Zimmerman Loses Key Evidentiary Battle

trayon-martin-picture1tmgunhandsmWe previously discussed the effort of the defense team for George Zimmerman to introduce text messages, pictures, and history showing that Trayvon Martin had a history of discipline and drug problems. Judge Debra Nelson ruled today that most of this evidence would be kept out despite the fact that Zimmerman’s history and prior statements will be likely introduced. Zimmerman is arguing that it was Martin who attacked him and that this evidence shows a troubled teen with an obsession with guns and gangsta culture.

As I mentioned before, some of these pictures in my view can be kept out of the trial. However, the defense has a legitimate right to evidence showing a prior disposition — just as the prosecution has that right. What is striking is that the prosecution wants to introduce a host of pre-statements and actions to paint Zimmerman as a racist or violent individual. However, they oppose such evidence related to Martin. Zimmerman’s defense is that Martin attacked him and he wants to show that Martin had problems before that night, including his mother demanding that he leave the house and live with his father.

The images come from Martin’s Huawei phone including what may be a self-picture of Martin holding a Smith and Wesson handgun. However, while it appears taken by the person holding the cellphone, there is no proof it is Martin unless the defense has found contemporary witnesses. Other photos show the gun and potted marijuana plants. The defense also wants to introduce evidence that Martin was suspended for fighting from school. This includes texts from November 2011 in which he says that his mother has kicked him out of the house after “da police caught me outta skool.” His friend responds “So you just turning into a lil hoodlum.” Martin responds “Naw, I’m a gangsta.” In other messages, Martin discusses guns like one that asks “U wanna share a .380 w/ (blacked out).”

tmfingerssmallImages like Martin flipping the bird at the camera strike me as prejudicial and best kept out of the trial.

The judge left open the possible introduction of some evidence if it becomes relevant later. However, for now, the evidence is out. I understand the order on some of the evidence, but I am less convinced on other pieces of evidence. For example, Nelson declined for now to rule admissible toxicology tests showing Martin had enough THC — the key active ingredient in marijuana — to indicate he may have smoked the drug a couple of hours before the shooting. It seems to me that contemporaneous drug use within hours of the incident in the case would be relevant to Zimmerman’s defense.

Nelson did not appear particularly concerned by the failure of the prosecution to turn over critical pieces of evidence to the defense — a common complaint over alleged prosecutorial misconduct.

She also barred evidence on the delay to arrest Zimmerman despite it indicated that police and prosecutors viewed the case as a likely matter of self-defense. She also ruled against a defense motion to have the jury visit the crime scene, which she described as “disingenuous” in light of another defense motion requesting anonymity for the jury. I fail to see the basis for that dig at the defense and it undermined Nelson’s credibility on the evidentiary motions.

There is an obvious concern over the publicity and public anger surrounding the case and how it affected the prosecutors and the court. As stated earlier, I believe the prosecutors yielded to public pressure in overcharging the case. While Nelson came down hard against the defense today, many judges favor the prosecution in such motions. The rulings however do raise the concern that character evidence will be introduced against Zimmerman but denied to his defense in discussing Martin. It may come down to whether the prosecutor trips the wire in its examinations but the remaining evidence will not be available during the key opening arguments for the defense.

Source: CNN

103 thoughts on “Zimmerman Loses Key Evidentiary Battle”

  1. Well damn, Malisha, if slinging big guns and tackling harmless dog-carrying minorities doesn’t whet your appetite for sex, what the hell will?

  2. Officers feeling threatened by a 14-year-old kid is pathetic, of course. The puppy is a nice touch! Maybe they thought it was Cerberus!

    But think of these psychos who allow their own fearful natures to underlie their aggressive murderous behavior. That is the psychological motif that plays whenever you see these things. Goose-stepping Cowards with big phallic weapons slung down there at genital level. My guess is they’re no damn good in bed.

  3. Here’s another FL story about a Black teen being attacked. This one survived but he is charged with a felony, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. You really have to feel for the officers feeling threatened by a 14 year old kid carrying a baby bottle in one hand while feeding the puppy he was carrying in the other. The puppy he was carrying was injured.


  4. BettyKath I agree with you. Simple understanding of the “twittertalk” and teen-age speech patterns and it means to me:

    “Hey wait a minute, DeeDee, don’t tell me there’s a loaded gun lying around; you be CAREFUL, you know — where there are guns there is danger.” To me, it’s a cautious kid saying “watch out for guns!”

