The last few weeks have seen a virtual avalanche of allusions to George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin and The Narrative. This is hardly surprising. As I often noted in writing about the case, the shooting was actually an unremarkable case of self-defense like many that occur regularly across the nation. Any notoriety was drummed up by the purveyors of The Narrative, those with a dog in this particularly racial dog fight, such as President Obama, AG Erik Holder, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the Scheme Team, and a variety of other well known characters, whose names will be revealed in this article.
There is, obviously, still money to be made stoking the fires of racial discord, but some readers may be somewhat surprised by who is stoking those fires and by what is being said. We begin with Rene Stutzman at the Orlando Sentinel:
George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who killed Trayvon Martin, plans to ask the state of Florida to cover $200,000 to $300,000 of his legal expenses, his attorney told the Orlando Sentinel Monday evening.
Because Zimmerman was acquitted, state law requires Florida to pay all his legal costs, minus the biggest one: the fee that goes to his lawyers.
That includes the cost of expert witnesses, travel, depositions, photocopies, even that animated 3-D video that defense attorneys showed jurors during closing argument that depicts Trayvon punching Zimmerman.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said Monday that he would soon prepare a motion, asking Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson to authorize the payments.
That motion, he said, ‘is in the works.’
His office is still collecting numbers, he said, but he estimated the request would total $200,000 to $300,000.
That would be on top of the estimated $902,000 that public agencies already have spent on Zimmerman’s five-week second-degree murder trial that ended July 13.
I’m sure Judge Nelson will be delighted to scrupulously follow the law and assist George Zimmerman in paying his legal bills. It might be wise to keep in mind that lawyers often adjust their fee schedules. A lawyer who bills $500.00 per hour for five hours of work, might well reduce those fees for a very lengthy trial for a client that is not well off.
It [the motion] would be based on Florida Statute 939.06, which states that a defendant who has been acquitted is not liable for any costs associated with his case and, if he or she paid anything, they would be due a refund, if approved by a judge or clerk.
The money would come from the Judicial Administrative Commission, the state agency that pays the non-lawyer legal expenses of indigent defendants.
O’Mara said he would ask the judge to certify the costs he submits. He then expects the commission, which is commonly referred to as JAC, to challenge many.
‘That’s where the fight is,’ he said.
O’Mara has been paid nothing by Zimmerman, said the defense attorney who bills at a rate of $400 an hour, but he has kept billing records.
O’Mara gave a ballpark estimate of the number of hours he had worked on the case: 40 hours a week for 16 months.
At $400-an-hour, he would be owed slightly more than $1 million.
That does not include any of the work done by co-counsel Don West, who bills at $350 an hour, or O’Mara’s partner, Lorna Truett.
I’ll keep an eye on this situation.
OUTRAGE! And speaking of Don West, the black media has been very exercised in recent months over a social media post. Black enterprise.com writes:
A bizarre photo of Don West, defense attorney for George Zimmerman, who is currently on trial for the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, went viral after it was posted on Instagram by his teenage daughter, Molly West.
The photo, which has since been deleted, shows West taking a ‘selfie’ while eating ice-cream cones with Molly, and another daughter Rachel.
The caption beneath the photo – We beat stupidity celebration cones #zimmerman #defense #dadkilledit.
Here’s the “bizarre” photo. I mean, what sort of a madman would take a photo of his family eating ice cream? And who would dare call one of the least honorable teams of prosecutors in memory “stupid”? Has he, at long last, no decency?
Newsone for Black America was also outraged about–well–pretty much Don West’s existence:
UPDATE: 6/29/2013: Zimmerman’s defense team has confirmed that the picture is of West and his “mortified” daughters. According to their spokesperson, they apologized for the “grossly insensitive” image, reports Buzzfeed.
Allegedly West had no idea that his daughters posted the picture.
A disturbing photo of Don West, defense attorney for George Zimmerman, 29, who is currently on trial for the February 26, 2012 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, went viral after it was posted on Instagram by his teenage daughter, Molly West.
The photo, which has since been deleted, shows West taking a selfie while eating ice-cream cones with Molly, and another daughter Rachel, soon after opening the trial with an extremely inappropriate knock-knock joke.
Ah, the knock knock “joke” again. For a bit of a reminder, you may wish to visit Update 32, but I’ll provide this excerpt that argues that West’s “joke,” was actually a sophisticated and effective rhetorical tactic, a tactic that unquestionably worked.
