Zimmerman case is simple: Trayvon Martin acted in self-defense

May 31, 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Good morning:

I hope to forever put to rest the following argument: Since the defendant had a right to get out of his vehicle and a right to follow Trayvon, those actions cannot be considered as evidence of guilt.

As I will soon show, that argument makes about as much sense as arguing that the purchase of a gun with intent to kill someone cannot be considered as evidence of premeditation because the person had a right to purchase the gun.

Both arguments fail because a lawful act can be committed to achieve an unlawful result. Yes, indeed. A would-be bank robber can purchase a clunker to use as a getaway vehicle after robbing a bank.

As any lawyer familiar with the law of conspiracy well knows, conspiracy indictments typically allege the commission of lawful acts by co-conspirators in furtherance of objectives of a conspiracy. Thus, simple events like using a cell phone to confirm a scheduled meeting with a co-conspirator are often charged as overt acts in furtherance of a conspiracy.

Therefore, the issue is not whether the act itself was lawful. The issue is what was the actor’s intent when he committed the act.

Nobody would seriously argue that the defendant could not get out of his vehicle and follow Trayvon Martin. He certainly could.

The relevant questions in this case are why did the defendant get out of his vehicle to follow Trayvon Martin and why did he lie about it afterward?

I do not believe the jury is going to have any difficulty figuring out the answers to those questions: The defendant intended to prevent this “asshole” from getting away and he shot him to death when Trayvon resisted. The defendant lied about it afterward because he did not want to go to prison.

Trayvon Martin is the only person who acted in self-defense.

That is basically all there is to this case.

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Fred


Ibragim Todashev may have been unarmed when killed by FBI agent

May 30, 2013

USA Today is reporting that 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev may have been unarmed when he was shot and killed by an FBI agent in Orlando on May 22nd.

Todashev’s father Abdul-Baki Todashev told the the Moscow media that his son had multiple gunshot wounds to his torso and one to the back of his head. The elder Todashev also displayed photos he claimed were of his son’s body in a Florida morgue, according to AP.

Ibragim Todashev was the ethnic Chechen whom the FBI were interrogating regarding his association with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the late Boston Marathon bombing suspect. Todashev was also a suspect in a triple homicide in Massachusetts two years ago.

The early reports that I read said Todashev was shot because he pulled a knife on an FBI agent.

The USA Today story quotes unnamed sources that Todashev had overturned a table but was unarmed when shot.

The Florida branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has called for a federal civil rights investigation into Todashev’s death.

“We have confirmed through senior sources within the FBI that Ibragim was indeed unarmed when he was shot seven times in the head, what appear to be even in the back of the head,” said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the CAIR Florida. “That’s very disturbing.”


Mark O’Mara should be sanctioned by the Court

May 30, 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Good morning:

Bad character evidence about the victim of a homicide is not admissible in a self-defense case unless the defendant knew it before the encounter that ended with the victim’s death.

In other words, if the defendant did not know that the victim was a violent thug, he cannot introduce evidence that the victim was a violent thug in support of his claim of self-defense.

Mark O’Mara is using the information obtained from Trayvon’s phone in a fruitless attempt to establish that Trayvon was a violent thug. Even if he were successful, the information would still be irrelevant and inadmissible because the defendant did not know Trayvon before he killed him.

O’Mara must know this because he is a lawyer who specializes in criminal law. Since he knows this, we can reasonably conclude that he knows his motion for sanctions against BDLR will be denied.

The question people should be asking is why did he file the motion since he knew it would be denied?

I believe the answer is obvious.

He is using the motion as a vehicle to publicize irrelevant and inadmissible information about Trayvon Martin. He wants the public to believe that Trayvon is a violent thug who deserved to die.

Since he waited to file his motion until after 500 people received a summons for jury duty, we also can tell that he is using his motion for sanctions to convince as many of those 500 people as possible that Trayvon was a violent thug who deserved to die.

