From the jury instructions in the George Zimmerman case, via Legal Insurrection:
If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find George Zimmerman not guilty.
However, if from the evidence you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that George Zimmerman was not justified in the use of deadly force, you should find him guilty if all the elements of the charge have been proved.
If the jury follows Mark O’Mara’s advice–and they should, for not only does it accurately reflect the law, it is the most correct and direct route to a verdict–these two paragraphs will be, by far, the most meaningful and important in the jury instructions. And in this case, a verdict could come at any time. I seldom make predictions about how soon a jury could render a verdict, but I suspect this one could easily come over the weekend, though I have worries I’ll discuss at the end of the article.
MARK O’MARA’S CLOSING:
The defense closing ran a bit over three hours, and will likely be studied in law schools and seminars long into the future. It was a model of decorum, effective tone, organization, adherence to the law, and honest and precise analysis and presentation of the evidence. Interestingly, O’Mara’s view of the case matches that of the proprietor of this scruffy little blog. Several times, he referred to it as the “Bizarro” case. O”Mara is obviously old enough to recall the Bizarro world of the Superman comics, a world where everything was backward, just as I’ve argued this case, from before the filing of charges, was backward, though O’Mara characterized it as “upside down,” which is also an apt characterization.
O’Mara warned that when “innocence is brought to the bar,” society collapses. He established the idea that the jury could not cut any corner or make any assumptions–themes to which he would return–immediately attacking Bernard di la Rionda’s (BDLR) encouraging the jury to do just that rather than consider evidence, or in the case of the prosecution’s case, a complete lack of evidence.
O’Mara asked how many “could have beens,” and how many “what ifs” the prosecution presented, and contrasted that with what he–and professionals–intended to do, which was to produce the definite, the certain, and proof beyond a reasonable doubt. He then set out to do just that with a very risky proposition: proving not reasonable doubt, but that Zimmerman is absolutely innocent.
O’Mara produced the first of several large, colorful charts, the first illustrating the various levels of the burden of proof. The point was that anything other than proof beyond a reasonable doubt requires acquittal. The beauty of the charts is that they will dominate the jury room, and serve as a reminder of the most simple, direct and legally correct way to a verdict. With that, O’Mara began to pick the state’s case–such as it was–apart. Where witnesses were concerned, even Rachel Jeantel, he was generous and kind, but where the prosecution was concerned, he was professional and generally let their actions and omissions indict them.
The Professors: O’Mara pointed out that the two professors could not testify directly what Zimmerman knew and that one actually provided a good bit of evidence about self-defense.
Ill Will, Spite and Hatred: O’Mara ridiculed BDLR’s obsessive recitation of these concepts, rightly noting this was nearly all he said, yet produced no actual evidence to support it. He pointed out that the State presented only five non-emergency calls, and he added one, but none proved ill will, spite or hatred. He made the point that in its opening statement, the State said it would seek justice, yet it didn’t produce anything to that end. He referred to reports of a “rash of burglaries” at the Retreat at Twin Lakes, and the fact they were all committed by young black men, and they would be available to the jury. He again brought up the calls saying that’s about all the State brought to court, and he urged the jurors to listen to the calls because they’re not what the prosecution represented Zimmerman to be.
O’Mara took the jury back to the 26th of February, 2012, again telling them he would prove Zimmerman’s absolute innocence. He pointed out there were no witnesses saying that Zimmerman patrolled the neighborhood, which the prosecution wanted the jury to assume, as well as the idea that Zimmerman is some “crazy guy looking for people to harass.” O’Mara reminded the jury of how Zimmerman treated Olivia Bertalan. He noted that if he was wrong, prosecutor John Guy could tell them about it in rebuttal. He would often challenge the prosecution to do this; they didn’t.
The Call: O’Mara rhetorically asked what Zimmerman did when he saw Martin. Did he immediately chase him, draw his gun and shoot him? Instead he immediately called the non-emergency police line, which is completely reasonable. Zimmerman knew he was being recorded, O’Mara said, and acknowledged that Zimmerman used a few obscenities toward criminals, perhaps even including Martin because he matched the descriptions of the criminals plaguing the neighborhood. He pointed out that Zimmerman provided Martin’s race only after being asked, and he stayed on the phone almost entirely throughout the situation.
This was where he really nailed the prosecution, observing that in deliberations the jury should remember that it was BDLR and John Guy who screamed obscenities, not Zimmerman, which is, of course, absolutely true. He noted that BDLR wanted the jury to think Zimmerman guilty because he spoke a few obscenities under his breath on a recorded call to the police. O’Mara asserted that was evidence of innocence and surely not of ill will or hatred.
O’Mara produced a ten foot wide graphic of the time line of Zimmerman’s call to the police, including the dialogue, which is important as the prosecution has consistently mischaracterized it. He asked the jury to determine if the prosecution was right in that Zimmerman “broke” or “cracked,” and at which point in the call. He noted the dispatcher’s request of Zimmerman to “let me know if he does anything else”–the dispatcher said it twice–and noted the prosecution doesn’t want the jury to focus on that. To make his point, he walked to the defense table and refilled his cup of water. How could the jury know what he was doing? By watching, just as Zimmerman did. He sharply stung the prosecution by saying that he has a tape of the prosecution screaming obscenities, but decided not to play it. He encouraged the jury to compare their screams with what Zimmerman actually said and how he said it.
“Ill will, spite hatred?” O’Mara asked. He told the jury it was a conversation between two people who had no idea it would be discussed in court later. O’Mara said, essentially: “we’ve sworn enough. I’m not going to use the words anymore.” When Guy did use them again, he looked small indeed.
O’Mara made another strong point in reciting the dispatcher’s statement: “We don’t need you to do that.” “OK,” replied Zimmerman. Was that where Zimmerman “broke” he asked incredulously.
O’Mara told the jury he put the weather report into evidence for them because it was not only raining that night, the wind was blowing, which was audible on the phone call. He asked if Zimmerman was “tracking” Martin, and answered that he was following him, thus the wind noise. O’Mara asked if there was any evidence that Zimmerman ran anywhere or ran after Martin after Zimmerman told the dispatcher “OK,” or even walked anywhere after Martin? Of course, there was not, and O’Mara again challenged the State to show that.
Addresses: O’Mara made the point that it was very dark that night and the state never asked Jenna Lauer if her exterior lights were on. He said that State wanted the jury to “presume or assume,” they were, and reiterated it was their burden to prove, not to ask the jury to assume.
Flashlights: O’Mara pointed out that the “weapon” flashlight wasn’t working, so Zimmerman was forced to use a tiny flashlight on his key ring, noting that if that was evidence of Zimmerman tracking Martin, let the State prove it. There was, of course, no such evidence.
The “T”: O’Mara recited the credible witnesses, who in support of Zimmerman’s account, place the beginning of the action at the “T” in the sidewalks.
The Animation: After a brief bit of technical difficulty, O’Mara walked the jury through the animation, bit by bit. It showed Martin on top of Zimmerman–a powerful image–but it’s greatest utility was in showing, with actual perspective, what the various witnesses would have been able to see.
O’Mara noted that the event started with a “shot to the face”–which was depicted–and that the only person injured (apart from Martin’s minor hand injuries) was Zimmerman. O’Mara brought up Zimmerman’s alleged anger and rhetorically told the prosecution that if they could prove it, the jury should believe it, but if they could not, the jury should not.
The Four-Minute Gap: O’Mara produced a brilliant bit of courtroom theater, reminding the jury that Jeantel said that Martin was running for home and had four minutes to do just that. He gave the jury four minutes of silence to make the point. It seemed a very long time. After the time elapsed, he said: “that’s how long he had to run, about four minutes.” The point: Martin had far more than enough time to be indoors and gone, but chose not to do that. O’Mara paused before a brief recess by asking if the prosecution showed the jury what Martin was doing for four minutes before the fight began at the “T”? Of course, they did not, a point the jury took with them as they left.
After the break, O’Mara told the jury they get to think about what Martin was doing for those four minutes. He said the first man ran a four-minute mile (Roger Bannister, 05-06-54) when he was about 12, noting that strong runners could run a mile in that time and of course, the distance Martin had to cover was only about the distance one could throw a football (less than 100 yards). He told the jury that they knew Martin had the opportunity to go home, but he didn’t. “Somebody decided they were angry,” he observed. “It wasn’t over with the running; it only just began.”
