Zimmerman: Judge rules that evidence published by defense last week is not relevant or admissible

May 28, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Good afternoon:

Judge Nelson denied the defense motion for a continuance of the trial.

None of the information about Trayvon, which caused the big hullabaloo last week after the defense improperly released it for publication to the Orlando Sentinel, will be admitted into evidence at the trial because all of it is irrelevant and inadmissible.

However, Judge Nelson granted O’Mara’s request for an evidentiary hearing on his motion for sanctions against BDLR for alleged discovery violations pertaining to that information. Unfortunately, she had to continue the hearing to June 6th because O’Mara did not have all of the witnesses he needed to present his case.

I do not believe that he has a legitimate argument, since the evidence is not admissible at trial or exculpatory, and the prosecution disclosed it to the defense in timely fashion back in January. O’Mara claims that the disclosure was not timely because he was provided with raw data that he could not interpret.

However, he specifically asked for raw data, which is a proper request, and he should have retained an expert and/or the software program that is used to interpret it. His failure to do that cannot be blamed on BDLR.

FYI: Defense counsel should routinely ask for raw data, since it is the actual result and less susceptible to misinterpretation. Note that O’Mara waited until after the panel of 500 potential jurors were summoned to jury service. His delay in filing his motion for sanctions suggests that he was more interested in gaining a tactical advantage with that motion than he was in obtaining an interpretation of the raw data.

Judge Nelson granted the defense request for a Frye hearing regarding the admissibility of expert testimony identifying the person who uttered the terrified death shriek. She scheduled the hearing for June 6th and 7th and will permit expert witnesses on both sides to testify by videophone.

The defense still has not endorsed any expert witnesses. Remains to be seen, if any legitimate experts will disagree with the State’s experts and if they have the money to pay an expert. I doubt that they do.

At a press conference after the hearing, Robert Zimmerman, Jr. aggressively promoted the conspiracy theory that I wrote about in my last post.

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Zimmerman: The State’s motions in limine should be granted

May 15, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Good morning:

I have reviewed the State’s 9 motions in limine and listed them below for easy reference. They are consistent with existing law and contain nothing surprising or controversial. I expect Judge Nelson will grant all of them.

On multiple occasions during the past year, I have mentioned the issues raised by each motion, identified the correct legal rule to apply to resolve each motion, and predicted the outcome. Using this case as context, let’s briefly review each of the 9 motions to see how well we understand why and how lawyers use them to solve problems and gain a tactical advantage.

1. STATE’S MOTION REQUESTING COURT TO ORDER DEFENDANT TO COMPLY WITH THEIR DISCOVERY OBLIGATIONS.

(This motion alerts the Court that the defense has not been complying with its reciprocal discovery obligations in timely fashion and asks for an order directing the defense to correct that situation as soon as possible).

2. STATE’S MOTION IN LIMINE REGARDING TRAYVON MARTIN

(This motion seeks an order prohibiting the defense from mentioning any oral or written statements or conduct by Trayvon Martin regarding school suspensions, use of marijuana or fighting. The State also asks Judge Nelson to prohibit the defense from referring to Trayvon wearing a set of false gold teeth, his school and performance records, his use of social media, and his use of text messages that he sent or received before the murder. The State argues that none of this evidence is admissible.

3. STATE’S MOTION IN LIMINE REGARDING SELF-SERVING HEARSAY STATEMENTS OF DEFENDANT

(This motion refers to the important distinction between the admission-by-a-party-opponent rule, which permits the prosecution to introduce some or all of the defendant’s statements, but prohibits the defense from using them because they are hearsay)

4. STATE’S RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR EVIDENTIARY HEARING

(This is the defendant’s motion for a Frye Hearing regarding the admissibility of expert testimony about the methods used to clean-up the sound quality of the 911 call)

5. STATE’S MOTION TO LIMIT/EXCLUDE IMPROPER OPINION EVIDENCE

(This motion seeks to exclude improper opinion evidence regarding the defendant’s guilt or innocence elicited from SPD officials who investigated Trayvon Marin’s death.)

6. STATE’S MOTION IN LIMINE REGARDING PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

(This motion seeks to prevent the State defense from informing the jury that the defendant did not have a prior record because it’s irrelevant)

7. STATE’S MOTION IN LIMINE REGARDING OPINION AS TO APPROPRIATE PENALTY OR DISREGARD OF LAW

(This motion seeks to prohibit the defense from telling the jury about the possible length of sentence and arguing for jury nullification)

8. STATE’S MOTION IN LIMINE REGARDING CALLING OF WITNESSES

(This motion seeks to prevent the defense from arguing to the jury that, if the State fails to call a witness on its list, the jury should assume the witness’s testimony would have been different.)

9. STATE’S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER/MOTION IN LIMINE REGARDING TOXICOLOGY

(This motion seeks to prohibit the defense from mentioning that a trace of marijuana was detected in Trayvon’s blood. The evidence would be irrelevant because the trace amount was too low to impair functioning)

NOTICE OF HEARING – DATE: 05/28/2013 – TIME: 0900AM – CTRM: 5D