Will George Zimmerman be found guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin?
I offer the following six reasons why George Zimmerman will walk out of a Seminole County courtroom a free man in two to three weeks at the conclusion of his trial.
1) The Composition of the Jury
There are six women on the jury and five of them are mothers. A more significant fact is that one of the jurors formerly carried a concealed weapons permit and the majority of the jurors are familiar with firearms. This feature of the jury favours the defence in a case where there is a claim of self defence by a defendant who was a neighbourhood watch volunteer in a gated community and shot an unarmed teenager. Five of the jurors are white and one is Hispanic. The judge has permitted the prosecution to advance a theory that Trayvon Martin, a young black man, was profiled by George Zimmerman. Black jurors could draw on their own life experiences of being racially profiled. The lack of any black jurors again favours the defence.
2) The Judge Has Excluded the Evidence of Audio Experts
In a ruling released a couple of days before opening statements, the judge prevented prosecutors from calling two state audio experts from testifying at the trial, because the techniques they used weren't accepted in a scientific field and were deemed untrustworthy. The experts would have given evidence at trial that a voice heard yelling for help on a 911 call wasn't George Zimmerman. One expert concluded that it was Trayvon Martin's voice on the 911 call yelling ''I'm begging you'' and ''stop." During the motion, the prosecution described the experts' testimony as the most important of the trial. The loss of the audio expert evidence is a major setback for Zimmerman's prosecutors.
3) The Prosecution Over-Charged George Zimmerman
Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder. There isn't a credible prosecution theory to support the charge which requires proof of a depraved mind showing no regard for human life. Although a verdict of manslaughter may be available to the jury, the thrust of the prosecutors' argument at trial will be that the evidence sustains the more serious charge of second degree murder. It is an untenable and unrealistic position that damages the entire prosecution case.
4) George Zimmerman Wasn't Charged Until Six Weeks After the Shooting Death of Trayvon Martin
The defence will be certain to elicit at trial the protracted delay in charging their client. If the local Sanford, Florida police delayed charging Zimmerman with any crime for several weeks, jurors will be asking themselves if they can be satisfied of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
5) The Photographs of George Zimmerman's Injuries
The police took photographs of blood on George Zimmerman's nose and the back of his head shortly after the fatal shooting incident. In addition to supporting a defence claim that Zimmerman was acting in self-defence, it is also consistent with Zimmerman's version of events given to the police that Trayvon Martin punched him in the nose and banged his head against the sidewalk during the struggle.
6) George Zimmerman Will Not Need to Testify
Typically, in a self-defence case, defendants must take the witness stand and present their version of events in order to have any realistic chance of an acquittal. However, George Zimmerman provided the police with statements and a video reenactment of his encounter with Trayvon Martin. The prosecution will introduce these statements into evidence as part of its case. While there are inconsistencies in Zimmerman's various accounts, his core defence will be presented and the prosecution will be unable to impeach and punch holes in his accounts further during cross-examination. The defence has had the advantage of planning for months to shape a compelling closing statement utilizing George Zimmerman's statements.
These six factors cumulatively will lead to a not guilty verdict being returned by the jury against George Zimmerman.
New York's Daily Intelligencer blog details how the Trayvon Martin story, which hadn't received a lot of attention, <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/03/trayvon-martin-shooting-now-a-national-news-story.html">landed on the radars of the national media.</a> A good deal of the national attention and outrage over the case was centered around the fact that Zimmerman claimed that he shot Martin in self-defense, a category with broad meaning because of Florida's Stand Your Ground Law, and was not arrested or charged with a crime for more than a month after Martin's death.
Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger announces that he will be convening a grand jury to determine if Zimmerman should be charged in Martin's death. In a statement, Wolfinger said that he would be "utilizing the investigative resources" of the Seminole County grand jury which he said would be called to session on April 10. "I share in the desire of the family and the community to accurately collect and evaluate all the facts surrounding the tragic death of Trayvon Martin," Wolfinger said. "I respectfully request that the public remain patient as this process continues forward ... As I have previously stated, the public is entitled to no less than a thorough, deliberate, and just review of the facts. We intend to honor that commitment." Lawyers for the Martin family anticipated that the state attorney would call a grand jury, saying that the move is little more than "passing the buck."
