The prosecution concealed police corruption in Zimmerman trial

July 21, 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Good evening my friends:

The jury delivered its verdict in the George Zimmerman trial a week ago tonight. I was shocked and dismayed by the verdict. Like most of you I initially focused my wrath on stealth juror B-37 because she basically admitted on national television approximately 12 hours after the verdict was announced to having decided that “George” (referring to him as though he were a personal friend) was not guilty before she heard any evidence in the case. Indeed, her summary of the evidence matched the false narrative that Mark O’Mara had been preaching and the national media had been duly reporting for a year.

She bought O’Mara’s Trayvon-is-a-thug story despite no evidence to support it. Her race-based criticism of Rachel Jenteal’s manner of speaking and her consequent decision to ignore her testimony was a breathtaking admission of racist thinking that she quite obviously regarded as acceptable normative behavior that no one would question.

When I thought she could not possibly do more damage to herself, she added insult to injury with her giddy announcement that she had reached an agreement with a literary agent to sell her story to a publishing house before the story was even written. Never mind that she or her attorney husband must have contacted the literary agent in violation of the sequestration order, unless they contacted her in the middle of the night after the verdict was announced.

I seriously doubt that literary agents accept cold calls on late Saturday nights and early Sunday mornings from unpublished authors pitching ideas for unwritten books. Thankfully, the agent had the good sense to nix the deal once she realized she was dealing with an out of control racist wacko.

I was so disgusted and angered by B-37′s false statements under oath during voir dire, her willful violations of the sequestration order and her oath to follow the jury instructions that I urged the prosecution to prosecute her for perjury. Well, I have not seen any sign that Angela Corey intends to make an example out of her to warn future jurors not to engage in those behaviors. Seems to me that such a prosecution probably is necessary in Florida to convince jurors that an oath truly is a promise to tell the truth under penalty of perjury. In addition, B-37 truly is an unrepentant racist and egregious human being who deserves to spend time in prison for who she is as well as what she did.

While I have no doubt that B-37 contributed significantly to the miscarriage of justice, she was not alone. I also hold Angela Corey and Bernie de la Rionda responsible two disastrous tactical decisions; namely, the decision to remove race from the case and the decision to refrain from aggressively attacking Investigator Chris Serino and Officer Doris Singleton for their testimony supporting Zimmerman and vouching for his credibility. Serino, in particular, deserved to be raked over the coals for tampering with witnesses at the crime scene in an attempt to convince them that the defendant uttered the terrified death shriek.

Witness tampering in a murder case is a felony punishable by up to life in prison.

I first read about Trayvon Martin’s murder while the Sanford Police Department was still investigating the case and it seemed that Zimmerman was not going to be charged.

Their reluctance to charge appeared to me to have been imposed from the top down by State Attorney Norm Wolfinger and Chief Bill Lee due to as yet unknown reasons political reasons rather than the merits of the case.

That is corruption and that is not how our legal system is supposed to work.

As soon as I reviewed the defendant’s statements, including what he said during the NEN call, I realized that this case was all about race and could not be understood without mentioning race. If Trayvon Martin had been white, for example, the defendant would not have called the police.

I wrote an article in which I stated that anyone who believed George Zimmerman’s story was necessarily a racist. That is, one had to assume that Trayvon was a violent and crazy thug who all of a sudden for no apparent reason decided to attack and attempt to kill with his bare hands a menacing stranger who had followed him in a vehicle and then on foot after Trayvon had successfully eluded him by running away and hiding in a dark area behind a building containing townhomes. No person in their right mind would do that.

The defendant described Trayvon as a stereotypical black gangsta popularized in comics and blaxploitation films. In order to believe Zimmerman, people had to believe that the stereotypical black gangsta in films actually exists in real life.

I have represented black gang-bangers from Los Angeles who were members of the notorious Crips and Bloods. They were real flesh and blood people with more than a passing interest in survival. Yes, they had participated in gang violence and killed people but they planned what they did and they acted together. They did not utter dated movie lines or issue warnings to their intended victims before shooting them. They did not wander off unarmed and alone somewhere and suddenly decide to attack and kill a stranger with their bare hands. None of them would have believed Zimmerman’s ridiculous story. Only a white racist fixated on young black males who gets a thrill out of watching movies about mean and vicious black gangstas believing that they represent real people would even be capable of making up such a ridiculous story.

I was and continue to be astonished that anyone believed his story.

I believe that the extent to which it is believed offers a pretty accurate measuring stick indicating the prevalence of racism against blacks in our current society.

George Zimmerman did not profile Trayvon Martin as a thug casing the neighborhood for a house to burglarize in the RTL around 7 pm on a rainy Sunday night in late February because Trayvon was wearing a hoodie and walking around in the rain. He profiled him because he was a young black male and he invented a self-defense claim to justify killing him by describing Trayvon Martin as character in a movie.