  5. LeaNder, thanks for the texts.

    Particularly relevant:
    read: bae I’m *** we crazy she got her guns
    Trayvon: U got heat??
    read: No
    Trayvon: _ Bae bullets dnt hav eyes

    It sounds to me that both Trayvon and DeeDee are seriously concerned about the safety of the gun, not that they want one.

  6. thanks Malisha, it felt like I got something wrong. 😉 Didn’t quite fit. I will never pretend again, these abbreviations are easy to read.

    I have to finish something now again, I’ll look into this closer later this week. Ultimately we would need the different numbers to differentiate.

    Does O’Mara have uncensored documents? And only the released ones get censored? Probably. But I wouldn’t put it beyond him to misrepresent matters. And this stuff will stick. I have to admit the supposed beating up of a homeless man (did he suggest by his friends?), what a coincidence, really, very fitting in the context of what many consider a pure propaganda campaign, would highly interest me. How comes nobody in these churches remembers the supposed flyers handed out? Neither community nor pastors.

    Strictly, does not tell us anything about intention. It could even have happened with the Ware event in Orlando in mind. They will use a lot of visual stuff for it’s impact not only the deposition of DeeDee, which I think we surely can expect. …

    If I look at the comments in the Orlando Sentinel or the Miami Herald I get very, very pessimistic about the jury.

    Curious about how prosecution will make it’s case.

  7. “Dat me u ass u dnt know how ur check look”

    I took it to mean:

    “That’s me, silly: Don’t you know how your own girlfriend looks?”

  8. Malisha, language sometimes seems to have a prophetic quality, although the prophecy surely is more on our minds.

    Concerning the weapon: DeeDee’s mother seems to have bought one, at least it seems to be an exchange with her. What about this phrase: “bullets don’t have eyes”?

    Maybe there is something about DeeDee’s dad, no idea. In any case some dad is mentioned in this context. Completely impossible to read that without knowing the larger context. Maybe it’s not DeeDee, but it feels she is:

    Trayvon: Wydd??
    read: getting my Mama really for a fight.
    Trayvon: You dad gf cumn ova??
    Trayvon: U got heat??
    Trayvon: U got heat??
    read: bae I’m *** we crazy she got her guns
    Trayvon: U got heat??
    read: No
    Trayvon: _ Bae bullets dnt hav eyes
    read: O aigh
    Trayvon: Umhmm im tryna tell u
    read: wat
    Trayvon: Ntn b safe man
    Trayvon: U gotta gun??
    read: it my mommy but she buy it for me
    Trayvon: She let u hold it??
    read: yea
    Trayvon: But she keep it??
    read: yea

    About 4 to five hours later, he receives twice this message:
    read: You want a 22 revolver
    read: You want a 22 revolver
    Trayvon: Wat shoota??
    read: dat me u ass u dnt know how ur chick look.

    It’s very unlikely these events are not somehow related. Maybe he talked with a friend about DeeDee. In any case, this person seems to refer to “your chick”, which my times meant your girl. Am I misguided?

  9. “Don’t get one planted in your chest”!??!? ❗ ❓

    Whom was he texting to, Nostradamus?

    Should somebody be charged with “conspiracy to get killed”?

    1. The thing is no one should charge anyone. The devil is setting up his own death. It will be in Gods light. Satan does not have his own eternal kingdom. If he did he would be eternal. Satan is in bodies that die convicting this person with this or that charge trying to be good being terrible.

  10. Darren Smith, yes that’s a very important aspect of matters. My point would be–and I noticed a few pretty different things in the cell phone SMS documentation than defense wants me to notice–who would you consider the more responsible in our case?

    A 17 year old or a 28 year old man, who supposedly even had to do take an anger management class some years before. A man that once worked as a bouncer, and thus must be somehow able to fight or a 17 year old lanky youth. It is relevant that he asked someone to teach him how to fight, maybe his cousin, only three month before?

    None of your examples catches the aspect of prejudice against a stranger which is an important core of the story for me.

    I think the emotional aspects in your first example of the type that at it’s worst can end in manslaughter or murder, the larger husband-wife, lover crime of passion scenario, is a completely different story. With it’s own distinct dynamics.

