“I don’t see any of your issues as insurmountable.”
- Seminole County Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson, in denying a continuance motion filed by Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara.
I believe George Zimmerman's defense is so busy prepping for the immunity hearing set for late April, that it's one of the most important reasons why O'Mara filed the DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO CONTINUE. Plus, time needed to sweeten the pot, of course. Granted, mounting a proper defense takes time, but O'Mara has been quick to point out that his client is so innocent, it's blatantly obvious. SLAM DUNK! If anything, he should be in a hurry to end the nightmare he's so sure his client is innocent of; and he's said so on numerous occasions. I mean, why worry?
"I will call my wife as an expert witness that I want this case tried in June."
- Mark O'Mara, at the hearing on February 5
The motion filed on January 30, sans photographic and assorted correspondence evidence, is fifteen pages long. Someone spent a lot of time putting it together, yet it was fatally flawed right from the start. If you read (5) on page one, O'Mara acknowledges:
"While it should be noted that the State Attorney's Office has assisted the defense by organizing and presenting State witnesses for deposition without need for subpoena, there have been other problems and/or delays with discovery."
Yet, on page three (7), the motion states:
"Again, while the State is within its right, under the letter of the rule, to demand [...] formalities, that has cost hundreds of hours of additional time to be expended, which has delayed work and progress on other substantive matters."
This is not quite the truth. The Defense spent many hours sweeping Judge Lester out the door. (See: WRIT OF PROHIBITION.) I am convinced the judge gave George Zimmerman a reprimand he most certainly deserved when his wife lied in open court and he kept his mouth shut. I also think Lester would have moved on from that point and been as fair as possible. It was simply a scolding -- holding no further grudge. Regardless, the bottom line is that it was purely something the Defendant created and the State should not be blamed for this loss of precious time. Period. That's what the continuance motion was all about; not enough time, yet it never once mentioned the time it took to file the writ, then the appeal and, finally, to win the appeal that ordered Lester's removal from the case. Which leads to...
"The State can't control the methodology the [defense] uses."
- Bernie de la Rionda, at the hearing, on how the defense schedules its subpoenas
In the State's rebuttal motion, STATE'S RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO CONTINUE, Bernie de la Rionda let the Court know the Defense motion for a continuance was very one-sided and that he has complied with discovery rules. This is more about depositions:
"And while many depositions have been taken, in some cases it was only after the State repeatedly asked that depositions be set. There have been too many delays in getting Defense Counsel to schedule depositions, on at least four occasions depositions were scheduled (entire days were set aside), only to be informed by Defense Counsel the depositions were cancelled. The State has expressed its frustration with this process."
Also written in the response was that, originally, both sides had agreed to set aside the entire week of January 28 for depositions, but as the week neared and nothing surfaced, the Defense informed the State that only two days would be allocated for depositions. Later, the State was informed that none would take place because the Defense was focusing on the preparation of the continuance motion during that week. This is all documented, too.
Of course, it almost goes without saying that Bernie de la Rionda formally objected to Mark O'Mara's statement about the State's formalities:
"The State has previously attempted to inform Defense Counsel of certain information during 'informal discovery' only to have the statements taken out of context and/or misstated in motions and arguments."
De la Rionda wrote that the State will continue to comply with the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, but will not provide them with a roadmap of what the evidence shows, nor will it connect the dots before depositions are taken. He also noted that the Defense complained about having to spend a great deal of time "reviewing and dealing with all the information 'which has flowed through various social media sites, blogs, media outlets, and other vehicles'" without mentioning that Zimmerman and O'Mara created their own sites and continue to spend hours sorting through bits and pieces information. We need only look at the Sean Hannity interview for what makes this an example of hypocrisy in action.
One of the things that's irked me for some time is the Defense's propensity to blame the media for all of the information that's out there for the public to pick through, yet it is responsible for a great deal of it. That's the pot calling the kettle black, as far as I'm concerned. We live in a different world, too, and it's now quite apparent that all of the negative publicity spewed during the nearly three years of the Casey Anthony case, from July 2008 to the onset of the trial in May 2011, did nothing to harm her in court. In this case, if anything, Zimmerman's Defense has been doing a great job handling public relations. They should be counting their blessings, in other words.
This is no dress rehearsal; nor is it the first time O'Mara has been involved in a complex case, so he understands the mechanisms completely. At a hearing on October 26, Judge Nelson addressed the date of trial and set it for June 10. Three days later, she issued a scheduling order, the AMENDED SCHEDULING ORDER AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED BEFORE TRIAL (amended to correct year of trial date). In it, she wrote:
It is hereby ORDERED:
1. Trial is presently set to begin on June 10, 2013.
a. Any Self-defense Immunity / Stand Your Ground motion shall be filed and heard on or before April 26, 2013, which is 45 days before trial.
b. Final witness lists, including any expected expert witnesses, shall be exchanged on or before March 27, 2013, which is 75 days before trial.
c. Any other pre-trial motions shall be filed and heard or [sic] before May 10, 2013, which is 31 days prior to trial.
d. Certain short-matter motions addressing purely legal matters may be heard on or before May 31, 2013, which is 10 days prior to trial.
e. No continuances [emphasis mine] of the trial will be granted on the basis that the parties have not complied with these deadlines.
There it is, folks, in simple black & white. No continuances; none simply granted, anyway, and Mark O'Mara should have expected the outcome going into Tuesday's hearing. Shades of Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is also a stickler for dates and times. It should also be mentioned that, before her quick ruling, Nelson noted that she had two dates set aside for hearings to deal with discovery and other issues, but neither side took real advantage of them, not that the State seems to need them. That could have, quite possibly, hindered the Defense by not keeping the Court apprised of their situation throughout.
Oh well, it didn't hurt to try on Tuesday but, times-a-wastin' and there's an immunity hearing to prep for...