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  •  And I, for one, simply don't care who threw... (95+ / 0-)

    ...the first punch.

    Nobody knows who threw the first punch.
    If Trayvon were alive today, and were standing trial for assault, then it might be somehow relevant to something.

    But in the context of some creep stalking an unarmed teenager with a loaded gun, and then proceeding to shoot him dead, I can't for the life of me understand why anybody would even be interested in knowing who threw the first punch, or how it would be in any way relevant to anything of importance.

    Stop the NRA and the NSA
    Repeal the Patriot Act and the 2nd Amendment

    by dream weaver on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:45:59 AM PDT

      •  NSA probably has the call (29+ / 0-)

        The Martin family should request it for use in the civil suit.  No, I'm not kidding.  Furthermore, why doesn't Eric Holder "monitor" this recording and see if there is proof of a hate crime in the recording?  For all we know, the racial epithets by Zimmerman could have continued right up until the moment he shot the teenager dead.  I am completely against the NSA practice of recording domestic phone calls, but we certainly know they are doing it, and it's not right for those calls to be available for government use, but not by the Martins, who pay the taxes that fund the NSA.

      •  And the prosecution has some blame there (16+ / 0-)

        as to her lack of credibility.

        They put her in the position where she told her story, under oath, with the victim's mother sitting right there.  That's no way to take the statement of a witness.  That resulted in two times that she admittedly lied under oath, and that was the first time she came up with hearing "get off, get off" (in prior tellings, she said she heard the bump and then the phone went off), so that's automatically going to be suspect.

        The jury is instructed on several things they can take into consideration in assessing the credibility of a witness, and the prosecution apparently did not prepare Ms. Jeantel to be perceived as a credible witness.  Almost anyone who watched here testimony, and was familiar with jury instructions on gauging a witness' credibility, could tell that the jury would not find her credible.  

        •  She did not look well-prepared (5+ / 0-)

          I'm not sure if it was because she was uncooperative with prosecutors or if the prosecutors simply did a poor job.

          •  This was a show trial (4+ / 0-)

            I suspect the prosecutor never intended to win. She got her marching orders and did her job, which was to lose the case.

            •  I hope you're not implying that she also wanted (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              patbahn, Dr Swig Mcjigger

              to lose the case, because there's no justificatiopn for making that accusation.  

              --------------------- “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 Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 06:53:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I imagine she WANTED to win (0+ / 0-)

                but also wanted to keep her job. I believe she was ordered to lose and therefore did so.

                This was an easy case to win. From jury selection to evidence presentation, to refutation of defense points, there was no reason to lose. It should have been a slam dunk.

                That it wasn't, speaks volumes.

                •  That's a heavy charge to make without a shred (0+ / 0-)

                  of evidence other than "I believe."  Not valid.

                  --------------------- “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 Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 12:21:01 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I totally agree with you (3+ / 0-)

              From overcharging to poor witness prep. Would it have been too much to have a black prosecutor question Jeantel? How much of a stretch would it have been to take time to humanize her, walk through her friendship. How about repeat the salient points of her answers so that the jury and everyone else could understand what she was saying. But I suspect that the prosecutors treated Jeantel the way they treat most black witnesses-dismissively-and made no attempt to show her in a different light.

              What is so heart breaking is neither Rachel or Trayvon are accorded the latitude of being young, immature, teenagers. Jeantel looks older than her age, but her personality betrays a pampered protected child. According to Juror B37, --"that's the way they live"-never once did she sympathize with the position that Zimmerman placed Trayvon in. Indeed, she intimates that maybe Trayvon should not have been out so late-as in 6-7 in the evening.

              My son's white grandmother lives in Florida in a more tony area than Sanford. He is her only grandchild. He has just graduated college, clean cut, well mannered, nice guy. He wears hoodies. But he won't be visiting Grandma in Florida for awhile. We can't take the chance that someone might find a cum laude graduate from a highly selective school threatening at 6 in the evening.

              Keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce.---Molly Ivins

              by never forget 2000 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 07:51:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The prosecutors did a poor job (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MartyM, True North, never forget 2000

            They really didn't want to win.

            Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

            by splashy on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 02:41:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Are you referring to her statement (0+ / 0-)

          of March 19, 2012 (approximately three weeks after the shooting) where she mentioned that TM said "get off"?

          http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/...

          •  She did not. Read your own link. (7+ / 0-)
            The letter represents only the third statement by the key witness made public thus far. The state's filing denied any misconduct and accused the defense of grandstanding.

            The one-page letter largely corroborates Witness 8's other accounts of what she heard on the phone: Trayvon was returning from the store when he noticed a man following him and fled.

            Trayvon "turned around and said why are you following me!!" the girl's letter says. "Then I heard him fall, then the phone hung up," she writes, adding she thought "it was just a fight. Then I found out this tragic story."

            That was the third time she told the story of (1) "Why are you following me" (2) a noise (a fall, a bump -- she described it different ways); (3) then the phone hung up.

            On April 2, 2012, she added something new between items (2) and (3): that she heard someone say "get off, get off."  That's inconsistent with the first three times she told the story, one of which was the ABC interview and one of which was the writing.

            In any witness, such a significant change in the story is going to raise credibility issue.  Because that April 2, 2012 interview was where she was sitting next to Martin's mother and lied under oath, that increases the credibility issue.

            •  Coffetalk (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              amsterdam
              That's inconsistent with the first three times she told the story, one of which was the ABC interview and one of which was the writing.

              such a significant change in the story is going to raise credibility issue.

              You mean like the boat load of inconsistencies in GZ stories ? O feel ya sister , if we are going by CREDIBILITY , then George  " I GOT MY ASS WHOOPED BY A KID" Zimmerman  should be on death row

              Jenteal was not INTERVIEWED by ABC NEWS , and she explained why she stumbled  

              But her turn on the witness stand, which will continue Thursday, was not without its problems. Don West, a lawyer for Mr. Zimmerman, attacked her credibility during cross-examination by pointing out inconsistencies with her past statements.

              He also got her to acknowledge that she rushed through an interview last year with Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Martin family, in which she first spoke about her phone call with Mr. Martin, and that she had sacrificed accuracy in the process. ABC News, which had been invited by Mr. Crump to listen in on the conversation, later broadcast portions of it. Still, her account on Wednesday of that final call captivated the courtroom.

              http://www.nytimes.com/...

              I am sure GZ could have taken the stand for 8 hours , got everything wrong , and still would have walked

              CREDIBILITY , that is hilarious

               

              Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

              by Patango on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 01:30:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Do you want to discuss the (0+ / 0-)

              changing statements from your "reliable" witness, John Good? John Good changed his statements from, there was this black guy sitting on top of a guy in a red top, raining blows MMA style on the guy at the bottom, while the guy on the bottom was screaming for help
              to
              I couldn't tell race, the guy on the bottom was wearing red or white, it is possible the guy on top was just holding the other down, I couldn't hear or see actual hitting, I couldn't tell who was screaming.

              He also began to walk away from who was on top in the second position, but just ended that sentence with "I only watched for 10 seconds and it was really dark".

              I find it telling that all the other witnesses are put down as hysterical or not reliable, especially since they were all women, and all agreed they either saw GZ on top of Trayvon, during the altercation or immediately following the altercation, or heard from Trayvon that he was being followed again and heard Trayvon's microphone dislodge after hearing someone bumping something.

              Let me list those witnesses again.
              Jane Surdyka
              Jeanee Manalo
              Selma Mora
              Selena Bahadoor, she saw what she thought was "the body" and no other person, when she looked the second time, which was the at the same time Selma was watching. She described the body being face down, but not completely flat on the ground, and wearing GZ's clothes.
              Rachel Jeantel

              This jury and the prosecution was a disgrace. They ignored all these witnesses, while buying John Good's 10 seconds of fame, without questioning.

        •  I feel really sorry for Ms Jeantel (0+ / 0-)

          She did not ask for any of this, and she only made mistakes  any of us would have made.

