Zimmerman Trial - Day 8

by Paul Siciliano

8:22 am  - Well, I hope that we get to see the early morning motion practice, before the jury comes in at 9am.  I suspect that the State will be allowed to introduce evidence that Zimmerman took criminal investigation and litigation classes and that Zimmerman wanted to be a police officer.

8:31 am  - Yah!  We get to hear the oral argument on the evidence issue.  O'Mara really hasn't found any law, so he is arguing the same thing he did yesterday.  

8:33 am  - Impeachment on a collateral issue?  Good try on that O'Mara - whether Zimmerman is aware of Stand Your Ground and self-defense is not a collateral issue.  Also, if the professor cannot say that Zimmerman was on the class on the day goes to the weight of the evidence, not its admissibility.

8:35 am  - This judge is no joke.  

8:39 am  - I love this judge - just state the objection.  So, we have relevance on the ride along.  We have relevance and foundation on Zimmerman's application to the police department in Virginia.  Course work objection is relevancy.  The relevance arguments are weak.  And, there is always prejudice with relevant evidence, which is why you don't want it in.  

8:45 am  - It is relevant that Zimmerman had knowledge of criminal law and procedure.  And, again relevance is different than weight.  Just because evidence may be weak, it is still relevant.  

8:49 am  - Great, the State is being thorough on their response.  

8:55 am  - The State really wants this evidence admitted.  

9:08 am  - The judge is not going to allow this to be delayed anymore.  She is no joke.  O'Mara is stumped here.

9:11 am  - This bad act reply will not fly.  

9:17 am  - Ding Ding!!!  The evidence comes in.  No surprise.

9:19 am  - 10 minute recess to get the redaction and the evidence ready.

 9:32 am  - Here comes the jury

9:34 am  - Next witness, Sonja Bowles-Melvin, the registrar at Seminole State College - she is going to authenticate Zimmerman's school records.  Zimmerman was expecting to graduate by spring of 2012.  That was quick, so no picture of her.

9:38 am  - Next witness, Scott Kearns, he is an officer at Prince William County police.  He is going to testify that Zimmerman attempted to apply for Prince William County's police force (Prince William County is in Virginia).

9:40 am  - Officer Kearns is going to authenticate what little records they have left of Zimmerman.  The actual application was destroyed, pursuant to Virginia state law.  

9:41 am  - On July 8, 2009, a letter was sent to Zimmerman that he was rejected.  Nothing sinister about that.  West is going to do a cross.

9:47 am  - Where is West going here.  Finally, he gets to the point.  He is trying to minimize the credit history problem.  Who cares?  This is cross for the sake of cross.

9:49 am  - Ahhh, if all witnesses could be so quick.  Next up, Captain Alexis Francisco Carter, a JAG attorney who taught criminal litigation at Seminole County College.  He remembers George Zimmerman and gave him an A.

9:51 am  - The course was more of a criminal law/procedure course.  Course would go through the elements of the crime, and go through it with the class.  

9:53 am  - Now we see a homework assignment to George (and I guess all the students).  

9:54 am  - George was a better student, so was more memorable to Carter.  Since the class was in Florida, Carter taught the Stand Your Ground law even though it was not in the text book, which was not in Florida.  

9:55 am  - Self defense was taught a great deal in the course.  

9:56 am  - Cross.  Basically get the witness to say he doesn't remember Zimmerman talking about self defense or stand your ground.  You may not know the answer.

9:57 am  - West is stalling so he can think of some questions to ask.  


9:58 am  - There is a picture of Carter while West stalls on the cross.  The fact that Carter was also a public defender at the time shows that he probably would be obsessed with self defense.

10:00 am  - West does not even know what to do with this witness.  

10:02 am  - West is trying to come up with some questions to ask.  

10:04 am  - West is losing me here.  A person who gets an A in a class most likely attended.  

10:06 am  - West better get to a point here.  I get it is tough to question on the fly.  Probably should just move on.  

10:17 am  - I am enjoying this testimony on the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground - not

So of course I had a phone call and missed a lot which I guess may have helped the defense. 