    The second example with the speeding ticket may in fact grasp an element, which may well have been an element in our case too. George confronted someone he considered a potential burglar, “a suspect” but this someone may well have had a recent history of having been blamed for something he didn’t even do. “Oh no, not again” …?

    Trayvon: – dam i just got in trouble 4 sum shit i ain’t even do …

    read: What’s up
    Travyon: Ntn i got bad news
    read: What
    Trayvon: I got in trouble
    read: Wth did you do now?
    Trayvon: I aint do ntn … call me

    read: Good morning what school you at today?
    Trayon: Krop caus my dad outta town
    read: Wyd?
    Travyon: In csi “/
    read: Lol for what
    Travyon: Caus i was watch a fight nd a teacher say i hit em
    read: Lmao

    I do not think you would lie to friends about such matters.

    And now finally the more complete gangsta exchange, nowhere does Travyon claim to be a gangsta, as even Jonathan Turley claims above:

    Jonathan Turley: His friend responds “So you just turning into a lil hoodlum.” Martin responds “Naw, I’m a gangsta.”

    The real exchange:

    Trayvon: Da police caught me outta skool
    Read: Lol really dude?
    Trayvon: Yea
    Read: So you just turning into a lil hoodlum
    Trayvon: No not at all
    Read: Yes
    Trayvon: U a hoodlum
    Read: Naw I’m a gangsta
    Trayvon: Lies.com….lol u soft
    Read: Boy don’t get one planted in ya chest
    Trayvon: Lol Im scared

    That’s easy to check, whoever claimed to be a gangsta in his SMS sent this message to Trayvon, Trayvon only read it and responded to it. Should I look at the technique O’Mara employed to change that fact? Or is it enough if you focus media or law professors on some points, and they do not even care to check?

    The dead should have some basic rights against defamation. Who but the family can take care of that?

  11. Folks:

    I know I have said this before but I feel compelled to share it again. Hopefully so many out there will take away two key elements here to heart regardless if George Zimmerman is convicted of something or not. It succinctly is this.

    Don’t let yourself get in a jam over stupid stuff.
    Stupid stuff has a tendency to get out of control fast

    One aspect I learned over my former career could be boiled down to those two elements. I don’t know why the second one happens that way, but it does. I have seen careers ruined or people hurt or even killed by some incident that spirals way beyond what any of the actors had anticipated.

    Some examples included an officer I knew who became so suspicious of his wife. He went into her employer’s building (while on duty) and hacked into her work computer to read her email he suspected she was writing to another man. This jealousy resulted in an investigation, he was arrested, he lost his job and was humiliated in the local news. Stupid stuff.

    Another such example was where a deputy I knew wrote a man a speeding ticket and a short time later the man committed suicide by driving into an irrigation canal and drowning. The ticket sent him into a downward spiral that resulted in his death. All over a ticket.
    Or, arguing with a drunk in a bar because he looked at your wife wrongly.

    In the Martin/Zimmerman issue it was stupid stuff that lead to this killing and arrest. If Zimmerman would have just held back and calmed down this would have easily been revealed to be nothing. Instead the stupid stuff spiral took effect and Trayvon died and George went to jail. Nothing would have been worth going to jail by even the most selfish of positions. Now look where he is.

    Nearly every human in the world has the potential opportunity to get involved in the stupid stuff spiral. It is important to recognize when it might happen and if it does how to extracate one’s self from its trappings.

    Contrast these two events.

    A man breaks into your house and threatens you with a weapon. You take action. This is not “stupid stuff” it is real danger. A person resorting to self defense seldom gets into trouble in this situation.

    A man looks “suspicious” and another challenges him without any real proof of anything. The two began arguing and tempers flare. Each believes the other has ill intent. It escalates into a big fight. The first man is terribly injured, the police are now involved and arrest person number two who spends a year in the criminal action and four years in the civil process leading to an expensive judgement against him along with the loss of his house which was attached when he did not pay the judgement.

    Everyone out there should learn to differnciate the two and to recognize when the stupid stuff spiral is forming and do what it takes to stop it. Usually it is simple as saying “Hey, things are getting a little out of hand here. Maybe we should just leave.” Another way is to just ask yourself “is this worth it?” It is important to recognize that it is often better to lose face than to be destroyed in the end for nothing. And, don’t let pride, arrogance, uncertainty, or ego cloud your judgement.

    Regardless of whether or not Zimmerman was justified in the use of force he prosecuted against Trayvon. I wish he hadn’t wanted to play superman and had learned what I am writing here and just let it go.

