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View Diary: Is Zimmerman's Lawyer Guilty of Badgering A Witness? (161 comments)

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  •  prosecution took a risk (8+ / 0-)

    putting her on the stand. she didn't call police. she didn't attend the funeral. she can't read her own handwriting and she admits to lying under oath in the past.

    She's the prosecution's best witness, and the defense is making her look like an illiterate, bumbling, lying fool.

    •  She can't read cursive writing, she had someone (14+ / 0-)

      else actually write the letter for her.  

      If I was a woman on that jury, I would be pretty darn tired of the defense attorney; he is not that good, and is making her repeat and repeat, even after the judge made him move on to another question.  The girl was getting annoyed but did a subtle job of expressing it, and kept answering his questions.  I don't think she is well educated, but the fact that she is admitting using a different name, and that she can't read the cursive makes her seem very relate-able to me.

      And the old white man lawyer looks like skeletor.  Maybe it is not as obvious in person, but the TV lighting is doing him no favors.

      If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. & http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Okiciyap

      by weck on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:01:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and... (14+ / 0-)

        I don't think education level (or literacy) bear weight that makes someone a "bad" witness.

        Are they teaching cursive anymore?  It seems all the kids are using computers these days for reports and homework!!

        All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

        by kishik on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:07:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  many students no longer learn cursive, they print (13+ / 0-)

          and type their answers, when they aren't busy "bubbling" on standardized tests.

          If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. & http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Okiciyap

          by weck on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:14:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  sadly... (6+ / 0-)

            I seem to remember how I couldn't wait to learn cursive!! (third grade)... uh.  that was long ago!  ;-)

            but that answers my question though about why she may not be able to read cursive.

            All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

            by kishik on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:17:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm thinking cursive was developed to keep the (11+ / 0-)

              quill from dripping ink, it stopped making sense in classrooms in the 50-60's when many folks went to ball point pens.  But education changes slowly.

              It is a beautiful way to send a message and lots of folks still need to sign papers and checks, but holding on to cursive as an artform is where I see it going;  like developing your own photographs or carving chess pieces from wood.

              I think teachers can read bad printing more easily than badly executed cursive writing.  I don't hear too many lamentations, and they love when students print out their work!

              If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. & http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Okiciyap

              by weck on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:27:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  heh... (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                weck, JoanMar, blueoasis, Tinfoil Hat, Joieau

                that is something I never thought about (quill ink dripping)!  But makes perfect sense.  Besides which, during the quill cursive writing, who in the world could read that?  the f's looked like s's!   ;-)

                But yes, I can definitely see how going through homework and reports that are typed out on a page (via computer) makes it much easier on teacher's eyes.  And kid's printing makes it much easier, too.

                I started doing print-only in my homework in high school (pre-computer days).  I think my teachers were probably grateful for this.

                All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

                by kishik on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:36:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "We hold thefe truthf to be felf-evident.. say, (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  blueoasis, JoanMar, Tonedevil

                  Tom, all of your s's look like f's"  

                  (from some Stan Freeberg routine about the American Revolution).

                  If anyone knows a font that will actually display the 18th century "S" let me know.

                  On a serious note, the fact that the witness quickly admitted to and explained the discrepancy (was she a minor or not) and the lie (whatever it was) was in her favor. She was not defensive and comes across as truthful.

                •  Actually... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JoanMar

                  ...the f-like-an-s thing was based on positioning, and a holdover from romanic writing.  I think that the advent and spread of set type eventually got rid of it -- typesetters would rather have one s than two to keep track of, and it thus fell out of style and was ditched.

              •  And, dear God, surgeons using script = yikes nt (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JoanMar

                We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

                by Samer on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 12:42:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  My 14 yo learned cursive (8+ / 0-)

          in elementary school and used nothing but for some five years.  But, yeah, it's not as widely taught as it used to be, and most kids move straight on to print.

          NPR this morning in summing up yesterday's testimony said Jeantel had done a pretty decent job defending herself against West's assaults, though she did come close to losing her temper a couple of times.  Her false statements on the initial deposition don't look good, and the defense team may ultimately be able to use them to impeach her testimony before the jury, but a lot of what she says is corroborated by other witnesses and the physical evidence, so it still looks to me like the defense has an uphill battle.

          And you do get the sense the prosecutor is at the top of his game, while the defense is not.  Here's hoping they throw the key away on Zimmerman when this is all over.