Race was the proverbial elephant in the living room and the prosecution should never have agreed not to mention it. Zimmerman selected Trayvon because he was black and he hunted him down and attempted to detain him because he assumed certain things about him because he was black. He was the aggressor because he was determined to prevent him from escaping out the back entrance before the police arrived just like all of the other fucking coons and assholes who got away.

A review of all of the defendants NEN calls establishes that he obsessed about blacks. Black residents of the RTL had negative experiences with him where he accused them of wrongdoing. A visible pattern emerges of Zimmerman repeatedly assuming that blacks engaging in normal activities actually were up to no good and he called the police NEN to report them.

All of this evidence was relevant to why he selected Trayvon and why he killed him

As John Guy said, “George Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to. He shot him because he wanted to.”And he did it because Trayvon was black.

In other words, he committed a federal hate crime and I hope the Justice Department prosecutes him.

I do not know why the prosecution decided not to stress the importance of race. I imagine Angela Corey made the decision with Bernie de la Rionda’s consent. I do not believe John Guy or Richard Mantei participated in that decision. I think Corey and de la Rionda owe us an explanation.

They also inexplicably allowed Chris Serino and Doris Singleton to support George Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. I can understand not wanting to attack a law enforcement agency in order to avoid incurring the probable wrath of other law enforcement agencies. However, once Serino and Singleton turned against the prosecution, Bernie de la Rionda should have torn Serino to shreds by bringing out that he tampered with witnesses to get them to identify George Zimmerman as the person who uttered the terrified death shriek and he set up Tracy Martin at his most vulnerable moment to deny in front of other officers, including Singleton, that he could positively identify Trayvon as the person screaming.

Serino was obviously following orders issued before he arrived at the crime scene. The fix was in and the orders were issued from the top down. He ran that investigation to produce the appearance of an investigation and he only varied from that course of action at the last minute when he realized that the department was not going to get away with not charging Zimmerman. I think he made that decision on his own hoping to save his job and hoping people would not look closely at what he did.

I think he was a trusted player in the corruption game or the Chief would not have put him in charge of the investigation.

Bernie de la Rionda also should have confronted Singleton for wearing awards on her uniform that she had not earned.

The verdict in this case might well have been different if Angela Corey and Bernie de la Rionda had not made these decisions.

The bottom line is Chris Serino and Doris Singleton are corrupt cops in a corrupt police department. They still have their jobs and that suggests that the effort to clean-up the department is only for the sake of appearances.

The prosecution’s decision to allow them to lie and gut their case to justify and conceal how they mishandled the investigation bespeaks a form of intolerable corruption in which Angela Corey and Bernie de la Rionda aided and abetted corrupt police work.

And the end result is that a racist lying psychopath is now free to kill again.

That is why I cannot and will not accept this verdict as legitimate, ever.

This is why I join with LLMPapa in urging Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute George Zimmerman for a hate crime.

I regret to say that I do not believe Zimmerman will be charged with a hate crime. I fear the decision will be made for political reasons rather than on the merits of the case itself.

Assuming I am right that will add even more corruption to a corrupt and shameful case.

At the very least, by speaking truth to power, we draw a line in the sand and declare for all who have eyes to see that we are not fooled by the appearance of justice. We saw through to the corrupt core of this case and in this way we honor Trayvon Martin and his memory.


Prosecution delivers in seventh day of trial in Zimmerman case

July 2, 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Good afternoon:

This was a strong day for the prosecution.

Today’s session began with Judge Nelson instructing the jury to disregard Investigator Chris Serino’s testimony that he believed the defendant told the truth. Judge Nelson had ruled in limine before the trial began that police officers cannot express their personal opinions as to the defendant’s guilt or innocence or whether he told the truth. Defense attorney Mark O’Mara violated that order when he asked Serino if he believed the defendant. Therefore, Judge Nelson properly ordered the jury to disregard Serino’s answer.

If the shoe had been on the other foot and a prosecutor had asked the lead investigator if he believed the defendant when he denied guilt and the answer was “No,” a mistrial would have been declared and the jury would have been sent home. If the error were deemed deliberate (i.e., provoked) because the trial was not going well, the Double Jeopardy Clause would prevent a retrial

Although not much was said about what happened, it was a very serious error and an extremely sleazy move by O’Mara.

In any event, Serino was defending how he handled the case before it was taken away from him. He had formed his opinion based on eye and ear witness testimony, the defendant’s statements, and his recorded NEN call. He did not have the benefit of considering the forensic evidence that has not been introduced yet and the autopsy report.

In a strong redirect, Bernie de la Rionda reviewed several inconsistencies in the defendant’s statements, such as his claims that he forgot the name of one of only three streets in his neighborhood, his claim that he had to walk all the way to Retreat View Circle to look for an address when they were right in front of his face on Twin Trees Lane, and his claim that he did not follow Trayvon Martin even though he admitted that he went in the same direction.

The State played the Hannity interview in which the defendant denied knowing anything about the SYG law, expressed no regrets, and said it was all according to God’s plan. He said he did not believe Trayvon Martin was afraid of him and also said he was not afraid of Trayvon Martin whom he described as “skipping away” instead of running away.

