so I believe he may have gave it to himself to try and bolster his claims.

      • Xena says:

        I dont think there ever was a blood trail. There may be perhaps a couple blood drops if George’s chicken scratches were prepared ahead of time or George may have got hit by self defense action from Trayvon.

        Jun, I agree. In the State v. Martin case, prosecutors were very good in getting the testimony of LE about following the blood flow. What I’m doing is observing how prosecutors proceed in a case involving a claim of self-defense — a claim that LE had not heard when they arrived at the crime scene.

      • ladystclaire says:

        Why would he have to ask a bystander if he was of all things, “BLEEDING?” I believe he did cause his own minor cat scratches either after he shot Tray or, while he was sitting in the police car. who knows, maybe Timothy Smith helped him out with them.

        • Xena says:

          …maybe Timothy Smith helped him out with them.

          Here’ a question for the prosecution to ask Smith:
          When you first saw the defendant, did you notice blood on his hands?

          Regardless of the answer, the next question;
          “Were you wearing protective gloves when handcuffing the defendant?” Or, “How did you prevent getting the defendant’s blood on your person when cuffing him?”

          See the point? Also, it conveys that Smith did not pat GZ down in search for other weapons or contraband. GZ could have had a bag of cocaine in his sock that he dumped in the washroom of the police station since he was un-escorted and unobserved.

          He had a knife on him when he arrived in Jacksonville. Thus, he could have had a knife on his person when taken to the police station where he inflicted scratches while in the washroom.

          Why did the cops trust him so much?

      • Fed-up taxpayer says:

        @Xena, they trusted OSTERMAN completely and absolutely, probably because Chief Lee was a known close friend whose good side they needed to be on.

  8. Malisha says:

    There are several things that will make all this posturing about the witnesses become superfluous and even ridiculous, come the actual trial. First off, a witness who has or by all rights SHOULD have material evidence about the commission of a crime CAN be required to testify and cannot take the Fifth unless what he says can incriminate him. How? Let’s just say Osterman is called by the defense.

    Q: Were you there, within a distance where you could SEE both parties, when George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin?

    A: It could be either: (a) No; or (b) I refuse to answer on the grounds that it could incriminate me.

    Or he could lie, of course. We just don’t know yet.

    ================================================
    But why would the defense want to call someone whose testimony would be pro-prosecution? Let’s see. Tracy Martin.

    Q: Isn’t it true that when you heard the screams on the tape, you told the officer that the voice was not Trayvon’s voice?

    A: No.

    Whereupon, on cross, BDLR asks:

    Q: When the tape was played for you, what were you asked about it?

    A: The question was whether I could definitely identify the voice.

    Q: Could you?

    A: Not that first time.

    Q: Could you identify the voice when the enhanced tape was played for you?

    A: Yes, then I felt sure it was Trayvon’s voice. I had never in my life heard my son scream like that.

    ===============================================
    Later, on the stand, Robert Zimmerman is being cross-examined by BDLR:

    Q: You say that you are sure that the voice screaming for help on the tape is George?

    A: Yes, absolutely, just like my father said.

    Q: And you say you know that sound because George used to scream like that when he was a teen-ager?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Did you beat George almost to death when he was a teen-ager?

    A: No.

    Q: So he would scream like that even when he wasn’t being beaten half to death?
    ===============================================

    Whereas you can call someone as an adverse witness, it would seem very impractical and improbable in a criminal trial, wouldn’t it?

    • Jun says:

      I honestly hope the state charges Papa Z with obstruction and perjury because it does not sound even remotely close to George and I would even play it side by side with the George “help” samples, his voice on the NEN, and how it does not match George’s story and the fact that it ends with the gun shot. I dont feel the state would have a tough time convicting Papa Z for perjury and obstruction for saying such ridiculous lies.

      • ladystclaire says:

        @Jun, you are a person after my own heart, in the respect that, I to hope his is charged with obstruction of justice in this case. he has done so from day one and, he needs to be held accountable for that as well as telling LE or who ever, “to make this go away.” he has played a huge part in this and, he also is the reason his son wasn’t arrested for 44 days. from what someone replied to me the other day on this site, there will be some head rolling going on and hopefully old man Zimmerman will be in that number. I can’t stand the sight of him or his evil spawn. BTW, he has an evil look to him as well.

