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Boardman writes: "Listening to the lead prosecutor's final argument in the Zimmerman case, it's hard to believe he really wanted a conviction."

Lead prosecutor in the George Zimmerman trial Bernie de la Rionda. (photo: Getty Images)
Lead prosecutor in the George Zimmerman trial Bernie de la Rionda. (photo: Getty Images)



Zimmerman Prosecutor Worse Than Jury?

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

21 July 13

 

istening to the lead prosecutor's final argument in the Zimmerman case, it's hard to believe he really wanted a conviction.

Lead prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda lost focus from the moment he opened his mouth and began: "A teenager is dead. He is dead through no fault of his own. He is dead because another man made assumptions…."

Not only is de la Rionda's voice flat, his tone subdued and resigned, he begins by presenting the victim as an abstraction, characterizing him in a neutral, almost dismissive way as "a teenager," who also happens to be dead, which everyone knew before the trial started. As narrative hooks go, this one is barbless.

The prosecutor adds that this teenager "is dead through no fault of his own," as if the question before the jury was what did Trayvon do to deserve killing? Why even address the question of Trayvon's fault when you're supposedly trying to convict Zimmerman? Even if there's good reason to expect the defense to try to put Trayvon on trial, why put it at the top of your summation as if it's a credible question?

And then he says Trayvon is dead "because another man made assumptions?" Really? Isn't Trayvon dead because another man shot him? Doesn't that other man have a name? Isn't Zimmerman the one on trial here? Isn't that him over there, 27 years old, 5 feet 7.5 inches tall, 204 pounds?

They Pay TV Anchors Millions a Year to Ratify the People in Power

Despite de la Rionda's passionless prose and torpid performance, some have praised his work. On ABC News, Diane Sawyer said that "prosecutors gave it all they had." If that was all they had, they didn't have much.

Why did the prosecutors eschew an approach more relevant to conviction, something simple and direct, like:

George Zimmerman killed an unarmed, innocent teenager who was trying to go home.
George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin with a single shot to the chest, a single shot at close range that killed Trayvon Martin in a matter of minutes.
Having shot Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman did nothing to try to save the life of the boy dying at his feet.
This is cold-blooded.

If We're Not Careful, We Run the Risk of Persuading the Jury

But de la Rionda says nothing this forceful and direct. He waffles slowly through the general narrative, sort of trying to seem like he's building some sympathy for Trayvon. But it's late in the trial and the prosecution has done little to bring Trayvon alive for the jury – much less than it did to humanize Zimmerman. In the closing, de la Rionda doesn't even know how old Trayvon is. If the prosecutor doesn't care enough about a dead child to know his age, why should a jury care more?

When de la Rionda talks about Zimmerman's words for his wife on the phone shortly after the killing – "Tell her I killed him" – the prosecutor has a chance to nail Zimmerman's almost sociopathic lack of feeling. Instead, de la Rionda says only, "That's kind of matter of fact." No, it's chilling and possibly incriminating.

And then he spends minutes on an irrelevant diversion, talking about how Zimmerman had decided to start a neighborhood watch because of all the alleged crime that had gone on, and he compliments Zimmerman for that. The prosecutor says that wasn't an act of ill will (he didn't say how he knew that). He says this was a "good thing" and that Zimmerman arming himself was a "good thing," and so on, none of which helps the prosecution, of which de la Riondi is nominally the lead.

His presentation had no discernible organization, no flow, numerous diversions, enough meandering to allow one to wonder if it could be deliberately unconvincing. He spent ten minutes reviewing Zimmerman's recorded statements to no compelling point, while punctuating the recitation with the comment, "That's good," about one Zimmerman action or another.

Why Wouldn't the State Support the Players on Its Team?

At another point he spent close to ten more minutes denigrating state's witness, Rachel Jeantel, who was 18 and on the phone with Trayvon Martin at the moment he was shot. The denigration was in the form of a defense of or an apology for her being Haitian, unable to read cursive, and "not that well educated." He did not explain how well educated a high school student should be. And he did not explain why the prosecution failed to prepare this important witness properly. (In a television interview after the trial he said by way of excusing the verdict, "We don't get to pick our witnesses.")

Again and again de la Riondi cycled through blocks of evidence, like the many inconsistent and inconclusive 911 phone calls, without coming to any coherent conclusion. Instead, again and again and again, he'd finish a topic by telling the jury, "You decide." This was a virtual refrain – "you decide" – a refrain that, when added to the fuzzy presentation of evidence, just reinforced doubt, whether reasonable or unreasonable.

His closing argument lasted more than two hours and slowly wound down with more than three minutes of near silence, as de la Riondi had the jury look at slides that outlined the prosecution's case in text, as he occasionally and unconnectedly commented. Whatever energy his presentation might have built up was dissipated, and he closed with a few sentences that were repetitions of things he'd said before. He closed by saying the defendant was guilty of 2nd degree manslaughter, without even using his name – a closing that ended not with a bang but a whimper.

Many legal commentators have criticized the prosecution's handling of this case, but few have done so as sharply as Jarvis DeBerry in the New Orleans Time's Picayune (nola.com), where the headline on his July 16 column read, "Did George Zimmerman's prosecutors try to get him off?"

Based on his conversation with a former prosecutor who is a current defense attorney, who chose to remain anonymous, DeBerry wrote that this lawyer who's tried hundreds of cases said "he's never seen prosecutors who want to win make the series of missteps that the Florida prosecutors made. So he's convinced they lost on purpose."

The lawyer argued that the prosecutors should have sought a change of venue for the trial, since the potential conflicts it presented had already led to recusals of one county prosecutor and two judges, as well as a probably tainted jury pool.

He faulted the prosecution for its jury selection, failing to get even one male juror or one black juror, and for failing to use their challenges to remove clearly unsympathetic jurors. The now-infamous juror B37 went unchallenged, even though she revealed during jury draw that she remembered "riots in Sanford" that never happened.