O’Mara said it wasn’t about a cop wannabe or stand your ground. Martin didn’t go home when he had the chance. He laid in wait. Then O’Mara took on BDLR’s Powerpoint slide claiming that Martin made no decisions, and obliterated the idea.
O’Mara asked the jury to use their common sense. Zimmerman was heading back to his car, and for four minutes, Martin was doing something–O’Mara observed that no one knew exactly what. He told the jury he didn’t care that Martin called some “stupid name” (referring to Zimmerman as a “creepy ass-cracker), noting that teenagers do that sort of thing, but Martin did something that led to the confrontation.
Confession and Evidence: O’Mara told the jury that if Zimmerman called him, he would have told him not to speak with the police until he arrived, but Zimmerman voluntarily spoke to the police. O’Mara told them to take the prosecution’s “cop wannabe, made-up statements and throw them out.”
O’Mara made the point that everyone should be thankful that Jenna Lauer had Officer Wagner take the facial photo of Zimmerman, otherwise all anyone would have had was the photos of a cleaned up Zimmerman at the Sanford PD. “This is undeniable; this is significant,” he noted.
Screams: O’Mara noted the 40 seconds of screams and that Dr. Nakasone said analysis couldn’t be done. Be made the point to say that Zimmerman gets the benefit of that.
O’Mara also addressed Zimmerman’s telling Officer Tim Smith, twice, that he screamed for help but no one came. He made fun of the State’s contention this revealed Zimmerman as a criminal mastermind making up interlocking lies rather than a man honestly talking to a police officer. He noted that Zimmerman didn’t know Martin died until he was told by Officer Singleton much later, which would make it hard to make up plausible lies.
He emphatically asked the jury to “tell the state don’t ever come back before us with a case like this. Don’t ever do this to us.”
Tell My Wife: The prosecution has made much of Zimmerman’s statement to Mr. Manolo: “Tell my wife I shot somebody,” claiming it showed callousness. O’Mara dispatched that, pointing out that Zimmerman was merely trying to tell his wife he was uninjured after Manolo first told her Zimmerman was involved in a shooting. O’Mara used the example of telling a spouse about a car accident. The first thing they want to know if whether you are hurt.
Witness Photos: O’Mara then began a PowerPoint series of photos of every witness that testified, along with brief text either explaining how their testimony supported Zimmerman’s account–most of the slides–or why they lacked credibility.
Wendy Dorival: O’Mara recounted her testimony that the neighborhood had been “assaulted by burglaries,” so as the Sanford PD Neighborhood Watch coordinator, she involved Zimmerman and was so impressed with him, she offered him a “citizens on patrol” position, which involved his own uniform and car, but the “wannabe cop” turned her down. O’Mara rhetorically asked how that showed evidence Zimmerman did anything wrong.
Selene Bahadoor: O’Mara noted she had no credibility, bringing up the “left to right” movement for the first time on the stand, and noted that it was likely Martin who was running left to right past her home in approaching Zimmerman at the “T.”
Mrs. Manolo: O’Mara pointed out that she made assumptions based on faulty facts: photos of Martin’s appearance and size when he was 12. The slide featured her statement: “Maybe I was wrong. I don’t know who is bigger now.”
Rachel Jeantel: O’Mara treated her gently, saying that she didn’t want to be involved at all. He suggested, admitting it was conjecture, that it was her mother that wanted her to write a letter to Sybrina Fulton and Rachel didn’t want to do that. He pointed out that virtually no one can remember the specific contents of a phone call made long ago, saying “O yeah, you want that too…” just as Jeantel did in the interview with BDLR.
O’Mara said: “some of her frailties came out on TV and in the courtroom she never wanted to come out.” He took off the kid gloves, noting that her interviews were badly handled by attorneys, saying it was “horribly inappropriate” not to get her immediately to law enforcement (Benjamin Crump) and also to place her on a couch right next to Martin’s mother (de la Rionda). O’Mara did not specifically identify them.
Investigator Christopher Serino: O’Mara pointed out that minor inconsistencies in Zimmerman’s story didn’t matter to Serino, that they were normal, and also gently mocked the prosecution for suggesting that Zimmerman’s “thank God” upon hearing that a video of the attack might be available was anything but an honest expression of thankfulness.
