The Zimmerman portion of this post is by Fred Leatherman (aka Mason). I apologize for missing last week- I slept through my alarm, because I was preparing for a wedding I attended in Williamstown, Massachusetts, for my nephew’s son’s wedding. Before moving to the Zimmerman update, I must mention that Sascha and Abby Schilbach’s wedding was the most stunningly beautiful event I have ever seen in my life. My jaw is still on the floor. That said, after a three-hour ride back to Boston for the first plane, the second plane was to Nashville, followed by a 2 1/2 hour ride on a motorcycle to home.
Next week, I should be back on track; I had considered a post on ‘conflict metals,’ but I am too tired! So, this can be an open post if you wish. I may be still resting for a bit in the early part of the host, but Fred has agreed to answer questions during this time.
Tuesday Zimmerman Update
Today’s session began with Judge Nelson instructing the jury to disregard Investigator Chris Serino’s testimony that he believed the defendant told the truth. Judge Nelson had ruled in limine before the trial began that police officers cannot express their personal opinions as to the defendant’s guilt or innocence or whether he told the truth. Defense attorney Mark O’Mara violated that order when he asked Serino if he believed the defendant. Therefore, Judge Nelson properly ordered the jury to disregard Serino’s answer.
If the shoe had been on the other foot and a prosecutor had asked the lead investigator if he believed the defendant when he denied guilt and the answer was “No,” a mistrial would have been declared and the jury would have been sent home. If the error were deemed deliberate (i.e., provoked) because the trial was not going well, the Double Jeopardy Clause would prevent a retrial
Although not much was said about what happened, it was a very serious error and an extremely sleazy move by O’Mara.
In any event, Serino was defending how he handled the case before it was taken away from him. He had formed his opinion based on eye and ear witness testimony, the defendant’s statements, and his recorded NEN call. He did not have the benefit of considering the forensic evidence that has not been introduced yet and the autopsy report.
In a strong redirect, Bernie de la Rionda reviewed several inconsistencies in the defendant’s statements, such as his claims that he forgot the name of one of only three streets in his neighborhood, his claim that he had to walk all the way to Retreat View Circle to look for an address when they were right in front of his face on Twin Trees Lane, and his claim that he did not follow Trayvon Martin even though he admitted that he went in the same direction.
The State played the Hannity interview in which the defendant denied knowing anything about the SYG law, expressed no regrets, and said it was all according to God’s plan. He said he did not believe Trayvon Martin was afraid of him and also said he was not afraid of Trayvon Martin whom he described as “skipping away” instead of running away.
Dr. Valerie Rao, a forensic pathologist and assistant medical examiner testified that the defendant’s injuries to his face were minor and insignificant and could have been caused by a single blow.
The State was going to follow that testimony with the testimony of a professor at the local community college introducing the defendant’s textbook and course work on the law of self-defense and Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. They also had his application for employment with a police force in a county in Virginia and an application to ride-a-long as a civilian with a Sanford police officer.
Defense objected and Judge Nelson gave the defense until tomorrow morning at 8:30 am to prepare a response.
This was a strong day for the prosecution.
Image by DonkeyHotey released under a Creative Commons license.