 10:55 am  - As we wait for the trial to resume, there is a lot of awesome stuff going on in Cairo.  While getting the state's witness to talk about the Stand Your Ground and self-defense law helps the defense, the jury would be instructed on the law anyway - so I don't see the big deal.  One thing though, it is clear that Carter knows a lot about self defense and stand your ground so he probably did teach it.

11:01 am  - Court is back.  I almost missed another witness - who just said that Zimmerman went on a ride along because he wanted a career in law enforcement.  Oh great, we are going to try to skype a witness.  That will be fun.

 11:05 am  - Finally worked through the technical difficulties.  Professor Scott Pleasance is coming through skype.  This man is trekking in the desert Southwest which is experiencing its worse heat in decades.  Okay, he is in Colorado, no as bad as Arizona or California.

Coming to you via skype

Coming to you via skype

11:08 am  - Course covers various aspects of criminal investigation, some of the constitutional issues, etc.  

11:10 am  - This person who keeps calling is annoying.  So awesome!  I love technology.

11:11 am  - Zimmerman was taught profiling and investigative techniques.  I bet people are watching this case and are calling on purpose.  This is what happens when you televise a trial.

11:17 am  - Even though there is no proof that Zimmerman read the text, I am sure people will think that Zimmerman did so.  He had the book.

11:21 am  - Zimmerman's career goal was to be an attorney/prosecutor.  I guess it is better than being a cop for the defense.  Maybe?  Then he would have interest in the law.

11:22 am  - That was tortuous - next witness - after a sidebar.

11:24 am  - Next witness, Amy Siwert, ballistics expert here.


11:29 am - Let's make sure the gun is safe.  Living in NJ, I know little of guns so this will be interesting to me.

  11:31 am    - This evidence is to go show that there was a bullet in the chamber when Zimmerman went out.  He did not load a bullet into the chamber at the time of the shooting.  It was ready to go, all you have to do is shoot.

11:34 am  - Technical talk - love it!

  11:40 am  - The prosecution is going to keep that hoodie with the gun shot up as long as possible.

11:48 am  - Gunshot is consistent that the barrel of the gun was contacting the hoodie at the time of the shot - a contact shot.

 11:59 am  - So, law enforcement carry their guns ready to fire - then why is George Zimmerman doing so?  I don't think that is a good point by O'Mara.  I get what he is trying to get this witness to say - what is the point of having a weapon for self-defense if you don't have a live chamber in the gun.  Counter - why do you need that to go to Target?  I find it interesting that alot of this evidence cuts both way depending on your perspective.  Ultimately, a lot of this goes to the mind set for 2nd degree murder.  None of this really goes to what happened, and the course of the events - and that is key.  

 12:01 pm  - So, Zimmerman is like law enforcement or military.  I am not a big fan of that on cross.  

12:02 pm  - Looks like storms are coming here.

12:03 pm  - That is interesting that O'Mara is making a big deal about whether it is being pressed or just touching.  If Martin was on top of Zimmerman then some of the fabric would have been folded around the nuzzle.  Okay, it helps the defense now - no real difference between lightly touching or pressed in.  The muzzle is touching the garment itself.  

12:06 pm  - Re-direct.  First objection but the point was made.  4.5 lbs is within the normal range of trigger pull.

12:09 pm  - Siwert shoots the gun.  

12:10 pm  - I don't think the pull is a bigger issue than the fact that the bullet was in the chamber and ready to go.  There are guns that are safer and those that are less safe.  For the jury, is it reasonable to have a gun in the chamber while going to Target, ready to fire?  

12:12 pm  - The witness is stepping down which means it is time for lunch! 

1:45 pm  - Great, sidebar, on taking Benjamin Crump's deposition.  

1:50 pm  - Damn, this judge is no joke.  I think the Defense does not want to start on Friday.  

1:53 pm  - Judge - "End of the discussion"  West needs to let it go.  

1:57 pm  - Without saying it, the judge pretty much alluded to the fact that West had time for ice cream with his daughter.  Besides, the depo of Crump is distracting.  

1:58 pm  - Next witness, Anthony Gorgone, crime lab analyst.  He is going to testify that none of Martin's DNA was found on the gun - or so I guess.