          She deserved none of the vitriol.

          However.

          She testified that Marin tikd her he was in the undercover mailbox area for 30-40 minutes, sheltering from the rain.

          If that were true Zimmerman would not have been able to see him from the street.

          She also tstified that Martin said he was right outside his father's girlfriend's house.

          And yet he ended up at the other end of the complex about 2 minuted later.

          According to her testimony and understanding, the fight took place south right outside his father's girlfriend's place.

          But that was not the case.

          I think it was more the case of Martin misleading Jeantel than Jeantel lying.

      •  Later she said that she believes Trayvon hit first (4+ / 0-)

        Not as part of the trial, but in an interview.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

        •  When Zimmerman tried to grab him (9+ / 0-)

          that was her theory and I find it pretty likely.

          •  Which would be the first assault, by GZ (8+ / 0-)

            ..."assault" does not mean physical contact.  If I make a move to threaten you, that's assault.  If I have a gun in my hand, that's ADW.

            America, we can do better than this...

            by Randomfactor on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 12:57:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you, a timely reminder of the difference (5+ / 0-)

              between assault and battery.  GZ assaulted TM as soon as he started to follow him threateningly.

              •  Not exactly correct. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pi Li, Catesby, VClib, patbahn
                follow him threateningly.
                It depends what you mean by "threateningly."  Following someone with a gun pointed at them is assault.  Following someone, looking at them in a very suspicious way, and saying something to them is NOT assault.  That's true even if the person you are following is frightened of you.  If you don't show some threat of violence, it's not an assault.   Here's Florida's law on assault, which is pretty typical:
                784.011 Assault.—
                (1) An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.
                There needs to be an actual threat of violence, either by word or by act (like pointing a gun at someone), coupled with the apparent ability to do in the next couple of seconds, the violent act you are threatening (If I say, "I'm going to shoot you," and I don't have a gun anywhere near me, that's not an assault.)  
                •  I'll say this again (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  greengemini

                  Try following me.  I dare you.

                  Drive after me in the car.  Then, get out and see if you can follow me home on foot.  Also, pack a gun.

                  I bet I can get you the fuck arrested for doing it.  Of course, I'm white and male, so the police will actually do something for me.  Unfortunately, Treyvon Martin was not considered worth doing shit for by his police.

            •  TM "Stood His Ground" (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sukeyna, splashy, MartyM, greengemini

              against an unknown aggressor with NO legal authority to do anything. Of course SYG laws were never intended to allow black people to do anything at all. They were INTENDED to allow white people to shoot black people with impunity.

              So far they seem to have worked perfectly.

              And had GZ assaulted a teenager whiter than he is, to allow whiter people to shoot less-white Hispanics with impunity.

              Had TM been white, GZ would be on death row right now.

        •  On Piers Morgan very articulate (8+ / 0-)
          PIERS MORGAN: But you -- but you felt that there was no doubt in your mind from what Trayvon was telling you on the phone about the creepy ass cracka and so on, that he absolutely believed that George Zimmerman, this man, you didn't know who he was at the time, but this man, was pursuing him?

          RACHEL JEANTEL: Yes.

          MORGAN: And he was freaked out by it?

          JEANTEL: Yes. Definitely after I say may be a rapist, for every boy, for every man, every -- who's not that kind of way, seeing a grown man following them, would they be creep out? So you have to take it -- as a parent, when you tell your child, when you see a grown person following you, run away, and all that.

          Would you go stand there? You going to tell your child stand there? If you tell your child stand there, we're going to see your child on the news for missing person.

          Jeantel also addressed the gay rapist theory later in the interview:

          RACHEL JEANTEL: "People need to understand, he didn't want that creepy ass cracka going to his father or girlfriend's house to go get -- mind you, his little brother is there. Mind you I told you, I told Trayvon, [Zimmerman] might have been a rapist."

          Who is mighty ? One who turns an enemy into a friend !

          by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 12:32:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeesh. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib, MartyM, Pi Li, Dr Swig Mcjigger

            I am glad the defense didn't try to play up a "Trayvon/gay panic" narrative.