          When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

          by litho on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:16:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I was surprised (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kishik, weck, JoanMar, Joieau, mimi

          at the poor handwriting of third graders I worked with. Cursive was non-existent. I also worked with kindergartners and they were never given actual practice with their handwriting. I finally asked the teacher if I could teach it during the "free period" of group time.  

          Be well, ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

          by jennybravo on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:50:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  i don't have a cite for this, but i know someone (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JoanMar, Joieau

            who is a big maven of cursive and its different styles.

            she told me once that there's a study that people use more brain cells, whenthey write instead of type (and also when they use chopsticks over forks)

            i definitely people lose a sense of engagement and connection from typing that they have when writing.  

            i'm shocked to hear it's not taught anymore, at least under the justification that it is faster than printing.

            is it really such a big deal to teach it?

            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 27, 2013 at 10:34:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, when you look at the things that (4+ / 0-)

              are and are not taught (funding, time allocation, new stuff like technology), it is hard to make the argument that teaching cursive is at the top of the list.

              So many things about our nation's children's education are messed up.

            •  I took to printing my work (6+ / 0-)

              in the 7th grade, when one of my teachers got all freaked out by my English course notebook being written entirely backwards. The flow backwards or forwards is the same, I could write as easily in either direction, so I did. Helped a lot at home for keeping my musings private from far too many nosy sisters.

              When the teacher demanded one day that we turn in our notes (I hadn't known she was going to do that), she really did get all strange. I told her it was perfectly legible - in my usual excellent cursive - if she'd just hold it up to a mirror. She must have thought I was some kind of witch.

              So I took to printing, while all the other kids in class were required to write longhand. She never marked me down for it either... §;o)

            •  It's not so much more brain cells... (2+ / 0-)

              ...as it is engaging different parts of the brain.  Writing engages more of the ... right side?  The artistic/creative part, while typing is more of a left-brain activity.  (I may have gotten the lobes reversed here.)

            •  well, when we tried to get our home-schooler to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JoanMar

              learn cursive, he was already playing with a Mavis B speed-typing program on the computer, teaching himself to touch-type. he could REALLY not see the point of the cursive.

              he can sign his name in cursive (it looks like a 7yo); and says, yeah, he can read cursive "vaguely" -- I'm always real careful to be as clear as possible when I leave him notes...

              his printing and numbers are fairly legible but quite small, and not terribly uniform in size. makes math homework a thrill.

              we also ran into a certain amount of resistance because our (parental) letter forms were not EXACTLY the ones in his instruction book (98%?) and he'd get REAL worked up when we didn't use the "right" ones ourselves! real rigid period, apparently.

              one of these days we're gonna teach him a simple calligraphic hand, maybe he'll find that more artistically pleasing, as he does a LOT of drawing.

              "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

              by chimene on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:55:04 PM PDT

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      •  My reaction? White privilege writ large. (16+ / 0-)

        I have only seen segments of her testimony from yesterday that were shown on Lawrence O'Ds show last night, but I came away feeling that she was being battered by the attorney because she didn't speak "right" or react "right".  I actually think he overreached a bit when asking her why she hadn't attended the funeral; her response that she didn't want to see the body struck me as very natural, particularly for someone so young.

        My only concern is that with a largely white jury, they may be reacting from their privilege ("she's not articulate like me; she uses slang in a formal setting") rather than from their shared humanity.

        A reminder to myself when I feel discouraged: "Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little." Plutarch

        by DoReMI on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:10:05 AM PDT

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      •  I misunderstood that part (0+ / 0-)

        My mistake, i apologize for that mistake.

    •  I beg to disagree. (10+ / 0-)
      and the defense is making her look like an illiterate, bumbling, lying fool.
      This perfectly illustrates the problem with the makeup of the jury.
      People are saying that she comes across as a very believable witness and you see a bumbling, illiterate idiot.
      Very telling.

      Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

      by JoanMar on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:05:21 AM PDT

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      •  How so? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        weck, johnny wurster, Victor Ward, VClib
        This perfectly illustrates the problem with the makeup of the jury.
        People are saying that she comes across as a very believable witness and you see a bumbling, illiterate idiot.
        Very telling.
        I have absolutely NO dog in this fight - I happened across the trial coverage while trying to find coverage of either SB5 or the DOMA ruling - so, admittedly, I may have been ticked off by the 'gavel to gavel' coverage that was going on

        But - the tiny little bit of coverage that I saw - I didn't see the witness as particularly effective (and Yes, I agree - the prosecutor was kind of being a douche bag ... ) but the chyron that I saw was that this was a 'star witness' or some such thing -- what is telling, imo, is that if she IS a star witness - then I may be more concerned about he prosecution than any comment that I have about the witness

        "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

        by josephk on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:13:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the tiny little bit of coverage that I saw (15+ / 0-)

          Say no more.

