Zimmerman: Media Circuses Make for Bad Justice

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

At this point, to be honest, all of the back and forth regarding “evidence” in the Zimmerman Case that has occurred here over a number of threads has been mere speculation that misses the salient issues raised by this case. The real (admissible) evidence will be presented at the trial and a hopefully an unbiased jury will make its decisions. The issues that we need to discuss from my perspective are:

1. Did the Sanford Police make a mistake in releasing Zimmerman rather quickly and allowing him to retain his gun, which was potential evidence?

2. Was there undue outside influence used upon the police to end their investigation quickly?

 3. Is there a degree of probability that in many Stand Your Ground venues, had the victim been white and the protagonist of color, that the protagonist would have been immediately arrested?

4. What are the purposes of a business oriented lobbying group, like ALEC, in getting “Stand Your Ground” Laws passed?

5. Is this once again an instance where a media circus has poisoned the ability to have a fair trial?

The George Zimmerman shooting of Trayvon Martin has been marked by the typical aspects of what we have come to know as a media circus in American justice. Since this country began, when it comes to criminal justice, our free Press (Media) has found that sensationalism sells. Consequently, when a particular criminal case raises widespread public interest, the Press (Media) fans that interest beyond even the initial public interest. The process of leaking “new evidence” as the case plays out brings with it angry public debate over the significance of the leaked “evidence” and the guilt or innocence of the protagonist.

This creates an uneven public relations battle between the prosecution and the defense. I say uneven because in almost all instances the prosecution has the advantage in terms of media access and also the public’s presumption that the police/prosecution are their protectors. We have seen this occur in this particular case and quite frankly, save for the basic facts that are indisputable; none of us really know what evidence are public relations ploys to sway opinions and what facts will actually be admissible as evidence at trial. What makes this case somewhat different than others is that in this instance the original prosecutor and the Sanford P.D. actively were trying to justify their actions in releasing Zimmerman and not continuing to prosecute him. Their leaks were perhaps attempts to justify their actions. Now that the public uproar has brought in new prosecutors and investigators the leaks to the press may take on a different tone. What we don’t know, as the latest photo of the back of Zimmerman’s head illustrates, is whether the current prosecution is seeking true justice, or continuing to participate in a potential whitewash.

I would like to mention four cases that have occurred in my lifetime that show the problems encountered when sensational cases become prosecuted in the press. The first is the case of Dr. Sam Shepard, a Cleveland physician accused of murdering his wife in 1954, convicted he spent a decade in prison, only to be exonerated at a second trial:

Sheppard was brought to trial in the autumn of 1954. The case is notable for its extensive publicity and what the U.S. Supreme Court called a “carnival atmosphere.” Many have compared the O.J. Simpson trial to it, in terms of the often lurid press coverage it generated.

 Some newspapers and other media in Ohio were accused of bias against Sheppard and inflammatory coverage of the case, and were criticized for immediately labeling Sheppard as the only viable suspect. Some believe that a specific headline from the Cleveland Press, “Why Isn’t Sam Sheppard in Jail?,” clearly indicated the bias of the media against Sheppard. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Sheppard

The second case I’d like to mention is that of Caryl Chessman. Chessman was executed in 1960, having been convicted in a storm of lurid publicity. The issue wasn’t Chessman’s guilt per se, but whether California’s “Little Lindbergh” law should have been applied in a case where there was no murder. The publicity and antipathy towards Chessman, who was no doubt a low life criminal, obscure the fact that he hadn’t committed murder. In fact many proponents of his death lost sight of the fact that this was not a murder case:

“Born in St. Joseph, Michigan, Caryl Chessman was a criminal with a long record who spent most of his adult life behind bars. He had been paroled a short time from prison in California when he was arrested near Los Angeles and charged with being the notorious “Red Light Bandit.” The “Bandit” would follow people in their cars to secluded areas and flash a red light that tricked them into thinking he was a police officer. When they opened their windows or exited the vehicle, he would rob and, in the case of several young women, rape them. In July 1948, Chessman was convicted on 17 counts of robbery, kidnapping, and rape, and was condemned to death.

Part of the controversy surrounding the Chessman case stems from how the death penalty was applied. At the time, under California‘s version of the “Little Lindbergh Law”, any crime that involved kidnapping with bodily harm could be considered a capital offense. Two of the counts against Chessman alleged that he dragged a 17-year-old girl named Mary Alice Meza a short distance from her car demanding oral sex from her. Despite the short distance[citation needed] the woman was moved, the court considered it sufficient to qualify as kidnapping, thus making Chessman eligible for the death penalty.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caryl_Chessman

The last two cases I want to mention are much more familiar to everyone so I’ll just include the links to each one. O.J. Simpson’s murder trial was perhaps the most publicly viewed trial in our Nation’s history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O.J._Simpson_murder_trial . Let me first say that I never liked Simpson, either as a football player, actor or celebrity. I thought he was an overrated runner and his public persona always seemed to me to be that of a complete phony and media whore. It was surprising to me then, when the case broke that I began to develop sympathy for someone I see as a loathsome man. What bothered me about this case was that from the beginning the prosecution waged a public relations war to convince the public of O.J.’s guilt, through strategic leaking and via officials making definitive statements about his guilt to the media, prior to even his arraignment.

I watched the entire arraignment and trial on TV at work because the City Agency I worked for was being split up and for literally months I had nothing to do but sit in my large office watching the trial on TV. At night my wife and I would watch the recaps at home. Based on what I saw I feel the verdict acquitting Simpson was the correct one because a credible case for “reasonable doubt” was made. He may well have been guilty, but to me the inept prosecution had botched their case. The reader may feel differently, but I think must admit that there was a firestorm of publicity on the case that made a serious trial into a circus.

Finally, last July prior to the verdict I wrote about “Should We Care About Casey Anthony” as a guest blog: http://jonathanturley.org/2011/07/02/should-we-care-about-casey-anthony/#more-36728 . Afterwards, being retired, I watched the entire trial and truly believe that the correct verdict was also reached based on the evidence and the over charging of the case. The reader again may disagree with my judgment here, but also must admit that the media sensationalism that characterized this trial was way over the top.

In the latter two cases I think that there is some comfort to be take by the fact that the juries in each seemed to actually perform their duty and look at the evidence presented without bias. In the Sheppard Case the defendant was convicted  due to the improper publicity and it took a Supreme Court verdict to help set him free. He left prison a broken ma and both his and his son’s lives were destroyed in their attempt to exonerate his name. This is somewhat less comforting. Caryl Chessman, bad human being that he was, should not have been convicted of kidnapping in the sense of the “Little Lindbergh” law, but deserved a possible life sentence for rape. The pre and post trial publicity made it impossible for California politicians to try to prevent execution.

The Zimmerman case has again raised the wrath of anger and injustice on all sides. Zimmerman has been demonized and his victim Trayvon Martin has also been demonized. Zimmerman’s trial, should he not take a plea, will be a circus raising hackles everywhere. Whatever decision that comes from it will be questioned by people whose minds have been made up via the information leaking out. In the end we will all be victims of yet another diminishment of our legal system via a process we must be very loath to rein in. Democracy and freedom cannot flourish without widespread information on public happenings. There is no one we can honestly give the power to make a decisions as to where the media crosses the line, because invariably all human decisions are ultimately self-serving.

At the outset I posed what I see to be the six salient issues to be drawn from this case, whatever the outcome at trial. I’ve avoided taking sides on these issues, though truthful disclosure by me would say that at this point I believe Zimmerman is probably guilty of some form of aggravated manslaughter, but truly what do I know more than anyone else?

As for the five questions I posed here are my own answers/opinions:

1. Did the Sanford Police make a mistake in releasing Zimmerman rather quickly and allowing him to retain his gun, which was potential evidence? Yes. To me the Police should not ever make the decision as to whether “standing one’s ground” is a viable defense. They need to collect all the evidence and present it to the prosecution. The prosecution must then present it to the court. SYG is for the court/jury to decide.

2. Was there undue outside influence used upon the police to end their investigation quickly? I believe that Zimmerman’s father played a role in trying to avoid charges against his son and that influence was used to try to make the case go away.

3. Is there a degree of probability that in many SYG venues had the victim been white and the protagonist of color, that the protagonist would have been immediately arrested? My belief is that if the shooter had been a person of color and/or what is considered a foreign ethnicity, they would have been arrested in any of those venues with a reversed situation. The only caveat is that if they were someone of wealth or connections, then they might not have been arrested.

 4. What is the purpose of a business oriented lobbying group like ALEC in getting “Stand Your Ground” Laws passed? I think that ALEC has been pushing these particular laws because many large corporations employ security forces that are armed. With these laws many actions by these armed security forces would be held to be justified, thus blameless.

 5. Is this once again an instance where a media circus has poisoned the ability to have a fair trial? Absolutely, as I made clear above.

What then is your opinion on these issues, taking out the guilt, or innocence of George Zimmerman?

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

195 thoughts on “Zimmerman: Media Circuses Make for Bad Justice

  1. Harvey Silverglate: “Few American institutions best the Congress in the destructive practice of turning a human tragedy into an assault on liberty.”

    Jeralyn Merritt: “Crime Laws Named After People Are Generally Bad Ideas [Laws]”

    Radley Balko, Senior Editor of Reason, takes on one of my pet peeves in an interview in the Atlantic: crime laws named after individuals. He says (linking to this TChris Post):

    Here’s a pretty good rule of thumb: If you’re naming a piece of crime legislation after a crime victim, it’s probably a bad law. It means you’re legislating out of anger, or in reaction to public anger over a specific incident. That’s generally not how good policy is made.

    Or, as I like to put it, Let us not enact laws out of grief and passion, or in response to a singular criminal event, however horrific it might be. Cooler heads are needed where our fundamental liberties are at stake. Examples: The Laci and Connor Law. Megan’s Law. The Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act.

    I’m also not thrilled with Attorney General Eric Holder’s proposal today for a federal hate crimes law, for reasons well noted by Colorado Independent.

    Salon: Long time coming: Trayvon’s law
    For the first time in a decade, Congress holds a hearing on anti-profiling legislation
    By Jefferson Morley

  2. Mercy is a thing you can’t touch, love, kindness, meekness, humility are the positive characteristics of Jesus. that cannot be touched. God is all of them that you can’t touch. Man did not make them, but they exist.. Because they exist God exists too. God is the one who Condemns on the last day. In this life whoever does not condemn will reap an eternal; reward.
    We have to leave it in Gods hands. Having Zimmerman pay a fine or give him jail time does not make the ones giving it godly.

  3. I do not live in Florida and will not be on the jury. Thus, I do not have to adhere to “guilty until proven innocent.” I think Zimmerman deserves to be in jail for chasing down an unarmed man and shooting him to death. He did wrong and should be punished. I probably would show me some leniency in the sentencing because he doesn’t strike me as someone who has a desire to go out and murder lots of people. I also do not plan to follow the trial. I am retired and want to relax and spend time with my kitties and my niece and grandniece.

  4. Or Prop 184/aka: Three Strikes, after Kimber Reynolds and Polly Klaas. Not necessarily named after them, but their names certainly became synonymous with Three Strikes.

  5. I appreciate this topic today and the fine manner in which the situation is articulated. The other day I made some comments on here to the effect that once Z was charged with the crime it was time to stop ballyhooing for his head. I think that a fairly selected jury will acquit him based on what we in the public know about the evidence. One point I would like to make. When they show perpetrators of crimes or joint venturers in street fights which end up with one side getting killed, the media seldom shows photos of the one who ends up being a defendant in a good light. In this case they are showing the so called victim in his childhood photo. I suppose they could show Z in his childhood photo. Why do they show Charles Manson with his swatika on his forehead. Why not a childhood photo? Some of the folks who comment on this blog have been making the travon kid out to be a mere baby. There is some state out there this week in the news prosecuting a twelve year old for murder. The mobs in Zambia are made up of 14 year olds. Gangs across America contain 17 year old males who beat, rape, rob and kill. Being 17 in America is not being 7. It is likely that Trayvon had Zimmerman on his back beating Z’s head on the pavement when Z’s gun went off. That ain’t second degree murder in any county, redneck or not, in the United States of America. This defendant is going to be acquitted. I hope he can get a jury of his peers untainted by all the bs.

  6. Watching the two and a half hour bond hearing I began to feel sympathy for George Zimmerman. None of us will ever know what happened but we know from Zimmerman’s own confession he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

    He’s admitted guilt. Is it murder…. I don’t know.

    As for the questions.

    1. Yes the Sanford PD made a mistake in releasing him. Especially when the police who responded recommended manslaughter. To release him with his gun which is evidence is egregious and shows a clear bias on the part of police.

    2. Yes. His father is a judge. There was influence like a mother****** to make sure this all went away.

    3. There is no degree of possibility it is a truth that in stand your ground cases when the shooter is black and the victim white the shooter is always guilty. Look at Trevor Dooley and Marissa Alexander. This goes to show the law itself is inherently flawed. Using deadly force when in fear of your life or to prevent a crime is so ambiguous and vague that it allows for law enforcement to arrest and prosecute based on opinion and not facts or evidence in the case.

    4. Everyone has a lobby to see the issues they support get passed. This one is about gun laws just like the NRA. The only ones that don’t have a lobby and need one are the poor and disenfranchised.

    5. Yes. Between that and the racial elements yes.n

  7. Will the jurors chosen for the Zimmerman trial even be capable of acquitting him?

    Jurors will all be aware of the immense publicity in the case, and can be certain that their identities will be public during or immediately after trial.

    Everyone is aware that the nation is highly emotionally charged and polarized in their opinions of the case.

    Jurors will also be aware of numerous and credible death threats against Zimmerman and his family.

    Jurors may fear that acquitting Zimmerman will put their own safety at risk.

    This dynamic is one that Zimmernan will have to evaluate in considering a bench trial instead of a jury trial.

  8. The fact is that the police did NOT hand Z his gun as he left. They did what all police do which is to keep it as evidence. There was influence in the form of the DA who TOLD the cops to let him go, under I presume the Stand Your Ground law which sets a very low standard for proof of self-defense.

    There is one question that has not been asked. Is it legal and/or right for a person engaged in a fist fight to pull a gun and kill the other person if the shooter is losing the fight? We DO know that Zimmerman was NOT the one calling for help, so we can infer that it more than likely was Trayvon when he saw the gun. As to who started the fight, it is without question Zimmerman since it was HE who was stalking Trayvon, NOT the other way around. There is NO possible way to say that Zimmerman’s actions in a deserted area in the dark and clearly targeting Trayvon was innocent or not offensive. It thus is irrelevant who hit first or who was winning.

  9. I agree with your assessment on this case. My concerns have included the loss of vital forensic evidence as well as undue influence from Zimmerman’s father and his cronies. As I write this, three judges have already declined to hear this case. I’m sure one reason is because they have no desire to be the ringmaster in the circus this has already become. Will justice ever be served in this case? I have my doubts.

  10. Well done Mike. I agree completely that if the roles were reversed, the media would not have been involved and Trayvon would have been arrested on the spot and would still be in jail.

  11. This media storm in the ZIMMERMAN case was slow to get started, and then carefully fanned by WESH TV, the same media outlet that brought us the Casey Anthony debacle. ZIMMERMAN will be blown out of proportion into a raging bonfire before it is all over. Once again WESH has an opportunity to educate its local viewership about the likelihood of a NOT GUILTY verdict based on the horrible SYG law but it is not looking like that is going to happen anytime soon.

    I live in the WESH broadcast area and have watched WESH as my primary TV news source for years. In the last 24 hours WESH broadcasters have openly characterized Zimmerman as a murderer, without using the word “alleged” or “suspected” or even “accused.” The news feed on this case is broadcast across the entire NBC TV network.