The lawyer was incredulous at the inept preparation of Rachel Jeantel, as the prosecution allowed her to take the stand and testify in a manner that was sometimes unclear and potentially alienating, especially to a jury of six non-black women.

The lawyer was generally critical of the degree to which the prosecution went about making the case for the defense, in particular playing Zimmerman's interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News. If the prosecution had omitted it, the defense would have been prevented from playing it by the rules of evidence. "If it hurts your case, let the other guy do it," the lawyer said: "They didn't want to win this case."

And Then There Was the Controversial State Attorney in Charge

Running the prosecution team was elected state attorney Angela Corey, who was appointed by the governor as special prosecutor for this case after the local prosecutor's recusal. Corey is a controversial figure in Florida legal circles and was accused of filing a "perjurious affidavit" in the Zimmerman case by attorney Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School in 2012. Corey was criticized by others for charging Zimmerman with 2nd degree murder since, they argued, there wasn't enough evidence to prove it.

In a news conference after the verdict, Corey didn't address the verdict directly. She began by saying:

We are so proud to stand before you and to tell you that when we announced the charges 15 months ago, we also promised that we would seek the truth for Trayvon Martin and due process for George Zimmerman, that we would get all of the facts and details of this very difficult case before a jury, and that we chose to do it that way because we felt that everyone had a right to know everything about this case….
We believe we brought out the truth on behalf of Trayvon Martin.

In a later television interview, when asked to describe Zimmerman with a single word, she hesitated for a long time, then said softly, "Murderer," and gave a small, sad smile.

So the Plan Was to Lose by Over-Playing the Effort to Win?

Why is she spitting in the jury's eye like this after the verdict? Legally, Zimmerman is not a murderer, though he is a killer. More perplexing, how does this apparent belief in Zimmerman's guilt fit with a plan to get "all of the facts and details" of the case before a jury? With all the facts and details, and no prosecution narrative to hang them on, could any jury be expected to convict?

But this is not a woman who doesn't know how to win a conviction in a seemingly difficult case. In 2010, Marissa Alexander fired a single shot into the ceiling in the midst of an argument with her abusive husband. A 32-year-old African American mother of three, Alexander said it had been a warning shot and claimed protection under the Stand Your Ground law. She had no prior criminal record.

She was charged, tried, and convicted by prosecutor Angela Corey. Alexander is currently serving a 20-year sentence, not for killing or harming anyone, but for outing a bullet in the ceiling. According Corey, Alexander wasn't afraid when her husband was in a rage and threatening her.

According to Corey, the Zimmerman case was never about race.

There's no way to know with certainty what the prosecutors were trying to accomplish, consciously or not. But it's clear what they have accomplished, and it doesn't look like justice.

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+65 # newsmom 2013-07-21 11:27
Bernie de la Rionda, Angela Corey: two explanations for why lawyers are reviled.
 
 
+7 # kochadoodledoo 2013-07-22 07:15
At least prosecutors, licensed to lie.
 
 
+2 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-07-22 22:53
The United States, constantly at war. Get what you want by, droning, killing. Has to rub off on the sociopath U.S. civilians
 
 
+85 # Regina 2013-07-21 11:34
The prosecutors worked for the State of Florida, not for the victim of this assault or his family. I don't know whether they have to run for reelection or reappointment, and were thereby concerned with voter opinion in their Southern state, but they were not really interested in a disinterested pursuit of justice.
 
 
+17 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-07-21 16:47
I certainly agree with so many of my brothers and sisters in the legal profession, re. poor plus pros. I was educated and worked as a journalist, then floated into being a division clerk and cert. legal asst., who for years did admin. law and represented parents and guardians of the disabled, and who got pulled out of retirement about six years ago, with never ending pleas for help (some, sadly but truly, in life and death and no rights honored situations). I cannot, in good conscience, say no to those pleas for help, a number of which have come from people of color.

In this particular Zimmerman case, with its way over coverage in the 'mess' media, and knowing the insides and outsides of karlroving MSDing (manipulating, spinning, distracting), I have come to consider this yet another MSD ploy of "War on Blacks", very much like the MSDing "War on Women".

MSD us the villainaires must. Cannot have we the sheeple waking up, taking off the blinders, and recognizing that, as Pres. Jimmy Carter recently stated, we are no longer a democracy, in other words, liberty and justice for all, along with rule of law, have gone bye bye in today's POLICE STATE AIN'T GREAT
 
 
+1 # Doubter 2013-07-24 12:39
The word "complicit" is becoming one of my most used comments.
 
 
-193 # Captcanter 2013-07-21 12:05
If people were truly colorblind and just looked at the facts, one would realize what Trayvon really was--a 6'2" punk with an attitude who attacked Zimmerman.
 
 
+109 # Phlippinout 2013-07-21 12:36
On the other hand if you had your facts straight you might see that Zimmerman was a child molesting, woman abusing punk with a hot head and a daddy that was a judge. He got off of domestic violence, resisting arrest with violence and without violence. If perhaps you were color blind you might see Georgie boy has a history, Trayvon on the other hand, does not. But i am sure that means nothing to you.
 
 
+8 # kochadoodledoo 2013-07-22 07:19
No, because in addition he sounds very closed-minded.
 
 
+60 # tercar 2013-07-21 12:45
Even he were a punk, as you say: did he deserve, therefore, to be killed? Do you favor the killing of all "punks with an attitude?
 
 
+78 # Billy Bob 2013-07-21 12:50
If people were truly "color blind" they wouldn't have to make up lies about the murder victim's height for affect (that's "affect" - not "effect").

Trayvon Martin was 5'11. Zimmerman (the guy with a gun who chased after Martin and called him a "punk") is 5'8"

STOP ASSUMING FOX IS NEWS.
 
 
+7 # annbromm 2013-07-21 14:04
actually it's "effect"
 
 
+15 # Billy Bob 2013-07-21 16:04
"Affect" has 2 meanings. One is a verb. The other one is, "to feign emotion".

