Monday, July 08, 2013

Day 9 of the George Zimmerman Trial

By Nicholas Stix

Friday’s testimony started with one mother testifying that she heard her son screaming for help in the background on a recording of a 911 tape, and ended with another mother testifying that she heard her son screaming for help in the background on a recording.

The first woman was Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton; the second was George Zimmerman’s mother, Gladys Zimmerman.

Sybrina Fulton’s stay on the stand was brief yet telling. On cross, defense attorney Mark O’Mara started off by apologizing for her loss. The prosecution immediately objected, claiming the expression was improper, and sustained its own objection. (Some observers may mistakenly think that Judge Debra Nelson is separate and impartial, when she is actually the “prosecutor’s assistant” (John Derbyshire).

(At a press conference after court recessed for the week, when a reporter asked O’Mara about the propriety of his apology to Fulton, he said, “I’m not going to stop being a human being.”)

O’Mara then briefly questioned Fulton, and she told as many lies as were possible in the allotted time. She claimed not to have any idea what she was going to listen to, when she went to Sanford City Hall, to listen to the 911 tape in the Mayor’s Office, with no law enforcement officers present.

Of course, she knew. She knew that her racial shakedown lawyer, Benjamin Crump, had sued to have the tape released, and Crump would have told her why they were going to the Mayor’s Office. Would she have us believe that Crump had her playing Blind Man’s Bluff that day?

When O’Mara asked her if any other family members had previously listened to the 911 tape, she said no. She expected us to believe that her ex-husband, Tracy Martin, who accompanied her to the Mayor’s Office, had never told her that he had previously listened to the 911 tape, and told law enforcement that the voice he heard was not Trayvon Martin’s?

O’Mara was looking for an opening to get Tracy Martin’s statement that he didn’t think the voice was Trayvon’s (before Crump instructed him to lie) into the trial.

Finally, Fulton lied when O’Mara asked if she was working. She cited only a job with the Miami-Dade County government, from which she is on leave. She has in fact numerous “jobs” which she never mentioned, to wit: As co-head of a phony foundation with her ex-husband, which serves as a slush fund for the two; she also immediately copyrighted phrases associated with her son last year; and has engaged in “fundraising” for non-existent legal expenses.

When George Zimmerman’s wife Shellie neglected to mention the Zimmerman’s fundraising for very real legal expenses during her testimony at a hearing last year, the prosecution team indicted her for perjury. Expect no similar treatment for Sybrina Fulton.

Rank has its privileges.

Similarly, O’Mara didn’t pursue any of Fulton’s lies, or bring up her initial statement that she thought Zimmerman’s killing of her son had been an accident, because as a black woman of a young thug, she is a higher being, and you don’t pursue higher beings on the witness stand.

For some reason I don’t understand, the defense has not been permitted to raise the issues of the decedent’s history of violence and burglary. I believe that an HLN commentator had said that the defense was only permitted to respond if the prosecution brought in testimony attesting to Martin’s good character.

So, you can’t grill the would-be killer’s mother, and you can’t bring in his thug life. How are you supposed to vigorously defend a non-black charged with killing a black? I guess you’re not supposed to.

Martin’s older half-brother, Javaris Fulton also testified. Fulton was everything Martin wasn’t: Dignified, a college student, and not a criminal.

Fulton claimed that he didn’t think the voice was Martin’s before he did. The defense also gave him a bye, not asking about reports that Martin was raised for most of his life by Tracy Martin’s second wife, not by Sybrina Fulton.

Incompetent Red Chinese immigrant medical examiner Shiping Bao gave probably the most comical testimony yet. Instead of responding to questions on the stand, Bao rigidly read from a prepared script. He also announced to he jury that he may change his mind on an hourly basis. (What is it with incompetent Asian medical examiners?! Can’t they find a competent American medical examiner?)

Bao was laughably incompetent.

At the George Zimmerman trial, the most controversial witness may have been medical examiner Shiping Bao. His first round of reviews Friday were terrible; the second round may have been even worse. Bao got worse reviews than "The Lone Ranger," a box-office bomb for Disney. (Here's a look at the first reviews.)
Larry Kobilinsky, a forensic scientist, told CNN that Bao was "an unmitigated disaster for the prosecution. To end with Dr. Bao, it couldn't be worse."
Kobilinsky dismissed Bao as "amateurish" and said the medical examiner lost credibility with every cross-examination question.
Steve Raiser, a criminal defense attorney, told Fox News Channel that Bao's testimony was "quite frankly terrible" because Bao couldn't remember Trayvon Martin's autopsy. But Raiser noted that Bao's testimony that the bullet went straight through Trayvon's heart undermined the defense argument there was a struggle for the weapon.
Orlando attorney Mark NeJame, a legal analyst for CNN, said the state ran "a beautiful, organized trial as it relates to telling a story," but with Bao "it all unraveled."
CNN's Jean Casarez said she had never seen anything like Bao's testimony in a courtroom.
WOFL-Channel 35 legal analyst Diana Tennis seconded that view. "He was off the charts," she told Keith Landry on "Orlando Matters." "This guy really cost the state a lot. To be the last witness -- just not good." Tennis was astonished that Bao didn't understand court protocol and looked biased in favor of the state.

