Trayvon Martin’s parents settle lawsuit against HOA for more than $1 million

April 5, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting today that Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, have settled their wrongful death case against the Homeowner’s Association for more than $1 million.

The parties are settling the matter to avoid litigation without admitting responsibility and the terms of the settlement agreement are subject to a non-disclosure agreement.

Trayvon’s parents still intend to sue George Zimmerman separately.

The settlement agreement should not have any effect on the criminal case but it does indicate that the HOA has little confidence in the viability of the GZ’s claim of self-defense.

Of course, we already knew that from our review of the evidence and the defense team’s decision to abandon an immunity hearing.

Congratulations to Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin!

This will not bring back Trayvon, but it’s an important achievement and milestone in the long road seeking justice for Trayvon.

H/T to Benjamin Crump: Well done, sir.

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Dee Dee is an innocent witness to a murder and must be protected from breitbarting

March 31, 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Peace, Joy and Freedom to all:

I begin with a confession. I have been awfully slow to identify the core issue presented by W8, who was assigned a fake name (Dee Dee) by the prosecution to protect her privacy. That alone should have been sufficient to trigger my curiosity. I could offer some excuses, but that would detract reader attention from where it should be.

Mark O’Mara is changing the practice of criminal defense from winning the case in the courtroom to winning the case before trial in the court of public opinion. He uses the internet and the media to dispense false information to the public about the case and to discredit and intimidate prosecution witnesses by character assassination.

For example, he has enlisted the support of two reporters at the Orlando Sentinel, Rene Stutzman and Jeff Weiner, who report the information that he gives them on a daily basis as “news. He also has endorsed a website (i.e., the Conservative Tree House) as a legitimate source of ideas and assistance. He also uses motions for discovery and motions to reconsider or clarify prior court orders as a vehicle to repeat his false narrative.

Intentionally dispensing false information about the case to the media is a low-risk strategy with high-reward potential, since the the media is willing to report the defense statement without reviewing it for accuracy and the prosecution is prohibited from commenting about the case.

Although anyone who is familiar with the evidence released to the public via the State of Florida’s remarkable Sunshine Law knows that the media consistently reports a false and misleading narrative favorable to the defense, there is little that we can do as individuals to correct false information reported by the media.

Fortunately, we can do our part here in this blog and others like it to identify and correct false information. Unfortunately, however, the national media prefers to ignore us and instead provide Robert Zimmerman, Jr., with multiple opportunities to deny that anyone in the Zimmerman family is racist and to proclaim that his brother, George Zimmerman, is a decent American who acted in self-defense to prevent Trayvon Martin from killing him with his bare hands. Never mind that Trayvon was an unarmed 17-year-old kid walking home in the rain talking via cell phone to his girlfriend in Miami when he supposedly launched this attack. Move along. There is nothing to see here, folks.

That brings me to O’Mara’s second strategy, using character assassination to intimidate witnesses and destroy their credibility before trial.

Character assassination has been used for many years to discredit and defeat political opponents and win national elections. If you should visit the Conservative Treehouse, take a look at the banner on the home page. You will see a shrine to a person described as a great American patriot and within that shrine you will see a photo of the man to whom the site has accorded godlike status. The man depicted in that photo is Andrew Breitbart who so perfected the use of manufactured evidence to support false accusations against political opponents that his name has entered our lexicon as a new verb. To Breitbart someone means to destroy that person’s reputation with a campaign of malicious lies based on manufactured or doctored evidence.

My wife and I have been subjected to a vicious and continuing campaign of character assassination by lie for daring to operate a blog that promotes evidence-based discussions of the Trayvon Martin killing. We are not alone. Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin, Benjamin Crump, Natalie Jackson and many others, including Trayvon Martin, the innocent victim of the killing, have been subjected to a similar, if not worse campaign of lies.

That brings me to Dee Dee. As a victim who continues to endure breitbarting, I have some idea how she must feel knowing that two innocent girls in Miami, whose only crime was to have been named Dee Dee, were successively breitbarted by mistake. I imagine she also knows about the doxing and breitbarting of W9 (the defendant’s cousin) whose only crime was to have reported to police that George Zimmerman sexually molested her for 10 years beginning when she was 6-years-old and he was 8-years-old.

I know that if I were Dee Dee or Bernie de la Rionda I would not believe that Mark O’Mara would honor his duty as a lawyer and officer of the court to assure that no information that might assist in identifying Dee Dee is leaked from his office.

