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Prosecutors in Zimmerman Trial Ask Jury to Disregard Comments (Too favorable towards Zimmerman)
The New York Times ^ | July 2, 2013 | Cara Buckley

Posted on 07/02/2013 3:53:36 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

SANFORD, Fla. — Prosecutors in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman scrambled Tuesday to undo damage to their case by one of their leading witnesses, a Sanford police officer who interviewed the defendant hours after he fatally shot Trayvon Martin.

The witness, Officer Chris Serino, testified under cross-examination on late Monday afternoon that Mr. Zimmerman seemed to be telling the truth when he said he had fired his gun in self-defense. The officer’s admission made for a dramatic moment in the trial — and was a clear boon for the defense — but drew no immediate objection from the state. The court recessed for the day afterward.

But early on Tuesday, citing case law, the state successfully argued that Officer Serino’s comments about Mr. Zimmerman’s veracity ought to be disregarded by the jury. The judge then instructed the jurors, who are being sequestered during the trial, to ignore the officer’s statement, nearly 17 hours after it had been made.

Officer Serino’s testimony, in the second week of the trial in Seminole County Court, was the latest setback for prosecutors......

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: chrisserino; florida; railroaded; trayvon; zimmerman
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Hard to un-ring a bell.
1 posted on 07/02/2013 3:53:36 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yep, it is also really hard to prosecute someone when there is no evidence to support your claims.


2 posted on 07/02/2013 3:55:33 PM PDT by svcw (Stand or die)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The judge asked the state what remedy it wanted. It had grounds for a mistrial, and could have asked for that. That’s how to unring a bell.


3 posted on 07/02/2013 3:56:45 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

retroactive objection?

Never saw that on Perry Mason...


4 posted on 07/02/2013 3:58:00 PM PDT by bigbob
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To: Cboldt

On what basis?

A witness is not allowed to give an opinion on another witness, but Zimmerman is not a witness, he’s the defendant.


5 posted on 07/02/2013 3:58:03 PM PDT by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

True, and often the attempt to do so causes more reverberations than one would intend. This even smells of desperation.


6 posted on 07/02/2013 3:58:03 PM PDT by RobertClark (My shrink just killed himself - he blamed me in his note!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

That move hurt them more than the actual statement.


7 posted on 07/02/2013 3:58:06 PM PDT by Norm Lenhart
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To: Cboldt

Wouldn’t that be rewarding the prosecution for their own ineptitude?


8 posted on 07/02/2013 3:58:35 PM PDT by Dilbert56
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I hope that holds true. How in the world can the prosecution discount testimony merely because it’s favorable to Zimmerman, and came from an official? If he’d said something they like, they wouldn’t have discounted it. So, it’s not the official they have the problem with (or they could have objected to him before trial), it’s that what he said is favorable to the defense. Zimmerman doesn’t have a right to fair testimony, even if it turns out to be favorable to him? I thought the truth mattered (not really, but you know what I mean), search for the truth and all that. It’s only true if it discredits Zimmerman?


9 posted on 07/02/2013 3:58:35 PM PDT by mrsmel (One Who Can See)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The whole trial is a mockery. If the DA’s office had any integrity they’d nolle prosse and stop wasting tax dollars to placate the media lynch mob.


10 posted on 07/02/2013 3:58:44 PM PDT by Shadow44
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

They’re going to have to offer Mr. Zimmerman a spot in the witness protection program.

That’ll be part of the deal he’ll demand.


11 posted on 07/02/2013 3:59:06 PM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The prosecution FAKED a cursive letter, and
FAKED the existence of REAL bruises on Mr. Zimmerman,
and has used the MSM to FAKE even the appearances
of the Obama-chosen “victim”.

Neither the facts nor the Law is on the side
of the cruel prosecution which has made this a
racist kangaroo court.


12 posted on 07/02/2013 3:59:35 PM PDT by Diogenesis
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Any Freeper Lawyers?

QUESTION - Will the Defense move to dismiss charges after the Prosecution rests.

It seems Judge would have to dismiss at least the 2nd degree murder charge? Correct

13 posted on 07/02/2013 4:00:15 PM PDT by 11th Commandment (http://www.thirty-thousand.org/)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

” The state also aired a televised interview from 2012 with Mr. Zimmerman by Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, in which Mr. Zimmerman recounted his version of events before adding, “I feel that it was all God’s plan,” as Mr. O’Mara squirmed by his side. “

I don’t think MOM really squirmed about anything. I’m sure he knew it was coming.