          •  I'm sure she's a nice girl, but I wouldn't say (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WisVoter

            "very articulate," even on Piers Morgan. Yes, she came off better there than on the witness stand, but she is not very articulate.

            The prosecution must have been delighted to have her on the stand. Besides the fact that the jury completely discounted her testimony (except for parts that the defense twisted to bolster their own storyline, like her statement that Trayvon was nearly home) her presence helped ensure that the jurors would not be able to envision Trayvon as their own son.

            She was very "other" to these jurors. Her appearance, her attitude, her bad grammar, her general inarticulateness hurt not only herself but hurt the image of Trayvon to the jurors. If this was the friend he spent the day talking with, he no longer appeared to be a nice middle class boy on a horse or a ski trip to them. It became credible to believe he was an ignorant inner city thug.

            If he had been on the phone with his brother, who is an articulate young man, the phone call testimony could have made a real difference.

            I'm not trying to pile onto Rachel. And I hope she does take full advantage of the scholarship that was offered to her. But looking at the trial objectively, her testimony hurt Trayvon.

            Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

            by Happy Days on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 01:10:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "Articulate"? Seriously? (8+ / 0-)

              Why is it that some people find it so unusual when a black person is "articulate"?  Do you have any idea how that sounds?

              As for this:

              She was very "other" to these jurors. Her appearance, her attitude, her bad grammar, her general inarticulateness hurt not only herself but hurt the image of Trayvon to the jurors. If this was the friend he spent the day talking with, he no longer appeared to be a nice middle class boy on a horse or a ski trip to them. It became credible to believe he was an ignorant inner city thug.
              You got the bolded part right, and then the rest is basically just an endorsement of the jury's racist take on both the victim and this witness.  Rachel Jeantel was deliberately "othered" by the defense.  She was even asked whether she could understand English -- by a lawyer who had been speaking to her in English for months.  

              I could go on, but I doubt it's worth my time.

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 01:28:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not an endorsement. Just an analysis. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                never forget 2000, Mark Mywurtz

                It's a shame that the jurors couldn't look past her speech patterns and demeanor to the content of her testimony, but they couldn't.

                You obviously misunderstood me.  I do not find it at all unusual for a black person to be articulate.  All of the black people I know are extremely articulate. But Rachel Jeantel is not.

                I watched the trial live, and my heart was in my stomach when she testified, because I knew it was hurting the prosecution's case with this jury. The stenographer was flummoxed, couldn't understand what Rachel was saying and kept asking her to repeat her statements.  This did not happen with any other witnesses.

                She was not merely "othered" by Don West. She was already "other" during Bernie de la Rionda's questioning for the prosecution.

                I don't endorse the jury's take. But I am not surprised that a group of middle class women could not relate to her.  

                Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

                by Happy Days on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 03:50:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Hell, I've known a ton of black people (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jocelyn9596, Happy Days

                from all over the world.

                She was inarticulate.  There's no doubt about that.

                However, she came across as a basically honest person, and her later interviews have shown her to be of a generous and forgiving nature.

                •  I think Rachel did the best that she was able to (3+ / 0-)

                  while on the witness stand.  Hearing after the trial that West deposed her for over 9 hours easily explains her trepidation and inability to speak as easily and naturally as she did on Piers Morgan's show.

                  West was trying his best to demean her, treating her as if she was unable to understand the most basic of questions.  After deposing her for 9 hours, he had the fucking gall to ask her if she had difficulty understanding English!  He did this with the intent to upset her, there's not a doubt in my mind about his actions.  

                  Rachel's testimony came across as authentic IMO.  For a defense team that kept repeating that if anyone tells the same story over and over again without any changes, then they're lying, thus proving, in their minds and hopefully the jurors, GZ must be telling the truth.  If Rachel wasn't giving the exact same story, however, she's lying or has been coached.  If I was on the jury, I would have had a difficult time with West's attitude whether I believed GZ or not.  What a rude SOB!

