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The Prince and the Pea

In his ORDER SETTING BAIL on July 5, 2012, Judge Kenneth Lester made several stipulations clear about what attorney Mark O'Mara's client, George Zimmerman, could and could not do. For instance, he would be able to travel anywhere he wants as long as it's within the boundaries of Seminole County. If he finds it necessary to leave the county, all he has to do is pass it by the court for authorization. It's a rather plain and simple directive and something a five-year-old should be able to comprehend.


In his MOTION TO MODIFY CONDITIONS OF RELEASE dated August 22, 2012, Mr. Zimmerman, through his attorneys, cited two issues pertaining to matters addressed in the judge's above order. Call them problematic. The Court, for instance, must realize by now, due to the great amount of national and international publicity, not to mention notoriety and animosity, that Zimmerman "and his entire extended family have had to live in hiding, fearing for their own safety." Therefore, he should be able to move out of the county, too.

I disagree with Mr. O'Mara's choice of words. He exaggerates. How? In many ways, but for now, here's a 'for instance.' It's one thing to complain about the woes that have befallen his client, but his client and only his client was responsible for the big mess he's in -- not his family. Daddy did not hold his hand the night he pulled the trigger. Therefore, why bother bringing up any issue over his family's fear for their own safety? It's not that I don't care, it's just that there is nothing stopping them from moving out of the area any time they please. There are no restrictions on them whatsoever, and to suggest in that motion, albeit indirectly, that the Court was somehow responsible for this mess is, well, not showing a clear sense of responsibility. There is no way the Court can magically order the public to leave the Zimmerman family alone.

This is George's unfavorably conducive style; his M.O. These are his edicts, sua sponte, not necessarily those of his attorneys. While his motions are filled with innuendos that tend to absorb what little substance they hold, it's when he opens his mouth that we see him for what he is.

Full of Zimmermanure.

He not only speaks with a forked tongue, he also twists his tongue when he speaks. A good example of this came during his Hannity interview on FOX News. When asked if he would have done anything any differently, given ample opportunity to think about it now, he said he really hadn't had the time to think about it, but after thinking about it, he wouldn't have changed a thing. He regretted nothing and it was God's plan. He had nothing to feel sorry about. Did that make sense? Wait. It gets worse.

Later in the broadcast, he turned and faced the camera, and in his best "My fellow Americans..." presidential-style address, he apologized to the nation, his wife, and everyone involved in the case, including Trayvon Martin's parents. In my opinion, it was, at best, sickeningly insincere. Incidentally, a truly biased judge would have called him on the carpet for addressing Trayvon's parents because, in his order, Judge Lester wrote:

"The Defendant shall not have any contact with the victim's family, directly or indirectly, except as necessary to conduct pretrial discovery through his attorneys[.]"

My complaint, while being about the Petitioner, also includes his attorney and how he's handling the case; his motions, in particular. In this very same Motion To Modify Conditions Of Release, O'Mara wrote:

"One of the conditions of release is that Mr. Zimmerman is not to leave Seminole County without prior authorization by this court."

Right, Mr. Knechel, you already said that. Well, yes I did, but so did the judge and Defense, and just to clarify, this is a two-part motion. The second part addressed traveling outside the county, not moving out. The judge's order covered it and the defendant acknowledged it, so what was the point of this final statement in Zimmerman's latest motion?

"The restriction of Mr. Zimmerman not to leave Seminole County has had a deleterious effect on his ability to assist in the preparation of his own defense. Communications have been unnecessarily limited to telephone and occasional visits by counsel. Mr. Zimmerman must be able to travel to meet with his lawyers, and to attend to various other necessary matters to prepare this matter to move forward."

Hmm... deleterious... injurious to health; pernicious, hurtful, destructive and noxious according to My, what $5.00 words he uses that won't impress any sitting judge let alone little old me. While I realize the motion also asked that Zimmerman be allowed to move outside of Seminole County, a request the Court denied, the rest of it is redundant. Here, verbatim, is what the judge wrote in his July 5 order:

"The Defendant shall not leave Seminole County without prior authorization by this Court[.]"

