Closing arguments haven’t been made yet, but after

Closing arguments haven’t been made yet, but after the close of Zimmerman’s defense, my prediction is a manslaughter conviction, by a slight margin, with acquittal the next most likely option, and Murder 2 trailing as the least likely result. Call it a 45/40/15 split.

As far as I am aware, Zimmerman’s defense didn’t present any testimony or evidence concerning how the fight started. Their entire story of the shooting starts about halfway through the fight — call it the “Zimmerman is a fat and slow Dudley Do-Right who was getting his butt kicked” defense. Which is kind of a double edged sword for Zimmerman, because it means his case didn’t introduce any evidence that Trayvon started the fight. It’s counting on the jury to focus on the fact that, at the moment of the shooting, Zimmerman may have genuinely been in fear for his life — while steering the jury away from closely examining his conflicting police statements. The defense’s story is that Zimmerman is bumbling and quixotic, but too inept to be culpable for any harm that resulted.

So if there’s a conviction, it’s more likely to be manslaughter. The state’s strongest case for Murder 2 was always being able to show that Zimmerman intentionally deceived investigators about how the fight started, and that he used his knowledge of self-defense law to deliberately craft a story about why he was justified in killing Trayvon. But since the defense opted to avoid all together Zimmerman’s statements about who threw the first punch, Zimmerman’s veracity didn’t really come into play. The jury could buy that Zimmerman is a reckless fool, who was oblivious of his own limitations and too in love with the idea of playing the hero, but the state wasn’t able to show Zimmerman as calculating and malicious.

In a nutshell: if the jury believes Rachel Jeantel testified truthfully about what she heard on the phone that night, Zimmerman will be convicted of manslaughter. If they’re unsure of what she heard, then the odds are much less likely.

-Susan

18 thoughts on “Closing arguments haven’t been made yet, but after

  1. I heard on the radio that someone (prosecution?) is suggesting that third degree murder be a consideration in the jury instructions. Is this true?

  2. Kris, yes the Prosecution has put forth Murder 3 based on Child Abuse, they seem to have been putting in the pieces through the trial but never informed the defense. I will have to defer to Susan but I think this is grounds for appeal due to inadequate defense since the Charge of child abuse was not brought up before 7am this morning.

    Just saw the new thread, re-posting this here.

    I think the Trainer was to try and get the Jury Instruction From JUSTIFIED FORCE on Capabilities:

    In considering the issue of self-defense, you may take into account the relative physical abilities and capacities of the defendant and Trayvon Martin.

    —–

    Also I am curious on your opinion on the Child Abuse argument, they are giving this instruction to the defense as part of trying to get Felony Child Abuse Entered since the first illegal act was the Actual Assault, this covers them if the jury doesn’t believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman started the fight itself. This also explains why they were proposing with the Dummy that Trayvon may have been pulling away:

    However, the use of deadly force is not justifiable if you find:

    Give only if the defendant is charged with an independent forcible felony. See Giles v. State, 831
    So. 2d 1263 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002).

    1. George Zimmerman was attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of Aggravated Assault; or
    Define applicable forcible felony. Define after paragraph 2 if both paragraphs 1 and 2 are given.

    Forcible felonies are listed in § 776.08, Fla. Stat.

    (At this point if part one is given by the Judge the Defense argues for paragraph 2 as well. If the Judge rules against Felony Child Abuse on the grounds that a proper defense was not given to this charge then both paragraphs go away and you get to the next mandatory paragraph at the bottom.)

    2. George Zimmerman initially provoked the use of force against himself, unless:

    a. The force asserted toward the defendant was so great that he reasonably believed that he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and had exhausted every reasonable means to escape the danger, other than using deadly force on Trayvon Martin.

    b. In good faith, the defendant withdrew from physical contact with Trayvon Martin and clearly indicated to Trayvon Martin that he wanted to withdraw and stop the use of deadly force, but Trayvon Martin continued or resumed the use of force.

    (This wording is up to the Prosecution to write and I am not familiar enough to try to attempt the wording other than to describe Felony Child Abuse)

    (Read in all cases)

    In deciding whether defendant was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used. The danger facing the defendant need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, the defendant must have actually believed that the danger was real.

    (They are also arguing that there is a definition in the JUSTIFIED USE OF FORCE Instruction for “Deadly Force” but not a definition of “Great Bodily Harm”)

        • I think GZ bit off more than he could chew with Trayvon and in the end he panicked and killed him.

          I don’t think GZ intended to hurt or kill Trayvon. He may have intended to hold Trayvon for officers to question, Trayvon fought him off, a fight ensued.

          I predict that GZ will be aquitted on all charges. Doesn’t make what he did right by any means.