The opening was 30 minutes of innuendo, emotion, and deception, with virtually no fact or evidence bearing on proving the essential elements of the offense. I suspect this emotional approach was an intentional attempt at manipulating the jury, which being all female, the State is obviously thinking will be swayed by emotional appeals. Branca [Attorney Andrew Branca, following the trial at Legal Insurrection] ended thus:’
In summary, the State’s opening remarks seem to me to be a very weak effort, indeed.’
Branca noted that Donald West began with an odd knock knock joke that fell flat. Many commentators have latched onto this as evidence of the inevitable conviction of Zimmerman. Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz went so far as to opine that it is grounds for a mistrial. On first glance, this might seem like a rare and out of character misstep for the steady, controlled and professional West. It may not be.
Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse suggests that the joke is a “cognitive reset” tool meant to so shock–or perhaps “redirect the thinking of” might be a better term–as to wipe out what they heard a short time before so that they could better accept what they were about to hear. This is indeed a venerable–though rather old–debating tool that goes by a variety of names. Like this old debate and speech teacher, West is old and experienced enough to know of it, perhaps to have used it to good effect in the past.
As to the idea of a mistrial, who would ask for one? Zimmerman? He’s actually the only person to really have standing to do so. I suspect that what happened is that the defense expected the prosecution to do something flashy and outrageous–thus the recitation of Zimmerman’s few, harmless, expressions of emotion–and West was prepared for it with the knock knock distractor. He’s surely a good enough lawyer to allow him self to take some flack if his tactic well serves his client. And will Zimmerman demand a mistrial? For what? Nullifying the prosecution’s cynical opening gambit?
As Branca notes in his excellent summary–and I do recommend you read it–West was masterful, not only presenting a comprehensive preview of the evidence, but countering the misleading contentions of the prosecution. There is no question that for each bit of innuendo provided by the prosecution, the defense is prepared to present fact and evidence.
And as all know, the defense strategy prevailed. It’s hard to argue with success, not that newsone.com doesn’t try. Reading on, we learn that Don West is practically the spawn of Satan:
West has solidified his position as the trial’s villain with his condescending cross-examination of prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel, 19, the last person to speak to Martin before he was gunned down by West’s client. He has consistently — and passive aggressively — held Jeantel up for ridicule and scorn, while working to discredit her testimony.
While that is technically his job, his cold intimidation of the grieving teen, juxtaposed with his obvious disregard for an unarmed Black boy murdered in cold blood, makes this “selfie” a telling glimpse into West’s private life and the character of his children.
And the irony is sharp.
These folks must have watched a very different trial than the trial I saw. Don West was a consummate professional with the patience of Job and the demeanor of Mr. Rogers. As I wrote at the time, in the handling of Rachel Jeantel, who was openly, blatantly disrespectful of West, the court, and the entire process, West was remarkably gentle and controlled, while simultaneously exposing her deceptions and the very shallow depth of her character. And of course he was “working to discredit her testimony;” that’s his job, and he did it to the highest ethical levels of the legal profession.
West certainly did not treat Jeantel with “cold intimidation,” but he, and Mark O’Mara, were always careful to treat her, Martin–and his parents–with great care. We know, of course, that Martin was not “murdered in cold blood.” The state of Florida spent a very long time and a very great deal of taxpayer money conclusively proving that to be false.
As to the idea that West’s taking of a photo of his family enjoying ice cream provides “a telling glimpse into West’s private life and the character of his children,” could only be accepted as rational by those for whom The Narrative will live forever, unassailable by fact and law. Irony? Only in that some might find that innocuous, even charming, photo sinister.
Newsone’s legal analyst, Eric Guster, seems very disappointed that Don West will not face the wrath of Judge Nelson:
It [the photo of West and his children] is not contempt because the daughter is the person who posted the photo,”’said Guster. ‘If Attorney West posted the picture, it may be considered contempt due to the lack of respect he has shown the court and the proceedings. Courts have very strict rules for decorum in dealing with cases. If a lawyer says or writes something that the judge feels is improper, that judge may hold a contempt hearing. If found guilty of contempt, the lawyer can be required to serve days in jail, pay a fine, or both.
Having to deal with The Narrative all of the time does get a bit tiresome, doesn’t it, gentle readers?