How much clearer can one get? All the defense had to do was ask. Why was it necessary to dedicate the brunt of this motion on something that was already covered a month-and-a-half earlier? And if O'Mara were really fearful of Zimmerman's safety while residing somewhere in the entire county of Seminole, how much safer should he feel while his client is sitting in his office in downtown Orlando? Talk about deleterious! I'm serious.

Here's the way I see George Zimmerman. When he doesn't get what he wants, he whines and cries. He feels boxed in and claustrophobic. He gets restless and can't sleep at night. His mattress turns lumpy. You see, George is starting to remind me of The Princess and the Pea with one major difference. He cannot get a comfortable night's sleep until all his demands are met. The pea, in this case, is Kenneth R. Lester, Jr. who must be removed and replaced by a fairy tale friendly judge so Prince George, his friends, his family and his fellow American loyalists will be allowed to live happily ever after.

Fearing Fear Itself

In Nit-Picking Nit-Writ, I addressed the PETITION FOR WRIT OF PROHIBITION filed by the Zimmerman defense. I pointed out how O'Mara had offered evidence about the shooting on the night of February 26 and why it was not only unnecessary, it was useless. A writ of prohibition, in this case, only pertains to why the trial judge should be recused. It's not for anything else. What O'Mara did was inflate a very weak document with superfluous fluff, like adding TVP to a package of fatty, grisly hamburger meat, and I don't feel the appeal court is going to buy any of it.

I do believe that Assistant Attorney General Pamela Koller offered up a much meatier argument against the Defense appeal. I will elaborate on that a bit and address the finer points of the State's RESPONSE TO PETITION FOR WRIT OF PROHIBITION. In particular, I want to look into the two types of fear that the district court will examine -- objective and subjective.

In 2005, I wrote a post about how slants change your views of the news. Titled, An unbiased look at news slants, I last updated it in February of 2010. I think it should give you a foundation on objectivity and subjectivity.

Objective information strives to remain unbiased. Dictionaries and other materials of reference, such as encyclopedias, generally provide factual information. Traffic lights are red, green and yellow. Yellow means caution, green means to go and red means to stop.

Subjective information is formed by personal opinion. Editorial sections in newspapers are subjective. While editorials and letters to the editor can be based on fact, opinions are usually based on personal interpretations of facts. Humans are responsible for global warming. Global warming is caused by natural earth cycles, such as the Ice Age. In these cases, separate and valid viewpoints can be substantiated by citing legitimate sources.

We know that George and Shellie Zimmerman lied to the Court about access to money and a second passport they claimed they didn't have. The judge acknowledged that in his order revoking bond and Team Zimmerman then proceeded to call it biased, including the judge's reprimand. (It's interesting to note that the defendant still managed to post bail despite the Court setting it much higher than what was originally granted.) The fact that bail was granted at all after the second request could be considered a testament to the judge's fairness.

The Judge's ORDER SETTING BAIL infuriated the Defendant and his counsel. How dare the Court look at his lies at all, let alone "judge" his actions and lack of respect for the court. To do so was nothing short of biased, they claimed, so they filed their writ of prohibition with the higher court. The bottom line now is how the Fifth District Court of Appeal will look at this motion -- as an objective or subjective complaint -- and rule accordingly, based on objectivity. Does Zimmerman have a leg to stand on? Is his distress based on a paranoid fear of persecution in general (subjective) or has this judge exhibited (objective) behavior in the past that truly legitimizes his concerns?

Let's look at this objectively. In its response to the writ, the State wrote:

Petitioner complains about rulings in the past in his background section, but it is well established that “[t]he fact that the judge has made adverse rulings in the past against the defendant, or that the judge has previously heard the evidence, or ‘allegations that the trial judge had formed a fixed opinion of the defendant's guilt, even where it is alleged that the judge discussed his opinion with others,’ are generally considered legally insufficient reasons to warrant the judge's disqualification.” Rivera, 717 So. 2d at 481 (quoting Jackson v. State, 599 So. 2d at 107; see also Areizaga v. Spicer, 841 So. 2d 494, 496 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003) (It is well established that a trial court’s prior adverse rulings are not legally sufficient grounds upon which to base a motion to disqualify).