  3. Something I have said before but after this mornings “Child Abuse” fiasco is worth pointing out. “I am not on Zimmerman’s side, I am on the side of Zimmerman’s Rights.” I am hearing BDLR going after Zimmerman for knowing the law, those are my laws too. If I have to defend myself from a mugger, someone like him may go after me. I have made attempts to learn the laws as best as I can, the same way I learned the “Rules of Engagement” in the military. I want to keep myself out of trouble so I don’t go places where I am more likely to have to defend myself. I study the self defense laws and firearms laws so I don’t knowingly violate the laws. My primary reference for FL law is the “Online Sunshine” webpage by the FL Govt, and a law book written by Jon Gutmacher esq. (www.floridafirearmslaw.com) I know of too many cases where prosecutors all over the US have destroyed lives of innocent people that have had to defend themselves. I turned from the Prosecutors when Angela Corey skipped the Grand Jury when it hit me “There by the grace of God go I”. Florida law provides that if I have to defend myself, I will not be arrested unless they have Probable Cause to arrest me:

    776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force

    (2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

    This should prevent the DA from destroying my life by arresting me after being the victim of a mugging. By skipping the Grand Jury Corey was telling me through her actions she may not have probable cause, if she had gone to a Grand Jury and they gave it to her, I may have never questioned this prosecution. But I started looking into what was happening with the prosecution when she raised this question about probable cause. Today with the Child Abuse stunt, I am looking back at the evidence they have presented and see them setting up for this without telling the defense. You don’t get to do that, in order for someone like me (who may one day be the victim that has to defend myself from a bad guy) in order for me to help defend myself from the DA my lawyers and I will need to understand what I need to defend against. Manslaughter from Murder 2 is reasonable, Child Abuse from Murder 2 is not. They could very well have given that possible charge at the beginning and it would have been a part of the defense, but they waited until 7am today to tell the defense, after the defense has already rested their case. I could care less about Zimmerman himself, he could rot in jail for all I care, BUT for them to even try this tells me there is a real problem. If Zimmerman gets cleared under JUSTIFIED USE OF FORCE I would like to see MOM sue Corey’s office for Malicious Prosecution for the sake of all Floridians that may have to defend themselves like Marissa Alexander that was also railroaded by Corey’s office. This means her 11yo will be 31 before her mom gets out.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/11/marissa-alexander-sentenced_n_1510113.html

    http://corrinebrown.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=661:congresswoman-brown-secures-additional-legal-assistance-for-marissa-alexander&catid=3:press-releases&Itemid=35

  4. I just heard the prosecutor’s closing. He articulated really well how Zimmerman deceived the police and went through his interviews and written statements extensively, including how Zimmerman kept trying to impress the police by using terminology, e.g., suspect, when he was talking about Martin. He also highlighted where Zimmerman’s gun was positioned and showed the jury the walk-through where Zimmerman demonstrates himself pulling it. The prosecutor also went over the elements of the attack and asked why Martin was able to grab at the gun Zimmerman had behind his back, but Zimmerman landed no defensive blows; he also went back to Zimmerman telling his friend Martin grabbed his gun (on the slide and somewhere else), but Zimmerman wrested it away. He also touched upon Zimmerman’s statement that Martin was straddling him under his armpits and the prosecutor demonstrated again, how impossible it would be for Zimmerman to pull his gun and shoot Martin the way he said. He also highlighted the bought and paid for testimony and reenactment and even talked about Rachel’s testimony. He didn’t sugarcoat that she wasn’t sophisticated, but he said to listen to what she said and he was able to align her testimony with that of other witnesses including Zimmerman’s. Where the state has to show depravity and recklessness, he played the Hannity interview and highlighted how Zimmerman continued to label Martin as a criminal even after the shooting. The prosecutor did an excellent job of outlining the exaggerations and lies and why Zimmerman would do that. Personally, I think murder two is back on the table.

    • I have to go to the last two mandatory lines of the JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE jury instruction. Just raising doubts about Zimmerman’s story is no where near good enough. BDLR has raised doubts in the defendants story, but has yet to prove any other theories. At best I would give him half way there. This is the first hurdle before they get to any question of murder, once they get past JUSTIFIABLE then they start asking the elements of Murder 2 or Manslaughter. Read the first paragraph carefully it could basically end this with a Not Guilty.

      If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether the defendant was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find the defendant not guilty.

      However, if from the evidence you are convinced that the defendant was not justified in the use of deadly force, you should find him guilty if all the elements of the charge have been proved.

      • I think that justifiable use of force was addressed as well. de la Rionda pointed out that Trayvon would have needed more than two arms and more time to attack and respond to Zimmerman the way he described it and showed the jury the concrete evidence (Zimmerman’s own statements and his taped interviews) to prove it. He pointed out that Zimmerman had several opportunities to make Martin aware that he was concerned, but didn’t on any of the occasions (Martin “circling” the car and when he caught up to Martin and such) when he could have. He also asked why if Zimmerman was in fear, he got out of the car; de la Rionda made the point that it was because Zimmerman had his gun.