Dr. Valerie Rao, a forensic pathologist and assistant medical examiner testified that the defendant’s injuries to his face were minor and insignificant and could have been caused by a single blow.

The State was going to follow that testimony with the testimony of a professor at the local community college introducing the defendant’s textbook and course work on the law of self-defense and Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. They also had his application for employment with a police force in a county in Virginia and an application to ride-a-long as a civilian with a Sanford police officer.

Defense objected and Judge Nelson gave the defense until tomorrow morning at 8:30 am to prepare a response.

This was a strong day for the prosecution.

(H/T to disappointed for reminding me to include the defendant’s description during the Hannity interview of Trayvon “skipping.”)

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Sixth day of trial ends in Zimmerman case

July 1, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

The sixth day of trial began on a high note for the prosecution with Dr. Hirotaka Nakasone from the FBI testifying that the best chance to identify the source of the scream is by a person familiar with the person’s scream under similar circumstances or extremely stressful circumstances.

Matters proceeded downhill from there with Sanford Police Department Investigator Chris Serino admitting during cross examination by Mark O’Mara that he believed the defendant was telling the truth when he claimed to have killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

Generally speaking a police officer’s opinion regarding whether a suspect is telling the truth, is not admissible and I thought Judge Nelson had granted the State’s motion in limine to prevent what happened today.

This trial is a long way from over, but the State’s case is in trouble if Bernie de la Rionda does not have an effective counter move to what Chris Serino said.

I believe the answer will come from the forensics, which Serino likely did not know at the time he reached that opinion.

Trial resumes tomorrow at 9 am EDT with the continuing cross examination of Chris Serino by Mark O’Mara.

Watch the livestream and join us for the liveblog.

This is getting very interesting.

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Defense mendacity in Zimmerman case is disgusting

May 24, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Good morning:

George Zimmerman’s attorneys, Mark O’Mara and Don West, have unintentionally confirmed this week that they have no defense to present on his behalf by knowingly and intentionally publishing false, irrelevant and inadmissible information about Trayvon Martin to incite white racists to denounce him as a pot smoking black thug who deserved to die.

I used the word “confirmed” because three weeks ago the defendant appeared in open court and waived his right to an immunity hearing. The mixture of false and misleading information released yesterday is not a defense to second degree murder. It’s deliberate character assassination by false statement and innuendo of an unarmed teenager who was stalked, restrained and shot through the heart while screaming for help.

Here’s LLMPapa:

Last I heard, skipping school, pot smoking and participating in refereed fights between equal combatants is not a death penalty offense.

In other news, the defense attorneys filed a flurry of forgettable motions and responses to prosecution motions which, like snowflakes in April, are destined to melt when they hit the ground.

I begin with Donald West’s frivolous, dishonest and intentionally misleading reefer-madness motion that he filed earlier this week arguing that a trace amount of marijuana in Trayvon Martin’s autopsy blood should be admissible to prove that he was the aggressor even though he was unarmed and the defendant stalked, restrained and shot him in the heart.

The defense motion to continue:

1. cites no authority,

2. claims he needs to investigate Dr. Reich (the State’s audio expert who identified Trayvon as the person screaming for help), which takes about an hour if you google him,

3. claims other unnamed experts told him Dr. Reich’s opinion is based on science that has fallen into “disrepute,”

4. fails to support this assertion with an affidavit from one or more of these experts, and

5. claims he needs time to find an expert to hire even though he is supposedly in touch with all of these experts.

This motion is ridiculous and will be denied because it fails to document a reason for a continuance.

O’Mara’s motion for sanctions against Bernie de la Rionda for not disclosing the evidence that the defense obtained from Trayvon’s phone and published in its 3rd evidence dump, is frivolous because the so-called exculpatory evidence that he claims BDLR withheld in violation of the Brady rule is not exculpatory.

Therefore, the Brady rule does not apply and this motion should be denied.

West’s reply to the State’s motion to exclude opinion evidence about the defendant’s guilt or innocence generally admits that witness opinions about the guilt or innocence of a defendant are inadmissible but warns that if the State attempts to attribute the delay in arresting and charging the defendant (which isn’t relevant either), then the State will have opened the door to allowing the defense to call SPD cops to justify what they did.

I don’t believe this issue will come up as it is irrelevant to whether the defendant murdered Trayvon.

Sideline mini-trials about marginally relevant or irrelevant issues are exactly what evidence rule 403 is designed to prevent.

West’s 2-page reply to the State’s motion to exclude the defendant’s self-serving hearsay statements, which does not cite a case, generally agrees that many of the defendant’s statements are hearsay, if offered by the defense, but disagrees with the State’s argument that none of the defendant’s statements are admissible under the res gestae exception or some other exception to the hearsay rule. West asks Judge Nelson to reserve ruling until the issue comes up in trial.

This is a sneaky response because West wants to be able to ask a leading question seeking agreement from a witness that the defendant said XYZ. For example, he might ask SPD Investigator Serino this question:

George told you that he killed Trayvon in self-defense, didn’t he?