14 posted on 07/02/2013 4:00:47 PM PDT by MNDude (Sorry for typos. Probably written on a smartphone, and I have big clumsy fingers.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

That opinion statement by the officer hurt them. The prosecutor waited too long. Even the instruction to the jury reemphasized the opinion by the policeman. The prosecution in this case seems inept.


15 posted on 07/02/2013 4:01:17 PM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: Norm Lenhart

Yeah, really.

If they didn’t really pay attention to it yesterday, they were reminded to, today.


16 posted on 07/02/2013 4:03:08 PM PDT by Salamander (.......Uber Alice!.......)
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To: Steely Tom
He can obtain Peruvian citizenship as his mother comes from there. He might want to pursue that.
17 posted on 07/02/2013 4:04:16 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I'll raise $2million for Sarah Palin's next run. What'll you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

A fair and impartial trial was never in the State’s plans. Why they did not sweat a “signed confreesion” a/l/a the Stalin era Show trials remains a mystery. The goal of tthe “trial” is to “legally” convict Zimmerman to go along with the media conviction.


18 posted on 07/02/2013 4:04:25 PM PDT by sport
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To: Norm Lenhart
That move hurt them more than the actual statement.

Yeah, and it looks pretty weird if you're jumping up in court to object to a statement by your own witness.

I'm guessing that's why the wait.

Either that or else they were so gob-smacked they didn't know whether to **** or go blind.

19 posted on 07/02/2013 4:05:54 PM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: Salamander

There is no way every jurist there didn’t go “HUH?”

Even TV law isn’t that stupid. 17 hours of consideration does not evaporate because the judge wants it to.


20 posted on 07/02/2013 4:06:23 PM PDT by Norm Lenhart
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The judge seems to favor the prosecutors with this action today. The prosecutors are the ones who called this witness. They need to own everything he says.


21 posted on 07/02/2013 4:07:02 PM PDT by rawhide
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To: mrsmel
The legal ground is that you can't call a witness to give an opinion about someone's credibility; it's the jury's job to assess credibility.

But that's really neither here nor there.

1. The move smacks of desperation and just highlights the unfavorable testimony.

2. The fact that the judge allowed a retroactive objection tells me the judge sees which way this trial is going and wants to protect the record against a possible mistrial.

22 posted on 07/02/2013 4:07:34 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I haven’t seen the exact line of questioning, but there are questions you don’t ask for this very reason.

If the guy was asked for an opinion, it’s the attorney who screwed up, not the witness.

If he’s a skilled attorney, he could have asked an indirect question and hoped the witness would ‘go there’, so it wouldn’t be his fault.

Oops...


23 posted on 07/02/2013 4:08:01 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Breaking News: Hillary not running in 2016. Brain tumor found during recent colonoscopy...)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; P-Marlowe

I was too busy to watch the trial today.


24 posted on 07/02/2013 4:10:23 PM PDT by onyx (Please Support Free Republic - Donate Monthly! If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, Let Me know!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

holy crap...so many un and half truths in this article...


25 posted on 07/02/2013 4:10:40 PM PDT by stylin19a (Obama -> Fredo smart)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Agatha Christie had a similar idea. In her fabulous script, the title character intentionally threw the prosecution's case, but tried not to show that it was on purpose.

26 posted on 07/02/2013 4:11:49 PM PDT by Pollster1 ("Shall not be infringed" is unambiguous.)
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To: colorado tanker

Thanks. I’m no lawyer, nor have I played one on teevee.


27 posted on 07/02/2013 4:12:12 PM PDT by mrsmel (One Who Can See)
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To: chris37
-- On what basis?
A witness is not allowed to give an opinion on another witness, but Zimmerman is not a witness, he's the defendant.
--

The basis is generally that fact witnesses are precluded from assuming the role of the jury. It is up to the jury to decide, for itself, whether or not it finds Zimmerman's account to be credible.

The "witness vs. defendant" distinction doesn't save that encroachment on the jury's turf. Probably makes it worse.

Would you feel the same way if Serino said he thought Zimmerman was a pathological liar?

28 posted on 07/02/2013 4:13:15 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: colorado tanker
2. The fact that the judge allowed a retroactive objection tells me the judge sees which way this trial is going and wants to protect the record against a possible mistrial.

Yeah. Maybe they'll try to get a mistrial, announce they're going to reserve the right to re-try Z. They then wait till the dead of winter to announce that they've decided not to pursue a second prosecution.