THE FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE SPEAKS: On a recent edition of CBS’s Face The Nation, Colin Powell demonstrated that accomplished people shouldn’t presume to know everything, and particularly not just because they happen to be of the same race.
Speaking on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ Sunday morning, former Secretary of State Colin Powell – the first black man to hold that position – was asked to give his opinions about the Trayvon Martin case.
He began by calling the judgment ‘questionable.’ Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman was acquitted of manslaughter and murder charges in his killing of Trayvon, who was 17, unarmed, and black.
But just as interesting as his doubts about the justice of the verdict are his doubts about the historical importance of the case. While the trial stirred deep questions about race in America, Mr. Powell seemed to dismiss the idea that it would leave any lasting imprint’
‘I don’t know if it will have staying power,’ he said. ‘These cases come along, and they blaze across the midnight sky and then after a period of time, they’re forgotten.
“Questionable?” Not to any unbiased observer of the trial. But Mr. Powell is on the right track. The case deserves to fade into the darker recesses of history. It is an unremarkable self-defense case. However, it does have historic impact as an example of the death throes of the racial grievance industry, an industry that dearly deserves to die a quick and quiet death with a wooden stake through its heart so it can never rise again.
THE RACIST IN CHIEF: Kathleen Parker, who happens to be of the white persuasion, writes at the Washington Post:
If I had a son, he would look like Christopher Lane, the 22-year-old Australian baseball player shot dead while jogging in Oklahoma.
If I had a father, he’d look like Delbert Belton, the 88-year-old World War II veteran beaten to death in Spokane, Wash.
And yes, if I had a son, he’d look like the white teenager who police say drove the getaway car in the Oklahoma killing.
These are all true statements if we identify ourselves and each other only by the color of our skin, which increasingly seems to be the case. Even our president has done so.
Barack Obama helped lead the way when he identified himself with the parents of Trayvon Martin, shot by George Zimmerman in the neighborhood-watch catastrophe with which all are familiar. Stepping out from his usual duties of drawing meaningless red lines in the Syrian sand, the president splashed red paint across the American landscape:
‘If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.’
In so saying, he essentially gave permission for all to identify themselves by race with the victim or the accused. How sad, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the march Martin Luther King Jr. led on Washington, that even the president resorts to judging not by the content of one’s character but by the color of his skin — the antithesis of the great dream King articulated.
Obama went even further after the Zimmerman verdict, expressing his identification not as leader of a racially diverse nation — or as the son of a white mother — but as a black man who remembers women clutching their purses tighter when he entered an elevator and being followed in department stores. All because he was black?
NOTE: The “white teenager” in the Oklahoma murder actually has substantial black ancestry, but is so light skinned as to be able to pass for white should he wish to. As it was useful for the media to portray George Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic,” this particular murderous thug in Oklahoma has been consistently portrayed as “white” by the media in an apparent attempt to somehow dilute the potential racial motivation of the killers.
Parker makes the entirely reasonable observation that “profiling” is often nothing more than the impressions broadcast by the way someone dresses or behaves, as in the sight of “a punk wearing his britches around his rump and telegraphing attitude…” stepping onto an elevator. Parker concludes:
We do know this much for certain: Had the races been reversed, the usual suspects would have had much to say. White teens beat up an elderly black veteran and leave him for dead? White teens shoot a talented black athlete visiting from another country?
I make these observations not to exacerbate a problem but in the hope that we can stop this craziness before things escalate. The conversation-about-race that pundits keep insisting we need to have should end where it began. Maybe in his remarks on the 50th anniversary of the greatest peaceful demonstration in history, Obama can remind Americans that if we had sons and fathers, they’d look like Christopher Lane and Delbert Belton as well as Trayvon Martin.
Victim in chief is no role for a president.
To paraphrase Lilly Tomlin, no matter how cynical I get about President Obama, I can’t keep up. It’s virtually impossible for me to think any less of him. Individuals can act inappropriately and stupidly, but racism as a socially acceptable fact or institution is dead in America. It has been deceased for a very long time. That’s the conversation about race some people surely need to have.
