Skip to main content

View Diary: Zimmerman Jury Selection Begins (118 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Check expectations. Acquittal likely. (4+ / 0-)

    Disclaimer: Though I'm a lawyer, I've never practiced in Florida. I base this comment on stuff I've read on the internet on Florida law. Garbage in, garbage out. THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

    With that out of the way, my understanding is that Zimmerman is not guilty of any crime under Florida law if the jury believes the facts are as follows:

    * Zimmerman walked up to Trayvon and started talking to him.

    * Trayvon punched Zimmerman before Zimmerman made any physical assault on Trayvon.

    I don't think it matters why Zimmerman walked up to Trayvon (i.e., racial prejudice). I don't think it matters much what Zimmerman said or how he said it (i.e., accused Trayvon of being a criminal, raised his voice, used racial epithets), though it might matter if Zimmerman threatened physical violence or actually drew his gun before Trayvon started punching.

    As I understand it, there are no witnesses except Zimmerman until we get to the point where Trayvon is on top of Zimmerman, punching Zimmerman. If Zimmerman is the only witness about what happened before that point, it's hard to see how he'll be convicted, unless he admits threatening Trayvon or throwing the first punch.

    Law and morality are related, but they are definitely not the same.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:55:27 AM PDT

    •  Though unwelcome to many or most of us here, (4+ / 0-)

      it is good to hear this reality-based perception.

      However, I also read that none of Z's DNA was recovered from underneath T's fingernails, while Z told police that T had been banging Z's head against the pavement.

      If I have that right, it would tend to discredit Z's version of events, no? (I have not been following this closely; sorry if this has already been discussed)

      Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

      by memiller on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:47:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If so, expect battle of experts. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        88kathy, Demeter Rising

        If that's the issue, then expect the defense to have an expert saying one thing, and the prosecution to have an expert saying the opposite. The jury will decide which expert is more persuasive.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:59:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't mean to be hounding you, but I can't (0+ / 0-)

          help but think of pictures of people in demonstrations that have had their heads smashed against the pavement. There was blood everywhere.

          Could the prosecution use pictures like these?

          Bleeding from a head wound is notoriously profuse.  The tiny little nicks produced way more blood because they were head wounds.

          give the NRA the Royal Flush join Stop The NRA

          by 88kathy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:11:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Specifics. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            88kathy

            I doubt that is something that can be answered by strangers speculating on the internet. The experts will testify about what important facts are resolved and not resolved by the evidence. There are a million possible reasons why the court might choose to allow or not allow this or that evidence. Wait and see what the witnesses to the incident say, what the expert witnesses say, what the lawyers argue. Then the judge will decide what issues are important, and what additional evidence is appropriate to clarify those issues.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:13:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It really just depends. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            88kathy, stellaluna

            Gory, in-color photographs are a toss-up.  A good rule of thumb is that the proponent (the side that wants to bring the photos) has to prove some reason for bringing them other than just...gore for the sake of gore.  They have to be used to prove something that is in dispute.  Again, this is just a rough rule of thumb.  

            One compromise that courts use with some frequency is to require the photos to be black & white.  Which sounds silly, but it does make them somewhat more tolerable to look at.  

            •  I guess just being around the people is bad (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              misslegalbeagle

              enough.

              I was called for jury duty at the end of the year. They had the whole room full of people but every trial kept settling before the jury was needed. So we sat around a lot.

              Then they started excusing people from the pool to go home. I let other people go first because my time was employer paid.

              I got to talking to a gal who said she had been on a jury for a murder trial years before and that the horror of the trial stayed with her for years and years.

              The next round when they asked if people wanted to be excused, I was the first in line.

              I was thinking the photos show the propensity of a head wound to produce more bleeding than other wounds. That is how the tiny little nicks look like his nose is coming off. A guy who suffered his head being smashed into the pavement would probably look like his head was coming off. Gore.

              give the NRA the Royal Flush join Stop The NRA

              by 88kathy on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:22:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've seen some pretty grisly stuff doing violent (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                amsterdam

                crimes, but the victim's families are always what gets me.  I have a strong stomach - bring on the autopsy photos, the crime scene techs, the ME, whatever.  But put a grieving husband/wife/child/mother/sibling on the stand and...well...that's the tough stuff for me.  

        •  No, jury will rely on their own sensibilities... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          True North, libnewsie, ladybug53

          in a case like this, and focus on how Martin came to be where he was, how Zimmerman came to a situation where he so closely confronted Martin that things escalated to lethal force.  Zimmerman's going to have an impossible task to convincingly construct a scenario where a jury won't conclude that Zimmerman was the one who unnecessarily initiated an aggressively close, hostile confrontation with Martin, regardless of how the physical escalation proceeded from there.  That's exactly why the fact that Martin was in the neighborhood accompanying his father as an invited guest of a resident thereof is a crucial fact; if Martin had been a stranger to the neighborhood with no convincing business being there except potentially casing houses for burglaries, Zimmerman would have far stronger chances of getting the jury to buy that Martin was the one responsible for initiating and escalating the confrontation to the point where "stand your ground" applies.

