ABA Journal


Criminal Justice

‘We beat stupidity’ photo of Zimmerman defense lawyer spurs prosecution motion for inquiry

Jul 3, 2013, 11:52 am CDT


So, they're basically saying, "HAH! You haven't beat stupidity yet."

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 03, 12:15 pm CDT

Whether it was posted before or after Jenteal's testimony and whether the daughter checked with her dad before posting the photo, she obviously learned to speak about the case in that way from somewhere. Maybe dad should watch his words just as much as his daughters...

By Micky on 2013 07 03, 1:52 pm CDT

So a daughter was proud of her father's work? From a legal perspective that's within the child's first amendment rights. From a moral perspective it's nice to see a child proud of her parent. From the court's perspective it's entirely irrelevant, especially with a sequestered jury. This doesn't go to the merits of the case at all; it's a child expressing admiration about her parent's skills in the way that children do. I have no idea what they'd investigate in an "inquiry," especially because Zimmerman is the accused; defense lawyers aren't state actors.

By Michael on 2013 07 03, 3:21 pm CDT

@ 2 - Agreed. They don't take after strangers.

By Pushkin on 2013 07 03, 3:33 pm CDT

I hope his daughters were especially proud of how their father humiliated the young woman, who was quite articulate, when he asked her to read a written statement someone had prepared for her. It was painful to watch as she admitted she could not read cursive writing. Tell me Don West, Esq., didn't know that.
I have no conclusion on guilt or innocence. Mark O'Mara is a class act but this clown is an embarrassment, starting with his lame opening statement joke.

By Michael Claes on 2013 07 03, 4:10 pm CDT

"the young woman, who was quite articulate"

You must have been watching a different channel than the one watched by the rest of the planet. Anyone dumb enough to put her up as their star witness deserves what they got.

By Fred on 2013 07 03, 6:21 pm CDT

I didn't watch it, so I don't know how much weight my opinion has, but I agree with #3. She thought someone was stupid and her dad did a good job criticizing her testimony......okay, so what?

By AzAttorney on 2013 07 03, 6:59 pm CDT

As a witness, Rachel Geantel was a disaster. Inarticulate. Poor manners. Combative.

What was more depressing than the testimony was liberal commentators feeling compelled to make excuses for Rachel.

By Yankee on 2013 07 03, 7:36 pm CDT

Haven't watched more of the trial than what the cable shows at night repeat, but it seems like the trial judge is bending over backwards to help the prosecution. DA sat there sucking his thumb while O'Mara asked him to evaluate the truthfulness of Zimmerman. No objection. The next morning the judge grants pros motion to strike that testimony? C'mon. And allowing the former college professors to testify? Geez.

By GAattorney on 2013 07 04, 3:01 pm CDT

Maybe the judge thinks it is a weak case, and is just trying to make sure there is no whining by the prosecutor (or the press) when the jury comes back with an acquittal.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 04, 5:41 pm CDT

@ McLeod

Unfortunately it will be a lot more than whining. More like burning cars and breaking windows to steal shiny things from the displays.

By Fred on 2013 07 04, 8:24 pm CDT

That's a good point. We should remember that this all started with police and prosecutors who didn't think there was a basis for a charge. But after a suitable amount of media fenzy and mob protests, we find that Zimmerman is charged with murder anyway.

Normally, I don't favor the type of defense technique that puts the whole system on trial, but here, I think it could be appropriate. Maybe even the most apropriate defense. Were the police and prosecutors incompetent, or have they folded to public pressure to pursue unwarranted charges (or both of the above)?

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 04, 9:54 pm CDT

Anyone who thinks that Zimmerman - who was told to let it go by the police but then followed Martin anyway, thereby provoking the encounter - is not responsible for Martin's killing is a racist or a fool, or (more likely) both. Ditto re anyone who believes Obama's election means this is a "post-racial" America. Read "The New Jim Crow," by Michelle Alexander, or anything by Tim Wise (especially "Between Barack and a Hard Place").

And Fred, yes, those darkies sure do get upset when things don't go their way ... any ol' excuse to go looting. You make me sick.

By Michael Cantwell on 2013 07 05, 9:41 am CDT

Assuming of course that the lawyer in question did not breach his duty of confidentiality to the client by discussing with his daughter things that are not yet a matter of public record, or do something else that warrants disciplinary action, then the fact that a daughter of an attorney has bad manners is not grounds for sanctioning the lawyer.

Of course, if it is more than bad manners and especially if there is reason to believe that the daughter was encouraged to act on behalf of her father, . . . .

Once again way too little information in the ABA story.

How old is the daughter?

Did the original article show the picture?

By Kit on 2013 07 05, 9:43 am CDT

#13//Is that what you think? You must have somehow managed to graduate from law school without taking that criminal law class. You must also have missed the chronology of events that led to Zimmerman being arrested. The reason Zimmerman wasn't charged for 44 days is: after they saw the evidence the police and prosecutors didn't think a charge was warranted. Zimmerman was charged due to a media frenzy that included showing a photo of Martin when he was 12 years old which implied that big white Zimmerman had killed a little black boy. Of course, there were many other media misrepresentations designed to point the finger at Zimmerman. Don't forget political weak-kneedness that buckled before the media onslaught.

By Joe on 2013 07 05, 11:11 am CDT

Unfair to criticize the witness for being inarticulate. Just because someone is inarticulate, cannot read cursive, is combative doesn't diminish her testimony. She is from a totally different background/culture from anyone on this forum. The defense counsel sought to demean her, I may have been combative also had Ibsen the one on the stand. As for the daughter's post, no bearing on the trial, but it speaks to the parenting from her dad and that she could have only heard such a thing from him. Some of the opinions expressed here clearly show an "ivory tower" view.

By Syc on 2013 07 05, 11:13 am CDT

Isn't truth an absolute defense?

By Macloophole on 2013 07 05, 11:45 am CDT

There does not seem to be enough evidence for the jury to find for second degree murder imho. On the other hand, there may be enough evidence for manslaughter.

By PRT on 2013 07 05, 11:58 am CDT

Has #13 even claimed to have gone to law school? I am somewhat surprised the post is still there, given that racial epithet that normally would not get past whoever reviews that sort of thing.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 05, 12:15 pm CDT

Fascinated by some of these comments. Someone would think that the young lady (who is a TEENAGER, by the way) that testified was the person on trial.

Let me help you: she was not on trial. She was a witness. Maybe she was effective as a witness, maybe she wasn't. However, there is one person on trial for MURDER, and his name is George Zimmerman. If justice prevails, he will be convicted.

P.S. The daughter appears to be a disgusting human being, just like her father, who is one of the most unprofessional defense attorneys that I have ever seen.

By NYC Lawyer on 2013 07 05, 12:19 pm CDT

More Keystone Cops flailing by the prosecution. Punish the attorney for something his daughter posted on the internet? The prosecution should probably focus more on the trial, which last I checked was not going all that well for them. I wonder if they even talked to some of those witnesses before they put them up on the stand.

Haven’t followed the trial too closely but I’ll say this: if Zimmerman gets convicted, it will be because he is VERY clearly guilty. It won’t be because of any good courtroom work by the gang that couldn’t prosecute straight.

By Tom on 2013 07 05, 12:47 pm CDT

By the way, I looked up the Orlando Sentinel article and learned two interesting bits about the posting of the picture from it.

The lawyer apparently is the one who took the picture of himself and his two daughters. So much for "I didn't have any control of what my daughter did." You can see the lawyer's arm clearly at the bottom of the picture, reaching out to where the "camera" is located.

Second, the daughter who posted the picture, Molly West, is an adult, and should know better, not an eight year old with bad manners.

Shame on Molly for posting the picture and the comment, and shame on her father for not bringing Molly up better and for taking the picture.

@ 20 NYC Lawyer, I did not think that the teenage witness Rachel sounded unintelligent. She sounded scared while she was being cross examined. And she had every reason to be. Just over a year ago a friend of hers was pursued and killed by the man who is on trial, and police were willing to take the word of the man who killed her friend without doing much investigating. If Zimmerman is acquitted, what is to stop Zimmerman from stalking her? The law? The law that didn't see any need to investigate thoroughly the killing of her friend while the friend was on the phone to her?