Two additional important points that are getting lost amid the hue and cry caused by the release of the information are that:

(1) it does not prove Trayvon was a violent thug, and

(2) it does prove that Mark O’Mara acted in bad faith when he filed the motion for sanctions.

Therefore, Judge Nelson should sanction O’Mara for filing the motion for sanctions in bad faith.

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I hate to hassle people for money, but contributions have been lagging this month.

Writing articles every day and maintaining the integrity and safety of this site from people who would like nothing better than to silence us forever is a tough job requiring many hours of work.

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Thank you,

Fred


Mark O’Mara engineers snipe hunt to avoid responsibility for publicizing irrelevant evidence

May 29, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Good afternoon:

NBC News reported late yesterday:

A Florida judge ruled Tuesday that George Zimmerman’s defense team cannot mention Trayvon Martin’s suspension from school, prior marijuana use, text messages or past fighting during opening statements at next month’s trial.

Judge Debra Nelson said that during the trial she will consider motions to admit details as evidence on a case-by-case basis, outside the presence of jurors who will decide if Zimmerman is guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin.

Although this statement is technically correct, it also is misleading because Judge Nelson actually concluded that the evidence was irrelevant and inadmissible. That is why she granted the State’s motion in limine to prohibit the defense from mentioning any of those things during jury selection and opening statement.

The only reason she might change her mind is if the State were to open the door by introducing evidence of good character. That is not going to happen because Trayvon’s character, whether good or bad, is not an issue in this case. BDLR has no reason to introduce evidence of good character and I am certain that he was not planning on doing that because he knows that good character evidence is irrelevant. Since the defense cannot rebut something that does not happen, the jury will not hear any of this information.

That is not the end of the story, however, because the irrelevant information in question was obtained from Trayvon Martin’s phone and it is the subject of a defense motion for sanctions and request for a judicial inquiry that Judge Nelson has scheduled for June 6th, the same day as the Frye hearing regarding the admissibility of expert testimony identifying the person who uttered the terrified death shriek.

I do not believe Judge Nelson is going to find that BDLR withheld evidence from the defense. The evidence was recorded on Trayvon’s phone in binary code and a copy of that raw data was disclosed to the defense sometime in late January. O’Mara did not hire an expert or purchase a software program that can translate that code into plain English.

A few weeks ago, O’Mara was contacted by an attorney who represents Ben Kruibdos, the Director of Information Technology for the Fourth Judicial Circuit. The attorney is Wesley White.

The Miami Herald reports:

White led the Nassau County state attorney’s office before resigning in December, citing differences of opinion with Corey. He is now in private practice.

White said the photos Kruidbos retrieved were of a hand holding a gun and one depicted drugs. The content of the text messages wasn’t specified.

“I’m an officer of the court and I’m obliged to inform the court of any misconduct or any potential misconduct coming before the court. Whether it’s by the defense or prosecution,” White said.

Apparently, Kruibdos extracted the two photographs and possibly the text messages from the binary code and gave them to BDLR who did not pass them on to O’Mara.

Does that constitute a discovery violation or a tempest in a teapot?

I believe it is a tempest in a teapot, so long as BDLR turned over the raw data.

Judge Nelson has already ruled that the evidence is not relevant or admissible and it certainly is not exculpatory.

We will have to wait and see how the hearing turns out, but this looks like another snipe hunt instigated by O’Mara to distract everyone from holding him accountable for publicly disclosing information that should not have been disclosed.

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I hate to hassle people for money, but contributions have been lagging this month.

Writing articles every day and maintaining the integrity and safety of this site from people who would like nothing better than to silence us forever is a tough job requiring many hours of work.

If you like this site, please consider making a secure donation via Paypal by clicking the yellow donation button in the upper right corner just below the search box.

Thank you,

Fred


Zimmerman: Judge rules that evidence published by defense last week is not relevant or admissible

May 28, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Good afternoon:

Judge Nelson denied the defense motion for a continuance of the trial.