    Lastly, don’t put yourself into a position where this is likely to happen. Learn your own limitations, what incites your anger, and what presses your own buttons. Don’t let your emotions or inexperience dictate your actions. Try to learn clairvoyance of what your actions might bring you; for good or bad.

    The stupid stuff ain’t worth it. Again, I don’t know why it mushrooms the way it does. It just does.

  12. Malshia,
    Many folks have a short list that would be worth misdemeanor time. 😈

  13. I’m not gonna do anything particular about Zimmerman, but frankly, if targeting a person, running after him and shooting him dead is manslaughter in Florida I might want to take advantage of that. A few years in prison would be restful in its way. And lots of people make ME suspicious… 😆

  14. Malisha,

    LOL! You are still dreaming if you think an all white jury is going help acquit Zimmerman. What are you going to do if he is found not guilty of 2nd degree and manslaughter?

  15. RWL, we will have to see what happens because I’ve been following closely including actual attention to the EVIDENCE. This is not something we hear O’Mara or West commenting on; they comment on the non-evidence and on the “cult of personality” crap. Strangely, actual information, presented in a clear-cut manner, can often have an effect on a jury, even of Zimmerman’s peers.

    I’ll check back on this thread after either a plea or a verdict. It does not look good for your easy chair for Zimmerman, in my opinion. Unless it has ALL been theater which would not be a really clever move on the State’s part at this point in the proceedings.

    Nobody expected two million people to get outraged over letting one “decent American” get away with killing one “disposable Black kid.” 2012-13 has been a learning experience for many people and I’m willing to keep learning. If it turns out that this crime is a mere “manslaughter,” I might decide to move to Florida.

  16. Tony, what I liked best during judge Nelson’s last hearing is that she will tightly control the questionnaires for the jury. In other words that she will not allow defense or prosecution for that matter to interfere in the process. O’Mara looked quite a bit disappointed. I guess he already had plans in place how to seat “George’s peers”. The ones that feel he should have never been forced to stand trial “for protecting his neighborhood”, you know. People like his brother and father Robert, who feel the charge should be dropped immediately.

    Are you sure there will be twelve jurors?

    Strictly I don’t give a damn about what happens to George, but where I agree with O’Mara, to use his political argument, it would sent the completely wrong signal to let him simply get away with it. Exactly the opposite of what O’Mara suggests. If the jury acquits him the wrong type of people feels if George got away with it, I can too.

    Not sure to what extend Rene Stutzman of the Orlando Sentinel’s absolute pro defense position may shape people’s people perception there, and the dirt defense throws out via insinuations and twisted allegation will surely stick in some minds. that’s why it is done the way it is.

  17. In LeaNder’s quote from Mike, about witnesses seeing mma style fighting. Not true. There was one witness who claimed this but then, at the next interview, retracted that statement. He corrected it to what he saw was two guys prone, more like wrestling. No straddling, no big blows.

    Tony, searchingmind is well aware of who’s who. this is a typo. good catch.

  18. This may well be what the recent media hype at least to some extend is all about:Once again the fund is depleted.

    We’ve calculated that we need another $120,000 to give George the defense he deserves. At the barest minimum, we need $75,000 to give George a fighting chance. Had we declared indigency, George’s defense would end up costing Florida taxpayers more than $1,000,000. As it stands now, with a little extra support, we’re going to get through trial for less than half that figure, and we’ll have done it, not with tax-payer funds, but with the money generously donated by people from across the country who believe George is innocent and that he is being wrongly prosecuted.

    If you believe that George acted properly in self-defense; if you feel he is being wrongly prosecuted; if you feel that George deserves a fair trial, please consider sending one last donation. Even the smallest donations of $5.00 and $10.00 are significant when multiplied by the thousands who contribute.

    Strictly they spent about 490,000 already by now, if you add $ 26,000 collected in the last two month and 20,000 in liabilities, and the money that never arrived in the official according to O’Mara’s own publicly stated fund-raising figures.

    2012: 11% legal fees, 12% law firm infrastructure, 30 % second bond, the rest GZ’s and Shellie’s security and and living needs. With indigency they wouldn’t have been able to live that comfortably, an average $13,000 per month in 2012 (April to Dec). Without the money that never arrived in the fund, mind you. I wonder how many of the supporters can or do spend as much a month.

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