HIT AND MISS: At Hotair.com, Jazz Shaw is arguably off–and clearly on–target. I admit to being a bit unsure about this first excerpt. It almost seems satiric, but does express a common attitude bouncing about the blogosphere these days, so I’ll treat it as straight commentary for the purposes of rebuttal:
Zimmerman has enjoyed riding a wave of fame brought on by his murderous act. According to The Washington Post, “Zimmerman used a Kel-Tech 9-mm pistol to shoot Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. So, what did the former neighborhood watch volunteer do this weekend? According to TMZ, he went to the gun manufacturer’s Cocoa, Fla., headquarters to apparently shop for a rifle. Not only that, Zimmerman got a tour of the facility by the owner’s son and posed for at least one smiley-faced picture with an employee. The visit set off widespread head-scratching and curse-filled questioning. But the reaction from Shawn Vincent, the spokesman of the attorney who kept him from rotting behind bars, was the best. ‘We certainly would not have advised him to go to the factory that made the gun that he used to shoot Trayvon Martin through the heart. That was not part of our public relations plan…
My commentary on George Zimmerman has been based on fact, analysis of human nature, and analysis of reliable information. I’ve never imagined George to be a paragon of virtue or a role model for virtually anything or anyone, nor have I portrayed him that way. I would prefer that after his acquittal, he simply faded away and lived a very low profile life. I am not at all sure he has not.
The media continue to hound him and report on the most minute details of his life. Did George notify the media about being stopped for speeding? If so, there is no evidence of it. Did George notify the media about visiting Kel-Tec? Did he provide a photo? If so, there is no evidence of it (and as always, I’d be grateful for any information to the contrary provided by readers). I have no doubt that there are some who would delight in killing him. And who would not suffer some effects from the ordeal he and his family have undergone? Who would be unchanged, and potentially in odd and quirky ways, hopefully, temporary?
I am disappointed in the statement of O’Mara’s spokesman. It strikes me as needlessly inflammatory, angry and unfortunate. Whatever happened to “no comment”?
But Shaw again hits the mark on the record of the first post-racial president:
The question of race has been front and center for the past five years, during the tenure of the first black president.
Obama has tended to be cautious on the subject, but he has been more forthcoming of late, especially after the killing of Martin and subsequent acquittal of Zimmerman.
In the immediate aftermath of the killing, Obama noted, ‘if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.’ Last month, after the verdict, he went one step further in that identification saying, ‘Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago’ and offering a number of instances of racial stereotyping and prejudice that he had himself suffered as a younger man.
But even if those comments were lauded among Obama’s supporters, they were among several reasons why Herman Cain calls the president’s record on race relations ‘lousy.’
He added: ‘There were expectations that he would set the proper tone for race relations in this country. He has not done so. The things that he has been outspoken about have simply created more friction.
Well yes, Trayvon Martin and Mr. Obama are unquestionably alike in that they were both drug users. And Mr. Cain is likewise correct. Mr. Obama’s contribution to racial relations has not even been to lead from behind, but to agitate from the front. Domestic affairs: destroy from the front. Foreign affairs: destroy from behind. Most unfortunate.
I KNEW MARTIN LUTHER KING. MARTIN LUTHER KING WAS A FRIEND OF MINE. YOU’RE NO MARTIN LUTHER KING: At the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s magnificent “I Have A Dream” speech, Martin Luther King III spoke, as did a variety of other black “leaders.” Many made reference to Trayvon Martin, and this t-shirt–for sale–was seen thereabouts:
Like the t-shirt, MLKIII proved that the civil rights movement has shriveled to a shade of its once legitimate value and glory:
The task is not done, the journey is not complete,’ he said. ‘The vision preached by my father a half-century ago was that his four little children would no longer live in a nation where they would judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’
‘However, sadly, the tears of Trayvon Martin’s mother and father remind us that, far too frequently, the color of one’s skin remains a license to profile, to arrest and to even murder with no regard for the content of one’s character,’ he said, calling for ‘stand your ground’ self-defense laws to be repealed in states where they have been enacted.
As I’ve noted in past articles, Trayvon Martin is a poor icon for the civil rights movement, and the facts proved that he was not profiled, his skin color was not a factor in his death, and stand your ground laws had no bearing on the case. However, Martin’s character did have a very direct cause and effect relationship on his death, and not as MLKIII might intend.
In the fall of 2013, honorable men like Don West, men who faithfully serve the system of justice that protects us all, men who skillfully and honorably defend people like Trayvon Martin each and every day, are denigrated, while young drug using criminals are compared to Martin Luther King by people who are styled “leaders” of their race. We do indeed need to have a conversation, not on race, but on reality.