None of the information about Trayvon, which caused the big hullabaloo last week after the defense improperly released it for publication to the Orlando Sentinel, will be admitted into evidence at the trial because all of it is irrelevant and inadmissible.

However, Judge Nelson granted O’Mara’s request for an evidentiary hearing on his motion for sanctions against BDLR for alleged discovery violations pertaining to that information. Unfortunately, she had to continue the hearing to June 6th because O’Mara did not have all of the witnesses he needed to present his case.

I do not believe that he has a legitimate argument, since the evidence is not admissible at trial or exculpatory, and the prosecution disclosed it to the defense in timely fashion back in January. O’Mara claims that the disclosure was not timely because he was provided with raw data that he could not interpret.

However, he specifically asked for raw data, which is a proper request, and he should have retained an expert and/or the software program that is used to interpret it. His failure to do that cannot be blamed on BDLR.

FYI: Defense counsel should routinely ask for raw data, since it is the actual result and less susceptible to misinterpretation. Note that O’Mara waited until after the panel of 500 potential jurors were summoned to jury service. His delay in filing his motion for sanctions suggests that he was more interested in gaining a tactical advantage with that motion than he was in obtaining an interpretation of the raw data.

Judge Nelson granted the defense request for a Frye hearing regarding the admissibility of expert testimony identifying the person who uttered the terrified death shriek. She scheduled the hearing for June 6th and 7th and will permit expert witnesses on both sides to testify by videophone.

The defense still has not endorsed any expert witnesses. Remains to be seen, if any legitimate experts will disagree with the State’s experts and if they have the money to pay an expert. I doubt that they do.

At a press conference after the hearing, Robert Zimmerman, Jr. aggressively promoted the conspiracy theory that I wrote about in my last post.

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I hate to hassle people for money, but contributions have been lagging this month.

Writing articles every day and maintaining the integrity and safety of this site from people who would like nothing better than to silence us forever is a tough job requiring many hours of work.

If you like this site, please consider making a secure donation via Paypal by clicking the yellow donation button in the upper right corner just below the search box.

Thank you,

Fred


Zimmerman Pretrial Motions Hearing

May 28, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Good morning:

Are you ready to rock and roll?

Post your comments here

First up for us today is finding a source for livestream coverage.

Fred


Defense team is out of control

May 26, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Good afternoon:

Countdown: Only 2 days until the May 28th hearing and the trial gets underway with jury selection 2 weeks from tomorrow.

In today’s post, I am going to follow-up on Friday’s post with some important new information that will more clearly reveal the defense strategy.

In tomorrow’s post, I will breakdown Tuesday’s hearing.

Now, let’s take another look at what happened last week.

Two important criminal defense attorneys in Florida, Eugene Nichols and Jeff Deen, criticized the Zimmerman defense team for publicizing private, irrelevant and inadmissible evidence about Trayvon Martin.

Eugene Nichols is the newly elected President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, which is the Florida affiliate of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). Jeff Deen is a former assistant state attorney and the present director of a state agency that represents criminal defendants.

I support and thank both of them for speaking out because, when a criminal defense lawyer deliberately commits a sleazy and indefensible error like this in a high visibility case, the misconduct can splash onto all criminal lawyers. Let’s face it, the public does not have a high regard for criminal defense lawyers. To many people an incident like this would merely confirm their low opinion of criminal defense lawyers in general.

That is one reason why I spoke out Friday and used the word “disgusting” to describe what they did. The other reason, of course, is that, as the blog owner, I have a duty to report what I observe without mincing words. After 48 hours to reflect on what I said in Friday’s post, my opinion has not changed. As I will proceed to explain, I am even more disgusted today than I was Friday.

I hope a lot more criminal defense lawyers will publicly condemn the defense team over the weekend. We need to remind the public that criminal defense lawyers are officers of the court who respect the law and abide by the rules of professional conduct even as they fight for their clients.