          He's doing his job in trying to confuse her and discredit her testimony, she is clearly not an educated woman but she is going a fantastic job and her story is not changing despite his attempts.

          Is she refined and highly educated? No.  Is she credible?  Absolutely.

          He's trying his damnedest to crack the nut and she hasn't cracked.

        •  keep in mind... (11+ / 0-)

          the defense started on this witness yesterday... and now she's called back to the stand today.  We're not talking about the few minutes you saw, but hours she's been up on the stand.  Which also means hours that the jury and judge have had to listen.

          So that's the perspective from which many of us are commenting.

          and honestly!!!  headlines by media are meant to catch your attention somehow.  She is an important witness to the prosecution because she was the last person to speak to Trayvon.  And her account is also supported by other's accounts in their testimony - so I don't think the prosecution is laying all their eggs in one basket.

          All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

          by kishik on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:41:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fair enough (9+ / 0-)

            I probably should have avoided commenting on a matter that I literally have virtually no reasonable perspective ...

            "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

            by josephk on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:51:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  well... (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              weck, JoanMar, jennybravo, blueoasis, Tonedevil

              snark or not, of course you have a perspective.

              But based on your specific comments, they weren't reasonable in the context of the whole of the topic (meaning the current witness's performance on the stand).

              I saw some of her testimony live yesterday.  Didn't have the opportunity to watch much, but I happen to be able today.  I was going to turn it off because the defense attorney's tactics were driving me crazy, but I decided to leave it on.

              Following and listening to his repetitive questions and her answers, overall I think she's doing a good job.  And the prosecution also doing a good job in their support of her on the stand.

              All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

              by kishik on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:57:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  We do have a habit of confusing education (10+ / 0-)

                with intelligence.

                Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

                by JoanMar on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:36:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Joan, I watched some today (2+ / 0-)

                  it is being covered in Florida on a few channels and YES
                  he was badgering the witness imo to trip her up.  He asked her the same question over and over and over phrased in different ways.  She is clearly tired and upset and if someone can't remember word for word and in which direction the wind was blowing and that came up.....then prosecution needs to really stop this badgering !!!!  

                  I am quite sure she feels under seige by the defense and people or at least some minorities still feel intimidated by whites going on and on and on with the same question worded a different way.

                  Made me mad.   She seems like some of the typical underprivleged youth in the south... Not un intelligent..just beat down and under educated.

                  We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

                  by Vetwife on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 04:59:22 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  it wasn't snark (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kishik, Tonedevil, Yasuragi

                I truly only caught the briefest snippets while channel surfing for news on a myriad of other topics - and You were right to point out that the jury is sitting there for hour upon hour and has a much different perspective than I have as a peripheral viewer - in that way - my perspective isn't worth much as to the specific question posed in the diary ...

                "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

                by josephk on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 11:08:13 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  ok...but (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tonedevil

                  I still say your perspective does matter.  :)

                  All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

                  by kishik on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 11:10:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Also keep in mind (7+ / 0-)

            That Zimmerman's story is the primary defense.

            These pieces as they weave and hold discredit his testimony.  And while the defense will make issue that she lied under oath remember that Zimmerman has as well regarding his finances.

            If third party witnesses discredit Zimmerman's story the jury has to see that Zimmerman's account is falsified and he has no defense.

        •  Are you in FL? Because I'm in the NE (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JoanMar

          with hundreds of channels, and have to pick it up on livestream on my computer.

          And the Prosecution doesn't write the chyron.  ;)

          "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

          by Yasuragi on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 12:55:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I would be (13+ / 0-)

        totally confused by the defense attorney's badgering if I was on the stand and I have a college degree. The jury may feel that way too.  I would think  that the defense is just twisting her words.  He is going way too far.

        Be well, ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

        by jennybravo on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:20:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  JM -- first of all, thank you so much for this. (5+ / 0-)

        I can't believe how little talk there is of this trial here.  But then... why would I be surprised?

        I think she was quite remarkable, and the disconnect (a chasm of misunderstanding, actually) between Jeantel and West was amazing.  I never had a moment when I couldn't understand her, or grasp what she meant.  Was he deliberately being stupid about her answers to try and discredit her?  (I mean, obviously, yes, but... was he really at all having so much trouble?)