Dr. Rao: O’Mara was far more gentle with Rao than she deserves, observing that she testified that Zimmerman was hit a minimum of four time. “If you buy that, fine,” he said, noting that self-defense required “zero,” no injuries at all, not even “a cut on a finger,” only reasonable fear of bodily harm. He said that Zimmerman’s injuries were “icing on the cake of self-defense,” and had “nothing to do with the substance of self-defense,”
Jorge Meza: O’Mara noted that his unplanned Identification of Zimmerman’s voice was very credible, calling him a “man of his word.”
Sandra Osterman: O’Mara noted she found no ill will or spite in Zimmerman’s voice.
John Donnelly: O’Mara told the jury he could not have imagined anyone better able to identify a voice under deadly danger than “a medic in Vietnam,” a man who ran to screaming voices, able to identify them even as they screamed. This observation was as convincing as Donnelly’s testimony.
Tracy Martin: O’Mara noted that both Singleton and Serino testified that Tracy said the voice was not Trayvon’s, and that the benefit always goes to George Zimmerman.
Adam Pollock: In the most cynical terms yet, O’Mara mocked the State for claiming great martial arts prowess for Zimmerman despite Pollock’s testimony to the contrary.
Bill Lee, Former Sanford Police Chief: O’Mara quoted him: “separate them, don’t infect witness testimony with other witness testimony,” once again holding up Crump and di la Rionda to well-deserved scorn. He noted that Zimmerman also gets the benefit of any fallout from those mistakes.
Dr. DiMaio: O’Mara noted that he supported Zimmerman’s account, particularly that Zimmerman was on the bottom and Martin on the top leaning over him when he was shot. O’Mara ridiculed the state for suggesting “he might have been backing up, he coulda…” O’Mara said “coulda beens don’t belong in this courtroom.” He noted that Martin “didn’t back up when John Good told him to.” He said, incredulously that the State “wants you to believe after 45 seconds, Trayvon martin suddenly backed up. Really? Really?” At the prosecution table, BDLR and Guy did not look at all happy.
He finished by again challenging the prosecution to provide evidence: “where is one shred of evidence to support the absurdity they’re trying to have you buy? Mr. Guy can tell you about it…if it’s there.” Mr. Guy did not tell them about it.
Dennis Root, Use Of Force Expert: O’Mara again called this the Bizarro case, noting that it is the only case he has ever seen where prosecutors are attacking and impeaching law enforcement officers like Root who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of perfection. He noted that when Guy asked Root what other options Zimmerman would have had, root answered “none.”
O’Mara demanded to know the piece of evidence that contraindicated that, one shred that contradicted it. There was, of course, none in the prosecution’s case.
Olivia Bertalan: O’Mara said he wasn’t seeking sympathy for her, merely putting a face on what happened at the Retreat at Twin Lakes. He said she’s the face of the victims of burglary there. He mentioned Zimmerman’s bringing her a lock, giving her his phone number and his wife’s number. “That’s what he does; he helps,” O’Mara said.
Forensic and Related Evidence: O’Mara held up a photo of Martin’s gunshot wound with some blood running from it. He held up a later photo of the same GSW absolutely clean. He told the jury that no one testified that they cleaned or removed the blood, yet it was gone, making the point that the prosecution’s unsupported claim of missing blood was bogus.
Throughout the day, two life size gray fiberboard cutouts of Martin and Zimmerman had been leaning against the far wall of the courtroom, facing the jury. O’Mara stood them before the jury, and the point was made. Dressed as he was that night, Trayvon Martin was not only significantly taller than George Zimmerman, he appeared to be substantially larger and heavier as well. The cutouts were returned to the wall. It was a very effective tactic. The prosecutors looked even more unhappy.
O’Mara held up the photo of a shirtless Martin from November, 2011. He said “autopsy photos are horrific. They’re meant to have negative impact.” He explained that corpses have no muscle tone, in contrast to the muscular, sullen Martin three months before his death. He asked the jury to remember that was how Martin looked in February of 2012.
A short time later, O’Mara held up a photo of Martin’s pants, wet on the lower legs and knees, making the point they too supported Zimmerman’s account, as did Officer Smith’s reports about Zimmerman’s back being wet and covered in grass.