By Kit on 2013 07 05, 12:48 pm CDT

@5: "when he asked her to read a written statement someone had prepared for her. It was painful to watch as she admitted she could not read cursive writing"

Actually, that "written statement" was supposedly a letter she wrote to Travon Martin's mother. The point of introducing the letter was to impeach her most recent testimony. As any good attorney would do, he handed her the letter to read her own words. If you actually watched the testimony, you'd see that both West and O'Mara were surprised when she said she couldn't read it.

And on the subject of this "star witness"... She didn't come forward. She was contacted by Tracey Martin weeks later, who turned her over to Ben Crump. Crump spoke to her at length, and then sprung her on the country. AFTER she was on TV, the Police deposed her with Tracey Martin sitting next to her. Her story has been more or less following the same EXACT script since then. What witness testifies EXACTLY the same every time, using the same phrases over and over?

This case is about race only because Crump saw a huge payday in civil court. Follow the trail of his attempts to prevent himself from being deposed regarding Rachael's testimony, and his attempts to invoke client attorney privilage (he's not Rachael's attorney) to avoid answering questions about his "preparation" of Rachael for the media, and you'll see how he's whipped public opinion into what it is today. He SHOULD be ashamed of himself, but it took until Rachael took the stand for him to back away from the "white man kills black child" chant he's been doing for over a year. Perhaps it's because his "preparation" of Rachael wasn't complete enough. Perhaps because he sees the potential for the criminal case to fall apart. Regardless of what happens in criminal court, Crump will be going for a civil verdict later. If there's a race riot, looting, or other upheaval because a hispanic man shot and killed a black teenager who was bigger than he was, as that teen was repeatedly slamming his head against a sidewalk, we know who to blame and it isn't the guy who pulled the trigger or the poor dead black teen.

By CraiginPA on 2013 07 05, 12:49 pm CDT

Some real vitriol here this has always been a question as a case of murder. Whether Zimmerman instigated by over zealousness or not Martin appears to confront him physically. Racial overtones sure but he wasn't killed because he was black. Confronted yes killed no. As for the post racial world comment ... I guess we are supposed to hold our breath until you say it's "all clear". People don't like people for all sorts of stupid reasons. The best we can so is make it "illegal" in admissions jobs etc can't change hate. Lastly it's looking like OH all over incompetent DA. Not preparing witnesses. Not MAKING objections lol. Fortunately he has a judge on his side. Limiting instructions the next day omg. Pathetic. Finally the looting comment proves my original point and is entirely legal. Stupid but legal

By Todd on 2013 07 05, 12:54 pm CDT

@16: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but being a black American does NOT mean one is "different from anyone on this forum." How do I know?? Glad you asked....I know because I am a black American, grew up in Southeast Atlanta, one parent, father in prison for life for murder...and guess what? I went to the Ivy League and earned a law degree. Oh, and I am articulate and can read and write cursive English (as can my kids). Liberal white folks need to stop making excuses for anything and everything black folks do!

As far as I can tell, that young lady is an American and can read well enough to find her way to the hair and nail salon. But, you may have a point: she may very well be from the culture whereby speaking English properly is not learned or valued...but having your hair "fierce" is the aspiration. Shameful....

By Black Does Not Mean Cannot Read on 2013 07 05, 12:56 pm CDT

@24 Todd- "Not preparing witnesses. Not MAKING objections lol. Fortunately he has a judge on his side. Limiting instructions the next day omg."

I saw that too and I was curious what you thought: when they finish one day with the detective giving an unobjected-to opinion on the defendant's truthfulness, wasn't it that much more foolish to begin the next morning with an instruction to the jury to disregard that testimony?

Any juror who was tired and didn't let the full import of it sink it at the end of the day, would simply be reminded of it the next morning when getting the judge's instruction.

By Tom on 2013 07 05, 12:57 pm CDT

#13: Actually, none of this ever would have happened if GZ hadn't been born. Let's put his mother and father on trial.

Good job playing the race card, the fallback response of everyone who is out of evidence, logic or ideas. You're probably an expert at identifying racism - you look at one everyday in the mirror, right?

By GAattorney on 2013 07 05, 12:57 pm CDT

An "articulate" witness? No, this woman could not speak intelligibly much less intelligently. There was actually an interpreter who was telling the jury what she was "saying"
Without the interpreter, I would not have had a clue, nor understood her "mush mouth" lingo.
Watch the video
You can hear the interpreter
What an awful witness for the prosecution
The mental ability of
This "friend" of the "victim" was hardly a challenge for an attorney. Just let her keep on "talkin"

By Beentheredonethat on 2013 07 05, 1:08 pm CDT

@25- Congrats for making it out, but you're reaching here. 16 only pointed out the likely difference between Rachel's culture and the jurors. You can read race into what she was saying, but that's not necessary. 16's comments weren't an indictment on the black race. She didn't even mention race. Furthermore, she/he has a point. I don't think it diminished her testimony because she stayed fairly consistent on the main points, was up front about her initial lies during her testimony, and she was kept on the stand too long making it seem like Mr. West was belaboring the point and badgering her. Of course, the jury will ultimately decide, but your rant about making excuses for what black people do is overboard.

By EA on 2013 07 05, 1:40 pm CDT

The daughters are kind of hot. Maybe that's why so many are hating on them?

By Bobsyouruncle on 2013 07 05, 2:06 pm CDT

Is there anything this prosecutor will not pursue? Opposing counsel's kid compliments dad
and that is an issue with the state? Major overreach IMO.

By Tom in Columbus on 2013 07 05, 2:26 pm CDT

Sounds like yet another bungling prosecution team because unless they have a reverse tactical advantage of trying to make that statement work for them, you have to be ready to light it up on crucial moments like that. Perhaps they heard of the defense attorney's persuasive argument from Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil ? "Your honor, you can't let a skunk into the jury box and then tell them that they didn't smell it"

By EJF on 2013 07 05, 2:42 pm CDT

To "By Black Does Not Mean Cannot Read" "Liberal white folks need to stop making excuses for anything and everything black folks do!"
I am not making excuses for anyone. I only meant to point out the fact that at her age she is in a different situation.
I guess I misstated when I said she was from a different background/culture. The young lady is Haitian, which obviously is a different culture and which may also explain her speech. I do not know if she is an American citizen, which is irrelevant as to her testimony.
However, I dare to guess that not many on this board are as disadvantaged as she is. Bravo for you for rising from a tough childhood and going on to achieve. By the way I am proudly liberal which in my book means I care for my fellow man.

By Syc on 2013 07 05, 2:59 pm CDT

@ 25. Bully for you for "making it". Glad you were able to overcome your adversities in order to feel superior enough be able to make disparaging inaccurate remarks about someone who has not. She is Haitian. English is her second or third language. She did not write the letter, the testimony was that she dictated the letter to someone else who wrote it for her (in cursive). If she had shown up in court looking beaten down, she would have been criticized for not caring enough to put on her best so she wasn't going to win on that point either way. But the bottom line is that she is not on trial. She is someone who was testifying because she had the misfortune to be the last person to speak to her murdered friend.

By LegalEagle96 on 2013 07 05, 3:06 pm CDT

#20 - "If justice prevails, he will be convicted."

Showing your bias a bit? Disappointing statement coming from any American, particularly a lawyer. Perhaps the correct view is "If justice prevails, the jury will make a decision based upon the law, the evidence and the facts." I think that's how it's supposed to work Sparky.

By Antipoliticalcorrectness on 2013 07 05, 3:09 pm CDT

The young woman who was on the telephone with Trayvon Martin just before he was killed is courageous. Today, is is nineteen (19) years old. Without any legal representation, she has been thrust into one of the most televised/publicized cases in the world today. She is from a different culture (Haiti) and is testifying in a non-native language (English). Having read many transcripts, it is patently obvious to everyone who has practiced law in large cities with a significantly diverse community, that words are often hard to understand and articulate between languages. There are many idioms to befall the weary communicator. For all of those lawyers on here who feel the need to berate the young lady for being forced to testify in a hostile environment before millions of folks watching on television, your lack of maturity is showing. Justice is about seeking the truth; not trying to criticize the lack of polish shown by the witness in a criminal prosecution. The prosecution did not "create" this situation and neither did that young woman. I personally applaud her for testifying when so many of you would have made your child unavailable to the folks who were investigating in the first place. Protect your child and damn the others. What a bunch of hypocrites! You should be ashamed of yourselves for your behavior. Now we know why the public thinks so poorly of the ethics of lawyers.