    Before the Casey Anthony Verdict was returned WESH TV never published any independent legal professional opinions that there was likelihood of a Not guilty verdict because of the lack of sufficient evidence. WESH’s failure to do so led to a massive public outcry against the 12 jurors who had done their duty. WESH lost the opportunity as a Trustee of the public airways to educate its viewing audience on the reasons why the jury might vote in favor of Casey Anthony. What’s more is WESH threw the legal system under the bus rather than fulfill its duty as a trustee and educate its viewing audience about why there was a possible NOT GUILTY verdict in the pipeline and why it was coming. Or after the Verdict, explaining calmly and carefully how that could be explained.

    Why did not WESH do that? Because it would have de-sensationalised the Anthony case, leading to a loss in viewership and therefore less revenue.
    Advertising dollars is based on viewership. The more viewers watch WESH the more it can charge its advertisers.

    Five law professors at the University of Florida Levin college of law have made themselves available to assist media in understanding the legal issues in the SYG law, which are very complex. Their expertise is notable for the scope and depth of the issues involved. By the day ZIMMERMAN was charged with second degree murder more than 100 media outlets had sought their collective advice. But Not WESH TV. See: http://www.law.ufl.edu/news/2012/03/20/uf-law-criminal-law-experts-available-to-address-trayvon-martin-case/

    Given the nationwide interest in the ZIMMERMAN case one would hope WESH TV will take advantage of the unbaised legal input from the College Profs and this time around actually prepare the public for an eye opening understanding of the ugly SYG law. If not, its duty as a public trustee will again have been breached.

  12. ” I’m sure one reason is because they have no desire to be the ringmaster in the circus this has already become.”

    not as I understood what I read. The second in line declined because of close relations to O’Mara, the defense lawyer. From the first moment I saw him, it felt this was a very good choice. He may even win an acquittal, due to the many mistakes made. Not only was the gun not examined, it would also be nice to have a detailed report about GZ’s injuries done immediately after he was taken to the police.

    For me–emotionally– this case can’t be compared to any of the cases you write about. Let me pick O.J.Simpson. I was never interested to take a closer look. Misjudgements is a much larger issue. But this case contains something deeply personal to me, maybe to others?

    It is is something deeply personal and at the same time universal. I do have problems with people that judge easily, that like everyone to conform to their rigid rules of normality, with everything outside of this frame being bad or evil. Often this type of people demand strict conformance to what they consider “the right” rules. I do perceive the GZ of the 911 call on this side. Not one thing he tells us shows what makes this “real suspicious guy” suspicious, other than he knows, he doesn’t live there, walks in the rain and looks about, or more precisely at the houses. I would like to know much more about him, than I ever will. …

    The restrained George Zimmerman, who apologized to the parents, while suggesting that Trayvon appeared close to his own age and he couldn’t be sure he wasn’t armed, was interesting to watch. He even lost his composure for a second when De la Rionda confronted him with text messages he sent, one commenting on Trayvon’s father. It’s not easy to find a video of his whole statement at the bond hearing on the web anymore. I found it shortly after the hearing ended, but unfortunately did not safe the link. But at that point it seemed he didn’t guard his mime carefully for one second. There was a sign of surprise and then his eyes turned inward as if to search his mind for what text messages could be meant.

    Somehow it feels that Zimmerman will be acquitted. If he is guilty and I think he is more than Trayvon, he now can plan his story as close to the real story as possible. It’s obviously really hard to imagine a scenario in which Zimmerman could have honestly felt threatened that is unrelated to his preconceptions easily deductible from his 911 calls. It’s much easier to deduct any other story. My stories change, maybe I write my favorite one in the end, while waiting for the trail, that will not satisfy our curiosity anyway.

    One tiny note about TM’s girl friend, she must feel terribly guilty. “Did my last phone call kept him from reaching the back door in time? Did it make him stop and slow down?”

  13. Mike, Good post. I agree with your answers.

    btw, is a magistrate the same as a judge? I guess not since they have different titles. Is it scope of what they hear that differentiates? or is it just a jurisdictional distinction?

  14. Interesting questions, but what of the other side of the coin: questions about whether the prosecutor who brought charges was motivated politics (or any other improper reason). Although not mutually exclusive, if the answers to Mr. Spindell’s first two questions are “no,” then that increases the likelihood that the answers to these corollary questions are “yes.”

    I’ll admit that I’m not sure what “of color” means. But I assume that Mr. Zimmerman, as a Hispanic, would meet that description.

  15. Thank you, Mike Spindell, cogent and intellectually nourishing.

    A couple of comments.

    I have always said, among my friends and my intellectual confidants (not always the same individuals) that I believe the cover-up is worse than the crime. In this case, that assertion comes to mind in a way that most people following the news can appreciate. My semi-educated guess is that Zimmerman was out looking for trouble (as Curtis Sliwa has said, in his own inimitable way) that evening and he found it. This would be a psychological conclusion, of course, and whether it’s relevant or not is another question. But my next semi-educated guess is that when he first set eyes on Trayvon Martin, he knew that he wanted to end the evening having put his FOOT squarely on Martin’s NECK — in the figurative sense, of course (he may have done it later in the physical sense; we have no witness to date). Whatever his personal motivations were, from the time he phoned into the cops that he had spied a “suspicious” “asshole,” he had it in for Trayvon Martin. I don’t think he necessarily formed an intent to kill Martin at that point in the encounter. I do think he wanted to DEFEAT Trayvon Martin that evening and that it was a very compelling desire — perhaps crossing over the line into a COMPULSION.

    Perhaps from that point forward, Zimmerman did not plan out his acts. Certainly, his acts did not occur in a vacuum so even if he had planned them out, they did not necessarily (and almost certainly NOT) take place in accordance with his actual plans.

    But from the moment that other people heard and saw things, another scene is playing out. A cover-up is playing out.

    The cops DID have time to plan out what they did, and were NOT under compulsion, and had job descriptions and protocols and standardized procedures that they were required by law to follow and they are paid by the public; these are not optional; they are not volunteers.

    The area became a crime scene as soon as Zimmerman got out of his car. He was not responsible to report everything that was present in the crime scene; the police were; the EMTs were. The witnesses gave statements to the press indicating that the police either refused to speak with them about their information after 2/26/2012 or actually tried to make them change their statements as to what had occurred. Did Zimmerman and his father take part in this? Probably, but that doesn’t really matter because neither Zimmerman nor his father has any responsibility to the State of Florida and neither of them draws a salary from the People of the State of Florida.

    The police, the EMTs, Wolfinger, et al. did things that would have remained completely unknown to the public had there not been a media circus. And these things are much much MORE IMPORTANT than what Zimmerman did (and I say this with a very heavy heart and with a sincere apology to Martin’s family and to all people who feel emotionally related, by this incident, to Trayvon Martin’s actual death at Zimmerman’s hands) to one victim that night. These things are really the crux of the case, to me. Why? Because regardless of the results of this killing, we have to go forward living, and we as a country go forward living, and we still have these living limbs: police, prosecutors, press, public. We still have these living limbs. If they are gangrenous, we cannot cut them off! We still have these living limbs and we must treat them if they are gangrenous! HOW?

    Adolph Hitler, I believe, murdered his neice Gelli. I may have her name wrong. Nobody did anything to him about this act. It was put down officially as a suicide. AFTER that happened, he went on to become the person we now compare all of our despised enemies to. [GRAMMAR POLICE!] OK? It is an extreme example, I admit. But the principle I am highlighting is the principle that still applies in thousands of situations. Zimmerman should have been tested and arrested on 2/26/2012; the prosecutor should not have covered up the crime; if Zimmerman actually did kill in self-defense (and from the fact situation it seems incredible to imagine that he did, unless one agrees that he was entitled to defend himself lethally against bad feelings), he could have been acquitted after being charged; all statements from witnesses should have been taken; photographs should have carefully recorded the entire crime scene; Zimmerman’s car should have been impounded and searched; all the forensics should have been done to determine to the extent possible what actually happened that night; etc. etc. etc.

    The fact that ONLY THE PRESS was able to draw enough attention to this cover-up to force a late, possibly lame, certainly suspect and probably flawed prosecution is a sad fact. One would have hoped that a prosecutor like Wolfinger would have said, “Guys, I know we all really don’t want to see this poor guy prosecuted but we really need to stick to the law and not let our office become besmirched with allegations of a racially motivated scandal,” or words to that effect (better words to that same effect, I would hope). But no.

    Because of the nature of the cover-up, the nature of the media circus was almost unavoidable. The only alternative, in my opinion, would have been that the cover-up went silently into the great computer in the sky that would program the next cover-up and the next and the next and the next so that no Trayvon would ever be safe, and no prosecutor would ever need to serve the actual written law of the state that wrote it. This would return us to pre-1871 status in due time and the time was probably just about due when Reverend Sharpton (I don’t like him either, but hey, any port in a storm) stepped in and turned up the volume.

    Enemy of my enemy is my friend. Whoever opposes and brings to light a government corruption-backed cover-up the size and nature of this one has my thanks. I just hope the feds don’t mess it up; I just hope we get some treatment for that gangrene; we still have a substantial something to save in this country.

  16. BettyKath, in Virginia, Magistrate judges perform a peculiar function. I don’t know if this is because Virginia is still a commonwealt instead of a state, or what the issues are, but here’s what I understand.

    A person can go to the police and report what they think is a crime. Usually, if this happens, unless the police SAW the crime, the police will first INVESTIGATE to see if they think a crime has actually been committed. So if a woman calls the police and says, “my boyfriend raped me last night,” the police will not just give her a form that she fills out and then draw a felony warrant for rape and go arrest the guy; they will take her statement, make her swear to it under oath, and then do an investigation. In this particular case, they might, say, contact the boyfriend and ask him if he had a girlfriend, what her name was, when he last had sex with her, whether it was consensual sex, blah blah blah. Then they might draw a felony warrant. They might not. They might give it to the prosecutor’s office to decide. There might be further investigation. I don’t know how that works. But there is some sort of a process and there are various kinds of procedures based on various kinds of cases. There are probably 100 different things that could happen before a felony warrant is drawn.

    In Virginia, a Magistrate Judge can draw a warrant without much investigation. A person can appear before him with a police officer, and give his story, and the Magistrate Judge can decide to issue the felony warrant, just like that. Sometimes, there is not even a written record of the complaining witness’s statement! Just such a warrant was drawn against me by an angry ex-husband on December 2, 1982 in front of a Magistrate Judge in Arlington, Virginia at 10:00 p.m. (note the courts were not open) and the warrant was then handed to a police officer to serve on me. This police officer looked at the thing, thought (probably), “something’s strange about this warrant” and she brought it to the prosecutor, Helen F. Fahey of Arlington, VA. Fahey agreed that the warrant was bogus and she took it and instructed the officer not to try to serve it. The warrant had some police notes associated with it saying that the police had contacted the complaining witness AFTER the warrant was drawn, hoping that he could help them figure out what was actually going on, but he “did not want to cooperate with the officers.” So he had gotten the warrant drawn for some purpose other than getting the warrant served and getting the alleged crime prosecuted in a court of law. Hmmmmmm… When I tried to find out what had been said to the Magistrate Judge to make him draw the bogus warrant, I hit a dead end. He had retired (as has Zimmerman’s father) and I was prevented from discovering any underlying documentation or evidence. Yet no warrant was drawn against my ex-husband for making a false report to the police, for forgery, for perjury, or for any of the other obvious problems that arise in a scenario such as this. Only 20+ years after the fact did I discover that the warrant was quietly withdrawn after it had served its purpose — which was to gain advantage in a civil case.

    So what a Magistrate judge is in Virginia, probably, is a sort of mini-judge whose decisions are not subject to appeal. He wields enormous power — not in making precedent or interpreting law, but in individual lives — and does not have to be elected, does not get reviewed in higher courts, and is immune to all criticism and shielded from all censure. No reported cases ever write down what he has done; no appellate decisions ever overturn him; he operates in a kind of “star chamber” and he does what he pleases. You can’t go back over his work and clearly identify his decisions so that you can tabulate them and, perhaps, find that he issues warrants against Blacks but not whites, against women but not men, or anything like that. He is a tiny powerful potentate in his little fiefdom.

    I think.
    Anyway, that’s as much as I know, and I admittedly know it from a small sample. But anybody who knows more — perhaps some other retired Magistrate Judge from Virginia — educate me, please.

  17. Oh, and one more thing, on the subject of Robert Zimmerman Senior: when he was first mentioned I went to the State Bar of Virginia website and just checked in to see if he was licensed to practice law in Virginia, and what his contact information was. He was not listed. This does not mean that he is no longer licensed in Virginia; it is not an exhaustive list, and the disclaimer is right there on the website. But I wanted to know where he had been a Magistrate Judge. I couldn’t find that out from the State Bar website. I later found out that he had been a Magistrate Judge in or around Manassas, VA.

  18. @eniobob, re: John McNeil and Stand Your Ground, see Radley Balko John McNeil

    Assuming the details here are accurate, this case is an outrage.



    Apparently, Epp had threatened others as well. Here’s the Georgia Supreme Court decision.

    If the Trayvon Martin case causes more journalists to go looking for these sorts of outrages, that’s a good thing. But I really wish Salon hadn’t framed the story the way it did. The author uses the Trayvon Martin case as a hook, and tries to to use McNeil’s conviction to criticize Stand Your Ground laws. There are a couple of problems with that. First, Georgia’s Stand Your Ground law was passed in 2006. McNeil shot Epp in 2005. So I’m fairly sure the law wouldn’t have applied, although as I understand it, McNeil should still have had Georgia case law on his side. The subhead is also misleading. If he is ultimately convicted of second-degree murder, Zimmerman could be sentenced to life in prison, just as McNeil was.

    But even if Georgia’s Stand Your Ground law had already been effect, if McNeil wasn’t granted that defense or a traditional self-defense claim because of his race, class, or some other unjust reason, none of that is a convincing critique of the law. It’s a convincing critique of the criminal justice system.

    From the facts in the opinion, I’d say McNeil not only should have been acquitted on traditional self-defense laws, he should never have been charged in the first place. (That was also the opinion of the lead investigator.) But trying to shoehorn this case into a narrative that allows for comparisons to the Martin case doesn’t do John McNeil any favors. I’m not sure it really helps the cause of those calling for Zimmerman’s head, either. For example, the Salon piece suggests that McNeil’s prosecutor may have filed the murder charge after caving to public pressure. That’s what Zimmerman’s defenders say is also happening to him.* Epp’s prior history of threatening people plays into McNeil’s favor—but if we’re comparing the two cases, then it would also seem appropriate to look into Martin’s history, which Martin’s supporters have decried as smearing the victim.

    The unfortunate framing aside, this is still a story that deserves more attention, and one that the gun rights crowd should be all over—and really should have been all over from the start.

    (*Just to be clear, I don’t endorse or reject this view. I’m inclined to agree with Jonathan Turley that based on the information that has been made public, a second-degree murder is excessive. But we don’t yet know what evidence the special prosecutor has seen that hasn’t yet been made public. We’ll find out soon enough.)

  19. There is an important issue that has not been brought out, about the difference between the McNeil/Epp case (State of Georgia versus McNeil) and the Zimmerman/Martin case (State of Florida versus Zimmerman).

    The difference lies in the facts.

    By the way, before I start discussing this, I think McNeil had a much better case of self-defense than Zimmerman could ever have, because Epp was NOT UNARMED when McNeil shot him. He had a knife on him and he had already threatened McNeil’s son with that very knife, and McNeil had already phoned 911 and told the police that Epp had threatened his son with a knife and was ON HIS PROPERTY (McNeil’s property) at the time of this threat.

    But the differences.

    McNeil knew Epp *BUT* Zimmerman did not know Martin

    McNeil heard, and believed, that Epp had threatened his son with great bodily harm, with a KNIFE, a few minutes before the shooting. *BUT* Zimmerman had never heard anything negative about Martin before the shooting.