          •  That all depends. (5+ / 0-)

            The prosecution will urge the jury to do just as you suggest.

            The defense will urge the jury to look at the fact that there's no witness about the critical aspects of those things except Zimmerman; and that if they have some reasonable doubt about whether Zimmerman's account might be true, then they have to acquit. (I assume Zimmerman's testimony will set out the elements of a valid self-defense claim under Florida law.)

            It's impossible at this stage to say which way the jury will see it. Both outcomes are plausible. So much depends on whether any witness blurts out something especially stupid or saw/heard something especially probative one way or the other. Remember O.J.'s bloody glove, and "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit?" Who saw that coming, before the trial started? In live court, shit happens.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:13:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The OJ case was lost on prosecutorial incompetence (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tonedevil, alice kleeman

              Christopher Darden should have been fired for that boneheaded move.

            •  It is not true (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              libnewsie, Tonedevil

              that there are no witnesses to the critical aspects of the case. There are 5 witnesses that have GZ on top the moment or seconds after the shot was fired.

              DeeDee is an ear witness to the start of the incident. An ear witness backs up the words used according to DeeDee.

              GZ is only a witness if he gets on the stand. His statements do not fit the evidence and he changed his story everytime he told it.

              Trayvon's body was found 45 ft south from the T where GZ said Trayvon hit him to the ground.

              The trajectory of the bullet is directly front to back and not consistent with GZ being on the botom.

              46% of Seminole county voted for Obama. Not every white person there is a racist. The best the defense can get, is a hung jury.

      •  I think that the claim of self defense (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tonedevil

        is not going to be credible. It seems to me that GZ will have to take the stand to assert that claim, because there is almost no forensic evidence to back it up. The 911 evidence will tend to show that GZ initiated the confrontation, which will work against him. GZ probably outweighed TM by 50 pounds or so and had a couple inches of height on him, so I doubt that any reasonable jury will give credit to the notion that GZ needed to shoot him to protect himself.

        Then again, given the location, anything can happen. I'd give it 50-50. Obviously, I have formed an opinion.

        Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

        by Tim DeLaney on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 12:01:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  TM was taller, Zimmerman heavier but not by (0+ / 0-)

          that much.
          Zimmerman used to be very heavy, then lost it so he was no longer heavy (you can see it in his arrest photo). Since the crime, he's gained weight again some it seems.

          Initially when we saw the pics of Martin he was short, like a child. Some called that manipulative but really, at 17 he'd probably shot up in height only in the last few years. Probably the first pics available the parents grabbed. Maybe their grieving hearts selected the sweet ones of when he was a bit younger. It needed have been planned.

          IIRC Martin was about five eleven at the time of his death. Zimmerman is several inches, at least, shorter. IIRC at the time I figured out they were about 20-30lbs apart. Zim was about 170, Trayvon 145-150 and a bean pole as many young men are at that age.

          •  The exact figures on record are -- (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil, amsterdam

            Martin: 5' 11", 156 lbs (autopsy report)
            Zimmerman: 5' 8", 204 lbs (doctor's records the day after)

            So Zimmerman was 3 inches shorter, and 48 pounds heavier. In an on-the-ground grappling situation, that would give Zimmerman a considerable advantage.

    •  I watch The Good Wife. (4+ / 0-)

      Don't you think the quote

      "shit he's running"
      Makes the I walked up to him and he punched me defense a little shaky.

      No I would never get on the jury, I am way too opinionated.

      give the NRA the Royal Flush join Stop The NRA

      by 88kathy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:07:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too much unknown. Reasonable doubt. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        88kathy, Demeter Rising

        I can imagine 2 different T-punched-first scenarios:

        1. T ran. Z chased him, shouting, "Young man! I just want to talk with you!" T turned around and punched Z. If this is what the jury believes: acquittal.

        2. T ran. Z chased him, waving his gun and shouting, "I'll kill you, you ni**er thug!"  T turned around and punched Z.  If this is what the jury believes: conviction (probably).

        As I noted above, the problem is that apparently there are no witnesses about scenario 1 vs. scenario 2 other than Zimmerman. If there's reasonable doubt, then Z is acquitted.

        Why am I not discussing Z-punched-first scenarios? I assume Z will testify T punched first; I assume there are no eyewitnesses to say otherwise.

        Tangentially: why am I using Trayvon's first name and Zimmerman's last name? Only because Trayvon was a minor and Zimmerman was an adult. Recent reminder of the south's old racist practice of calling African-American adults by their first names:

        Starting in late 1962 and extending weeks beyond the sit-in, the boycott had several goals: the hiring of black police officers in Jackson; the elimination of segregated water fountains and lunch counters; the use of courtesy titles for black adults, who routinely were called by their first names rather than "Mr." or "Mrs."; the hiring of black clerks at Capitol Street stores; and the change to a first-come, first-served approach for waiting on customers at downtown stores rather than making black customers wait until whites had been helped.