By Sad to read this blog today on 2013 07 05, 3:21 pm CDT

I doubt that the "stupid" reference was to Jeantel. It's not her fault that her testimony did nothing at all for the Prosecution, and helped the Defense in several way. I think the "stupid" label was toward the Prosecution, who earned it when they filed this dog.

By Robert on 2013 07 05, 3:31 pm CDT

From what I've seen so far my gut feel, not that it matters, is that under FL law Zimmerman is not guilty of murder but might be guilty of manslaughter. That doesn't mean he isn't guilty of murder in a common-sense way, or guilty of murder under the law in different state's, just that he's probably not legally guilty here. If acquitted it will be from overcharging him, though judging by the comments here not even lawyers will understand that.

By Michael on 2013 07 05, 3:34 pm CDT

Even if we accept that everything Rachel Jeantel said was true, it still does not prove that George Zimmerman had the level of intent to support a charge of second degree murder. In fact, much of what she said supported the defense's case. For example, she said that once the phone went dead, she did not call the matter because she assumed that it was "just a fight." That would indicate that she felt that fighting was a normal activity for Treyvon Marton, which supports Zimmerman's side of the story. Also, nothing that she said clearly contradicted Zimmerman's account.

By BPatMan on 2013 07 05, 3:40 pm CDT

It is somewhat curious to read what lawyers are saying about the case based on bias, racism, conjecture, and the personality characteristics of a teenage witness who had difficulty articulating umnder stressful circumstances. There were , after all, other witnesses. THe only question in the case is whether the prosecution will have proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and perhaps, whether the defence has met its burden concerning self defence. Although I am not there, and only from what I have observed thus far, it seems that there is some doubt, but, perhaps not sufficient to overcome the presumption of innocence which we all enjoy. These are the matters to which a lawyer should give his attention,

By jimathart on 2013 07 05, 4:22 pm CDT

Rachel Jeantel was much worse than inarticulate, she was disrespectful of the court process and confrontational to the defense attorney. Sorry if she's from Haiti, but she has chosen to live here, and should abide by US court customs. Her blithe excuse for "cracker" doesn't cut it either. And her preparation by the Martin family lawyer is also quite suspect. The cries of "racial profiling" were rejected by the lead investigator, in part because he learned that Zimmerman was mentoring African-American kids. Also because there is just no evidence of it.

By Jerome on 2013 07 05, 4:25 pm CDT

Sorry about the British spelling of "defence" particularly around the 4th of July. OK, "defense"

By Jimathart on 2013 07 05, 4:28 pm CDT

Actually since Zimmerman has admitted that he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, the state can easily meet the burden of the proof beyond a reasonable doubt for at least manslaughter.

Then it becomes the responsibility of the defense to prove by the preponderance of the evidence that there is an affirmative defense.

Then the state has the opportunity to rebut that defense. This can be by discrediting the defense witnesses on cross examination, or by showing in some other way that the defense is a pretext, or perhaps in other ways.

Yes Zimmerman is innocent until proven guilty, but admitting shooting an unarmed minor goes a long way toward proof of manslaughter, because no showing of intent, reckless indifference, depraved mind, etc is needed. Knowingly will suffice. Zimmerman never claimed to be unaware that he shot Trayvon Martin in the torso with a potentially lethal round, and I doubt that Zimmerman will be able to substantiate such a claim now, so manslaughter is probably a slam dunk unless the defense proves all the elements of self defense to satisfaction of the jury.

By Kit on 2013 07 05, 4:37 pm CDT

I love the comments section. It's always more interesting, and more informative, than the articles (most of which are barely high school newspaper-worthy).
My opinion of this case is this: wrong charge, wrong reason for proceeding with the case, and more than likely, either a hung jury or an acquittal. Zimmerman may well be guilty of manslaughter (I'll wait for the rest of the prosecution's case) but murder? Nope.
And as many have pointed out- the prosecution appears to be ill-prepared at times. (No one on their side ever reviewed Jental's prior statements with her? Odd.)

By Vastly Amused on 2013 07 05, 4:38 pm CDT


You have no idea as to why Ms. Jeantel lives in the USA. You have no idea as to whether she was disrespectful of the court process... and probably no basis for such conjecture. If she had been disrespectful of the court process, it is likely the defense attorney would have sought some form of judicial punishment for such conduct. But, that, too, is conjecture. She testified that she had used the word "cracker" in the past. I surmise that many folks writing on this same blog have used derogatory terms in the past, particularly as teenagers.

Your suggestion as to why Martin was followed by Zimmerman is fascinating. At the time of the investigation, Zimmerman had at his disposal a father who was a judge. No legal personnel represented the Martin family. To suggest that African American males are not stereotyped in small towns throughout north and central Florida suggests a total lack of appreciation for the current environment. The expression "Driving While Black" is a common expression deriving from law enforcement stopping African Americans in areas "where they don't belong."

Recall, Trayvon Martin fled from Zimmerman. Why was Zimmerman pursuing the child other than Zimmerman's personal belief that Trayvon Martin did not belong where he was seen? There are many racist who, when confronted, say, "Hey, I have two black friends." Does that discount the racism expressed to other blacks?

Ms. Jeantel is to be commended for being a witness. I hope you never have the responsibility of putting on a case on behalf of a client with witnesses who are not polished. The truth needs no polish.

By Sad to read this blog today on 2013 07 05, 4:41 pm CDT

@34: I never once said "I made it." The difference between those of us who left the ghetto and those of us who did not is who we chose to emulate - and listen to. Further, it is NOT superior to expect the most basic of minimums from all who live here. Stop making up excuses - where has it been said/written that English was that young lady's third language? I am willing to bet that her proficiency in French matches that of her English.

You know what, it really does not matter. Why? Because black folks who have been here their entire lives (and for countless generations post-slavery) are similarly situated precisely because liberal white and liberal black folks keep giving us alibis for not being full members in society; those policies and perspectives keep us dependent! For sure it keeps most black folks Democratic - but still dependent with extremely low aspirations.

Granted, she is not on trial. However, NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC and media outlets of their ilk went out of their way to affirm that yound lady's right to not be proficient in English. Oh, she actually speaks English, albeit substandard.

I am not a bully - I just cannot countenance the attitudes that are so harmful to us. School is free - yet I see knuckleheads lined around the corner to await the opening of a shoe store so they can spend $200 on a pair of sneakers. Mind you, these are the same folks on free/reduced lunch and who go to school without pencils and paper. Some of those same folks may have to one day testify in a trial and y'all will make the same excuses for them.

I am most definitely NOT a liberal, and if @33 believes that being a liberal really means caring for his "fellow man," then we have different definitions of that phrase. I take my instruction (of course!) from the Bible in that caring for one's fellow man means teaching him to fish rather than always and forever supplying him with the fish. I believe the power to feed is the power to starve. So long as we continue to stand around with our hands out (waiting to be fed), we will forever be subjected to nonsense (never learning to read).

Just my two cents....

By Black Does Not Mean Cannot Read on 2013 07 05, 4:50 pm CDT

@45: I watched the trial. Ms. Jeantel was very disrespectful, whining about having to come back the next day, for example. That the defense did not seek "judicial punishment" only shows they were not trying to embarrass her. As to why she is not in Haiti, I made no comment. But it doesn't matter. She's here and should abide by US customs.

Nice that you don't think using "cracker" means anything. Seems kind of one-sided. No evidence that Zimmerman was racist, but he's accused of profiling. Some evidence that Martin was racist, and plenty that he was beating the cr*p out of Zimmerman.

As to my "suggestion" about the "following," I didn't say anything, so I don't know to what you are referring.

By Jerome on 2013 07 05, 5:43 pm CDT

To: By Black Does Not Mean Cannot Read

Social liberalism (also known as progressive liberalism) is the belief that liberalism should include a social foundation, implicitly on a collective basis. Social liberalism seeks to balance individual freedom and social justice. Like classical liberalism, it endorses a market economy and the expansion of civil and political rights and liberties, but differs in that it believes the legitimate role of the government includes addressing economic and social issues such as poverty, health care and education. Under social liberalism, the good of the community is viewed as harmonious with the freedom of the individual

You are not Allen West are you or perhaps Clarence Thomas?

