Practicum: Did the police have probable cause to arrest George Zimmerman the night of the shooting

Monday, March 25, 2013

Write down or memorize these rules:

1. A police officer must have probable cause (i.e., reasonable grounds) to believe that a suspect committed a specific crime before he arrests the suspect. If he arrests a suspect without probable cause, the arrest is unlawful.

2. Whether probable cause exists depends on the totality of the circumstances.

3. A person is under arrest if a reasonable person in the same situation would not believe they were free to terminate the contact with the officer and leave the area.

4. Pursuant to the exclusionary rule, all evidence seized from a suspect after an unlawful arrest cannot be used against the suspect.

5. A person subjected to an unlawful arrest has a cause of action against the arresting officer for all damages caused by the unlawful arrest.

Now, let’s take a look at the Trayvon Martin case and decide whether the police had probable cause to believe that the defendant unlawfully killed Trayvon (i.e., that he did not kill him in self-defense).

They certainly knew he killed him because he admitted that he did.

What else did they know?

The had the recorded NEN call, the recorded 911 calls, various witness interviews at the scene of the shooting, the EMT’s report regarding the defendant’s physical condition and injuries, the photographs of the defendant taken at the station house, and the defendant’s statements at the station house.

Do not consider the results of the autopsy, forensic analysis at the crime lab, and other evidence obtained after the first night.

Pretend you are the judge.

Is that information sufficient to constitute reasonable grounds to believe the defendant did not kill Trayvon Martin in self-defense?

Next question:

Notwithstanding that he was permitted to leave the station house after submitting to an interrogation, was the defendant under arrest at any point that evening?

With the exception that I have given you the rules that must be applied and y’all can collaborate with each other, these two questions are similar to and probably were asked on more than one Criminal Procedure final exam in law school.

Who will be the first to provide an answer?

189 Responses to Practicum: Did the police have probable cause to arrest George Zimmerman the night of the shooting

  1. willisnewton says:

    Refining some of my thoughts above on this topic:

    On the night of the killing, IMO the SPD detectives had a clear impression that GZ was lying about his movements. And a hunch, like we all do, that what he claims was said sounded a little rehearsed / made up, false, whatever. The also knew his reasons for exiting his vehicle with a handgun were bullshit, but FWIW he stuck to his story about “finding an address” and “returning to(wards) his vehicle” fairly consistently. And they knew it unlikely anyone saw the start of the physical confrontation, or what happened before it. By any general overview, it was a weak case seemingly, but what they had as a great “lead” in order to make it into a strong case for a criminal, provable offense was not any forensics or witnesses, but the fact that George himself was still co-operating and willing to make further statements, where he was almost certain to continue giving himself away.

    So the strategy quickly became (for Serino and Singleton, at least, we know – their superiors are a bit of a mystery) keep George happy and continuing to make statements without a lawyer present – in other words, give this guy enough rope and he’s going to hang himself. This is why the SPD played good cop/ good cop with GZ instead of good cop/ bad cop in a confrontational manner.

    They took the cuffs off right away. They let him wash his face, and brought him water. They let him change into his own clothes and they let him go home eventually – after hearing him agree to meet the next day to walk the scene, first trying to get him to do it in the morning but settling for the afternoon without pressing the killer. Always they dealt with him in at least a neutral manner, but mostly with a pleasant tone and never with rancor or confrontational manners.

    The “voice stress analysis test” was NOTHING but a ruse to continue this strategy of keeping GZ making voluntary statements without a lawyer present. The “results” of the “voice stress test” (a bullshit test that has NO worth in any courtroom, ever) were that they managed to keep George making more inconsistent, contradictory, self-serving but demonstrably false statements and to reveal himself and his character further. The “voice stress machine” (a laptop and a microphone) didn’t record anything. A video camera with an audio soundtrack recorded George waiting for the tester in a room alone with a female detective for a long period – this itself was a large part of the work taking place – they wanted to put a suspect in an uncomfortable social situation where he would naturally tend to kill in the silence with chit-chat. George complied, and this is where we heard the exchange about “respecting authority” that seems so telling. (George had ZERO authority to command TM to do anything or answer any questions at all. But here he seemingly speaks as if he should, and that people he challenges should submit to his authority). Then under the pretense of “setting up the test” George once again gave his false narrative about his movements and actions, in a fairly unbroken and succinct manner – the best “just let him tell it all in his own words” version, now even more loaded with lies and contradictions given that he’d had t make up a few more lies along the way. It’s here, IIRC that George states most clearly the the alleged blow to his nose knocked him immediately onto his back seemingly where he stood. This is an important detail, but the police would not have known how important yet.

    As an added bonus, George was given the overall impression the he “passed” the test and was free to tell more lies. Which he soon did, further adding to the growing stack of evidence against him.

    The next day GZ met the officers and gave more statements in the form of a videotaped “walk thru re-creation” of the events. It’s here that the detectives should have learned, and probably did learn WHERE and HOW he was lying about his movements. His story is simply impossible to reconcile with the NEN call recording’s timing.

    George also walks into a huge trap that will likely sink his ship for some jurors on this day, as he is forced to introduce and suddenly on the spot shoehorn the “I must have stumbled” aspect into his tale of being struck to the ground by the initial blow. He’s nervous, and tentative about what happened here and he moves in a strange and unlikely manner “tracing” steps that show a man struck by someone in front of him, but somehow then traveling past that person (who presumably would need to politely step out of the way first) and then “stumbling” south for a good ways. The problem is, George only “stumbles” a short way – by my calculations, less than HALF the distance from his position on the T to where the shell casing was found underneath the body of the unarmed teen. NOW the SPD has solid evidence to challenge the supposed actions during the physical altercation itself.

    HIs story of “returning to(wards) his vehicle is now brought into sharp relief against the facts on the ground. The timing of his alleged move from RVC back to the T is questionable, given that he hasn’t explained a significant period of time where he would have had to stand in one spot and do nothing for several minutes before walking back to the T, after the end of his phone call.

    It’s THIS day, this moment that the SPD should have known they had a way to challenge his story significantly in court.

    So I believe that the SPD detectives working the case were wise to handle GZ in the manner they did. Most importantly they kept him making statement after statement without a lawyer present, building up a record of inconsistent, contradictory and provably wrong tales from the killer.

    Had the police charged George with a crime on the night of the shooting, the case might not be as strong against him.

    The issues of what happened elsewhere and farther down the line are more complex, filled with unknowns and unanswered questions and questionable actions on the part of the SPD detectives but it’s unlikely that we’ll ever learn exactly what went on behind that blue curtain there since there is no evidence of a credible outside agency having ever performed a full investigation into the activities surrounding the actions of SPD police chief Bill Lee, the individual patrolmen and women who worked the crime scene and were first responders, some of whom were already familiar to some extent with George Zimmerman and his personal brand of “neighborhood watch” or many others with official ties to the case, most notably the local prosecutor and his team, one Norn Wolfinger who recused himself from the case eventually and has never spoken to the press in any detail and refuses to this day to be interviewed.

    • onlyiamunitron says:

      “Norn Wolfinger who…has never spoken to the press in any detail and refuses to this day to be interviewed.”

      Because he knows damn well that while a case is still being investigated or the trial is still underway, you keep your mouth shut so as not to screw things up.


    • parrot says:

      Insightful and valuable contribution. Thank you.

    • EXCELLENT Willis …..Thank You

    • Lonnie Starr says:

      Yes, but, although they may have known what they needed to know, in order to prefer charges on day two, the really major problems that have to be solved, is getting the Chief and Wolfinger out of the way. For, with these two in position with their substantial powers over the case, to decide who presents it and who gets to provide what evidence. You have the makings of one unholy disaster if this case had gone to court before these two were out.

      Obviously, once national attention was thrown on the case and before attention could focus on their own actions in any great detail, they both removed themselves really quickly. That is because it is, at the least, obvious that they did not treat this case as routine. They both demonstrated an unseemly and inexplicable interest in a case where there should have been none.

  2. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    Am I correct in thinking that, if the prosecution has gz’s phone records + texting, the prosecution does not have to release it in a evidence dump because they know that O’Mara can obtain it directly through gz?

    • SearchingMind says:

      GZ owns a Blackberry. On the 22nd of March 2012, GZ signed a consent to search his phone. I believe that the State downloaded all the (GPS-) data on it. The State also obtained GZ’s phone records for the period 20 February 2012 to 28 February 2012. The State has provided the defense with this information and they will not be made public – yet.

      • You all have thoughtful comments says:

        Thanks for all of this info, SearchingMind. I certainly am now up to speed on this subject because of you.

    • racerrodig says:

      There are some things they don’t have to provide if it is common or shared knowledge or “work product” Say the phone records show the GPS locations indicate Fogen went around one of the buildings, then down toward the “T” from where Brandi lives. If Fogen lies and said he stayed at the “T” he’s in for a real surprise at trial.

  3. willisnewton says:

    fascinating topic.

    re this part:

    “Pretend you are the judge.
    Is that information sufficient to constitute reasonable grounds to believe the defendant did not kill Trayvon Martin in self-defense?”

    The problem is the case at this point is NOT before a “judge” but before the detectives who work with the local prosecutor, and to some extent the prosecutor as well to decide the question for themselves if there was a murder or what?.

    And “is that information sufficient” gets translated as “is there enough strong evidence” when you apply a pragmatic eye to the question.

    Still it’s a great question.

    IMO it was easy to see GZ was lying in some regards on the night of the killing, mostly about his movements in the car, but more difficult to say where exactly his lies, contradictions omissions and obfuscations all fit until he had been taken to the scene for the “re-eneactment,” for it was there that the seemingly consistent tale of being knocked to the ground by an initial blow from an unarmed teen fell apart on it’s face due to the location of the body being some 40.5 feet from T of the sidewalks.

    Sifting out all the pieces of a story takes time. There is no “statute of limitations” on murder. Whether the SPD had the good on GZ from the get-go or not isn’t really important. They “had his number” in more ways than one.

  4. Jen says:

    This incident parallels the Trayvon Martin/Fogen incident. Older guy tried to be tough and confront two young teens. Older guy was clearly teh aggressor and got his behind handed to him. He retaliates by pulling out /and shooting a gun at the teens. I am just wondering if those teens were murdered and there was no film of the incident could the guy just as easily claim self defense and use his injuries as evidence. He could have turned the situation to his advantage because all of the witnesses would be dead. Just like Fogen did.

  5. SearchingMind says:

    O’Mara’s Motion

    The problem with O’Mara is that he is an excellent story teller, not a good jurist. In his “DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST STATE ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR DISCOVERY VIOLATIONS”, O’Mara made a lot of accusations and claimed damages pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.220 (n)(2). This discovery rule states as follows: “Willful violation by counsel or a party not represented by counsel of an applicable discovery rule, or an order issued pursuant thereto, shall subject counsel or the unrepresented party to appropriate sanctions by the court. The sanctions may include, but are not limited to, contempt proceedings against the attorney or unrepresented party, as well as the assessment of costs incurred by the opposing party, when appropriate.”