      • racerrodig says:

        I fully agree, but that rarely happens and his having been a Magistrate with those 2 weeks of training and all, knows that.

        BUT, where will he go from here, lauded as “The Lying Father of the Most Hated Man in America”

        In court, the voice sample of Z yelling “helpme..helpme..helpme..
        .helpme..helpme…” will ring in the ears of the jury like there is no tomorrow. Then the 911 call samples and the voice analysts will explain in detail what it means. Then the DNA & forensics.

        Then they will show how the misalignment of the holes in Trayvon’s T shirt & Hoodie with the entry would show somebody had Trayvon restrain with some pulling force………

        If the jury is not the who’s who of Florida Racists, he’s done.

    • Jun says:

      I would bring that up with PAPA Z too

      I would bring up that he heard George scream like that in Virginia and George was younger and a teenager then

      and then I would ask the bailiff to please arrest Papa Z because I would be charging him with obstruction to justice and perjury.

    • You said,

      “Later, on the stand, Robert Zimmerman is being cross-examined by BDLR:

      Q: You say that you are sure that the voice screaming for help on the tape is George?

      A: Yes, absolutely, just like my father said.

      Q: And you say you know that sound because George used to scream like that when he was a teen-ager?

      A: Yes.

      Q: Did you beat George almost to death when he was a teen-ager?

      A: No.

      Q: So he would scream like that even when he wasn’t being beaten half to death?”

      How evil of you, Malisha.

      I am ROTFLMAO!

      Might be 24 hours or more before I stop laughing enough to pick myself up off the floor.

      Yikes.

  9. Jun says:

    What I dont get is how the defense can simply put your name on their list without asking you. For example if I was Tracy, and Omara pulled that, I would complain and say that there is no way that I am working with the defense and that it is a dirty trick and I should be able to go to a court proceeding against a defendant who murdered my kid.

  10. Two sides to a story says:

    Oh, this is off-topic, but important:

    The Governor’s Task Force reviewing Florida’s disastrous Shoot First law has one last hearing on Tuesday, November 13th, before it will make its final recommendations to the state legislature.

    Unfortunately, the Task Force seems to be favoring “expert testimony” from gun lobbyists and their allies — while systematically ignoring the clear evidence that “Shoot First” is a dangerous law.

    We can’t let the gun lobby get in the last word. With 5 days left, I’m asking you to take one simple action.

    It will only take you 2 minutes to submit a comment to the Task Force’s website. http://secondchancecampaign.org/p/last-chance-to-be-heard/

    Gun violence survivors and families of victims have given impassioned testimony urging the repeal or reform of Shoot First. And a growing body of statistical evidence has proven the rampant dangers of “Shoot First” laws. But the Task Force has suggested they’ll make nothing more than a few “tweaks.”

    Tweaks won’t cut it. You helped spark the outcry of 340,000 voices calling for full repeal or comprehensive reform of Shoot First. Without that, we may never have gotten a Task Force at all.

    Lives are on the line. Let’s do everything we can to make sure the Task Force uses this second chance to get it right on Shoot First.

    It’s easy to submit your comment to the Task Force’s website — all you have to do is copy and paste our sample message into the comment form.

    Thanks for being part of this all-important final push,
    http://secondchancecampaign.org/p/last-chance-to-be-heard/

    Ginny Simmons, Second Chance Campaign

  11. Two sides to a story says:

    Thanks. I should hope that the GZLC defense doesn’t play games with the witness list, but as we can see . . .

    • Jun says:

      That is my guess. I wrote that a couple articles back at the human race article. I believe Omara is going to try witness tampering

      • racerrodig says:

        He’s in the process of jury tampering as we speak. There is no reason to think he won’t go even farther. In a few months the dorks on the Conservative Outhouse and ever tentacle that springs from them will start the “…..those riots will…..” garbage.

        Which brings me back to, why is he this way?? for who, a loser like Z?? There is more going on here than a petty creep like Z killing an innocent kid walking home. I don’t buy that at all.