Bernie de la Rionda (BDLR) would object to the question because it contains an inadmissible self-serving hearsay statement.

Judge Nelson would sustain the objection, but she cannot unring the bell, so to speak. The jury would have heard the defendant’s inadmissible statement.

He also would probably like to mention that self-serving hearsay statement during the defense opening statement to the jury or maybe during jury selection.

The purpose of the State’s motion in limine regarding the defendant’s self-serving hearsay statements is to prevent those events from happening, and I am reasonably certain Judge Nelson has seen this trick before and is savvy enough to see through West’s tactical deception.

Therefore, I expect she will grant the State’s motion.

BTW, the res gestae exception that West mentions is a limited exception to the hearsay rule similar to the present-sense-impression exception in which the hearsay statement about an event occurs as the event happens. Thus, the statement is part of the event itself or the res gestae and cannot be excised from it.

The State’s motion in limine seeking an order prohibiting the defense from mentioning the voice stress analysis test that the defendant took should be granted because that’s the legal rule in Florida and elsewhere. The rule is based on the lack of general agreement among scientists that this type of test can consistently produce accurate and reliable results.

In other words, the test violates the Frye Rule.

Judge Nelson should grant this motion.

The State’s 3rd motion for a gag order asks Judge Nelson to put an end to the defense effort to poison the jury pool by assassinating Trayvon Martin’s good character with false evidence and innuendo publicized after the jury pool of 500 people have received their notices to report for jury service on June 10, 2013.

It is no accident that the defense waited until after the 500 potential jurors were served with their notices, but before they report for jury service. Therefore, this was a deliberate tactic to create an unringing the bell problem regarding false, irrelevant, and inadmissible evidence.

A gag order will not unring the bell.

This is quite possibly the sleaziest tactic that I have ever seen. To intentionally poison a jury pool a couple of weeks before trial with false and misleading information about the victim of a homicide calculated to incite and unite White racists to approve of the execution of an unarmed Black teenager is astonishing.

These two lawyers are fortunate that I am not Judge Nelson because I would jail them for contempt of court and file complaints against the bar association requesting their disbarment from the practice of law.

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Featuring: Willis Newton regarding Zimmerman and the good-cop good-cop interview technique

March 25, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Willis Newton posted an excellent comment at 11:37 pm last night on the open thread regarding the defendant and the good-cop good-cop interview technique.

The only correction that I feel a need to point out is that a criminal defense lawyer would have advised the defendant to shut his mouth. There are no exceptions to that rule.

This full-of-himself intellectually challenged defendant caused irreparable damage to his case when he decided that he could talk his way out of being charged with killing Trayvon Martin. Once he got going, he could not stop and the pièce de résistance was the Shawn Hannity interview.

State’s Attorney Angela Corey and Assistant State’s Attorney Bernie de la Rionda did the right thing when they declined to talk to the defendant as they are ethically prohibited from talking to a defendant represented by counsel, even if the defendant initiates the contact.

George was handled by Serino and Singleton of the SPD in a manner I’d call “good cop/ good cop.” Both tried to be amicable and played to his vanity and let him think they were his “buddies.” This was not because they believed him, it was because this attitude kept George “cooperating” by continuing to make multiple statements without a lawyer present, after being advised of his right to refuse to answer any questions without a lawyer present.

Let me just say this now – anyone, ESPECIALLY innocent people, but anyone, anyone is a fool if you let the cops question you without a lawyer present. They are NOT your friends, no matter how many times they let you go to the bathroom or buy you a cola from a vending machine. They are doing their job, which is to get you to talk yourself into a criminal conviction.

George bought the routine hook line and sinker. He was a fool for giving so many statements, as it became very cleat quickly that he was pushing a false narrative and telling a story that was fraught with inconsistencies, critical omissions and clear contradictions.

One thing he was tricked with was the “voice stress test,” which is a useless and pointless exercise that proves NOTHING and is never admissible in a court of law. George agreed to the test because he thought the cops were believing his lies, and his ego told him that he could and should “talk his way out of this one” since the cops were seemingly sympathetic to his plight. The real and true purpose of the voice stress test was to get George to run through his whole (false) narrative one more time with as little interruption as possible. The “test taker” was simply a new interrogator, but one whose job it was to feign disinterest as he asked George “on background” to relate his tale so the test taker could “set up the voice stress machine.”

Notice that “as they waited for the tester” the cops also let GZ sit around for a long quiet period with detective Singleton. This too is a deliberate session of evidence-gathering that detectives use on a regular basis – put the guy at ease but do anything to keep him from calling a lawyer -just keep him making statements.