        "Today, that doesn't seem like a lot. But, 50 years ago that was a huge deal," said Anderson, who was a Tougaloo junior in May 1963 but did not participate in the Woolworth's action.

        http://www.ajc.com/...

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:53:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Imagine nobody threw any punches at all (6+ / 0-)

          Because that's what the evidence shows.

          What happened is that Zimmerman grabbed Martin by the front of his clothing to detain him. A struggle of the push and shove ensued.

          Zimmerman then dropped his flashlight to pull out his gun to intimidate Martin into stopping struggling. This didn't have the desired effect, and the terrorized teen became even more hysterical in his attempts to free himself from the stranger who had accosted him for no reason.

          Zimmerman then shot Martin. It was either a thoughtless, impulsive act or a moment of righteous rage at this asshole who always got away. Zimmerman has a history of both.

          The third alternative, that the gun all but fired itself, is unlikely because this gun requires a trigger pull force of almost five pounds. It also has the strongest recoil of all 9 mm handguns, and that can explain Zimmerman's minor nose boo-boos. The recoil sent his fist, still holding the gun, smack into his own face.

          •  We'll see. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Demeter Rising, libnewsie, ladybug53

            You seem to be more familiar with the evidence than I am. But I expect:

            * Zimmerman will have some story to tell the jury that establishes (if believed) the elements of self-defense under Florida law.

            * There will be no direct eyewitness to contradict what Zimmerman says.

            If I'm right about those two things, then there is a significant possibility the jury will find reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt = acquittal.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:28:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What about credibility? (8+ / 0-)

              I agree that we will have to see. Juries can be unpredictable.

              But while there's no eyewitness to contradict what Zimmerman says, there's also no eyewitness to support what he says. And given Zimmerman's lack of credibility and generally fantastic narrative, I don't think his word will be enough.

              Recall the recent notorious case of Jodi Arias. She too claimed self-defense and there were no witnesses to say otherwise. She claimed she dropped the victim's camera, a clumsy act that so enraged the victim that he charged at her like a linebacker, leaving her with no choice but to reach for a gun that was on a shelf eight feet from the floor and shoot him.

              After that, she claimed, her pent-up PTSD from his ongoing abuse triggered a frenzy in which she took a knife and stabbed him multiple times after he was dead.

              There was no witness to say it happened otherwise, but her multiple lies, and the fact that the victim had defensive knife wounds on his hands and arms, led the jury to disbelieve her.

              In Zimmerman's case, the trivial nature of the injuries is very strong evidence that he did not receive any kind of a beating.

              Like I tell people, this is a beating but this is not a beating.

              •  We'll see what we see. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tonedevil, ladybug53

                My best friend is a judge. He's told me about some of the crazy defense stories that some juries end up buying.

                This is not a yes-no question. It's a bell-curve question. What are the odds the jury will convict? Even if the odds are 1,000-to-1 in favor of conviction, Zimmerman might end up with that 1 jury in 1,000.

                Somebody will end up with that jury. Might be Zimmerman.

                "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:16:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Stories he told after arrest (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tonedevil, amsterdam, libnewsie, ladybug53

              Zimmerman has been telling stories about what happened, and it sounds like he was making up a lot of stuff that didn't happen. That's what some people do when they're convinced they can talk their way out of trouble.

              If he retracts those stories now, he's clearly somebody who lies. If he doesn't, then the other evidence can be compared to his story--and I don't think it will line up.

              He was a strange adult male, armed, in pursuit of a teenager and in a nasty frame of mind.

              I don't think Trayvon hit him--if he had, I think there would be some DNA or blood on Trayvon's clothing or under his fingernails--but I wouldn't fault any teenager for trying to get out of the clutches of an angry armed stranger.

              Zimmerman has probably long believed that there won't be a lick of evidence except for the story he spins.

              Soon we'll know.

              •  I believe GZ's memories are scrambled (0+ / 0-)

                because he's unable to take responsibility. It's so important to him that it's Not His Fault that he's going to remember it the way he needs to he can claim he's the victim. Makes me ill to think about it, he's such a horrible coward.

                Giving birth (giving life) should be a gift not an obligation or women and poor people are 2nd class by definition

                by julifolo on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 07:33:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  and the back of his head? How did that happen? (0+ / 0-)
            •  Minor wounds (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tonedevil, libnewsie, ladybug53

              EMS thought he had minor wounds, not serious ones.
              Wounds on the skull tend to bleed a lot,but that doesn't make them any more serious.

              I cannot answer your question about how that happened.

              However, given that there was some time between when he shot Trayvon and when the first officers arrived, I daresay Zimmerman was thinking as fast as he could about what story he would tell them. He could have been responsible for his own minor wounds.

              •  Do you understand it was literally a minute (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Demeter Rising

                before officers were on the scene and  two minutes before the first pictures of the wounds were taken?  