"Affect" is appropriate here for that reason.

I saw this coming because people on these threads often think "affect" isn't even a word.

Usually, “effect” is a noun, and “affect” is a verb, but not always. I probably still should have used “effect”, but I’m making the point that the whole point of this is to CAUSE an emotional response.
 
 
+5 # RLF 2013-07-22 06:42
Horay BB!
 
 
+67 # Barbara K 2013-07-21 14:32
Billy Bob: Did you notice how they wouldn't let Zimmerman speak? The judge asked him questions and the lawyers wouldn't let him respond. They didn't want the jury to hear the higher pitch to his voice and they could tell it was not Zimmerman calling for help. It was a carefully planned, rigged, miscarriage of justice for a 17 year old boy walking home from the store and talking on the phone with a girl who heard the encounter. After Trayvon told her that he was being followed (every child's nightmare) and she told him to run, she heard Trayvon ask"Why you following me", she heard a thud and wet grass and heard Trayvon saying "Get off me. Get off me". No one brought that up in closing arguments. It tells who accosted who and who was on who. There was no blood or dna from Zimmerman on Trayvon's hands. He never touched Zimmerman. Z lied his way all the way thru and with a dad that was a judge, they knew just how to play a stupid jury and make a mockery of justice with lie upon lie. I believe Z's "injuries" were self-inflicted. It was proved that Trayvon didn't touch him, no DNA or blood of Zimmerman on his hands, remember?

..
 
 
+32 # Billy Bob 2013-07-21 16:15
You're right. They didn't want Zimmerman to speak because he'd already made so many contradictory statements that he'd open himself up to a good prosecutor (if there had been one), cross-examinini ng him.
 
 
+21 # tomo 2013-07-21 17:40
Most of what you say here is at least plausible. Trouble is, this argument needed to be made in court. As is, I blame the jury much less than I blame the prosecution.
 
 
+20 # Romi 2013-07-22 01:56
I, too, have suspected that the only explanation for Zimmerman's "injuries" is that they were self-inflicted. Notice how they are missing from the videos of Zimmerman in the police station that night, and how he didn't want to get medical help for his "broken nose."
 
 
+1 # rleroygordon 2013-07-27 13:10
As much as I hate to destroy such an enlivening theory, it's only on shows like Law and Order that a defendant can be compelled to testify. Under the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution (the Supreme Law of the Land), Zimmerman did not have to answer any questions at all.

Much has been made in other forums about how Martin should have just gone home instead of "confronting" Zimmerman. First, Martin WAS headed home. Second, what few people seem to recognize is that he was in fear for his life (you try walking around at night followed by some weirdo and see how you feel). Under SYG, he had every right to use force to protect himself--includ ing not having to run away from a fight.

Biggest mistake (or was it?) on the part of the prosecution was failing to make the point that Martin was beating the hell out of a "creepy-ass cracker" because he didn't know if his life was in danger (as it was). The fact is that there was an entire continuum of events that led to the killing, and by not allowing the jury to consider everything, they were left no choice but to acquit.

This entire situation is like the old-west gunslinger who taunts a farmer into reaching for his pistol, then guns him down claiming "self-defense". It was murder, but no one can convict him of a crime.
 
 
+14 # mjc 2013-07-22 07:22
And even then had 50 lbs on Trayvon Martin as well as knowledge of the neighborhood... although he pretended he didn't know the street nor the numbers of the homes on that street. Cold, calculating murderer.
 
 
+48 # Rain17 2013-07-21 13:19
The problem with this reasoning is that it ignores the fact that Zimmerman, despite being told not to by the 911 operator, exited his car and followed Martin. The problem here is that it ignores EVERYTHING that happened before the fight.
 
 
0 # cuzz63 2017-09-11 20:55
Your post also ignores the fact that this didnt happen. You do realize there are actual tapes of the conversation?
 
 
+13 # db4635 2013-07-21 13:56
This shows total ignorance of the facts of the case.
 
 
+12 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-07-21 15:16
Gee, I must have, did I mix up the names of the defendant and the plaintiff? For those who watch the bill Maher show, HBO, he made a comment, week ago, that struck me. "Last year, in the whole country of Germany, only 89 police bullets were fired. And 49 of them were warning shots." How about that. No warning shot was fired by Zimmerman. That puts Zimmerman in the "top 40" wanna be cops if hypothetically this murder happened in Germany.
 
 
+1 # Doubter 2013-07-24 13:07
So Europeans are more civilized than we are - yet even they have been known to follow pied pipers - what aren't WE susceptible to? (Iraq, Afghanistan, ?Iran? Drones, National Security State, etc., etc.)
 
 
+13 # Billy Bob 2013-07-21 16:14
In urban lingo "punk" means "puss pretending to be tough". Getting beat up or even raped in prison is often referred to as being "punked".

Zimmerman referred to Martin as a "punk" and was out to "punk him". He knew he was carrying a loaded weapon and wanted to make sure THIS "punk" didn't get away.

Zimmerman was NOT afraid of Martin.

Martin's "attitude", if he had one, would have come out in the act of DEFENDING HIMSELF.
 
 
+10 # RLF 2013-07-22 06:40
Here's the real situation. A 27 year old racist male starts a fight with a young man and when he starts getting his ass kicked, he pulls a gun and shoots the kid. If these were two black teenagers, the situation couldn't be clearer...it is only that this guy is essentially white and a neighborhood nazi that seem to cloud people's eyes.
 
 
+14 # Lgfoot 2013-07-22 12:55
[quote name="RLF"]Here 's the real situation. A 27 year old racist male starts a fight with a young man and when he starts getting his ass kicked, he pulls a gun and shoots the kid.
And then lied his tail off about it.
The prosecutors failed to elicit testimony of the medical experts about Zimmerman's claim that his head was smashed on the concrete "dozens of times", in which case he would have sustained not two small cuts on the back of his head, buts dozens.
RLF is right. Zimmerman accosted Trayvon who shouted 'get off me' and when Zimmerman wouldn't let go, punched him in the nose, Zimmerman fell back, hitting his head on the sidewalk. Furious at being bested by his intended victim, he drew his handgun, held it up to Trayvon's chest and shot him through the heart. This was never about self defense, it was an execution.
Curious how the prosecution never made this argument.
 