She’s being mostly quiet so that he will KEEP talking to fill the uncomfortable silence. It’s here that he made the telling remarks about how “suspects” need to respond to “authority” but that he thinks Singleton “doesn’t have to worry” about that since she has such a commanding presence, or whatever it is that he says exactly. I’m paraphrasing a bit here, but it was a telling moment and I predict will be shown to the jury as part of the overall portrait the prosecution is going to paint to color him as a wanna-be authority figure who had no legal right to profile and pursue a teen to the point where the child fled in terror, and then for GZ to leave his vehicle with a loaded weapon and continue on foot after him into the proverbial “dark alley.”

Whatever the reason the police let him go home that first night, Serino made certain that GZ was going to “keep cooperating.” Letting him go home was a gamble, but one that paid off well since the next day GZ cooperated AGAIN without having a lawyer present and did a “re-eneactment” for the detectives that was less than credible, and again made for several very telling moments that could be presented to a jury to show his lack of credibility at the least. George told provable lies about where he pulled over his car and how his car ended up near the cut thru when he got out of it and started following the teen. Then he massively contradicted his many earlier accounts when he suddenly added the “I must have stumbled” portion of the account of the “first punch” that may or may not have even happened. Each time he’d previously spoke of this alleged blow to his face, he described things like falling backwards, and how he was knocked IMMEDIATELY to the ground before “Trayvon mounted him” as George alleges the teen did. Suddenly George has to insert a 40 foot “stumble” right in the middle of where he wished he could again claim he was knocked to the ground where he stood.

Keep in mind if George had waited for his lawyer to be present, the lawyer would likely advise him to make ONE statement that was carefully crafted and then to refuse to cooperate any further. I’m not certain about this but imagine if GZ had called a lawyer and kept his mouth mostly shut. He may have spent a few nights in jail, but it would be more difficult to impeach his credibility, a key component of his upcoming murder trial. He may have even avoided a trial altogether. His own words are what is going to sink his ship.

After the “re-enactment” the detectives confronted him about his inconsistencies in the harshest session of questioning, but as you listen to the recording keep in mind they are careful to frame their disbelief and harsh questions by mentioning the need for George to “keep his story straight for later” essentially as if what was happening contemporaneously was his “cop buddies” leading him down the path to freedom and insider treatment. They don’t QUITE pull off the whole ruse of buddy-buddy, partially because his lies are too difficult to swallow but also because George is so suspicious and guarded in his words. But the detectives still act as though “this is all just so we can set the record straight” and that George is “gonna be fine probably” etc.

Never do the SPD detectives posture that they are “holding him for questioning.” It’s always that they are “allowing him to make a statement,” or some such polite way of putting things, as though his cooperation is helping them seal the fate of the dead “suspect” who “attacked” him. This is how “good cop/ good cop” works.

Someone in the SPD made the call that George “should be handled with kid gloves” and also let go to sleep in his own bed. It was a pragmatic decision since at the beginning the detectives saw they lacked a good witness to the events from start to finish and that GZ killed the only other person who they thought heard the start of the fight. Keep in mind they had yet to learn that TM was on the phone at the time the fight started.

The fact that George kept in touch with Serino while he was out and not facing a grand jury or criminal charges is a sign that Serino had gained some measure of his trust. Before GZ called Angela Corey he also had been speaking with Serino. I am guessing its likely GZ asked Serino something obsequious like “do you think it might be a good idea if I were to call the state’s attorney and let them know (what a good boy I am) etc?” Serino knew he was pretty much off the case by then but tried to keep the “good cop” ruse going.

Recall the two clown lawyers who weren’t really his lawyers? I also am guessing one of both of them, idiots that they were, knew enough to try to advise George of the folly of trying to consider Angela Corey his new buddy. Whatever the timing and whomever was advising George, he didn’t get his chance to cozy up to the special prosecutor because the state wisely refused to see him at all until he retained a lawyer. He called Corey but she wouldn’t take that call IIRC.

So in answer to the question, “what was he thinking when he tried to see Corey?” I’d say the guess is probably right that he still felt like he could talk his way out the jam he was in. (SO far, so good, he felt.) He’d killed the only real witness to his car-to-pedestrian chase and was fairly sure no one saw how the physical altercation began. Somehow he’d gotten the lucky break of having someone, Shellie probably, move his car away before it could be searched or its location noted. (which way was it facing? He could be lying about that but we don’t know, and we may never know.)

His arrogance is staggering, but his gullibility is as well. IMO Serino did a good job of “handling” George. He may have made other mistakes but in this regard his strategy was a wise one. And the special prosecutor made the wise call that despite George possibly being willing to come make more “statements” that he’s been given enough rope to hang himself with already. They knew the statements he’d given the SPD and they felt they had enough already to paint him as the two-bit liar that he is.

If Serino ever gets a book deal, I’ll buy his book. He’d got things to answer for, but keep in mind he looked into GZ’s eyes and read his body language, heard his story, walked the grounds with him and then looked again into his eyes as George was confronted with the NEN call recording and several of his contradictory statements. If anyone in the world knows whether or not to believe GZ it’s detective Chris Serino, who wanted to charge him with murder and was willing to settle for manslaughter but NEVER felt GZ was in the clear.


