Zimmerman defense stumbled into money trap

May 19, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

ChrisNY~Laurie said,

Why haven’t we seen any reciprocal discovery? I’d like to see what the defense has turned over to the State. Do we not get to see reciprocal discovery?

The Defense has expert witness’ that they would like to call via video conferencing at the next hearing, and filed a motion for approval. Does the Judge approve or deny this motion before the next hearing date or wait and tell them during the hearing when she gets to that motion? I haven’t even seen a motion in reply from the State yet, so maybe they have no objections to this. I don’t see how they don’t considering the defense did not name these experts, unless they did through emails or something.

Let’s not place the cart before the horse. Judge Nelson first has to decide whether to grant the defense motion for a Frye hearing. She will decide that motion at the hearing on May 28th.

I do not believe she will grant the motion because O’Mara has not made a proper showing. He needs affidavits from experts asserting that the technology/methodology used by the prosecution’s experts is not generally accepted in the relevant scientific community (i.e., audiologists). He hasn’t done that.

If she were to grant the motion, however, I do not believe she would conduct it via video conferencing. Cross examining someone on a video screen is not the same as cross examining them in person when the witness is not on his own turf with support at the ready off camera. I do not believe Bernie de la Rionda would agree to O’Mara’s request. I certainly would object if I were the prosecutor. I do not believe Judge Nelson would grant O’Mara’s request over de la Rionda’s objection.

O’Mara appears to be caught up in a money trap caused by frivolous expenditures of internet contributions and now he cannot afford experts.

Too bad, so sad.

The answer, as I have been suggesting for several months, is to attempt to get the defendant declared indigent so that the court will pay for the experts, but O’Mara and his client do not want to go there.

I suspect the reason is they do not want the internet fund shut down and turned over to the Court for reimbursement.

Greed and stupidity are quite the double whammy.

They have only themselves to blame.

_________________________________________________

I hate to hassle people for money, but contributions have been lagging this month.

Writing articles every day and maintaining the integrity and safety of this site from people who would like nothing better than to silence us forever is a tough job requiring many hours of work.

If you like this site, please consider making a secure donation via Paypal by clicking the yellow donation button in the upper right corner just below the search box.

Thank you,

Fred


What About that Missing GPS Data?

February 6, 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Leander said at 9:10 am today:

“Obviously, when Dee Dee made her statement she had heard GZ NEN call. We would have a much better scenario concerning her statements, had SPD done it’s job and interviewed her earlier. On the other hand, they had troubles to get at the phone due to the password. That’s the crux.”

I do not agree.

I do not believe Dee Dee had listened to the NEN call before Ben Crump interviewed her. IIRC, it was not released to the public until much later. The SPD had a lot of investigative work to do interviewing witnesses and processing the crime scene. If they even thought about it, checking the phone log probably would have been a low priority item on the to-do list, until after Ben Crump revealed that Dee Dee had been talking to Trayvon when the defendant stalked and assaulted him.

While it’s theoretically possible that the GPS data for the day of the murder might help the defense, I doubt that it does because we would have seen the defense lawyers congratulating their client and we would have seen him smiling or smirking at the news.

Instead, we saw gloom, doom, resignation, desperation and a visible dislike for the client that is more consistent with bad news for the defense. I cannot imagine that MOM would have failed to mention that the GPS data exculpated the defendant, given his propensity to try the case in the court of public opinion. He would have mentioned it in support of his argument for a continuance, if it existed, instead of waving around an insignificant bar-chart during an extemporaneous and rambling plea for a continuance.

He did not give a coherent answer when she put him on the spot and asked him to provide a specific reason why he needed a continuance. The best he could do was to squeak about not having any experts even though the defense team’s mismanagement of funds is the reason why it has no money to hire experts.

If the GPS data did not exist, or if it were uninterpretable, I think BDLR would have disclosed that in open court to Judge Nelson, defense counsel and the public. He did not do that. Instead, he graciously offered “to connect the dots” for the defense, but they did not rise to the bait.

That tells me the GPS data hurts the defense, badly.

The only reason that I can think of to explain why no one touched this issue and the body language of the defense team, including the lawyers turning their backs on the defendant and leaving him behind sitting forlornly at counsel table as they left the courtroom, is that the evidence devastates his story.

To his credit, I think BDLR resisted the urge to play “Gotcha” and I respect him for that.

He has the trump card. He knows he has it, and the defendant knows it too.

Now, we do too.

The defense team is up the proverbial creek without a paddle, unless the skies suddenly open releasing a downpour of dollars into the defense coffers. I recommend not betting the ranch that will happen.