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/trayvon-martin-case-george-zimmerman-bill-lee_n_1371635.html?1332389437">Sanford's city commission gave a vote of “no confidence” to beleaguered police Chief Bill Lee Jr.</a>, who was under fire for his department’s investigation into the shooting.
In a brief press conference, Chief Bill Lee announced that he would be "temporarily" steppng down from his position, saying that his role in the case had become a "distraction."
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/trayvon-martin-state-attorney_n_1374206.html">Seminole County State Attorney Norman Wolfinger steps down</a> due to "conflict of interest."
President Obama <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/23/obama-trayvon-martin_n_1375083.html?ref=trayvon-martin">issues his first public statement</a> about the case.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/trayvon-martin-police-video_n_1386764.html">Newly released video of George Zimmerman</a> at the Sanford Police Department the night he shot Trayvon Martin to death show the neighborhood watch volunteer without blood on his clothing or bruises on his face or head.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/travon-martin-george-zimmerman_n_1412693.html?utm_hp_ref=trayvon-martin">Zimmerman launches an official fundraising site</a> to help pay his legal fees.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/george-zimmerman-trayvon-martin-charged-second-degree-murder_n_1417198.html">Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey announced</a> that George Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/20/george-zimmerman-bail-hearing_n_1440175.html?ref=black-voices">Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester set Zimmerman's bond at $150,000</a>
A new photograph released by ABC News shows a bloodied George Zimmerman with injuries on the back of his head. The photo, which was reportedly taken three minutes after Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, could serve as possible evidence supporting the neighborhood watch volunteer's claim of his violent confrontation with the teen.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/01/george-zimmermans-bond-re_n_1563304.html">A Florida judge revoked bond for George Zimmerman</a>, and ordered that he turn himself in within 48 hours. Prosecutors had asked Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. to revoke Zimmerman's bond because they contend that he was disingenuous at an earlier bond hearing when Zimmerman's family and attorney claimed that he was cash broke. The motion filed by prosecutors claimed that Zimmerman "misrepresented, mislead [sic] and deceived the court."
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/shellie-zimmerman-arrested-george-zimmerman-wife_n_1591153.html?utm_hp_ref=trayvon-martin">George Zimmerman's wife Shellie, was arrested</a> and charged with one count of perjury, according to law enforcement officials.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/george-zimmerman-released_n_1654831.html">George Zimmerman left a Florida jail</a> after posting a $1 million bond that a judge set for him Thursday, Bay News 9 reports. Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester, who revoked Zimmerman's bond in June for misleading the court about how much money he had, said he set the bail significantly higher to circumvent the possibility of Zimmerman using hidden funds to flee the country.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/29/george-zimmerman-judge-lester_n_1841293.html">Florida's Fifth District Court of Appeal rules that Judge Kenneth Lester should enter a motion to disqualify himself</a> in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder case. Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara asked the court earlier this month to overturn a previous ruling by Lester not to leave the case.
George Zimmerman's murder trial for the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/george-zimmerman-trial-date-set-june-10-2013_n_1973469.html">set for June 10, 2013</a>
George Zimmerman ordered remain under 24-hour GPS monitoring while awaiting trial in the fatal shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and must stay in the county despite the defense's concerns about his safety.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/george-zimmerman-denied-trayvon-martin-trial_n_2623282.html?utm_hp_ref=trayvon-martin">A Florida judge rejected a bid by George Zimmerman to delay his June trial</a> for the murder of unarmed, black teenager Trayvon Martin, whom he shot and killed a year ago. Zimmerman is expected to appear in court for an April hearing where his lawyers plan to argue that he should be immune from prosecution in the case because of Florida's Stand Your Ground Law. The National Rifle Association (NRA) heavily lobbied Florida legislators to pass the law in 2005 and encouraged lawmakers not to change it after Martin's death.
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