Jose Baez should not comment about Zimmerman case

March 10, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I do not believe it is appropriate for Jose Baez to comment publicly on the Zimmerman case for Channel 6 or any other form of media.

Since Baez represents Chris Serino, who was in charge of the investigation of Trayvon Martin’s death, he has a duty to vigorously represent Serino’s best interests at all times, even after he no longer actively represents him.

Baez also has a duty to maintain client confidentiality which precludes him from sharing inside information that he obtained from Serino.

I do not see any way that Baez can honestly and reasonable comply with his duties to his client while commenting as an independent expert regarding the investigation and the defendant’s likely guilt or innocence.

There will be times when his duties to his client prevent him from commenting honestly and independently about certain aspects of the case and he will have to cheat one way or the other when he expresses an opinion.

That situation creates a conflict of interest that violates the rules of professional responsibility.

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Do not fail to see the forest for the trees in Zimmerman case

March 3, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Greetings to everyone.

I write today to present a simple theory of the case that illustrates the KISS rule.

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed murder in the second degree when he killed Trayvon Martin. That is, that shooting Trayvon was “an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life.” See 782.04(2), Fla.Stat.

The jury will be provided with these definitions to apply in deciding whether the prosecution satisfied its burden of proof:

An “act” includes a series of related actions arising from and performed pursuant to a single design or purpose.

An act is “imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind” if it is an act or series of acts that:

1. a person of ordinary judgment would know is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily injury to another, and

2. is done from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent, and

3. is of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.

In order to convict of Second Degree Murder, it is not necessary for the State to prove the defendant had an intent to cause death.

(Florida Supreme Court Pattern Jury Instruction 7.4)

Notice that the prosecution is not required to prove that the defendant intended to kill Trayvon or that he violated any law by following him.

Notice too that, given this set of definitions, the killing would constitute an act “imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life,” if the jury finds that the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.

For the following reasons, I believe that the evidence will establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was the aggressor.

We can tell from the NEN recording that he got out of his vehicle to follow Trayvon because he admitted that he did.

He also agreed not to follow him when the dispatcher told him “We don’t need you to do that.”

We know that he lost Trayvon because he admitted that he did not know where he was after he said, “He ran.”

We know that he was frustrated and feared Trayvon would escape because he said, “fucking coons” (or punks, if you prefer) and “these assholes, they always get away.”

We know that he disregarded the dispatcher’s admonition to not follow Trayvon because he asked the dispatcher to tell the officer en route to call him on his cell phone after he arrived in the neighborhood, instead of agreeing to meet him at a specific location, such as the clubhouse or his parked vehicle.

We know he lied to the police when he said Trayvon emerged from behind some bushes and jumped him at the T-intersection of the sidewalks as he was walking back to his parked vehicle because there are no bushes there. Also, Trayvon’s body and the spent shell casing ejected from his KelTec 9 semiautomatic were found 40 feet south of the T-intersection, which is inconsistent with his claim that the shooting occurred where he was knocked to the ground.

There are many other problems with the defendant’s statements that we have identified and discussed ad nauseum. Suffice to say that the evidence I have mentioned here is sufficient to establish that the defendant followed Trayvon in his vehicle, lost him when Trayvon ran out of sight behind a row of townhouses, got out of his vehicle, ran after him with the intent of finding him and preventing his escape, and subsequently lied to police when he denied following him insisting instead that Trayvon jumped him at the T-intersection as he was walking back to his vehicle.

Since he was hunting with the intent of preventing this particular “fucking coon” (or fucking punk, if you prefer) and this particular “asshole” from getting away and lied about that to the police, I do not believe the jury will have any difficulty concluding that he killed Trayvon during an attempt to prevent him from getting away.

However, the defendant had no legal cause to touch, much less physically restrain Trayvon.

Trayvon, on the other hand, had the legal right to use reasonable force to resist the defendant’s use of force to restrain him.

Nevertheless, I do not believe Trayvon attempted to hit the defendant or slam his head against a cement sidewalk because no trace of the defendant’s blood or DNA was found on his fingernail clippings or on the lower sleeves of the two sweatshirts he was wearing. Even if he did, however, the injuries were minor and required no stitches and the defendant declined several offers by EMTs and police to take him to the ER for a check-up.

Those minor injuries were insufficient to create a reasonable fear in the defendant’s mind that he was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. This conclusion is amply supported by his vital signs, which were all normal a mere 15 minutes after the shooting.

If I were the judge deciding this case instead of a jury, I would enter the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law based on the evidence I have discussed.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. the defendant created the situation that ended with Trayvon’s death;

2. the defendant never told Trayvon who he was or that he was a neighborhood watch person, despite at least two opportunities to do so as noted by Investigator Chris Serino in his capias request;

3. Trayvon was a guest staying at Brandi Green’s residence and had a right to be where he was at all times relevant to this tragedy;

4. the defendant believed Trayvon was “up to no good” even though Trayvon was not engaged in any suspicious activity;

5. The defendant followed Trayvon first in his vehicle and then on foot with the intent of preventing him from escaping from the neighborhood as other “fucking coons” (or fucking punks, if you prefer) and “assholes” had done in the past.