By Syc on 2013 07 05, 6:09 pm CDT

Clearance Thomas should be addressed as Justice Thomas, the only Justice who has a reputation for taking time during the summer to interact with ordinary people. While I highly doubt he'd venture into a forum like this, mainly because it involves active litigation and there's a (very) small chance he could eventually be asked to review some element of the case, whoever is writing is obviously influenced by him. While I disagree with the political philosophy I do understand where he's coming from; my wife is an immigrant from a country where few people speak English yet her English is fluent, her accent being the only giveaway that she was not born here. My tolerance for non-native English speakers who struggle with our language is much higher than her tolerance for the same.

By Michael on 2013 07 05, 6:27 pm CDT

No evidence that ZImmerman was racist? Zimmerman saw him as a "suspect" because he was a black guy walking in the neighborhood at night! This "suspicious behavior" warranted both reporting him to the police and following him. In my opinion that tips the scales in favor of racism.

By Bill on 2013 07 05, 6:33 pm CDT

Jerome nailed it. I don't care about your socio-economic or cultural background, or about your personal views regarding the case or how it impacted you. The courtroom demands respect. I was shocked that the judge never admonished Jeantel at several points during her testimony. I was appalled, however, that the judge didn't scold Jeantel when, at the end of the first day of her testimony, defense counsel told the judge that he expected that cross would continue for a few more hours the next day - and Jeantel made a loud, smart-a** remark of disbelief and said that she wasn't going to show up. Jeantel hadn't been asked a question requiring a response, and that remark showed a complete disrespect for the entire proceeding, not just the defense team. And I'm sorry, 19 is plenty old enough to know how to conduct yourself in court. I've seen children under 16 testify more respectfully and thoughtfully than Jeantel.

I just want to make one other quick point: One thing that has already been misconstrued in these comments was something along the lines of "the police told Zimmerman not to follow Martin." This is false. When a non-emergency police dispatcher asked Zimmerman if he was following Martin and Zimmerman answered in the affirmative, the dispatcher responded "we don't need you to do that." There was no direct order from law enforcement not to pursue.

By Agree with Jerome on 2013 07 05, 6:38 pm CDT

For those of you who like to identify Jeantel as a "kid/teenager" and Molly West as an "adult," the facts are that Jeantel is 19 and West is 23. Both of them are young adults. And both of them lack maturity when it comes to social media - do some research on Jeantel's postings about the trial.

By One more thing on 2013 07 05, 6:56 pm CDT

@48, I actually laughed when I read your question about me being LTC West or Justice Thomas. No, I am neither of them - but my political and policy positions parallel theirs. I am particularly fond of LTC West (being a lieutenant colonel myself) and really like Justice Thomas because our humble beginnings are similar. I take the comparisons as a compliment. :-)

@50: Guess what? Most of my neighborhood is black and Trayvon would be similarly suspect. I am also raising a black son (high school-aged) and by the grace of God, those in my social circle do not think the "Trayvons" of the world are the standard for these soon-to-be black men. As a mother, I owe my son more than that. As a black person, I wish we could see that our own failings oftentime lead to very real and very tragic consequences.

Every thing that happens to a black person is NOT because the person is black....

By Black Does Not Mean Cannot Read on 2013 07 05, 7:02 pm CDT

Come on, boys and girls! The photo? Eh! The caption? So what? As for the cross examination of the witness, I've been to court a time or two, and I've always thought that as defense counsel, my duty was to my client on trial, not to the tender sensibilities of a witness. The question, to my mind, is whether the examination tactic inured to the benefit of the accused or caused the jury to become inflamed at the shabby treatment of the poor witness. Z's lawyer made his decision and proceeded accordingly (I suppose). I don't think we've any complaint about his cross until we learn that the style and tone hurt the defense case.

By George Renneberg on 2013 07 05, 7:11 pm CDT

"Jerome, No evidence that ZImmerman was racist? Zimmerman saw him as a “suspect” because he was a black guy walking in the neighborhood at night!"
Bill, There is zero evidence that Zimmerman took race into account, unless you count the doctored version of the 911 call as edited by MSNBC. If you have something else, please cite it. BTW, The middle class townhouse "gated community" where Zimmerman lived is integrated. The only evidence of racism is the "cracker" comment made by Mr. Martin shortly before he beat down Mr. Zimmerman.

By Jerome on 2013 07 05, 7:48 pm CDT

@54 - haven't you read the memo? In this case the Bill of Rights and every law deriving from it has been suspended, not only the criminal components but the first amendment too.

By Michael on 2013 07 05, 7:48 pm CDT

I am sorry that your political and policy positions parallel West and Thomas. You are certainly entitled but they are far from the norm for this country. I have a tremendous problem with Thomas and at least the appearance of conflict of interest with his wife's position at the Tta Party group Liberty Central which was bankrolled by Harlan Crow, a large donor to the Heritage Foundation, The fact that Harlan Crow bankrolled Thomas' pet project outside of Savannah, GA and gave Thomas a Bible that once belonged to Frederick Douglas. There are other situations but I will stop with these which are more than enough to question his impartiality. As for former Col. West, he was asked to resign his commission because of his illegal actions in Iraq.

The fact that you identify with these two individuals seems to show your prejudice. AS for the statements of the witness being disrespectful of the court process, I think we can clearly call on Alito for disrespect and improper decorum in court with his actions during Justice Ginsberg's reading of the majority decision. He surely understands proper decorum much better than the witness does.

By Syc on 2013 07 05, 7:50 pm CDT

@ 52 One More Thing - I agree with you that Rachel Jeantel and Molly West are both young adults.

I also think that as a witness being cross examined in a murder trial for the killer of her friend who died almost as she was talking to him, Rachel Jeantel was in a much tougher spot than Molly West having ice cream with her father. So I don't understand the point of your comparison, if there is one beyond the fact that both are not saavy users of social media. I agree that Rachel Jeantel was not careful about what she said publicly about what happened. I don't think she is the witness the prosecution would have chosen to present if they had 8 or 12 witnesses who were talking to Trayvon Martin at the time. But they did not have a dozen equally knowledgeable living witnesses to choose from.

Now I also learned a lot between the time that I was 18 and the time that I was 23, so I would expect more from Molly West than Rachel Jeantel on that basis alone. The fact that her father is a defense attorney could work either way. Her father may have better manners or worse manners than Jeantel's parents, and better or worse understanding of the pitfalls of social media. I would have guessed that attorney West has better manners and more knowledge of social media, but that is just a guess. Some attorneys have lousy manners and are clueless. In any case Molly West was rude enough that I might tell her if she was my 23 year old friend that I thought what Molly West did was tacky and inappropriate. Since she is not my friend, and I do not expect to have the opportunity to talk with her, I am telling this group that I think she was tacky and inappropriate. Enough said.

By Kit on 2013 07 05, 8:39 pm CDT

Gee, since we are holding EVERYONE to our own personal standards, I feel sorry for you if your political and policy positions parallel B. Hussein (sp?) Obama's because he encourages degeneracy and even used illegal drugs (his own admission) or Bill Clinton's because he is an unapologetic adulterer who was impeached. So, when it comes to any policy where an actual moral value is implicated (i.e., enforcing the laws of the land), I question Obama's impartiality, as he who breaks them is less likely to be inclined to follow them. But, that's not the point.

As I said, my political and policy perspectives parallel those of LTC West and Justice Thomas; I did not indicate that I look to them as moral authorities. Whatever the transgressions of the two aforementioned conservatives, they are not nearly as egregious as Obama's (or Clinton's). Then again, I am a Christian and not biased toward the likes of Obama or Clinton.... Case in point: I also agree with the policy and political perspectives of Pope Francis I, but he is not a moral authority for me (I am a Southern Baptist).

By Syc - Conflating Issues on 2013 07 05, 9:13 pm CDT

Who cares that the pic was taken before her testimony? I think the important part is what was said. Nice of the attorney to let his daughters take the fall. I'm glad he continues to "love them anyway" even though they disrespect Jeantel as much as their dad did. How did he find that kind of love in his heart? I agree, though, that dad killed it, as long as "it" is his own credibility as an attorney.

By Adamius on 2013 07 05, 9:54 pm CDT

Haha. This is almost as bad as Michael Jordan's son Jeffrey throwing his dad's name around in an attempt to diss one of Kobe's playoff performances.