 
0 # cuzz63 2017-09-11 20:53
Except that defies all the evidence and witnesses.
 
 
+1 # bingers 2013-07-23 06:03
I doubt there was ever a fight, per se, Zimmerman probably just jumped on Martin and shot.
 
 
-4 # Brooklynite 2013-07-22 12:54
This post is a classic example of "My mind is made up; don't confuse me with the facts.

In all sincerity, I pity you that you have apparently trapped yourself in such a cold little spiritually-con stipated prison cell of ignorance.
 
 
+3 # Brooklynite 2013-07-24 12:38
Quoting Brooklynite:
This post is a classic example of "My mind is made up; don't confuse me with the facts.

In all sincerity, I pity you that you have apparently trapped yourself in such a cold little spiritually-constipated prison cell of ignorance.


I' think it appears that my above post was directed to other than the poster I had intended replying to. I should have chosen "Reply with quote".

To clear up any possible confusion, my above post was intended as a reply to Captcanter, whose post is quite a way up. My comment is in response to his totally unfounded statement as follows:

"If people were truly colorblind and just looked at the facts, one would realize what Trayvon really was--a 6'2" punk with an attitude who attacked Zimmerman."
 
 
+27 # James Marcus 2013-07-21 12:25
The 'Rule of Law' is virtually Dead. As the Bill of Rights is 'dissolved', all kinds of Jerks will heed 'that signal'; and perpetrate all kinds of Illegal Nonsense ('legally') in our 'Courtrooms'.
To our 'New' Supreme Court Justices' and our 'Signing Statement President':
I dishonor you Entirely. I will listen to you ...not At All.
You no longer have STANDING, in the Eyes of Justice.
 
 
+12 # RLF 2013-07-22 06:45
Every murderer now can say he was attacked and afraid for his life...good luck to the police now.
 
 
0 # cuzz63 2017-09-11 20:51
They can say it, but they still need some evidence or at least lack of evidence otherwise.
 
 
+62 # Vardoz 2013-07-21 12:25
This was a Kangaroo court. It was corrupt and racist. Our black citizens across the nation are being systematically impoverished, robbed of services, adequate education and shut out of the job market. They are being imprisoned in vast numbers and there streets are filled with guns that are in the hands of poor young kids who are killing each other in huge numbers. No one cares about this genocide that is taking place. Too many blacks are suffering from grinding poverty that is a serious threat to their lives. The law and economy are against them. As we bail out banks by the tens of billions there is no remorse or compassion for people's lives who are suffering from unspeakable circumstances.
 
 
+17 # Vardoz 2013-07-21 16:02
It's open season for Black Americans in our nation and it has to be stopped!!!
 
 
+15 # kochadoodledoo 2013-07-22 07:27
It's open season for anyone but White Old Rich Men (WORM, or you may substitute Racist for Rich).
 
 
+16 # RLF 2013-07-22 06:50
We are under the rule of a right wing junta that wants the poor to be at each others throats so that we don't kill the rich and the executives...be cause they are the ones that need organizing against.
 
 
+61 # 1984 2013-07-21 12:34
I am a lawyer. That said, I couldn't believe how inept the prosecter was in conducting this trial. It seemed to me he had never taken a course on evidence and I wondered if it was his first trial!
The things he blatently did wrong are too plentiful to list in this comment.
Here are a few: he allowed the jury to hear and see Zimmerman's version of events. This was like having the defendant testify without any cross examination. He spent hours over the game "whose on top." It was irrelevant as regardless of who was on top in that fraction of a second, it was the larger picture from the moment Zimmerman followed Treyvan in the first place. The detective who first intervied Treyvon's father shaid he mumbled something which "he took to be "no.") That is no evidence at all, but the prosector beat a horse to death and finally got the detedtive to say with greater clarity, the father said "no." And the failure to prepare and dress the girl friend as a witness made me puke. I have since seen her after the trial all made up, hair lovely, clothing just right. The prosecutor totally failed to do that thereby diminishing the strength of her testimony. About who yelled "help" did the prosecutor ever hear of a linguist who could discern who did yell "help." Finally, as stated in the article, Zimmerman whould never have been charged with 2d degree murder, but rather voluntary manslaughter. Well the one consolation prize is that Zimmerman's life is over now, too.
 
 
+26 # engelbach 2013-07-21 18:11
Thanks.

I'm not a lawyer, but I thought of the same thing you did, which shows that they should have been obvious to the prosecutor.

This case was thrown, as surely as crooked prizefight.
 
 
+8 # kochadoodledoo 2013-07-22 07:31
"Crooked prizefight" describes perfectly the state of American democracy.
 
 
+12 # economagic 2013-07-21 20:15
I'm not a lawyer either, and I have not followed the sordid details of the case. But as stories about the trial, and in particular the "star witness," I foolishly assumed it was merely prosecutorial incompetence. Silly me: I should know better by now.
 
 
+2 # kochadoodledoo 2013-07-22 07:32
Some say "Hope springs eternal" but I'm not so sure.
 
 
+2 # Doubter 2013-07-24 13:15
I must AGAIN insert the word "complicit." This time as a replacement for "inept" in the second sentence of your lawyerly post.
 