            •  What? you sound like a racist (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              standingup

              "her presence helped ensure that the jurors would not be able to envision Trayvon as their own son."

              What the hell does that mean? On what planet do you even think that would happen with the jury made up of Sanford/Seminole FL?

              "It became credible to believe he was an ignorant inner city thug."

              Did it to you? I mean that only works if you're a'ready racist right wing conservative.

              •  It's amazing how people jump to conclusions (0+ / 0-)

                No wonder there's no honest discussion of race.

                It's just too hard for people to listen to what other people are saying. People feel attacked even though they're not, and get defensive.

                No, I do not think Trayvon was an ignorant inner city thug.

                And following is what I mean by the statement "her presence helped ensure that the jurors would not be able to envision Trayvon as their own son.":

                - The early photos that came out of Trayvon--on a ski trip, in a football uniform, on a horse, on vacation, etc--were images that white, middle class America can identify with. They can look at those images and activities and think, "that could be my son." They can relate to it.

                - But when they see a young woman, with Rachel's demeanor, her grammar, her diction, her way of expressing herself, they can no longer relate to that. And, frankly, they look down on it. Therefore it changes their opinion of Trayvon and makes him less relatable, too.

                 

                Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

                by Happy Days on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 04:06:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  How about his brother? (4+ / 0-)

                  Calm, soft-spoken, well-spoken, and educated. A mother who's educated and been in the same job for 24 years? They were most indicative of Trayvon. The prosecution needed Rachel Jeantel to testify because she was Trayvon's voice. And no matter how much Mr. West badgered her, she didn't change her story. And that bastard tortured her. But, as she said when interviewed later, her parents taught her to treat adults with respect. She's obviously aware of her weaknesses, but she has a kind heart and didn't want to let Trayvon or his family down. May no one ever use your weaknesses against you.

                  •  Yes, Trayvon's brother and parents reflect very (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Catesby, greengemini

                    well on what kind of person Trayvon must have been.  As I said in my original comment

                    If he had been on the phone with his brother, who is an articulate young man, the phone call testimony could have made a real difference.
                    Trayvon needed someone who could speak effectively for him. Rachel Jeantel did her best. She has a good heart. She stood up well under the onslaught of Don West.

                    But, through no fault of her own, her lack of middle class speech and manners hurt her credibility with the jurors and did not help Trayvon at all.

                    We may not like it, but I'm just observing what happened with the jurors in regards to her testimony.

                    Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

                    by Happy Days on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 07:09:29 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  We really only know what juror B37 thought. (0+ / 0-)

                      And frankly, that juror's ability to express herself is lacking. I kept thinking---is she really married to a lawyer? She sounded uneducated. And, you know what, when they're the only witness, jurors believe children who don't speak very well at all.

      •  She also said that Martin (0+ / 0-)

        was in the undercover mailbox area for 40 minutes, which if true, he would not have been visible to Zimmerman.

        She also said he was outside his father's girlfriend's house - and yet he ended up a football field away in a matter of minutes at the top of the T.

        •  100 whole yards (0+ / 0-)

          in minutes... world record for that distance is 9.5... seconds so there's no way he could move that far away in mere minutes...

          Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

          by awesumtenor on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 11:36:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It seems with most (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dream weaver

      of the media and much of the public that nothing matters up to the point that there was a physical confrontation. It's only after the confrontation that things matter....to them.

      OK, if this is how it is then I say nothing matters up to the point that GZ pointed the gun at Trayvon's chest and pulled the trigger......

      He murdered a kid and got away with it.....

      "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

      by fugwb on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 04:43:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yea (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fugwb

        It's like we all randomly follow kids around in our cars, because they need watching.

        As a parent, I can assure would-be Zimmermans that if you cruise my street like that, I'll have the police up your ass in about 2 minutes.  What Zimmerman was doing is exactly what sets off my dad-alarm.

    •  It matters because FL law (0+ / 0-)

      being what it is, let's Zimmerman kill Martin if Martin attacked him.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:45:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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