Trayvon Martin – George Zimmerman Trial – Weekly Recap ending Jun 28th

Attorney Don West for Defense grilling Rachel Jeantel, who was on the telephone with Trayvon during the fatal confrontation

Attorney Don West for Defense grilling Rachel Jeantel, who was on the telephone with Trayvon during the fatal confrontation

[Sanford, FL]  Well, the  witness testimony for the George Zimmerman trial has concluded for the week ending June 28, 2013.

For those who think the trial is not about race, keep reading.  As a person who used organized athletics as an outlet while in school, I remember my father saying, “Be cautious and keep things in perspective because as long as you’re scoring touchdowns, making the basket or striking out the hitter…..the crowd will love you.  But, as soon as you mess up, they will ditch you and attempt to reduce you to shame.”

The trial obviously is an attempt to get to the facts.  Realistically the lines are already drawn in the sand.  Whites see it one way and Black see it another.  For White’s, such as the likes of Sean Hannity, the trial is over and there is no need to go any further.  Through the prosecution’s debacle of the witnesses they have produced, it has been proven George Zimmerman did in fact shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.  At least that appears to be the sentiment, especially of the paid pundits who are handsomely rewarded to keep you on the edge of your seats.  They want to be inside your head and see things their way.  After all, they are the legal authority!

Blacks on the other hand point to the hard fact, a 17 year old teenager who is African-American was killed by George Zimmerman, who some label as Hispanic, but on all of his legal documentation he is known as White!

Interestingly this is only the first week of witness testimony and I believe there are a well over 100 witnesses which are in the lineup.  The question remains, especially for those who think the case is over and the defense has won, based on their perception the prosecution’s witness have exonerated Zimmerman.  He did get his head bashed on the concrete, it was he that was yelling for help, since it has been noted he was on the bottom, it was he who had a bloodied head and other facial bruises, and of course it was Trayvon who tracked him down.  Surely the shooting was justified?

You know just when you think it’s over, doesn’t really mean it’s over!  Don’t take my word for it.  Just go and ask the San Antonio Spurs!!!  There are 9 innings in a baseball game for a reason.  It’s the same reason there are 4 quarters in a basketball game or simply, there are 24 hours in a day.  The point, we haven’t even heard all of the prosecution’s witnesses, let alone any from the defense who must support Zimmerman’s claims.

As easy as it is, this trial is not like a sporting event where you are rooting for the home team or the visiting team.  Although similarly, surely you believe one side or the other.  Further, we are seeing and hearing arm-chair quarterbacking not seen since the recent presidential elections.  With clarity, President Obama was doomed and there was no need to hold an election!  Remember the Mittster and the Mrs. in tears wondering what to do with all that champagne their son had ordered?

You would swear some are in the decision or strategy sessions based on whichever side you are on.  Sadly, there is more that we DO NOT KNOW, than we do know.  Perhaps, it’s just a human reaction to have a vicarious experience and feel it is our burden to pontificate as if it is our case, rather than patiently receiving information as it flow in, which surely will help define a more focused conclusion.

For those who believe George Zimmerman is guilty of the charges, such as me, I must maintain the faith and discipline, the prosecution has a reason why they feel the charges presented are worthy of a conviction.  Amazingly, even after this past week, I am hearing and reading some are criticizing the prosecution of aiming too high instead of shooting for the more conservative charge of manslaughter.  Again, could it be the prosecution is better equipped and understands exactly what documentation it has, despite needing to climb a steep hill beyond a reasonable doubt?  Hopefully you are not one with such limited faith.

I’ll admit, although somewhat familiar with legal issues, I by no means profess to have the experience needed to communicate such a case.  In other words, I am fine to allow the prosecution to “play their game.”  For all those who criticized Ray Allen, they were left speechless in game 5 because as the money was on the table, all those who dismissed him were shocked out of their negativity as he rose the sink the 3 pointer, his way!  Again, I for one, have no problem in the lesson so while I too have some questions on the strategy of some of the witnesses, it really is simple.  Either you have faith or you do not!  Remember, the same prosecution that some are criticizing is the same prosecution who had the guts to compile the case and file charges in the first place.

To the witnesses.

Just because the prosecution calls a witness does not mean they will be an automatic verifier of their position.  Sometimes the strategy calls for them to call a witness before the defense get their hands on them and their testimony could slant the case before all facts are in.  I say that for those who think just because there was testimony Zimmerman had blood on his face, or was cooperative, or told them he had a broken nose, or was on the bottom, or anything else regarding the incident does not prove Trayvon Martin was the aggressor.  What it does prove is there was an altercation.