 
+43 # tercar 2013-07-21 12:37
The fault lay not with the jury. The problem was rooted in the prosecution. It seems clear to me that the prosecutor set out to lose the case while trying not to appear to do so. He did a perfunctory, less-than-enthu siastic job in presenting the case. Notice how he introduced, in the middle of the case, the possible charge of third-degree homicide: abuse of a child. If that were a viable charge, wouldn't he have reviewed that possibility during his preparation of the case? It was inept and fumbling to introduce it in the middle of the trial; to have it shot down by the judge must have been predictable. Why did the prosecutor straddle the dummy, reinforcing the notion that Trayvon Martin was on top, when that contention should have been countered by a different scenario? What was Zimmerman doing with his hands while his head was being "slammed" against the pavement? Did he just lie there passively and take it? Why didn't he fight back? Why didn't he use his 50-pound weight advantage? Why was the video of Zimmerman's "re-enactment" allowed to be admitted as evidence? That was one of the strongest defense tools, and its admission as "evidence" was allowed to go unchallenged. Since there was no way of refuting it as "evidence", the prosecution should have either pushed for it to be excluded or else insisted on Zimmerman's testimony on the witness stand a condition for allowing the screening.
 
 
0 # cuzz63 2017-09-11 20:49
He straddled the dummy because that was what the witness testified happened. He was attempting to nullify the defense narrative and it backfired. Its obvious that Zimmerman was resisting Trayvon otherwise his head would have been slammed alot harder, his hands where where most people's would have been, in front of his face protecting from the blows. Not only did he not have a 50lb weight advantage he was on his back which makes it a disadvantage since you cant move as easily.
 
 
+20 # jwb110 2013-07-21 12:41
Can you say corrupt?
 
 
+1 # Doubter 2013-07-24 13:18
May I again insert what is becoming my most used word? "COMPLICIT"
 
 
+14 # DrDR 2013-07-21 12:52
If somebody was following me at nite, first in a car, then got out & followed me on foot, I would be concerned & should have the same right to self defense or stand my ground.

I agree the prosecution left much to be desired & a few times wondered if there was a deal cut to not try hard to convict in exchange for not using "stand your ground" as a defense (altho the jury admitted using it in their deliberations) & putting that law on trial.

In the end, God will be the final judge.
 
 
+11 # kochadoodledoo 2013-07-22 07:14
It sounds like Trayvon did stand his ground, but Zimmerman had the gun.
 
 
0 # rleroygordon 2013-07-27 15:03
Quoting DrDR:
In the end, God will be the final judge.


That won't bring Trayvon Martin back from the dead. Admittedly, neither would a conviction in a court of law. But at least there might have been real, provable justice, not a hope of justice in a hoped-for afterlife.
 
 
0 # cuzz63 2017-09-11 20:45
Maybe so but after you run home 100 yards away you could go inside and lock the door or call the police, but you think you would choose to go back and attack someone who didnt do you any harm? And if you think you have the right to self defense over a perceived threat isnt it logical that someone might have the same right over an actual threat?
 
 
+40 # Michael Lee Bugg 2013-07-21 12:57
I am not a lawyer or a legal scholar, but I know how to argue about almost anything to win and I said from the start from what little I heard on TV from the mouth of this prosecutor that he was not worth a damn! First, he made little effort to make it clear that Trayvon had a right to be there on his way to a house in that community. Therefore, regardless of Trayvon's past there was no evidence that he had committed any theft. Secondly, Trayvon was the first to "stand his ground" by confronting the stalker who was following him with no justification! Most importantly, how did Zimmerman, while pinned down and "getting his head beaten on the curb repeatedly to the point he feared for his life, pull a gun out of his pocket, COCK it, stick it to Martin's heart and pull the trigger? If his head was being beaten against the curb that hard wouldn't he have bee unconscious or at least dazed? Anytime I have ever hit my head hard in a bike crash or while working I would not have been able to draw a gun from a pocket and COCK it! It also points out in this article that Trayvon was on the phone at the moment he was shot! Why didn't Zimmerman just shoot him in the shoulder or leg? Zimmerman wanted to kill him. I think he let Trayvon get him down with the gun already in his hand and cocked! After he shot Trayvon he beat his own head against the curb to support his claim of self defense because those wounds were not indicative of "life threatening" according to the testimony!
 
 
+7 # annbromm 2013-07-21 14:05
What you said.
 
 
+8 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-07-21 16:41
You did bring up a good hypothetical point. Scraped or beat his own head on the concrete sidewalk. Remember, the movie "Dirty Harry." Similar situation.
 
 
+18 # Billy Bob 2013-07-21 20:48
The whole thing's a red herring. It doesn't matter if Trayvon Martin DID beat the hell out of Zimmerman. Zimmerman was the aggressor. Martin would (under that scenario) have been defending himself.

Think about this: a human skull is often compared to the hardness of a watermelon. Do you think you could "SLAM" a watermelon on concrete without it breaking open? If I had "slammed" George Zimmerman's head against the sidewalk Zimmerman would be dead quickly.

Here's a more likely scenario. Zimmerman pulled out the gun. Martin wrestled him to get it pointed away from himself. In that kind of a struggle, no one is thinking about "fighting". Zimmerman is being shaken up and down, back and forth while both struggle to hold the gun. Martin never really has a chance because Zimmerman pulls the trigger and finishes the murder. In the scuffle, he scratches the back of his head.

How many rapists are scratched by their victims? Do rapists now have the right to "defend themselves" against their victims and shoot to kill after they're done doing what they want?
 
 
+6 # Moefwn 2013-07-22 16:49
Actually, there was a recent case in Texas that makes me think they soon will. As I understand it, a man hired a woman to escort him. At the end of the evening she declined to have sex with him, and he shot her point blank. He was let off based on the argument that he was defending himself from theft - she had accepted money for escorting him and was leaving with it.
 
 
0 # cuzz63 2017-09-11 20:39
There was no evidence that Zimmerman was never the aggressor.Not sure why you imagine that a watermelon is as hard as a human skull, you made that up and even then it makes a point, Zimmerman was still conscious and resisting having his head slammed as hard as it could have been had Trayvon KO's him. Had the assault continued Zimmerman could have been KO's then his watermelon skull would have been cracked wide open. So you think a person should have their head split open before they defend himself?
 
 
+3 # bingers 2013-07-23 06:08
Except that there was absolutely no evidence of his head being beaten on the sidewalk or a broken nose until after 2 hours in lockup where all the damage except for a small scrape happened.
 