6. The defendant was the aggressor and had no legal basis or reason to touch, much less use any force against Trayvon to restrain or detain him for any purpose;

7. Trayvon would have been justified in using reasonably necessary force to stand his ground and prevent the use of force against him, including using deadly force since deadly force was used against him.

8. There is no credible evidence that Trayvon ever struck or injured the defendant, but if he did, his use of force was lawful and justified in self-defense.

9. The defendant’s injuries were minor and he was never in imminent danger of death or suffering serious injury.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

1. The defendant was the aggressor at all times relevant to this confrontation and his use of force was unlawful.

2. The defendant’s aggressive course of conduct and his use of deadly force by shooting Trayvon Martin in the heart without lawful justification was an act “imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life.”

3. The defendant committed the crime of Murder in the Second degree.

In conclusion, I want everyone to realize that arguments regarding whether the dispatcher had the authority to order the defendant to not follow Trayvon, or whether the defendant violated any law by following Trayvon, are irrelevant.

The relevant issues are what did the defendant do and what did he intend to do when he did it. For example, it does not matter whether the dispatcher had the legal authority to order him to not follow Trayvon. What matters is that he agreed not to follow Trayvon while he was running after him, he kept on hunting for him until he found him, and then he lied about it to the police because he wanted them to believe he had complied with the dispatcher’s request.

Do not fail to see the forest for the trees.

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Lawyer Games and Trayvon Martin’s “Missing” GPS Data for February 26, 2012

February 1, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

Good afternoon to all of you.

The topic today: Lawyer Games and Trayvon Martin’s “Missing” GPS Data for February 26, 2012.

I have played my fair share of lawyer games over the years and I must admit that the adrenaline rush from winning a round of Gotcha! can become quite intoxicating and addictive. We have what appears to be a splendid game afoot between Mark O’Mara and Bernie de la Rionda.

Allow me to briefly set the stage.

MOM kicked off to BDLR with a Motion to Continue (the trial date). He wrings his hands and whines incessantly for fifteen pages about how the prosecution has so inconvenienced the defense that it cannot possibly be ready to try this case on the scheduled trial date of June 10, 2013.

BDLR’s response paints a very different picture of the prosecution cooperating with the defense by waiving the subpoena requirement and producing its witnesses for deposition only to have MOM cancel entire days of scheduled depositions at the last minute.

Then he kicks him where the Sun don’t shine by asking rhetorically if the real reason MOM filed the defense motion was to get more time to replenish the internet fund.

I urge all of you to read MOM’s motion and BDLR’s response because they are instructive and entertaining.

I am going to focus on one small part of the motion. On page 8, MOM asserts that on January 8th, he was provided with “an enormous amount of additional information” obtained from Trayvon Martin’s cell phone by CelleBrite, a company in New Jersey that claims to be able to obtain logical and physical information from cell phones. The information Cellebrite obtained was in addition to information obtained by the FDLE and a California law enforcement agency.

So far so good. However, there may be a catch. MOM complains that, although he has been provided with GPS data for the month of February 2012, he was not provided with any GPS data for the date of February 26th, the date of the murder. Apparently, the GPS data that has been provided is more accurate than we knew.

Damn! What a teaser. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

If I were O’Mara, I would proceed very cautiously because it looks and feels like gossamer-thin ice, a trap set for the unwary in the Gotcha! game.

I noticed that BDLR did not respond to MOM’s claim that the GPS data for the only date that matters in this case is missing.

I commented earlier:

“We have no choice except to wait until the Tuesday court hearing, because neither BDLR nor the FDLE have responded in writing regarding O’Mara’s claim about the “missing” GPS phone data for 2/26.

My best guess now, given MOM’s characterization of the data that was retrieved by CelleBrite, the New Jersey company that specializes in retrieving information from cell phones, as “an enormous amount of additional information” (i.e., additional to the information obtained by FDLE and a California LE agency), is that that information annihilates the defendant’s narrative of what happened.

In other words, Game, Set, Match!

Assuming I am right, that would be a rather brilliant strategic move by BDLR to put MOM in a position where he publicly demands to know something that BDLR will now reveal in open court on Tuesday, thoroughly demolishing the defense.

The defense may need to have an ambulance standing by at the ready.”

It’s not as if the defense has not asked for such rude treatment. MOM’s behavior must be especially galling to BDLR, who is limited to responding in court to issues properly before the court. MOM’s incessant whining, added to his blatantly dishonest effort to try the case in the court of public opinion would try Job’s patience, and I do not get the feeling that BDLR is a patient man.

Wise man say:

If you keep drawing a target on your chin while daring your enemy to hit you, sooner or later he will break your jaw and put you in the hospital.

This thinly disguised effort to get more time to replenish the defense coffers by falsely blaming the prosecution for the need to continue the trial date may have been the last straw.