    McNeill phoned 911 and told the police Epp had come to his (McNeil’s) property and when asked to leave, had threatened his son with a knife. *BUT* Zimmerman’s only complaint to the police against Martin was that he was “running” and would “get away.”

    McNeill pulled his gun and got out of his car. At this point, Epp was on the neighbor’s property, not on McNeil’s property, and McNeill did not advance onto the neighbor’s property in pursuit of Epp. *BUT* Zimmerman DID advance on Martin and he told the police he WAS advancing on Martin.

    McNeil aimed his gun at the ground and fired a warning shot, verbally telling Epp, who was approaching him, “Stop; I’m not fooling around.” *BUT* No impartial eye-witness has yet made any allegation that they saw or heard Martin advance on Zimmerman.

    McNeil already knew that Epp was armed. *BUT* Zimmerman has already admitted that he did not have any knowledge that Martin was armed.

    McNeill already knew that Epp had a reputation for “making trouble” and for violence, at least threatened violence, when Epp advanced on him on HIS OWN PROPERTY. *BUT* Neither was Martin on Zimmerman’s property nor did Zimmerman have any knowledge of Martin that would lead him to believe either that he could be violent or that he was armed.

    STILL, McNeil was convicted and that conviction was upheld on appeal!

    Now here is what the dissenting judge (with whom I think I agree) said:

    “McNeil’s call to 911 reporting that Epp had pulled a knife on his son supports the veracity of [the son’s] and McNeil’s testimony. Significantly, the police did find a knife in Epp’s right pocket. Further supporting the testimony of McNeil, his son, and [a neighbor who watched the whole thing] that Epp was the aggressor was the testimony of [two other witnesses] to the effect that Epp had behaved in an extremely aggressive and inappropriate manner toward them concerning problems with Epp’s work on their house. Although the State had the burden to disprove self-defense, the State did not offer any evidence to rebut McNeil’s evidence that Epp was the aggressor, that Epp came onto McNeil’s property from a neighbor’s yard despite being told previously that he did not have permission to do so, that McNeil knew that Epp had threatened to stab his son moments earlier, and that Epp had a knife on his person when he charged McNeil. In fact, the only witness called by the State who actually saw the shooting…gave testimony that actually supported McNeil’s evidence that Epp was the aggressor.

    And that was the DISSENT. The two judges who voted to uphold the conviction knew all these facts, but still, supported the murder charge, and McNeil sits in the Georgia prison.

    These cases are only comparable because a man with a gun shot another man and they both claimed self-defense. The evidence in the McNeil case from Georgia actually does support a claim of self-defense, and witnesses to the actual event backed that up. In the Zimmerman case, the witness who is claiming self-defense is the shooter himself, who has what I would call a very good reason for bending the truth in his own favor.

  20. The degree of certitude from both sides of this case is alarming. Very little verifiable evidence has been made public but those on both sides have made decisions as if they inhabited Zimmerman and Martins minds before the shooting. The media has allowed BOTH sides to leak questionable information and present it as fact. Leaping to conclusions based on speculation and questionable information is anathema to our system of justice.

  21. Now this is interesting. Here is a close up of the famous photo with the brightness cranked up just a bit. That is clearly grass in the background, meaning that Zimmerman is either squatting down or bent over to have his photo made. He is not in handcuffs but is clearly talking on a cell phone.

    GZ head in web report

    It gets more interesting. The embedded time stamp on the photo shows it to be taken about three minutes after the shooting. Lessee now. Somebody takes his picture with an iPhone only three minutes after the shooting. Who is checking on Trayvon’s condition? Anyone? Time to take a picture though. And who took the picture? Officer Timothy Smith is the only one who is reportedly on the scene at that time according to the police report. Here is a screenshot of the embedded time stamp:

    Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.18.04 PM

    Either the SPD report is wrong or Timothy Smith is wrong. They cannot have it both ways.

  22. Just let me add that when an officer comes to a shooting scene, the very first action taken is to secure the shooter’s weapon(s) and to place the suspect in handcuffs. That is SOP for every law enforcement agency with whom I have worked over the past forty years. No exceptions. Secure the weapon first then place the suspect in custody before you do anything else. After that there is time to take pictures and call the ambulance.

  23. Gene, as more forensic evidence comes out, this case becomes more convoluted. Answer one question and generate three more. The sequence of events that evening leaves many unanswered questions. People tend to forget there are embedded data in every digital photograph. Also, a cell phone keeps accurate time because it is hooked to the network, unlike a regular camera you have to program yourself.

  24. OS,

    “[A]s more forensic evidence comes out, this case becomes more convoluted. Answer one question and generate three more.”

    Which to me only confirms that a trial was merited in the first place. Whenever I see answers generating more questions than solutions, it always brings up the words of Alice upon eating the cake. “Curiouser and curiouser.”

  25. I don’t get it. Somebody was taking that picture before the police arrived but then left when or before Officer Smith showed up? Or is there a record of exactly when Smith showed up, which is proven to be BEFORE the date stamp on the picture? And how do we know that the cell phone’s date stamp cannot be changed, if it was not an official police picture that was taken. My son once showed me how to send an e-mail dated way back when Nostradamus was making his predictions; in that e-mail, my son wrote to me that Nostradamus had predicted that Al Gore would invent the Internet. Etc.

  26. Malisha, as Gene just said, it gets curiouser and curiouser. I doubt the time stamp is inaccurate, since changing the time and date on a cell phone photo would take more technological expertise than the average person can muster. There is a lot of difference between spoofing the time stamp on an email and embedded data in a photograph. Also, many people do not realize that information is hidden in the picture.

  27. Malisha,

    “And how do we know that the cell phone’s date stamp cannot be changed”

    Technically speaking? It suppose it is theoretically possible to change it, but to do so would require hacking into the cell company’s NOC and resetting the time/date, but that would affect every phone on that segment of the network. It would also draw a lot of attention in the NOC. I’d say the chance of it being changed approaches zero. One of my jobs after I left law was for a major cell phone company. Synchronization is critical to making the phones and the GPS functions work properly. For that reason, it is as OS says; cellphone time and date information is generated by the network.

  28. Wow! I may not have anything to add. It seems as though Malisha has articulated every feeling, suspicion and opinion that I have about this case.. Only stated more concisely and eloquently. Kudos!

  29. beccs, thanks so so much. I find myself thinking about this case a lot, even when I’m not on-line. I value other people’s opinions, even if they oppose mine, and even when they call me a silly bunt or whatever it was. I think this is because the Trayvon Martin case is not really about this guy who shot this kid and almost walked away from it without even a charge, it’s about the way our law enforcement system, and even our court system, is short-changing us in this country, and how that is affecting ever piece of our lives, how it is depriving us of our very real life interest in justice accessible and justice even as a strived-for but always available quality. I think about the lawyer who represented Dred Scott in one of the stages of his famous legal fight for freedom. I have forgotten that lawyer’s name — no time now to refresh my research, but he was a guy from New England who had had a personal bad experience with the law that just shook him to his foundation. He had married a woman and he and she were in love; her parents opposed the marriage. AFTER THE MARRIAGE TOOK PLACE and they were something like a month or two into it, her parents got her to move back in with them and THEY sued to annul the marriage. He opposed it and all the law and facts were on his side but they were more powerful and they won and his marriage was annulled right out from under him. Something made him travel south and get into the slave suits. He took on Dred Scott’s lawsuit, pro bono, and he worked on it with a passion born of trying to redeem the law in the eyes of the lawyer. (Well that didn’t work out.) I wrote a play about the Dred Scott case for children and produced it in an inner city school in DC. You should have seen those kids, portraying this lawyer, all the other characters. They were grappling with the great ideas of our time. OUR TIME. The kid who played Chief Justice Taney as he delivered the shameful decision brought down that gavel and the little substandard auditorium in that no-frills school building went utterly silent. Witnesses to history. I think this case means to me: There must be accountability.

    There MUST be accountability.

  30. Malisha, I am trying to wrap my head around what happened in those few minutes. According to the police report, Officer Smith responded at 1717 (7:17PM) to the shooting scene. At 1719:07, we know that Zimmerman was on the phone while getting his picture taken. CBS has a timeline on their web page, but it is off by several minutes from the official police report, since CBS is reporting the shooting took place at 7:25 PM. I think the only thing we can know for certain is that the time stamp on the photo is correct. A blogger uploaded the official SPD report in PDF form, and here it is.

    I see far more questions than answers at this point. This is one of those cases I wish I could work on. I live for this kind of stuff.

  31. “Gene H.
    1, April 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Malisha,

    “And how do we know that the cell phone’s date stamp cannot be changed”

    Technically speaking? It suppose it is theoretically possible to change it, but to do so would require hacking into the cell company’s NOC and resetting the time/date, but that would affect every phone on that segment of the network. It would also draw a lot of attention in the NOC. I’d say the chance of it being changed approaches zero. One of my jobs after I left law was for a major cell phone company. Synchronization is critical to making the phones and the GPS functions work properly. For that reason, it is as OS says; cellphone time and date information is generated by the network.”

    As usual, listening to Gene Howington is always the wrong thing to do.

    NEVER EVER BELIEVE WHAT GENE HOWINGTON TELLS YOU.

    The guy is a total idiot.

    http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-set-the-date-and-time-on-your-iphone0.html

    How to Set the Date and Time on Your iPhone

    You can set the date and time on your iPhone. The time on your iPhone can be reported in a 12- or 24-hour format.

    In most cases, the time is reported as 11:32 p.m. But if you prefer military time, it can be reported as 23:32. Just tap the 24-Hour Time setting (under Date & Time) so that it is On, if military time is your preference.

    This is just one of the settings you can adjust under Date & Time. You can also have the iPhone set the time automatically using the time reported by the cellular network. Obviously, letting the iPhone find the time, itself, is less work for you (the iPhone will even adjust the time if you are traveling and change time zones).

    If it is turned off, you’ll be asked to choose the time zone and set the date and time manually. Here’s how:

    Tap Set Automatically so that it is Off.

    You see fields for setting the time zone and the date and time.

    Tap the Time Zone field so that the current time zone and virtual keyboard are shown.

    Tap out the letters of the city or country whose time zone you want to enter until the one you have in mind appears. Then tap the name of that city or country.

    The time zone is automatically filled in for that city.

    Tap the Set Date & Time field so that the time is shown. Then roll the bicycle lock–like controls until the proper time is displayed.

    Tap the date shown so that the bicycle lock–like controls pop up for the date. Then roll the wheels for the month, day, and year until the correct date appears.

    Tap the Date & Time button to return to the main Date & Time settings screen.

  32. By the way, I suspect the time and date on the phone and photo are correct, but not at all for the reason that Gene shits out.

  33. Re: #3, application of the law seems kind of capricious though Ms. Alexander’s own poor planning may be to blame. If she had just shot and killed her husband instead of firing at the ceiling to scare him off she might not have ended up in all this trouble.

    No one hurt, yet Marissa Alexander faces 25 years in prison for “Standing Her Ground” in Florida?

    http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/11965883-no-one-hurt-yet-marissa-alexander-faces-25-yrs-in-prison-for-standing-her-ground-in-florida

  34. LK:

    “So here sits the 31-year-old mother, two years later, convicted and fighting to stay out of prison. Incidentally the State Prosecutor now on Trayvon Martin’s case, Angela Corey, also handled Marissa’s case. Even though her husband recanted and admitted he was the aggressor, the State still proceeded with the case”

    I guess Ms Corey needs to be closely watched.

    ” Even though her husband recanted and admitted he was the aggressor, the State still proceeded with the case”

  35. @ Otteray Scribe: I don’t think I can properly appreciate — no, make that SHOW proper appreciation — for your recent post. These are some of the things that are bothering me but I haven’t done the careful analysis you have done. A horrible feeling is creeping up on me about this; it now seems possible that the police arrived on the scene and said, in essence, “Uh oh, what better we do to make this not look like what it looks like right now?” IN that case, what the feds are doing is much more important, and more vulnerable, than anything else.

    @ Mike S: We have to measure, I think, the fact that the media circus may have (and may still) contaminate the trial against the fact that absent the media circus, we would never have HAD a trial and what “we” would have had (not even KNOWING that we had it) was a quick, successful, neat, power-driven anti-people corrupt cover-up of the death of one forgettable American kid, on American soil, NOT in wartime. So I will take the “media circus” with all its negatives as the “least worst alternative.” I believe that, given our law enforcement structure and habits, the “least worst alternative” is all we can ever hope for. That’s what disturbs me and makes me disturb Anon.

    @ whoever told me never to listen to Gene Howington. I presume this is referring to Gene H. I DO listen to Gene H. I do not agree with him every time and I daresay he will say the same about me, and I do not adopt his attitude about everything (I am a fan of Idealist707 and he is not, for instance), but I listen CLOSELY to Gene H. He is obviously intelligent, has a rigorous scholarly background and wide body of knowledge, he shares, he is responsive and often helpful, VERY often helpful, and if I were in college and he were teaching a course I was taking, at the rates currently charged for higher education, it would cost me about $100/hour to sit there in his classroom and take notes! But he’s on-line here typing out notes for me to read for free! Bottom line: It is my First Amendment right to listen to Gene Howington.

  36. Eniobob,

    Once most prosecutor’s get a hook in the bait, they reel them in slowly….. Didn’t this all come about because of a domestic abuse cases in which the cops were protecting their own, whom eventually committed murder….

  37. “Mike S: We have to measure, I think, the fact that the media circumpaths may have (and may still) contaminate the trial against the fact that absent the media circus, we would never have HAD a trial and what “we” would have had (not even KNOWING that we had it) was a quick, successful, neat, power-driven anti-people corrupt cover-up of the death of one forgettable American kid, on American soil, NOT in wartime. So I will take the “media circus” with all its negatives as the “least worst alternative.””

    Malisha,

    I don’t disagree with you, but my point is that in this case the overall circus has cut deeply both ways. Trayvon, the victim, has been besmirched as has his family. The pushback by those on Zimmerman’s side has been equally as viscious as anything said about Zimmerman. My ultimate point is that we ca’t afford to leash the press, but all citizens need to view what they see there with a jaundiced eye. As I’ve expressed before based on what I know from the media storm, my sympathies at present lay with Trayvon. However, I also understand that when the evidence is presented at trial, it may not favor that position. Most people in this country believe that O.J. and Caycee Anthony should have been convicted under the law and that the jurors should be ashamed of themselves. The ultimate guilt of O.J. and Caycee seems probable, but I don’t think that either trial met the legal standard of
    beyond reasonable doubt. It is that standard that must be upheld, yet the nature of people is such that pre-trial publicity consistently turns speculation into immutable facts.

  38. @ Mike Spindell: I agree with you, and would like Sunshine Government and principles of fairness and justice to make it impossible for a mess like the Zimmerman case to develop, but we’re not there (oops, I almost wrote “yet”). I’m satisfied with the idea that the trial will be a challenge to the prosecution AND that the defense may win acquittal, but that doesn’t change my thinking or my public writing about the issues, which, since they are under discussion and well commented on by the likes of Fox News etc., must be addressed, the more the better, in my opinion. In fact, from my take on the McNeil/Epps case in Georgia, I would say at this point that if the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman did not act in self-defense, they have a good chance to do that. All this is speculation, but it is not blind speculation; it is speculation that extrapolates from what is already demonstrated.

