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.