    Here are some of the problems with that Motion:

    a. O’Mara cited NO specific rules of discovery under FLORIDA RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE supposedly violated by the prosecutors (and he also failed to show how those rules were violated).

    b. O’Mara claims that what he calls “the evidence of Witness 8’s deceit in this regard is significant exculpatory evidence as it goes to her credibility concerning her other statements”. That argument is very bad and a non-sequitur, because:

    – DeeDee committed no perjury (we do not know which question she was answering and she could have gone to hospital or somewhere);
    – DeeDee gave no false report(s) to any law enforcement authorit(y)(ies);
    – DeeDee gave no false information to law enforcement during an investigation;
    – DeeDee provided no false official statements;
    – The alleged “Witness 8’s deceit” does not concern the commission of any crime, the crime GZ is accused of and/or GZ’s claim of self-defense and could as such be hardly “exculpatory”.

    c. Even IF DeeDee lied about the hospital visit (and that’s a big IF)during the BDLR interview, that in- and of itself does in no way damage her credibility with regard to the relevant facts of the case of which she was an ear witness to. DeeDee’s statement regarding going to ‘the hospital or somewhere’ cannot conceivably effect the course or outcome of the trial and could as such be hardly “exculpatory” to GZ.

    If DeeDee’s statement with regard to going to “the hospital or somewhere” is not “exculpatory”, the obligation to provide does not apply. If the obligation to provide does not apply, no discovery rules have been violated. If no discovery rules have been violated, Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.220 (n)(2) does not apply. Hence, the Motion will be denied.

    • whonoze says:

      Apparently there’s no IF, big or small. Apparently, in her deposition, DeeDee told the defense she was fibbing about going to the hospital during the Crump interview because Sabrina Fulton was sitting next to her, she didn’t have a good excuse for missing the wake, and she didn’t want to embarrass herself in front of Sybrina. Apparently, Fulton was also in the room for the BdlR interview, which help lead DeeDee to repeat her fib. In other words, DeeDee told the defense, ‘yes, i lied about that part.’

      This is personal business between DeeDee and Sybrina, and has nothing to do with the case. However, the defense will certainly argue that if DeeDee told an immaterial lie to try to please Fulton, she may have told a material lie as well for the same reason.

      I doubt O’Mara put forth this motion expecting to win. It’s part of the pre-trial attack on DeeDee’s testimony, designed to get another headline in the OS.

      But this is not entirely the same-old, same old from the defense. DeeDee’s deposition apparently exonerates Benjamin Crump, so the Crump Conspiracy theory has taken a severe blow.

      (BTW, I have been saying for months and months that Crump, as an experienced attorney, is way too smart to have suborned perjury from DeeDee or ‘coached’ her in any unethical way. Instead, I suggested long ago that any hinky elements of DeeDee’s account were either of her own design, or due to the influence of Sybrina. )

      • Jun says:

        Specific Instances Of Misconduct (notice the plural on instances)

        can not be used to show that a person acted in accordance in a certain situation to that alleged trait

        and beside, it does not sound like misconduct, it sounded like she was sparing Sybrina her feelings

        • racerrodig says:

          Exactly, I doubt this will amount to anything. I believe Judge Nelson will deny their Motion as being irrelevant to anything with this case.

          Call it the “…i was embarrassed I didn’t go…please don’t be mad…”

    • SearchingMind says:

      Whonzoe, your analysis regarding the “IF” is a very reasonable one and may very well be the case. But I am still on the fence. I take everything O’Mara says with a grain of salt. O’Mara is a talented story teller (makes me think of grandma when I was small) and a truth-bender. Indeed, it has been reported that Ms. Fulton was with Mr. Crump and the ABC news crew during the DeeDee interview. Now O’Mara is telling us she was sitting beside DeeDee during that interview. That might be true, but I await confirmation. O’Mara also made some factually incorrect statements in his Motion. For example, DeeDee never stated that she did not go to the wake AND the funeral, as O’Mara alleged in his Motion. As you eloquently pointed out (and I agree completely with you), O’Mara’s Motions are (intended as) instruments of propaganda – with minimal legal weight. I no longer take whatever O’Mara writes in his Motions at face value.

  6. Ben Franklin says:

    What if the police officer is not intelligent enough to determine he doesnt have probable cause?

    Some situations are comllex and require some thought.

  7. Romaine says:

    I know I’m way late in the game and i am in no way a law student…but Im’ going to give this a go.

    Write down or memorize these rules:

    1. A police officer must have probable cause (i.e., reasonable grounds) to believe that a suspect committed a specific crime before he arrests the suspect. If he arrests a suspect without probable cause, the arrest is unlawful.

    Ans: Probable cause; “yes”…due to the admittance of the defendants claim of shooting the victim..i.e. 1st officer on scene asks who shot him, the defendant responds, “I did” then identifies the location of his weapon and surrenders.

    2. Whether probable cause exists depends on the totality of the circumstances.

    The defendant must now be detained by LE to understand the why, how,what & when leading to the totality of circumstances surrounding the death of the victim

    3. A person is under arrest if a reasonable person in the same situation would not believe they were free to terminate the contact with the officer and leave the area.

    An arrest – No

    To detain the defendant – Yes

    This is required to communicate with the defendant outside of the area where the incident occurred. Moving the defendant to a neutral enviornment to establish factual information in support or conviction of what occurred.

    The fact that the defendant admitted to the shooting of the victim required further questioning by LE.

    LE is still required to protect the defendant & maintain privacy of the events surrounding the incident in question.

    4. Pursuant to the exclusionary rule, all evidence seized from a suspect after an unlawful arrest cannot be used against the suspect.

    5. A person subjected to an unlawful arrest has a cause of action against the arresting officer for all damages caused by the unlawful arrest.

    The proper handling of #3 covers 4 & 5….I can be wrong, as I stated; I am no law student

    What else did they know?
    The had the recorded NEN call, the recorded 911 calls, various witness interviews at the scene of the shooting, the EMT’s report regarding the defendant’s physical condition and injuries, the photographs of the defendant taken at the station house, and the defendant’s statements at the station house.
    I don’t recall any collaberation of the EMT, 311 recording, 911 calls, or witness statements being reviewed to the extent of presenting further questions to the defendant on the night of the incident of 02/26/2012.

    No one gathered all of the above stated information and drilled the defendant on the night in question based on facts available within hours of the incident.

    Let me expound on my previous response, what I mean is; the screams from the 911 call, the nen call, the witness statements, EMT observations all came after the defendant was released, not the night of the shooting.

    Therefore, I have to question if LE used all resources available to them during the intial interaction with the defendant.

    Also note that the defendant was viewed as the victim telling his side of how he was being brutally beaten by his aggressor during this incident. The defendants statement(s) appear to outway all other factual information provided to LE on the night of the occurrence.

    Pretend you are the judge.
    Is that information sufficient to constitute reasonable grounds to believe the defendant did not kill Trayvon Martin in self-defense?

    Yes; there are many un-answered questions that must be addressed that do not support the defendants msny statements.

    I will use what I deem the main question; If you had your victim in a wrist lock with full controll of his every move? Why did you find it necessry to shoot and KILL?

    Next question:

    Notwithstanding that he was permitted to leave the station house after submitting to an interrogation, was the defendant under arrest at any point that evening?


    He was detained / escorted from the scene of the crime as a victim for his own protection and privacy; and allowed to give his interpretation of events that occurred on the night of 02/26/2012.

    The defendant had the ability to say no to any and all communication at any given time if he so desired, as was stated when given his Miranda Rights.

    • Erica says:

      Should any person who murders another and claims self defense be treated like forgen or would have been treated like forgen? Seems like this self defense could get a lot of murders off if they kill the only witness.

  8. fauxmccoy says:

    well dang it professor, you answered our practicum before i got a chance to respond. my response to your questions follow, but in reverse order in which they were asked and i do this for specific reason.

    1.a. was gz arrested? yes. he was placed in handcuffs by ofc. smith and not allowed to leave on his own free will. whenever this occurs, a person is under arrest, whether or not a charge has been stated or if miranda warnings are read. bottom line – if you are cuffed you are not free and therefore under arrest.

    1.b. gz was not booked (no photos/prints) when he arrived at the station and was placed in the care of det. singleton who had restraints removed. [note: at this point, the smart person would ask ‘am i free to leave?’ thereby clarifying whether or not they are under arrest. if not free to leave, the smart person asks for a lawyer and remains silent until legal representation is provided. my husband and i are such dorks about knowing this that we both carry a type written card in our wallets which states something similar to the above which we would hand over to any officer if we were not free to go about our business.] in having restraints removed without being booked, he became ‘unarrested’.

    2. was there probable cause to arrest gz on the night of the killing? — yes, i believe there was and will list my reasons why below. i do believe that dets. serino and singleton did exercise good judgement in not booking and releasing gz because their experience told them that they had a ‘talker’. they knew the minute gz agreed to an interview, voluntarily and without legal representation that they could gather the evidence they needed to show probable cause. they chose to allow this process to continue for a few days, during which gz showed every willingness to sing like the proverbial canary. i have to believe they knew exactly what they were doing.

    i believe that on the night of the killing or in the wee hours of the following morning that probably cause had been established based solely on the information had at that time and that gz could have been re-arrested, charged with manslaughter at the very least, booked and then held for arraignment. probable cause would be established using the following criteria.

    a. gz admitted to killing an unarmed minor.
    b. but for the fact that gz exited his vehicle with a loaded gun, no ‘scuffle’ would have occurred, nor would gz have discharged his firearm.
    c. gz expressed malice toward the victim in his NEN call (fucking punks/coons, these assholes always get away). he admits to profiling the victim by referring to him as ‘the suspect’ and the victim’s race is implied as the reason as none of the actions gz ascribed to the victim were remotely suspicious.
    d. gz admitted to having followed the victim.
    e. gz then tells a number of versions of the events that ensued which are not supported by facts.
    e.1 his physical injuries and vital signs are not consistent with the beating he claimed that he received at the hands of the victim.
    e.2. no witness at the scene observed the situation as described by gz in its entirety and provided solid corroboration.
    e.3 the victim could not have done the things gz stated such as smothering gz without leaving observable evidence on either his hands or sleeves nor could gz have been screaming as he stated while being smothered.
    e.4 on 911 calls, the screams for help ended at the sound of a gun shot, indicating the screamer was the victim and not gz.
    e.5 the victim’s body was located more than 40 feet where gz stated the scuffle took place.

    although i do believe probable cause existed to affect an immediate arrest which would not violate the self defense immunity statute, i do feel it was wise for the detectives to allow the defendant to participate in his own downfall for as long as he was willing in order to secure the case. a forty one day period for this is patently ridiculous when 72 hours would have sufficed.

  9. Jun says:

    This came up in my mind, and I am going to get this posted on the Benjamin Crump page by messaging him

    I think the allegation Fogen made about Omara’s knowledge of $37,000 should be brought up in court during trial as evidence. Because when push comes to shove, Omara will throw Fogen under the bus, and have to admit that Fogen is not credible, therefore, Omara never knew of the $37,000.