 
0 # cuzz63 2017-09-11 20:42
The problem is there was no "stalker" in this case. Trayvon had run off and according to Rachel he ran all the way home 100 yards down the path. We know the attack started at the T so then we can assume that Trayvon returned to the T to confront and assault Zimmerman.
Its obvious you dont know anything about fighting and guns so you shouldnt make statements about either.
 
 
+18 # JSRaleigh 2013-07-21 13:13
When I suggested the prosecutor didn't really want to win a couple of days before the case went to the jury everyone said I was crazy.
 
 
0 # cuzz63 2017-09-11 20:31
The evidence wasnt on the side of the prosecution.
 
 
-29 # Cappucino 2013-07-21 13:14
Anyone who makes comments like that has no interest at all in exploring what really happened in this case or who was at fault. It's sad to see people trashing their own powers of judgment so that they can indulge in the satisfying feeling of being a keyboard warrior. I don't understand what could possibly be appealing about sitting safely behind a keyboard while you spew garbage you would never say to anyone's face, but I guess there must be something or nobody would do it. The rest of us have the option of acting like rational adults and logically knowing how little sense the original statement makes when looked at from any point of view.
 
 
+6 # Billy Bob 2013-07-21 17:57
What's all this about "warriors" and "safety"? Is there a reason we SHOULD NOT feel safe? Are they out to get us?
 
 
+12 # engelbach 2013-07-21 18:13
I tried in vain to find anything your post that relates to this case.

What the devil are you talking about?
 
 
+8 # Billy Bob 2013-07-21 20:49
It's called "paranoid delusions".
 
 
+1 # bingers 2013-07-23 06:11
Okay, you are obviously describing yourself and your own motives. The rest of us here, generally, are far more rational than that.
 
 
+25 # Rain17 2013-07-21 13:17
From what I could tell--and I'm no attorney--it looked like the prosecution did an inept job in presenting the case. It looked like the attorneys from the DA offices were recent law school graduates prosecuting their first trial. I can't say that the "they intentionally threw the case", but it's clear that they allowed the defense to frame the trial on their terms. They allowed the defense to control the trial and set the narrative.

Ultimately I think the case came down to the words of Racheal Jeantel and John Good. It's clear to me that the prosecution failed to prepare her for the trial. They failed to teach her basic decorum and manners. And they didn't do anything to make her look professional. Although English is not her first language, the jury didn't know that; to them, she just looked illiterate and dumb. (Contrast that to the Jeantel who appeared on CNN, who looked much, much better). For all the politically incorrect/unjus t reasons the jury was not going to listen to her.

Contrast her to John Good, a Vietnam Veteran who looked professional and spoke correct English. He looked better educated and respected the proceedings. When you put him up against Jeantel, for all the unfortunate reasons, the jury chose to believe him.

It's clear to me that the prosecution handled the trial ineptly. But given FL law, even if the best attorneys had tried the case, I'm not convinced that Zimmerman gets found guilty.
 
 
+20 # kumquat 2013-07-21 14:17
Pt 1 --IN such a racist backwater town KNOWN for killing it's blacks…this could never have been a fair trial and he should have requested a different venue and some black jurors.. at the very very LEAST!!It is impossible to believe he wanted to win when he okayed obviously biased jurors, refused to point out the racial aspects of this case, when he didn't push the point that a very tiny amount of cannabis was in his blood and the scientifically proven fact that if you have two puffs it will stay in your system for over a MONTH! He never pointed out that there was not much chance he was high at the time… especially since he was visiting family. When he failed to get his best witness ready to be put on the stand completely unprepared, unpressed and dressed like a kid which sets off huge bells and whistles in the racist brain that they are looking at a street thug criminal hooker addict instead ofd the teenager sitting there being consulted and ignored…he set her up and let the defense cut her to pieces…
 
 
+23 # kumquat 2013-07-21 14:22
pt 2--No lawyer is stupid enough to not prepare his witness and to dress them up for court… the most vicious criminals and mad dog killers are prepped and dressed up for court!!! That is one in a string of malfeasance and failure to properly prosecute a case…he NEVER painted an accurate picture of Treyvon or why a black kid would be terrified when a fat white guy STALKING HIM AND NOT LETTING HIM GET AWAY SO HE COULD GET HOME SAFE came and came and came after him.. Prosecutor de la rionda let tons of snakeoil pass….
 
 
+19 # kumquat 2013-07-21 14:23
pt 3 --A day or so later -The same witness appeared on Piers Morgan who…needing only half a brain cell to figure it out…had her dressed in a nice outfit with a pretty hairdo and treated her like a human being instead of dirt……. THAT was when we heard the testimony Treyvon's lawyer should have elicited from an articulate witness…and would have if he had bothered to take the trouble. I don't know anyone in law that doesn't know such a basic fact…… Morgan did and then we saw a completely different picture from a very nice, ARTICULATE girl who clearly explained why kids are so scared of the [police who kill them regularly and let murderers stroll away from their 'kill' w/o explanation or anything. It took45 DAYS of wild public outrage for them to ever arrest him and question him at all…
 
 
+15 # DaveM 2013-07-21 14:25
Doesn't the phrase "Stand Your Ground" implicitly contain the concept that one must be in a situation where there is an option to retreat? George Zimmerman was not in that position. He was chasing Trayvon Martin. What about Martin's "Stand Your Ground" rights?
 
 
+6 # kochadoodledoo 2013-07-22 07:09
Like another article stated, once someone is dead they don't get to testify and tell their side of the story. Shameful.
 
