George Zimmerman Trial Updates

[Content Note: Racism; violence.]

Last week, I noted that the defense team for George Zimmerman, who stalked and killed teenager Trayvon Martin, was petitioning to get admitted into evidence Martin's cellphone texts, evidence of previous fights, school records, and THC blood levels on the day he was killed by Zimmerman. Many of these issues were covered in a pretrial hearing this morning, and there was some good news and some less good news:
9:15 a.m. ET: [Defense attorney Mark O'Mara] said Martin's suspension from school could be relevant and admissible depending on how the prosecution tells the jury why Martin was staying with his father when he was killed. Judge Nelson has granted the prosecution's motion to bar evidence of Martin's school suspension.

9:20 a.m. ET: Judge Nelson has granted the prosecution's motion to bar evidence of Martin's past drug use. The admissibility [of the] toxicology report that indicates Martin had THC in his blood the night of the shooting will be addressed in another motion.

9:25 a.m. ET: Judge Nelson granted the prosecution's motion to bar evidence that Martin had been in fights during opening statements, but she said it may be admissible if it becomes relevant, if the defense can authenticate it, and can overcome hearsay.

9:27 a.m. ET: The attorneys are now arguing over the admissibility of Martin's school records. O'Mara said it could become relevant depending on how the prosecution presents the case. Judge Nelson granted the prosecution's motion to bar the teenagers school records.

9:31 a.m. ET: Judge Nelson granted the prosecution's motion to bar Martin's text messages.

9:36 a.m. ET: The attorneys are now arguing over whether the jury will hear about Martin's TCH levels in his blood the night of the shooting. Defense attorney Don West is arguing that the drug can cause impairment and he enough in his blood the night to affect his behavior.

9:43 a.m. ET: Judge Nelson has barred evidence of Martin's THC blood levels from opening statements, and she will rule later on whether it will be admissible after she hears the defense expert's testimony about the marijuana use.
So, a lot of wins for the prosecution, who want to make sure it is George Zimmerman on trial, and not Trayvon Martin.

There is still the possibility that Martin's history of having been in fights could be introduced during the trial, but it's difficult to see how the defense will manage to meet the threshold of authentication and relevancy.

There's also the possibility that Martin's THC levels (indicating marijuana use) could be admissible, contingent on a defense expert witness who will have been hired and paid specifically because zie will say it's relevant. I'm hoping Judge Nelson will merely allow the hearing as a matter of course and then rule it inadmissible.

Again, I know defense attorneys have a job to do, and I know it's considered acceptable to put a victim "on trial" in order to defend their clients, but fuck it makes me angry. Especially in this case. All I can think is: Hey, George Zimmerman, if you thought Trayvon Martin should have faced a courtroom for his alleged fighting and drug use, then maybe you shouldn't have killed him.

Instead, George Zimmerman decided to be judge, jury, and executioner, and now wants to retroactively put Trayvon Martin on trial to try to justify what his defenders call vigilantism—a word which is itself implicitly misleading, because "vigilantism" suggests Martin actually did something wrong in the first place. And, as many others have also pointed out, there's nothing relevant to this case, to the altercation at its center, that Zimmerman and his defense team can offer about Martin, so they're just trying to get anything in the courtroom that a jury might interpret as "suspiciously black."

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus