Defense in Kelly Thomas case resorts to character assassination

December 12, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2014

Good evening:

The prosecution rested its case yesterday in the Kelly Thomas case.

Defense resorts to character assassination.

Adolfo Flores of the Los Angeles Times reports,

Among the witnesses defense attorneys called to the stand Thursday were some of Thomas’ own relatives, including his grandfather, Walter Dieball, who testified that in 1995, his grandson hit him over the head with a fireplace poker while he was watching television.

“I heard the fireplace tools rattling and I looked around and he had the poker in his hand and he hit me with it,” Dieball said.

Ramos’ attorney, John Barnett, asked Dieball if the poker was heavy, tapping his podium twice with a fireplace poker.
Dieball said it was.

An image of the fireplace poker taken after Kelly Thomas struck Dieball was projected onto a screen. It was bent.

Dieball said Thomas hit him another time on the head when he was on his knees attempting to get up and another time on the back as he fled into a room.

He told prosecutors he went into the room because it had a lock, a phone to call 911 and a gun for protection. Dieball, who was pushed to the stand in a wheelchair, wore a yellow ribbon worn by supporters of Thomas.

The defense also called his mother to the stand. She testified that he attempted to choke her in December 2010. She also was wearing a pin exhibiting a photo of his face and a yellow ribbon.

They also called a man who testified that Kelly punched him on the chin when he told him to leave a party for being disruptive.

A woman, who worked at a produce stand in 2010, testified that Kelly Thomas threw rocks at her after she told him to leave the area and chased him away with pepper spray and a machete.

Whether these violent acts will influence the jury remains to be seen.

Regardless of what he did or threatened to do to someone else at some other time in the past, the simple fact remains that the video shows that the police beat an unarmed young man to death and never even attempted to handcuff him.

The trial will resume on Monday.

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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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Dee Dee did not lie or commit perjury in Zimmerman case

March 5, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Before the beginning of today’s hearing in the Zimmerman case, the prosecution informed the defense that Dee Dee (the name given to Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend to protect her anonymity) did not go to a hospital instead of attending Trayvon’s funeral.

Judge Nelson dismissed the defense motion for Dee Dee’s medical records as moot.

The defense now claims that Dee Dee lied.

As the following partial transcript of her interview under oath by prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda conclusively demonstrates, she not lie or commit perjury.

BDLR:_ OK._ I’m not saying that they did._ I’m just making sure the records’ clear on that….Um…you obviously found out about what happened to Trayvon, right?_ And at some point you ended up knowing that he was killed, right?

Dee Dee:_ Yeah.

BDLR:_ Were you able to go to the funeral or to the wake?

Dee Dee:__I was goin’ to go, but…

BDLR:_ OK, what happened?

Dee Dee:__I didn’ feel good.

BDLR:_ OK, did you end up going to the hospital or somewhere?

Dee Dee:_ Mmmm…Yeah, I had high blood pressure.”

(Emphasis supplied)

The question is unclear because he asked if she went to a hospital or somewhere.

Therefore, her answer was not a lie and if it was not a lie, it certainly was not perjury.

Nevertheless, let us assume for the sake of argument that she did lie.

As I said in response to a comment by Unabogie,

I think you are being way too literal.

Lying is lying, by definition, but there is an unlimited number of reasons why people lie.

Intentionally lying to conceal the existence of more than a $100,000 in cash from the court during a bail hearing is, by any standard one might choose to apply, a far more serious matter than lying because you did not want to admit that you were too upset to attend a funeral.

I do not believe the prosecution is the least bit worried about this turn of events.

Proof of perjury requires proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant unambiguously lied under oath about a material matter.

BDLR’s question was ambiguous and DD’s response was not about a material matter, as is the case regarding Shellie Zimmerman’s denial under oath during a bail hearing that she did not know about the money she had transferred into her account.

Therefore, even if we assume for the sake of argument that Dee Dee lied, she did not commit and will not be charged with perjury.

Anyone who says she lied and committed perjury is mistaken and anyone who claims that Dee Dee is as guilty of perjury as Shellie Zimmerman is wrong and guilty of asserting false equivalencies.

