Jun 14 2012
I have been crystal clear about why I think George Zimmerman is guilty of at least manslaughter when he gunned down an unarmed Travyon Martin (and for all those who wanted to see the evil teenager who needed to be killed, I oblige above with a picture to haunt your souls). The early indications we had from the first sketchy information was that either this 17 old kid went berserk on Skittles, or George Zimmerman (GZ) was lying about what played out that night.
IF the latter is true (and I laid my bet early on that it would turn out to be true, based on personal experience with many other like-minded, vigilante types who get off on playing hero – with guns to embolden them) then I wagered Zimmerman was unaware of all the evidence around him. Especially the fact that a young lady was on the phone at the time of the incident and could speak to Zimmerman’s actions as she heard them, and as they were relayed DIRECTLY to her by Trayvon Martin himself. Without full knowledge of the perjury traps surrounding him, GZ was almost 100% likely to screw himself over while trying to gold plate his alibi.
We are close to seeing if my early observations do pan out, because now we are going to get the statements (but not necessarily a link to the contradictory evidence) that has given the State of Florida high confidence in a conviction of not just Manslaughter, but Murder 2.
This yet to be publicized evidence has been seen by both legal teams. The prosecution wanted it to remain out of the public because it would tip their hand before trial. And the defense wanted it out of the public because it would make his client look even worse than he does.
And then there was Judge Lester – who recently noted the evidence is ‘strong’.
There is some strange confusion as to how Judge Lester made this determination, but it would seem obvious in such a case like this with heated media attenti0n and hot heads on both sides. The likely event that exposed the prosecutors case to the judge (and defense team) would appear to be a pretrial conference of some kind:
Generally, the substance of a pretrial conference for a criminal case is the same as that for a civil case. At the conference the judge or magistrate may make rulings on motions, eliminate repetitive evidence, and set schedules.
Criminal defendants must raise some issues before trial in a pretrial motion. Pretrial motions are specific requests for favorable orders from the court on particular issues. Under the Uniform Rules of Criminal Procedure, a set of model rules written by the American Law Institute and adopted by many jurisdictions, a defendant should lose the opportunity to raise the following issues if they are not raised prior to trial: defenses and objections based on defects in the indictment or formal charging instrument; requests regarding discovery, or disclosure of evidence; requests to suppress or exclude from trial potential testimony or other evidence; requests for severing the trial in cases involving codefendants; requests for the dismissal of the case; and requests for transfer of the case to another jurisdiction.
Similar requirements are imposed on prosecutors. The prosecution must tell the defendant prior to trial of its intention to use certain evidence, such as evidence obtained as a result of a search or seizure, wiretap, or other Electronic Surveillance mechanism; evidence culled from a confession, admission, or statement made by the defendant; and evidence relating to a lineup, show-up, picture, or voice identification of the defendant (Uniform Rules of Criminal Procedure 422(a)(1)).
It seems very likely that in discussing the withholding of this evidence from the public, the judge had to review said evidence in detail. Thus we can answer some marginal questions such as this:
Interestingly, he [Lester] writes for the first time that the state’s evidence is “strong.” The state chose not to present evidence on the facts of the case at the April 20 bond hearing, relying instead on its affidavit. The only testimony at the hearing on the facts of the case came from the state investigator, called by the defense, who acknowledged weaknesses in the state’s case. The state’s affidavit of probable cause, which as has been endlessly discussed, was a one-sided portrayal with factual inaccuracies and no mention defendant’s claim of self-defense. It didn’t contain evidence of the elements of second degree murder.
No, it did not. And that is because both legal teams have clearly been pushing from day one for the hard evidence against Zimmerman (his own words) to be kept out of the public light. It happens, not all the evidence is public.
Florida statutes, rules and case law provide that the accused has a right to bail unless the state establishes at the hearing that “the proof of guilt is evident and the presumption great.” If the state fails to meet its burden, the judge must set bail. If the state meets is burden, the judge still has discretion (as opposed to the duty) to grant bail. Judge Lester seems to be making a finding now that he didn’t make at the April 20 hearing — that the state met its burden under the Arthur standard of establishing that the proof of guilt is evident and the presumption great.
Judge Lester made no such finding in April (you can watch the video of closing arguments and his ruling here), and the State never presented evidence other than its affidavit to meet that burden.
This argument against Judge Lester’s decision is handicapped by severe blinders. If both sides want to keep evidence from being made public, the Judge has to go along until he has the opportunity to do the research and make a decision on the motion(s). So, to operate within the request to hold back evidence normally made public, the obvious process is not to expose it during open trial events.
I mean – duh!
The argument being presented actually proves how bad this really is for GZ by explaining how unprecedented things are, and what the conditions must be for them to be proper – and unprecedented:
Case law in Florida since the 1950′s has held that the state is unlikely to be able to meet such a burden in homicide cases where self-defense is raised. An accused’s version of the manner by which a homicide occurred (such as self-defense) is generally accepted for the purpose of determining whether the proof of his guilt was evident or the presumption great.
Defendant’s version of the homicide can not be ignored where there is an absence of other evidence legally sufficient to contradict his explanation.
I am assuming everyone here is acting in good faith and within the normal parameters of the law (being seasoned legal professionals of the criminal judicial system). Which means that the reason Judge Lester is coming down hard on GZ and able to take the positions he has is because there is evidence legally sufficient to contradict GZ’s self-defense explanation.
Imagine that. Clear evidence that GZ’s story was rapidly and awkwardly concocted on the spot to cover up his aggressive and criminal decisions and actions.
Those who support GZ without question or thought will be tested very soon. Myself, if the evidence is weak I can switch positions in a second. I am not emotionally hooked to any outcome. My position has been to go to trial and let the process work – for the real victim here. A dead 17 year old American kid with so much ahead of him. The only reason I stand pat is as details have emerged, they have supported and not contradicted my initial assessment. It happens.
Only until I see proof beyond a reasonable doubt Trayvon was a mortal threat to GZ (instead of his stalked victim) I am not buying this self defense crap. TM had a right to stand his ground too. And that included not going home and hiding from a vigilante. Sadly, that would have been the better decision for the young man, but if he thought the coast was clear and began going about is business. That is not a crime.
And that is not an decision worth being killed over.
GZ stalked, confronted and likely initiated the physical altercation. That is my guess based on the character of Zimmerman and how he builds his lies and alibis. He looks to be the kind who lies easily (like in bail hearings where we now have two lies recorded regarding TM’s apparent age and his financial situation – where the coward had his wife lie for him), and he looks to build these lies by twisting events that actually occurred to his view. I truly wonder who came up to whom from behind and began this deadly dance.
I will end with this observation:
If the state wants bail rejected on June 29, it seems to me it has to file a written motion for pre-trial detention under the pre-trial detention rule, 3.132, and both produce non-hearsay evidence in support of the charges and prove there are no conditions that would reasonable assure Zimmerman’s appearance at trial or the safety of the community. If it doesn’t do that, then the court is still proceeding under the pre-trial release rule, 3.131, which requires the state to produce far more evidence, hearsay or otherwise, than it did in April, to establish Zimmerman is guilty of the charged offense.
Is it really a coincidence new evidence is becoming public over the objections of both legal teams? Not if the judge wants to free his hands in this situation. The judge rightfully noted GZ admitted to killing TM, so there is no issue with releasing more evidence of same. The question is how did this come about, and we may get some answers very soon.