                Officer Timothy Smith, the first on the scene, Zimmerman's "back appeared to be wet and was covered in grass, as if he had been laying on his back on the ground. Zimmerman was also bleeding from the nose and back of his head." This was at 7:18- 7:19 pm.  Shot fired at 7:16:56.

                •  Bleeding from the OUTSIDE of his nose (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tonedevil, amsterdam

                  Sure, Zimmerman's back appeared to be wet. He had been in the rain, after all. The question is why didn't he have grass stains and mud if he had been on the ground?

                  As for his injuries, blood was not coming from his nostrils. It was coming from two small cuts on the tip of his nose. The medical records show that his mucous membranes (the inside of his nose) were normal and that he didn't have a deviated septum (common in broken noses).

                  As for his head injuries, any cut to the scalp bleeds profusely because the scalp is rich in capilaries. That's why a hat in cold weather makes you so much warmer than a heavy jacket.

                  As you can see in this picture, if anything, there's a remarkably small amount of blood. It doesn't even reach his neck on the right side, and on the left side, there are four rivulets, two of which end halfway down his head.

                  Notice also the direction the blood is flowing. If he were on his back, how would the blood have flown in the direction? How could it violate the laws of gravity?

                  •  The officer said he had grass on him and again (0+ / 0-)

                    how did the injuries get there?  Between the shot and the officer seeing him we are talking one minute...two tops.  That's all the time we are talking. Maybe even less.

                     It is highly doubtful that he could shoot someone, and then  recover from that and then think fast enough to then bust his face and then think to also hit the back of his head... and do so fast enough that no one saw him...and/or no skin or his own blood on the gun (if we are to presume he used his gun to do it or the recoil did part of it)

                    •  How do you know (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Tonedevil, RobertSF

                      he didn't already have the injuries before the beginning of the altercation?
                      He may have slipped on the wet grass when he was trying to find Trayvon.

                      Again it doesn't matter, the injuries are not consistent with the forensic evidence. Forget about the lack of GZ blood and DNA on Trayvon's clothes and under his fingernails, the cuts are too high up on GZ's skull to touch the ground if his head would've been slammed on the ground. If you take a sphere and bounce it on the ground, only a small portion would catch the impact.

                      •  Ok, so even though we have witnesses who either (0+ / 0-)

                        saw or heard a fight ... enough so that several of them actually called 911 before the shot, and also describe it to police...

                         but you find it more plausible...that the injuries with fresh blood came from him falling once as he was running on wet grass and apparently hitting his head (twice...since there are two places injured) and then he got up and then ran some more and fell again but on his face and nose this time?  Or did he fall on his face the first time and then roll and hit his head in two places during the same fall?

                        If you bounce a perfect sphere on the ground that is perfectly flat and only once...only a small portion could catch impact....yes, mostly likely true.

                          If the bounce happens more than once and/or in a struggle, with both sphere involved and surface involved that are not perfectly round and/or perfectly flat...then you could have more than one place that could be injured, even simultaneously.   Place in the factor of pebbles, rocks, sticks, cracks in concrete, slants, uneven places etc....and there is even more of a chance. This was not the case of a ball being bounced on a perfect slab of polished granite. Thus, you can not measure a head against concrete or the ground...by the outcome of hitting a ball on a perfect slab of polished granite.  They are not the same thing, at all.

                •  We don't know (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tonedevil

                  when or how he got the injuries on the back of his head, we do know the forensic evidence doesn't back up he got them in the way GZ said he did.

    •  Punched first is not a deadly force situation (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, Dopetron, True North, ladybug53

      Unless you're being attacked by a heavyweight boxer or someone you know to be a martial artist, or there's some other reason to believe you're in danger of grave bodily harm (being disabled, for example), getting punched is not grounds for inflicting a gunshot wound.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:48:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  According to whom? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        misslegalbeagle

        Exactly what is and isn't grounds for inflicting a gunshot wound in Florida is not up for you and me--or the jury--to decide from scratch. Grounds for inflicting a gunshot wound are defined by the Florida law of self-defense, which is likely spelled out in a statute, and in umpteen cases that have already been decided by the Florida Supreme Court or Florida Court of Appeals, clarifying what the statute means.

        I have not read the Florida self-defense statute, or the Florida Supreme Court cases interpreting it. Have you?

        Moreover, there have been some reports in the media that Zimmerman claims Trayvon was pounding Zimmerman's head into the ground. If that's what the jury believes, then the jury will likely acquit. It's hard to imagine any statute or court decision that would find lack of self-defense in that situation.

        Yes, I know there are various evidentiary reasons why the prosecution could argue that's not what happened, or that it was Z's threats that got the situation to that point. There is no point in us arguing here about whose evidence is strongest. The jury will probably be presented with evidence supporting more than one possible fact pattern; the jury will decide which of the possible facts actually happened. Or more precisely, whether the facts constituting guilt have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

        Which gets us back to...there's no eyewitness on the early stages of the confrontation, other than Zimmerman.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:04:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  NO, manslaughter conviction is most likely... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, Lying eyes

      the jury is most likely to split the difference here by declining to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder, but instead convicting him on a lesser-included form of manslaughter.  The key fact that create a platform for the jury to identify sufficiently with Martin to not let Zimmerman walk free is that Martin was there in the neighborhood accompanying his father as an invited guest of a resident thereof, up to nothing more sinister than a short trip to a convenience store.  If instead, Martin had been wandering about the neighborhood with no convincing reason to be there, it would be far more likely that Zimmerman would walk.