By You call this coffee!? on 2013 07 05, 10:01 pm CDT

This is wild incompetent DA not preparing a witness. That's the only conclusion or she is just a horrible witness. Who brought very little to the party. As for defense attorney daughters. Gallows humor? And she posted it not dad. Dad vented with his family and the stupidity of "social media" lol. Published it So what. As for race it's here but who hasn't looked over their shoulder on a dark street after passing a 20 something black guy. ??? I have why. I guess I'm racist. I also do it when I pass certain white guys. And Hispanic guys. Not so much Asian well they are smaller than me and remind me of chow in hangover lol. Yes race is here. Racism is stupid. Oh and how many of us thought that "Clarence Thomas" on here was a guy. I did til she said she was a mom. Racism. ... Only a black guy would stand up like her. And bravo to her very impressive comments. Oh is that racist or sexist because how could a "black" be that smart. ??? Well how could a woman...... That is a joke. A joke

By Todd on 2013 07 06, 12:36 am CDT

Oh I feel horrible for travon's. family just horrible. I can't even imagine and pray I never know that pain. I am of the opinion that Zimmerman and all those homeowners better have great insurance because its way over a preponderance that this was negligent. Way over. Not that that cod ever replace a chins. RIP travon

By Todd on 2013 07 06, 12:42 am CDT

If your children will pay attention, try to teach them not to jump someone who has a gun if there is any choice.

I'm not sure what you mean about negligence, as this looks like intentional conduct to me. Fundamentally not the same. On the civil side, issues may be similar to this case. Was the shooting self-defense and hence, privileged?

Personally, I would question the value of having one's chin(s) replaced with a cod. It strikes me as a highly dubious cosmetic procedure, likely to fail due to tissue rejection, and probably would not improve the appearance of your chin(s) even if it/they look(s) really ugly.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 06, 3:23 am CDT

I have found it fascinating and troubling that there is little conversation in the media or in the posts to this story and others that Trayvon Martin was the one who had a right to stand his ground, from the beginning, according to Florida law, up to and including using lethal force against George Zimmerman. Zimmerman had no right to stalk anyone, which is what he was doing. There is no question but what he was told by the police dispatcher NOT to follow the boy who turned out to be Trayvon Martin. If Trayvon Martin had been armed and observed that George Zimmerman was carrying a gun as Zimmerman approached him, Trayvon Martin would have been entitled under Florida law to shoot and kill Zimmerman.

Since Zimmerman had a gun, was told not to follow Trayvon Martin, did so anyway, if Trayvon Martin stood HIS ground by pounding ZImmerman's head into the pavement, that doesn't in any way justify Zimmerman shooting Martin. Unless, of course, Florida's stand your ground law only applies to those who are not black.

I'm also troubled by the repeated references to Zimmerman as a part of the neighborhood watch. Soon after the shooting occurred the REAL neighborhood watch folks said, Zimmerman was not part of any neighborhood watch program AND that folks involved in neighborhood watch would not have followed an individual after being instructed not to do so by the police.

I'm a white 67-year-old grandmother, retired lawyer. It's not hard to spell vigilante, or identify Zimmerman as one.

It's been obvious from that outset that the reason Zimmerman wasn't arrested that night was that he doesn't have black skin. If Zimmerman's last name were Johnson and he were black, and the victim had been a white teenager visiting his dad, that African-American shooter Johnson would have been jailed the night of the shooting. And if it came out that this black shooter Johnson had routinely stalked white folks walking around the gated community and referred to them as "honkies", does anyone really think that black shooter Johnson after killing the white teenager would even have made bail, much less waiting 40+ days to fact criminal charges?

Where's the cry in the posts here for folks who don't have pink skin like mine to be able to walk around in any neighborhood they choose, just as I can, without fear of some vigilante in the neighborhood mistaking me for a criminal. This has gone on way too long. Those of use who are or have been members of the bar need to stand up for our fellow citizens who subjected to double standard, double standards that sometime cut short the life of a young black man or woman.

By A Thayer on 2013 07 06, 5:23 am CDT

I think the point has alteady been covered above that the dispatcher DID NOT tell Zimmerman not to follow the shady-looking figure in the hoodie, but just said, "We don't need you to do that."

Futher, I disagree with your assertion that Zimmerman following him in any way justified a physical assault. I do not believe there is a state in the union where you are allowed to put an ass-whipping on someone for walking after you on a public way. Accordingly, if the decedent on that basis alone assaulted Zimmerman, he was not "standing his ground," but commiting an assault. Rather foolishly, as it turns out, on a person with a loaded firearm. Sometimes, such things don't turn out well.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 06, 5:30 am CDT

The dispatcher told Z to stay away and let the police handle the situation. Z claimed the dispatcher told hi to see if he could get a better look at the person. A transcript of the tapes reveals the dispatcher's statement but not Z's. big discrepancy.

By Syc on 2013 07 06, 11:37 am CDT

The Best way to beat your enemies is to take on the The Obama Theory, You figure it out, from your comments.

By James Hadnott on 2013 07 06, 4:49 pm CDT

I appreciate the sentiment, James, but not everyone has access to Predator drones armed with Hellfire missles. Of course, if Zimmerman had been so fortunate, and if he had followed The Obama Theory, he would have had his drone track Martin all the way back to the house. Then, assuming all the occupants must be guilty by association, he would have dispatched the Hellfire missles to destroy the house and kill everyone inside. The next day, we could expect a media announcement advising us that some high-value, second or third ranking local Al Qaida operative none of us had ever heard of before was killed, along with several of his apparent terrorist followers (and there would be nobody left to file a complaint or suit, even if the courts dared touch such a thing over their fear for national security).

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 06, 6:03 pm CDT

1. PD dispatch said stop fallowing the kid. 2 gun involved and potential gun use was not reported avoiding Pd intervention. 3.Zimmerman continued to engage and escalate situation against Pd orders. 4. Teen ends up dead. What is the question here?

By DCMatthews on 2013 07 06, 9:10 pm CDT

DCMatthews: GZ did what he lawfully could do - at all times, including defending himself with deadly forc after TM attacked him and caused him to fear for his life. Prosecuting him because he f- lawfully -followed TM, left his vehicle, etc. makes as much sense as prosecuting his parents for having the gall to give birth to GZ 29 years ago. What is the question here?

By GAattorney on 2013 07 06, 9:17 pm CDT

DC where did you get these facts dispatch said "we don't need you to do that" ie follow him. There's a difference in being told to stop. 2 is kind of obtuse. I guess you mean he didn't tell the criminals on patrol that he had a gun. Not real clear there. Zimmerman did continue. But it was travon who escalated it to the physical level and again there is no evidence of Zimmerman doing anything that he was "ordered" not to do. Finally yes a teen is tragically dead. Isn't that partially the fault of society that thinks most young black men are criminals. And partially the fault of young black men who are criminals and partially the paranoia of if you are looking at me it must be because I'm black and maybe the fact that travon escalated a verbal altercation to physical. And zinmermans little penis syndrome making him want to use his "gun". Just maybe?

By Todd on 2013 07 06, 9:22 pm CDT

To all the ObamaPhone voters who gleefully keep squealing that Z disobeyed an order to stand down: please learn to read and then come back. "We don't need you to do that" is not an order. I sincerely hope that none of those squealers are lawyers.

By Bobsyouruncle on 2013 07 06, 9:37 pm CDT

PD said stop pursuit. Correct? i thought it was more than " we don't need you to do that." PD Err? No alteration or death if followed PD Orders or even pd "suggestion". Doesn't pd always ask if there is a gun in any potential altercation? Did they not and err too? Still PD suggested action wasn't necessary. Then a Choice was made to create situtation ,engage use aggression anyway. There was no self defense, he was not the victim of an aggressor. Zimmerman WAS the aggressor. Playing cops and robbers with a real gun.

By DCMatthews on 2013 07 06, 10:20 pm CDT

There seems to be disagreement as to whether there was any "police order." In most jurisdictions, 911 dispatchers are civilian call-center types, not commissioned police officers, and could not give a "police order" if they wanted to.

I also don't see where Zimmerman was an "aggressor." A person who is not subject to a restraining order prohibiting it can follow another person on a public way, whether it is out of idle curiosity over what that person is doing, or out of suspicion that person may be engaged in criminal activity. If the person being followed decides to have one of those special "moments" sometimes discussed in episodes of the animated series, "The Boondocks," and attacks the person who is lawfully following them, it is simply an unprivileged assault. In this particular case, an actual battery, possibly an aggravated battery with intent to kill. Possibly a racist hate crime. Of course, one risk of indulging those special "moments" and wrongfully attacking other people is the possibility that the victim of the attack may be armed and may decide to exercise a right of lawful self defense with lethal force.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 06, 11:41 pm CDT

#46. I applaud your reasoning and am with you all the way!