 
+15 # kumquat 2013-07-21 14:26
pt 4--I think the lawyers did such a terrible job it should be enough reason for a retrial in a different venue.. someplace where they aren't inured to the regular abuse and murder of innocent blacks w/o proper investigation……

To claim that they could not run a diagnostic and map the voice on the tape is an absolute utter LIE!!!! The FBI could have analyzed it in hours…. Also, I worked for 23 years in a HS and that was a child's voice and a child's terror. There should be a second (REAL} trial because of ridiculously lousy lawyering at this sham trial… why isn't the DOJ going for a new trial because of legal malfeasance in every way and on both sides. The proawcution let so many lies pass... These guys should be disbarred... that was NOT a fair trial with genuine, competent legal representation. ...
 
 
+3 # kochadoodledoo 2013-07-22 07:08
Who will start this petition?
 
 
0 # rleroygordon 2013-07-27 15:22
Quoting kumquat:
pt 4--I think the lawyers did such a terrible job it should be enough reason for a retrial in a different venue.. someplace where they aren't inured to the regular abuse and murder of innocent blacks w/o proper investigation……


Unfortunately, under the US Constitution, not only could the prosecution NOT force Zimmerman to testify, the state cannot retry him in any court in the land. "(No one shall) be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb . . . ." (Article 5, Bill of Rights)

Sorry folks. Zimmerman is walking. Ain't nuthin' nobody can do about it.
 
 
+20 # brianf 2013-07-21 15:11
I think if Trayvon had been stalking Zimmerman in his car, then on foot, and then shot and killed him when a fight broke out, there is no question he would have been arrested, then charged with murder, probably as an adult, regardless of what he said about self defense or fearing for his life. That is the "color-blindnes s" we have in Florida and most other parts of this country.
 
 
+15 # Patti Holden 2013-07-21 16:41
Trayvon Martin was an innocent kid. George Zimmerman was a gun happy racist. Angela Corey couldn't have cared less about Trayvon--she was pretending to want a fair trial. I am disgusted by the whole defense team. I'll NEVER go to Florida again, as long as the current governor and his lackies are in control.
 
 
+13 # tomo 2013-07-21 17:57
From the little I know of the governance of Florida--and almost all of that is bad--it seems to me altogether plausible that the prosecution set out to lose the case, as many of the statements above suggest or state. While this may not exonerate the jury, it goes a considerable distance toward doing so. It would take a very confident and savvy jury to find its way to a conviction of manslaughter when both sets of lawyers were playing for an acquittal.
 
 
+8 # tm7devils 2013-07-21 18:11
Looking at the facts of the trial...the outcome was decided at least 6 months
BEFORE the trial.
Oh...to be a fly on the wall...
Thank you, daddy...
 
 
-10 # jamander4 2013-07-21 19:37
George Zimmerman is white in the same way Obama is black that is only if you believe half truths without trying to find out the truth.
 
 
+12 # Billy Bob 2013-07-21 23:11
Zimmerman is "white" in that he has "white" skin and hates blacks to the point of profiling them and calling them all punks that get away.

Martin is "black" in that his skin is dark and that he's considered guilty unless proven innocent to people like Zimmerman who considered him guilty of a crime that needed to be punished. What was that crime, by the way?
 
 
0 # rleroygordon 2013-07-27 15:26
Quoting Billy Bob:
Zimmerman is "white" in that he has "white" skin ....


Zimmerman is "white" in the sense that Trayvon Martin THOUGHT he was white. Or is there some other definition of the term "cracker" that someone knows of. In the end, it doesn't make a shred of no-never-you-mi nd that Z is "Hispanic". Martin thought he was white, and that, in the end, is all that counts.
 
 
+19 # wendellwilliams 2013-07-21 22:13
Stand ur ground means not retreating.

When Zimmerman got out of his car he was not standing his ground he was advancing on Martin's ground.

Therefore, Zimmerman became guilty just because he got out and persued Martin.

If I were the prosecuter, thats all I would have emphasized. If I were on the jury, that fact alone would have caused me to find him guilty.

Wendell Williams
 
 
+8 # Billy Bob 2013-07-21 23:12
I think they went out of their way to find jurors too stupid or self-involved to even know what was going on. This is the result.
 
 
+9 # Susan1989 2013-07-22 07:04
You are correct...Zimme rman was the one guilty of encroaching on the boys boundaries and creating...and continuing to create a threatening situation...and there was no clear evidence that he was defending himself.
 
 
0 # cuzz63 2017-09-11 20:19
This is false. When Trayvon violently assaulted Zimmerman he could not get away, hence he was not standing his ground. He was defending himself from an attack.
 
 
-8 # germain@berlin 2013-07-22 00:16
That was Zimmerman's job (voluntary job), protecting the community he lived in where there had been repeated break-ins. He might have been somewhat overzealous in pursuit of that goal...although he claimed to have gotten out of the car because he didn't know exactly where he was to be able to give his location to the police dispatcher. From Martin's perspective he was being followed by a white man. This is the South, don't forget, and we have enough history of what results from whites following blacks in the South. So one could argue that Martin was "standing his ground" when the confrontation came about...however it came about. But from Zimmerman's perspective he was doing his job. And when...as the evidence certainly seems to make probable...Mart in attacked him he acted in justified self-defense. There is no satisfying resolution (certainly not a legal one) of these two contrasting visions. And "voluntary manslaughter" when someone is beating my head against the ground...regard less of how superficial the head wounds might prove to be later...seems to me to be something of a stretch.
 
 
+6 # bingers 2013-07-23 06:15
Once again for the ignorant, Zimmerman was NOT a member of any neighborhood watch except the racist one in his head.
 
 
+4 # kochadoodledoo 2013-07-22 07:04
I did not follow the proceedings, but based on this information one word pops into my mind: mistrial. Prosecutors do work for the state. I admit I am prejudiced against them.
 
 
+4 # John Escher 2013-07-22 07:22
Don't know about a "conspiracy." That argument detracts from the one about ineptitude and lack of focus. As I read posts at various websites (so often more revealing than the articles which prompted them), I also see a lot of the distraction and meandering that William Boardman, at his best, is discussing here, and of course you can accuse me of the same.

People not in touch with their feelings is the true subject. And Boardman's pointing out that anchor persons like Diane Sawyer being payed huge amounts of money "to ratify the people in power" is extremely powerful and germane to the current social scene.

