The first full two days of the defense case (last Friday saw only two witnesses) provided the most compelling evidence yet that this case is entirely backward. Bernie de la Rionda’s (hereinafter BDLR) cross-examination of Dr. Vincent DiMaio was particularly instructive as BDLR took on the role of a stereotypical sleazy defense attorney, misrepresenting evidence and furiously spinning to do anything to keep his fast-sinking case above water. Likewise, the defense continued to appear to be upright and trustworthy, eliciting facts and credible testimony in support of the law. More on this later.
Sandra Osterman, Zimmerman friend and wife of Mark Osterman: When the Lauer 911 recording was played for her she said: “Definitely, it’s Georgie.” Sandra made it clear the Ostermans and Zimmermans were close friends, which would tend to give greater credibility to her claim to recognize his voice.
On cross-examination, BDLR maintained his usual sarcastic, nasty manner and tried to impeach her by going after the book about the Zimmerman case she and her husband Mark had written. This was remarkable in that O’Mara did not raise the issue on direct, which would normally preclude any cross-examination on this issue. BDLR also tried to attack her by suggesting that she was profiting from the book, but considering that she and her husband aren’t keeping any of the profits, BDLR came off looking petty and irrational, as usual.
Sandra was an effective witness, and she too humanized Zimmerman, transforming him from “George Zimmerman, accused murderer” to “Georgie.” Because she is a genuine and likeable person, I suspect the jury was appropriately influenced.
Mark Osterman, Federal Air Marshall: Mark, as noted in Update 32.4 is Zimmerman’s best friend and mentor. He also identified Zimmerman’s voice on the Lauer recording, and testified guiding Zimmerman in obtaining a concealed carry license and in choosing his handgun. However, O’Mara used him primarily to confirm that the prosecution’s absurd suggestions about the proper method of carrying handguns are just that: absurd. He also testified that when deadly force is necessary, the attacker should be shot center-mass–in the center of the chest, which is among the most basic tenets of self-defense shooting doctrine.
BDLR again provided a prosecution closing argument by suggesting that because Zimmerman holstered his gun after shooting Martin, he must have lied when he said he wasn’t sure Martin had died. Mark explained that it’s proper to keep someone covered until sure they’re clearly incapacitated and represent no threat. There are, of course, other reasons to holster one’s weapon, such as the need to use both hands to accomplish a task, as Zimmerman did in briefly holding Martin’s arms to keep him from reaching a weapon or attacking again, or getting the weapon out of sight to avoid being shot by arriving police officers, which Zimmerman also wisely did.
Mark too was an effective witness, and the jury had a second chance to see another law enforcement officer who honorably protects the public. Have no doubt that the defense is also choosing witnesses in part to associate their positive, admirable qualities with Zimmerman.
Geri Russo: Russo, a short woman, was a co-worker of Zimmerman at a company that reviews mortgages. She also testified that she considers herself Zimmerman’s friend. She testified that she spoke with Zimmerman on nearly a daily basis and heard his voice in many contexts.
She was an impressive witness, calmly and quietly identifying Zimmerman’s voice as the person screaming on the 911 recording. She explained that the very first time she heard the recording, on TV news, she immediately identified the voice as Zimmerman. Prosecutor John Guy took a run at her, but there was nothing to attack, and she left the stand another calm, believable and effective witness.
Leanne Benjamin: Benjamin too worked with Zimmerman in the past. She identified the voice as Zimmerman’s. Her husband, John Donnelly contributed $2500 to the Zimmerman defense fund, and also bought him suits for his court appearance. Benjamin presented herself as a kindly woman, the kind of person many think of as motherly and comforting.
On cross, BDLR played the entire non-emergency tape for her, apparently to suggest that her identification of the tape was wrong. He brought up Zimmerman’s brief profanity, and she said she’d not heard that or paid any particular attention to it, and he suggested several times he could play it again for her, but she demurred.