#50. Zimmerman said he was suspicious because Trayvon was ducking in between houses, that it was raining and Trayvon wasn't trying to avoid the rain but also didn't appear to be an athlete in training, and that he seemed high on something. Zimmerman had made similar calls in the past and not just calls on Blacks. I have heard liberals argue that Zimmerman was a racist because he talked about "punks"; like only Blacks are punks. If you believe that referring to punks means you are talking about Blacks, you are the racist...not the person referring to punks--which is a race neutral term in my book. I don't know if Zimmerman is a racist or not. I can only say that I have seen no evidence to that effect. If you have seen concrete evidence, please enlighten me.

By ME on 2013 07 07, 12:24 am CDT

I think the prosecutor made a lot of errors with these types of "mindset" and "racist" smokescreens. What difference would it make if Zimmerman was a racist? That isn't a crime, and following someone on a public way isn't a crime, and if Trayvon Martin attacked Zimmerman while Zimmerman was engaged in completely lawful conduct and had not assaulted or threatened Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman was within his rights to defend himself. As I understand the testimony up to this point (the prosecution having now rested), there is no testimony that Zimmerman threatened or assaulted Trayvon Martin before Trayvon Martin attacked him, but there are witnesses who saw Trayvon Martin on top of Zimmerman and beating him. The way the evidence is coming in, I am not seeing where Zimmerman has been shown to have done anything wrong.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 07, 1:35 am CDT

The only evidence that Z was attacked is Z's claim. Z was told to let the police handle.

By Syc on 2013 07 07, 2:43 am CDT

@78: The evidence that Z was attacked by Martin includes eyewitness Peter Good, who saw them facing each other, then Martin on top, then Martin beating down on Z.
To you and others: If Z. was a "vigilante" stalking prey with a gun and hoping to score a kill, why would he call 911 in the first place?

By Jerome on 2013 07 07, 3:15 am CDT

Even Peter Good did not say that he was in a position that he could see who started it. It may be that seeing them standing and then seeing Martin on top was because Martin started it, but that is a conclusion, not a fact or even an observation.

Zimmerman did not need to have an intention to kill Martin that night to be a vigilante. Zimmerman did not have to have his gun drawn in advance. When you carry a concealed weapon, you have a duty to be extra careful not to get into a situation where you will end up using it if you can safely do so. If you expect to get in a fist fight, don't carry a gun. If you carry a gun, be careful not to get in a fist fight. Keep your distance. Use extra common sense. In many states you are expected to be significantly more cautious and avoid trouble while you are carrying. It is not a license to kill.

By Kit on 2013 07 07, 5:19 am CDT

I suspect that is not an accurate statement of Florida law, because it would not fit with the rationale underlying stand-your-ground laws such as Florida has enacted. I have not actually heard of any state where carrying a concealed weapon gives rise to a legal duty to be extra careful not to get into a situation where you will end up using it. That really looks made up.

I think it is interesting that many of the posters calling for a conviction above are very open about their belief that Trayvon Martin attacked Zimmerman. They seem to excuse that on the basis (erroneously, in my opinion) that Trayvon Martin was legally entitled to attack Zimmerman for following him. I do not think that he was legally entitled to attack, and if he in fact did attack, which seems to be the direction the evidence is taking, the jury should bring a defense verdict.

The case is not about whether we like or dislike Zimmerman. It is not about whether Zimmerman exercised poor judgment, nor even whether Zimmerman might harbor racist sympathies. It is only about whether Trayvon Martin attacked Zimmerman , entitling Zimmerman to defend himself.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 07, 5:57 am CDT

There are several YouTube postings of Rachel Jeantel's testimony. Although I saw much of it as she testified, and recalled the "cracker" comment, there is much more of interest here. Trayvon Martin also called Zimmerman a "N-word" (TM used the word, of course). She changed her testimony on the stand.

She was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Check it out.

By Jerome on 2013 07 07, 7:29 am CDT

McLeod - for the first time ever I agree with you. I don't like George Zimmerman. I don't like community neighborhood watch patrols. I don't even like the HOA's that dot my state; mini-municipalities filled with control freaks. But I live here in FL and I know our laws.

Our stand your ground rule is wrong, but it is the law. Similarly, Zimmerman is the defendant; he's presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If we are not reasonably sure what happend -- if the prosecution hasn't proven what happened beyond a reasonable doubt -- we judge in favor of Zimmerman. Anybody who does not like that should make like Snowden and move to a different country because, for better or worse, that's how things are done here.

I haven't been watching the testimony that closely but, from what I've seen, this case is arguably subject to a directed verdict for the defense. No reasonable jury could believe the prosecution has proven the elements of second degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt in the context of Florida law. In fairness to the prosecution they knew this would be a problem; they knew these facts, must have known they didn't have a case, and were reluctant to charge him.

If somebody attacks you, in FL, and you think your life is in danger, then you have the right to kill them; it's wrong, but it's also really that simple. Even if you provoked them. It's up to the prosecution to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, who attacked whom first and if we're not sure we have to find in favor of the defense. Zimmerman will not be the first murderer to walk under this ridiculous law, though if the public focuses it's anger where it belongs -- at the Florida Legislature, rather than the court system following their laws -- maybe he will be one of the last.

By Michael on 2013 07 07, 1:15 pm CDT

#83: You say, "If somebody attacks you, in FL, and you think your life is in danger, then you have the right to kill them; it's wrong, but it's also really that simple". Are you actually saying that you don't think a person should be able to kill another in a kill or be-killed situation?

By ME on 2013 07 07, 1:36 pm CDT

I'm saying you should have the right to defend yourself using the least force reasonably necessary under the circumstances, not the right to slaughter them after they've been subdued nor to hunt them down on your own when there is no ongoing threat.

By Michael on 2013 07 07, 1:42 pm CDT

In the heat of the moment, it is hard for a person to know what "the least force reasonably necessary under the circumstances" is. And, in this case, there is no evidence that Trayvon had been subdued or that Zimmerman hunted him down after the police told him he didn't need to follow him. If Trayvon had been Caucasian or Hispanic, there would be no trial.

By ME on 2013 07 07, 1:59 pm CDT

There would have not been a "heat of the moment" if Zimmerman had a legal obligation to leave TM alone absent an immediate threat. Under FL law no such obligation exists, though it should. Zimmerman is legally innocent yet morally guilty. Assuming that there isn't a directed verdict -- which I think is a safe assumption, though there probably should be one -- it will be interesting to see what the defense raises. The prosecution failed to prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt even without the burden of the other side knocking down their case. At this point they'd be idiots to put GZ on the stand -- if he wants a soapbox he'll have plenty of opportunity after the trial -- though that's up to them.

By Michael on 2013 07 07, 2:26 pm CDT

A directed verdict has already been denied. I agree they’d be idiots to put GZ on the stand.

Maybe you haven't been following the evidence that closely. GZ stopped following TM and started to head back to his car. Then, instead, he looked for a street sign so that he could call the location into the police. TM then came up behind GZ. So it seems that TM was the aggressor at the time of the 2nd and deadly encounter.

By ME on 2013 07 07, 2:35 pm CDT

Fred and McLeod I could only hope you were kidding when making those remarks regarding excuses for rioting. When you shoot an unarmed teenager carrying ice tea and skittles, minding his own business two blocks from his father's house you should experience a little pain. McLeod your true colors are showing once again. Perhaps you really are a troll on this site as some have claimed. Your prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance knows no bounds.

By AGB on 2013 07 07, 5:16 pm CDT

Wow, AGB, great comment for the pro-rioting faction. Sure, criminal cases should be about inflicting "a little pain" on people you and your racist cohorts don't like, rather than what the law actually provides or whether the defendant is guilty or innocent. And if the jury won't do that, of course it's perfectly fine for you to randomly destroy, loot and burn the property of disinterested third persons, just as terrorists typically do. It seems your search for "prejudice, bigotry and ignorance" should (like charity) begin at home.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 07, 7:38 pm CDT

@90 is spot on! I am not sure how/why AGB decided that "[w]hen you shoot an unarmed teenager carrying ice tea and skittles, minding his own business two blocks from his father’s house you should experience a little pain" is an appropriate approach to the law. Actually, I cannot see how being unarmed (I know a murderer who was unarmed when he killed) or anything thing else AGB thinks he knows about the case means that TM was not the aggressor or that GZ was not justified in the killing.