They could be planning to do this to delay setting Z free until we're out of the summer months. Less rioting.

Except that there's no winter in Flori-duh.

29 posted on 07/02/2013 4:13:28 PM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: Steely Tom

What I mean is the judge just deprived the prosecution of a possible mistrial. The prosecution didn’t object when the question was asked and now got the instruction they asked for, so they have no ground for mistrial and have to proceed. The judge may be thinking this thing is going the defense’s way and I don’t want there to be any ground for a second trial.


30 posted on 07/02/2013 4:16:13 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: onyx

I’ll bet all the Rachel Jeantel and Trayvon Martin types had spare time to watch it...


31 posted on 07/02/2013 4:16:19 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I'll raise $2million for Sarah Palin's next run. What'll you do?)
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To: Norm Lenhart
I agree. To make an issue of this the next day only serves to remind the jurors of what was said, and to underline it as important enough to be made an issue. Bad tactic by the kangaroos.
32 posted on 07/02/2013 4:16:43 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Dilbert56
-- Wouldn't that be rewarding the prosecution for their own ineptitude? --

I suppose you can look at it that way. But the Q&A came under a cross examination, so the state didn't elicit the answer itself. I do think they could see it coming as soon as Serino answered "could have been a pathological liar, or could have been telling the truth." Both of those are ultimate opinions, even though he hasn't told the court which of those two he leans toward. The state should have objected on the spot.

Funny thing is that the state filed and won a motion precluding exactly this type of testimony from law enforcement, and should have been on guard for it.

33 posted on 07/02/2013 4:16:48 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks 2ndDivisionVet.


34 posted on 07/02/2013 4:17:36 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (McCain or Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: colorado tanker

Oh. Wow.


35 posted on 07/02/2013 4:19:11 PM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: Cboldt

I would want to know why he thought that, because there is no evidence of that. There was no basis on him even using that phrase at all, as MOM demonstrated directly after.

But yes, I think that asking a police detective if he thought the person he was investigating was being truthful or lying is a legit question. If he thought Zim was a pathological liar, then provide the basis for the formation of that opinion in detail.

I do not understand why this testimony was stricken, but the testimony of a proven perjurer, Rachael, was not, nor has she been charged with perjury or manufacturing evidence or conspiring to manufacture evidence in the form of that letter.


36 posted on 07/02/2013 4:19:39 PM PDT by chris37 (Heartless.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

So the prosecution wants the testimony of its own witness disregarded. I’d say that’s strike two against the prosecution.


37 posted on 07/02/2013 4:24:58 PM PDT by Flick Lives (We're going to be just like the old Soviet Union, but with free cell phones!)
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To: chris37
-- But yes, I think that asking a police detective if he thought the person he was investigating was being truthful or lying is a legit question. --

It's not. Cases are mistried on this sort of error at trial.

Tumblin v. State, 29 So.3d 1029 (Fla 2010) HN 9, 10 and 11

Jackson v. State, 107 So.3d 328 (Fla 2012) HN 3 and 4

Pausch v. State, 596 So.2d 1216 (Fla 2nd DCA 1982)

38 posted on 07/02/2013 4:25:21 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: mrsmel

Indeed, that happened. Later, the same witness claimed that Zimmerman was motivated by I’ll will. That testimony was allowed.


39 posted on 07/02/2013 4:25:42 PM PDT by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Three words.

1. All

2. Woman

3. Jury

I am not saying these women are incapable of rendering a verdict that is just, because we do not know much about them. But I am saying that other opinions, including experienced trial lawyers, have commented that female juries tend towards emotion rather than facts.

It’s been widely suggested that an all-female jury might be sympathetic to Trayvon Martin because of the mere fact that he died, regardless of the circumstances leading to that death. That fact may resonate with emotional jurors. And, the theory goes, women tend to be more driven by sympathetic emotions than men.

We do know, by her behavior on camera, that the Judge is a twit.


40 posted on 07/02/2013 4:27:02 PM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Quote from Legalinsurection.com:

"In any case, on direct examination Dr. Rao was repeatedly asked if this or that particular injury were particularly series,...."

41 posted on 07/02/2013 4:30:36 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: chris37
-- I do not understand why this testimony was stricken, but the testimony of a proven perjurer, Rachael, was not, nor has she been charged with perjury or manufacturing evidence or conspiring to manufacture evidence in the form of that letter. --

Two separate questions. The jury is charged with evaluating the credibility of witnesses. That is their job. They will assign credibility to Rachael's testimony as they see fit. I suspect the figure she is not trustworthy under the circumstances.