    Any time one person kills another without any eye-witnesses to the actual killing itself, that person can presumably claim self-defense, because who, outside that person’s head, can say he was not afraid for his own life? I know people who have panic attacks and they are momentarily afraid that they are dying from heart attacks or drowning or the like. Nobody can prove that Zimmerman didn’t FEAR for his life at any moment in time, and even if there were eye-witnesses, they couldn’t say that. They could, however, say that Zimmerman followed and accosted Martin. We will see, under Florida law, whether that situation makes it legally impossible (or not) for Zimmerman to sustain a defense of self-defense. Many have said that whoever threw the first punch (or if there was no punch, whoever pushed the first shove or if there was no shove, whoever made the first gesture that might have appeared to the other to be an incipient act of aggression) was the aggressor, but that is not defined anywhere in the law. The position of Epp’s shoulders in the McNeil case, the expression on his face, were remarked by witnesses who saw him shot by McNeil. Not only can we never know all these details about the Zimmerman case, but they are ultimately irrelevant, based on the fact that Martin had the legal right to stand his ground when Zimmerman approached him.

    So my position is and remains: If in Florida you can mark, follow and shoot someone without eye-witnesses, and then make out a successful case of self-defense even though they are unarmed and not committing a crime when you approach, and not on YOUR PROPERTY at all, then it is open season on people that folks like Zimmerman consider “assholes,” and this, in itself, amounts to a lawless society.

    Actually, I am not hoping that this trial will help protect black kids in hoodies; I am hoping that this trial will help establish parameters we can live with, I can live with, adopting the international standard of “security of person” as something worth preserving in a democracy.

  39. Malisha,
    I good forensic psychologist, using standardized psychological assessment tools, can determine just how easily any given person if likely to have fear triggers. Some people are prone to fear responses much more than others. Some folks do not seem to have any brakes when it comes to fear and do not tend to have fear responses that would send others ducking for cover. It would be very interesting to look at a thorough forensic psychological profile of this man, with an especially keen eye toward looking at his fear response threshold.

  40. @ Otteray Scribe: I would also love to see an evaluation of Trayvon Martin, by a good team of forensic scientists, to weigh in on the likelihood of him “running” at first (as described by Zimmerman to the cops) and then turning around, once Zimmerman allegedly chose to return to his vehicle, and “jumping him” as he has alleged. Not that you can genuinely evaluate a person post mortem, just that you can bring some degree of scientific inquiry to the unknowns in light of these seemingly incredible allegations.

    Have you ever heard of “psychological autopsies” or “psychiatric autopsies”? My ex-husband’s father (while we were married and living together) hung himself in the basement of our home. He was 5’2″ tall and he hung himself in a space that was no taller than he was — he apparently did it by using the Russian Army technique of holding onto his own ankles until he lost consciousness, and then letting his deadweight finish the job of strangulation. HE REALLY MEANT TO DIE THAT NIGHT! Nobody tried to assess what had happened to him in the weeks and months before his suicide. My ex-husband (and this is one of the major reasons that I divorced him) blamed me for his father’s death because, he said, I had refused to say “good morning” to the elderly gentleman, causing him to go into a lethal depression. This led a child psychiatrist (hired by my ex-husband) to opine that my ex-husband had “demonized” me and that, thereafter, there was nothing I could do “to satisfy Mr. [name] or to make him stop hating her.” Meanwhile, I had begged my husband and his family to get into therapy and/or mediation with me to work out the problems that had arisen, but they all refused, with rage and horror that after killing this poor old man, I then wanted to manipulate all of THEM as well. I tell this story for two reasons: (a) Any kind of ridiculous thing can be attributed to a person who is already dead and cannot agree or disagree with the premise; and (b) there is such a thing as a “psychiatric autopsy” or “psychological autopsy.” I have forgotten which term was used. But back then, in the late seventies, I was able to locate a few professionals who said that they could actually do such a report, although it was not to be prepared for court, just for the family’s use. Of course, I couldn’t get it done because nobody in the family would participate. Ultimately I went to my own therapist who told me point blank: “You cannot change grossly distorted ideas with scholarly evaluations or facts, so it would not even be worth trying.” But she just meant I couldn’t have changed my ex-husband’s ideas or his family’s hostility — when it comes to facts that are going to be alleged and evidenced in court, I think that evaluations and data are important and help deciders of fact come to their decisions. At least we hope that the deciders of fact are likely to view things rationally, when presented with proper scientific evidence.

    Zimmerman’s version of Martin first “running” and then turning around and attacking is not believable to me. And that part of the narration would have occurred before Zimmerman’s fear for his life had kicked in. So much to think about. Anyway, thanks for your expertise in this regard.

  41. Malisha,

    California has had stand your ground for over a hundred years:
    Many Western states have. And many states had stand your ground up until 30-40 years ago.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/14/BA2J1O3418.DTL

    Or for more than 150 years

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304432704577350010609562008.html

    After Stand Your Ground, prosecutors have a more difficult case. Now, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Zimmerman did not reasonably fear for his life. The police report contains some evidence to back Mr. Zimmerman’s self-defense claim. Mr. Zimmerman reportedly sustained a broken nose, cuts to the back of his head, and had grass stains on the back of his shirt. These facts could provide reasonable doubt on the self-defense question if jurors thought that Martin may have had Mr. Zimmerman pinned to the ground and was beating him. This inquiry is much more fact-intensive than relying on Mr. Zimmerman’s ability to leave the scene.

    Nevertheless, even with Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, Mr. Zimmerman will have difficulty asserting a successful self-defense claim. Stand Your Ground laws do not affect most basic requirements of pleading self-defense. Individuals using lethal force in self-defense must reasonably believe that they are in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury—in other words, an average person, given the facts as Mr. Zimmerman knew them, would have reached the same inferences about the danger Martin posed and the necessity of using deadly force to avoid it. Mr. Zimmerman’s mere honest beliefs will not suffice.

    Nor does the Stand Your Ground law permit individuals to use disproportionate force in self-defense. Mr. Zimmerman must demonstrate that he reasonably feared that Martin was going to kill him, cause great bodily injury (e.g., permanent disfigurement), or commit a forcible felony. A few cuts and a broken nose may not rise to this level. And Mr. Zimmerman will have to show that he was not the initial aggressor.

    There is no need to exaggerate the leniency of Florida law. Regardless of whether he should have walked away, Mr. Zimmerman now must show that an average person in his circumstances would have viewed Martin as a mortal threat.

    Mr. Leider, a student at Yale Law School, holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University.

  42. The thing that must be considered here is not whether Zimmerman was in fear, but would a reasonable person have been in fear for their life or serious bodily harm. If the answer is yes, the use of lethal force is justified. If the answer is no, it is not.

  43. @Malisha,

    More whitespace please. Your posts are terribly hard to read. Walls of grey goo.

    Regarding John McNeil, that he was charged at all is outrageous and bullshit. However, it might not be the Stand Your Ground case you think it is, regardless of what Salon dipshits have to say. Remember, Salon is not your friend. Except for Greenwald and Patrick Smith, Salon is as accurate with the truth as some of the lawyers here.

    Stand Your Ground was passed in Georgia a year after McNeil shot Epps.

    Radley Balko seems to do a good job of explaining both why the charging and conviction of McNeill is outrageous, and also how the two cases are comparable and how they are not.

  44. anon,

    From the quoted article:

    “And Mr. Zimmerman will have to show that he was not the initial aggressor.”

    I would have to disagree. Mr. Zimmerman would not have to show anything other than that he was in reasonable fear for his life or serious bodily harm. The onus is on the prosecution to demonstrate that Zimmerman was the initial aggressor (“aggressor” would be something more than watching or re-positioning to see where the suspicious person was going). I don’t even think that accosting (something Malisha has asserted, but never backed up with evidence or witness account) would likely not eliminate a viable self-defense claim.

  45. anon,

    “Regarding John McNeil, that he was charged at all is outrageous and bullshit.”

    I thought the same thing when I first read about the case. The fact that McNeil was not charged until a year later is a pretty good indicator that the police department thought the same way too. (Although I think most here would have wanted to see McNeil locked up from the beginning.)

    Then I started to think a little more about it. When McNeil shot Epp, Epp’s knife was in his pocket. Though Epp had allegedly had the knife in his hand while confronting McNeil’s son, the same was not the case when McNeil shot Epp. I think the prosecution (and the jury) took that into account when finding him guilty. The fact that McNeil was not there when his son was allegedly threatened, but chose to drive to the residence and get out of his vehicle, instead of waiting for the police to arrive, played a factor too. The police were on their way, and both McNeil and his son were not in any immediate danger had the son remained in the house and McNeil in his car.

  46. whoever told me never to listen to Gene Howington. I presume this is referring to Gene H. I DO listen to Gene H. I do not agree with him every time and I daresay he will say the same about me, and I do not adopt his attitude about everything (I am a fan of Idealist707 and he is not, for instance), but I listen CLOSELY to Gene H. He is obviously intelligent, has a rigorous scholarly background and wide body of knowledge, he shares, he is responsive and often helpful, VERY often helpful, and if I were in college and he were teaching a course I was taking, at the rates currently charged for higher education, it would cost me about $100/hour to sit there in his classroom and take notes! But he’s on-line here typing out notes for me to read for free! Bottom line: It is my First Amendment right to listen to Gene Howington.

    quoted for lulz

  47. anon,

    “I think you might be right, but Mr. Leider IS a student in Law School with a Ph.D in philosophy.”

    Mr. Leider is confused as to who has the burden of proof. While Mr. Zimmerman would have the burden of proof to show that his use of lethal force was justified, he has no burden to prove that he didn’t start the altercation that led to his alleged justified force. In a system based on one being considered until proven guilty of a crime (something not enjoyed in all parts of the world), a claim that Mr. Zimmerman committed a crime that would result in his the loss of his right to defend himself would be a burden placed on the prosecution.

  48. “Here’s a pretty good rule of thumb: If you’re naming a piece of crime legislation after a crime victim, it’s probably a bad law. It means you’re legislating out of anger, or in reaction to public anger over a specific incident. That’s generally not how good policy is made.”

    Anon,

    I wanted to comment on how much I agreed with your first comment on this thread and from my own professional experience. My last six years of work before I became disabled were spent creating and running programs for those with the co-diagnoses of severe mental illness and drug addiction. There is a a NY State Law called “Kendra’s Law” that mandates treatment for those adjudged to have mental illness and could be a threat to themselves and/or the community. See below for a moderately accurate description:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kendra%27s_Law

    It does supply a lot of treatment services and options that can be of benefit to the willing person. I ran afoul of it in that my programs were mandated to take certain cases where the person did not want our services at all. My programs became liable for anything the patient did, eve though they wanted nothing to do with us. The only avenue the law gave us to ensure cooperation was to threaten the patient and/or follow through with involuntary commitment. I didn’t work in my chosen career for all the years I did to become some sort of Administrative bully and yet my actions were overseen by people who enjoyed the Administrative bullying process. While I always stood my ground I was constantly being called on the carpet and having to justify my actions. Though the initial concept of the program was excellent and the benefits we were allowed to supply were very generous, this execution left much to be desired. There were also quite a few instances where someone without psychiatric/psychological background would force people into the program who didn’t belong there.

    I relate all this to say that I agree totally with the quote from above and even see now that “Caycee’s Law” is being proposed in Florida for no purpose other that to make political hay.

  49. Malisha:
    Yes, I know a lot about psychological autopsies. I have been admitted as an expert in that area in both Federal District Court and state courts. I have lectured on the subject and have a huge file of resource materials. So yes, it is possible to tease out a lot of information about both men and how they are likely to react under stress, even though one of them is dead.

  50. Malisha/Mike S.,

    Thank you both.

    *************

    anon,

    Still haven’t figured it out yet, have you? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

  51. Haven’t figured what out yet?

    How a headless chicken can live for months?

    The abnormal burdens that have been placed on your autonomic nervous system?

  52. anon,

    Thank you for your concern over my autonomic nervous system, but my circulatory and respiratory functions are all operating within nominal parameters aside from a bit of seasonal hay fever which I would characterize as normal with it being spring and all.

    On the headless chicken thing, you’re on your own.

  53. @SonofThunder: Well I did it, huh? Hush my mouth!

    @ anon: I don’t speak e. What’s lulz? (white enough space for you?)

    @ anon: My point about McNeil is not that he should not have been charged or that he was charged; my point about him was that he did not satisfy the jury that he had killed in self-defense! Now, Zimmerman has been charged. Debate about whether he should have been or should not have been is moot, at this point. I am saying, NOW, that he will have an uphill battle to prove self-defense. It’s anybody’s guess how steep that hill is going to be; too many parameters to be able to handicap that race right now. But I personally think that McNeil’s witnesses (see the dissent by the chief judge) gave statements that would be a lot more convincing than any statement Zimmerman might give so far.

    @ Anderson: You said: ““And Mr. Zimmerman will have to show that he was not the initial aggressor.”

    I would have to disagree. Mr. Zimmerman would not have to show anything other than that he was in reasonable fear for his life or serious bodily harm. The onus is on the prosecution to demonstrate that Zimmerman was the initial aggressor (“aggressor” would be something more than watching or re-positioning to see where the suspicious person was going). I don’t even think that accosting (something Malisha has asserted, but never backed up with evidence or witness account) would likely not eliminate a viable self-defense claim.”

    OK, the quote within quote is a bit confusing, but I don’t know how to set it out any better than that. You are saying, I think, that Zimmerman does not have to show that he was NOT the initial aggressor. I agree completely. But although you say I have asserted that Zimmerman was the initial aggressor “but never backed up with evidence or witness account,” let me show how a prosecutor could do me one better on THAT count (and I sure hope she DOES).

    Theory: Zimmerman was the initial aggressor.

    Data supporting theory:

    (1) Zimmerman saw and reported (as suspicious and needing police attention) Martin.

    (2) Zimmerman speculated about the various criminal enterprises Martin might be engaged in.

    (3) Zimmerman called Martin an “asshole” and stated his frustration that Martin might “get away.”

    (4) Zimmerman called Martin a “punk” or perhaps something more derogatory.

    (5) Zimmerman had apparently handed out literature in the neighborhood urging residents to watch out for young Black men and had in fact given a young Black man in the neighborhood, Ibrahim Rashada, cause for concern and even fear, so that Rashada claimed that when he wanted to “stretch his legs,” he would drive downtown to do so in order to avoid being “chased.” At the same time, Rashada was a young Black man (25 years old) slightly younger than Zimmerman; Zimmerman has testified that when he saw Martin, he thought he was “a little younger than me.”

    (6) Zimmerman admitted to the police that he was following Martin, AFTER expressing frustration that Martin was running and might get away.

    (7) Martin’s girlfriend, who has given her statement to the prosecutor, heard Zimmerman say to Martin, “What are you doing here?” and heard Martin reply, “Why are you following me?” Then the cell phone apparently was disengaged (no information is given about where it presently resides or why).

    So although I have not built the case that Zimmerman was the aggressor, the above details certainly indicate that a halfway competent prosecutor will be able to do that. THEN the burden shifts to the defense to show that Trayvon Martin was the initial — “initial” — aggressor. Anybody want to know what the meaning of “is” is?

  54. Ibrahim Rashada -Who? What? Objection. Facts not in evidence. This is the first time that name has been brought up this thread. You presented it on another thread but didn’t provide a link (or any effort whatsoever to identify the source). A search for that name shows the source to be a blog (and only one blog at that). You say that Rashada “is being quoted all over the place”. I say you are not a very honest person.

    (7) Martin’s girlfriend, who has given her statement to the prosecutor, heard Zimmerman say to Martin, “What are you doing here?” and heard Martin reply, “Why are you following me?”

    From ABC News:

    Martin’s girlfriend; “Trayvon said, ‘What are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again, and he didn’t answer the phone.”

    The order of events is something you shouldn’t take lightly. Details like that can make big differences. According to Martin’s girlfriend, Martin made the first verbal contact, and she says nothing about the tone of Zimmerman’s voice (which would be needed if you’re going to say that Zimmerman accosted Martin).

    What about that push? What does a push sound like on a cell phone? How do you tell who is pushing who by the sound heard on a cell phone call?

    “THEN the burden shifts to the defense to show that Trayvon Martin was the initial — “initial” — aggressor.”