As I said in an earlier comment this morning before I saw the transcript, I do not believe this development today changes anything.

I predict DD will be one of the last witnesses called by the State after all of the evidence about the shooting and the events that led up to it have been admitted into evidence.

She will simply be confirming what the evidence has already proven. BDLR will ask her about the false statement and she will probably break down and cry as she admits that she lied about that because she was too embarrassed to admit that she was too upset to attend the funeral.

I think the jury and everyone in the courtroom, except the defendant, will understand that and forgive her for lying.

I believe Sybrina will be the last witness because she is Trayvon’s mom and the emotional impact of her testimony will be extremely powerful.

After all is said and done, I do not think anyone will remember, much less care, that DD lied. It’s just not very important.

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Zimmerman Requests Martin’s School Records and Social Media Accounts

October 9, 2012

The Orlando Sentinel has reported today:

Zimmerman’s defense has asked for subpoenas for records from the teenager’s middle and high schools, as well as his Twitter and Facebook accounts. A hearing has been set for Oct. 19.

Zimmerman, 29, fatally shot the Miami Gardens 17-year-old Feb. 26 in Sanford. Authorities allege he profiled and pursued the teen.

Zimmerman says he fired in self-defense after Trayvon attacked him. Zimmerman’s defense is also asking for a continuance. In a motion, the defense team writes that “at least 50-75” witness depositions must be completed in the case before it will be ready for trial.

In a third new motion, O’Mara asked to be allowed to review the court’s copy of a recorded law-enforcement interview of a woman identified as “Witness 9.” That witness, in two interviews made public in the case already, accused Zimmerman of disliking black people and of molesting her when they were both young.

O’Mara writes in his motion that the state failed several times to provide him with a working copy of a third Witness 9 interview, and he wants to know whether Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. received a bad copy, too. Zimmerman “requests the opportunity to review, with the court, the recordings … to ascertain whether or not the Court received an accurate recording as finally disclosed by the State … or if the Court received an inaccurate or inaudible recording, as the defense has received up until” the latest evidence exchange on Sept. 19.

Global Grind reports that Benjamin Crump said the request is irrelevant.

“Trayvon’s parents maintain that his school records and Facebook page are completely irrelevant to George Zimmerman’s decision to get out of his car to profile, pursue, and shoot their son in the heart on February 26, 2012.

How does George Zimmerman’s review of Trayvon Martin’s high school and middle school records and Facebook page bear any relevance to Zimmerman’s decision to pull the trigger and kill a seventeen year old child? Is this going to be a new legal standard we are setting- for a murderer to review the school records and Facebook page of his teenage victim to determine whether or not he should have killed him?”

After Trayvon’s death, there was a small group of hateful and racist people, who attempted to destroy his legacy, reputation, and image.

These people hacked this dead youth’s social media accounts, his email account, and stooped as low as to plaster the internet with photoshopped and fake images purporting to be Trayvon.

On the advice of counsel, and with the intent to preserve Trayvon’s public reputation, Trayvon Martin’s parents deactivated all of his electronic accounts.”

I have previously written that the rules of evidence permit the defense to introduce evidence that Trayvon was an aggressive bully, assuming such evidence exists, to support Zimmerman’s claim that Trayvon was the aggressor. However, specific instances of misconduct would not be admissible. Instead, the evidence would have to be limited to stating the character trait.

I do not believe such evidence exists and I suspect O’Mara knows that. Since he appears to be determined to try the case in the court of public opinion, I fear that his real motive is to obtain the records to post them on the internet. This would further publicize the recent suspension for the trace amount of marijuana detected in his backpack and the earlier report about some jewelry and a screwdriver that were found in his backpack. No criminal charges were filed in either case and the evidence would not be admissible at trial for any purpose.

If O’Mara finds some evidence that Trayvon was an aggressive bully and he introduces it at trial, he will open the door for the prosecution to introduce similar type evidence regarding Zimmerman, which we know exists.

The hearing will be before Judge Debra Nelson on Friday, October 19, 2012.

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