But nobody came right out and said she is a liar. It was pointed out that she shaded her testimony when in the presence of Sybrina, that Sybrina was present for the Crump interview and the state's deposition. It is said that she is Martin's friend, which gives her a motive to lie to cover for him, etc. People lie on the witness stand all the time with no penalty beyond the jury thinks they are lying.

If Crump is guilty of manufacturing evidence, somebody has to produce direct evidence of that. If Rachael admitted that in this trial, it would produce cause to charge Crump, or de la Rionda, or whoever helped manufacture the false evidence. Rachael would get swept up in that too. But, prosecution would be under a different trial (not that the state would press charges against itself).

42 posted on 07/02/2013 4:30:38 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: Shadow44
If the DA’s office had any integrity they’d nolle prosse and stop wasting tax dollars to placate the media lynch mob.

Agreed, but they won't do that.

This is Angela Corey. She charged Zimmerman for political purposes to satisfy the Obama Black Mob. Let's be honest about it.

VIDEO: Alan Dershowitz Slams Special Prosecutor Angela Corey

43 posted on 07/02/2013 4:32:57 PM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: Cboldt
The basis is generally that fact witnesses are precluded from assuming the role of the jury. It is up to the jury to decide, for itself, whether or not it finds Zimmerman's account to be credible.

Okay, the witness cannot testify to his opinion of the defendant's truthfulness. But then why is it okay for the prosecution to ask if the comments made by the defendant showed "spite or ill will" toward the victim? Isn't that also asking for an opinion of the state of mind of the accused? How is the witness qualified to testify to one but not the other?

44 posted on 07/02/2013 4:33:17 PM PDT by CA Conservative (Texan by birth, Californian by circumstance)
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To: P-Marlowe
But after hearing the testimony this week, many legal experts said that the state had overreached and that it should have filed manslaughter charges instead. The jury can still find Mr. Zimmerman guilty of manslaughter, but it would fall to the prosecutors to argue for that result without appearing to concede a weakness in their case.

At the end of this NYT article

45 posted on 07/02/2013 4:33:20 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! True supporters of our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: DoughtyOne

The lawyer in question was the defense lawyer — it came up in the cross-examination.


46 posted on 07/02/2013 4:34:12 PM PDT by expat2
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To: Pollster1

I have had inklings several times that the prosecution is deliberately throwing the case.

Hope I’m right.


47 posted on 07/02/2013 4:35:06 PM PDT by Do Not Make Fun Of His Ears (The Buck Stops Over There.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

LOL.


48 posted on 07/02/2013 4:36:40 PM PDT by onyx (Please Support Free Republic - Donate Monthly! If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, Let Me know!)
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To: Cboldt
It had grounds for a mistrial, and could have asked for that. That’s how to unring a bell.

If the prosecutor had made a timely objection, and if the witness had answered over that objection, there might conceivably be a basis for a mistrial. Since the prosecutor didn't make a timely objection, however, any mistrial resulting from such statements would have to be seen as the prosecutor's fault. While prosecutors are allowed to retry defendants after mistrials that are caused either by patently-wrongful actions by the defense or by hung juries, any mistrial which is forced by prosecutor's actions becomes an effective acquittal [if it didn't, prosecutors could simply force mistrials any time things seemed to be going badly]. Even if Judge Nelson were willing to declare a mistrial, and declare that it was the defense's fault, such a ruling would be immediately appealed, and the DCA would probably not waste much time in ruling that Nelson's declaration of mistrial conceded the case to the defense.

I wouldn't necessarily say that such an outcome couldn't happen. Judge Nelson probably doesn't really want anything to do with this case, so if she could punt it and put the DCA on the hot seat as the entity that sets Zimmerman free, punting the case might let her escape from it.

49 posted on 07/02/2013 4:37:20 PM PDT by supercat (Renounce Covetousness.)
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To: 11th Commandment

There is only one charge against Zimmerman: murder in the second degree. There are no lesser charges. If the prosecution has failed to provide sufficient evidence of depraved mind then the judge can issue a directed verdict of acquittal. The prosecution cannot reduce the charge once the trial has begun.


50 posted on 07/02/2013 4:38:07 PM PDT by Procyon (Decentralize, degovernmentalize, deregulate, demonopolize, decredentialize, disentitle.)
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