The first week of the trial of George Zimmerman has wrapped up in a Sanford, Florida courtroom. Zimmerman has been charged with 2nd degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin back on February 26, 2012. There is a lesser-included charge of manslaughter. Based on what I’ve seen, heard and read so far, Zimmerman walks, signaling “Open Season on Negroes” (OSON) in the state of Florida. As if that wasn’t already the case in any of the “Stand your ground” or “Castle Doctrine” states that represent a vast majority of the country.
A simple review of the night’s activities of the 26th had the teenager dawdling in the rain walking through gated community “Retreat at Twin Lakes” after a trip to a local convenience store for Skittles and a 23 oz drink. He was headed to his dad’s fiancé’s residence in the complex. Cipher Zimmerman positioned himself to head the neighborhood watch program and decided in a 911 call that Martin was a real suspicious guy, up to no good. Armed with a nasty 9 mm, he stalked the kid and killed him but not until Martin fought for his life. Martin didn’t initiate the proceedings, Zimmerman did.
A first-week’s review of the trial is available here thanks to CBS/AP. Here are a few observations. Neither of the Assistant State Attorneys (John Guy and Bernie de la Rionda) could win a moot court case at the lowest-rated law school. After Guy’s dramatically compelling opening statements that shockingly included Zimmerman’s blatantly racist 911 references (F***ing punks and A-holes) to so-called ne’er do wells sneaking through his hood with occasional bad acts, it looked like the prosecution had some trial skills.
The defense opening statement was overly long, embarrassing and clueless. Attorney Don West actually started his plea to the jury with an absurdly ill-placed and offensive “knock knock” joke.
I felt comfortable that Guy’s effective opening statement would extend into the case in chief and a conviction of Zimmerman. Ain’t gonna happen! On either count. As it turns out, the two lead prosecutors have turned out to be weak sisters. Time and time again on redirect, they’ve missed critical follow-up questions that would have given context to the awesomely misleading questions and tactics of the two sketchy defense attorneys, West and the consummate phony, Mark O’Mara, a media-savvy (he appears on TV both locally and nationally) silver tongued devil.
Let me give you a couple of examples. In Friday’s testimony, A Twin Lakes resident, Jonathan Good, testified that it was so dark that upon first investigating sounds outside his residence he could see a human, but didn’t know whether that human was interacting with another person or an animal. Later he confidently told the jury that the man on the bottom of a subsequent scuffle that went to the ground was wearing a red jacket. Another witness produced a photo of the upper body a face-down and deceased Trayvon Martin in the circle of his flashlight and you could absolutely not even see the youngster’s pants outside the circle. Nothing on that point from prosecutions redirect.
Good also fell for O’Mara’s constant reference to the Mixed Martial Art’s term “ground and pound.” That’s an MMA term for one fighter essentially sitting on top of another and beating him with his fists. Just like some of the more pugnacious of you did when you were in 4th grade. But instead of the standard scuffle, it was characterized as scary old “MMA GROUND AND POUND!”
Had the prosecution done ANY homework they would have checked into connections to MMA for both combatants; Martin and Zimmerman. They didn’t. They allowed the Defense to get away with constant and meaningless MMA references. And it wasn’t until the later testimony of a Physicians Assistant, that it came out that Zimmerman was the devotee of MMA and took MMA classes three times a week in addition to working so intensely at the outset of his MMA involvement that he couldn’t sleep.
The Christian Science Monitor quotes O’Mara as saying “I have had anecdotal evidence that there were videos out there suggesting that Trayvon involved himself in MMA fighting. Here’s one such video O’Mara was apparently referring to: Martin was not one of the fighters. His brother says he wasn’t there at all.
The defense earlier insisted that even though Zimmerman went to a gym for boxing lessons (no mention of MMA by the defense), he wasn’t allowed in the ring because he was too “soft.” Pure BS unchallenged by the prosecution. In fact, if you pay your money, you would be allowed into the ring, either fully protected with someone of your skill level or just working out with a trainer who wouldn’t hit back.
Speaking of the Physicians Assistant, the most egregious snake-oil the defense was allowed to get away with was O’Mara turning minor injuries as described by the PA into life-threatening near-death wounds; a legal necessity because the law stipulates that the “victim” who shoots his/her attacker must be in fear for his life or great bodily injury.
After conceding that Zimmerman might have broken his nose, in spite of the fact it was perfectly straight a day later, she shrugged off two minor cuts measured at 2 centimeters and 0.5 cm. There are about 2.5 cm per inch so these were baby cuts. There were also some inconsequential minor abrasions. Zimmerman’s weight was listed at 204, 46 lbs more than Martin. O’Mara came back on cross and flashed the bloody photo taken shortly after the shooting as if that was the Zimmerman the witness had examined.
A side note, in the photo, they may look like elongated cuts, but those were merely dry blood trails. The prosecutors never pressed the issue of the bloody photo. Here are the questions that should have been asked. Do scalp wounds bleed profusely? Yep; thinner skin, higher BP. Was there any indication that Mr. Zimmerman’s life was in ANY danger? How many people with similar injuries have died since you started practicing? Did Mr. Zimmerman tell you he felt like he was going to die? Of course he didn’t and, in fact, declined every opportunity to seek further professional treatment and sought the evaluation so he could return to work. Something pretty much ignored by the prosecution.
Neither cop on the witness stand was asked if there were any complaints lodged against Martin other than Zimmerman.
The state’s “star” witness, Rachel Jeantel, turned out to be a troubled teenage eccentric more to be pitied than censured and was totally unprotected by the prosecution as she was insulted repeatedly by Attorney West.
Yes, Trayvon pounded on Zimmerman and was most likely on top, but Zimmerman started it, picked the fight, was carrying a deadly weapon at the ready and who knows who struck the first blow? Maybe the state is saving the best for last, but I’m afraid “softie” will beat the rap. See if Zimmerman’s day-old account holds up here.
So Zimmerman can go back to being Block Watch Captain, seeking out his next OSON victim ‘er “real suspicious guy.”