In other words, this is not merely a complaint about Lester's language in the bail order, it's also about his prior rulings in Zimmerman's pretrial motions. This is something that should be taken up post-conviction, if necessary, not now, and it epitomizes my description of superfluous fluff; not worth the paper it's printed on. What the defense wants to do is set a silly precedent; that every single defense motion denial is biased. This would then have to include every case that has ever come before a court. Overturn every verdict because motions were denied! All in the name of George! Clearly, this is subjective thinking. "I think," O'Mara could opine, "every motion that was turned down was done so by judicial bias."

Of course, it's every defense attorney's dream, but most are smart enough to know it's nothing more than a whimsical flight of fancy. Cheney Mason tried the same thing during the Anthony case and got nowhere.

The State cited Rolle ex rel. Dabrio v. Birken, 984 So. 2d 534, 536 (Fla. 3d DCA 2008):

Likewise, we recently pointed out that a "mere 'subjective fear' of bias will not be legally sufficient, rather, the fear must be objectively reasonable." Arbelaez v. State, 898 So. 2d 25, 41 (Fla. 2005) (quoting Fischer v. Knuck, 497 So. 2d 240, 242 (Fla. 1986)). We do not find Mansfield's allegations of fear to be objectively reasonable. See also Asay v. State, 769 So. 2d 974 (Fla. 2000). Our cases support the trial court's denial of the motion to disqualify, and we affirm the trial judge's order.

Notwithstanding, Lester had every right to keep Zimmerman behind bars because the State went on to say that:

The judge again set a bond for Petitioner, and Petitioner is currently out on bond. Thus, the grounds listed by Petitioner in his motion are facially insufficient.

... and that the Petitioner is manipulating the system. From Cf. Brown, 561 So. 2d at 257 n. 7:

(“We hasten to add that our holding should not be construed to mean that a judge is subject to disqualification...simply because of making an earlier ruling in the course of a proceeding which had the effect of rejecting the testimony of the moving party. At the very least...there must be a clear implication that the judge will not believe the complaining party’s testimony in the future.”).

While the assistant attorney general cited many examples of why this particular writ of prohibition is without merit, it is, by its very nature, nearly as subjective as the writ itself. Both sides came to their respective conclusions based on their own interpretations of case law. As the appellate court looks at this issue with complete objectivity, it should see that Judge Lester has not been prejudiced against George Zimmerman -- and most assuredly, not personally. In my opinion, based on what the Defense and State both submitted, the original motion to disqualify the trial judge in this case was legally insufficient. Judge Lester made the right choice, and so will the appellate judges, C.Alan Lawson, Jay P. Cohen and Kerry I. Evander.

Poor Prince George is not just afraid of a li'l old pea, he's also afraid of his shadow. Oh, and don't even get me started on (d)(1) and (d)(2). That's a whole "nother" bedtime story.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Florida gun laws are enough to keep me away (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sue B, CherryTheTart

    but that is nothing to the chance that "self defense" could be extended to a stalker.

    Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

    by J Edward on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 08:14:46 PM PDT

    •  You are saying that you stay (0+ / 0-)

      away because you are afraid of getting killed in FL due to its gun and stand-your-ground laws? If Florida's overall murder rate was abnormally high, that would make sense. But the murder rate there (5.5 per 100,000) is only slightly higher than the rest of the country, and the same as California.

      •  Would not go into a bar in Ohio where they can (0+ / 0-)

        carry guns either.  Forget the odds, I won't go where the gun laws offend me.

        Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

        by J Edward on Mon Aug 27, 2012 at 10:13:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Florida gun owners (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've lived in Florida since 1981 and have never owned a gun. Fortunately, no one has ever approached me with one, either. I guess it's the circumstances at the time. Road rage, for instance, can occur any time, in any state. So can crossing paths with a drunk driver. I find that most gun owners are responsible people. Then there's the Zimmerman types; not deranged, but not quite right. They live everywhere, too.

  •  Marinade Dave, so glad to see you post here!! (3+ / 0-)

    Been following your writings on this tragedy & have learned much.

    Thank you for bearing witness for Trayvon Martin, his family & so many.  Thank you.

    •  Glad to be here! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirk McQuigley

      Thank you, worldlotus. I was invited to write here a number of months ago and, finally, I took up the offer. I also felt that this article would be most appropriate to use to introduce myself to the Daily Kos. I'm glad I did. Again, thank you for reading and following my blog, and for welcoming me here.