    Think about it =) he he he

  10. I believe the police had probable cause to arrest the defendant for murder or manslaughter on the night of the shooting. I have selected LLMPapa’s response as the basis for probable cause to believe that the defendant did not kill Trayvon in self-defense:

    -They knew he got out of his vehicle, with a loaded gun, and followed an unarmed child.

    -They knew this child’s dead body was 43 feet away from where he told them his alleged reason to stand his ground occurred.

    -They knew a shell casing from his gun was found very near the child’s dead body.

    -They had the NEN call and KNEW, for a fact, the dispatcher DID NOT ask him for an address BEFORE he got out of his vehicle.

    -Providing someone in the SPD had a wrist watch and knew how to tell time, they knew the timing sequence of his tale couldn’t, didn’t, and never would add up.

    -Most compelling of all, they heard those screams and KNEW it was a child.

    I’m not sure where the threshold for probable cause resides in this day and age, but that’s enough for me for an arrest.

    I have already answered the arrest question by stating that he was under arrest when Officer Smith handcuffed him and transported him to the station house.

    I believe Singleton turned the interview into a voluntary encounter when she removed the handcuffs and told him that he was free to leave. There is no issue regarding the admissibility of his statement because he voluntarily waived his rights to remain silent and have counsel present per Miranda.

    EDIT: Oops! Based on the transcript of Singleton mirandizing GZ, provided below by YAHTC, he was in custody rather than free to go. Therefore, it was a custodial interrogation requiring Miranda warnings.

    I think it’s telling that the defense has not moved to suppress his statement on the ground that it is a fruit of an unlawful arrest (i.e., he was arrested without probable cause). Apparently, they agree that there was probable cause to arrest or they are prepared to live with that statement.

    Although it appears to be exculpatory because he claims self-defense, the physical evidence and the forensics unmask it as a lie so that it’s actually inculpatory. For practical purposes it’s a confession.

    • Jun says:


      They had probable cause

      The simple fact that even on his police phone call, they had probable cause that he was committing aggravated stalking

    • parrot says:

      Thank you, Professor, for this exercise. I agree wholeheartedly.

      All this time, and its only now that I realize that GZ was, in fact, arrested.

      It does not give me much satisfaction given that had it not been for public pressure the State may never have charged him.

    • You all have thoughtful comments says:

      Singleton: Today the date is Feb 22nd, 2012. This is Investigator Singleton. I’m sitting in an interview room at the Sanford Police Department with George Michael Zimmerman in reference to an event that happened out at 2831 Retreat View Circle.
      I’m going to read you your Miranda rights, because obviously you are here, um, and you aren’t free to go right now because we gotta figure out what’s going on.
      Zimmerman: Sure.
      Singleton: You haven’t been charged with a crime yet, but you are here and you can’t go until we figure out what really happened, um, and so I’m going, I’m gonna to ask you to talk about it but I gotta give you a Miranda warning so that you understand.
      Zimmerman: Sure.
      Singleton: OK? OK, you have the right to remain silent. You don’t have to talk to me. OK? Anything you, you say can be used, can be used against you in court. OK? If you say something that proves your guilt, we can use it to prove your guilt. OK? You understand that, OK? You have the right to have an attorney present now or at any time during questioning. Do you understand that?
      Zimmerman: Yes, ma’am.
      Singleton: OK. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you without any cost. OK? If you talk to me you have the right to stop tal– answering questions or speak to an attorney at any time. OK? Do you understand these rights?
      Zimmerman: Yes, ma’am.
      Singleton: OK, and do you want to talk to me?
      Zimmerman: Yes ma’am.
      Singleton: What I need you to do here is put your signature and just date it.
      Zimmerman: Yes, ma’am.

    • gbrbsb says:

      Professor, I found the following which raises a question: could GZ’s “arrest” that night have been the type of “arrest” called “investigative detention” which does not need probable cause only the “reasonable suspicion” of a crime? (GZ admitted shooting Trayvon which I would hope obliges the police to investigate if murder, accident or justifiable homicide even though for their reasons or non reasons they could not conclude it into a full arrest with a concrete charge). If it was Investigative Detention it appears MOM & Co would be unable to suppress GZ´s statement something that would make much more sense as to why they have not made a move to do so as surely they need to if they want to help their client considering its negative affect on his defence.

      UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
      Alirio HASTAMORIR, Hernan Lopez, Antonio Ledezma, Defendants-Appellants.

      We have identified three categories of police-citizen encounters which invoke the fourth amendment: police-citizen communications involving no coercion or detention; brief seizures or investigative detentions; and full-scale arrests. United States v. Espinosa-Guerra,805 F.2d 1502, 1506 (11th Cir.1986); United States v. Berry,670 F.2d 583, 591 (5th Cir. Unit B 1982) (in banc). The first category of police-citizen encounters fails to implicate fourth amendment scrutiny. The second category, investigative detentions, involves reasonably brief encounters in which a reasonable person would have believed that he or she was not free to leave. Terry v. Ohio,392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968) (Supreme Court carved out a narrow exception to the probable cause requirement, allowing police to detain a suspect based upon reasonable suspicion for the purpose of an investigative detention). In order to justify a fourth amendment seizure, the government must show a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the person has committed or is about to commit a crime. Finally, if the totality of circumstances indicates that an encounter has become too intrusive to be classified as an investigative detention, the encounter is a full-scale arrest, and the government must establish that the arrest is supported by probable cause. United States v. Espinosa-Guerra, 805 F.2d at 1506.

      The district court’s denial of the suppression motion may be reversed only if the court erred in finding probable cause to arrest, given all the facts and circumstances within the collective knowledge of the law enforcement officers. United States v. Jimenez,780 F.2d 975, 978 (11th Cir.1986). In determining “when” an investigative stop ripens into an arrest, no bright-line rule exists. Instead, in determining whether an investigative detention is unreasonable, “common sense and ordinary human experience must govern over rigid criteria.” United States v. Espinosa-Guerra, 805 F.2d at 1509 (quoting United States v. Sharpe,470 U.S. 675, 685, 105 S.Ct. 1568, 1575, 84 L.Ed.2d 605 (1985)). We have identified two considerations that circumscribe the limits of a seizure: first, a balancing test weighing the government’s interest involved against the intrusion on the individual; and second, consideration of whether the scope of the search is strictly tied to and justified by the circumstances which rendered its initiation permissible. United States v. Elsoffer,671 F.2d 1294 (11th Cir.1982); United States v. Berry, 670 F.2d at 601-02; United States v. Espinosa-Guerra, 805 F.2d at 1509.

      • Jun says:

        He was held for questioning and was let known of his miranda rights

        As heard and seen in his questioning, there was no illegal activity used to gain his replies

        The defendant claimed self defense because, that was all he could do

        If he kept quiet, he would have been charged and arrested on the spot, because he does not explain why he killed a kid, and Fogen needed to explain what happened

        Even though you have a right to remain silent, if you are caught with a smoking gun and a dead person, with no explanation, it’s fairly reasonable to say a murder was committed

        Every other state has the rule, and I am sure Florida does too

        It is that if they are under reasonable suspicion that Fogen was a suspect of a crime, they can arrest and hold, but have to let him go, usually within 24 to 72 hours, if there are no charges, however, they can charge him later on


        sometimes they take people in for questioning under reasonable suspicion and just let them go afterward

        it’s fairly reasonable to believe he committed murder, or at least manslaughter

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Even so, doesn’t it take more than just that one night to review the info they accumulated from 7:16 and on into the night – after all, they were interviewing Fogen well into the wee hours . . . just sayin’. Even if SPD were totally on the ball, would they really have jumped his bones that fast?

    • Malisha says:

      In the initial flap (before Judge Lester) when both the defense and prosecution wanted to not let Fogen’s statements go public, one side or the other (either prosecution or defense) actually claimed that the early police interviews were confessions.

      • Defense made that claim because they knew the statements conflicted with the physical evidence, were internally inconsistent and utterly damning. They asked Judge Lester to treat them as though they were inculpatory confessions, but the prosecution objected on the grounds that they were facially exculpatory. Judge Lester agreed and ordered them to be released to the public.

  11. colin black says:

    When did self-defense first get mentioned?
    Foggagge never mentioned self defence .
    But the first thing he said pertaing to his shooting was in responce to Serrino asking him a question I cant remember it ver batim so will parahphrase….Serrino …What do you think should be the out come for your actions in shooting an takeing a life.

    Foggagges response was Justifiable Homicide …….

    • bettykath says:

      Colin, Thanks for the “justifiable homicide”. I just listened to the first interview with Singleton. He describes how he had to defend himself from severe bodily injury.

      I think the comments from youall… helps to clarify that fogen wasn’t under arrest, he was being detained.

    • gbrbsb says:

      IMBW but IIRC I think GZ mentioned shooting in self defence when with the first officers arrived at the scene. On the other hand from looking it up the explanations found for “justifiable homicide” by a civilian is either the killing of another in self-defence or in the defence of another person, therefore it would appear GZ did claim self-defence from early on.

  12. colin black says:

    Same scenerio .

    But different players …..
    An African American phones up non emergancy an reports a high persentage of breakins in the area an he has spotted this person he doesnt recognise.
    Its raining an he is meandering along looking in peoples windows an genrally acting weird..

    Now states the suspect is stareing at him an seems to have something in his waisband an he is on drugs or some thing.
    So he continues his call slowly kerb crawling this suspious youth gives the disspatcher a discription of his clotheing an race .
    Mmm he looks white or light hisspanic an he has a wrist band round his wrist .

    Shit he is running and then we know how the rest plays out.
    If the shooter claiming self defence was a 28 yr old African American ccp gun holder .

    An the victim was a just turned 17 year old white kid with nothing but skittles an 40 dollars twenty cents an a can of juice.
    Do you think they would have made zero effort to find the boys parents an make a notification a s a p.

    An do you not think enough probable cause would have been found to throw this guys ass in jail held without bond on murder one .

    Especialy after his immpossable story of a rabid kid with no previous no history of violence would just up an attack a scarey Black dude whom he had told his sweet heart was following him.
    An whom claimed to have sustained a continuall visous assault with out a thought to defend himself.
    Till he suddenly remembered his fully loaded ready to fire hollow point bullet gun..

    Thats the truth of the matter an all thease treeple whom are demoniseing Trayvon an makeing foggagge out to be the heroic victim.
    Would be screaming for the Black Guys head on a stick.
    An turning the white child victim into there posterboy for why blacks are evil an unpredictable .

    Thats the truth of the matter i m o…….

    • Dan Q. Smith says:

      You speak the truth. I was born in and grew up in Florida. Anyone who thinks if Fogen were black and his dead victim white Fogen wouldn’t be rotting under the jail since Night 1 is very, very naive.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      I agree. I think there would have been a quicker response by SPD and the county prosecutor if the tables were turned.

  13. ay2z says:

    If this group succeeds at Practicum 1, we might be allowed to work on a response to the latest ‘motion to fine the prosecution for their delays, when all the while, Witness 8 could have been deposed, the issue revealed.

  14. Jun says:

    I feel they had enough probable cause. Besides, they could have held him without arrest for 24 or 48 hours, because it’s inevitably a prime suspect in a murder, because, let’s be honest, he did kill a kid. I personally would have held him, went through all the phone calls, take the suspects statements, check the autopsy, asked Fogen to have him checked by forensics or get a warrant to do so, check the ballistics and be done with it.