Mark O’Mara and Don West are violating those core principles by doing everything they can to obstruct due process of law and the fair administration of justice. For example, consider the following:

1. By waiving the pretrial immunity hearing, they have, in effect, conceded that they cannot prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

2. As lawyers admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of Florida and authorized to represent themselves to the public as specialists in the practice of criminal law and trying cases, they can be presumed to know the rules that govern the admissibility of evidence in criminal trials conducted in the circuit courts. Therefore, they knew that the information that they publicized last week about Trayvon would not be admissible at trial for any purpose pursuant to rules 401, 402, 403 and 608 of the rules of evidence.

3. They waited to publicize the irrelevant and inadmissible information until after the 500 people in the jury pool were notified by summons to report to court for jury selection on June 10th, thereby increasing the likelihood that most of the prospective jurors will have heard or read about it before June 10th.

4. In an effort to avoid being held accountable for poisoning the jury panel with irrelevant and inadmissible information, Mark O’Mara blamed Bernie de la Rionda. He said BDLR withheld the information from the defense in violation of the discovery rules and the Brady rule, which requires the State to disclose exculpatory information well in advance of the trial.

5. That explanation is false because:

a. the Brady rule does not apply since the information is not exculpatory for the same reason that it is irrelevant and inadmissible;

b. even if the information were exculpatory, BDLR disclosed it in timely fashion in early January;

c. The information was in the form of raw data, which is the same format that it was in when BDLR received it;

d. The defense specifically asked to be provided with the raw data and that is what it received;

e. the defense waited until after the jury summmons were mailed out to retain an expert to interpret the raw data; and

f. the defense waited until the last possible moment before the May 28th motions hearing to publicize the irrelevant and inadmissible information and to file its motion asking Judge Nelson to impose sanctions against BDLR.

6. The timing and sequence of these events constitutes powerful circumstantial evidence that poisoning the jury pool with irrelevant and inadmissible evidence was the defense team’s real motive.

7. Lawyers are required to act in good faith and prohibited from intentionally deceiving the Court.

8. Thus, defense counsel appear to have intentionally created an unringing-the-bell problem.

9. Courtesy of Robert Zimmerman, Sr., and Jr., last week the jury panel also got to hear them say that the prosecution is the result of a conspiracy between the governor, the prosecution and the judiciary to convict an innocent man.

The apparent purpose of these efforts is to maximize the possibility of seating one or more pro-Zimmerman jurors in stealth-like fashion, who are determined to acquit the defendant, regardless of the evidence and the Court’s instructions.

With exception of a deadly mix of stupidity, ignorance and incompetence that I doubt to be the case, I cannot think of any other explanation for the strange tactical decisions and materially false statements by the defense.

We should soon see an effort by the defense through one of its proxies to inform the jury panel that jurors have a right to vote their conscience in disregard of the evidence and the instructions (i.e., jury nullification).

In conclusion I believe defense counsel are engaging in a conspiracy to obstruct justice which is unlawful and unethical.

If I am correct, they should be disbarred from the practice of law.

In the meantime, I think the best way to promote Justice for Trayvon (as well as George Zimmerman) is to communicate our concerns to others and hope that BDLR and Judge Nelson put some serious hurt on the defense strategy by granting the State’s motions in limine, including the motion for a gag order. The defense motions should be denied.

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I hate to hassle people for money, but contributions have been lagging this month.

Writing articles every day and maintaining the integrity and safety of this site from people who would like nothing better than to silence us forever is a tough job requiring many hours of work.

If you like this site, please consider making a secure donation via Paypal by clicking the yellow donation button in the upper right corner just below the search box.

Thank you,

Fred


Defense mendacity in Zimmerman case is disgusting

May 24, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Good morning:

George Zimmerman’s attorneys, Mark O’Mara and Don West, have unintentionally confirmed this week that they have no defense to present on his behalf by knowingly and intentionally publishing false, irrelevant and inadmissible information about Trayvon Martin to incite white racists to denounce him as a pot smoking black thug who deserved to die.