    That would be another incorrect conclusion. All Zimmerman’s defense need do is supply enough reasonable doubt.

    While we’re at it, Ms. Prosecutor,

    (3) Zimmerman called Martin an “asshole” and stated his frustration that Martin might “get away.”

    (4) Zimmerman called Martin a “punk” or perhaps something more derogatory.

    OBJECTION! Facts not in evidence. Zimmerman was speaking in generalities, as they pertain to the people who burglarized other members of the neighborhood.

  55. Anderson, good try, perhaps, but perhaps not. You say I’m not a very honest person? You say my facts are not in evidence? These are matters of very little import to the real trial and to the fact that I have shown YOU th reasons that I am not worried about the epithet “anti-Zimmerman.” If I were working on the prosecution team (as something other than a lawyer because I am not a lawyer), I would get the exact facts and the precise quotes INTO evidence, and would do so by means of using the court’s evidentiary rules and so forth. Whether the fact was “I heard him say ‘what are you doing here?'” or it was “I heard someone say ‘how come you’re here?'” or something similar is not the point at all. The point is that I believe there is plenty of valid evidentiary material from which the prosecutor can (and will, if they are not deliberately trying to throw the case) show beyond a reasonable doubt that the meeting of Zimmerman the shooter and Martin the deceased on the night of 2/26/2012 was a result of Zimmerman’s aggression carried out against Martin. Ibrahim Rashada was quoted early on in the media coverage, in March, and his quotes included the fact that he was 25 years old, that he felt that Zimmerman had profiled young Black males as suspicious characters to be watched and followed, and that he was uncomfortable walking in his own neighborhood as a result of the fliers handed out by Zimmerman. He also said that prior to his developing these concerns, he had nothing against Zimmerman and had considered him a “cool dude.”

    OF COURSE the facts are not yet in evidence. There has been no trial yet and there have been no evidentiary rulings and so forth.

    But what I was proving — honestly and without equivocation, whether or not I am what you call a “very nonest person” — was that I had valid reason to declare myself, without any apology, anti-Zimmerman.

    I am not against ALL Zimmermans. I am not against all 28-year-old Virginia-born men whose fathers are white and whose mothers are “of Peruvian descent.” I am not against all neighborhood watch captains. I am not against all people with CCW permits. I am not even against all men who have shot other human beings, even fatally. I am anti-Zimmerman. Honest.

  56. Anderson — sorry for the mix-up, I was describing myself as anti-Zimmerman previously, to someone else, got mixed up between the two (or three) of you.

    I was showing these “facts not yet in evidence” to illustrate the point that the issue of Zimmerman being the aggressor could be proven in court and that he would then have a hard time making out a self-defense claim.

    Every one of the facts I refer to, whether i have it 100% correct or 90% correct, is a fact that the prosecution can easily get 100% correct with all the stuff laid out in front of them and with their full staff of people working on the case. My quick summary (I type over 100 wpm) from memory gave the outline of the facts that can be put INTO evidence, and probably will be, if the trial develops.

    What the girlfriend heard and what she testifies to will be put into evidence properly so my rendition of it is just a sketch. And so forth.

    As to my not being a “very honest person,” oh please. As James Brown would say, “Deal widdit; you gotta DEAL widdit.” You may have to deal with liars like me all your life, so DEAL WIDDIT.

  57. Otteray Scribe, “Either the SPD report is wrong or Timothy Smith is wrong. They cannot have it both ways.”

    this is interesting. It means it could be an early police documentation of the much talked about wounds. Maybe I don’t understand you, but why shouldn’t T. Smith have taken the photo? Or what is he wrong about? If so, it would make it a valid documentation? He noticed and reports that RW is bleeding. If this is a authentic documentation what was the odd “deep cross-shaped scar/wound” on the enhanced video about?

    I don’t know how to link to the specific person here, but I found PatriotX or his analysis of the 911 call sheet interesting. He seems to have made several comments here, so maybe better search for: 03-29-2012, 04:37 AM or part of the quotation below .His reading of some of the abbreviations on the 911 call make sense, he seems to be the only person that took a closer look..

    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-644910-p-10.html

    “At 19:13:27 Officer with a radio ID of S2711 is also dispatched to this call. And is shown to be checked enroute within the same minute. AND a REM (remark) is added noting the same.”

    The three entries at 19:17:11 all have this ID again: S2711, and the time of the initial police report has that time too. That means that Timothy Smith arrives at that time. Since he is the first and notes the blood on the head, so why shouldn’t have taken a photo to document it? Before, as the writes handcuffing Zimmerman. He simply allows him to inform his wife?

  58. The confusion that is naturally generated about what actually happened between 7 pm and 8 pm Eastern Standard Time on 2/26/2012 in Sanford Florida in that gated community is a direct result of the highly suspect, clearly faulty police work that night. The real story of what each person actually did will be very hard to establish because so much was done wrong that there will be lots of non-answers, lots of unverifiable answers, maybe even lots of false answers, and maybe a sprinkling of “I refuse to answer on the grounds that I may incriminate myself.” The only thing that is really obvious at this point is that because the police and Wolfinger did not expect this to blow up in their faces, they did not seem to be terribly worried about not following any proper procedures from the first minute to the last pre-media-storm minute, and whatever happened after that is anybody’s guess (unless the feds have it half unraveled already, and then it’s almost anybody’s guess).

    Photos of injures to Zimmerman should have been taken with associated E.R. reports after a trip to the hospital — in handcuffs unless he was unconscious at any point — to test everything, measure everything, record everything, evaluate everything, and officially do what was needed, including TREAT EVERYTHING that required treatment. You don’t ASK an injured suspect if he wants to take a trip to the E.R. That’s not protocol. How did the police even KNOW that Zimmerman was in his right mind, to give a reliable ANSWER, right after he shot somebody to death?

    Furthermore, this minuet of “new witness” and “new evidence” and “oh wait a minute, we have an explanation for that” and so forth is as corny as hell and as bizarre as an eggplant in the shape of Richard Nixon’s face.

  59. leander22,

    if Officer Timothy Smith did not secure the weapon and handcuff the suspect immediatly, he violated every arrest training rule ever written. When an officer comes on the scene of a shooting, the very first thing he does is secure the weapon, and the second thing is place the suspect in handcuffs. No exeptions. That enlarged photo shows Zimmerman on the phone and not in handcuffs. If Smith worked for me, he would have about a week of explaining to do, and after that I would probably fire him.

  60. raff, my 23 y/o youngest daughter is now an LEO. Been on the job about a month now, and even with her low level of experience, she thinks this bit does not come close to passing the smell test. She says that if one of their officers took the time to take a picture and let a guy who just shot and killed somebody make a cell phone call, her agency would have a new job opening immediately.

  61. Furthermore, the person who took the picture — “new witness” — “name undisclosed” — not included in the police report filed by Ayala by 3:00 a.m. the next morning — wait wait, tell me THIS again? Zimmerman’s saying, “hi honey I shot a punk” while there’s no “bus” on the scene to take care of the “punk” who’s “down” — am I watching one of the outtakes of a cop show on TV because nobody damnit learned their lines?

  62. Otteray scribe, something is vaguely on my mind, since thinking about this case. Zimmerman has an associate criminal justice degree, his first maybe unfortunate encounter with an uncover officer left no trace on his resume, if I understand correctly. Now if someone had prevented Zimmerman’s shot by simply going outside and checking what was going on, and stop the shot, could that have resulted in another charge that would have resulted in his former encounter being reconsidered? What would a blot on your resume mean in this connection, could it harm your career chances?

  63. leander22,
    There is no way this guy would have a shot at becoming a POST certified LEO if anyone from our office were doing the screening. I am aware there are departments scattered around the country that have lax hiring practices, but for all intent and purpose, this guy’s aspiring career in law enforcment is dead in the water.

  64. Thanks OS, I have a longer post awaiting moderation. Maybe it’s too long.

    But let’s assume Zimmerman would have been stopped e.g. by John walking outside and checking what is going on. Would that have had consequences for Zimmerman?

  65. Leander22, your hypothetical does not have enough information to cause me to have an opinion. If ‘John’ were a credible eyewitness, it would certainly put a whole new light on things.

    I think your underlying question is whether Zimmerman would have popped a cap at Martin if ‘John’ were watching him or said something to him. There is no way to know the answer to that. In determining intent, there is a concept called “policeman at the elbow.” That means would the act have taken place had a policeman been standing at his elbow. You can call me a skeptic on that one.

  66. OS, I am aware I put it really too vague. I was almost writing I take back the question above.

    I don’t trust eyewitness John. He seems to have changed his story after his call. He may be obliged towards GZ, for having prevented a robbery in his house, I am not sure though. Maybe he took the photo?

    Speculations: Early my mind was circling the cries, who cried(?), what different scenarios could there be(?), before I understood Florida the SYG law, which apparently doesn’t protect aggression, I wondered if it was really TM who called for help, could this have triggered an unfortunate chain reaction? Something like: more easy to get away with SYG, since rarely prosecuted, than ending up with another misdemeanor charge? Clearly GZ understands his rights.

    This sounded really interesting: Yes, I know a lot about psychological autopsies.

    Can you give me standard literature helping to understand the issue better? Is there a chance it will be used in the TM-GZ case?

  67. This case is not one that lends itself to the psychological autopsy technique. For one thing, we know that Martin was armed with candy and a soft drink. Zimmerman was armed with a 9mm pistol. Martin is dead. Zimmerman is very much alive. The only question now is whether the Sanford Police Department contains sentient life.

  68. Thanks for you patience.

    The only question now is whether the Sanford Police Department contains sentient life.

    The problem seems to be all the mistakes already made. De la Rionda told GZ in the bond hearing, he couldn’t be sure what he had heard from the witnesses at the crime scene.

  69. But there were witnesses who were not INTERVIEWED and who can still be witnesses — it wasn’t necessary for Rionda to hear what they said at that time, because it can be said now. In fact, in one instance at least (probably at least two, but some of the information is sketchy and unconfirmed), a witness WANTED to give the police her evidence, and called, and tried, and was subjected to refractory police conduct basically preventing her from sharing the information she HAD. So it won’t matter, in the long run, whether ALL the evidence available that night, when the police messed everything up, was gathered or was NOT gathered. Physical evidence, yes, of course that should have been preserved and cannot be recreated. In fact, in light of the funny stuff that has already happened with regard to the various head shots of the only still-standing star of that night’s performance, it would seem to me that evidence gathering of the blood on the back of Zimmerman’s head (and testing of it, of course) is something lost to the data control procedures forever. “And was that blood on the back of Defendant’s head in fact Defendant’s blood?” “I don’t know; we didn’t test it.” Ho hum, what can we say?

    To me, the failure of the police to document all that had to be documented that night makes it less feasible to make out a case of self-defense. The prima facie case of OFFENSE would seem to me still preserved in the recordings of the night and the statement of the girlfriend on the cell phone, but the after-the-fact statements made by the Defendant himself wouldn’t automatically carry the day.

  70. anon,

    I just caught one of your posts directed at me. Because, believe it or not, I don’t read most of the bullshit you post. So I’m going to play a bit of catch up.

    I want to thank you for demonstrating that you don’t understand the difference between setting a phone display and the clock functions used by the synchronous networks that the phone itself uses to function.

    There are two mobile wireless network synchronization schemes. FDD (frequency division duplex) and TDD (time division duplex). FDD is also used in wired networks, but both systems base their synchronization on network set time. You can set your phone display to show whatever you personally want. Your phone itself is still getting its time signal from the network. When you are off-network, your phone is using the time based on your last network connection, but it re-syncs when you go back on-network to the new network’s time. If your phone displays time in Jakarta but you are in Miami, the phone is still operating off of the local networks synchronization. Synchronization is essential to guarantee transport channel alignment for handoff and guard band protection.

    Your phones won’t work without it.

    In short, you can make your display different, but by network usage data, the actual local time can be derived. The only way to really change the time setting is to do so at a network level. And as I said, that would attract attention and be a lot of extra work.

    Speaking of time, it should be about time for you to freak out again.

  71. sorry, Malisha, I was putting it ambiguously. I think De la Rionda meant he couldn’t be sure what Zimmerman overheard from the witnesses on the scene. At least that’s how I understood it, Obviously they came all out to take a closer look.They may have spoken with the officers and with Zimmerman too, at least I think John did. Zimmerman may have been present all, or most of the time.

    You seem to have the Selma & Mary in mind. They were the ones that went public. I found their descriptions of Zimmerman behavior after the shot quite interesting. But strictly they did not witness anything while it happened. As far as I remember they only heard the fight and the screams. Besides their story too may have changed after realizing what had happened, they weren’t inside his head when he was straddling Trayvon’s body or walked around dissoriented.

    To be quite honest, I think it would be much more important to know what really happened than to sentence him. On the other hand my position may change abruptly if I knew. Complicated. But obviously the lawsuit will be only harden the narratives on both sides.

    How long will it take, till we know? A year?

  72. Well we may never know. There definitely were two news reports of witnesses saying their information, offered to the police, was either not welcome or that they were pressured into agreeing that what they said was not really what they wanted to say and so forth…

    I’m not sentencing, Leander22. In fact, that’s the part I don’t care about. What I DO care about is the fact that the police on the scene and the police after the fact and the prosecutor (Wolfinger) after the fact did not want to do ordinary police work and ordinary criminal justice work with this case. Now I don’t think that’s necessarily way different from what happens in perhaps 30% (just grabbing a number, no idea what the studies would show if it were possible to do them) of all cases. I have heard of case after case where either the police, not wanting to charge somebody, covered up instead of investigating or, on the flip side of that dirty coin, manufactured evidence to make sure some “asshole” didn’t get away. My point is only that from what has been reported so far, witness statements were not taken but probably can be recovered like “lost” data that is really somewhere on the hard drive, just not with its “ikon” in plain view. Blood tests, blood smudges, hair or skin traces under fingernails, powder burns, signs of impact, etc. etc. may not be available. But someone saying, “I heard this” or “I saw that” can sometimes be retrieved and in this case, it’s certainly going to be part of a major effort to do so.

    “Wait and see” is fine but there is a gigantic public debate about this, and it is a very valuable and important debate, not because Zimmerman killed Martin (although I do not downplay the importance of that, and do not want to be misunderstood on that point) but because the police/prosecutor cover-up, either way (for nailing someone who has not committed a crime or for giving someone a “walk” when they have) is a major, undeniable, dangerous, destructive part of our society and we need to deal with it.

  73. Gene Howington, the depths of your idiocy knows no bounds, and for this I have to thank you, because it is truly a humbling and educational experience that helps me understand the wide diversity in the human range.

    To think someone as clueless, as moronic, as drooling as you can pass the bar. What does that say about the tolerance and standards of lawyers everywhere?

    Okay numbnuts. Malisha is clearly speaking about the time date stamp on the bottom of an iPhone.

    We know this because Otteray Scribbler has shown us the EXIF information of the injured head photo of Zimmerman which identifies the phone as an iPhone 4s

    Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.18.04 PM

    And Malisha asks ““And how do we know that the cell phone’s date stamp cannot be changed””

    To which you responded, no it can’t not unless Superman flies around the world really fast, and then when I pointed out there is a menu setting to change the date, you said, nuh uh, not really. That changes the displayed date not the real time and date of the phone.

    SO EVERYONE ASK YOURSELF AS A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT.

    You are a phone designer. You allow the user to change the time and date of the phone.

    Now you are creating the camera app.

    DO YOU TIME STAMP THE PHOTO WITH THE NETWORK TIME, OR DO YOU TIME STAMP THE PHOTO WITH WHAT THE USER HAS ENTERED AS THE CORRECT PHONE TIME?

    Now try it for real.

    Take your phone off the network time, and enter the time manually.

    Enter 1/1/2010

    Make sure your phone is not set to automatically update its time from the network.

    Take a picture.

    Examine the details.