    • Trained Observer says:

      And they could have drug tested Fogen, and had him examined by a physician to determine whether he had head or schnozz injuries.

    • onlyiamunitron says:

      “Besides, they could have held him without arrest for 24 or 48 hours…”

      Florida 776.032 says different.

      Especially see the part that says

      “…is immune from criminal prosecution…As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.”


      • You all have thoughtful comments says:

        Here is what I wrote months ago to a poster when the issue came up:
        You point out that the police officers wrote that GZ was in custody…… even that Officer Smith had GZ at gunpoint before securing him in handcuffs and then taking him to the police station.

        What did they do at the police station? They REMOVED his handcuffs. He was NO LONGER in their custody. They RELEASED him to the investigators who detained him.

        However, the investigators did not detain him in CUSTODY.

        Officer Singleton simply told GZ

        “you aren’t free to go right now because we gotta figure out what’s going on.”

        That is simply being detained……but not being detained under arrest.

        Officer Smith wrote

        Page 15/183..Ofc. Smith..”I was in contact with GZ from the time I secured him on scene until he was released from investigative detention.”

        “Investigative detention”

        Therefore, 776.032 does not apply to George

        776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—

        (1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force,
        As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, DETAINING IN CUSTODY, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

        George was Mirandized, and he did sign the Miranda papers properly.

        Therefore, all of George’s statements can be admitted at trial.

        unitron, what are your thoughts on what I wrote

        • onlyiamunitron says:

          “unitron, what are your thoughts on what I wrote”

          I think 776.032 (2) is why they couldn’t arrest him and charge him that night, and I think that 776.032 (1) is why Jun is mistaken in thinking that they could have held him without arrest for 24 or 48 hours.

          And I further think that there is nothing in any subsection of 776 that pertains to the admissibility at trial of any statements Zimmerman might have made either before being Mirandized or after.

          Otherwise I think you did well.


      • Jun says:

        I do not know the rules in Florida, but if they have a reasonable suspicion of someone, they can hold them, without arrest

        They do it in New York and other states, so I do not think Florida is any different

        They can hold him and check him

        • onlyiamunitron says:

          “I do not know the rules in Florida…”

          That’s certainly the impression I’m getting.


      • Jun says:

        Every state has a holding rule

        I have no idea where to look for it

        Law enforcement in other states hold suspects, if they have a reasonable suspicion, and then they can let them go after holding them

        I was suggesting the SPD utilize their version of the rule for their jurisdiction

      • Jun says:

        Detention before charge

        The pre-charge detention period is the period of time during which an individual can be held and questioned by police, prior to being charged with an offence


        This is what I meant, it is above

        I’d look it up, but I do not know how Florida would word it, as it is a common issue in all states, where they hold the suspect before charges are filed

  15. boyd says:

    I don’t think there was enough probable cause initially., He killed the only witness and he’s a good liar.

    • Dan Q. Smith says:

      Proving they bought his story. When the body was 40 ft away from where the killing happened in Fogen’s story! Do we want to live in a society where being a good liar and a sociopath is a liscence to murder? I’ll repeat. The body was 40 ft away (as was the shell casing). The SPD has no excuse for believing Fogen’s story (let alone his multiple and contradicting stories). The police shared Fogen”s racism (and Wolfinger certainly did upon examination of his record) or this case never would have turned into such a farce.

  16. bettykath says:

    Rereading the rules.

    1. A police officer must have probable cause (i.e., reasonable grounds) to believe that a suspect committed a specific crime before he arrests the suspect. If he arrests a suspect without probable cause, the arrest is unlawful.

    The defendant shot and killed Trayvon and admitted it at the scene.

    2. Whether probable cause exists depends on the totality of the circumstances.

    Self-defense wasn’t obvious, but a killing was.

    3. A person is under arrest if a reasonable person in the same situation would not believe they were free to terminate the contact with the officer and leave the area.

    The defendant was under arrest. He was handcuffed and transported to SPD for interview. Once there, his cuffs were removed. Did this un-arrest him? He wrote a statement at the request of Singleton. I believe he could have left at this point if he had wanted to which would have forced the issue of whether or not he was under arrest. Later he was interviewed for “clarification” of what happened. Self-defense was now clearly in play. He was read his right before every interview.

    4. Pursuant to the exclusionary rule, all evidence seized from a suspect after an unlawful arrest cannot be used against the suspect.

    I think this is why the cuffs were off and he was interviewed, rather than interrogated. When did self-defense first get mentioned? Until self-defense was claimed, it was just a matter of deciding which charge was appropriate. With a claim of self-defense more caution was needed. The very important walk-thru probably wouldn’t have happened if he had been arrested and locked up. Neither would the important interviews of that next day. Most likely he would have had a lawyer, or maybe his father, who would have prevented more interviews. Of course, nothing stopped him from the Hannity interview, so who knows?

    5. A person subjected to an unlawful arrest has a cause of action against the arresting officer for all damages caused by the unlawful arrest.

    Officer Smith put the cuffs on and transported someone who admitted to killing someone else. Details, like self-defense, weren’t discussed. No cause against Smith, since the cuffs were off later and no charges were actually filed for several weeks.

    • gbrbsb says:

      Long time ago I’m sure I “read” GZ had not been arrested but on reading Serino’s strange wording in the quote I was going to use to confirm this I was flummoxed. Dunno bout you, but from this I’m no clearer as to if he was or wasn’t arrested. He was Mirandarized it seems but I don’t know if that means he had to be arrested before they could do this or not.

      Start of Serino’s first interview early morning 27th February:

      Serino: OK. You’ve been read your rights correctly?
      Zimmerman: Yes, sir.
      Serino: You understand that you’re not QUITE free to go because we’re in the process of… but you’re not QUITE going to jail, that kind of stuff?
      (u/c emphasis mine)

      So from this you could say,

      a) GZ was not QUITE free to go but not QUITE under arrest


      b) GZ was not QUITE going to jail but not QUITE going to be released


      • bettykath says:

        My conclusion that he was under arrest is that he was handcuffed and put in the police car. See rule 3. I don’t believe any reasonable person would think he were free to terminate the contact with the officer and leave the area under those circumstances. Was there probable cause for the arrest? Yes, He admitted to killing someone and the body and the weapon were there. At SPD, his cuffs were removed at Serino’s direction. In the first interview with Singleton, one of the first things she said is that he wasn’t under arrest but he wasn’t free to leave b/c they had to find out what happened. Then she read him his rights.

        When was self-defense first mentioned?

        • gbrbsb says:


          IIRC GZ first claimed self-defence to the officers who attended the crime scene, and certainly he mentioned it to one neighbour who came out in some form or the other.

          I just read several more comments with laws and all and I am not at all convinced he was under arrest but because he was Mirandarized I am pretty sure all his statements are valid for the trial. I do not think SPD had probable cause that night, and not sure they had it until some time later after forensics were in and they had time to compare witness statements and other evidence had been uncovered.

      • Malisha says:

        It was still a “custodial interview” and in that regard, he was repeatedly read his rights AND signed papers saying he understood them and was speaking voluntarily. ALSO they took his DNA on 2/27/2012; they could have asked for blood and other fluids on 2/26/2012 but did not.

        • gbrbsb says:

          I realised it was custodial once reading he could not leave, in the UK we call it “helping the police with their enquiries”!

          On the other hand, I did a bit of research yesterday and now believe GZ’s custody that night may have been an “investigative detention” for which only “reasonable suspicion” is required. It is an arrest of sorts and obviously custodial. If you look further down thread I posted two paras from a case precisely dealing with this as if the police aren’t very careful an investigative detention can “ripen” into a full arrest and turn unlawful if there is no probable cause.

      • Lonnie Starr says:

        If I read the Professor correctly, if they told him he was not free to go, then he was under arrest. They should have told him that he was free to go, then asked him if he would help them answer the questions they expected to be asked. As long as he voluntarily stayed they’re on solid ground.

  17. Trained Observer says:

    Not that I have any expertise whatsoever, but I’m thinking SPD had probable cause, given the NEN call “are you following him” and his “yes” admission. He admitted to shooting the victim. Cops knew from the get-go that the victim was clearly unarmed and (as noted by Fogen himself) a minor, in late teens.

    And since Fogen was cuffed and hauled to the station, as pointed out by Tsar, how could Fogen think he was anything other than under arrest? (Don’t know if they Miranded him and if so when.)

    • gbrbsb says:

      They did Mirandarize him but can’t recall exactly when, iirc, it was in his first interview and at the same time they told him he was not under arrest.

      • ay2z says:

        Yes, you are right. Serino, gave directions for the cuffs to be removed before Singleton interviewed him, and she Mirandized him before beginning her taped interview. She also, I’m sure I recall, asked again, if he would continue speaking to her after an interruption in the interview.

        If fogen had any concern about ‘arrest’ because of the cuffs, he was assured he was not in custody once they were removed. We have video of him arriving at the sally port. It might be proper proceedure to secure someone even for their own safety of trying to do something in the back o the cop car.

      • Dave says:

        Removing the handcuffs didn’t release him from custody or mean that he was no longer under arrest. He was unarmed and surrounded by cops in a secure building. Once under arrest he wasn’t free to leave until the cops told him that he was.

  18. Xena says:

    The[y] had the recorded NEN call, the recorded 911 calls, various witness interviews at the scene of the shooting, the EMT’s report regarding the defendant’s physical condition and injuries, the photographs of the defendant taken at the station house, and the defendant’s statements at the station house.

    For this exercise, I’m going to take all of the foregoing as true.

    Is that information sufficient to constitute reasonable grounds to believe the defendant did not kill Trayvon Martin in self-defense?

    Yes. My reasons for this are:
    A1. The NEN call provides that GZ independently decided to leave his vehicle. If not but for the fact that the dispatcher discerned sounds that GZ was out of his vehicle on foot, he would not have asked, “Are you following him?” GZ answered in the affirmative, and after told “We don’t need you to do that,” he responded “Okay.” However, the same sounds that alerted the dispatcher that GZ was out of his vehicle and on foot, continued until GZ said “he ran.”

    A2. Also based on the NEN call, after saying “He ran,” GZ refused to give the dispatcher his home address on the basis that he didn’t know where the kid was at. That is inconsistent with “He ran” conveying that GZ did not catch up with him, and that the kid got away. It indicates that GZ was not returning to his truck using the same route he took when following the kid.

    A3. The next reason based on the NEN call is that GZ, without reason, asked dispatch to have the cops call for his location, effectively indicating that he was not returning to his truck to remain in it until the cops arrived.

    B1. Regarding the EMT’s and GZ’s physical condition, they did not see anything serious enough to transport him to the ER, and GZ also refused to go to the hospital. The cop who kept observance of GZ did not find that GZ demonstrated anything requiring medical care.

    B2. Of the photographs taken at the station, GZ has no defensive wounds. His clothes are not torn or in disarray.

