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Day 8 of the Zimmerman Trial: The Blundering Prosecution

07/04/2013 12:33 EDT | Updated 09/03/2013 05:12 EDT
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The prosecution has a couple of witnesses to call in the Zimmerman trial before it closes its case. The witnesses will be the mother and brother of Trayvon Martin who will testify that the voice on the 911 call crying for help on the night of the shooting is Trayvon's. It will be followed by the defence calling George Zimmerman's father who will describe with equal certainty his belief that the voice on the same 911 call is his son's. The jury will decide the issue based on the evidence rather than emotional appeal and the testimony that the jury has heard at the trial points to Zimmerman calling for help.

The prosecution's case has been marked by a parade of errors. It started with overreaching and charging George Zimmerman with second-degree murder. The charge requires evidence of hatred, spite or evil intent and the evidence in the case fell woefully short of that standard. The only possible charge left for the jury to consider is manslaughter.

In order to succeed on proving a charge of manslaughter, the prosecution was required to force Zimmerman to testify and to expose gaping problems with his credibility in cross-examination. Instead, the prosecution introduced a series of Zimmerman's statements where he was largely consistent on his account of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin and his assertion of self-defence. The prosecution, in a surprising gift to the defence, introduced a compelling case of self-defence for Zimmerman.

The foundation of the prosecution's case is built on a catalogue of inconsistencies in Zimmerman's various interviews. Even if the prosecution can demonstrate that Zimmerman was lying, it doesn't necessarily serve to defeat his self-defence claim. For example, on the eighth day of the trial, the prosecution called a college professor of Zimmerman's.

Zimmerman took his criminal litigation class in the spring of 2010 where the ''Stand Your Ground'' law was taught. Zimmerman was likely lying to Sean Hannity in a later Fox News interview where he stated that he had never heard of the ''Stand Your Ground'' law. However, it is perfectly plausible that the jury can find that Zimmerman was deceitful to Hannity because he was concerned that it might reflect poorly on his actions on the night of the shooting. The jury's attention will be more sharply focused on the eyewitness accounts that reflect Zimmerman being on the bottom of a ''ground and pound'' fight, his immediate claim of acting in self-defence after the shooting and his evident facial and head injuries.

What will the lead prosecutor argue in his closing statement to explain Zimmerman's injuries? The testimony of the medical examiner appointed by the special prosecutor who described them as insignificant is contradicted by the neighbour who took Zimmerman's photo moments after the shooting. Zimmerman's college professor also agreed in cross-examination that injuries aren't necessary for a self defence claim in the event of deadly force if the person had the reasonable belief that it was necessary to act to avoid great bodily harm. He added that injuries can bolster the claim. Point for Zimmerman.

The defence in the George Zimmerman trial will be very brief and a verdict can be expected in the trial next week. It will be a not guilty verdict as I predicted prior to the trial. I maintain this position despite the contrary opinions of a number of boisterous legal analysts in America who have viewed this case through the lens of wishful thinking.

The State of Florida had a huge hurdle to overcome in the Zimmerman case. Senior members of the Sanford Police Department, the original state attorney and the lead investigator in the case had reviewed the file and concluded that criminal charges weren't warranted. All of the eyewitnesses in the case had been interviewed prior to the case being turned over to a special prosecutor. Six weeks later, after a series of civil rights protests and media clamour, Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder. Criminal cases, as will soon be apparent, are decided on the evidence rather than the whims of public opinion.

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