I am well equipped to survive breitbarting because I am self-employed with this blog and I have the strength, willpower and self-assurance of a warrior forged in the heat and pressure of high stake courtroom battles during a long career. I chose to create and operate this blog and I accept responsibility for what we do here.

Dee Dee is a child and she did not choose to be a witness to a murder. Yet, she is and I worry about her. The media and the general public appear not to realize that she too is a victim of the defendant’s violent act on February 26, 2012. I wonder if she is plagued with panic attacks and nightmares generated by a brain stuck on a spin cycle of fragmented memories, what-ifs, and if-onlys. No one, especially a child, should be subjected to such torture.

The realization that she also must know that she has been targeted for destruction by breitbarting frightens me and makes me wonder how any human being could be so full of hate that they would even consider hurting her, let alone setting out to destroy her with lies.

I can only regard Mark O’Mara with horror and disgust

The god of my understanding and belief is not going to be OK with this.

I think Bernie de la Rionda is doing his best to balance his duties as a prosecutor, including his duty to comply with the Brady rule, with his duty as an empathetic member of the human race to protect her from the coming onslaught.

I applaud his decision to withhold the information that O’Mara requested until the night before the hearing on the defense request for a subpoena duces tecum.

He did not violate the Brady rule because he disclosed the potential impeachment information a week before deposition, which is the first time that O’Mara could have used it for a legitimate purpose. O’Mara suffered no inconvenience and the defendant’s constitutional rights to due process of law and a fair trial have not been violated.

Mark O’Mara’s motions for sanctions, fees and costs are frivolous because they are not supported by law.

I will close with this warning. Breitbarting a witness in a murder case is witness intimidation under Florida law. Anyone convicted of that crime can be sentenced to life in prison.

I sincerely hope that anyone who participates in the coming effort to intimidate Dee Dee will be charged, convicted and sentenced to a very long and unpleasant time in prison.


Judge Nelson Properly Denied the Defense Motion to Depose Benjamin Crump in Trayvon Martin Case

February 25, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Good afternoon.

I write today to clear up some confusion exhibited in comments over the weekend regarding the basis for Judge Nelson’s order denying the defendant’s motion to depose Benjamin Crump, the attorney who represents Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton. As all of you know, he located Witness 8, who is referred to as DD to protect her identity and privacy. She was Trayvon’s girlfriend and was talking to him when the defendant accosted and attacked Trayvon moments before shooting him to death.

Crump recorded a telephonic interview with her from his office in which she reported that Trayvon told her that he was being followed by a “creepy man” in a vehicle as he was walking home. He ran to get away from the creepy man and thought he had succeeded, but the creepy man suddenly appeared on foot and close by.

She heard the following exchange:

Trayvon: “Why are you following me for?”

Old Man: “Why are you here?”

She heard what sounded like a physical struggle.

Trayvon: Get off!

Then she lost the connection.

DD is an important witness for the prosecution because her testimony contradicts the defendant’s claim that Trayvon hunted, confronted and attacked him as he was walking back to his parked vehicle.

The defense clearly has a proper basis to depose DD and no doubt will eventually do so, since the prosecution has listed her as a Class A witness (major witness) on their witness list. The defense has delayed taking her deposition claiming that it must obtain other unspecified information prior to the deposition. For example, the defense seeks to know her address prior to the deposition.

Judge Nelson denied that request for the second time at the hearing on Friday reiterating that they can ask her that question at her deposition.

To understand why the Court denied that request, one need look no farther than the outrageous and unlawful harassment and doxing inflicted by the defendant’s supporters on the defendant’s cousin, who accused him of molesting her over an 8-year period when they were children, and two innocent girls named Dee Dee in Miami, whom they erroneously believed to have been Trayvon’s girlfriend.

The defense also seeks to depose Benjamin Crump to inquire into how he discovered who she was, how he set up the interview and how he conducted it. He has already provided that information to defense counsel in a 15-page affidavit, but they seek further inquiry.

I do not believe there is any legitimate legal issue whether Benjamin Crump is an attorney who acted in his official capacity as counsel for Trayvon’s parents to locate DD and interview her to collect and preserve information to support a potential lawsuit against the defendant for causing the wrongful death of their son as well as to support a possible murder charge against the defendant. There simply is no question that his interest in representing Trayvon’s parents is in opposition to the defendant’s interest in being granted immunity from civil and criminal prosecution and that was just as certain before the defendant was charged as it is today. Therefore, what he did to secure DD’s interview and all of his notes and research regarding it are attorney-client work product and protected from disclosure.

Judge Nelson reportedly also found that he was acting as “opposing counsel,” a finding that provides additional legal justification to shield him from submitting to a deposition since that is prohibited, subject to a few limited and inapplicable exceptions. There is no serious question that he was acting in that capacity even though no criminal charge or civil suit had been filed.

Either way I do not see a significant legal issue to appeal.

If you want to read an excellent legal argument regarding this issue, check-out Bruce Blackwell’s memorandum.

Meanwhile, trouble is brewing at the Treehouse where Sundance is calling for Don West to take over the defense. According to his open letter to Mr. West, he believes O’Mara is incompetent and DD does not exist. I do not link to that site, but Opera Carla posted a copy of the letter in the comments thread to my Many Blessings post.


Trayvon Martin’s Murder Forces Us To Confront Racism

December 27, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I realized the defendant was lying when I first read his narrative about the shooting.

Why?

Because I believe it’s extremely unlikely that an unarmed person would flee from a menacing stranger following him and, after successfully getting away, voluntarily approach, engage and attempt to beat that stranger to death with his bare hands.

That story is ridiculous. It made no sense to me when I first read it and it makes no sense to me now.

With two exceptions, I never have understood why anyone would believe that ridiculous story.

As a former criminal defense attorney and law professor, I certainly understand, support and believe in the presumption of innocence. I trained myself to think that way and always searched for the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against my clients. I had no problem exploiting those vulnerabilities for the benefit of my clients. I suspect that most of the lawyers and law professors who have publicly supported the defendant did so from the perspective of presuming that he spoke the truth.

Since I no longer practice or teach law, I believe I can evaluate this case from a more objective perspective.

I cannot and will not presume that an obvious bullshit story is the truth.

I have reviewed all of the evidence released to the public to date and I have not found any evidence that supports the defendant’s story. Instead, his multiple inconsistent and contradictory statements conflict with the physical and forensic evidence. In fact, he has admitted that he shot and killed Trayvon Martin after he had him under control with a wrist lock. He said he pulled out his gun, extended his right arm, aimed to avoid shooting his left hand, and fired the single shot that killed Trayvon Martin. The terrified, prolonged and desperate shriek protesting the depraved execution that was about to occur finally and forever was silenced by the gunshot.

No one is going to believe that the defendant uttered that inhuman shriek with a loaded gun in his hand.

I feel obliged to remind my former colleagues that the presumption of innocence does not require them to blindly accept a liar’s story and actively defend that liar by supporting his effort to demonize an innocent victim and his parents. I am offended, horrified and disgusted by the unrelenting attacks on Trayvon, his family and their supporters. I have no respect for anyone who participates in or supports those attacks, including members of the mainstream media who publicize them, and by so doing, legitimize them.

Enough is enough.

We do not need or want to hear any more lying racist Zimmermans polluting the news.

The Trayvon Martin murder case is much more than a set of hypothetical facts to be discussed in a classroom. It is a real case involving real people and I think our responses to this tragedy reveal much about ourselves as individuals and as a society.

For example, in order to believe the defendant’s story, one would have to believe that Trayvon Martin acted like a stereotypical Black Gangsta thug in a Hollywood action movie. Would any Caucasian person believe the defendant’s story, if the person he killed were Caucasian?

Is it not easier for Caucasians to believe his story because the victim is Black?

I believe we would not have heard about this case, if Trayvon Martin had been a Caucasian kid. The defendant would have been arrested and jailed that first night. He would have been charged with second degree murder and prosecuted without any of the publicity and controversy that we have seen.

The most important lesson of this case is that racism is alive and well in our nation. The defendant’s characterization of Trayvon Martin presents each one of us with a litmus test. Those who accept and believe what he said are failing the litmus test and seriously need to ask themselves why they were so willing to believe such an obvious lie.

Those who continue to believe the defendant in the face of overwhelming evidence that he is a liar may be beyond help.

We live in a racist society and nothing will change unless we admit that we do and we commit to ending racism. As always, the self is the place to start changing society.

Trayvon Martin will not have died in vain if his death becomes the rallying point for a systematic, determined and prolonged effort to once and for all eliminate racism in our society.

Unless we succeed, we will remain a racist and failed society.