I used the word “confirmed” because three weeks ago the defendant appeared in open court and waived his right to an immunity hearing. The mixture of false and misleading information released yesterday is not a defense to second degree murder. It’s deliberate character assassination by false statement and innuendo of an unarmed teenager who was stalked, restrained and shot through the heart while screaming for help.

Here’s LLMPapa:

Last I heard, skipping school, pot smoking and participating in refereed fights between equal combatants is not a death penalty offense.

In other news, the defense attorneys filed a flurry of forgettable motions and responses to prosecution motions which, like snowflakes in April, are destined to melt when they hit the ground.

I begin with Donald West’s frivolous, dishonest and intentionally misleading reefer-madness motion that he filed earlier this week arguing that a trace amount of marijuana in Trayvon Martin’s autopsy blood should be admissible to prove that he was the aggressor even though he was unarmed and the defendant stalked, restrained and shot him in the heart.

The defense motion to continue:

1. cites no authority,

2. claims he needs to investigate Dr. Reich (the State’s audio expert who identified Trayvon as the person screaming for help), which takes about an hour if you google him,

3. claims other unnamed experts told him Dr. Reich’s opinion is based on science that has fallen into “disrepute,”

4. fails to support this assertion with an affidavit from one or more of these experts, and

5. claims he needs time to find an expert to hire even though he is supposedly in touch with all of these experts.

This motion is ridiculous and will be denied because it fails to document a reason for a continuance.

O’Mara’s motion for sanctions against Bernie de la Rionda for not disclosing the evidence that the defense obtained from Trayvon’s phone and published in its 3rd evidence dump, is frivolous because the so-called exculpatory evidence that he claims BDLR withheld in violation of the Brady rule is not exculpatory.

Therefore, the Brady rule does not apply and this motion should be denied.

West’s reply to the State’s motion to exclude opinion evidence about the defendant’s guilt or innocence generally admits that witness opinions about the guilt or innocence of a defendant are inadmissible but warns that if the State attempts to attribute the delay in arresting and charging the defendant (which isn’t relevant either), then the State will have opened the door to allowing the defense to call SPD cops to justify what they did.

I don’t believe this issue will come up as it is irrelevant to whether the defendant murdered Trayvon.

Sideline mini-trials about marginally relevant or irrelevant issues are exactly what evidence rule 403 is designed to prevent.

West’s 2-page reply to the State’s motion to exclude the defendant’s self-serving hearsay statements, which does not cite a case, generally agrees that many of the defendant’s statements are hearsay, if offered by the defense, but disagrees with the State’s argument that none of the defendant’s statements are admissible under the res gestae exception or some other exception to the hearsay rule. West asks Judge Nelson to reserve ruling until the issue comes up in trial.

This is a sneaky response because West wants to be able to ask a leading question seeking agreement from a witness that the defendant said XYZ. For example, he might ask SPD Investigator Serino this question:

George told you that he killed Trayvon in self-defense, didn’t he?

Bernie de la Rionda (BDLR) would object to the question because it contains an inadmissible self-serving hearsay statement.

Judge Nelson would sustain the objection, but she cannot unring the bell, so to speak. The jury would have heard the defendant’s inadmissible statement.

He also would probably like to mention that self-serving hearsay statement during the defense opening statement to the jury or maybe during jury selection.

The purpose of the State’s motion in limine regarding the defendant’s self-serving hearsay statements is to prevent those events from happening, and I am reasonably certain Judge Nelson has seen this trick before and is savvy enough to see through West’s tactical deception.

Therefore, I expect she will grant the State’s motion.

BTW, the res gestae exception that West mentions is a limited exception to the hearsay rule similar to the present-sense-impression exception in which the hearsay statement about an event occurs as the event happens. Thus, the statement is part of the event itself or the res gestae and cannot be excised from it.

The State’s motion in limine seeking an order prohibiting the defense from mentioning the voice stress analysis test that the defendant took should be granted because that’s the legal rule in Florida and elsewhere. The rule is based on the lack of general agreement among scientists that this type of test can consistently produce accurate and reliable results.

In other words, the test violates the Frye Rule.