    What time and date is stamped on the photo? Today’s date, or 1/1/2010?

    Please report your findings.

    I’ll go first. On my Samsung Galaxy IIS running Android 2.3.6, the photo is contains 1/1/2010 in its EXIF information EVEN though the date is really 4/23/2012.

    Gene Howington: what did you find on your phone? Please let us know.

  74. anon, no one gives a rat’s ass what date is on a photo. You can set it to any time zone you want. What is important is the time itself, and if somebody fiddled with the settings on that camera phone, I am sure the FBI labs will be very interested, since tampering with evidence in a felony is some serious shit. And who has the time and inclination to change anything? The damn photo shows the date and time. What else do you want. You are straining at gnats.

    You can play fantasy games all you want. Have fun.

  75. Otteray,

    “no one gives a rat’s ass what date is on a photo”

    Apparently Malisha does.

    I’ve already said it’s almost certainly the case the photo is time stamped correctly.

    What’s notable is that once again your associate Gene Howington has been caught either making shit completely or just lying.

    In this case he has asserted twice now that the dates on the photos can’t be changed and represent the network time.

    You know that to be horse shit, but you won’t correct him.

    I’ve caught Gene Howington out to be a liar or just plain ignorant many times now, going back to his nonsense about no way to be anonymous on the net.

    Still, you can’t help but back that son of a bitch up, no matter how much bullshit he spews out. Instead of tell him he’s wrong, you support him and try a little misdirection aimed at the guy who is right.

    Oh well. Par for the course from you.

  76. You still don’t get it, do you, anon? Even if you change the time display manually on the phone? The network still knows what time it is for the local network and so does your phone. It’s on a synchronous network. If your phone and network are not on the same clock? Your phone won’t work. Two separate issues forensically. You cannot really fake the time on a phone. You can only change the way it displays the information to you from that particular phone.

    Man, you are dense.

  77. Gene, this phone business reminds me of the old lawyer cross examination stunt of asking the witness endless, “Well, isn’t it possible that….(fill in the blank with some vague reference to the evidence).

    I developed a stock answer to use after about the twentieth stupid “Isn’t it possible” question, as the jury is going to sleep and the judges eyes are glazing over. “Counsel, I am going to respond to each and every one of your questions in the affirmitive; and in fact, if you ask me if is possible the sun might come up in the north tomorrow I will respond to that with a ‘Yes’ as well. The better question is whether all these things are likely, and the answer to that is, ‘No.’ “

  78. Yep, OS. Good tactic.

    Probability seems to be a real problem with the pro-Zimmerman crowd. They all want certainty. Too bad for them the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt, not absolute certainty.

  79. Well Gene Howington, nice try at shifting the goal posts.

    The question you answered was:

    “Malisha,

    “And how do we know that the cell phone’s date stamp cannot be changed””

    You’ve responded several times now that the answer is it cannot be changed.

    Now you shift the goal posts to tell us what you think you know of telephone networks.

    But the question you answered was:

    “And how do we know that the cell phone’s date stamp cannot be changed””

    And the answer you gave was:

    “Technically speaking? It suppose it is theoretically possible to change it, but to do so would require hacking into the cell company’s NOC and resetting the time/date, but that would affect every phone on that segment of the network. It would also draw a lot of attention in the NOC”

    Which is totally and completely wrong.

    Now most people at this point would have the intelligence and grace to admit they blew it, but since you’re a shifty dumbassed lawyer, you can’t bring yourself to admit that you were wrong.

    And so you just play games.

    Gene Howington, unethical, lying, ignorant, dumbassed lawyer.

  80. anon, the question is not whether it is possible, but is it likely? Keep in mind, that as Gene says, the standard is to a reasonable certainty, not an absolute certainty. It ain’t likely sport, and you can just keep on whistling past the graveyard.

  81. Huh?

    Otteray Scribe, I’ve now said for the third time, that the photo is almost certainly time stamped correctly.

    Go take another geritol, take a walk, and get some blood back into your head, it will do you good.

    Gene has been arguing that it is impossible to change these time stamps.

    This has nothing to do with Zimmerman, it has to do with Gene making shit up, and you encouraging him to do so.

  82. Actually, it’s not a wrong answer just because you think it is, anon. Technically it is correct. The fallacies you are committing are the Nirvana fallacy and the continuum fallacy.

    As to your opinions of me personally? How many times to I have to tell you I don’t care what an anonymous asshole on the Internet thinks of me for that to sink in to your abnormally think skull? Do you honestly think anyone else will care? If you do, might I suggest that you were deprived of oxygen in the womb. If you think you’re hurting my feelings? You’d be wrong. I find it funny and a sign of obvious frustration. If you think you’re shaping the opinion of me to anyone important to me? You’d be wrong there too.

    You should spend a little less time huffing paint in your mom’s basement.

    It’d be good for you.

  83. “Gene has been arguing that it is impossible to change these time stamps.”

    Straw man fallacy.

    I never said the word impossible. That word came out of your mouth. I implied “difficult” and “improbable”.

  84. Just to be clear, anon, do you even know how a phone handshakes with the network? I don’t think you do.

    Basically when you turn your phone on, it tells the network:

    Hello, I’m model X phone.
    I have sim card number XXXXXXXXXXX.
    I’d like to register on this network.

    The phone company servers are queried by the tower to see if the phone is a client phone or a phone from another network.

    Then the connection is then allowed or denied as appropriate.

    Once connected, the network servers checks to see if there’s any asynchronous data waiting to be transfered (i.e. voice mail messages, etc.) and it will send that data along with the pertinent network information (like the time) to the phone which interprets it and does whatever is necessary (tell you you have a msg, change the clock, allow for synchronous communication, etc.).

    The phone company servers communicate with each other and with other public web servers that broadcast the time according to atomic clocks around the world. The network time on the servers is broadcast to the computers running the towers which in turn communicates the network time with the phones. If the individual phones are setup to auto-sync the time, then they adjust their time displayed according to what the tower tells them, but if they aren’t the phone still needs to know the network’s time in order to allow synchronous communication.

  85. Gene, I am getting dizzy from all the dodging and weaving going on by anon. I have not seen moves like that since Crazylegs Hirsch played for the Rams.

  86. Malisha asks if the date stamp of a cell phone photo (in the EXIF) can be changed:

    “And how do we know that the cell phone’s date stamp cannot be changed”

    Gene replies:

    “Technically speaking? It suppose it is theoretically possible to change it, but to do so would require hacking into the cell company’s NOC and resetting the time/date, but that would affect every phone on that segment of the network. It would also draw a lot of attention in the NOC. I’d say the chance of it being changed approaches zero.”

    The simple truth is that the date stamp comes from the time the phone is set to, and if the phone is not on network time, the date stamp can be wildly off.

    I then proceeded to give links and videos of how that is done.

    And three times now Gene you still stick to your erroneous claim: that the photo’s date stamp must be the network time.”

    This is not a technically correct answer.

    That is a wrong answer.

    Gene Howington, I am glad you don’t care that I think you’re an idiot, a liar, a fraud, a generally incompetent lawyer.

  87. “The phone company servers communicate with each other and with other public web servers that broadcast the time according to atomic clocks around the world. The network time on the servers is broadcast to the computers running the towers which in turn communicates the network time with the phones. If the individual phones are setup to auto-sync the time, then they adjust their time displayed according to what the tower tells them, but if they aren’t the phone still needs to know the network’s time in order to allow synchronous communication”

    What does any of this have to do with Malisha’s question about the origin or changing of the photo’s time stamp and whether it might be wrong?

  88. Two things. Malisha is smart, unlike some here who make a coconut look like a genius. Second, Malisha’s question has been answered by people with actual….you know….technical knowledge.

    Furthermore, Malisha is certainly smart enough to know the difference between whether it is possible and whether it is likely.

  89. Again, your mistake, anon.

    Smart phones have event logs.

    What time do you think is stamped on event logs?

    Network time.

    Enjoy being wrong some more. I really don’t mind.

  90. Good catch Gene. I forgot about the event logs, but then telecommunications are not really my thing. There is really no way to avoid the network unless you take the battery out of your phone and use it for a paperweight.

  91. True dat, OS. Most people think turning it off is sufficient, but nooooooo. You really do need to take out the battery. Cell phones are somewhat evil in my estimation. Little Brother if not Big Brother for sure. And get this. I recently read that the newest generation of Samsung Internet ready televisions? Have a camera and a microphone built into them that you can’t tell if they are operating and you can’t turn them off. The only way to disable them is to hardhack the TV (and according to the article I read, it’s no easy task). There is no way in Hell you could get me to plug something like that in at my house.

  92. Malisha
    1, April 21, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    I don’t get it. Somebody was taking that picture before the police arrived but then left when or before Officer Smith showed up? Or is there a record of exactly when Smith showed up, which is proven to be BEFORE the date stamp on the picture? And how do we know that the cell phone’s date stamp cannot be changed, if it was not an official police picture that was taken.

    Gene: distracting irrelevant stuff about event logs

    Gene, what the hell do event logs have to do with the EXIF information stored inside the photograph?

  93. “Most people think turning it off is sufficient, but nooooooo. You really do need to take out the battery.”

    Do you really believe that?

    Oy, the depths of your stupidity.

    Please provide a citation for this.

  94. So it is irrelevant that a phone’s event log is going to note the time and date of a picture taken by the phone and use network time to do so thus making actually hiding the time and date extremely difficult even if you do have a way to manipulate the EXIF information or it draws it’s time/date data from local user settings instead of directly from the network?

    You sure do have a funny definition of irrelevant, anon.

  95. anon, if your cell phone is within signal reach of a tower, it wants to syncronize with the tower. It is not a mystery or some esoteric knowlege. If it were not syncronized, you would not be able to make or receive calls. Even when it is off, it is searching for a signal. Which is a nevermind, because you cannot take a picture with a phone that is turned off. Furthermore, the event log does what it says. It logs events. Using any phone app is an event, including taking pictures. This is a handy dandy feature for investigators lookng for pedophiles who use their phones to search for kiddie porn. There are now spook technologies that can turn your “smart” phone on remotely and you will never know it. That is what Gene was alluding to about the new Internet ready televisions with the spy features.

  96. Gene H:

    Your explanations and analysis is spot on as usual, and what an excess of pearls you have to cast before anon? His grunting replies are becoming legendary on the blog. Carry on. I like a good bar-b-que.

  97. Anon,
    Let’s get down to cases here because Malisha is smart enough to decide if her question was answered. However, your sidetrack of this thread had nothing to do with the discussion. You lurk here most times hoping to find some point, any point really to be able to attack someone using obscenity. You obviously derive some pleasure calling people obscene names.

    Perhaps it makes you feel powerful? I can’t really say because we know nothing about you except your vague sobriquet. You are able to criticize many bloghers on here because you know their profession and perhaps some personal information they’ve shared. We know nothing about you or if you’re even an adult. I do know that there might be more than one anon commenting here because there is a stylistic change from time to time. Basically though you are a cypher and as such become uninteresting/inane since there is no sense of a real person behind your vague personna and little effort to move the conversation on in a positive manner.

  98. Thanks, Mark. The secret is in the wood selection as much as the sauce and dry rub. I prefer a mix of apple and cherry or cherry and hickory, but I fear no amount of technique or seasoning with make this particular piece of meat turn out as anything other than greasy, stringy and quite gamey.

  99. You’re right Gene. He’s pressure cooker material. BTW I’m trying some peach wood on my smoker this weekend. Will advise.

  100. Gene, OS, rafflaw,

    This is Kaplan’s opinion:

    http://ny.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.20061127_0000842.SNY.htm/qx

    a. Ardito’s Cellular Telephone

    Based on physical surveillance and the conversations previously intercepted, the FBI learned that Ardito’s crew no longer conducted meetings exclusively at the four restaurants, but met also in twelve additional restaurants, automobiles, Ardito’s home, an auto store, an insurance office, a jewelry store, a doctor’s office, a boat, and public streets.

    The government applied for a “roving bug,” that is, the interception of Ardito’s conversations at locations that were “not practical” to specify, as authorized by 18 U.S.C. § 2518(11)(a). Judge Jones granted the application, authorizing continued interception at the four restaurants and the installation of a listening device in Ardito’s cellular telephone.*fn1 The device functioned whether the phone was powered on or off, intercepting conversations within its range wherever it happened to be.

    Declan McCullagh has a long history of writing sketchy stories.

    It is possible that Kaplan is describing a piece of software that could work on a phone like a Nokia or Treo that doesn’t have a real off switch, just a go to sleep switch.

    But the plain language of the opinion suggests

    1) It is a physical device, and
    2) It is independent of the phone since
    a) it works even if the phone is turned off and
    b) it has its own range independent of that of the phone

    There is nothing in this opinion to suggest that if your phone turns off completely, then it can be used as a roving microphone or to trace your location.

    There is nothing to suggest that if this was a software device installed on the phone that the software will work on any random model of phone on any random carrier.

    IF your handset powers down completely you are safe. PERIOD.
    IF your handset does not power down completely then it is possible on certain phone models that Feds or Phone company can do malicious things to turn your phone on.

    If you had a specific kind of Nokia phone or a Palm phone or perhaps some other phones they may not turn off completely.

    I am aware of no Android phones that do not turn off completely.

    A phone when turned off without some other bug attached to it is a useless hunk of plastic and silicon that cannot do anything.

  101. Mike

    “Let’s get down to cases here because Malisha is smart enough to decide if her question was answered. However, your sidetrack of this thread had nothing to do with the discussion. You lurk here most times hoping to find some point, any point really to be able to attack someone using obscenity. You obviously derive some pleasure calling people obscene names.”

    That Gene continuously spits out erroneous information is not a sidetrack.

    The information he spits out is just wrong and a disservice to everyone here. As is his current bogus conceit we are all endanger unless we remove the batteries from our cell phones.

    Gene has admitted to believing it is okay and proper to put in bogus scientific testimony at a trial and let the jury and judge sort it out.

    I have given you plenty of links throughout my time here to indicate when Gene is wrong exactly why, and when OS is wrong, exactly why, and when mespo is wrong exactly why.

    Once more you have only to ask yourself how it is that in the face of links to other scientists, to the wiki, to opinions, to other experts, why you would choose to believe these debunked lies told here.

    Um, Otteray Scribe had no problem calling me a Nazi and a Stormfronter today, so fuck Otteray Scribe and fuck you Mike for your unwillingness to call Scribe out but your need to complain that I use bad language.

  102. Wow, you are dense. And consistent. Attacking the author of the story?

    Also, the composition fallacy rides again.

    If a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump it’s ass when it hops.

    “A phone when turned off without some other bug attached to it is a useless hunk of plastic and silicon that cannot do anything.”

    Bullshit.

    “An article in the Financial Times last year said mobile providers can “remotely install a piece of software on to any handset, without the owner’s knowledge, which will activate the microphone even when its owner is not making a call.”

    Nextel and Samsung handsets and the Motorola Razr are especially vulnerable to software downloads that activate their microphones, said James Atkinson, a counter-surveillance consultant who has worked closely with government agencies. “They can be remotely accessed and made to transmit room audio all the time,” he said. “You can do that without having physical access to the phone.”

    Because modern handsets are miniature computers, downloaded software could modify the usual interface that always displays when a call is in progress. The spyware could then place a call to the FBI and activate the microphone–all without the owner knowing it happened. (The FBI declined to comment on Friday.)

    “If a phone has in fact been modified to act as a bug, the only way to counteract that is to either have a bugsweeper follow you around 24-7, which is not practical, or to peel the battery off the phone,” Atkinson said. Security-conscious corporate executives routinely remove the batteries from their cell phones, he added. ”

    Thanks for proving how far you’re willing to go to prove how wrong you can be though. It was really entertaining.

  103. You go on ahead believing your Android phone is secure though or that just because you don’t see any lights that the phone is completely powered down.