He kept trying to get her to say that Zimmerman’s voice dramatically changed, but she said it seemed that he was outside and it was windy, and his voice seemed
matter-of-fact to her. He played a few seconds of the recording and again hectored her about voice changes, despite her saying that Zimmerman’s voice didn’t change. He played another excerpt, where Zimmerman is walking after Martin. BDLR kept loudly and angrily repeating “these fucking punks,” and demanding that she acknowledge it, but she apologized sincerely and said she was listening to the background noise. She wasn’t trying to avoid anything, but was honest, and BDLR came off as a boor trying to force a modest woman to acknowledge swearing.
BDLR kept swearing at her, and became ever more angry and loud, in essence swearing at her by repeating the profanity from the recording, yelling at her when she said she didn’t think Zimmerman was running, but was merely trying to observe Martin and the sounds on the recording were Zimmerman walking or wind noise. For some reason, BDLR could not stop swearing and continued throughout his questioning.
BDLR did not succeed in shaking her confidence or testimony, but if he had any conscience, must have left the jury embarrassed and angry with him. I found myself aghast, and had I been there, would have taken him aside at the earliest opportunity and explained the proper way to speak with women, trial or not, particularly older gentlewomen. This is truly a boorish, unethical little man, and I suspect the jury picked up on that, if they have not already.
John Donnelly, retired physician’s assistance and Vietnam combat medic: Donnelly is Zimmerman’s friend and admires him. A pleasant man, I suspect that had he known how BDLR treated his wife he might have been sorely tempted to do him violence. I surely would. He too identified the screaming voice as Zimmerman’s, but there was a significant difference.
Many Narrative believers have argued that this is merely a swearing contest, and that those identifying the voice as Martin’s have equal credibility with those identifying it as Zimmerman’s, hence, all such testimony cancels out its opposite. This uninformed assertion ignores, of course, all of the other evidence supporting the identifications of Zimmerman’s voice. But in Donnelly, the defense has a man that spent years hearing men in deadly danger, pain and fear screaming for their lives. Above all other witnesses, he had actual, practical experience at this kind of voice identification.
BDLR shot himself in the foot getting Dr. Nakasone to say that the best person to ID a voice in extremis was someone who knew that person well. Not only does Donnelly know Zimmerman well, he alone has extensive practical experience in identifying voices crying out as Zimmerman did.
On cross, BDLR aggressively attacked Donnelly who simply smiled and answered with a sense of amusement at BDLR’s hysteria. BDLR demanded to know if Donnelly donated to the defense fund. Donnelly replied, “Yes, that [$2500] plus another $500.” When he attacked Donnelly for buying suits for Zimmerman, he replied: “I wanted him to be able to dress with appropriate respect for the court.”
Considering that Corey and BDLR have impoverished the Zimmerman’s and destroyed their lives, Donnelly’s response was absolutely brilliant and tragically ironic.
The Ostermans, Russo, Benjamin and finally, Donnelly are people virtually anyone would be happy to have over for dinner. Solid, hardworking citizens, their example associated with Zimmerman had to have made a positive impression on the jury. George Zimmerman, despite being a young man, has many impressive friends, friends who put their money where their hearts are. And like George Meza before him, Donnelly’s service to our nation will not go unappreciated by the jury. It is rare for criminal suspects to have such a profusion of decent, credible, admirable friends and supporters, but not for non-criminals.
The prosecution, during its case, was careful to present only information they believed would be favorable to its unsupportable theories, in the case of police witnesses leaving out considerable information. Even so, prosecution witnesses were almost uniformly harmful to the prosecution. They were even more harmful when testifying for the defense.
Both Serino and Singleton testified that when Serino played the Lauer 911 recording for Tracy Martin, he said the voice was not Trayvon Martin. BDLR tried in vain to shake their testimony, which was done in proper, dispassionate and credible police style.
Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin’s father: Martin did very poorly. In a clumsy, rambling manner, he claimed that he told the officers that he wasn’t sure if it was Trayvon. In essence, he accused them of lying. Amazingly, he said that it was only after he listened to the recording about 20 times (?!) that he thought it was Trayvon. If anyone on the jury is sharp, they’ll be wondering why the prosecution didn’t provide this information for them. Rachel Jeantel and Tracy Martin are surely in the running for least credible witnesses in this trial.
Apparently the Scheme Team’s influence over Martin is somewhat tenuous. Monday and Tuesday, whenever a camera settled on Martin, he was idly and obviously chewing gum, not a good practice in any courtroom.