Judge Nelson should grant this motion.

The State’s 3rd motion for a gag order asks Judge Nelson to put an end to the defense effort to poison the jury pool by assassinating Trayvon Martin’s good character with false evidence and innuendo publicized after the jury pool of 500 people have received their notices to report for jury service on June 10, 2013.

It is no accident that the defense waited until after the 500 potential jurors were served with their notices, but before they report for jury service. Therefore, this was a deliberate tactic to create an unringing the bell problem regarding false, irrelevant, and inadmissible evidence.

A gag order will not unring the bell.

This is quite possibly the sleaziest tactic that I have ever seen. To intentionally poison a jury pool a couple of weeks before trial with false and misleading information about the victim of a homicide calculated to incite and unite White racists to approve of the execution of an unarmed Black teenager is astonishing.

These two lawyers are fortunate that I am not Judge Nelson because I would jail them for contempt of court and file complaints against the bar association requesting their disbarment from the practice of law.

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I hate to hassle people for money, but contributions have been lagging this month.

Writing articles every day and maintaining the integrity and safety of this site from people who would like nothing better than to silence us forever is a tough job requiring many hours of work.

If you like this site, please consider making a secure donation via Paypal by clicking the yellow donation button in the upper right corner just below the search box.

Thank you,

Fred


News about the site, jury selection process and latest news in Zimmerman and Arias cases

May 23, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Good afternoon:

Crane-Station and I are combining our websites, so you will be seeing her articles on a regular basis.

We are putting together a plan to live-blog each morning and afternoon session of GZ’s trial similar to the way we covered the last motion hearing. We will do the same for the hearing on May 28th.

I will post an article 30 minutes before each session to preview it and update everyone. The article will have a link to livestream coverage.

We are soliciting your comments and recommendations, so please let us know what you would like us to do.

We will use the hearing next Tuesday, May 28th, to fine tune our approach.

I do not yet know whether jury selection will be livestreamed. Hopefully, it will so that we can share our thoughts regarding each juror.

I have much to teach regarding the art of jury selection.

I hope the Court permits the public to link to the juror questionnaires for easy reference during individual voir dire, but privacy concerns may prevail over our desire to know as much as possible about each juror and make informed choices about cause and peremptory challenges. This also would allow us to more accurately evaluate the performance of the lawyers.

Individual voir dire, as the name implies, involves questioning prospective jurors individually out of the presence of the others in order to prevent their answers from potentially influencing or poisoning the minds of other jurors. For example, this is the only way to effectively question prospective jurors regarding what information about the case they have been exposed to, from what sources, and whether they have formed an opinion about the case, the guilt or innocence of the accused, and the lawyers representing each side.

Personal questions regarding whether anyone has been a victim of a crime or accused of a crime also should be asked out of the presence of other jurors. Whether we will be permitted to observe that process remains to be seen.

Keep in mind that there is no limit to the number of challenges for cause that each side may assert. A challenge for cause is a formal request to the Court to excuse a prospective juror on the ground that they cannot or will not follow the jury instructions, which will be the law of the case. For example, a prospective juror who says she cannot presume the defendant innocent, given what she knows about the case, would be challenged for cause by the defense and excused for cause by the judge. The same result would happen to a prospective juror challenged for cause by the State, if he said that he had already decided that the defendant was innocent because TM was the aggressor and he had a right to kill him.

On the other hand, if either or both prospective jurors expressed less certainty and said they could put aside their personal beliefs and base their verdict only on the evidence admitted by the Court, the challenge for cause would be denied.

This unhappy result for the party that lost the challenge for cause would probably result in the use of a peremptory challenge to excuse the prospective juror. With three important exceptions, the party exercising a peremptory challenge does not have to give a reason to support or justify the challenge. The three exceptions are race, gender and religion.

You can reasonably expect the State will object to the defense using a peremptory challenge against a Black prospective juror. To survive the challenge, the defense will have to convince Judge Nelson that they have a reason independent of the prospective juror’s race to support the challenge.