2:00 pm  - Discussion on DNA - science class time.  

2:35 pm  - We may be getting to the point here - no DNA from Martin on the gun.  

2:41 pm  - Martin's DNA not found on the handle of the gun.  No testable DNA found on the trigger.  

2:42 pm  - Limited DNA found on the slide.  DNA on the holster was a match for Zimmerman, and Martin was excluded.  It is not surprising that Zimmerman's DNA was found on the gun or holster - and no evidence that Martin's DNA was on the gun or holster.  

2:44 pm - Next up, DNA from Martin's fingernails.  

2:47 pm  - Under Martin's fingernails under his right hand was his blood (this cuts against that the rain could have washed away Zimmerman's DNA, since it did not do so for Martin).

2:48 pm  - No DNA found, at all, under the fingernails of Martin's left hand.

2:50 pm  - Next up, DNA from the flashlight and the skittles.  Found DNA on the skittles bag - Martin's blood.  And now the flashlight had no blood and had no DNA results.  

2:57 pm  - Martin's DNA was found on the lower front part of the jacket.

2:59 pm  - Basically, we have no evidence of Zimmerman's DNA on Martin's hoodie, including the cuffs.

3:07 pm  - Stains on Martin's sweatshirt below the bullet wound.  Hmmm. . .the stain on the front of the sweat shirt is George Zimmermans.  Another stain was Martin's.  And there was a fourth stain that could have included the DNA of Zimmerman and Martin.  How does Zimmerman's blood get on the bottom of Martin's sweatshirt that is under the hoodie?  

3:13 pm  - There was no blood found on the sleeves of Martin's sweatshirt.  

3:13 pm  - Now the DNA testing from Zimmerman's jacket.  

3:28 pm  - Possible that Martin's blood found on the right upper shoulder of Zimmerman's jacket.  1:10000 possibility that Martin's blood was found on bottom of right hand cuff.  Not a surprise Martin's blood should be found there because Zimmerman shot Martin him with his right hand.  

3:34 pm  - Now on to Zimmerman's shirt.

3:35 pm  - Side note, "Bye Bye Morsi"

3:40 pm  - Only Zimmerman's blood was on his shirt.  Time for cross.  No, wait, recess time. 

4:00 pm  - I am going to shower, so I will some of Don West's cross - I really don't know what he can do other than minimize the importance of the DNA.  

4:05 pm  - It was a quick shower for me.  I beat the beginning of cross which starts now.

4:09 pm  - Expected cross - there are numbers of reasons that Martin's DNA would not be found on the gun.  

4:14 pm  - West is going to drag this out.  Prosecution is not going to end today.  I still expect the medical examiner to testify.

4:18 pm  - On defense, I am sure they will question the investigation techniques, which is what West is setting up now.

 4:29 pm  - Now, questioning the integrity of the lab - where is Horatio Caine.

4:37 pm  - West is suggesting that the DNA sample of Martin's hoodie was compromised because it was stored improperly.  That is why none of Zimmerman's blood was found.  

4:42 pm  - What's going on in Egypt is more interesting than this, but I am being a trooper!

4:47 pm  - West is stalling on purpose - he really is just going over the testimony.  I am sure the judge is not thrilled.

4:54 pm  - Total stall tactic.  West is boring me.  Still interested in how Zimmerman's blood got on the bottom right rim of Martin's inside sweat shirt.  The Defense has argued that maybe Zimmerman's blood was not Martin's hand because gravity pushed it back.  The jury may wonder how it got there.  I do.  Since Martin was only bleeding from his head, that means his nose or back of head has had to brush up against this part of Martin's sweatshirt.  

5:08 pm  - The State, like me, looks bored.  I wonder how the jury is taking this.  West is just going over to what Gorgone testified on direct.  It is actually annoying.

5:15 pm  - Re-direct.  Finally.  The State needs to keep this short.

5:19 pm  - Seriously, re-cross.  C'mon.  

5:22 pm  - The State is not done, and we will back on Friday.  I think in addition to Trayvon's mother, the State wants to call the medical examiner.