A very interesting line of questioning came from O’Mara who essentially asked Martin if he told Benjamin Crump to lie about police statements about Martin’s initial 911 tape testimony and a related issue. Keep in mind Crump was deposed over the weekend, which leads me to suspect he may have said some very interesting things which could lead to perjury prosecutions, perhaps of Martin or Crump, however, this went no further for the moment.
Bill Lee, former Sanford Police Chief: Lee was made to fall on his sword over the Zimmerman case. His testimony centered around two issues: The Martins identified the voice as Trayvon’s at a meeting in the Sanford Mayor’s officer from which the police were excluded, and proper police procedure.
Any identification, whether a photo lineup or identification of a voice, must be individually done. To do otherwise contaminates that evidence, rendering it suspect and likely useless. People must make such identifications without the presence or anyone or anything that could influence them.
Lee testified that the city manager excluded the police, and affirmed that at the time, the identity of the voice was still an important issue in the investigation. Being excluded didn’t help the investigation and made the Martin’s identification suspect. He too was a credible and effective witness, and BDLR’s cross made no headway for the prosecution.
Adam Pollock, gym owner and trainer: Pollock has owned his own gym for 14 years. His testimony demolished the prosecution’s suggestion that because Zimmerman trained at Pollock’s gym, he was an experienced martial artist well able to engage in a fight with Trayvon Martin. Asked to described Zimmerman’s fighting skills on a 1-10 scale, Pollock said that when Zimmerman first came to the gym, he rated a 0.5, and the month before the shooting was only a 1.0 or 1.5. He described Zimmerman as nice and hard-working, but also “soft” and having little strength. Pollock’s most deadly testimony came when he was asked if he would have allowed Zimmerman to fight in the ring. He replied “absolutely not” and said he wouldn’t think of putting someone with Zimmerman’s limited skills in danger.
Monday ended with several interesting decisions. Judge Nelson denied a prosecution motion to strike Donnelly’s testimony from the record. She also agreed to allow the fact and amount of marijuana in Martin’s blood into evidence, a matter she could hardly avoid considering prior testimony, and case law.
She also ruled to substantially limit defense use of a use of force expert, who may or may not testify on Wednesday. An animation commissioned by the defense was also an issue to be decided on Tuesday, but was put off until Wednesday.
Most of Tuesday consisted of the testimony of noted pathologist Dr. Vincent DiMaio. Not only has DiMaio written the book on forensic pathology, he has written many books, including:
There are some witnesses who speak with such authority and experience their credibility is essentially unassailable. DiMaio typifies those rare people. Not only was he friendly and good-natured, the depth of his knowledge was manifestly evident and impressive. He is clearly a highly accomplished scientist, yet was able to easily explain matters for the layman.
Before we examine DiMaio’s prosecution-obliterating testimony, consider these passages from previous articles. In Update 32.5 I wrote:
NOTE: It’s generally accepted in police circles—and experience bears this out—that someone shot in the heart, so long as the injury is not so catastrophic as to immediately stop all heart function—that apparently wasn’t the case with Martin—can be expected to have up to three minutes of useful consciousness. I’ve actually seen this in action, and have knowledge of other cases where people suffering injuries to the heart, including gunshot wounds, have walked, talked, run, continued assaults, and done similarly surprising things until plummeting blood pressure brought about collapse. In this case, Zimmerman has testified that immediately after being shot, Martin sat up, spoke a few words, and fell to the ground, where Zimmerman, thinking he missed, got on top of Martin and briefly pinned his arms to prevent further assault. The police found Martin on his face with his hands under his body. It is not at all improbable that Martin could have done as Zimmerman said, and that he could have moved his hands to that position before being unable to move further.
And in Update 4 I wrote:
Hollywood has done us a great disservice in this and a great many other ways. Watching movies, entire generations of Americans have romanticized violent confrontations. After watching countless battles where characters punched and kicked each other relentlessly for many minutes, they have developed the idea that they too may engage in such behavior. They fail to realize that what they are seeing is not fighting, but fight choreography, a carefully timed and filmed dance between experienced actors and stunt men and women, meticulously designed to give the impression of powerful blows given and endured. Stage blood is not real blood, the result of lacerated skin and ruptured organs and blood vessels. Reality is very different. Most fights quickly end up on the ground, in the dirt and blood. Human beings simply can’t take the kinds of repeated blows action heroes absorb and dish out without serious, immediate and long-lasting consequences.