Unless Judge Nelson increases the number of peremptory challenges, each side will get 3. A 6-person jury will decide the case.

For more information, click on Jury Selection in the Categories column on the right side of the web page or click here.

Finally, here’s a link to the latest from the Orlando Sentinel: New evidence in George Zimmerman case: Trayvon texted about being a fighter.

Rene Stutzman and Jeff Weiner breathlessly write:

The text messages about fighting may be the most damaging to the state.

Zimmerman says he acted in self-defense when he shot Trayvon, an unarmed black 17-year-old, in Sanford, Feb. 26, 2012.

Zimmerman described Trayvon to police as an aggressive young man who punched him, knocking him to the ground then climbed on top and began hammering his head onto a sidewalk.

In one text message Trayvon sent Nov. 22, 2011, he wrote about his unnamed opponent, “he got mo hits cause in da 1st round he had me on da ground an I couldn’t do ntn.”

In another text send Dec. 12 he acknowledged earning a reputation in the neighborhood – although because words were blacked out, it’s not clear what his reputation was. His reputation came, he wrote, because of “Duh way I fight nd duh golds (teeth) I had last year.”

Trayvon’s text messages also show that he was interested in guns. A few days before the shooting, he wrote an unidentified friend, “U wanna share a .380”

And about a week before that, he texted a young Miami woman who’s been described as his girlfriend, “U gotta gun?”

Her response: yes, although she did not have possession of it. “It my mommy but she buy for me,” the young woman wrote.

On November 22, 2011, three months before he was killed, he wrote a friend that his mother had ordered him to move out and that he had gotten in trouble for cutting classes.

“I promise my mom just told me I gotta move,” he wrote. Two minutes later, he wrote, “Da police caught me outta school.”

Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson must now decide whether to allow jurors to learn about the text messages and photos. In paperwork filed earlier this month, Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda asked her to ban them, describing them as irrelevant.

Latest word on Jodi Arias: Jurors resumed deliberations this morning after reporting yesterday that they were deadlocked.

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I hate to hassle people for money, but contributions have been lagging this month.

Writing articles every day and maintaining the integrity and safety of this site from people who would like nothing better than to silence us forever is a tough job requiring many hours of work.

If you like this site, please consider making a secure donation via Paypal by clicking the yellow donation button in the upper right corner just below the search box.

Thank you,

Fred


Donald West files frivolous, dishonest and intentionally misleading document in Zimmerman case

May 22, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Good afternoon:

The defense filed a silly and offensive motion yesterday in the Trayvon Martin murder case titled, Defendant’s Reply to State’s Motion for Protective Order/Motion in Limine Regarding Toxicology.

I call it silly and offensive because it makes the absurd argument that the presence of a trace amount of marijuana in Trayvon Martin’s autopsy blood sample makes it more probable than not (i.e., the test for relevancy) that Trayvon Martin attacked the defendant without provocation and attempted to beat him to death with his bare hands.

Welcome back to 1936 and Reefer Madness. Come on, son!

The State seeks to exclude any testimony regarding Trayon Martin’s toxicology report that shows the use of marijuana around the time of his death, February 26, 2012. As part of the autopsy protocol, the Medical Examiner submitted Trayvon Maritin’s blood for laboratory analysis. Among the findings includes a positive level for THC and its metabolites. The active THC was measured at 1.5 ng/ml whereas the metabolite was measured at 7.3 ng/ml. This level is sufficient to cause some impairment (although it is connsidered to be less than that required for a DUI arrest) according to the state’s toxicologist, Dr. Bruce Goldberger. At his deposition, Dr. Goldberger cited to the research of Dr. Marilyn Heustis, who studies the residual effect of marijuana on cognitive functioning. Dr. Heustis has found that measurable impairment continues for days or weeks in chronic users. Dr. Godlberger opined that Trayvon Martin may have used marijuana within a couple of hours of his death or it could have been longer than that depending on whether Trayvon Martin was chronic user or an occasional user. From other evidence in the case, it is known that Trayvon Martin brought marijuana with him from south Florida to use while he was in Sanford and he used it at least one time after arriving in Sanford prior to his death. Trayvon Martin was suspended from school for possessing a baggie containing marijuana residue and was known to smoke marijuana with his friends.

