Skip to comments.Prosecutors in Zimmerman Trial Ask Jury to Disregard Comments (Too favorable towards Zimmerman)
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 officers 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 Serinos comments about Mr. Zimmermans veracity ought to be disregarded by the jury. The judge then instructed the jurors, who are being sequestered during the trial, to ignore the officers statement, nearly 17 hours after it had been made.
Officer Serinos testimony, in the second week of the trial in Seminole County Court, was the latest setback for prosecutors......
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
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.
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.
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.
I was too busy to watch the trial today.
holy crap...so many un and half truths in this article...
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.
Thanks. I’m no lawyer, nor have I played one on teevee.
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?
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.
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.
I’ll bet all the Rachel Jeantel and Trayvon Martin types had spare time to watch it...
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.
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.
So the prosecution wants the testimony of its own witness disregarded. I’d say that’s strike two against the prosecution.
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)
Indeed, that happened. Later, the same witness claimed that Zimmerman was motivated by I’ll will. That testimony was allowed.
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.
Its 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.