The human body is at once amazingly resilient and terribly fragile. I have seen people take unbelievable punishment in car accidents and assaults and suffer no long-term ill effects. I have also seen people sustain single blows in assaults or minor car accidents that have crippled them, left them paralyzed, destroyed their intellects leaving them near-vegetables, or even killed them. When under brutal and continued assault, how do you tell what the likely outcome will be? Will you merely suffer painful but rapidly healing injuries, or will you be disfigured, crippled or worse?
Being struck forcibly in the face or head is a stunning, intensely painful experience. The eyes, soft tissues and bones of the face are particularly vulnerable to serious, disfiguring, even crippling damage. A blow to the nose sufficient to break it is unbelievably painful and stunning. In many cases, it directly interferes with vision and thinking, leaving a victim unable to understand what is happening to them (so much for running away) and unable to protect them selves for some time.
In the same way, being struck forcefully anywhere in the head—even if the skull is not fractured–can cause short term brain damage—that’s what a concussion is—or permanent damage. Saying: “Oh, it’s only a mild concussion,” indicates a lack of understanding of medicine. Concussions can be deadly. I’ve known victims of assaults—including fellow police officers—who suffered head injuries and literally couldn’t think straight—couldn’t function normally–for days, in some cases, weeks. They were all fortunate to make full recoveries; many do not.
One may certainly suffer serious, permanent, even fatal damage from being struck in a wide variety of places on the body. I’ll not bother to mention them for obvious reasons. While I am a large, strong man, and while I have experience and training in a variety of martial disciplines, as well as experience in physical confrontations, I have always gone out of my way to avoid such things. Despite my abilities, I am no longer as young as I once was. I get older every day while criminals tend to always be in their teens and early 20s. And while my reflexes and abilities are still superior to a substantial portion of the population, they’re certainly not what they were in my 20s and 30′s, or even my 40′s, for that matter. I’d be a fool to try to employ only empty-handed defense against a younger attacker or attackers. I might prevail, but I would almost certainly sustain real damage in the battle. I’m no longer willing to do that unless it’s absolutely necessary to protect my life or the life of another. Violent physical confrontations are not a game, contest or a measure of testosterone.
Those interested in exploring this and similar issues in greater depth might want to review my seven part series on the rationale for gun ownership. The first article in that series is available here. The rest are available in the SMM firearms archive.
DiMaio testified that Martin’s gunshot wound was consistent with Zimmerman’s account. The distance of the clothing from the muzzle and from Martin’s skin were all consistent; the muzzle was not in contact with Martin’s skin. At one point, BDLR tried to get DiMaio to agree that Zimmerman could have shot Martin standing up, but he quickly disabused him of that notion.
Regarding Martin’s injuries, DiMaio testified that the brain contains an oxygen reserve of from 10-15 seconds, and Martin would have had at least that minimum time available after being shot, easily time enough to have said and done what Zimmerman claimed. He testified that Martin suffered a “through and through” hole in the right ventricle and one, perhaps two holes in the right lung. He estimated that he would have been dead within 1-3 minutes of being shot, “in all probability.” As an example, he spoke of a case where a man’s heart was “shredded” by a 12 gauge shotgun, saying “he turned around and ran 60-65’ before he collapsed.” DiMaio also testified that Martin surely could have moved his hands under his body before dying.
DiMaio also damaged the prosecution narrative about Martin’s injuries by saying that the abrasion on Martin’s left hand was consistent with impact with concrete. He also made an important point about post-mortem bruising previously unmentioned. Martin’s hands showed no bruising because bruises take time to manifest through bleeding into the soft tissues. No blood pressure, no bleeding. He explained that the only way to know would have been to open the skin and examine the tissues, which was not, of course, done in this case. In fact, DiMaio’s knowledge and expertise so obviously outclassed Dr. Bao’s as to essentially wipe his testimony from the slate.