The defendant is indigent or soon will be. He cannot adequately prepare for trial without an investigator and multiple experts. They do not work for free and he cannot afford them.

Under these circumstances, his lawyers need to file a motion asking Judge Nelson to find him indigent and sign an order allowing him to proceed in forma pauperis.

The sooner the better.

Unless, of course, the defendant pleads guilty.


The Defendant Should Claim He is Indigent in the Trayvon Martin Murder Case

January 30, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I write today to comment on the defense team’s financial situation in the Trayvon Martin murder case. I wrote about this recently in What Happens if the Defendant Claims Indigence and his Lawyers Ask to Withdraw?

As everyone here knows, internet donors have contributed more than $200,000 to the defendant for his defense costs via Paypal and that money has been deposited into a trust account that is being managed by an independent third-party trustee. I believe approximately $200,000 has been paid for the defendant’s and his wife’s living and security expenses.

The defendant’s two lawyers, Mark O’Mara and Don West, claim they are working pro bono. This means they are not billing for the time they spend working on the case.

This does not mean that they are not billing for their costs, however, which will include money spent for investigation, expert witnesses, court reporters and transcripts of depositions. These costs could exceed $100,000 before this case is done.

Associated Investigative Services (AIS) filed suit in December against Mark O’Mara, the defendant and his wife for breach of contract alleging that they had refused to pay AIS approximately $27,000 for security and investigation services rendered pursuant to a contract negotiated and agreed to by O’Mara on behalf of the defendant. O’Mara filed an answer to the complaint apparently admitting the contract, but claiming that he advised AIS in August that a trustee was managing the account and conserving funds to pay substantial anticipated defense expenses.

The failure to pay AIS necessarily raises concerns regarding the solvency of the defense trust account and the ability of the defense to pay the “substantial anticipated defense expenses” that O’Mara mentioned.

In addition to comments about the significance of the AIS lawsuit, many of you have asked whether the donations to the account are nontaxable gifts or taxable as income to the defendant. I wrote about this back in May or June and said I believed they were nontaxable gifts, but I am not an expert in tax law, so I could be mistaken.

Grey Winter Sky provided this link in a comment this morning to an article in Forbes Magazine last June that reached the same conclusion that I did. Since the decision is up to the IRS, subject to the outcome of any appeals, we could both end up wrong.

Jun quoted Wikipedia to support his conclusion that the donations are taxable income. He said,

“According to wikipedia, Fogenhats’ defense fund does not count as a gift, so he has to pay taxes

“In the United States, the gift tax is governed by Chapter 12, Subtitle B of the Internal Revenue Code. The tax is imposed by section 2501 of the Code.[2] For the purposes of taxable income, courts have defined a “gift” as the proceeds from a “detached and disinterested generosity.”

For the time being, I am going to stick with my initial opinion that the donations are nontaxable to the defendant.

(The donors may have to pay a tax, depending on the amount they donate, but that is a different issue and beyond the scope of this article.)

Regardless whether the defendant has to pay an income tax on the donations, and if he does it would be a substantial amount, I am concerned whether there is enough money in the account to pay “the substantial anticipated defense expenses.”

O’Mara recently estimated the balance in the account had dropped to around $15,000 and there is no way that that amount will cover “the substantial anticipated defense expenses” as well as the continued living and security expenses.

I suspect the civil suit against NBC was filed with the hope that NBC would settle the case quickly and the settlement amount would be added to the trust account to give some breathing room to the defense team. I doubt the case will settle because the claims against NBC and its reporters, even if true, do not establish that they caused any compensable harm to the defendant. He, and not the reporters, called Trayvon Martin a “fucking asshole” and a “fucking coon.” That is what I hear on the NEN recording and I am not alone. Therefore, that lawsuit is going nowhere.

I do not know if the defense continues to receive donations, but if they have slowed to a trickle as I imagine they have, then the defense is going to have to make a very important decision soon.

Hoping that future donations will be sufficient to pay “the substantial anticipated defense expenses” is not a viable and responsible strategy. It’s called gambling.

Sooner or later and preferably sooner rather than later, I believe the defense is going to have to claim indigency and seek an order permitting the defendant to proceed in forma pauperis. If granted, the court would appoint and compensate defense investigators and experts at substantially reduced rates.

No doubt such a move would cause an enormous loss of face for the defense, but that is infinitely more preferable than proceeding to trial without the assistance of defense investigators or experts.

Moreover, a conviction obtained without the assistance of defense investigators and experts might be reversed for ineffective assistance of counsel and that is a result that no one, except a convicted defendant, would desire.


%d bloggers like this: