Defense has known about bicycle fight video for 9 months

June 3, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Check this out.

It’s a copy of a discovery-demand letter from Don West to Bernie de la Rionda that establishes that the defense knew about bicycle video clip on Trayvon Martin’s phone for at least nine months. The letter is dated September 19, 2012.

West says:

You mentioned that you had seen a video connected to him [Trayvon Martin] in some way regarding a bicycle. We were previously unaware of anything like that, but later saw a clip taken from his cell phone SIM card that may have been what you were referencing.

Since the defense has known about this video clip for at least 9 months, I cannot imagine how Mark O’Mara could innocently have mistaken it for a video of two of Trayvon’s friends beating up a homeless person.

Mark O’Mara has some ‘splainin’ to do and the third person apology on his website ain’t gonna git ‘r done.

While he is explaining his way out of that mess, he should also explain why the defense is now seeking sanctions on the ground that this video was not disclosed to them.

(H/T to Big Boi for letting me know that a poster at Crime Watcher’s found the letter. He is also on Twitter as @TruthThere.
Also, thanks to LLMPapa for the link to West’s letter)

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Fred


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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Zimmerman: Pssst hey buddy what’s a Frye hearing

May 7, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

To Frye or not to Frye,
that is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind
to suffer the slings and arrows
of outrageous fortune
or to take arms against
a sea of troubles
and by opposing end them.

Hamlet, Act III, by William Shakespeare

Good morning:

I write today to explain the Frye Rule and Mark O’Mara’s latest strategic mistake. Let’s begin with the mistake.

If Judge Nelson grants his motion, there will not be any testimony by an expert witness regarding the identity of the person who uttered the terrified shriek. That will not help the defense because that intense, high-pitched, and prolonged nightmarish shriek of sheer terror ends abruptly with the fatal gunshot to the heart.

Just as it does not take a weatherman to tell which direction the wind blows, no juror is going to have any difficulty figuring out that the person who uttered that inhuman shriek is the victim of that gunshot. No juror is going to believe that the person armed with the gun; who pulled it out of a holster; who extended his arm; who aimed the gun taking care to make sure his left hand was out of the way; and who pulled the trigger at point-blank range is the person who screamed.

I am certain the prosecutor will not forget to remind the jury that the defendant told the police that he kept screaming for help after the shot because he thought he missed Trayvon Martin.

Apparently, Mark O’Mara has not listened to that agonizing shriek because, if he had listened to it, he never would have filed this ridiculous motion that can only hurt his client, if Judge Nelson grants it, since the absence of expert testimony would simplify identifying Trayvon as the source of the shriek while also disproving the defendant’s claim that Trayvon was beating him to death and attempting to smother him when he fired the fatal shot.

Breath. Taking. Stupidity.

Now, let’s take a look at the Frye-hearing request.

Every once in awhile someone develops a new theory or a new way of performing some task (i.e., a new methodology). A lawyer finds out about it and decides he wants to apply that new theory or methodology to win a case. Opposing counsel says, “Not so fast, pal. Not without a Frye hearing.”

A Frye hearing is a pretrial hearing to determine if evidence obtained pursuant to a new theory or methodology should be admitted or excluded during the trial. Think of it as a judicial screening device to exclude potentially inaccurate and unreliable evidence based on a new untested theory or methodology.

We call it a Frye hearing because the first published case that dealt with this issue was Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir 1923). Judge Van Orsdell laid out the facts:

A single assignment of error is presented for our consideration. In the course of the trial counsel for defendant offered an expert witness to testify to the result of a deception test made upon defendant. The test is described as the systolic blood pressure deception test. It is asserted that blood pressure is influenced by change in the emotions of the witness, and that the systolic blood pressure rises are brought about by nervous impulses sent to the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. Scientific experiments, it is claimed, have demonstrated that fear, rage, and pain always produce a rise of systolic blood pressure, and that conscious deception or falsehood, concealment of facts, or guilt of crime, accompanied by fear of detection when the person is under examination, raises the systolic blood pressure in a curve, which corresponds exactly to the struggle going on in the subject’s mind, between fear and attempted control of that fear, as the examination touches the vital points in respect of which he is attempting to deceive the examiner.

In other words, the theory seems to be that truth is spontaneous, and comes without conscious effort, while the utterance of a falsehood requires a conscious effort, which is reflected in the blood pressure. The rise thus produced is easily detected and distinguished from the rise produced by mere fear of the examination itself. In the former instance, the pressure rises higher than in the latter, and is more pronounced as the examination proceeds, while in the latter case, if the subject is telling the truth, the pressure registers highest at the beginning of the examination, and gradually diminishes as the examination proceeds.

Prior to the trial defendant was subjected to this deception test, and counsel offered the scientist who conducted the test as an expert to testify to the results obtained. The offer was objected to by counsel for the government, and the court sustained the objection. Counsel for defendant then offered to have the proffered witness conduct a test in the presence of the jury. This also was denied.

Judge Van Orsdell then proceeded to define the new rule:

The rule is that the opinions of experts or skilled witnesses are admissible in evidence in those cases in which the matter of inquiry is such that inexperienced persons are unlikely to prove capable of forming a correct judgment upon it, for the reason that the subject-matter so far partakes of a science, art, or trade as to require a previous habit or experience or study in it, in order to acquire a knowledge of it. When the question involved does not lie within the range of common experience or common knowledge, but requires special experience or special knowledge, then the opinions of witnesses skilled in that particular science, art, or trade to which the question relates are admissible in evidence.

Numerous cases are cited in support of this rule. Just when a scientific principle or discovery crosses the line between the experimental and demonstrable stages is difficult to define. Somewhere in this twilight zone the evidential force of the principle must be recognized, and while courts will go a long way in admitting expert testimony deduced from a well-recognized scientific principle or discovery, the thing from which the deduction is made must be sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs.

We think the systolic blood pressure deception test has not yet gained such standing and scientific recognition among physiological and psychological authorities as would justify the courts in admitting expert testimony deduced from the discovery, development, and experiments thus far made.

(Emphasis supplied)

The issue Judge Nelson would have to decide, assuming she decides to hold a Frye hearing, is whether the methodologies used by the state’s experts are generally accepted by audiologists as capable of producing accurate and reliable results.

The Frye test has been described as a counting-heads test because it does not require the judge to understand the theory or methodology at issue. The judge need only count the heads of the experts in the particular field and decide whether they generally accept the methodology.

As I recall, two experts used different methodologies to compare the shriek to a voice exemplar provided by the defendant. One methodology has been used for many years and the other one, which was developed recently, involves the use of a software program.

Both experts have excluded the defendant as the source of the scream.

Since the first method has been used for many years, it probably has survived a Frye challenge in Florida.

The second method may be too new to have been challenged at a Frye hearing.

The glaring, and I believe fatal, omission in O’Mara’s motion for a Frye hearing is the absence of any supporting affidavits from experts in audiology that one or both of the methodologies used are not generally accepted by audiologists as capable of producing accurate and reliable results.

Nobody gives a damn about what the non-expert lawyer thinks. He is not qualified to express an opinion about general acceptance of these methodologies.

Therefore, I would deny his motion for a Frye hearing.

Notice that regardless whether Judge Nelson grants or denies O’Mara’s motion, the State will still be required to lay a proper foundation for each of its expert audiologists at trial pursuant to Evidence Rule 702 that the witness is a duly qualified expert in the field and the result obtained using the particular methodology in question will assist the jury to decide who is screaming.

In conclusion, if I were the prosecutor, I would be inclined to try the case without putting on any audiologists during my case-in-chief for the simple reason that I do not believe they are necessary. This is another illustration of the KISS rule.

BTW, all that sparring about whether Tracy Martin could identify Trayvon as the source of the shriek does not matter.

Hardly anyone ever shrieks like that and lives to tell about it, so it stands to reason that no one, including his father, ever heard Trayvon utter a shriek like that. This may explain why it may not be possible for any expert to positively identify the source of the shriek without considering the circumstances or context that produced it.

That’s why it sounds inhuman.

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Fred


Zimmerman: O’Mara admits he cannot prove defendant utters terrified shriek

May 5, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Good Evening:

Amanda Sloane of HLN TV reported last Tueday after the hearing before Judge Nelson:

Cries for help: Is it Zimmerman or Trayvon?

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said Tuesday that a 911 call could be the key piece of evidence in the case against George Zimmerman. In the background of the audio recording, you can hear someone screaming for help.

If it’s Zimmerman, O’Mara said it shows that the night watchman was the one under attack “and documents his story completely — it also documents his injuries.” If, however, it’s 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s voice on the recording, then it could show Zimmerman was “acting in a very aggressive way toward him,” O’Mara said.

So which one is it?

O’Mara told In Session correspondent Jean Casarez that witnesses for the prosecution and the defense can’t seem to agree. So, he wants to have a hearing to decide if anyone should be able to testify about the voice at all.

Should jurors be able to decide for themselves whom they hear on the call?

Translation of O’Mara-speak into ordinary English: O’Mara knows that Trayvon uttered the 40-second terrified shriek.

Quite an admission by the man who has been so certain in the past that his client uttered the shriek.

Most of us are not surprised because we figured it out last summer.

We have been wondering when everybody else would finally figure it out.

So, what does O’Mara want to do?

He wants to exclude the tape, so the jury will not even hear it.

There is absolutely no chance Judge Nelson will grant that motion.

The legal rule is that arguments regarding the identity of the person who uttered the terrified shriek go to the weight that the jury should assign to the opinion of each witness and not to the admissibility of the testimony itself.

Notice the disappearing defense.

No immunity hearing and now this damning admission.

Say good-bye, George.

Justice for Trayvon

(H/T to Elcymoo for providing the link to the HLN article)

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Zimmerman: Let there be thunder that makes the mountains tremble

May 4, 2013

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Good afternoon:

The defendant’s friend, Frank Taaffe, described the defendant’s state of mind the night that he stalked and killed Trayvon Martin.

He was mad as hell and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.

Given that Taaffe uttered this statement after he found out about the shooting, I believe we can reasonably assume that he believed the defendant pursued and confronted Trayvon with murder in mind.

Why did he believe that?

Why was the defendant so angry?

What was it that the defendant was not going to take anymore?

I have puzzled over Taaffe’s statement ever since I heard him say it.

Despite a lack of objective evidence that would support a belief that the gated neighborhood was besieged by burglars and thieves, the defendant appears to have believed that was actually happening, or he pushed that false narrative in hopes of creating a justification for the Homeowner’s Association to hire him to provide security.

He also appears to have believed that the burglars and thieves were Black and they always got away.

Frank Taaffe told us that the defendant was mad as hell about that and he was going to put an end to it.

The defendant said during the NEN call, “fucking coons,” and “these assholes, they always get away.”

This explains why he got out of his vehicle and hunted for Trayvon, ignoring the dispatcher’s request not to follow him.

Indeed, we can see by his actions that he was “mad as hell.” Acting as police officer, prosecutor, jury, judge and executioner the defendant decided that Trayvon was one “fucking coon,” one “asshole” who wasn’t going to get away.

A little over two minutes after the defendant ended the NEN call, after telling the dispatcher to have the officer call his cell phone when he arrived in the neighborhood, he hunted Trayvon down and shot him to death as Trayvon was telling Dee Dee about the creepy man who stalked and frightened him.

Trayvon never found out who he was or why he stalked and attacked him.

He died in the dark and cold rain begging for his life and shrieking in terror and disbelief.

Although Trayvon was a good kid, it would not have mattered if he were the Devil incarnate.

He was unarmed and he did nothing except try to escape from a creepy man who stalked him, first in a vehicle and then on foot.

The defense effort to demonize him and his family disgusts and infuriates me.

Demonizing Trayvon, even if successful, is not a defense and evidence of bad acts or character, assuming such evidence exists, is not admissible.

Defense counsel deserve harsh criticism and universal condemnation for pursuing this incredibly depraved and unnecessary course of action.

By attempting to exploit racial stereotypes and race-driven fear of Black males in a high publicity case, Mark O’Mara, Don West and everyone who supports what they do give us all a bad name.

Let there be thunder across this land that makes the mountains tremble,

Justice for Trayvon

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Afro-Peruvian emperor wears no clothes

April 24, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

BDLR has filed a motion asking Judge Nelson to order the defendant to appear at the April 30th hearing and state on the record that he is waiving his right to the immunity hearing.

H/T to Southern Girl 2 for providing the link to BDLR’s motion

He also asks Judge Nelson to issue an order that she will not permit the immunity hearing to take place during the trial or after it.

I support this motion. In fact I published three posts in early March warning that this needed to be done to avoid significant legal problems that might otherwise come up forcing a retrial of the case, if the jury convicted the defendant.

1. Combining the immunity hearing with the trial in the Zimmerman case is a terrible idea

2. Combining the immunity hearing with the trial in the Zimmerman case is a terrible idea (Part II)

3. Post trial immunity hearings are a terrible idea

This motion is an example of a prosecutor taking action to protect the record from a collateral attack by a new lawyer representing the defendant after he is convicted and sentenced to prison and arguing that the defendant is entitled to a new trial and a statutory immunity hearing because he never waived his right to that hearing and did not know or consent to Mark O’Mara waiving it for him.

BDLR also wants Judge Nelson to clarify the record regarding the possible merger of the statutory immunity hearing with the trial, which O’Mara had suggested as an alternative to holding the hearing during the last two weeks of April, so that the record shows that she considered and denied O’Mara’s request more than a month before trial. Such an order would foreclose an argument by O’Mara that he never waived the statutory immunity hearing and reasonably believed and relied to the defendant’s detriment on the two matters being combined.

Best to clarify that current ambiguity in the record so that it does not result in reversal and remand for an immunity hearing and a new trial, if the defendant loses the immunity hearing.

Therefore, I believe BDLR’s motion is timely and necessary to protect the record.

Although I believe O’Mara decided long ago that he had no chance to win the immunity hearing because the defendant could not withstand cross examination due to his many conflicting and inconsistent statements. I think he decided that he did not want to formally admit in open court on the record that he was waiving his client’s right to the statutory immunity hearing because he was concerned about the effect that his waiver would have on his efforts to substantially increase donations to his “innocent” client’s internet defense fund and win the trial in the court of public opinion. To use a poker analogy, folding your hand at the last minute by waiving the hearing establishes that you were bluffing when you kept insisting that you had a winning hand.

Not exactly the ideal position for the defense to be in on the eve of trial.

BDLR is going for the jugular with this motion to clarify for all the world to see that the Afro-Peruvian emperor wears no clothes.

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Dispute regarding publication of settlement amount is a tempest in a teapot

April 19, 2013

Friday, April 18, 2013

Good morning.

The dispute regarding whether the settlement amount should be publicized is a tempest in a teapot.

A defendant in a criminal case has the right to cross examine a witness against him regarding any bias or prejudice the witness might have that might influence their testimony in the case.

To facilitate discussion, let us assume that the case settled for $1.75 million.

Mark O’Mara wants to know that amount so that he can argue to the jury that Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton were not credible witnesses when they identified Trayvon as the person who uttered the death shriek.

For example, he could argue that they had 1.75 million reasons to lie.

As distasteful as such an argument would be, I believe the defense has a right to make it.

Whether it would make any sense to cross examine them about the settlement and to argue that they lied when they identified Trayvon as the source of the death shriek is another matter.

I do not believe there will be any doubt that Trayvon uttered that shriek because he was unarmed and the shriek abruptly ended as though silenced by the gunshot.

There is no credible argument that the defendant uttered that shriek as he pulled his gun out of the holster, extended his arm, aimed while making certain that he would not shoot his left hand by mistake, and pulled the trigger simultaneously stopping his scream.

To argue to the jury that Trayvon’s parents lied for financial reasons would be to invite scorn, if not hatred, and prejudice the defendant.

Nevertheless, if O’Mara wants to be stupid and venture into an area where no one with an ounce of sense would dare to go, the law erects no barrier and permits him to make a fool out of himself.

I doubt he is that stupid. I suspect he is merely posturing and would not dare go down that road.

Judge Nelson could dispose of this motion by ordering that the amount of the settlement remain confidential for now, subject to reconsideration if Trayvon’s parents testify.

Let him dare to bring it up.

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