DiMaio also succinctly wiped away prosecution attempts to minimize or ignore the seriousness of Zimmerman’s injuries. He explained that when the head is hit, the brain impacts against the inside of the skull, which can cause three levels of injury: (1) bruising, (2) bleeding (which can kill) and (3) damage to the axons which can also kill. With hard impacts on concrete, he noted, there can be intracranial bleeding and axonal bleeding, which could cause death. DiMaio was careful to repeat that such impacts cause a “stunning” effect, which is essentially a minor concussion.
During his initial testimony, the camera came to rest on BDLR, whose face was a mask of undisguised frustration and disgust. He was plainly hating DiMaio’s testimony, delivered in an affable and easily understood manner.
DiMaio pointed out many specific injuries on Zimmerman’s head that had previously gone unnoticed. On cross, BDLR tried to trip him up, demanding to know why witnesses like physician’s assistant Lindzee Folgate and fire/rescue personnel didn’t identify and record the same injuries. DiMaio pointed out that medical personnel are generally “lousy” at that because their focus is on treatment while his focus is on documentation and analysis–forensics. This was a distinction BDLR would force DiMaio to repeat over and over. He noted that there is a movement to put forensically trained nurses in emergency rooms, but “nobody wants to pay for them.”
DiMaio identified six specific areas of damage to Zimmerman’s head, including his nose, which DiMaio characterized as a displaced fracture, consistent with being punched in the nose. Those areas were consistent with six impacts, which did not mean there were not other impacts. He made clear that the quality of the photos may have hidden other areas of injury.
BDLR’s cross-examination was like an ant attacking a particularly powerful and confident lion. His usual tactics of raising his voice, yelling, pacing nervously, wildly gesturing, scowling and trying to be intimidating failed hilariously. BDLR began with a series of self-evident, nonsensical questions such as: “you’re not saying who attacked who,” or “you can’t testify who threw the first punch.” After a flurry of such nonsense, BDLR might as well have been demanding whether an increasingly amused DiMaio was testifying about the existence of Bigfoot.
BDLR never got the message. His voice became ever more loud and incredulous, and his volume and pitch so often raised at the ends of sarcastic questions that he began to sound like Zimmerman on the Lauer 911 recording.
BDLR launched into a new line of attack, harrying DiMaio for relying primary on Zimmerman’s account. DiMaio patiently explained that Zimmerman’s account was the only one having a direct bearing on the gunshot. He explained that the other statements “are for the jury to evaluate, not me.”
BDLR then degenerated to farce when he got DiMaio to agree that Zimmerman was the only person armed. He then dramatically demanded to know if DiMaio knew that Zimmerman was also armed with–a flashlight?! He produced Zimmerman’s medium-sized, obviously insubstantial plastic flashlight and after examining it, DiMaio smiled and replied “I wouldn’t consider it to be a really dangerous weapon.” BDLR demanded to know if DiMaio thought it could cause some damage, and DiMaio allowed that it might produce a bruise, but that was about it.
Throughout his cross, BDLR consistently misrepresented DiMaio’s testimony and tried to put words in his mouth. DiMaio patiently corrected him each and every time, as though lecturing a particularly dull student. At one point, BDLR took to loudly whacking the table and podium to suggest that every impact on Zimmerman’s head should have Hollywood-like sound effects attached and if no one heard them, Zimmerman could not have been struck.
NOTE: just as the rattle of a rattlesnake does not sound anything like Hollywood would have us believe–it’s more of a high frequency, dry buzz–the impact of fists on flesh virtually never sounds anything like movie sound effects. In fact, the sound is often so muffled as to be indistinguishable from background noise or the grunts and cries of the combatants.
BDLR tried to attack DiMaio about his fee. DiMaio smiled and explained that his rate was always $400 per hour and thus far, he had made about $2400. He quipped “this is not a very complicated case forensically.” BDLR absolutely did not like that response and dropped that line of questioning.
BDLR continued the prosecution practice of noting that Martin was shot in the heart, and questioned having a 10-15 second oxygen reserve. DeMaio explained that is why, when a criminal is holding a gun on a hostage, SWAT teams prefer a head shot.
NOTE: actually, SWAT marksmen prefer a shot to the brain stem. Properly done, it shuts off the brain and body like a light switch, rendering a criminal unable to pull a trigger or do anything else.