Surely, AGB is not rationalizing the probable riots that will follow a GZ 'not guilty' verdict. I am just thankful to God that the black folks I live around will not countenance having our beautiful homes or necessary businesses burned down. Perhaps, AGB will let them burn his home - or his parents' or siblings' homes - instead of their own. I mean, if one condones/excuses the rioting, surely one will gladly suffer the effects of that nonsense.

@62/Todd: Your post made me laugh. I assumed folks thought I was a male, so I just went ahead and provided some clues as to my femaleness. Oh, and in case some believe moral and physical strength is synonymous with being a man-hating female homosexual, let me assure you that I entered into a God-approved/designed marriage to a man more than 20 years ago.

@65/A Thayer...You are the typical of the white liberal tripping over themselves to make up reason why TM must have not done a thing to escalate the matter and that GZ is automatically guilty; you are even spouting nonsense that is the opposite of actual trial testimony. I tell you what, when THEY starting rioting because of the not guilty verdict, let those whose skin is not pink come and burn or loot your possessions (yeah, that will show folks why double standards suck). Also, you profess to being a lawyer (really?), but throw around terms like "stalking" as if you have no training in the law. I would expect a "lawyer" to use terms of art correctly, not as a layperson would.

Yes, you liberal white folks are the ones who think referring to black people as "African-Americans" is showing respect - so pathetically misguided! Why? Because as a black person who has been in America for more than 7 generations, I can assure you that I am not an American living an African experience nor am I an African living in America. Tell me, when was the last time someone referred to you as an European American?? What is more, we make y'all feel guilty over the most nonsensical mess!

By Ditto B. McLeod (This is LTC West/J. Thomas) on 2013 07 07, 8:52 pm CDT

I fear AGB is part of the problem, as so very many sabre-rattling race-baiters are. Instead of calling for a calm application of law and logic, they focus everything on race and incessantly cry out for racial vengeance. Whenever he may actually manage to stir up a race riot, the one thing we can absolutely count on is that AGB won't be present or personally at risk by actual particiation in the event. His kind never are. How could they possibly sit back and properly enjoy the bloodshed they have incited if they had to worry about distractions of personal risk?

So, somebody else always pays the ticket for AGB and his ilk. Usually, the young black people AGB pretends to care about. Young black people not unlike Trayvon Martin.

How many times in his life did Trayvon Martin listen to an AGB, telling him to forget the police and the law, in favor of primitive rage and causing "a little pain" if any one disrespected him. Perhaps that is why Trayvon Martin, who had a cell phone, made no attempt to use it to call police about the person following him. Perhaps it is why he instead doubled back to confront George Zimmerman and then physically attacked him, to cause hm "a little pain." Perhaps Trayvon Martin did these things all the time, explaining why his illiterate girlfriend (whom he apparently decided to consult instead of police) assumed the phone connection was lost due to a fight. Perhaps AGB and the others who taught Trayvon Martin this approach to interpersonal relations bear some responsibility.

In any event, congratulations, AGB, for another victim upon your altar. How many more will there have to be before you curtail your seemingly endless call for racial hatred and primitive rage?

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 07, 9:41 pm CDT

B. McLeod - Once again you apparently have not followed the case before commenting on it. If you want to know a little more the Orlando Sentinel has posted some great crime scene photos. Look them up. It might help you match the facts a little better. Zimmerman was not anywhere near his truck or a signpost where the shooting occurred, and Trayvon Martin's cell phone was not anywhere near where Trayvon Martin's body was found, so either Trayvon Martin threw it away when he realized that Zimmerman was about to attack him, or Zimmerman made sure it was out of Trayvon Martin's reach when Zimmerman confronted Martin. Take your pick. In either case it explains why Martin did not call police when Zimmerman surprised Martin.

By the way, apparently Rachel Jeantel called Martin, not the other way around. He was talking to her when he noticed Zimmerman the first time, and probably felt safer staying on the cell phone than hanging up and hoping to dial 911 before Zimmerman jumped him. I know plenty of people who hope that being on the cell phone will prevent attacks by providing an unreachable witness to what happened if someone jumps them while they are walking alone. I have no idea whether it deters criminals or not, but it is a common idea among single women and other people who are afraid while walking alone.

By Kit on 2013 07 08, 7:05 am CDT

So, by omission, you admit your earlier comment was erroneous as to Florida law, and, in fact, unsupported in the law of any jurisdiction (since you could identify none)?

Good enough for me.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 08, 7:45 am CDT

Someone who understand Florida's stand your ground law please help me. Leaving race and politics totally aside, consider the situation from Martin's position. He's just gone to the store and picked up a couple of innocent items, he's heading back to where he and his dad are staying--a place he's entitled to be, he notices a man shadowing him in a car, he tries to shake the man and thinks he's succeeded, then the man shows up again on foot and, when asked a question (either why are you following me? or do you have a problem? depending on who you believe), the man does nothing to defuse the situation (e.g., identifying himself as a neighborhood watch volunteer). Would Martin at that point have reasonable cause to fear for his life or bodily harm? If not, what else would need to happen? If so, under stand your ground, what does he have the right to do? Would it make a difference if had reason to think that the man was armed? And what happens under stand your ground if both Martin and Zimmerman has reason to fear harm from the other? Would it matter that Zimmerman set the confrontation in motion by his decision to tail Martin? (If you respond, please don't attack me. I'm just asking questions, not arguing the case for either side.)

By IndyCanary on 2013 07 08, 2:12 pm CDT

@95 - Under this poorly written law, given these facts, either one of them probably could have killed the other.

By Michael on 2013 07 08, 3:23 pm CDT

@13 As somoeone who has actually met Tim Wise and (unfortunately) sat through one of his lectures, I can say based on personal experience that his entire philosophy and career is based on extrapolating his own white guilt and racial preconceptions to the entire white race (in and of itself racist). He had the audacity to blame racism for causing black fathers to abandon their children and wives. No, that's called irresponsibility and its not limited to the black community either. He, and by extension you, have no credibility.

P.S. None of that has anything to do with this case. This is a criminal trial, not a referendum on your own pet racial theories. Troll.

By silencedogood on 2013 07 08, 3:48 pm CDT

It is unclear what relevance, if any, Florida's stand your ground laws have to this case. SYG essentially removes the defendant's burden of proving that there was no reasonable opportunity to retreat before resorting to deadly force. There still has to be a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm in order to be justified in using deadly force. One might even argue that an opportunity to retreat is still a relevant consideration in self-defense cases, but it might come into play as a point used by the prosecution to undermine a defendant's claim that a fear of death or serious harm was reasonable.

If the jury believes that Martin was on Zimmerman in a "ground and pound" scenario, SYG would be for practical purposes an afterthought (though a catchy phrase) in this case.

By NoleLaw on 2013 07 08, 3:55 pm CDT

Another thought, even though a person may be doing something that is not illegal, such as following a stranger, couldn't that action cause reasonable fear in the other person? If someone I don't know follows me to my car as I walk through a deserted parking garage at night, I think my fear would be very real and reasonable. At what point would I be justified in taking defensive action under the Florida law? Again--just seeking information about stand your ground, not arguing this particular case.

By IndyCanary on 2013 07 08, 4:07 pm CDT

@99 - Well, ultimately a jury will decide if a fear is reasonable. It would be a shocking outcome if a jury found that merely being followed would create a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm, and ultimately, that is what is required. Again, SYG only removes the requirement that the defendant demonstrate an inability to reasonably retreat, but I do not think that the ability/inability to retreat becomes completely irrelevant in SYG jurisdictions. After all, if the defendant could easily get away, how reasonable was the fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm?

I don't know if there is a magic and clearly identifiable "point" at which any self-defense law comes into play. It would be a matter of looking at all relevant facts and determining if they gave a rise to a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm.

By NoleLaw on 2013 07 08, 4:16 pm CDT

yeah, if i can go after someone after the Pd suggests i dont and then claim I was using self defense, let me know... i have a few people I'd like to defend myself against. LOL

By DCMatthews on 2013 07 08, 4:38 pm CDT

@ 101 - I think you almost got to the major point of this case. If by "go after" you mean follow, then you can certainly do so even after a PD suggests you don't. If a confrontation follows that is started by the person you are following, and in the course of that confrontation you develop a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm, you can use deadly force as self-defense.