    C1. GZ’s statement at the station house is geared to give him justification for suspecting Trayvon, but what he reported to NEN is not consistent other than saying there had been break-ins. GZ admits that the kid ran, and he admits to following the kid.

    C2. Witness interviews do not support GZ’s statement because no witness testified that GZ asked them to help restrain the kid.

    Next question:

    Notwithstanding that he was permitted to leave the station house after submitting to an interrogation, was the defendant under arrest at any point that evening?

    No. To be under arrest is to be charged with a crime. To affect an arrest, the person must be photographed for a mug shot, and fingerprinted. It is standard procedure to handcuff during transport. As provided by the report, the handcuffs were removed from GZ after he arrived at the police station, and we can see in the photos taken of his hands and feet that GZ was not restrained in any manner.

  19. ay2z says:

    (offtopic, MOM and West want prosecutors fined over the ‘lie’.)

    • Trained Observer says:

      As mentioned on other thread, hope Nelson tells them to pound sand.

      • looneydoone says:

        I’d like to see the defense attorney’s sanctioned, held in contempt and fined …they have gone too effin far.
        In many other States they would likely be disbarred for unethical behavior…being Floriduh, no one should be surprised if Gov Scott appoints O’Mara to the FL State Supreme Court instead.
        buncha asshats !

    • esentrick says:

      Thanks ay2z for the heads up. Did you also see that they asking for reimbursement for their troubles?!

      I am convinced more than ever that the defense is trying to delay the trial by attempting to remove the judge. Even if they do not succeed, IMHO it would buy them some time because it could take months for a decision. Then they could bring another motion for reconsideration of delaying the trial.

      • Nef05 says:

        I realize it’s “reimbursement” and not a “donation”, but is there anyone besides Trayvon’s family, that they haven’t asked for money, at this point?

      • Malisha says:

        Nef05, didn’t you know that they’re going to sue Trayvon Martin’s family when this is all over, because of the greed-driven false allegations against Fogen? HA HA HA HA HAHA HA!! ouch OUCH!! I can’t breathe! Help!!! (Splutter, snort!)

    • onlyiamunitron says:

      ” (offtopic, MOM and West want prosecutors fined over the ‘lie’.) ”

      They want re-imbursement from the Office of the State Attorney and they want the Office of the State Attorney fined, but they said nothing about having the prosecutors themselves fined.

      In other words, it would come out of the office budget, not Bernie’s pocket.

      And yes, there is a difference. Especially if you’re Bernie looking at a shrunken pay check.


      • ay2z says:

        Well, Bernie and John should have made Witness 8 available for deposition ages ago. Oh yeah…. they did.

        Judge Nelson will remember this, she’s admonished O’Mara and West several times, for not taking depositions to get their information. She may see through their tactics on this one.

      • Jun says:

        Basically, he wants to fine the state, because the state, was not doing the defense’s job for them?

        How the hell does that make any damn sense?

        They had since April 11, 2012 to conduct their own investigations (the defense did)

      • ladystclaire says:

        @Jun, the defense has been expecting the state to do their job for them from the very beginning. they were too busy making the media rounds on any show that would have them. instead of MOM always being in front of a camera with his ugly mug, he should have been doing his own work.

        This is one of the reasons that Judge Nelson should have placed a gag order on the defense. I have never seen a defense team act so despicable as this one. as for MOM, I don’t know what his deal is but, it’s not about acting in a professional manner because, he and West have done some pretty nasty and illegal things in this case.

      • Malisha says:

        Jun, the defense got thrown for a loop.
        The reason they naturally assumed that the prosecution would eagerly do the defense’s job for them was that Wolfinger (and probably Carter) WAS doing the defense’s job for them since the case started. The SPD was doing the defense’s job for them. They expected all that to continue. When BDLR started to do the STATE’s job for the State rather than the defense’s job for dear Fogen and his Fogenites, O’Mara and West naturally got a shock and were pretty pissed off.

        Now it’s time for them to get another shock and get pissed ON. 😈

    • Jun says:


      Good luck with that

      If lawyers got fines for lying, then Omara and West should be getting a hefty bill

      And they never faced any problems whatsoever, they could have deposed her long ago

      I think they are playing games and I do not see a reason for the fine or reimbursement as it is part of their job to do their own investigation

      I am gonna chalk it up to them playing games

  20. bettykath says:

    Oh, dear. Quick reading and missed the heading. I’m not sure they had enough on the night of the killing. It was a good call to keep him talking for 2 days. Then they should have arrested him and charged him with murder 2.

    • Malisha says:

      When Serino wrote his first draft of the memo asking for a charge of Murder-2, they had way way WAY more than probable cause for the arrest. Then draft 2, 3 and the “subtle” change to manslaughter and the “even subtler” — nothing.

      This wasn’t about any real doubt about what happened. This was about a cover-up and the only doubts were what to do to make it work and how to go about presenting it. On those considerations, SPD and the prosecutors messed up, YAY!

  21. bettykath says:

    Serino, et al did a good job of getting the defendant to talk for 2 days. They had enough to impeach whatever story the defendant settled on. The arrest could have happened anytime after that.

    • gbrbsb says:

      I agree absolutely bettykath. Indeed considering that it took nigh on 4 months to arrest and charge with M2 the shooter Cordell Jude, the killer of the learning impaired Daniel Adkins who he shot in the heart over a trivial argument in a parking lot where he was walking his dog on 3rd April 2012, (just a month after Trayvon), when the evidence of Adkin’s shooting NOT being self defence was, IMO, so much clearer than the GZ/Trayvon case, shows that had the SPD investigation been allowed to run its course, (BDLR noted in court it was still ongoing when Corey took over) it may be GZ’s arrest would have come about anyway.

  22. bettykath says:

    Within 72 hours they had enough information that put large holes the defendant’s story/stories big enough for a double semi to drive through, starting with his claim of having his head repeatedly bashed on concrete and the discrepancies between his stories and the physical evidence available at the time.

    In addition to what others have listed:
    * No appreciable injuries to the defendant
    * No apparent injuries to Trayvon except the bullet hole. There surely would be some if he was battering the defendant.
    * Normal vitals in the defendant (would scare the bejesus out of me to be around him)
    * Change in John’s story that he saw “wrestling”, not MMA.
    * The screams on the 911 call that contradicted his claim of being smothered.
    * The screams on the 911 call, when compared to his reenactment of the screams, provided nothing close to a match.
    * His story of how he managed to unholster his gun, aim and fire while being pinned down and smothered
    * His admission of having a wrist lock on Trayvon which gave him control.

    Considering that Serino initially wanted him charged with murder 2, settling on manslaughter in spite of pressure to not charge at all, I say that he agreed.

    My problem with the lack of charges escalates when the Police Chief or the ADA (can’t remember which) announced the decision to not charge b/c there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him. That smelled of b.s.

    • Nef05 says:

      My bs meter goes even higher when see that the gun, holster, etc (that could presumably shown Trayvon DNA/prints, thus confirming part of fogen’s story) were sent to the lab on 3/1. But, the rest of the evidence (clothing, skittles/flashlight swabs, etc) were not sent to the lab until 3/20, two days before Wolfinger’s recusal letter, Corey’s appointment, and Lee stepping down.

      I genuinely wonder how long these items would have sat in an evidence locker, untested, if not for the national outcry that resulted in Wolfinger’s decision to recuse himself. My guess is they would have sat there beyond the 175 day charging restriction (I’ve read/heard 180 days – the Fl atty quoted below states 175 days. Since sources are hard to find on this issue, I’ll defer to his statement) after which fogen, by law, could never have been charged. This is assuming fogen was in a state of “de facto arrest” as stated by former Broward County homicide prosecutor Ken Padowitz. .

      “It is important to note that the State Attorney’s office has the sole discretion to decide whether to file formal charges against you. Even if witnesses do not want to testify against you or they want to stop the case, the State Attorney may still press forward on the charges.

      The law of the State of Florida gives the State Attorney this type of discretion and they can subpoena these witnesses to come to court even if they should indicate that they do not want to. Nevertheless, the prosecutor must file formal charges within 90 days of your arrest if a misdemeanor offense, or 175 days of your arrest if a felony offense. Otherwise, the State Attorney is forbidden from pursuing charges against you after the expiration of that period.”

      • The law of the State of Florida gives the State Attorney this type of discretion and they can subpoena these witnesses to come to court even if they should indicate that they do not want to. Nevertheless, the prosecutor must file formal charges within 90 days of your arrest if a misdemeanor offense, or 175 days of your arrest if a felony offense. Otherwise, the State Attorney is forbidden from pursuing charges against you after the expiration of that period.”

        This is a really strange rule that in effect creates a 6 month statute of limitations that is triggered by the arrest. I assume Hornsby knows what he is talking about, but I’m surprised that an arrest would trigger a shorter limitations period than would otherwise be the case.

        What happens if the cops discover a crucial witness 6 months plus a day after the arrest?

        Case dismissed?

        Nice rule to protect defendants by forcing prosecutors to fish or cut bait, but not necessarily a good rule in the interests of justice.

        This rule probably has the practical effect of fewer arrests.

      • fauxmccoy says:

        professor —

        there was talk early on in this case regarding that 175 day rule which to the best of my knowledge is true.

        as discussed above, if one is placed in handcuffs then one is not fee to leave and technically under arrest, whether or not it is stated “you are under arrest” or if miranda warning has been issued.

        there are many of us who suspect that without the public outcry, the SAO under wolfinger would have putzed around with the investigation until 175 days had expired and then issued a big ‘oh well, nothing we can do anymore’ statement, letting gz off the hook entirely.

        it is my very strong belief that the florida state supreme court needs to clarify the immunity portion of this legislation and this 175 day rule, as it clearly allows liberty for murderers.

      • Nef05 says:

        @Prof – As I mentioned sources are difficult for the 175 day rule, but I was able to find the original video where I saw it first (March 31, 2012) . This is video of NY attorney and the above mentioned former Broward County prosecutor (Padowitz), discussing both probable cause and the 175 day rule, respectively (Start @ 4min. mark). It does seem to be as poorly thought through as the SYG law, as in it doesn’t seem to take into account exact what you said about finding witnesses after the 6 months.

        IMO – this 175 day arrest/non arrest question at the time (and “squeaky clean record”, no evidence to contradict, handing this “investigation to SAO) are central to Crump’s contention of a “conspiracy”, though Padowitz simply calls it “incompetence”.

      • Nef05 says:

        @FauxMcCoy I just posted the link the Politics Nation segment where they first began discussing the 175 day rule, in my response to the Prof. Is that the one you saw, too?

        I bookmarked it, but if it’s not too much trouble, would you do so, as well? It’s hard to come by, and I have a feeling it will come up again, at some point. Perhaps even with regard to the Fed. investigation.

    • boyd says:

      Actually John was an excellent witness , when he was interviwed by FDLE, He recalled why he chose the MMA word. He said Trayvon had him in a lock such that Zimmerman could not get free a move frequently he saw wen he watches MMA fighting on TV.

      • Malisha says:

        But then he admitted that he couldn’t see…

        • Had him in a “lock”?……all while he’s also smothering fogen……slamming his head against the concrete……and raining down MMA type blows……

          Did the autopsy report happen to mention how many arms Trayvon had?