Statements: O’Mara mentioned again that Zimmerman voluntarily answered every police question, and that Serino found minor inconsistencies, but thought nothing of them. O’Mara explained that a lie is the intention to deceive, and if what Zimmerman did was lie, why did he give six statements? He made fun of the prosecution claiming that Zimmerman knew all about the law, which allowed him to effectively lie, but he didn’t know anything about Miranda, the Supreme Court decision about the right not to speak with the police.
O’Mara said: “It is a tragedy,” but warned the jury they could not let sympathy decide the verdict.
Self-Defense: O’Mara read the law to the jury, noting that “following someone is not unlawful under Florida law.”
What The State Hasn’t Proven: Nearing the end of his closing argument, O’Mara focused on the State’s omissions. He excoriated them for failing to call Tracy Martin, noting that if the state was really seeking justice, why did he have to call Tracy and Serino and Singleton to give the jury the testimony that Tracy said the voice wasn’t Trayvon.
Why didn’t the state tell the jury about all of the burglaries in the neighborhood?
Why didn’t they produce experts on the use of force?
Why didn’t they produce experts to counter Dr. DiMaio? He said: “They don’t have to, but it’s their case, their burden.”
Then he really unloaded on the prosecutors, saying in essence: “does it help you decide this case when it’s someone who is not George Zimmerman’s voice scream at you? Do we need that kind of anger coming from a prosecutor?” Indeed.
Is there one piece of evidence that George Zimmerman landed one blow?
O’Mara challenged Guy to produce evidence that Zimmerman did anything to cause the attack. He would not.
Then O’Mara carried a large chunk of cement and put it on the floor in front of the jury, pointing out that it was sidewalk concrete, a weapon. He said “that is not an unarmed teenager with Skittles trying to get home.” He said the suggestion by the State that such concrete was not a weapon capable of causing great bodily harm “is disgusting.”
O’Mara noted that it was Jeantel who testified that Zimmerman said “what are you doing around here” to Martin. He told the jury that Root said that wasn’t provocation and that he didn’t say an appropriate response to that question “was to break someone’s nose.”
O’Mara said: “there was ill will and spite and hatred. The pictures of George Zimmerman are proof.”
O’Mara ended with a powerful point indeed, telling the jury that they must consider reasonable doubt and the evidence, and that if they find that George Zimmerman acted in self-defense, “we are done,” there is no need to consider anything else because self-defense is an affirmative defense to the charges. And so it is.
Keep in mind that I did not list every point O’Mara made, but as you can see gentle readers, O’Mara’s closing was complete and focused not only on the evidence introduced during the trial, but the evidence the State did not introduce, or tried to conceal from the jury, forcing the defense to produce it. He also focused on the law and on asking the jury to decide the case by the law and the evidence. Ultimately, he succeeded in not only proving reasonable doubt, but in proving Zimmerman’s innocence.
This is indeed a bizarro trial, as Mr. O’Mara said and as I have been saying for a very long time.
THE PROSECUTION REBUTTAL:
In a normal trial, the prosecution would have made O’Mara’s argument. But in the bizarro trial, the prosecution made a classic defense rebuttal, asking the jury not only to disregard the evidence and the law, but to make its decision based entirely on emotion, and a medieval conception of anatomy: the heart is the seat of intellect and reason.
Rather than addressing any of the very damaging points O’Mara made in his closing statement, points that all but disintegrated every prosecution theory, John Guy launched into a dissertation on the human heart, saying it makes us do things, and if we really want to know what happened, we must “look into the heart of that grown man and that child.” From BDLR’s closing to Guy’s rebuttal that rebutted nothing, Trayvon Martin transmogrified from a “17 year-old man” to “a child.”
The jury learned in short order that Zimmerman had “f-ing punks” in his heart, but in Martin’s heart was fear. Then Guy waxed poetic, dealing a pithy aphorism: “As a man speaks, so is he.” He didn’t attribute it. He noted that Martin’s last words were “what you following me for?”
In so doing, Guy essentially admitted that it was Martin that verbally accosted Zimmerman, thus beginning the confrontation, and ignoring the evidence that Martin’s last words were likely “You’re going to die tonight motherfucker,” and/or “you got it” or “you got me,” which are admittedly far less emotional and tragic.