A witness who has garnered much attention in the blogosphere is the young lady who Trayvon was on the telephone with – Rachel Jeantel.  Remember, Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas?  As she stunned the world and nabbed the Gold Medal, some, especially black folk went into a tirade and instead criticized her hair!  Incredible!!!  You try competing at that stage and tell us, you would be more concerned about the way your hair looks or the physical challenge to be the best athlete in her event, for that historic moment?

As rough and unsophisticated as Rachel was that first day, which left many cringing in disgust if not downright embarrassed, it was her second day of testimony that just like the Ray Allen and Gabby Douglas moments, where it became clear…….her actions from day 1 did not sink the prosecution’s case or her credibility as a witness.  Further, she is not the one on trial!!!  Yes, there may be some inconsistencies in her overall testimony.  Does not make her a liar or a crook?  Or like Hannity, must the jury totally dismiss anything she says because of her demeanor?  Of course not.  For some, their hair shot straight up when she recanted her inability to read cursive.  Ouch!  However, even though Don West of the defense was hollering “look what I’ve got” thinking Jeantel was doomed……. once the prosecution did the redirect, West, Hannity and others who are so thirsty to proclaim victory, sadly slumped in their chairs.  Her mother is from Jamaica, and her father is from the Dominican Republic.   She explained to everyone who would listen, and believe me many in the jury wanted to hear……… her home the creole dialect and Spanish is used.  So, while her command of the English language did present challenges, who could not understand the way she communicated her testimony or had someone else help her pen the letter to Sybrina Martin?

The bottom line is she offered direct testimony that it was George Zimmerman who was pursuing Trayvon.   West and those in support of Zimmerman have attempted to intimate that because Trayvon turned to Zimmerman and said “what are you following me for,” that gesture shows Trayvon must have been the aggressor?  I don’t know anyone who would speak to someone while walking away rather than to confront them directly.  That may be turning towards the person, but it would take a long leap to interpret that as you’re the one who started the confrontation.  Maybe, like Trayvon and the fight that ensued it was he who resorted to self-defense?

Here is the bottom line, the prosecution is relying on the witnesses to corroborate their allegation, not to give 100% testimony of every sentence that comes out of their mouth.  Surely, some of what they recanted appears to support some of the defense’s claim, but just like Jeantel, the 911 callers and even medical staff, they have provided more testimony to support the prosecution.

Again, we haven’t even gotten to the defense testimony.

Stay tuned as the case will boil down to some very basic facts.  Partly from what has been represented, Zimmerman’s allegations cannot be corroborated based on what he has stated.  The fact he got bloodied, sought medical attention are separate issues.  I leave you with this to ponder as we get ready for week number two:

  1.  Why did Zimmerman continue to pursue Trayvon while on the phone with the 911 operator, who stated, “we don’t need you to do that?”  Even though Zimmerman claims once that command was given he was headed back to the truck and Trayvon “cold-cocked” him.  Unfortunately, the defense has an impossible task of piecing physical evidence to support his allegation.
  2. Even if Trayvon in a heightened or threatening voice spoke to him, why didn’t Zimmerman merely identify himself?
  3. How is it the person with a loaded weapon is the one hollering help?
  4. No doubt a fight ensued, but Zimmerman has an extremely tough road to explain, how Trayvon was prowling for him, while in the rain and supported by Jeantel was on his way back to the home of his father’s friend.
  5. Several of the witnesses have already testified in their opinion Zimmerman was on the bottom.  Assuming that is true, how does Zimmerman spin the representation he provided the Sanford police, who recanted it to Tracy Martin, as soon as Trayvon was shot and somehow sat up, his final words were “You got me!”

As long as things seemingly are going in their favor, or at least that is how they feel, folk like Hannity want jury instructions RIGHT NOW!  For others, certainly you, and surely me, we are simply receiving data and preparing for the next round of witness testimony as we understand the system, some of it will bolster the defense’s claim and some of it will support the prosecution’s theory, but we must wait until all testimony is received so that the conclusion is based on weighing all of the information and evidence.

One final note, the prosecution could have done a much better job of preparing their witnesses.  After all, the trail is merely recantation of what has been provided via deposition… there should be no surprises.  The witness who along with her sister and niece had information should have been vetted more so the Matlock moment or Facebook representation does not occur.  As bad as that was, and even though no doubt the defense will insist the jury hold her as not credible or otherwise untrustworthy, she did offer a few good points.  Again, the measurement will be “beyond a reasonable doubt” so you can be assured the prosecutions core strategy is to dismiss all witness testimony as unreliable.  In my opinion, they have not achieved that threshold as Zimmerman still needs to explain why and how he got into the position where Trayvon attacked him, resulting in his self-defense claim?

Other helpful links

My recent trip to Sanford and the site of the Trayvon Martin murder

The journey Trayvon took from the 7-11 back to the place he was staying

Trayvon Martin memorial at the Retreat at Twin Lakes

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