          Me thinks that would be difficult for an 8 armed Indian elephant god to accomplish.

    • Lonnie Starr says:

      The problems is that most information wasn’t known right away. GZ’s inconsistent statements were probably enough to suspect all kinds of horrible things, but not rising to the level of proof positive. So, unless I miss my guess, we’re probably very lucky that the Pro Z fools sought to end the case by keeping it out of the courts and simply trying to sweep it under the rug, as though there was no reason to disbelieve GZ.

      Had they gone the other route and encourage or allowed a swift arrest, Wolfinger would have had the ball in his court, and could have provided a weak prosecution, leading a judge to make a grant of immunity! The only recourse then would be the Feds, and they’d have a devil of a time mounting an effective investigation, by the time they got going. So, as it turns out, Wolfinger and Lees actions, actually aided the very prosecution they seemed to be trying to thwart.

      That would explain why GZ felt so free to give all those crazy stories. He probably misunderstood SYG/Immunity/whatever laws and thought that because he had been released, he had succeeded in obtaining the laws immunity. Thus, believing he was already immune, he felt it didn’t matter what he told anyone.

  23. colin black says:

    So SPD elect an African American as there new cheif of police.
    Lets hope this is not just window dressing by the powers that be.
    But the start of a root to branch clear out of the intergrated raceism so evident in that police deparment.

    I doubt even the most overtly raceist officers would resign over this outrage as they would perseive it not with there pennsions to consider.

    So early retirement may be the quickest solution to remove a lot of bad apples.

    Robet E Lee perhaps one of Bill Lee ancestors fought a civil war for the right to treat Africans slaves as cattle.
    He killed fellow country men for fighting to end emansipation an refuseall to let the South sucseed from the union.

    The grounds of his mansion where turned into a grave yard where the union burried there dead.
    Right on Robert E Lees front door step as they considered him an people whom backed an fought for him responceable for there deaths..

    • This feels like a Michael Steele or Herman Cain type of move.

      • Trained Observer says:

        Hope he goes through that department like a dose of epsom salts … the entire culture need change.

        • Xena says:

          @Trained Observer

          Hope he goes through that department like a dose of epsom salts … the entire culture need change.

          Since he’s from Elgin, IL, the new Chief may actually be over qualified for his new position. Elgin is the casino capital of Northwest Illinois.

  24. Malisha says:

    Did they have probable cause to arrest Fogen for SOME CRIME on 2/26/2012? Of course.

    1. He admitted he shot a person who, it turned out, had no weapon on him;

    2. Although he said he was screaming for “help” and “nobody helped,” he did not provide a consistent and rational story for why he had engaged an unarmed young person in hostilities in the first place, and in his statements that first night, his description of the “you got a problem homie” did not match either his injuries or the NEN call content.

    3. Although his motive for killing the young person might not have been immediately clear, what WAS immediately clear was that the “self-defense” story was inconsistent with the physical condition of the defendant himself.

    NO, he was not under arrest, because he was not PLACED under arrest and told what he was being arrested for. He was, however, in a “custodial interview” and therefore was advised of his rights because he was not free to leave until the end of the interviews.

    He could have been arrested for: 1st degree Murder; 2nd degree murder; assault; discharging a weapon in a residential neighborhood; manslaughter; or any number of other crimes associated with the physical evidence available THAT NIGHT.

    • looneydoone says:

      Yes…and had off duty wolfinger not stepped in and denied Serino the warrant he was seeking , fogen would have/could have/should have been arrested that same night.

      • ladystclaire says:

        I wonder if Lee and Wolfinger will suffer any kind of sanctions for Obstruction of justice in this case. they very well should. also, the defendant’s lying racist father should have been kept out of this entirely. after all he and Wolfinger have some sort of dealings with each other and, if the wolf wasn’t on duty on the night in question, then he had no business showing up the way he did.

        These people shouldn’t be allowed to just get away with what they did and what they tried to do.

        BTW, Fogen’s older has done it now! he has finally pissed a lot of people in the public off to the point that, his brother’s support base is no where to be heard from.

        • onlyiamunitron says:

          “if the wolf wasn’t on duty on the night in question, then he had no business showing up the way he did.”

          What proof, what actual evidence, do you have that Wolfinger came to either the scene of the shooting or the police station that night?


          • I believe you know that the source for the statement that Wolfinger was at the scene of the shooting on 2/26 is a reporter for the Grio who said it was a person in SPD who declined to be identified.

            The video of her report has been posted here and we have discussed it.

          • onlyiamunitron says:

            “I believe you know that the source for the statement that Wolfinger was at the scene of the shooting on 2/26 is a reporter for the Grio who said it was a person in SPD who declined to be identified.”

            Actually in the March 28th, 2012 article, Joy-Ann Reid referred to her source as “A source with knowledge of the investigation into the shooting of Trayvon Martin…”, a much less restrictive phrase than “a person in SPD”, and makes no mention of the source being willing or unwilling to be identified.

            So, she said someone else said something. I think that’s what courts call “hearsay”.

            And it’s not impossible that her source did not tell her the truth, and if she only had the one source she cannot positively rule that out.

            In the MSNBC video she says nothing about her source at all.

            Lacking any further evidence, I do not consider Wolfinger’s presence that night an established fact.


      • ladystclaire says:

        @unitron, guess what, I can and do read! you ought to try it yourself sometime, then you wouldn’t have to ask me for proof of anything. btw, I’m a good judge of character and, I sure did peg you right.

        • onlyiamunitron says:

          I also can and do read.

          That’s how I was able to notice you trying to pass off uncorroborated allegation as fact.


      • Two sides to a story says:

        I think unitron doesn’t go in for speculation and adheres to the strict known facts of the case. That doesn’t make him or her any less interested in justice in this case.

      • ladystclaire says:

        I don’t care what his/her views are or, what he/she thinks all I know is IT needs to leave me alone. people should be able to have a sensible conversation discussing this case, without having to put up with BS such as this.

    • Lonnie Starr says:

      None of which would have amounted to a hill of beans, with a Police Chief and Prosecutor who wanted to see GZ go free. In jail overnight and he gets a lawyer, a quick immunity hearing is scheduled, the Prosecutors office isn’t going to be too keen on opposing immunity and poof, the case evaporates and GZ has a lawsuit besides.

      Remember this was no ordinary case. If it was the Chief of police would not have traveled to the crime scene nor would the County Prosecutor have been called. It was a stroke of luck that they didn’t go about letting GZ off the hard way, by going into court for the hearing. They believed they had control, so they would never allow any officer to charge him. Things blew up, the outrage sweep the nation and the Governor was forced to appoint a special prosecutor, so the local forces lost their control.

  25. annahkonda says:

    Any one who has sustained a savage beating by having his head slammed onto a concrete pavement for nearly a full minute, as it was alleged, should have been flown to the nearest Shock Trauma Unit for evaluation and treatment. His statement is not consistent with the injuries.

    • kllypyn says:

      He also would not have been in any condition to aim and fire a gun.

      • racerrodig says:

        I keep going back to that claim that his poor old noggin was smashed to a bloody pulp, what with all that blood in his eyes and all. There is no possibility he’d remember any details especially the aiming part….not to mention the “I was yelling for help, and nobody would help me” part. Then again there’s the fact that he mentions how many times his head was bounced, er, allegedly bounced, off of the concrete.

        Needless to say, after “The Mother of all Fights” his vital signs were all normal. Bull S. to that one Fogen…I can, to this day, some 40 years later, remember running pass patterns in HS & Semi – Pro football and my vitals were just a bit elevated.

        One of the kids in my sons band wrestles on the HS team and let me tell you, his vitals are not even close to normal after a match, even a quick one.

        I guess when we refer to Trayvon as “Black Dynamite Slim” as a response to the Zidiot Nation’s claims as to what Trayvon did, I guess we really need to say Fogen is actually…


      • ladystclaire says:

        @racer, speaking of his blood filled eyes, why wasn’t it mentioned by EMS, that they had to wash all of that blood out of his eyes? this is one more lying POS. who ever came up with that script for him, had better hold on to their day job. you hear that Osterman?

        • racerrodig says:

          His lies are so comical it’s a joke and only clowns like tron will defend him. The interview in which he said I had all this blood in my eyes was a laugh riot all things considered.

          Maybe the State can get the Defense team fined heavily for remarks like that……

  26. Bill Taylor says:

    based on number 3 above fogen WAS ARRESTED, and that night there was more than enough evidence to charge him, the reality is the ONLY evidence of self defense were fogens words, that he clearly did NOT express to the medical personnel on the scene(no way he told them his head had been bashed onto concrete repeatedly and they NOT transport him to the ER).

  27. New Sanford police chief to be sworn in Monday,0,6194629.story

    Sanford swears in its new police chief Monday, nine months after former chief Bill Lee Jr. was fired following criticism over his handling of the investigation into the slaying of Trayvon Martin.

    Cecil Smith, 51, of Elgin, Ill., is to take the oath from Mayor Jeff Triplett in a City Hall ceremony that’s open to the public.

    It begins at 10 a.m. in city commission chambers. Smith will hold a news conference afterward, the city’s public information officer reported.

    Smith was chosen from 76 applicants and will be paid $114,757 a year.

    He will run a department with 132 sworn officers.

    It has been run by an interim chief, Richard Myers, for 10 months, following the dismissal of Lee in June.

    Lee and his department came under withering criticism for its decision not to arrest George Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, who shot Trayvon, an unarmed black 17-year-old, Feb. 26, in a west Sanford subdivision.

    The 29-year-old Zimmerman says he acted in self-defense. He was arrested several weeks later after a special prosecutor charged him with second-degree murder. His trial is set for June 10.

    • onlyiamunitron says:

      You left out the part about the new chief having a really deep tan.

      : – )


      • It doesn’t matter his deeper tan ,they were looking for a police chief not a tanning or whiteness chief!

      • His skin color (deep tan)doesn’t need to be an issue!

        Why you make an issue out of that?

        • onlyiamunitron says:

          So the City of Sanford, Florida, the place that decided to forgo the extra revenue from having a baseball team make it their spring training camp as in years previous because said team had signed Jackie Robinson, that city hires a police chief who is black and you consider that of no particular significance?

          I was originally gently teasing SouthernGirl2 for having omitted that particular detail.


        • racerrodig says:

          That’s what ignorant trolls do….there I said it.

      • So what the city hired a Black to be a police chief?

        He was hired for his curriculum not for his skin color!

        When you mentioned the first time you use the word as “deep tan” that is disrespectful and absurd to use the language if you
        want be take seriously gz’s fan!

        You don’t tease others with other people color do you know
        that is wrong?

        Probably is particular significance to you because you are fixate with people color and not in their performance.

      • ladystclaire says:

        @Joseph Norton, you are dealing with an Imbecile when it comes to the uni one. he/she is only here to cause distention on this site, for those of us who want to have an adult conversation about the murder Fogen committed. how are you doing? I hope all is well with you. I can’t wait for this trial to start 06/10/13 and, I pray that he will be convicted for what he did. he murdered a child and, now he is lying on him. how disgusting Fogen really is.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Actually, I think it’s good that unitron mentions this. Hopefully it will bring a measure of balance and healing to a community that sorely needs both.