But to Guy, Zimmerman’s expressions of frustration at the criminal vermin plaguing his neighborhood and terrorizing young mothers like Olivia Bertalan provide a “window into George Zimmerman’s soul.” Perhaps so, but it’s a very different view than that imagined by Guy.
Unlike his earlier performances, Guy began by being quiet and intense, but he could not resist repeatedly swearing, and soon resorted to yelling at the jury, but not quite as often or as violently as he previously had.
An essential part of BDLR’s closing was to assert broadly that everything Zimmerman said, including “the,” “a” and “and” was a lie. Guy continued this tactic, over and over again claiming that Zimmerman lied about everything, and asking in mock concern why he had to lie about everything, yet there were no actual examples of lies.
Guy also resorted to asking rhetorical questions that often had no clear answers, but vaguely accused Zimmerman of something or other. He asked at one point what if Zimmerman only “saw and called,” implying that everything would have been fine, another example of the “what if,” evidence-free tactics of BDLR.
As if reading a movie script, Guy intoned: “Trayvon Martin may not have George Zimmerman’s blood on his hands, but George Zimmerman will have Trayvon Martin’s blood on his hands forever–forever.”
Guy told the jury that he had evidence that Zimmerman followed Martin after he told the dispatcher “OK,” and suggested that Zimmerman wasn’t actually going back to his car as he told the dispatcher and testified, but he presented no evidence whatever to back up that assertion. That was as close as Guy would get to producing evidence or rebutting O’Mara.
Guy told the jury to use their common sense, and told them things really didn’t start at the “T,” but at the 7-11 and he invited them to come to the 7-11 with him and to bring their common sense. He asked them to apply it by saying “that child had every right to be where he was…” and he listed a number of other things Martin had a right to do like walking home, and “defending himself against that strange man,” which I don’t recall anyone ever denying. On the other hand, I don’t recall any evidence whatever about Martin’s need to defend himself against anyone.
Guy became quite excited and loud in arguing that Zimmerman couldn’t have gotten his gun, “it’s a physical impossibility,” he thundered. But Zimmerman never said Martin was in his armpits constantly, and that he was squirming and struggling. There also remains the small problem that Zimmerman was actually able to get his gun and shot Martin with it, but this didn’t stop Guy who argued that just before he was shot, Martin was getting off Zimmerman or somehow “backing up so far.” As usual, he provided no evidence of this, and there was none introduced in the trial.
Guy also suggested that the jurors should mount each other during their deliberations so they could see how impossible Zimmerman’s account was. I’m not kidding. See what O’Mara and I mean about a bizarro case?
Guy repeated a popular part of The Narrative, asserting that Zimmerman shot Martin not because he had to but because he wanted to. This too was unsupported by evidence at trial or from Guy.
Then Guy provided a BDLR-like nonsensical aphorism:
“It’s not a case about self-defense; it’s about self-denial.”
He may have been trying to suggest that Zimmerman was engaging in self-deception of some sort, but it’s impossible to be sure as the saying popped out of nowhere with no context for a guide.
Guy continued, nearly every time he took a breath, to accuse Zimmerman of serial lying, but still could not produce a single coherent example. What he presented as examples of lying on a few occasions were nothing more than differences of interpretation between Zimmerman and dispatcher Noffke, who admitted that when he asked Zimmerman to tell him what Martin was doing, Zimmerman–or anyone–could have understood that to mean to keep an eye on him. After all, how else could one continue to tell the dispatcher what was happening?
Guy claimed that the fact there was no blood on Martin’s hands was somehow a Zimmerman lie, and actually claimed that Zimmerman’s head was not smashed into the concrete, suggesting that if it was, Zimmerman would have had far worse injuries, this despite all medical and forensic evidence to the contrary. One might be tempted to suggest that Guy was misrepresenting evidence and/or lying just as BDLR did, but he was not in BDLR’s league, if for no other reason than that he had only an hour.
And Guy argued that Zimmerman was not hit “dozens of times”–he even had a Powerpoint slide to that effect–and that Zimmerman “was
not injured seriously, not close, not close.” He added “it wasn’t that bad; it wasn’t bad at all.” Not only is this contradicted by medical testimony, it ignores the fact that injury or its severity has no bearing on the law. One might argue that Guy is making bad faith arguments and misleading the jury, and I am providing evidence of that.