        Every one of the Zidiots has stated they could not care less about Z himself, it’s “self defense rights” So when he’s convicted, everybody loses the right to defend them self? Or is it about Gun Rights…..?

        And it looks like Z has some bizarre Manson like grip on
        O’ Mara to me.

      • Jun says:

        Self defense has always been allowed in law. I am guessing the Conservative Outhouse people just want to be allowed frivolous self defense claims so that they can kill someone and not get charged or go to prison because in reality they are all pussies.

  12. Malisha says:

    Well if witnesses’ inconsistent statements are used to make the jury disbelieve them, as soon as George opens his mouth, all six jurors will stick their fingers in their ears and shout: “I can’t HEAR YOU!”

  13. grahase says:

    I asked my question above because I was a witness in a case. I did not know until I was handed a subpoena to appear.I was asked to report to the Crown where I was interviewed about the case. But, no one told me not to talk about it with anyone. As you say, I was not allowed to enter the courtroom until the court was ready to hear my testimony.

    But the first part – where you say a witness should not be talking about the case before trial sure does not seem to apply in this case.

    My goodness – Osterman even wrote a book on the subject!

    • I believe most lawyers do not bother to inform people that they have placed the person’s name on their witness list until later on when they decide whom to subpoena. That’s when they get focused and serious about whom they really intend to call and that is probably the first time, if ever, that they tell a witness not to discuss their testimony with other people or witnesses until after they have testified.

      I have had some success exploiting the prosecution’s failure to issue such a warning in a case where witness testimony changed significantly in the direction of agreement with other witnesses compared to their initial statements given to investigators early in the case. I persuaded the jury to reject their testimony and rely on the original statements that benefited my client. The subject matter in question concerned descriptions of an armed robber. The jury found my client not guilty.

      • Dennis says:

        If you were served a subpeona to testify, can the judge hold you in contempt if you plead the 5th on the stand? Let’s say a witness for the defense does not want to testify because they have racial paranoia like Zimmerman and believe that an angry mob of black people will come looking for them if they say the wrong thing. I think this question gets more complicated if they know that the witness has information that is vital to the case. Courts take obstruction of justice very seriously. I have heard of cases where the 5th amendment did not protect an individual when they refused to testify.

        • The 5th Amendment does not apply to a witness under the circumstances that you described because the witness is not being compelled to testify against himself. Therefore, the witness would be held in contempt of court for refusing to answer and jailed until the trial ended or the witness agreed to testify, whichever happened first.

      • Jun says:

        The thing is, even with the original statements that were made in the State Vs George, IMO, George is screwed because forensics dont back up witness 6 or witness 11 (except some parts and her 911 call are good to go), Trayvon would be allowed to defend himself, and the combination of witness 1, 2, 18, Deedee, Cutcher and her roommate, the forensics is pretty damning. I dont see how witness 6’s claims are not impeachable.

      • Jun says:

        I noticed on the FDLE interview they may have caught onto that

      • racerrodig says:

        Professor, I do expert witness reports & testimony in Consumer Fraud automotive cases. Very often there is a witness that one side names and I was told in that case, the opponent cannot call that witness other than in cross. is this true or did I miss something. In other words, I was under the assumption that being RZ Jr is on the prosecution list, he can’t be called by the defense at all if he is not called by the prosecution. In NJ I saw this happen where one side forgot to name a witness well before trial that was very important to the defendant.

        Since that witness was not named by a certain time frame, it was too bad. I assume the Rules of Civil Procedure are different in this regard.

        • No rule prevents a party from calling a person on the opponent’s witness list in a criminal case. As to the defendant, the Sixth Amendment right to present a defense trumps any such procedural rule. As to the prosecution, it can call anyone to the stand, except the defendant.

    • grahase says:

      Thank you, Professor

      I suppose the Defense uses the Prosecution’s witness list for the most part because that list is so long and the Defence want to know what they know. Am I right. Is this why depositions are taken by the defense. Does the Prosecution take depositions or do they rely on the witnesses initial statements or reports.The prosecution.

      ps from a previous post I would like to add that Canada has a registered Political Party called the Marijuana Party. Also, Israel has developed a Marijuana for medicinal purposes. The marijuana does not contain the chemicals that get you high. Get ready California.