      Not saying here that Martin's being a black kid will have no influence on the white suburban contingent of the jury; had he instead been a white kid killed in otherwise identical circumstances, it's far more likely the jury would summarily reject Zimmerman's "stand your ground" defense.  However, I predict that the circumstances of Martin being in the neighborhood (with dad, as an invited guest) will cause the jury to balk at buying the notion that Martin committed an unprovoked physical attack on Zimmerman of the sort creating a legitimate "stand your ground" defense to killing Martin.  What most people want from a "stand your ground" type law is freedom from having to worry about vulnerability to legal second-guessing when they are faced with unprovoked serious physical aggression and defend themselves with firearms, but will balk at buying that Zimmerman wasn't the one who needlessly provoked a physical confrontation with an innocent kid.  Martin's dad being with him as invited guests in the neighborhood is going to prove THE crucial fact that prevents the jury from allowing Zimmerman to walk (even with a "stand your ground" defense), even while they may likely also balk at convicting him of the murder in the second degree.

      MY PREDICTION: Manslaughter, with 2 to 4 years actual time served for Zimmerman.

      •  Zimmerman NOT arguing "stand your ground." (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53

        Google it.

        But he is arguing self-defense, to which your points apply about equally.

        See my reply to your other comment above. The prosecution will appeal to the jury's gut; the defense will appeal to the jury's brain. Usually, gut trumps brain. But not always. And sometimes surprising things happen in trial, shifting the equation one way or the other.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:18:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  manslaughter of a minor carries (5+ / 0-)

        an additional penalty in florida.  

        add around 7 years to sentencing.

        Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson. (-9.75 / -9.05)

        by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:11:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Manslaughter in Florida carries mandatory 10 years (5+ / 0-)

        Well, 9.25 years, but that could be significantly increased because Zimmerman used a gun and because Martin was a minor.

        The lowest most people seem to think a manslaughter conviction would get is 15 years.

    •  and the voice recording of trayvon begging for (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      True North, amsterdam, libnewsie

      his life?  where does this come into your analysis?

      Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson. (-9.75 / -9.05)

      by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:09:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  IIRC that's disputed... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, Dr Swig Mcjigger

        IIRC that may well be Zimmerman's voice yelling for help. I'd love to be wrong about the evidence on that, but I don't think I am.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:49:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no, you're right. one expert say it isn't trayvon (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil

          that it's george begging for his life, and another expert, and the rest of the world who's heard it, including sabryna fulton who burst into tears when she heard it, says it's trayvon and couldn't possibly be the only man present with a gun begging for his life.  

          Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson. (-9.75 / -9.05)

          by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:15:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  "Experts" don't agree on that at all (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HeyMikey, Dr Swig Mcjigger

        Seems that 'evidence' is a coin toss on what expert(s) the jurors choose to believe.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:15:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Certain methodologies for voice recognition (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, RobertSF

          and speech recognition are accepted by the scientific community and are both widely used, not only in forensics but in commercial applications. Siri is using speech recognition. Voice recognition is used as a security system for securing access to places or information, where a 5 % false positive or false negative is considered acceptable.

          The frye hearings were a masturbatory ego festival for scientists, where they got to insult their collegues and make statements about how the methodologies "ought" to be applied, not about the validity of the methodologies.

          If your standard is 100% positive recognition of every word spoken, you can accuse your collegues for using a substandard sample. But for forensic purposes, that is not necessary. If the sample allows recognition of 50% of the words spoken in a forensic setting, that is valuable information.

          Same for voice recognition. A short sample or one of less than perfect quality, may be not good enough for a security system to establish if the person speaking should be given access to a place or data. But in a forensic setting where the voice heard on the sample, only needs to be matched to 2 known voices, a 90 % match with one of the known persons and 70 % non match for the other, is significant.
          I made those numbers up to make my point, but those were the arguments made during the hearing, if you get passed all the bullshit.

      •  Separate experts have different opinions on that. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        True North
        •  you're right, one expert says it not trayvon, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil

          that it's george begging for his life, and another expert, and the rest of the world who's heard it, including sabryna fulton who burst into tears when she heard it, says it's trayvon and couldn't possibly be the only man present with a gun begging for his life

          Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson. (-9.75 / -9.05)

          by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:16:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  More like screams (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        libnewsie, Tonedevil

        Does anyone know if Zimmerman provided a voice sample of himself screaming for comparison to what was recorded?

        I think that what we'll see is testimony by experts on each side, and by parents on each side, about whose voice it is.

        And then toward the end of the prosecution's case, they'll play the entire tape for the jury, and have them listen as the screaming goes on and on. The witnesses at the time described how upsetting it was to listen to what seemed like an unending anguished scream.

        And then the jury will make a decision, having heard the screaming and heard the witnesses.

        If they think, by then, that Zimmerman lies about everything, they'll probably conclude it was Trayvon's voice.

    •  You're taking the defendant's word as true (4+ / 0-)
      * Zimmerman walked up to Trayvon and started talking to him.

      * Trayvon punched Zimmerman before Zimmerman made any physical assault on Trayvon.

      That's what Zimmerman says. However, the narratives in which Zimmerman says that is riddled with inconsistencies and contradiction in the retelling, not to mention logical impossibilities. Those were narratives under oath, too.

      Moreover, despite what the media has told us, the witnesses are not unanimous in their claim that Martin was on top of Zimmerman. Some say he was; others say he wasn't. I believe the witnesses who lived around the spot where the killing took place will prove to be of such little value that they probably won't be called as witnesses. No matter which side their testimony favors, the other side will easily be able to get them admit under cross-examination that it was too dark for them to have seen anything reliably.

      Certainly, the law can't be stumped every time the defendant in a homicide without witnesses claims self-defense. Circumstantial evidence, which is basically everything but witness testimony, can be used to put together a compelling theory to which there is no alternative and that leaves no doubt in the minds of the jurors.

      Zimmerman has several problems that are hard to explain away:

      o His superficial injuries are not consistent with the beating he claims to have received.

      o Hollywood notwithstanding, it is virtually impossible to repeatedly slam the head of a conscious person against the ground, especially when that person's hair is so short that it gives the attacker nowhere to grab.

      o Zimmerman has no defensive marks on his hands.

      o Martin's hands show no evidence that they had just pummeled someone's face for a full minute. No Zimmerman DNA or blood on them either.

      o Martin's body was found 41 feet from the the location where Zimmerman claims he was attacked.

      o Zimmerman's flashlight and Martin's phone were found another five and eight feet away from the location where Zimmerman claims he was attacked.

      o The timeline doesn't work. The events described by Zimmerman leave almost three minutes unaccounted for, time that is enough for him to circle around Retreat View Circle and come to Martin from the South.

      o Dee Dee testified that, after running the first time, Martin was outside the condo he was visiting when Zimmerman appeared a second time and gave Martin chase.

      o She also testifies that Martin stopped, turned, and asked why the approaching Zimmerman was following him. In response, Zimmerman yelled in an angry, hostile voice, "What are you doing here?" At that point, there were jostlings sounds, Martin said, "Get off... get off!" and the the phone went dead.

      o Martin was on the phone at the time he was supposedly landing a sucker punch on Zimmerman. Who gets into a planned fight with only one free hand?

      o The path of the bullet and other forensic evidence suggests that both Zimmerman and Martin were standing when the shot was fired.

      •  Mostly circumstantial. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, Dr Swig Mcjigger

        1. I am NOT taking Zimmerman's word for anything. I am NOT defending Zimmerman. I am merely pointing out that the evidence does not (AFAIK, and I've only moderately kept up with it via the mass media) present a rock-solid case for conviction.

        2. You obviously are more familiar with the evidence than I am.

        3. But most of what you list is still circumstantial. Which is important, yes--but not foolproof. Zimmerman has had months to figure out how to reconcile seeming discrepancies in the timeline, or in the location or position of Trayvon's body, etc. Expect him to have something to tell the jury about these points.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:57:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I have followed the case closely (3+ / 0-)

          And I understand that you're not defending Zimmerman.

          However, I'm surprised that you seem to think circumstantial evidence is somehow weaker than direct evidence. I understand that jurors are instructed to give both equal weight.

          Circumstantial evidence can often be more conclusive than eyewitness testimony. Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable. They observe poorly, suffer memory lapses, and are subject to subtle, subconscious biases.

          •  In the jury's discretion. (0+ / 0-)

            Neither circumstantial nor direct evidence automatically trumps the other. The jury is entitled to consider both, and to decide what to believe.

            If the jury decides, "We're not sure what to believe," then they have to acquit.

            Your points about the unreliability of eyewitness testimony are true. But that doesn't mean (a) the judge will let Zimmerman's lawyers tell the jury that, or (b) the jury will believe it even if they hear it. And as I noted above, there may not be any eyewitnesses about the crucial facts.

            None, that is, except Zimmerman. And as I said, Zimmerman will almost certainly tell the jury some tale that (if believed) weaves together all the seeming contradictions in the evidence in some way that covers all the bases for self-defense under Florida law.

            I'm not saying Zimmerman is sure to be acquitted. I'm only saying we should not assume he'll be convicted.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:35:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  What makes you think Zimmerman was punched? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amsterdam, libnewsie, Tonedevil

      Zimmerman certainly has had his story to tell.

      What evidence have you seen, other than Zimmerman yakking away, that he was punched?

      He claims Trayvon broke his nose. But no Zimmerman blood was found on Trayvon's sleeves. EMS guys did not see a broken nose. And so on.

