Donald West files frivolous, dishonest and intentionally misleading document in Zimmerman case

May 22, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Good afternoon:

The defense filed a silly and offensive motion yesterday in the Trayvon Martin murder case titled, Defendant’s Reply to State’s Motion for Protective Order/Motion in Limine Regarding Toxicology.

I call it silly and offensive because it makes the absurd argument that the presence of a trace amount of marijuana in Trayvon Martin’s autopsy blood sample makes it more probable than not (i.e., the test for relevancy) that Trayvon Martin attacked the defendant without provocation and attempted to beat him to death with his bare hands.

Welcome back to 1936 and Reefer Madness. Come on, son!

The State seeks to exclude any testimony regarding Trayon Martin’s toxicology report that shows the use of marijuana around the time of his death, February 26, 2012. As part of the autopsy protocol, the Medical Examiner submitted Trayvon Maritin’s blood for laboratory analysis. Among the findings includes a positive level for THC and its metabolites. The active THC was measured at 1.5 ng/ml whereas the metabolite was measured at 7.3 ng/ml. This level is sufficient to cause some impairment (although it is connsidered to be less than that required for a DUI arrest) according to the state’s toxicologist, Dr. Bruce Goldberger. At his deposition, Dr. Goldberger cited to the research of Dr. Marilyn Heustis, who studies the residual effect of marijuana on cognitive functioning. Dr. Heustis has found that measurable impairment continues for days or weeks in chronic users. Dr. Godlberger opined that Trayvon Martin may have used marijuana within a couple of hours of his death or it could have been longer than that depending on whether Trayvon Martin was chronic user or an occasional user. From other evidence in the case, it is known that Trayvon Martin brought marijuana with him from south Florida to use while he was in Sanford and he used it at least one time after arriving in Sanford prior to his death. Trayvon Martin was suspended from school for possessing a baggie containing marijuana residue and was known to smoke marijuana with his friends.

In George Zimmerman’s NEN call to the police, he described the person later identified as Trayvon Martin, as appearing as though “he was on drugs.” Additionally, on close inspection of Trayvon Martin’s appearance at the 711, where he was recorded on video within ah hour of his death, he “sways” at the counter as if he is under the influence of some substance. Taken altogether it is likely that Trayvon Martin was under the influence of marijuana at the time of his death and that his thinking and judgment were impaired, at least to some degree. This is relevant evidence for the jury to consider when it evaluates TM actions that night, and the jury should be allowed to give whatever weight it believes it should.

There is so much wrong here that I almost do not know where to begin.

First, West should have attached an affidavit from Dr. Heustis. He did not, so I checked her out on PubMed. A search using “Marilyn A. Heustis and cognitive impairment,” pulled up two articles:

1. Cannabis effects on driving skills.

The Summary states:

Differences in study designs frequently account for inconsistencies in results between studies. Participant-selection bias and confounding factors attenuate ostensible cannabis effects, but the association with MVA often retains significance. Evidence suggests recent smoking and/or blood THC concentrations 2-5 ng/mL are associated with substantial driving impairment, particularly in occasional smokers. Future cannabis-and-driving research should emphasize challenging tasks, such as divided attention, and include occasional and chronic daily cannabis smokers.

2. The dose effects of short-term dronabinol (oral THC) maintenance in daily cannabis users.

The Conclusion states:

Dronabinol’s ability to dose-dependently suppress cannabis withdrawal may be therapeutically beneficial to individuals trying to stop cannabis use. The absence of gross cognitive impairment or side effects in this study supports safety of doses up to 120mg/day. Continued evaluation of dronabinol in targeted clinical studies of cannabis treatment, using an expanded range of doses, is warranted.

(Emphasis supplied)

Ahem! Now we know why there is no affidavit from Dr. Heustis.

Next, we have,

Dr. Godlberger opined that Trayvon Martin may have used marijuana within a couple of hours of his death or it could have been longer than that depending on whether Trayvon Martin was chronic user or an occasional user.

Not terribly helpful, but wait . . .

From other evidence in the case, it is known that Trayvon Martin brought marijuana with him from south Florida to use while he was in Sanford and he used it at least one time after arriving in Sanford prior to his death. Trayvon Martin was suspended from school for possessing a baggie containing marijuana residue and was known to smoke marijuana with his friends.

The famous reliable witness known as “It” knows that Trayvon brought marijuana with him. Funny how this fella named “It” failed to provide an affidavit or even an address. Oh, well.

Next,

In George Zimmerman’s NEN call to the police, he described the person later identified as Trayvon Martin, as appearing as though “he was on drugs.” Additionally, on close inspection of Trayvon Martin’s appearance at the 711, where he was recorded on video within ah hour of his death, he “sways” at the counter as if he is under the influence of some substance.

Ah, yes. The always accurate and reliable eyewitness George Zimmerman, who would never think of giving a self-serving statement.

So, now we are down to swaying at the counter.

Yeah right.

How about the conclusion:

Taken altogether it is likely that Trayvon Martin was under the influence of marijuana at the time of his death and that his thinking and judgment were impaired, at least to some degree. This is relevant evidence for the jury to consider when it evaluates TM actions that night, and the jury should be allowed to give whatever weight it believes it should.

Put another way, this legal pleading is pure speculation based on a dishonest premise and no evidence.

What really pisses me off about Mr. West’s pleading is the underlying and unspoken assumption that Trayvon Martin deserved to be killed because Mr. West believes he was high on marijuana.

Don West should be assessed terms for contempt of court by filing a frivolous, dishonest and intentionally misleading reefer-madness document.

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