“George Zimmerman: Analysts bury M.E.,” by Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel, 8:17 a.m. EDT, July 6, 2013; a tip ‘o the hate to Angry White Dude.]
However, Bao did mention that Martin had THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system. That means that Zimmerman was correct in observing that something wasn’t right about him. (Note, too, the “slim jim” burglary tool found five days later near where Martin had jumped Zimmerman; we know that Martin was a burglar by trade.)

(If it sounds like I’m cherry-picking Bao’s testimony for what helps Zimmerman, I am!)

Bao was so bad that even the black female Trayvonista attorney who was on Jane Velez-Mitchell’s HLN panel that night (with black attorney Joey Jackson as substitute host) said he one of the worst prosecution witnesses she’d ever heard. With one exception, both Trayvonista and Zimmerman supporters thought that Bao had been a “disaster,” and that it had been a huge blunder to have him testify last for the prosecution, instead of Martin’s mother. However, black Trayvonista diva Cheryl Lee Ralph thought that Bao had been just swell for the prosecution.

I also found an Orlando Sentinel reader who liked Bao:

Angora pants at 9:05 PM July 07, 2013
Bao was correct in his analysis. His answers were truthful and accurate.
The people who denounce him are just bigots.
When the prosecution rested its case, O’Mara asked the “judge” for a directed verdict of not guilty, die to the prosecution having failed to meet its burden of proof. Judge Nelson predictably rejected O’Mara’s argument. However, she also refrained from issuing a directed verdict of guilty.

The defense then began its case, by calling relatives of the defendant.

Zimmerman’s maternal uncle, Jose Meza took the stand.

Except for his strong Spanish accent, I was very impressed with Mr. Meza. He was intelligent—moreso than boorish prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda, though I’m not sure that’s much of a compliment—and projected a great dignity.

Meza had served for 26 years in the army, rising to the level of command sergeant major, and the past 13 years as a sheriff’s deputy.

Sergeant major is the highest rank for an enlisted man at a given base (the highest such rank in the army is sergeant major of the army). Although the rank has been soiled somewhat in recent years by its being bestowed on undesirables via affirmative action, it still has an almost mythic status.

O’Mara had stipulated that Meza was testifying as a civilian; otherwise; he’d be standing in the back of the court, rather than in the witness chair, but De la Rionda couldn’t leave well enough alone.

Mark O’Mara and Don West have been exceedingly polite to all witnesses, even Rachel Jeantel, while De la Rionda is polite to witnesses he sees as helping his case, and often openly hostile towards witnesses he finds of no use to him. Thus, he was openly nasty to Shellie Zimmerman during her testimony in a court hearing last year, and he took a cheap shot at Jose Meza on Friday, emphasizing on cross that Meza’s status as a sheriff’s deputy was irrelevant. Meza shot back that it was nothing of the sort; he had taken an oath to tell the truth at all times as a sheriff’s deputy, and he would not violate that oath even for his own beloved nephew.

Meza told of the first time he heard his nephew’s voice on the 911 tape. He was working on his computer, while his wife watched the news several feet behind him. Suddenly, without any explanation as to who was on the TV, “I heard his voice, and I felt his voice.”
It made for dramatic testimony. However, there was no surprise in Zimmerman’s relatives saying they believed the voice screaming help was Zimmerman. That made it a wash.


Anonymous said...

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...
These type of stories occur with a disturbing regularity locally, though the only way they break into the national media (if they're black) is if they have some celebrity association.

Anonymous said...

I've just watched Jane Velez Mitchell's HLN show and one of her guests is Wendy Murphy. Amazingly enough Murphy has said it was Zimmerman's voice screaming and that Martin was on top beating Zimmerman.

Wendy Murphy, you will remember, was one of the chief promoters of the Duke Lacrosse Hoax.

David In TN

Joel P. said...

My favorite part of the Shiping Bao/Don West cross examination was when Bao said something to the effect of "No one knows the autopsy better than I do." To which West brilliantly responds, "Except you don't remember anything about it, correct?"

Bao, of course, had said numerous times that he couldn't remember a thing about the Travon Martin autopsy he performed, and that the only thing he had to go on were the notes he took at the time and which he referred to after almost every question on the stand.

A completely disastrous witness for the prosecution.