Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Assistant Medical Examiner for Volusia County, Dr. Shiping Bao, is suing the State of Florida and the Volusia County Medical Examiner’s Office for wrongful termination claiming that he was fired to take the blame for the prosecution’s failure to convict George Zimmerman, a failure that he believes the prosecution desired all along.
Attorney Willie E. Gary has since been retained by Bao and said he plans to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination, discrimination and job harassment against the Volusia medical examiner’s office, Sanford police department and the prosecutors. Gary said Bao contends they “set him up to fail” and that prosecutors didn’t properly prepare him to testify in the trial. He expects to file the suit in a week.
“It just doesn’t make sense they would have him give him a deposition in November last year and then have him beg and plead for a copy,” Gary said. “They did virtually no preparation with him. He said from the medical examiner on down their attitude was Trayvon got what he deserved.”
I have written several times criticizing Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda for not spending time educating Dr. Bao about our legal system and testifying in court. Seemed obvious to me that Dr. Bao thought he could appear in court and read from his notes without having to answer questions about his medical opinion. The prosecutor should have explained the basics and asked if he had anything new to add to his report. If he had spent an hour or two preparing Dr. Bao, he could have avoided the calamity that happened when Dr. Bao appeared upset by questions interrupting him as he read his notes and more than a little hostile when he had to surrender his notes to be copied and distributed to counsel. He also could have avoided the bombshell that Trayvon could have lived for 10 minutes after being shot.
I have spent hours prepping clients and witnesses who spoke little English and were unfamiliar with courtroom procedures and etiquette. Many times I have taken a client or witness into an empty courtroom and directed them to sit in the witness chair and speak toward the jury box as I stood on the other side of the courtroom asking questions. Reviewing subject matter likely to be covered during cross examination always is a must and there is no excuse, none whatsoever, not to do so.
Dr. Bao is from China and their legal system is not based on English common law and the art of cross examination.
I cannot speak regarding Dr. Bao’s work in other cases, but this firing decision has the look and feel of an effort to scapegoat him for the prosecution’s failure to do its job.
As far as I am concerned, the prosecution has a lot of explaining to do and firing Dr. Bao merely adds another question to the long list of questions.
Through his high-profile attorney, he claims the medical examiner, state attorney’s office, and Sanford Police Department were all biased against Martin.
“He says their general attitude was that he got what he deserved,” Attorney Willie Gary told Channel 9.
Gary said Dr. Bao was made to be a scapegoat and was wrongfully fired from the medical examiner’s office. He said his client was prepared to offer proof that Martin was not the aggressor.
“He was in essence told to zip his lips. ‘Shut up. Don’t say those things,’” Gary said.
Gary said prosecutors never asked Dr. Bao a question crucial to their case.
“He wanted a question that would have allowed him to explain to the jury with scientific evidence how there was no way Trayvon Martin could have been on top of George Zimmerman,” Gary said.
Gary said that question never came.