      I feel so sad for Trayvon's family and all I want is justice for his soul. He deserves nothing less.

  •  Excellent diary. Chock full of info. Thanks. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sue B, Marinade Dave
  •  A person has to be able to see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    himself as a subject in order to assign agency to himself.  I suspect Zimmerman is one of those people who have no self-awareness.  Their actions are all re-actions, responses to external prompts.  Even their internal hormonal prompts are perceived as external or coming from an other place -- their gut.  Their brains are not engaged in directing their behavior.  They are instinct-driven.  Moreover, in addition to not being aware of themselves, it seems that their sensory input is often unreliable.  They see and hear wrong.  As a result, they exist in a state of uncertainty, insecurity and fear.  Fear is endemic.  Like people being afraid of spiders.  It's not the spider's fault, objectively speaking, but for the instinct-driven the spider serves as a prompt to squash it.
    "Responsible" in these circumstances merely means "able to respond." It distinguishes a person from a bump on a log.
    It's even possible that Zimmerman is one of those people who does not understand the meaning of 'not.'  That is, "do not close the door," registers in their brains as "do close the door."  If so, then the dispatcher saying to Zimmerman "we don't need you to do that," may well have come across as "we do need you to do that" and served as a directive prompt.
    The inability to register the obverse meaning that that little morpheme imparts signals a cognitive deficit which may be quite common.  The simple formulation may be peculiar to the English language.  I know in other languages expressing a negative is much more complex. Toddlers don't comprehend it, which is why we give very small children positive directions.
    We might also note that the main body of the Constitution is framed as positive directives as to duties and obligations of the agents of government. The Amendments violate that pattern with prohibitions and we know how much trouble that's caused. Negatives are easy to evade with exceptions and half-truths.

    "shall not leave" is clear when one understands the meaning of 'not'  Take that word out and see what you get.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage". He's not into "catch and release."

    by hannah on Mon Aug 27, 2012 at 02:20:00 AM PDT

    •  What Zimmerman sees (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah, Olympia

      Oh, I think Zimmerman is filled with self-awareness, but it's so embedded in self-glory, self-recognition and the power of self. What he's lacking, however, is a healthy dose of self-esteem. He's overly (and overtly) tasked himself with a self-induced mission of self-importance, a la, "do you know who I am?" It's probably one of the reasons why he pronounces his name ZZZimmerman, with a long "Z" instead of a short and sweet Zimmerman, as if he enjoys the lingering "Z" like the power of the "S" in Superman. Yes, it's not SSSuperman, it's ZZZimmerman!

      If Zimmerman doesn't recognize the meaning of the word "not," it's because he truly does march to the beat of a different drum. It's his drum, and it's the one that got him in terrible trouble the night of February 26. He drummed out the sound of common sense that came from the Seminole County dispatcher who told him he didn't need to be chasing after Trayvon. Rat-a-tat-tat goes his drum and BANG went his gun.

      You may be on to something with how negatives are easy to evade with exceptions and half-truths. Zimmerman knew the right thing to do was to tell the truth in the courtroom. He chose not to, and in the end, he condemns the judge. It's the Court's fault, not his. He's got the traits of an addict, only he's addicted to his own fantasies and nothing more. The world, to him, has become his enabler.

  •  Appeals panel says Judge Lester is out. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm surprised by this decision, but then again I don't see how this will have much of an effect on his self-defense claims, or his murder charges when and if a trial happens.

    Orlando Sentinel has the story.  One judge of the three dissented.  

    And, for those who are following the case's cast of comic relief characters, Frank Taaffe's DUI arrest dashcam police video is now in the public realm as well.  If you want to see him stagger around obviously impaired, google it.  

    And, "person of interest" Mark Osterman is appearing in promos for a show he taped with TV therapist / talk show host Dr Phil, apparently to hawk his e-book about his pal George Zimmerman.  

    Oh and Shellie Zimmerman's mother got a DUI as well.  

    I don't see how any of this is going to affect the case that the state is preparing against GZ, however.  IMO his own words are what will sink him in the end.  He's clearly lied to investigators about many things that can be proven in court to be lies he's using to cover up damning aspects of the events of the evening.  

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