    • I’ve gotten a chance to review the closings now, and the prosecution did a good job, but I still don’t think murder two is a likely possibility here. The theme of the trial from both sides was “Zimmerman is kind of really dumb — but was he criminally dumb, or just dumb and unlucky?” Zimmerman just didn’t come off as a calculated actor; delusional, yes, but competent, no.

      Although I still can’t believe the defense’s closing argument literally stated that “black males had committed a bunch of crimes in the neighborhood, that’s why Zimmerman was following him.” What the. That’s… that’s the prosecution’s argument. The huh?

      • I hate to say it, but I think you’re right regarding murder two, though the fact that he didn’t render any aid, wouldn’t do anything different and thought it was God’s plan, makes him pretty depraved to me. I just heard that the jury asked for clarification on the manslaughter charge. All the commentary I’m hearing says that means murder two is off the table. Is that correct?

  5. BDLR was trying to show that Zimmerman already knew Martin was dead when Singleton told him.

    A man who after shooting Trayvon Martin claims to not have realized that he was dead, recall also what happened when Mr Manolo came out, and recall also what happened when the officer came out and they handcuffed him, and recall what he told Mr Manolo “Please Call my wife” and apparently Mr Manolo was taking too long or something and he said “Just tell her I KILLED HIM”

    Only this is the Mr Manolo’s actual testimony,

    time 19:59 from the link below “I had a connection with her right away and I said “Your Husband has been involved in a shooting, he is being handcuffed and is being held for questioning at the Sanford Police Dept” and around that time he kinda cut me off and says “Just tell her I shot someone”.” Time 20:14

    This two pieces of video will probably be used by MOM tomorrow to slam the credibility of the Prosecution to the Jury. Once the Prosecutors credibility with the Jury is gone, It’s Gone. There are a number of incidents today where BDLR has gone overboard in his Zeal to get a conviction. He is trying hard to show that it is Zimmerman Lying, but in the process he may end up hurting his own credibility in the process. If the Jury doesn’t believe Zimemrman and the Jury does’t believe the prosecution it is a draw and the defense wins. Tomorrow should be interesting.

    Blooming Bloomberg already has a story quoting the misquote by BDLR as fact.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-11/zimmerman-jury-can-consider-manslaughter-in-martin-shooting.html

    Time 18:45 to 20:45 is his testimony about the Phone Call:

  6. I don’t think you’ve read this right. de la Rionda was demonstrating why he thinks Zimmerman holstered his weapon (the answer is because he knew Martin was dead). Zimmerman stated his extreme fear of Martin. If that was the case, why did he holster his weapon after shooting Martin? de la Rionda made the point that that was what police do and Zimmerman is wannabe cop. This theory was explicitly expressed as the prosecution’s case. Was Martin just supposed to be incapacitated? Also, de la Rionda relied heavily on Zimmerman’s statements and interviews and pointed out the inconsistencies (since those were Zimmerman’s own documented statements, the defense can hardly say Zimmerman was misrepresented); he was establishing a pattern of exaggerations and outright lies, which goes to Zimmerman’s credibility, not the prosecution’s. This was the case the prosecution needed to establish to get a murder two conviction. I do not see overreach and what you’re describing is inconsequential, imo.

    • The quotes are direct quotes, I backed up the DVR and played them multiple times to make sure I transcribed them correctly. I also played the video of Manalo multiple times to check my transcription. BDLR was trying to show that Zimmerman knew Martin was already dead. This is time 4:43 on the first video, one of his first statements.

      7/11/2013 – George Zimmerman Trial – Prosecution Closing Arguments – Part 1

    • Either he knew Trayvon was dead or as good as dead, or else he genuinely didn’t know how bad the wound was and yet he (1) holstered his weapon even though the “suspect” could easily have renewed his attack, if he wasn’t badly injured, and (2) left the kid laying face down on the earth, where Zimmerman had shoved him, without making any attempt to render aid or ask for someone to offer help to him. Although Zimmerman did take the time to frisk him down (Zimmerman’s blood on Trayvon’s undershirt) after.

      So a liar, or a callous idiot. Take your pick.

  7. Guy trying to redefine reasonable doubt to Common Sense, MOM objected. From the Jury Instruction the Judge will give:

    Whenever the words “reasonable doubt” are used you must consider the following:
    A reasonable doubt is not a mere possible doubt, a speculative, imaginary or forced doubt. Such a doubt must not influence you to return a verdict of not guilty if you have an abiding conviction of guilt. On the other hand if, after carefully considering, comparing and weighing all the evidence, there is not an abiding conviction of guilt, or, if having a conviction, it is one which is not stable but one which wavers and vacillates, then the charge is not proved beyond every reasonable doubt and you must find George Zimmerman not guilty because the doubt is reasonable.

    It is to the evidence introduced in this trial, and to it alone, that you are to look for that proof.

    A reasonable doubt as to the guilt of George Zimmerman may arise from the evidence, conflict in the evidence, or the lack of evidence.

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