Probably goes back to Sawyer's beauty queen experience. Am I wrong in thinking that somewhere in the middle of her career she approached becoming an actual newswoman (but without ever attaining the exalted rank of whistleblower) but has declined in acuity as usually happens with people exposed to too much audience for too long.
 
 
+7 # MsAnnaNOLA 2013-07-22 09:46
I think the stand your ground is a bad law. People should have an obligation to flee and diffuse. I know from personal experience with "gun folks" they think that if you are going to use a gun on another person, you should shoot to kill. That way you don't have to consider what the other person says happened. This is a classic example of that mentality. These type of gun people do not care who the person is they just know that if you are going to use the gun on a person, it is better for you if you kill them. This case solidifies that for them even more I am sure.
 
 
+1 # rleroygordon 2013-07-27 15:38
Quoting MsAnnaNOLA:
I know from personal experience with "gun folks" they think that if you are going to use a gun on another person, you should shoot to kill. That way you don't have to consider what the other person says happened.


My dad was a WWII infantryman. I remember him telling me "You never point a gun at someone unless you're going to shoot them, and you never shoot someone unless you're going to kill them." His point wasn't that if you're packing heat you should be striding around like a macho jackwad. His point was that there's an awesome responsibility to taking someone's life. Unless you're fully ready to kill someone, you have no business pulling on them. I'd go further and say that unless you intend to face even the possibility of killing someone, you have no business packing heat.

The police are armed for a reason. And they're given the training to make better judgment calls than Joe or Jane Everybody. The question I'd ask, with all of the "testimony" showing that Zimmerman had applied to be a police officer, and how he passed all of the tests, and never showed any signs of being a danger, why didn't he actually finish up the process of joining law enforcement?
 
 
+8 # fredboy 2013-07-22 10:20
As an attorney, I too was amazed at the weak and baleful prosecution. I believe there is something terribly wrong here in the Sunshine State.
 
 
+3 # geraldom 2013-07-22 14:57
Yes, the prosecuting attorneys were absolutely terrible, but the jurors were much worse. They should have used a little more intelligence to see through the BS, to filter out the games, and to selectively ignore those jury instructions dictated to them by the judge that obscure the truth.

If the jurors didn't act like computers by acting literally on these instructions as if they were legally and mandatorily required to do so, then they would have found Zimmerman guilty of 2nd degree murder.
 
 
+2 # Rain17 2013-07-22 19:19
There was not enough proof for second degree murder. I think there was enough for manslaughter, but the prosecution could not prove second degree murder.
 
 
+8 # bingers 2013-07-23 05:57
You have to wonder why he didn't point out that the famous chunk of concrete the defense lawyer was waving around wasn't from the attack site. There was no concrete damage there. Why didn't he point out that when Zimmerman got to the police station he had only one small scrape treated with a single Band-Aid but after 2 hours in lockup he was all battered and bloody. Why didn't he point out that if Trayvon was on top of him a few inches away as the defense claimed and he was shot in the heart and Zimmerman was free of blood on his clothes that was an impossibility.

There is no doubt that the prosecution threw the case and that the defense committed disbarable lies. You are entitled to give your client your best defense, and you can throw out alternative possibilities, but you are not allowed to outright lie to the jury.

The defense should be imprisoned, Zimmerman should be re-arrested and recharged because the judge's charge to the jury was faulty and removed jeopardy, so it would be perfectly legitimate to do so. And a Federal prosecutor should be assigned to the case.
 
 
+4 # giraffee2012 2013-07-23 12:55
Under the circumstances of this kangaroo court (putting it mildly) the woman who shot into the ceiling SHOULD BE - MUST BE "pardoned" --- immediately. Perhaps there are other case like hers that pale in comparison to Zimmerman's non-conviction (at the hands of the prosecution team in FL).

White men can't be convicted and man/woman of color have no chance? Take that to the Supreme Court (oh - that's right the RATS would agree with FL's rules only for WORMS) ---

At some point, when a state has gone so far from justice, the Federal courts MUST take over -- and that IS IN THE CONSTITUTION. After all, the Supremes took the 2000 presidency out of FL's hands and put "W" into the W.H.
 
 
-3 # RICHARDKANEpa 2013-07-24 01:17
We are all forgetting that many or most people who kill fear for their lives, just line Zimmerman did.

Eventually the detail may show up explained here.
http://phillyimc.org/en/system-almost-worked-trayvon-martin
 
 
+2 # giraffee2012 2013-07-24 12:34
Quoting RICHARDKANEpa:
We are all forgetting that many or most people who kill fear for their lives, just line Zimmerman did.

Eventually the detail may show up explained here.
http://phillyimc.org/en/system-almost-worked-trayvon-martin


What part of Zimmerman left his car when told to "stand" .... stay away.. and then Zimmerman stalked Trayvon. We have no idea when Z showed his gun. And if anyone was standing his ground - it was Trayvon if, indeed, he actually beat Z's head in the ground. No matter what happened in the end... Zimmerman pursued Trayvon with a gun.

BTW, if as Z says, Trayvon was beating his head (whatever) to make him fear for his life - HOW (in that short time period) of being beaten to a pulp DID ZIMMERMAN MUSTER THE STRENGTH TO get his gun out of back pocket (or best area) and unlock the gun to shoot Trayvon.

To be honest - I wish Trayvon was standing his ground for inflicting head wounds ... or is "stand your ground" only about death by gun? I doubt anybody can answer that question.

Let's see the many ways: Attack dog, shovel, fists, knife, cement... guess the list is endless? Or is "stand your ground" only about death by gun?
 
 
-1 # cuzz63 2017-09-11 20:22
Except for some reason Trayvon had run away then went back 10o yards to violently attack Zimmerman. He could have just gone in the house but chose to return. He didnt have a lock on his gun, its obvious you dont know how guns work, you point it and pull the trigger.
 

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