After all, as with all of his miseries, the defendant has only himself to blame.

Any complaint about lack of money should draw a comment about the $100 grand that went to a bail bondsman because the defendant and his wife lied to the Court about their funds.

Any complaint about being pressed for time and needing a continuance should draw a comment that the multiple month delay last summer was caused by the defendant and his wife lying to the Court about their funds.

Back in December we saw BDLR fire a couple of shots across the defense bow with his reference to two identifiable voices in the background of a 911 call and his reference to Chris Serino’s multiple capias drafts recommending that the defendant be charged with murder 2 and eventually manslaughter. That silenced MOM until last week when he moved for the continuance.

Whether or not this is a Gotcha! game, the prosecution has to turn over all exculpatory information that it has as well as all information obtained from the phone that it intends to introduce at trial. I seriously doubt that any information obtained from that phone is exculpatory. I believe the information from 2/26, assuming that it has been retrieved from the phone, will be introduced at trial. Therefore, the prosecution must provide it.

If they were unable to retrieve it, they are going to have to explain why.

I do know this: If the defendant had not squandered so much money and defense counsel had used it for its proper purpose and retained a phone technology expert, we might not be having this conversation.

Assuming I have called this one right, BDLR will have delivered a mighty fine birthday present to Trayvon and his family on his 18th birthday.


Speak the Truth Chris Serino for Yourself and for Trayvon

December 13, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Do the right thing Chris Serino.

Do it for the innocent kid who did not deserve to be executed for walking home after dark in the rain carrying a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles for his little brother and talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone.

Speak the truth.

You and I both know that you did the wrong thing when you “corrected” ear witnesses at the scene of the murder that night and told them that the person shrieking for his life was the defendant and not Trayvon Martin.

The defendant, not Trayvon, carried that gun to the party and, despite knowing Tim Smith was on his way and due to arrive within minutes, he deliberately provoked the confrontation by getting out of his dry and warm vehicle and pursued Trayvon in the rain and cold until he found him and killed him.

You know that what I say is true.

You went through a gut-wrenching crisis investigating this case, didn’t you?

You started out to put this case to bed, but in spite of your efforts, it did not work out for you, did it?

Chief Lee and State Attorney Wolfinger are pursuing other interests and spending more time with their families.

You’re working the graveyard shift, but at least you saved your job.

You saw the tsunami coming in time to get to high ground.

You’re a survivor.

And you’re smart.

But your life on that graveyard shift is empty and cold, isn’t it?

How often do you think of Trayvon and feel his terror in those final moments before the defendant blew him away and left him alone and dying in the wet and cold?

I’ll bet he haunts you even when you are awake and his shriek is branded to your soul.

No one is perfect, Chris.

As long as our hearts beat and we continue to breathe, we have the possibility for redemption.

I believe and I believe you do too.

I know I do not have to explain to you what it means to have a come-to-Jesus moment.

Whether you realized it or not at the time, you committed to that path on March 13, 2012, exactly nine months ago today, when you wrote those three drafts, eventually recommending the State Attorney prosecute the defendant for manslaughter.

Well, you have arrived.

It’s time to stand-up and be the hero you always wanted to be, no matter the consequences to you personally.

Finish what you started nine months ago.

Do it for yourself.

Do it for Trayvon.

Speak the truth.


Judge Nelson Denies Defendant’s Motions to Modify and Clarify Conditions of Release in Trayvon Martin Murder Case: UPDATED with LLMPapa’s Latest Video

December 11, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 1212

Judge Nelson denied the defendant’s motions to modify and to clarify the conditions of his release.

The defendant’s motion to modify the conditions of his release was a request to terminate GPS monitoring and lift the travel restrictions. After Mark O’Mara opened by asserting the defendant’s innocence and supporting that claim with his revisionist history of the case, including waving a document with color copies side by side of the two manipulated photographs of the front and back of the defendant’s head, Bernie de la Rionda mocked the request with a righteous rant about the defendant’s desire to travel so that he could appear in public and sell more copies of his autograph.

He also mentioned that Jose Baez had turned over two memos from Chris Serino dated early in the investigation when Serino and others were considering recommending that the defendant be charged with second degree murder.

Judge Nelson denied the motion without comment.

The defendant’s motion to clarify the conditions of his release was an effort to obtain permission to contact friends. Judge Nelson denied the motion noting that Judge Lester had imposed the conditions and there had not been any material change of circumstances to alter those conditions. She noted parenthetically that she did not see any prohibition in the order that would not allow him to contact his friends.

In other words, the motion was a waste of the court’s time.

An earlier motion asking the court to order the prosecution to disclose the identities of all witnesses who had identified the defendant as the person screaming in the background of the 911 call was resolved by agreement of the parties.

There was no argument about the defendant’s motion to seal the defendant’s emails, text messages and journal entries. Apparently, the motion was not timely and will be taken up at the next motions hearing.

The next motions hearing is scheduled for January 8, 2013.

UPDATE: LLMPapa’s latest video.


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