      • Erica says:

        I will agree and side with unitron on this one. It is a big deal that the good ole boys network hired an AA this time. It is no coincidence but Im sure he was well qualified.

      • @Two sides to a story @Erica ,Sanford a hired a new Chief
        of Police ,he doesn’t have a “deep tan” he is a Black man and the one you are supporting(unitron) was disrespectful or is a racist,which one it is ? You two like Southern jokes too?

  28. LLMPapa says:

    What else did they know?

    -They knew he got out of his vehicle, with a loaded gun, and followed an unarmed child.

    -They knew this child’s dead body was 43 feet away from where he told them his alleged reason to stand his ground occurred.

    -They knew a shell casing from his gun was found very near the child’s dead body.

    -They had the NEN call and KNEW, for a fact, the dispatcher DID NOT ask him for an address BEFORE he got out of his vehicle.

    -Providing someone in the SPD had a wrist watch and knew how to tell time, they knew the timing sequence of his tale couldn’t, didn’t, and never would add up.

    -Most compelling of all, they heard those screams and KNEW it was a child.

    I’m not sure where the threshold for probable cause resides in this day and age, but that’s enough for me for an arrest.

    • racerrodig says:

      Having seen my dad as an officer be the 1st or among the 1st on the scene at many a crime I have to say they had probable cause without a doubt and LLMPapa covered it well.

      First & foremost, lets pretend this happened where the police force had no agenda and Fogen was unknown to them, or at least not well known.

      he would have been detained and questioned and an investigation would have been underway while he was being questioned. There is no doubt in my mind that enough would have been discovered to arrest him that night / early the next day.

      BUT, he’d probably have gotten a lawyer and maybe he’d have kept his mouth shut…….then again, this is Fogen and Co.

      On the other hand, if he was known by his incessant calls, it’s possible, if the police had no agenda, that it would have been treated as a “…it was only a matter of time before this lunkhead killed somebody” and he’d have been arrested right there.

    • looneydoone says:

      So news today from the outhouse (LetJusticePrevail aka papi z)
      is that O’Mara’s filed a Motion seeking to have the prosecution sanctioned and fined for some alleged misconduct and violating FL’s rules regarding release of evidence.

      These people are effin nutz !

      • Xena says:

        IMO, the motion will be denied. It will be denied because the State is not under obligation to tell the defense if a deponent lies about anything. That is for the defense to discover during deposition. Additionally, the matter that the defense belly-aches over has nothing to do with GZ’s claim of self-defense. That in fact, the age of Witness 8 and whether she went to the hospital rather than the wake, has nothing to do with what she heard and was told on 2/26/12.

      • ladystclaire says:

        IMO, LJP aka Robert Zimmerman Sr. ought to be a shamed of himself for getting on these blog sites discussing this case, as well as doing his part to slander and tarnish the character of his son’s murder victim. he is like his other son, doing his share of racist hate speech against Trayvon, his family and AA in general. I honestly hope he and his son Jr. will be among those who will have charges leveled at them for doxing and harassment of other people.Fogen himself is also taking part in this slander fest of his child victim. the sooner they lock his fat ass up, the better.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        It’s enough that Jr. is out and about “representing” the family. Since Sr. may be involved in a conspiracy to cover up the crime, he’d do well to keep a low profile, IMHO.

        Heh – another junk motion to keep the paying spectators happy. Predictable!

      • leander22 says:

        They added a curious twist, which will make it slightly more difficult for judge Nelson.

        DeeDee made a false statement concerning the hospital because of Trayvon’s mother Sybrina Fulton, and they add that Fulton was present during DeeDee’s interview with BDLR thus suggesting her presence may have influenced other parts of the interview.

        They also argue that BDLR or prosecution knew that DeeDee did not go to the hospital since last August and prosecution should have made this information available to them.

        They also argue, there was another encounter with DeeDee in Jacksonville about which they have no information.

        To leave out the color photo and bad audio files.

      • leander22 says:

        Test: 14

      • leander22 says:

        I am not sure if somebody has already posted the response by NBC. The NBC Motion to Stay Proceedings. It’s quite good, actually.

        Is the latest motion against state again some type of mixture between legal motion, media and alternative money raising campaign?

        about O’Mara’s “media blitz”, money and public opinion:

        Zimmerman’s commencment of this defamation action coincides with his efforts both to raise additional funds for his criminal defense and to engender public sympathy for his cause. Indeed, promptly upon filing his Complaint in this case, Zimmerman established a fourth website devoted to the developments of this defamation case.

        concerning the status of the criminal case, this is very similar to Frederick’s argument that O’Mara’s motions are to a large extend media campaigns, or attempts to manipulate public opinion:

        The depositions of many of them, however, may be freely taken in this defamation action, where there are no analoguous restrictions.

        Note 14. Zimmerman’s list of deponents in the criminal case includes witnesses whose testimony will undoubtedly be relevant int his case as well. For example, at least two Sanford Police officers who responded to the scene of Martin’s killing, Officers Davial and Mead, had also responded to some of Zimmerman’s previous complaints about “suspicious” black men. … Officer Mead’s deposition has been noticed and presumably went forward; Officer Davila’s deposition has not been requested, insofar as defendants are aware….

        concerning parties and issues (criminal and private suit) substantially similar:

        As a result, the evidence in the criminal trial will mirror in substantial part the evidence likely to be presented in this civil case, where Zimmerman has himself put the same issue [racial prejudice] squarely in play. Specifically, in this case, Zimmerman claims defendants experpted and otherwiese mischaracterized the Call to make him appear racist when he is not. Even if Zimmerman can prove that the broadcast gave rise to such an implication, he will still bear the burden of demonstrating that such an implication is materially false.

        Last but not least, an issue I seem to have locked horns with unitron:

        On it´, [O’Mara’s special page devoted to “media disinformation] Zimmerman claims he is the victim of a “media frenzy seeking ratings over truth” and that NBC caused him “unjustified public persecution.”

        • onlyiamunitron says:

          “Last but not least, an issue I seem to have locked horns with unitron:”



          • leander22 says:

            misinformation, and media misinformation. I seem to overreact on the issue. Maybe if I would go back I would realize that I fought windmills? 😉

          • leander22 says:

            Oooops, I committed a much bigger plunder by deleting half moving half deleting a quote but leave the original comment. I better shut up for a while. 😉

      • leander22 says:

        I should have copied instead of typed it: Davila not Davial, looks almost like Dorival. There are other typos, but you should read the document it is very good.

    • Nef05 says:

      I concur with LLMPapa, and add:
      1. His injuries did not match his story.
      2.His claim of being smothered contradicts his claim of screaming for help. At least, being able to scream loud enough for all the eyewitnesses at the scene to be able to claim that they heard him, inside their homes. Nor, would they show up so clearly and unmuffled on the 911 call.
      3. His story changes from looking AT houses (NEN call) to looking IN houses (written statement).*
      (*Note: Fogen tells Singleton in his first interview that EMTs told him his nose was broken and he didn’t need to go to the hospital. If I am an officer/detective, this is an immediate red flag, and any discrepancies in his statements regarding events are thus magnified).

      I would say he was arrested based on the handcuffs, Miranda, and the implication that his options were limited to going to the hospital or going to the police station.

      • parrot says:

        I am a slow writer. Forgive me if I repeat something others have written.

        I would add:

        – They had the NEN call revealing GZ’s mental state of predisposed hostility towards the “fucking punks who always get away.”

        – They heard GZ’s inability to articulate sound reasons for his belief that the kid was suspicious

        – They knew that at least two opportunities GZ failed to identify himself to defuse the situation

        – GZ’s injuries did not match his story and neither did his lack of defensive wounds.

        – TM’s lack of injuries and blood on his hands did not match the GZ’s story.

        Now a question about criminal history and presumably its role in making an arrest.

        The Miami Herald reported that police told Tracy Martin that they let GZ go because GZ was “squeaky clean.”

        We know better now about his criminal record.

        Assuming the police, in fact, said this to Tracy Martin:

        Is this irrelevant as a criteria for PC?

        If so, why would the police use irrelevant criteria such as his being “squeaky clean” to explain why they let GZ go?

      • Nef05 says:

        Parrot – That’s a really good question. I don’t know, for sure, if they ran fogen’s name that night. But, it does seem like something that they would have done, considering he just shot someone. Since they did use that as a reason why he wasn’t “arrested”, one would presume they did. BUT, since they were so absolutely wrong about it, you have to wonder if they did it at all.

        To me, it sounds like even more reason to believe they never intended to charge him, because straight off the bat, they were trying to explain away why he hadn’t been arrested, and they didn’t care if their reasons were true or not. Just imagine if Trayvon’s parents hadn’t reached out for help. Imagine if they had just accepted their son’s death as a horrible tragedy, and didn’t pursue it.

    • gbrbsb says:

      You should know I adore your work and have rarely found anything with which to disagree, but you need only look to the Daniel Adkin’s shooting to observe the difficulty in arresting a person claiming self defence or SYG with the immunity attached.

      Adkin’s, a learning impaired adult, died, was shot through the heart on 3rd April and died instantly still holding the leash of his dog “Lady”, while his shooter, Cordell Jude, who claimed self defence alleged Adkin’s had lifted his arm to hit his car with a never found never seen pipe (it appears most likely Lady’s leash), was not charged with M2 until the 27th July (almost 4 months!), with the Maricopa County Attorney stating:

      “Our decision to prosecute this case is based on a thorough review of the evidence gathered during an extensive investigation by our law enforcement partners, and after a separate and careful analysis of the defendant’s assertion of self-defense,”

      As Unitron I believe noted, it was not as if SPD had a once in a life time opportunity to arrest GZ that night and I have always thought that it may be GZ would have been charged two or three months later had the investigation run its course (BDLR noted in court not long ago that SPD investigation was still open and ongoing when Corey took over). Dare I say that it may be the movement that erupted after Trayvon’s shooting jumped the gun considering that in the the case of Daniel Adkins there was no protest movement and hardly any press coverage so that until Jude’s arrest last July I was indeed convinced the black community was much more privileged compared with the learning impaired who loomed the most dispossessed and the most forsaken in the bitter sweet American dream.

      • gbrbsb says:

        sorry errata… I must proof read what I write… I must proof read what I write… I must proof read what I write…

      • onlyiamunitron says:

        “BDLR noted in court not long ago that SPD investigation was still open and ongoing when Corey took over”

        Somewhere a few months back I saw mention of an SPD officer conducting a witness interview or follow-up interview on either the 20th, when Wolfinger announced his intention to submit the case to the then upcoming grand jury, followed a few hours later by Crump’s press conference where he announced the existance of the young lady he had recorded the day before, or on the 22nd, the day the governor bigfooted Wolfinger and handed the case to Corey.


      • Trained Observer says:

        Unitron — The governor did not “bigfoot” Wolfinger. Fogen Sr.’s pal took his sweet time about it, but finally he submitted a letter to Rick Scott recusing himself because of a conflict of interest. That letter remains sealed as far as I know. Wolfie later decided not to run for re-election … the more time with family routine.