Guy trotted out another saying: “this case is not about stand your ground, it’s about staying in your car.” Guy is right: this case has nothing to do with the Florida stand your ground law. However, Guy was trying to show that Zimmerman was somehow violating the Neighborhood Watch rules, and he displayed what might have been a SPD NW flyer of some sort generally speaking about what NW volunteers are supposed to do, but he did display one particular flyer with a few sentences enlarged suggesting that NW volunteers should not actively try to prevent crimes or apprehend criminals, neither of which Zimmerman did, and there is, as usual, no evidence that he even tried.
Guy told the jury that real trials are “not like TV,” but then, as did BDLR before him, apologized for his witnesses, particularly Jeantel and Dr. Bao. He told them he didn’t get to pick his witnesses, and argued that if the jury didn’t like his witnesses, they should blame Zimmerman! He boldly asserted that Zimmerman chose everything!
Guy tried to mock O’Mara, saying that he put up pictures of all the witnesses, but missed one, and then displayed a photo of physician’s assistant Lindzee Folgate, but said nothing about her or her testimony. As I recall, she was in the O’Mara slideshow, but if not, I’m sure you, gentle readers, can correct me.
Guy read from the self-defense statute, and kept making suggestions about what might have happened, offering no evidence and dancing around the law. O’Mara objected and a sidebar occurred, after which Judge Nelson again told the jury she’d tell them the law when everyone was done.
Guy ended where he began, asserting that Zimmerman had hate, not only in his heart, but his mouth and his actions. He spoke of Martin as being “16 years and 21 days” old, and called him a “son, brother, friend,” and sadly intoned: “the last thing he did in this earth was try to get home.” Unfortunately for Guy, the evidence proves otherwise.
He finally spoke about “the physical evidence, which refutes his lies,” but of course, there was no evidence presented, nor a single example of a lie or refuting evidence.
As this article is posted, the jury has ended deliberations for the evening and is scheduled to continue on Saturday morning. I continue to worry that a stealth juror may have slipped onto the jury, which could result in a hung jury, forcing another trial. I’ve little doubt the prosecution would love another run at Zimmerman, if for no other reason than to help stir up racial animus and to harass Zimmerman, O’Mara and West. Perhaps they could secure a plea to a lesser charge due to exhaustion.
Alternately, a guilty plea, particularly if Judge Nelson forced Zimmerman into jail as I believe she would, would be a death sentence. There are any number of cons who would love to enhance their reputations with Zimmerman’s scalp.
Even a not-guilty verdict would be hardly an improvement. In the near term, Zimmerman would be in fear of his life from second to second, and would have to remain near Sanford due to his wife Shellie’s trial for perjury. I’ll have a great deal more to say about that obscenity, though readers might want to refresh their memories with Updates 9.2, Update 10, and particularly Update 12.
While it is possible that Zimmerman may eventually win a substantial settlement from NBC and other news organizations for their mendacious defamation, that would be small consolation in many ways. O’Mara and West have taken Zimmerman’s case pro bono–they’re not getting paid–and they’ve paid many expenses out of pocket. Any settlements they are eventually able to negotiate will surely help, but they will never get rich. In the meantime, what amount of money will ever allow George and Shellie Zimmerman to live anything resembling a normal life? How can they work or even shop knowing they might meet someone at any minute motivated to kill them?
We should also not forget that the federal Department of Justice still has an open case on Zimmerman. I have no doubt that if he is acquitted, and perhaps even if he is found guilty, Eric Holder and his Marxist minions will pursue Zimmerman like the hounds of Hell, particularly if they perceive political advantage in time for the 2014 mid-term elections.
But one thing at a time. I’ll continue to report on this case. For the moment, you may wish to visit CNN, which has an illuminating interview with Mark O’Mara. And Mandy Nagy at the indispensable Legal Insurrection has a related article as well. You’d also be well served by visiting Andrew Branca’s informed comments on the day’s events.
As always, you have my gratitude for reading this scruffy little blog and for wading through articles that sometimes turn out far longer than I prefer to write due to the attention to detail required. I hope that attention to detail is, at least in part, why you visit. Thanks again!