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 ...
Yep, it is also really hard to prosecute someone when there is no evidence to support your claims.
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.
Never saw that on Perry Mason...
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.
True, and often the attempt to do so causes more reverberations than one would intend. This even smells of desperation.
That move hurt them more than the actual statement.
Wouldn’t that be rewarding the prosecution for their own ineptitude?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
” 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 Gods plan, as Mr. OMara squirmed by his side. “
I don’t think MOM really squirmed about anything. I’m sure he knew it was coming.
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.
If they didn’t really pay attention to it yesterday, they were reminded to, today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"In any case, on direct examination Dr. Rao was repeatedly asked if this or that particular injury were particularly series,...."
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).
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.
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?
At the end of this NYT article
The lawyer in question was the defense lawyer — it came up in the cross-examination.
I have had inklings several times that the prosecution is deliberately throwing the case.
Hope I’m right.
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.
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.