BDLR’s continued attempts to try to get DiMaio to say that Martin somehow could have been anywhere but on top of Zimmerman succeeded only in proving that’s the only place Martin could have been. DiMaio even made it clear that BDLR’s desperate contention that Martin might have been “pulling back” when shot, put Martin on top of Zimmerman.
BDLR’s performance was a textbook case of every sleazy defense attorney trick in the book–but he’s the prosecutor! He once again degenerated to farce when he posed the idea that Zimmerman’s injuries could have been caused by a tree branch! This is the kind of desperation one sees in defense attorneys with a losing case as they try to introduce some doubt–any doubt–in any way they can.
At one point, BDLR acted like a low rent defense lawyer from central casting. Holding the large iconic photo of Zimmerman’s bloody nose up near DiMaio, he dramatically placed his hand over Zimmerman’s photographic mouth and demanded to know what DiMaio would “expect that hand to have on it.” “Blood,” DiMaio replied deadpan. BDLR immediately turned to the jury and glared at them for several second before smugly sauntering off. He could have been more transparent and ridiculous only if he exclaimed “AHA!” On redirect, West was able to get DiMaio’s opinion that blood could easily have washed off in the rain, or been removed due to clumsy handling of the body.
On redirect, Don West elicited the confirmation that John Good’s testimony was forensically consistent with what Good testified he saw. BDLR took to objecting to West as often as he could. In a few cases, West was asking leading questions, but they were the kind of barely leading questions no one objects to. There is simply no point, as the “offending” attorney merely has to slightly rephrase the question to get the desired answer. Such petty objections merely slow down the entire trial to no effect. So arrogant was BDLR he actually objected to a question by West before West had a chance to open his mouth to ask it!
Regarding BDLR’s foray into forensic forestry, DiMaio clarified that there was a small tree nearby, but that hitting Zimmerman’s head on the trunk would still be blunt force trauma, and his injuries, particularly the punctate injuries on the sides of his head, were far more plausibly caused by concrete.
DiMaio testified that when in the process of being beaten, Zimmerman was stunned and surely could not have known or anticipated the degree of his injuries. He said that police should have taken GZ directly to the hospital: “he had head injuries. He should have been taken to the hospital.” He observed that people with no apparent injury have been known to die hours later. As a police officer, I always took head injury victims to the hospital. At the very least, I would have paramedics come to examine anyone with potential head damage. If they then wanted to decline a trip to the hospital, I’d done my part.
DiMaio also testified that the DNA evidence was improperly handled by Dr. Bao and his staff, particularly the packaging of liquid, biological evidence in plastic rather than paper, which causes mold and bacteria, degrading the potential evidence. Unlike Dr. Bao, who claimed no interest in or responsibility for supervising his assistants, DiMaio said that a medical examiner must always be with the body from the moment it arrives. He should do everything, and even if he allowed assistants to help, should actively observe them to ensure things are done right.
On re-cross, BDLR again slipped into farce. Earlier, DiMaio noted a common axiom to the effect that absence of evidence isn’t significant, presence is. BDLR began to argue–testify really, as is his constant practice–that absence of evidence is significant. He asked:
“is there any absence of evidence that anything was washed away by the rain?”
Such was the general quality of his efforts.
On re-direct, West elicited the fact that John Good failing to hear Hollywood-like sound effects does not mean that Martin was not hitting Zimmerman.
Not only did the prosecution fail to lay a glove–with Hollywood sound effects or not–on DiMaio, BDLR beclowned himself and the prosecution’s case in dramatic and disastrous fashion.
DiMaio obliterated the last vestiges of physical evidence in the prosecution’s case. Of course, they had no physical evidence to begin with, but even their theories are now utterly untenable, at least to reasonable women and men.
Norton Boneparte Jr., Sanford City Manager: Bonaparte was clearly a hostile and reluctant witness. He plainly did not want to be there, and displayed a continual scowl (notice his smiling face above; his expression did not change).
O’Mara was able to elicit the information that he and the Mayor did the playing of several recordings, including the Lauer 911 recording–for the Martin family. He admitted that the Martin family specifically asked that the police be excluded. He also admitted that he gave no consideration to recording the meeting to assist the police investigation.