        Yeah, she admitted to two lies, and gave the reasons, with which I completely sympathize.  But she held her ground, stuck to the story (any jury will member will recognize that as truth, I think), and contained her agitation.

        A lot of tweets were disgusting about her, but later the mood seemed to change (on most -- not all) and there was a fresh sense of respect and appreciation for her testimony.  And several folks in the courtroom tweeted that the jury was "riveted" by her testimony.  

        "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

        by Yasuragi on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 12:54:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would think they would be riveted. I hope they (3+ / 0-)

          were.  It's as close as anyone can get to a 17 year old kid's last minutes.  When I heard her quote Trayvon as saying, "Get off. Get off" -- I felt such a tangle of reactions.  On the one hand, I felt almost triumphant. I hadn't heard those words as part of the cell phone call before, and it seemed (and seems) to me that it's a powerful testimony to Zimmerman's aggression, and words that may help get some limited justice for Trayvon.

          At the same time it was just sickening. I felt sick.

          I'm surprised this witness has been as composed and capable as she is.  Going through these memories over and over has got to be really hard.

          --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

          by Fiona West on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 02:59:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Good that the mood on twitter changed. (2+ / 0-)

          It didn't change much on television.
          The racial divide was glaringly obvious.

          Thanks, Yas.

          Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

          by JoanMar on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 04:37:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  ive been on a jury (0+ / 0-)

        if someone on the stand admits to lying on the stand before, i'm not going to trust anything they say now unless it can be backed up by a second source.

        for all know she told the 100% truth this time around, but if i were a juror i'd have a hard time putting my decision in her testimony.

    •  I disagree (9+ / 0-)

      she's making him look foolish. He tries to switch who he's talking about to confuse her and she calls him out & corrects him. He's putting words in her mouth and she's saying that is not what I said. It's really getting old.
      Point taken though  - I feel sorry for her life circumstances, but I don't think I would weigh much into her testimony

      Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

      by hulibow on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:21:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But what do they think she's lying about? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JoanMar, Tonedevil

      I'm a bit uncertain what the point of asking her these questions is. Are they claiming Martin wasn't actually killed? They know what time he was shot and where, so I'm unclear what the point of the questions about grass and times, etc are about.

      Money doesn't talk it swears.

      by Coss on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 11:34:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My take... (0+ / 0-)

        The defense needs to show that Martin attacked Zimmerman, causing Zimmerman to have to shoot him in self-defense. Jeantel is testifying that Zimmerman attacked Martin. She says the last thing she heard was Martin saying "Get off me. Get off me." The defense is saying that she didn't say that originally and only added that to her story later, when the Martin family attorney interviewed her and planted that in her mind. If she really did hear Martin say "Get off me" that would take away Zimmerman's claim of self-defense.

        The defense also made a big point about Martin asking Zimmerman why he was following him. He kept characterizing that as Martin "confronting" or challenging Zimmerman, rather than just asking him. Same reason, if he can show Martin was the aggressor, (or even just introduce reasonable doubt that Martin might have been the aggressor) then Zimmerman gets off.

        •  Tough sell. (2+ / 0-)

          Male adult grabs gun with live round in the chamber and chases after an unarmed boy in his car for no actual reason.  Then the boy supposedly fights back and is shot to death, and the armed adult is the victim?

          Why didn't Martin have the right to self defense? I'm totally baffled by this logic and can't imagine anyone using this defense if the races were reversed.

          If someone comes at me with a gun and I defend myself with my hands and get killed for it, I'm to blame?

          Money doesn't talk it swears.

          by Coss on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 03:15:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Since when do we have literacy and legibility test (4+ / 0-)

      rules for being a witness in a trial to something she heard. The view from here says West is both attempting to abuse the witness and also warning all other possible witnesses that they can expect the same sort of crap. This is also addressed IMO to future witnesses in West cases, not just this one. Witnessing while black is now a problem again.

      •  oh jeez (0+ / 0-)

        if it was a white middle aged man who couldn't read cursive or had lied under oath before he'd be getting the same treatment. She's the prosecution's "star" witness. Any "star" witness gets that treatment in a murder trial.

        the defense's job is to discredit her testimony. I doubt it has anythin to do with her being black.

        •  i don't. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JoanMar

          racism pervades this case.  it is in every single nook and cranny of this case.

          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 27, 2013 at 11:33:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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