Tomorrow is Motion Day in the Trayvon Martin Murder Case

December 10, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

I have just about fully recovered from food poisoning, but I am still a bit spaced out, so please bare with me.

Tomorrow is motion day in the Trayvon Martin murder case and one of the more interesting motions is the defendant’s motion to seal his text messages, emails and journal entries until both sides can review them. O’Mara claims release of the evidence will “adversely affect the proper administration of justice in this case, and may make it impossible to find an appropriate jury unaffected by this information.”

He must be referring to that select group of racist bigots and right-wing wackos to whom he constantly pitches his disinformation campaign.

There are reports that he sent Tracy Martin an abusive email and used the N-word “when referring who to look out for when on patrol in his Sanford, Florida neighborhood.

I do not believe the civil suit against NBC has any chance to succeed, but I believe it certainly opened the door to publicize his use of the N-word, assuming he did so.

[H/T to Rachael for providing the links to those two reports]

He also wants to be relieved of the burdensome GPS bracelet that he has to wear.

Well, I guess I would too, but I did not shoot to death a peaceful and nonviolent Black teenager who was armed with a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles and talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone while walking home in the rain. I am getting really tired of his incessant whining. I think he should be in jail because he is a danger to the community.

Regardless of my opinion, the time period within which to have moved for reconsideration of Judge Lester’s orders expired long ago, so this motion should be denied as untimely.

What do y’all think about these motions?


Hey Jude, Don’t Make it Bad. Take a Sad Song and Make it Better

December 6, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Good Morning:

The holidays are stressful for many of us, but we need to remember that they will be extremely difficult for Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. This will be their first Christmas without Trayvon.

Added to each of our burdens, and especially to theirs, is the increasing anger, frustration, and emotional distress caused by the defense strategy to legitimize the defendant’s ludicrous claim of self-defense by appealing to racist fear of Blacks and Black gangsta stereotypes to demonize Trayvon and transform him into someone who deserved to die. But they do not stop at libeling the dead.

There is no honor, dignity or decency to be found in the defense camp.

By their racist supporters, who specialize in infesting websites where they derail peaceful and rational discussion, spew hate-driven false accusations and assassinate the character of anyone who dares to disagree with them, they have waged a no-holds barred war to destroy Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin, Benjamin Crump, Natalie Jackson, and an innocent young girl called Dee Dee, whose only “crime” is being Black, Trayvon’s girlfriend, and talking to Trayvon when the defendant attacked him without provocation and abruptly terminated his life in mid-shriek with a single gunshot to the heart.

We must remember to think of their pain this holiday season, instead of our own.

We also must remember that we are not powerless.

Although this case is an abomination, a marathon, and seems never ending, it will end someday.

I do what I do in this sacred place to assure that the story told about this case to generations of the unborn will be about the triumph of justice over racism, of hope over despair, of love over hate.

We will make it better.

There is a light at the end of this long tunnel, my friends, and it’s not an onrushing train.

Lonnie Starr wrote at 6:56 am today in response to Lady St.Claire:

“Step back and look at the strategy! The defense keeps asking for things, in the hopes of finding something incrimination, but all they’re getting is exculpatory material. Material that is going to be of no use to them. Meanwhile the SP is building a record of what the Defense has asked for and will not be using.

Now, under those conditions, pretty nearly anything the defense tries to present to the jury, the SP can show that the defense is also in possession of material that contradicts and precludes any such use. Each time the defense tries to take a step forward, the SP will be able to push them several steps back. Simply because the defense can be shown to be searching in vain for anything at all, no matter how minute or immaterial it might seem. Yet, still finding nothing at all.

The only question they’re probably asking around the SP’s offices is: Just how deep a hole is the defense going to dig itself into, before they realize they’d better stop digging? I can hear the peals of laughter emanating from the SP’s office from here.

Like I said, the SP’s offices have got to be one of the happiest places on earth to work about now.”

My wife Rachel posted the video early this morning of Wilson Pickett singing an incomparable soul version of song Hey, Jude, written by Paul McCartney, but credited to Lennon McCartney. According to Wikipedia, McCartney wrote the song to comfort Julian Lennon during his parent’s divorce. Listen closely to the electric slide guitar in the background by a relatively unknown studio musician at the time. His name is Duane Allman. At the end of this song, Pickett and Allman transcend.

We too shall transcend.


LLMPapa has a Message for Tracy Martin

December 1, 2012


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