On cross, BDLR only asked a single question: was playing the recordings for the family the decent thing to do before releasing them to the public. Bonaparte replied “yes.”
Again, notice how the prosecution, which is normally concerned with the integrity of the investigation, is now suddenly concerned with the sensibilities of the Martin family over all else.
Elouise Dilligard, former neighbor of Zimmerman: Dilligard testified via iPad as she was sick at home. Even so, Dilligard was a somewhat confusing choice as a witness. Yes, she was a good friend of the Zimmermans and was clearly fond of George. Yes, she could identify the screaming voice as his, though somewhat less convincingly than previous witnesses. But beyond that, she really added nothing of substance to the defense case, nor did she damage the prosecution’s case.
I suspect that O’Mara may have included her because she is not only black, but is clearly an intelligent and well-spoken woman who not only naturally uses standard English–an enormous and obvious contrast with Jeantel–but represents the black neighbors of Zimmerman who knew and appreciated him–and there were many–who the jury might understand as victims of the previously mentioned criminals plaguing the neighborhood. Another witness anyone would be pleased to have in their home for dinner, her support of Zimmerman might be a way of allowing black people on the fence to recognize that Zimmerman is not a drooling, crazed racist as portrayed by the prosecution.
FINAL TESTIMONY/ISSUES FOR TUESDAY:
After the jury was dismissed for the day, A Daubert hearing was held. “Daubert” refers to a case that somewhat modified the Frye standards for considering the admissibility of expert and/or other scientific evidence, in this case, the animation commissioned by the defense. The video is not in any way inflammatory or prejudicial, and is another excellent example of the backwards nature of this case. Normally, the prosecution would love to have this kind of animation to help to bring the evidence alive for the jury, but in this case, they vehemently oppose it, doing their best to keep it away from the jury.
Daniel Shumacher, the producer of the video, came off as a capable professional doing his best to explain his work and to accommodate prosecution objections. Prosecutor Mantei, who apparently has learned trial demeanor from BDLR, was a dramatic, sarcastic, arm-waving, dramatically gesturing and pacing martinet, who made up for his bad behavior by being consistently loud and abrasive. Judge Nelson put off a ruling until Wednesday.
Additional issues to be decided Wednesday are whether evidence of drug use and similar matters from Martin’s cell phone will be allowed, and whether Donnelly’s testimony will be struck because he apparently was allowed to sit in the courtroom prior to testifying. Of course, both Martin parents did as well, so that’s a potentially weak argument, particularly considering that the prosecution suffered no prejudice as a result of Donnelly alleged presence. And as with ordering the jury to disregard Serino’s statement that he thought Zimmerman was telling the truth, ordering the jury to disregard Donnelly would only remind them of a particularly effective and likeable witness. The prosecution can’t seem to avoid shooting itself in the feet.
William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has this:
The hearing was highly contentious, with defense lawyer Don West vigorously asserting that failure to allow the evidence would violate Zimmerman’s constitutional rights, and blaming the prosecution for withholding evidence until early June as to the texts. West argued that it was unfair to hold the defense to strict authentication standards given the prosecution’s tactics…
Mark O’Mara complained that given how late it was the defense could not have the rest of it’s case lined up for the morning, and West said at the end of the clip as the judge was walking out that he’s physically unable to keep up this pace.
It seems, once again, that Judge Nelson is determined to add additional instances of reversible error to an already lengthy list should the trial end with a guilty verdict. By all means, visit Legal Insurrection where there are several tweets about the kinds of damaging materials found on Martin’s phone, as well as the video of a heated argument between Don West and Judge Nelson, who eventually stormed from the bench in a huff. So much for the dignity of the court. If you’ve had the slightest doubt about the incompetence and bias of the judge, or the malfeasance of the prosecution, in this case, this video clip will convince you beyond any possible doubt.
I’m tentatively planning to post the next update after testimony ends, with another update following closing arguments, but we’ll have to see how things proceed. O’Mara has indicated that he may be able to end his case Wednesday, but the prosecution still has the option of rebuttal witnesses.
As always, thanks so much for visiting this scruffy little blog. I appreciate your readership and support more than you know.