    It’s really funny.

  104. Gene:

    1. Visit James Atkinson’s website: http://www.tscm.com/biojma.html

    Read his website.
    Read all of his website.

    His website details his services in sweeping for bugs and eliminating bugs. His website contains FAQs and lots of useful information for you to help you realize when you’ve been bugged and how to act.

    Tell me anywhere in his website where he warns people that their cellphones can monitor them even when they are turned off.

    2. The article you are quoting from was written in 2006. This does not mean it is wrong or irrelevant today.

    But find me any recent article from the EFF or ACLU or DEFCON or anyone that agrees this is a real problem.

  105. Orders? I don’t think you can afford my hourly rate, anon.

    I made my burden of proof.

    If you want to counter-claim that it isn’t a problem?

    That burden of proof on the counter is yours to make.

    Remember: an absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence.

    Now do your own work.

  106. “So it is irrelevant that a phone’s event log is going to note the time and date of a picture taken by the phone and use network time to do so thus making actually hiding the time and date extremely difficult even if you do have a way to manipulate the EXIF information or it draws it’s time/date data from local user settings instead of directly from the network?

    You sure do have a funny definition of irrelevant, anon.”

    Gene to Malisha: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO CHANGE THE TIME STAMP ON THE PHONE IT WOULD INVOLVE HACKING THE NETWORK AT THE PHONE COMPANY.

    Anon: Um, actually you can just change the time setting on the phone, and then upload the photograph.

    Gene: THERE ARE EVENT LOGS ON THE PHONE.

    Anon: Oh, so I guess now you are agreeing it doesn’t involve hacking the phone company youand ‘re just too much a cowardly pussy to admit you were wrong.

    Anon: In general if you find a photo on the network you cannot rely 100% on the EXIF information. It is possible if you can identify the original device that there may be log information there that will better identify when a specific photograph was taking.

    HOWEVER THIS IS NOTHING LIKE HAVING TO HACK INTO THE PHONE COMPANY AND SCREWING UP EVERY PHONE CONNECTED TO THE TOWER.

    “cell company’s NOC and resetting the time/date, but that would affect every phone on that segment of the network. It would also draw a lot of attention in the NOC. I’d say the chance of it being changed approaches zero. One of my jobs after I left law was for a major cell phone company. Synchronization is critical to making the phones and the GPS functions work properly. For that reason, it is as OS says; cellphone time and date information is generated by the network.”

    Again Gene, you’re just a liar and too much of a pussy and unethical creep to admit you were wrong.

    This is what you do on a daily basis here, and I assume this is how you treat your clients and the courts and your loved ones.

  107. Gene: I READ AN ARTICLE ONCE IN 2006!!!!

    Anon:

    1. The actual opinion does not back up the article except … perhaps maybe. But Occam’s Razor’s reading of the opinion suggests a different, simpler answer.

    2. The expert you depend on who was concerned about this in 2006 has a website that doesn’t mention this concern of his in 2012. Other experts than and now believe your expert was mistaken.

    3. There are no sources more current than 2006 that discuss this.

    Gene: I IZ EXPENZIVE LAWYER!

  108. “Gene: THERE ARE EVENT LOGS ON THE PHONE.

    Anon: Oh, so I guess now you are agreeing it doesn’t involve hacking the phone company youand ‘re just too much a cowardly pussy to admit you were wrong.”

    Event logs that do what again? Time stamp with network time.

    If you can’t prove that cell phones can be used to spy on you without your knowledge, why not go back to the dead horse and beat it some more?

    Cowardly? I use my real name here unlike some anonymous candy asses who hide behind a lame as handle like “anon” and hurl insults like a brain damaged 6th grader.

    Pussy? Awww. You’re such a charmer. Do you kiss your mother/sister with that mouth? Of course you do. Just don’t let your daddy/uncle catch you! You know how jealous he gets.

  109. Speaking of proof, here’s a story from 2010 about commercially available phone spyware.

    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/cell-phone-spying-software-leads-cyberstalking-nightmare/story?id=10020677

    Seems like it’s really pretty easy today. Probably more so than in 2006. And it’s a helluva lot easier than when I found out about it in 2000.

    Whether you think it is a problem or not depends entirely on you.

    But you’ve already expressed faith in your Android phone.

    Now, you were going to get some proof that this is no longer a problem . . . .

    Where is it?

  110. By the way, I’m not saying this is what the Government did in 2006, but it was suggested by a commenter on Bruce Schneier’s blog and it seems to fit the facts and answer the question of how the phone’s bug was installed so quickly:

    http://www.surveillance-safety.com/surveillance-microphone-battery.htm

    SPY-BA

    SURVEILLANCE MICROPHONE HIDDEN IN CELL PHONE BATTERY

    The SPY-BA is an innovative design where we have concealed a surveillance microphone inside the battery of commonly available cellphones. It is a UHF transmitter with a frequency range from 400 to 480MHz. it is extremely powerful and can transmit over 100m in open field (subject to environmental conditions). The device comes equipped with a state of the art anti annoyance filter. It would be best used with our range of sensitive receivers. It would also be better if you could specify the cellphone and battery type at the time of order

    What’s interesting about that is if the battery is bugged, then taking it out of your cell phone will do nothing to eliminate the bug

    And here’s an interesting page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_listening_device#Remotely_activated_mobile_phone_microphones

    If you track down the 6 citations, you’ll find,

    1. Most go to the Kaplan decision and more specifically to Declan’s write up of it.

    2. the FT link goes to a UK case in which the handset had to be turned on

    3. Lauren Weinstein has an interesting page that discusses how you can tell if your GSM phone is bugged (and using a voice not a data connection to transfer data.)

    4. www wrc noaa gov/wrso/security_guide/cellular.htm#Cellular Phones has a page that says that if a diagnostic command is used to open up a voice connection, your phone can be used as a bug, but before you can use it as a phone you will need to turn on and off your phone. So it’s doubtful that this is the way.

    Again there is nothing recent about these sorts of attacks, and most of the writeups go back to Declan’s write up.

  111. Do you really think the FBI working in conjunction with the telcos (who got immunity for their role in warrantless wiretapping for the Bush administration) can’t come up with something better than what is availiable commercially?

  112. “What’s interesting about that is if the battery is bugged, then taking it out of your cell phone will do nothing to eliminate the bug”

    So? Pointing to another flaw in cell phone security does not negate other holes in cell phone security. You haven’t proven me wrong. You’ve simply given a reason to take the battery out and put it some place secure and sound proof.

    Come on. Keep flailing.

  113. Again . . . “Do you really think the FBI working in conjunction with the telcos (who got immunity for their role in warrantless wiretapping for the Bush administration) can’t come up with something better than what is available commercially?”

    If they could do it in 2006, they can do it now.

  114. “Do you really think the FBI working in conjunction with the telcos (who got immunity for their role in warrantless wiretapping for the Bush administration) can’t come up with something better than what is availiable commercially?”

    I don’t think the FBI can change the laws of physics.

    A powered off cell phone is powered off and inert unless they got physical access to your device.

    There are now enough Android phones out there and Android developers out there with source code to almost all of it, that I do not think it is possible that there are Android phones that actually never power off even though we all have turned them off with the “Power Off” menu option.

    I suspect that is largely true of iPhones as well.

    I think the absence of any articles since 2006 largely places this in snopes territory.

  115. But you’ve already expressed faith in your Android phone.

    Now, you were going to get some proof that this is no longer a problem . . . .

    Where is it?

    mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make

  116. “A powered off cell phone is powered off and inert unless they got physical access to your device.”

    Not if it is a phone that “off” really means “standby” – which is many if not most of them.

    You are making the fallacy of composition.

    If you can’t prove it’s not still an issue, that’s okay too.

    We’re quite used to you being wrong.

  117. “A powered off cell phone is powered off and inert unless they got physical access to your device.”

    Not if it is a phone that “off” really means “standby” – which is many if not most of them.

    You are making the fallacy of composition.

    If you can’t prove it’s not still an issue, that’s okay too.

    We’re quite used to you being wrong.

    Ooooo. You can re-install your phone OS.

    I’m so not impressed and that’s so not proof.

    So your theory is that with 300,000,000 Android Phones sold, and 300,000,000 users. And knowing that all of the source code to these phones has been released, with yes, the exception of a few proprietary modem drivers, that these phones secretly never power off, but remain on in standby. And that none of the carriers and none of hte developers and none of the users have ever noticed that.

    Okay counselor, how likely is that that none of these 300,000,000 users, developers, carriers with access to source and about 600,000,000 years of user experience with the phone have never noticed their phones don’t really turn off?

    You’re a silly person Gene. And incapable of admitting when you made a mistake.

  118. Companies conspiring with Google and the Federal Government to hide the fact your Android phone doesn’t really turn off.

    acer, alcatel, archos, asus, cherry-mobile, dell, fujitsu, fujitsu-toshiba, hp, htc, huawei, kyocera, lenovo, lg, motorola, nec, panasonic, pantech, pocketbook-int, sk-telesys, samsung, sharp, sony-ericsson, toshiba, zte

    Also of course,

    Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Orange, Cricket, …

  119. Do you think that if the FBI wanted to spy on your phone that your service provider wouldn’t upload whatever code they were asked to? Especially since they were granted immunity before?

    Then you don’t know what the corporate culture inside a phone company is like.

    Do you use a probe to check whether your phone is drawing power when you think it is off?

    No.

    Do you review every line of code on your phone every day?

    Of course you don’t.

    Do you know every single bit of data the network sends your phone when it is on?

    No.

    You’re a naive fool.

  120. Again, you act as if Android phones are all they sell. The fallacy of composition strikes again. And one of those companies you named I used to work for. They’d sell you out in a heartbeat if they could get some kind of advantage out of it.

  121. “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”

    Of course this does not “reinstall the operating system”

    What this does is take a publically inspectable and even publically modifiable version of the operating system, downloads it to your computer system, and builds it entirely from scratch.

    You can look at every piece of source code in this, and once you are satisfied with what’s in there, you can load it on your phone and understand that your phone is working the same as before.

    And tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands if not more people have done this. And the companies above have built the phones from scratch, ordering their own components and then assembling them as they desire.

    So perhaps the feds have made a deal with FoxConn or with ARM or Samsung or other makers of CPUs and phone chips.

    Perhaps.

    And no one has noticed this.

    It is possible.

    Isn’t it possible Otteray Scribe? Isn’t it possible that Gene’s conspiracy theory is true? And that 300,000,000 Android phones don’t turn off and we don’t realize it?

  122. You spin a conspiracy theory from one paper in CNET written by a dodgy reporter based on a paragraph from a 2006 decision that is ambiguous but which Occam’s razor suggests was misinterpreted by CNET. And since then there have been no other reports of this behavior seen in the wild.

    In contrast there are 300,000,000 users of a phone out there and not one report that the phones are not turning off. And tens of thousands of developers poking and prodding and modifying these phones and they power on and off the phone every day and test it every day and not one of these people have reported any evidence that the phone doesn’t really turn off.

    And you cannot point to anything other than this single solitary report quite likely misinterpreted decision from 2006.

    No problem Gene. It is possible the sun will rise in the north tomorrow.

  123. “What this does is take a publically inspectable and even publically modifiable version of the operating system, downloads it to your computer system, and builds it entirely from scratch.”

    Which is what you would do if you wanted to reinstall it or modify it before reinstalling it.

    None of which changes that the telco can remotely load and execute code on your phone and you wouldn’t know a damn thing about it.

    It’s not as if Android hasn’t had malware issues already.

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/19/android-study-privacy-security-risks-in-app-ads/

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/01/more-malware-in-the-android-market-google-removes-26-deleteriou/

    Are you really so intractably stupid that you think the telco and the Feds couldn’t give your phone code you don’t know about without your knowledge?

    If so, you’re dumber than I thought and I think you’re as dumb as a rock.

  124. “It’s not as if Android hasn’t had malware issues already.

    urls removed for despamming purposes.

    So guess what: if you’re a mobster and don’t want malware on your phone, don’t download apps from the appstore.

    Then you have only the operating system that you built yourself and installed.

    Download only mafia approved apps, like “angry mobsters” and “Wheres teh body?” and “nice neighborhood, shame I have to put zombies in it”.

    Could the telcos or the FBI install software without you knowing about it?

    Again there have been no reports of that ever occurring. All downloads provide one of about 3 icons as a notification. But yes, just like the Sun rising in the north it is possible. The file system is open and available for anyone to inspect (with root). No one has noticed these hidden files.

    But steganographic techniques show how files can be hidden, so let’s say the files are hidden within other files.

    But once more that involves a conspiracy of all those companies, all those carriers I outlined above, and their employees. And it can’t involve any code that is in Android itself. It has to be code in the proprietary radio drivers for those phones that have proprietary radios. Not all do.

    And if the code to do these secret installs is in Android itself, and no one has noticed it yet, they might still notice it tomorrow. All the code is there for you to see:

    http://source.android.com/source/code-lines.html

    So someone has to have got this secret code that downloads code and installs it. And it can’t use the native communication stacks because they all log everything that is downloaded. And it has to have steganography in it.

    So your secret code has to have its own communication stack and yet … it still can’t do it when the phone is turned off, because again, you have provided no proof that an Android phone doesn’t turn itself off, or that it can turn itself on all by itself.

    So this remarkable secret downloading software still will have no effect when the phone is turned off.

    You have provided no evidence that this can occur. Your theory relies on an all powerful government with all powerful abilities to manipulate any company at will and confusicate 1000s of developers.

    So yes, Gene, against and all powerful government it is possible that phones can magically turn on when they were turned off and no one ever figures that out. And companies can magically download and install software on these magical phones without anyone ever realizing those capabilities are there.

    You have no evidence that any of this has ever occurred, and yes, I have no evidence this could not occur, even though the mathematics of it and the logistics of it certainly make it very unlikely.

    This is an argument from ignorance: you assert the government can do anything with an Android phone because no one has proven that they can’t.

    Put on some sun screen Gene, because you are right, the Sun could rise in the North tomorrow.

    Your comment is awaiti

  125. Now comes the idiot who treads in a fight, No sides chosen, but full of opinions

    One, Gene is right, ANON is right, OS is right, and possibly I am right.

    However open Android is, there is no difficulty to having code “inaccessible”.
    Thus if the Feds want ot activate and then deactivate a “cold” telephone, then they usually get their way. They got the telcom prov. to break the law, didn’t they. How hard would it be to reach an “agreement” internationally for this function. Proof: Well watch your laptop run through its power down sequence. Did your pushing a button do that? The button was a signal, the control remains with the laptop, and the internal status, which can be controlled from the net.

    The handshaking idea is correct but has extended over time. Did it all start with the wired telegraph net, and went on from theire via CCITT X.25, ISO standards and on and on. Snd the layers and side branches increase like a growing tree.
    The only compatibility necessary is with the layrer below and the one above——and of course with those on the same layer.

    The worlds time is set to GMT or UTZ, and used by nets.
    Local adaptation to local time is standard. The user’s displayed time is set by him or her (or it?),.

    If I were to establish an international forensic time code to be registered on files (and fotos are files) then I would prefer that BOTH times be registered. The extra data is miniscule. The forensic usefullness is larger, but there you all know more than I do.

    What is fact? Don’t know shit. But will take the time to followup on some of the stuff you all have revealed. You guys know a lot.

    Your relationships are yours. There I will not tread.

    Written by one who worked for Ericsson Telecom for 30 years and has inherited the first smartphone in the world from his wife. The Ericsson K750.
    Said to prove that I DO NOT KNOW crap. So piss away if you like.
    My next comment below is more worthwhile.

  126. In answer, briefly to OS question about the presence of sentient life at the Sandford PS, etc.

    I would answer the rhetorical humorous question this way.