        • onlyiamunitron says:

          On March 15th Wolfinger formally requests that FDLE get involved in the investigation. On March 20th (a few hours prior to Crump’s announcing the existence of the young lady on the other end of Trayvon’s last phone call), Wolfinger announces he’s going to be submitting the case to the upcoming grand jury in April.

          Then 2 days later he suddenly discovers he has a conflict of interest?

          Yeah, right.


      • gbrbsb says:


        Yes, I recall something about that too. My view is, and far be it for me to ring the praises of SPD who IMO failed on many sides of the investigation, that with all the controversy going on, i.e.:

        – protesters even in the house of reps
        – crowds protesting in the streets
        – the huge media coverage going worldwide
        – the viral discourse spreading at a rate of knots
        – celebrities wading in… some where they shouldn’t tread!
        – “experts” opining screams weren’t GZ’s
        – the coon-goon-cold-punk controversy
        – DD’s sudden entrance & Crump trumpeting to the four winds
        – Obama’s comparison

        SPD found themselves so back footed, in part due to their own incompetence, they were really struggling to keep up and the idea to resort rápido to a Grand Jury was a panicked move to pass the hot potato before they lost complete control.

        With all the goings on can anyone therefore really affirm that had SPD been left to softly softly carry on their investigation (as the PPD did with the Aidkins/Jude shooting where, IMO, the evidence against self defence was even more overwhelming but where it still took 4 months to bring charges), they would have still made a dash for a grand jury or would they have ended up charging GZ a few months down the line. More so, because I believe, had GZ been let go about his business for few of months without Corey breathing down his neck and with Serino as his trusted “friend” he may well have carried on gobsmacking (pun intended) both to him and the likes of Hannity giving up even more evidence to charge him with.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        “Learning impaired who loomed the most dispossessed and the most forsaken in the bitter sweet American dream.”

        So true. And many many learning impaired people fall through the cracks in AZ, especially now under a bad economy and a highly conservative governor.

        • gbrbsb says:

          Same here Two sides… and what a coincidence… a conservative at the wheel too!

          Worse still, Cameron himself had a severely impaired child (died ’09 aged 6) and assured because of this he could never fail the disabled… well the new “welfare” reforms lose my OH’s learning impaired sons and others £50+ a week each while their contribution for community care services is up through the roof… as if they caused this crisis!

    • Dan Q. Smith says:

      Yes, and we have to remember the SPD were involved in a conspiracy to let him go. They would not have arrested him in even 46 days without national demonstrations.

      • onlyiamunitron says:

        “Yes, and we have to remember the SPD were involved in a conspiracy to let him go.”

        The plural of rumor and accusation is not evidence. It’s only an alleged conspiracy at this point.


    • Erica says:

      I think the SPD really thought Trayvon was a thugging thief that was up to no good, at first. After fogen started lying, they started a real investigation.

  29. Lonnie Starr says:

    This is the other side of the coin. Obviously it draws no responses, because one has to admit, at that particular point in time, in light of the SYG/immunity laws, to have pressed the issue GZ would have gone Scot Free, as bad an outcome as that would be. Without that law, I believe the police would have held GZ while they continued to investigate. But on the other side of that, GZ would have had a lawyer much earlier and probably a quick immunity hearing, before much evidence at all had been collected. I don’t think he’d have won, but he’d have had an infinitely better chance at winning than he does after the reenactment.
    Of course now he’s toast!

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Thank goodness. It’s actually fortuitous the way things fell even though it put a great deal of stress on Trayvon’s family and even though public sentiment had to be whipped up to get SPD and the prosecution in line.

  30. onlyiamunitron says:

    “The had the recorded NEN call, the recorded 911 calls, various witness interviews at the scene of the shooting, the EMT’s report regarding the defendant’s physical condition and injuries, the photographs of the defendant taken at the station house, and the defendant’s statements at the station house.”

    But did they have the time, that night, to listen to all of those calls and try to align them with each other chronologically?

    It’s not like they had to arrest him that night or forget about ever being able to do so.

    But they might have had the problem of whether

    “(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).”


    “…reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income…”

    arising from criminal charges in addition to

    “…reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff…”

    in a civil case if they jumped the gun.


    • leander22 says:

      But did they have the time, that night, to listen to all of those calls and try to align them with each other chronologically?

      I obviously have no idea what exactly he did at SPD that night, but Serino was the last to leave SPD: “CL” 03:07:09; Singleton: CL: 01:02:47. Did she brief him before about her interview?

      See above, I don’t think they ever paid much attention to the precise time line.

      • Lonnie Starr says:

        While they had enough information to realize that GZ was lying, that was still not sufficient to disprove his self defense claims. Worse yet, at that time, GZ still had some very effective advocates, should the case have been presented in court within the next couple of days, since Wolfinger’s office would be prosecuting and Chief Bill Lee’s department would be supplying the evidence.

        Under those conditions, regardless of whatever flaws Serino and Singleton uncovered, it is doubtful in the extreme that GZ would not have prevailed before a judge.

    • Tzar says:

      Yes they had the time
      to listen to 20 minutes of audio and take some crude measurements

  31. lurker says:

    I would certainly think that a normal person, handcuffed, placed in the back of a cruiser and transported “downtown,” to be photographed, questioned and so forth, might well have every reason to believe that they were under arrest. I believe that he was also Mirandized, was he not?

  32. Tzar says:

    To answer the original question, YES, because with the evidence, he had already evinced a time line problem

    • lurker says:

      This might come down to a what did they know and when did they know kind of deal. While they may have had the raw materials in hand to see the timeline problem, I don’t know that they had actually done a sit-down comparison to compare statements to evidence.

      I think that by the time of the walk-through it was becoming pretty clear that Z. was talking where he sits, but on the night of the shooting, they still didn’t even have an identity for Trayvon, yet.

      I would imagine that there is always a degrteee of mismatch between statement and fact given poor memory and a tendancy to fiull uin gaps.

      They also had the witness interviews–at least some of them–at that point, which incoluded at best a mixed interpretation of who was on top and what was happening.

      Probably more prudent to allow him some time out–with regular check in calls etc from the police, than to risk having a bunch of stuff tossed because the arrested prematurely.

      • Lonnie Starr says:

        Yep, if they kept him in jail he’d have been arraigned in the morning and had a lawyer assigned. That lawyer would have probably moved immediately for an immunity hearing. Since most of critical evidence against GZ is from him, loss of access to him would have all but destroyed the case and there certainly would not have been any walk through reenactment allowed by GZ’s lawyer. The case against him would have been weak and quite a bit “iffy”. Letting him walk for a while, turned out to be much better.

        However, 46 days is waaaaay more than necessary, long before that time they had enough evidence to move.

      • Tzar says:

        the time line was constructible with the evidence available the night of the shooting

        • onlyiamunitron says:

          “the time line was constructible with the evidence available the night of the shooting”

          With just the evidence available the night of the shooting, what does that timeline have covering the period in between Zimmerman hanging up the NEN call and the beginning of the first 911 call?


      • Tzar says:

        I don’t know that they had actually done a sit-down comparison to compare statements to evidence.

        they could have and should have
        they had the crime scene
        they had his testimony
        they had tape measures and stop watches

        Determining the crude possibility of the claims made by an unjustified shooting suspect claiming SYG, seems like it ought to be step one before release. Consider that he placed the shooting 47 feet from the location of the shell casing, is that not enough withhold someone based on the “pants on fire” edict?

    • leander22 says:

      Lurker, considering that and when, concerning the time line the best evidence in Serino’s ROI in his Serino’s Capias of March 13, as he writes done by Singleton. They clearly have not paid enough attention on the exact time.

  33. Tzar says:

    He was in handcuffs
    does that not automatically mean that he was “arrested” or is that detainment?

    • Anyone in handcuffs is under arrest.

      Under arrest means the same thing as in custody.

      • You all have thoughtful comments says:

        He was only in handcuff’s temporarily. Officer Smith cuffed him before taking his weapon and kept him in cuffs to insure his own safety on the ride back. His cuffs were removed and he was released to investigators.

        Then, Investigator Singleton told gz that he had not been charged but was not free to go until they figured out what really happened.

        At that point she carefully read him his Miranda Rights which he signed.

        I know there is a chance that the defense will try to use the cuffing or detainment as grounds for throwing out his statement.

        However, I feel that because he was not charged and allowed to leave, that his statements should be considered fair game.

        I asked my brother who is a retired judge about the statements, and he said that this issue has come up in other states. My brother thinks that at some point the Florida Supreme Court will have to deal with this issue and make the call because it will certainly come up again and again with other cases.

        • His statements are admissible, whether or not he was in custody, so long as they were voluntary after advice and waiver of rights per Miranda.

          I do not believe there is any issue regarding the admissibility of the defendant’s statements and the defense hasn’t challenged their admissibility.

          The defendant was under arrest when Smith handcuffed him and drove him to the station house. The law is unambiguous about that.

          Singleton changed the contact into a voluntary situation not subject to Miranda, but she wisely Mirandized him anyway.

          Miranda warnings are only required at the beginning of a custodial interrogation. By Mirandizing him, she eliminated the argument that his statement should be suppressed because he was subjected to a custodial interrogation without first being Mirandized.

      • You all have thoughtful comments says:

        I am so glad to hear that his statements will be admissible.
        I had thought they would be, but then I still worried.

        I am glad to know the legal definition of “arrest.” I had looked up lots of definitions and wasn’t sure.

        Thanks, Professor!

      • Tzar says:

        Thank you prof.

        • Xena says:

          That means I was incorrect about the arrest question. In Illinois, I’ve seen people handcuffed just for standing beside a car involved in an accident; and cuffs removed after the cops question and send folks on their way.

          • racerrodig says:

            In June 1973 I took my girlfriend at the time, to her prom about 60 miles from my home. I stayed the weekend and we took 2 day trips. On my way home Sunday late afternoon, I was stopped by the NJ State Police and cuffed. They proceeded to take most of my car apart and it wasn’t until they started scratching their heads did they believe it wasn’t my 63 Ford Fairlane involved in that bank robbery in Atlantic City on Friday about noon……me being in History class and all at that time. I guess the Tux gave it away.

            Cuffed, never Mirandized, and never did any of them say I was under arrest……scared to death…..yeah…..Arrested ?? Who knows.

          • Years back I sold a car private party……2 months later I have robbery / homicide detectives at my door asking about the car.

            Apparently they bought it as a throw away as it was used in a big box store robbery…….

            I mean to tell you I was in SERIOUS sphincter flutter 😐

          • racerrodig says:

            I hear that !! When I tried to tel the cops anything at all, the look would have killed had I been weak willed. They didn’t want to hear a word about my dad being a cop, look, here’s his card in my wallet.
            Nooooo Sir……

            My dad did write a letter to the State Police Superintendent & i did get an apology letter…not that it was worded very politely.

    • cielo62 says:

      >^..^< GZ should have been kept in those handcuffs. He would still have started to sing just to try to convince the cops to release him. I dont think the "good cop/ good cop" routine was necessary.

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