In George Zimmerman’s NEN call to the police, he described the person later identified as Trayvon Martin, as appearing as though “he was on drugs.” Additionally, on close inspection of Trayvon Martin’s appearance at the 711, where he was recorded on video within ah hour of his death, he “sways” at the counter as if he is under the influence of some substance. Taken altogether it is likely that Trayvon Martin was under the influence of marijuana at the time of his death and that his thinking and judgment were impaired, at least to some degree. This is relevant evidence for the jury to consider when it evaluates TM actions that night, and the jury should be allowed to give whatever weight it believes it should.

There is so much wrong here that I almost do not know where to begin.

First, West should have attached an affidavit from Dr. Heustis. He did not, so I checked her out on PubMed. A search using “Marilyn A. Heustis and cognitive impairment,” pulled up two articles:

1. Cannabis effects on driving skills.

The Summary states:

Differences in study designs frequently account for inconsistencies in results between studies. Participant-selection bias and confounding factors attenuate ostensible cannabis effects, but the association with MVA often retains significance. Evidence suggests recent smoking and/or blood THC concentrations 2-5 ng/mL are associated with substantial driving impairment, particularly in occasional smokers. Future cannabis-and-driving research should emphasize challenging tasks, such as divided attention, and include occasional and chronic daily cannabis smokers.

2. The dose effects of short-term dronabinol (oral THC) maintenance in daily cannabis users.

The Conclusion states:

Dronabinol’s ability to dose-dependently suppress cannabis withdrawal may be therapeutically beneficial to individuals trying to stop cannabis use. The absence of gross cognitive impairment or side effects in this study supports safety of doses up to 120mg/day. Continued evaluation of dronabinol in targeted clinical studies of cannabis treatment, using an expanded range of doses, is warranted.

(Emphasis supplied)

Ahem! Now we know why there is no affidavit from Dr. Heustis.

Next, we have,

Dr. Godlberger opined that Trayvon Martin may have used marijuana within a couple of hours of his death or it could have been longer than that depending on whether Trayvon Martin was chronic user or an occasional user.

Not terribly helpful, but wait . . .

From other evidence in the case, it is known that Trayvon Martin brought marijuana with him from south Florida to use while he was in Sanford and he used it at least one time after arriving in Sanford prior to his death. Trayvon Martin was suspended from school for possessing a baggie containing marijuana residue and was known to smoke marijuana with his friends.

The famous reliable witness known as “It” knows that Trayvon brought marijuana with him. Funny how this fella named “It” failed to provide an affidavit or even an address. Oh, well.

Next,

In George Zimmerman’s NEN call to the police, he described the person later identified as Trayvon Martin, as appearing as though “he was on drugs.” Additionally, on close inspection of Trayvon Martin’s appearance at the 711, where he was recorded on video within ah hour of his death, he “sways” at the counter as if he is under the influence of some substance.

Ah, yes. The always accurate and reliable eyewitness George Zimmerman, who would never think of giving a self-serving statement.

So, now we are down to swaying at the counter.

Yeah right.

How about the conclusion:

Taken altogether it is likely that Trayvon Martin was under the influence of marijuana at the time of his death and that his thinking and judgment were impaired, at least to some degree. This is relevant evidence for the jury to consider when it evaluates TM actions that night, and the jury should be allowed to give whatever weight it believes it should.

Put another way, this legal pleading is pure speculation based on a dishonest premise and no evidence.

What really pisses me off about Mr. West’s pleading is the underlying and unspoken assumption that Trayvon Martin deserved to be killed because Mr. West believes he was high on marijuana.

Don West should be assessed terms for contempt of court by filing a frivolous, dishonest and intentionally misleading reefer-madness document.

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