    Of course there is sentient life. They followed standard “protected persons” routine in removing all sources speaking against Zimmerman at the very beginning, and may have done so in the whole handling from Z’s first report on Trayvon. Zimmerman, as the magistrate’s son, which has been emphasized and made acquainted to all within the PD on all watches, and by his role as neighborhood guard with frequent call-ins, he gets special treatment as a “protected person”. Knowing who the protected persons is required of all officers, even visitors status. Can give a personal example some time.

    Now following special routine in handling him and his actions is evident from the reports now available from several sources.

    Now we are back to MikeS’. five questions, which have a weight equal to the population of the USA minus approx. 0.001 percent..

    I, at this point, can only point out the significance of the “lowly” magistrate in Virginia.

    I have written I believe previously explaining how a magistrate, just through his absolute power, can be a necessary “justice dispenser” useful to many VIPs, etc. Their power extends his power, for favors done are repaid in influence, not simply in money, however these are paid. People travel, relatives reside in other places. Even LEOs need “help” at times.
    If I have not, I will do so and repeat it on a suitable Zimmerman thread.

    Lastly, a jest.
    I’m thinking to start my own blog in competition with JT, not sure tho’ if I want to have all the flies which will buzz around my crap.

  127. Would somebody please explain to me, what type of comments result in: Your comment is awaiting moderation, and what type will appear immediately after pushing the “Post Comment” button?

  128. Leander22, the spam filters block postings if you have more than two links in a comment. Those are the only parameters I know about. You can use two links, but no more, otherwise your comment goes to moderation limbo.

  129. How did this strife and name-calling develop from the simple question, if the same local (mobile) and server time is necessary for a connection, or the necessary handshake data exchange?

    The point was the time stamp on the photo, or the question: could it have been, at least theoretically, manipulated?

    Does taking a picture with your mobile need a server connection at all?

    Could we get back to an answer to that question. Is the same time necessary for the handshake protocol? It feels to me, it isn’t. But I sure could be wrong. Why would a provider want to deny a user a connection who by accident changed the time manually? It feels that can’t be in their interest. In the handshake data one top priority that makes sure the user has somehow paid for the right to use the service.

    Subscriber Identity Data and Removable User Identity Module

  130. The spy software may be important in our case in another context. It could give the prosecution a chance (gave?) to watch post event communications by the suspect. Can it be done, legally?

    Will he use prepaid cards from now on? I could imagine that the prosecution would like to take a closer look at the new NSA data collection centers, and what it has stored on Zimmerman,via voice and text recognition, I definitively would. But I don’t even know how advanced technology is in this context. But it surely is super-secret.

    Personally i am absolutely unparanoid, may they collect my completely mundane data, if they like.

  131. leander22,

    “Personally i am absolutely unparanoid, may they collect my completely mundane data, if they like.”

    Personally I agree as I don’t say anything on the phone or Internet I wouldn’t say to or about the government in person, but there is that pesky 4th Amendment.

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    I don’t care that they can do it as much as I care that they seem to think there is nothing wrong about doing it without a warrant that meets the probable cause threshold. The removal of judicial review is simply an unacceptable removal of a check in a system that is designed to operate off of checks and balances. Warrantless wiretaps are antithetical to the 4th Amendment and prime facie unconstitutional by the plain language of the 4th Amendment.

  132. Just so you know. In 1980 decade there was a tel system for the whole of Saudi which could tap at will any telephone in the kingdom. I don’t know if that included those belonging to “protected persons”.
    There was then no computerized word detection monitoring systems.

  133. “ORLANDO, Fla. — The website that George Zimmerman set up to help raise money for his legal defense in Trayvon Martin’s shooting has been disabled, a spokesman for his lawyer said Wednesday.

    The website was no longer functioning as of Tuesday, said James Woods, a spokesman for Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of the 17-year-old Martin in February. He has pleaded not guilty and is claiming self-defense.

    “It was taken down at Mark’s request and he will not have any future online presence unless authorized in advance by Mark,” Woods said in an email.

    He said he had no information on how much money the website raised.

    O’Mara has hinted that he will ask Zimmerman to be declared indigent, which would allow taxpayers to pay for his legal bills. Any income from the website would make that process more difficult.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/zimmerman-website-shut-down_n_1455194.html

  134. Gene, Zimmerman once again went off half cocked (pun intended). It will be funny as hell if he has harshed his chances of getting public assistance for his defense. I am a big supporter of public defender programs, but do not like to see it abused. Based on some of the postings here on this blog, I expect Zimmerman has a big enough fan base to raise quite a bit of money and Mark O’Mara knows that. One would assume the state attorney knows that as well and will be more than willing to point it out to the judge.

  135. So much of this case is made of claims by Zimmerman’s team that are so unbelievable, even to ordinary lay persons, that it is practically an insult to pretend they can be taken as anything but the most egregious “fantasy” — Trayvon Martin leaping out of his hiding place and bringing down Zimmerman while shouting, “Tonight you die!” and the UP and DOWN website asking for money from the gun crowd, the defenders of the poor downtrodden armed protectors of pure American democracy, all the rest, oh please, this stuff is in the gag-me-with-a-spoon category…

    Would anybody HAVE TO make it known to a judge?

    Really?

    And the attorney on the job now has no idea how much this website brought in? I mean, probably $127.41 or so, but who’s counting? THey’re gonna have a bake-sale to raise funds for him; they’re gonna have an “old guns up in the attic” sale to raise funds for him; they gonna have a “white hoodie-top sheets, 100% Georgia cotton” party to raise funds for him —

    Lordy!

  136. I mean, probably $127.41 or so, but who’s counting?

    Don’t underestimate the Zimmerman-support-crowd, Malisha. Money will be the least of their problem.

    During a rather heated exchange on a blog I read for several years now the blog owner at one point sent a veiled threat that money for Zimmerman’s defense would be superabundant. I can’t give you the link, he took down all the articles related to the topic by now.

    These guys were in panic for a while, before they realized they could now pass on as much money as they wanted discretely via O’Mara office.

    I’ve started the process to properly authorize his legal fund,” O’Mara said. “I do not want him to have any Internet presence and that site has been taken down.

    In another article I read he planned to have all supporter sites taken down too.

    I could give you at least two dozen links, but this software doesn’t like that.
    Someone I watch claimed .GZ supporters have already collected several thousand dollar, and that his own blog raised more than you assume.. Now polite society can join discreetly via Zimmerman. NRA too, can donate a slightly bigger sum from their PR and advertisement budget.

  137. Oh thanks, Leander. I was trying to be “funny” with that comment; I know the money is behind Zimmerman. He would probably still like to get charity from the Floridians (incuding Martin’s surviving family members of course) of course.

  138. I am with Benjamin Crump and Daryl Parks. I wonder what Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. thinks about this. His supporters will consider it an emergency lie they may only pray more fervently from now on, to their specific god.

    But maybe they don’t need to worry, mespo. O’Mara already pointed out the escape strategy. The money has been entrusted for a specific purpose. It is not his own money, so O’Mara can easily argue, o Zimmerman is bound to use it the way he promised. Thus strictly he didn’t lie. It’s solely for his defense and his living expenses up to the trial, that was always what Zimmerman told his supporters. And O’Mara told us all smiles and graces that his defense will cost one million. He surely invited everyone else to contribute.

    Crump needs media training. He tried to press too much into his statement. Media needs punchlines that stick. Too much emotion, surely I can understand.

    Now the question arises, did Zimmerman “legally lie”? He only took the oath in connection with his self-serving apology, closely watched by O’Mara. Could he argue too, it was after all not his money, but it was only entrusted him for a specific purpose?

  139. If your body did not die you would be innocent not having a body that dies. since you have a body that dies how can you condemn another human that dies? Doing that comes back on your own head. Jesus gives mercy. Legal system does not. How then can one call the legal system godly?

  140. Otteray Scribe, I agree with you, and I’ll raise you an UGLY. I think it was ugly out there when (a) Zimmerman lied to police about the actual circumstances of his encounter with Martin; when (b) The police were either refractory or frankly bullying towards witnesses who wanted to tell their stories without coercion; when (c) Zimmerman’s father started issuing statements purporting to know what a dead man had said minutes before becoming dead; when (d) Police “leaked” negative information about a dead man who never did anybody any harm; when (e) attorneys who pretended to know everything about a case then hopped off the case when the source of their extraordinary knowledge might come under scrutiny; and [editor, on and on through (y)…]

    And Z.

    Zero tolerance for more of these lies.

    ZERO. How absolutely appalling.

    One thing about the folks in Florida: They don’t shame easy.

  141. Better don’t hold your breath:

    Judge Kenneth Lester said, however, that he would revisit the issue if it became clear that the Zimmerman family had control of the money at the time of Mr. Zimmerman’s bail hearing last week, when the family said it could not afford the $1 million bond requested by the prosecution

    I doubt his parents have an authorization to use his account. All his wife needs is his email and the password, no authorization necessary. If he said it exactly that way, he has already accepted, that this is money for his defense.

  142. I find it telling that the Zimmerman defense fund has raised more than twice the amount donated to a trust set up in Martin’s name.

  143. The Zimmerman defense fund is defending a Southern “White is Right” Guy in a town whose police force has a long history of racism and oppression to (a) decide that some expendable black person is a criminal; and to (b) act based upon that unilateral decision. That is a “right” they are going to defend vigorously and for a long time, judging by their history of having defended it already vigorously for a long time.

  144. Typo alert: The Zimmerman Defense Fund is defending THE RIGHT OF a Southern “White is Right” guy…etc.

    I also could use a good editor but can’t afford their fees.

  145. Hmm. If I were the Seminole County prosecutor’s office, or the sheriff of Seminole County, or the warden of the jail in Sanford, I’d want to take George Zimmerman down to the hospital for a complete physical. I’d want x-rays, too, especially of his face. Let’s see if his broken nose is healing properly because if it is not, that will be the liability of the jail, you know.

    Also, they should examine Zimmerman both physically and mentally to make sure they have a record of how he has been NOW so that there can’t be allegations of mistreatment LATER when there was no baseline to compare it to.

  146. Had there been no “media circus” there would have been no:

    1. Investigation
    2. Arrest
    3. Firing of Police Chief Lee
    4. possible chance at the real workings of the criminal justice system being exposed

    I’ll trade an elephant or two for that, any day.

  147. ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE CENTER RING OF THE CIRCUS: LATER TODAY MORE EVIDENCE WILL BE RELEASED, COME ONE COME ALL!!

  148. Now George Zimmerman’s lawyer wants to get rid of the judge who has granted George’s million dollar bail (which he met in a single day). It seems the only kind of cop George wants involved in an investigation is a cop who will unquestioningly believe his story; it seems that the only kind of judge George wants involved in the case is a judge who will not mind it if George doesn’t really tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth; it seems the only kind of situation George wants to take part in is one that he can control and manipulate to his own satisfaction.

    What if he actually DID ask Trayvon Martin, “What are you doing here?” and what if Trayvon Martin actually answered, “I am minding my own business and I don’t have to speak with you, please leave me alone,” and what if George’s response to that was to pull his gun and try to take Trayvon Martin IN for questioning about some imaginary crimes? Would he be admitting it now? What if he told his family doctor NOT to take an x-ray of his nose on 2/27/2012 because he knew he had not even been punched in the nose the night before, but he wanted to look injured, would he be admitting it now? What if he was what O’Mara called “frightened, mistrustful and confused” on the night he apprehended or accosted Trayvon Martin and things didn’t go his way then and he had a challenge to his “little hero complex” — would he be admitting it now?

    So the judge on his case, based on the information in the case itself (remember, this judge did not even KNOW about the PayPal account when, at first, he set a low bail for Zimmerman — it was all over the web and the judge didn’t know about it because LIKE A GOOD JUDGE he was avoiding finding out about the case from outside the courtroom itself) has seen fit to comment on the fact that George is lying, in many different contexts. I think George Zimmerman has made a bed he is going to have to lie in. Pun intended.

  149. On another blog, in response to the charges leveled against Colorado alleged shooter James Holmes, one of the commenters said:

    “It’s truly sickening. God help anyone caught up in the legal system in this country.”

    It’s a good quote. Short, elegant, supportable. Its belief in the availability of divine assistance may be inaccurate, of course, but who’s to say?

  150. It is interesting how, now that the “media circus” has disbanded, inaccurate information is creeping stealthily into the Zimmerman reporting while no challenges are being raised and nobody is being fired for wrong nuances. Channel 5 News in Orlando has this interesting description of the case to report today:

    “The former neighborhood watch leader charged with fatally shooting Trayvon Martin is objecting to prosecutors’ request for his medical records.”

    Read more: http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/national/george-zimmerman-trayvon-martin-case-zimmerman-objects-when-medical-records-sought-by-prosecutors#ixzz24HERWDc9

    OK, so now George Zimmerman, formerly known as a neighborhood watch volunteer, is now a “former neighborhood watch leader.”

    Now George Zimmerman, formerly described as charged (or “over-charged,” if you’re Dershowitz, Turley or Jeralyn Whatzername) with second-degree murder, or “Murder 2″ — is now describ ed as “charged with fatally shooting Trayvon Martin.”

    Now George Zimmerman is seen as “objecting to prosecutors’ request for his medical records,” whereas a mere two days ago, he was fighting a SUBPOENA for those medical records.

    See how his position is being psycholinguistically strengthened as the prosecution’s position is being psycholinguistically weakened?

    I wonder if the prosecution is going along with this extra shot of semantic steroids the defense is getting behind the scenes. Or is it all on the part of the journalists?

  151. Here’s a cute one. From today’s Sanford Herald:

    “It was reported that George and Shellie Zimmerman obtained their concealed weapons licenses together in November 2009 while living in The Retreat at Twin Lakes – the same neighborhood where George would eventually have the altercation with Martin.”

    Read more: The Sanford Herald – Shellie Zimmerman may have concealed weapons license suspended by State

    So just as the “planet” Pluto was downgraded to a “Dwarf Planet” in 2006 by the world’s astronomers, now the world’s journalists are beginning to downgrade the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman to an “altercation” — that George “had” — rather than a “shooting” or a “killing” that George “did” or a “murder” that he is “charged with.”

  152. UPDATE: Now the killing of Trayvon Martin is being called “a confrontation with Martin.” From today’s article:

    “The records being released Wednesday include a photo of former neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman’s head that was taken by a witness following a confrontation with Martin.” quoted in WPTV on-line.

    Read more: http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/state/george-zimmerman-trayvon-martin-case-update-prosecutors-releasing-more-documents-in-case#ixzz26v8ouBxC

    So the semantics of it are: First call it a shooting, then a killing, then SYG, then alleged murder, then an “altercation” and then a “confrontation.”

    Pretty soon we will be reading about “the unscheduled meeting between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin held on 2/26/2012.”

  153. “So the semantics of it are:”

    Malisha,

    The semantics always tell the story of the spin, but then you know this already.

  154. Mike S, yes, that’s why I’m watching and reading and commenting.

    I sure wish some brilliant (and independently wealthy) sociolinguist would come out with a book NOW about how the language of the articles on the Trayvon Martin case tell the story of Race in America. HELLO HELLO!!

  155. Notorious attention-whore Terry Jones, who wanted to throw a party outside the jail when Zimmerman was being held pending bail hearing, has now come out grabbing press for his support of the video that allegedly caused the current rash of anti-American violence in the Middle East. It made me realize how much of the “media circus” around the Zimmerman case was the result of media pandering to the misplaced dependency needs of angry, resentful gun-toting self-aggrandizing allegedly-threatened puffed up silly childish churlish “I’ll-stand-my-ground-on-YOU-iffin-you-doan-shut-your-mouth” stylin’ PEERS of George Zimmerman. They’re in full bloom today screaming their heads off again, full of sound, fury and offensive language, signifying, once again, nothing. But the fact is that the First Amendment also protects Terry Jones and HIS ILK and he can say any stupid nonsense he pleases.

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