      I'll wait to see what evidence comes in.

      I think that in the last moments of Trayvon's life, Trayvon was sitting there, facing a man with a gun, and Trayvon was screaming, a long and anguished scream, before Zimmerman pulled the trigger.

      What I'd like to see in the trial is the introduction of some evidence that gives us a clearer and truer picture of what happened in those few minutes of a young man's life--not the story of a man trying to talk his way out of trouble.

      •  EMTs who treated him say his nose looked broken (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        True North

        The two EMTs and Paramedic who cleaned up and  assessed Zimmerman's wounds gave statements under oath that they thought his nose was broken and his wounds were significant enough to require stitches:

        FDLE Interview by David Lee of Firefighter/EMT Kevin O'Rourke
        1:45
        Q: Can you give me a narrative of what occurred?

        A: He talks about going to scene and treating Trayvon Martin first. After they determine there's nothing they can do for him they are told there is another patient in the back of a police car.
        go to 3:15
        "we treated him for ah for 1 or 2 lacerations on back of the head and what looked to be a, ah, fractured nose and we cleaned the blood off of his head and face ... and we treated him as best we could and once the bleeding was under control we left him with the SPD and we backed out of the scene and we went home."
        7:14
        Q: As far as Mr. Zimmerman's treatment what specfically did you do?

        A: "What did I do?  If I remember correctly I was ah getting the gauze you know pouring hydrogen peroxide on gauze and giving it to Stacey who was cleaning and I was assisting her in cleaning the wounds."
        9:35
        Q: Can you give a description of what he was wearing?

        A: "A shirt and jeans I guess. I mean I don't remember exactly. A shirt and jeans. I know he had, he was covered in a pretty significant amount of blood.  I can tell you that, and it took a little while to clean him up."
        FDLE Interview of Stacey Livingston
        Same as O'Rourke, she begins her narrative starting from the time she arrived on the scene and what they did to Trayvon.
        4:44 Begins talking about Zimmerman -
        5:20 "Leaning forward he kind of had blood going you know on his face and we just started to clean him up to see what his injuries were.  Um and it looked like he could very well possibly had like a broken nose.  His nose was bloody and swollen. Um cleaned off the back of his head. Because some of the blood had dried so we kind of had to  get it off to see what he actually had. And he had two small maybe an inch like lacerations on the back of his head.  One looked a little deeper than the other but um we just cleaned him off with sterile water and stuff and tried to get him to stop bleeding and um the police officer that was standing there asked us you know does he need to be transported by ambulance?   And we just told him you know we'd be happy to take him. Looks like he may have a broken nose and could possibly need a stitch or two. And um I don't know how the determination was made but I know that we left and it was determined that the police were going to take him to see if he needed stitches.  And that was pretty much all..."
        FDLE Interview of Michael Brandy
        Arrived on scene pretty quick. Responsible for calling Trayvon's death based on heart monitor flat line. Once he made the call they left him the way he was and made their way out of that scene. There was nothing they could do.
        3:58

        Q: Did you treat the other gentleman there Mr. Zimmerman?


        A: "Yes I did...He was sitting in the police car and he was in handcuffs.  I asked officer if he could ah open the door and at least let him swing out so we could evaluate him. He did so. Um, basically just ah evaluate him. He had cuts and abrasions on his face and his nose (unintelligible) had some damage, and he had a cut on the back of his head and we basically just ah cleaned him up."
        4:28

        Q:Did he make any statements to you as to how he received his injuries?


        A: "No he didn't."

        Q: Did  he make any statements at all while you were there?

        A: "No. He was pretty quiet."
        Q: Once you treated Zimmerman what did you do after that?

        A: "...The wounds had stopped bleeding.  Told the officer there that he was going to need to go to the hospital probably and get some stitches.  And the officer said OK and I said do you want us to handle taking him or are you going to take him? He said we'll take him and that's basically all we did."



        5:58

        Q: Can you describe the wounds in detail that you saw on Mr. Zimmerman?  


        A: "He had a definite laceration to the back of the head....It was pretty big.  It was probably about an inch to at least 1/2 inch wide; it was a definite wound back there. He had some abrasions on his forehead. He had a kind of like a (unintelligible?) on his nose, maybe a little swollen. He had abrasions on cheeks and his face."
        6:55

        Q: Did you happen to examine his hands?  


        A: "He was in handcuffs the whole time.  He had blood on his arms and hands so we just kind of basically cleaned him off, took some peroxide and some gauze and just kind of cleaned off to make sure you know he didn't have anything else that wasn't seen and basically just washed his hands."
        I transcribed relevant portions of the audio files linked at the pages above.  Apologies for any weird formatting, don't have time to fix all the paragraph breaks.  
        •  O'Rourke is the driver of the emergency vehicle (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, True North

          he is not a paramedic and not qualified to make a diagnoses.
          The only paramedic that saw GZ that evening was Brandy.