      • You said,

        “Does the Prosecution take depositions or do they rely on the witnesses initial statements or reports?”

        Up to them to decide, but there is no good reason that I can think of not to depose a potential witness under oath and lock them into their story. That goes for both sides.

      • aussie says:

        On your side issue, Grahase…. I think its the “gets you high” bits that do the job for medicinal purposes, so I don’t see how that would work.
        But there exist many many varieties of cannabis that don’t get you high. Currently in most places these are also banned, although it is an easily grown fast growing plant capable of providing huge amounts of fibre, excellent for many purposes for which we now waste good timber (paper, building boards etc).

      • racerrodig says:

        I’ll add my personal experiences to the Professor’s response. Every lawyer I do reports for gets a deposition from both Plaintiff & Defendant and as many important witnesses as possible. Then the details are picked out & apart.

        You’d be stone dead shocked at what you find. In one case the Plaintiff, who was a liar on the level of Z actually got so far in detail and never even thought that I as the expert would follow up on anything. To start with, he claimed his car was towed and had 2 different days. He went into such great detail then his friend who claimed to have towed it followed likewise. They claimed the weather was beautiful and to quote “…the sky was especially blue and the tress were just beginning to bloom….the perfect day..”

        That is until I took the stand….,.with a copy of a certified weather report…….which had 6 inches of rain that day…..it was 25 degrees at 8 AM and never got over 40 !! That was just the start.

        The lawyer I was working for on that lawsuit now hears me say as our inside joke “…always check the weather…” The Plaintiff at his deposition stated so many things that were different than at trial, we’d go in the hallway at every break and laugh so hard.
        We could hear the jury laughing from behind their closed door also.

        Depositions are the key sometimes. I just love it when someone is testifying and lies and there we go right in to our notes and transcripts………………Zinggggggggggggggg

        “…..isn’t it true Mr. Bold Faced Liar that at your deposition you stated………………”

  14. bettykath says:

    The lack of support can be devastating. During a custody hearing, my sister’s attorney claimed that he would call all of her family members who traveled hours to be with her in support. My sister sat alone with her attorney while her former husband had his new wife and other family members there to cheer him on. My sister retained custody but had to sit through some nasty comments from the judge and others with no one in support.

  15. Malisha says:

    Is George Zimmerman on the defense witness list?

    • I don’t know. Since he is the defendant, he has a right to testify or not testify and be present during the entire trial, regardless whether he’s on the list.

      • Dennis says:

        Although the judge tells the jury that a defendant’s decision to not testify is not evidence of guilt, I disagree in this case. Zimmerman is the only person that knows the exact truth of the entire situation. Therefore, if I was a juror, I could not accept his version as fact unless he got on the stand and told me and my fellow jurors why he had to shoot this young man. I want to hear it from his own lips, not his lying attorney.

        • A defendant has a right not to testify and cannot be punished for refusing to do so. For this reason, the court will instruct the jury that it may not assume anything, if the defendant does not testify. A juror who admits during jury selection that he cannot follow this instruction, will be excused for cause.

          On the other hand, there has to be sufficient evidence of self-defense admitted at trial, such that if it were assumed to be true, a jury could find that the defendant acted in self-defense.

          As I have pointed out in other articles, Zimmerman almost certainly will have to testify, or there will not be any evidence of self-defense upon which to base a verdict. His statements to police are inadmissible hearsay and anything O’Mara says is not evidence. Therefore, he has to testify as a practical matter and, if you were a juror, you would have the opportunity to hear his version from his “own lips.” When he does testify, he will be confronted with all of the inconsistencies and conflicts in his various statements, plus the forensics and the physical evidence that conflicts with his statements.

          That is why I say that he is damned if he does testify and damned if he does not.

  16. grahase says:

    Is a person advised that they are on a witness list.

    If they can not be in the courtroom until after they testify and they aren’t to discuss the case with anyone prior to their testimony, when are they advised of these rules.

  17. Brown says:

    Thank you for your insightful post. I have gain alot of understanding to all this legal mumble jumble.
    : ^ )
    Brown

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