Friday, June 21, 3013
Today is the Summer Solstice, the first day of Summer and the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.
I write today to express my concern about Don West. He is disintegrating before our eyes. As an empathetic and compassionate human being who knows what it’s like to try a big case with a client’s life on the line, I know that the pressure and stress of this case is nothing right now compared to what it is going to be in a few weeks when we get to closing arguments and the jury begins to deliberate on a verdict. I fear Don West may not survive this trial.
If you have any doubt about that, please watch this video of yesterday’s Frye hearing when he loses it while cross examining the State’s expert, Tom Owen.
To set the stage, West provided a copy of a document to his expert, Dr. James L. Wayman. He told Dr. Wayman that the document was Tom Owen’s report. Dr. Wayman ridiculed the report as incomprehensible and unprofessional when he testified at the Frye hearing on June 17th.
Turns out that it was not Tom Owen’s report. Mr. Owen testified yesterday that he had never seen the document and did not know what it was.
That is really shocking and inexcusable in any case.
Even though he had known for several days that Judge Nelson would hear final arguments in the Frye hearing after Tom Owen concluded his testimony, West did not prepare a written closing argument. Instead, he gave a rambling mess of an argument in which he constantly repeated himself until he ran out of things to say.
During the argument, he was jacked up on nicotine from chewing tobacco and swallowing the juice. You could see him swallowing, moving the plug around with his tongue and parking it between his cheek and gum.
He never addressed the State’s two central arguments that (1) the methodologies used by the State’s experts have been used for many years and are neither novel nor new and (2) it is a lot easier to exclude a known individual as the source of a recorded scream recorded than it is to match the scream to a specific individual.
He also failed to discuss the Florida cases regarding the Frye rule.
This is substandard performance and really not acceptable.
I have been observing as well as listening to him carefully. Even though I do not know him and cannot compare his conduct today to his conduct in the past, I can report that he appears to be deteriorating.
I am concerned about his physical as well as his mental health. The current pressure and stress is going to increase exponentially starting with opening statements on Monday morning.
As lead counsel, Mark O’Mara needs to do something.
George Zimmerman’s right to a fair trial is being compromised.
Here’s the link to the livestream coverage.
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