          GZ had what appeared to be 2 puncture wounds on the tip of his nose and what looked like an abrasion near the bridge of his nose. What ever swelling there may have been, that had completely disappeared a couple of hours later, when his photos were taken at the police station.

          GZ refused to go to emergency that evening. The following day, his PA could not establish whether his nose was broken by manually examining his nose. He refused to see a TN specialist.

          •  listen to the audio (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            True North

            At the links provided are the audio statements of the two EMTs who cleaned up Zimmerman: O'Rourke and Livingston.  They tell the cop that it looks like he has a broken nose and that he might need stitches.  (This is probably where Zimmerman overhead them saying he broke his nose).  They offered to take him to the hospital but the cop said the SPD would take care of it.   Zimmerman didn't refuse the ambulance ride at that point. The cop refused it for him.  The cops later asked him a few times if he needed to go to the ER and he said no and that he wasn't sure what to do.  (I think this was in Serino's report and/or officer T. Smitb)

            I know the paramedics aren't qualified to make a diagnosis and that's why "broken nose" wasn't in the EMS report.  However, these people were all eyewitnesses at the scene and have probably taken numerous calls to bar fights or domestic violence situations where they have seen many broken noses.  This can all be established on the witness stand.   They will be allowed to offer their lay opinion based on their first hand exam of Zimmerman and their prior experiences and the jury can decide if they are believable or not.  

            Having some random person testify what they saw in a picture on the Internet is not going to be nearly as convincing as what the EMTs say and of course it's not going to be as convincing as a doctor holding up an xray showing the fracture lines.    So lets say the x-ray and the MD are 100% proof of broken nose.  Based on their stories I would give the EMTs a 75-80% chance of correctly assessing the broken nose and since two of them corroborate the same story the probability goes up to 90% (at least in my mind).  

            Lots of the facts in the case are going to turn this way.  In most instances you won't have that ironclad 100% proof of something that happened.   So you have to build the case where many facts and testimony add up together to get you closer to that 100%.  But it will never be perfect.  That's why the jury has a hard job to do.  

            Finally, why did the FDLE interview the Fire Dept. and ask their opinions of Zimmerman's injuries if the information wasn't relevant or dependable?

            •  When I read your... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              amsterdam

              statistical analyses of the likelihood of the EMTs being correct I realized where the old saying 67% of all statistics are made up on the spot came from.

              This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

              by Tonedevil on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:23:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I said that was in my mind (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tonedevil

                I'm not trying to define an absolute here.  What I mean to say is that you, and most importantly, every jury member is free to assign their own weight to the evidence and testimony on a scale that goes from 0 to 100% certainty.  
                If you have good reason to believe that the EMTs are lying and protecting Zimmerman - which can be elicited in cross-exam or via some other evidence - then the percentages obviously go down.  Maybe it was their first day on the job and they've never treated a patient in their life.  That would also lower their credibility IMO(!).

                I don't think the prosecution is going to spend a whole lot of time trying to discredit them because the value of confirming the nose was broken isn't going to decide the case one way or the other.  Again this is my opinion.  

                •  We definitely agree... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Demeter Rising, amsterdam

                  I don't think the prosecution is going to spend a whole lot of time trying to discredit them if it gets to be an issue at all I would say something like 'how did you come to the conclusion that Mr. Zimmerman's nose was broken' is going to be the prosecutions question. That and maybe something about the recommendation for followup treatment.

                  This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

                  by Tonedevil on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:40:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  thanks (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tonedevil, amsterdam

              All of the comments here have been helpful.

              I saw the EMT report online, with nothing about a broken nose. i haven't listened to audio.

              Yep, they can come in and testify about what they saw, and their conclusions. Qualified paramedics can. It doesn't really matter what conclusions are drawn by a driver who isn't a qualified paramedic, no matter how many bar fights and broken noses he or she has seen.

              If paramedics are writing up a report at the scene of a violent death, I think they should include broken noses (or possible broken noses) in their written reports. They should also be assertive in telling the patient and the cops in whose care he is that he should go to ER forthwith, and note that in the report.

              You can't make them go, if they don't want to. I don't think the police should be questioning somebody until after he or she has been checked out by a doctor, if there is a possible broken bone.

              And, as we see in this case, some clarity on what the defendant's actual injuries were, as determined by a doctor, are beneficial for the course of justice.

            •  The EMTs already compromised their credibility... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tonedevil, amsterdam

              ...when Kevin O'Rourke testified at Zimmerman's bond hearing the Zimmerman's head was 45% covered in blood when pictures taken before the EMTs arrived show that such was clearly not the case.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (135)
  • Community (63)
  • 2016 (52)
  • Environment (42)
  • Elections (38)
  • Media (36)
  • Republicans (36)
  • Hillary Clinton (32)
  • Barack Obama (30)
  • Iraq (30)
  • Jeb Bush (30)
  • Law (29)
  • Climate Change (29)
  • Culture (28)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (27)
  • Civil Rights (26)
  • Labor (21)
  • Economy (21)
  • LGBT (17)
  • Science (17)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site