If you start the fight, on the other hand, you cannot use deadly force in self defense except in a few instances not relevant here. The point that many people that question a guilty verdict here have been trying to make, and one that is completely lost on certain race-baiting pundits on MSNBC, is that the defendant is clothed with a very strong presumption of innocence that will be difficult to overcome unless the prosecution does more than speculate that Zimmerman started the fight.

By NoleLaw on 2013 07 08, 5:03 pm CDT

Just read the statute; it isn't very long:

There are two parts, standing your ground inside and outside your house. Inside your house, if somebody breaks in, it's basically hunting season; Floridian's are almost encouraged to kill intruders.

Outside the house .. well, I'll let the statute speak for itself: [Deadly force is permitted if] ... "He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony."

By Michael on 2013 07 08, 5:10 pm CDT

Indycanary that's the one really important point here. That one points to manslaughter If there's enough to show basically menacing by Zimmerman. The news hasn't shown that.

By Todd on 2013 07 08, 5:54 pm CDT

Here's the law (thanks to Michael for the citation, CAPS added):

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, EXCEPT DEADLY FORCE, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another AGAINST THE OTHER’S IMMINENT USE OF UNLAWFUL FORCE. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to PREVENT IMMINENT DEATH OR GREAT BODILY HARM to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013 [i.e., home protection].

Hypothetical: A person is being followed by a stranger in circumstances that cause him to reasonably believe he needs to use force to defend himself from an imminent unlawful attack.

The law would permit the person to use less than deadly force, even if he does not fear death or grave bodily harm. So if the person shoves or punches the stranger, the stranger is not justified in fighting back at all because the person's use of nondeadly force was not unlawful.

However, if the person uses deadly force instead of non-deadly force against the stranger, that would be unlawful, and the stranger would be justified in using deadly force in return.

So maybe in the Martin/Zimmerman case, if Martin reasonably feared imminent attack and was the first to use physical force, the outcome of the trial might depend on whether the force he initially used was non-deadly or deadly. That's not going to be an easy question for the jury when the fight probably escalated quickly and one party is dead.

By IndyCanary on 2013 07 08, 8:08 pm CDT

...especially when the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt. I have not followed this trial closely, I'll admit, but I have not heard of any evidence that would make me comfortable voting to convict.

By NoleLaw on 2013 07 08, 8:28 pm CDT

@106--Still, the jury might find that whatever force the unarmed Martin used initially was not deadly, particularly when Zimmerman's attorney argues that Martin's deadly weapon was the concrete sidewalk, which came into play well after the fight began. Let's hope a properly instructed jury can sort it all out.

By IndyCanary on 2013 07 08, 10:29 pm CDT

The statute defines deadly force broadly:

76.06 Deadly force.—
(1) The term “deadly force” means force that is likely to cause death or great bodily harm and includes, but is not limited to:
(a) The firing of a firearm in the direction of the person to be arrested, even though no intent exists to kill or inflict great bodily harm; and
(b) The firing of a firearm at a vehicle in which the person to be arrested is riding.
[Some other irrelevant clauses related to police officer immunity.]

I think it's fair to say that having one's head bashed into the sidewalk is force likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

By Michael on 2013 07 08, 10:51 pm CDT

Not being found technically guilty of murder is not exactly a great accomplishment, No. 101, and it doesn't make a person smart. Even if the jury brings a defense verdict here, this case will have cost Zimmerman tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars to defend, and he will be a pariah and permanant social leper wherever he goes. People will shun him socially. Hundreds of employers won't even consider hiring him, due to his monumentally poor judgment and immaturity. Pubs and churches with the happy signs reading "Welcome (Campbells too)" will have those signs relettered to add "But not you, Zimmerman." I don't see that he has gained anything desirable by his conduct.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 09, 12:14 am CDT

As I read the statute, IF Martin reasonably feared imminent attack by Zimmerman but not death or grave injury (something the jury will have to decide), Martin would be entitled to use nondeadly force to prevent the attack. @108--IF Martin initiated the fight (again, something the jury will have to decide), the initial force the unarmed Martin used could not been smashing Zimmerman's head against the sidewalk. We do know that Zimmerman eventually used deadly force. There is conflicting evidence about whether Martin did anything by that point to justify Zimmerman's use of deadly force. The jury will have to sort out that out.

By IndyCanary on 2013 07 09, 2:33 am CDT

@110. I've said before that I believe GZ is a racist creep and a murderer, but only in the moral sense, not legally. I'm also a FL lawyer -- I practice family law but I know the laws of this state and how they are applied -- and this law is deeply flawed (understatement). Under this wretched statute he is very likely legally innocent, but that is due solely to the poor judgement of my fellow Floridian's in whom they choose to represent us, not in any way due to GZ's actual innocence. As an aside it is difficult for me to even move through this analysis in that I live here, I practice here, I see where this is likely to lead, and I think that an innocent young man was murdered by a man who is legally likely entitled to walk free.

By Michael on 2013 07 09, 3:24 am CDT

He may walk not in prison, but will never really be free of this.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 09, 5:11 am CDT

@110 (and others): Name calling ("racist creep") does not advance the conversation. There is zero evidence that Zimmerman took race into account, unless you count the doctored version of the 911 call as edited by MSNBC. If you have something else, please cite it. BTW, The middle class townhouse “gated community” where Zimmerman lived is integrated, His father's fiancee lived there, which is why Martin, a stranger to the area, was there in the first place. The only evidence of racism in this case are the “cracker” and "n***a" comments made about Zimmerman by Martin to Ms. Jeantel shortly before he beat down Zimmerman.

By Jerome on 2013 07 09, 6:00 am CDT

Huh? What was Martin's connection to Zimmerman's father's fiance?

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 09, 6:15 am CDT

@114: My understanding is that Martin's parents are divorced, and his mom has re-married. Prior to this, he lived with his mom. Because of Trayvon's bad behavior, hismom sent him to stay with his father, who was living at his fiancee's residence in (or very near) the "gated community" of townhouses where Zimmerman lived and was the neighborhood watch leader. So Trayvon did not normally live there. Trayvon was returning to the dad's fiancee's residence when Zimmerman saw him.
If someone has a different understanding, let me know.

By Jerome on 2013 07 09, 6:40 am CDT

So it was Martin's father's fiance. Your writing is confusing. Initially, it seemed yoou were suggesting new information that might (or might not) have a bearing on motive.

I watched some of the red eye coverage on this today. Zimmerman's persistent use of the reference "the suspect" in the aftermath of the incident (as related by other witnesses) didn't help him. It was dehumanizing the dead man, and it left me wondering when Zimmerman started doing that in his mind (i.e., from the beginning, or only after he had pulled the trigger). If he gets on the stand, the prosecutor should get on that like a cheap, skin-tight, super-hero costume and find out what's going on with that.

On the other side of this media circus, I noticed in the HLN coverage that the test jury polled heavily in favor of Zimmerman being an "aggressor" because he followed Martin. One "juror" who held out on that understood that following does not an "aggressor" make, but it illustrated how much impact there may be in how the court ultimately instrcts on this point.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 09, 8:17 am CDT

@113 Not sure why you called my post number (110) to lead your comment because I am in total agreement that name calling does not advance the conversation, particularly on a blog devoted to the law. That's why I have referred to the parties by their last names and made no reference to anyone's race or alleged bias. The ultimate legal issue as I see it is whether Martin did anything to justify Zimmerman's use of deadly force under Florida law. That's all I've been discussing. Making this a racial issue may be good for cable news but it seems to be of marginal relevance to the ultimate issue of self defense.

By IndyCanary on 2013 07 09, 1:07 pm CDT

@117 (and 110)--my bad. My 113 comment was directed to 111.

By Jerome on 2013 07 09, 3:30 pm CDT

I go back to the core fact that GZ saw somebody walking; nothing more, nothing less, which amounts to nothing at all. He made a determination the person was up to no good based upon .. what? Ignoring the question of why anybody would trust GZ to make that determination at all how did he make the quantum leap that a man walking with his hood up because it was raining, minding his own business, merited any attention? Stereotypes. If my wife or I were walking this would not have happened. I've focused on the legal aspects of the case because this is an ABA forum, but it is also a forum, not a court.

By Michael on 2013 07 09, 4:15 pm CDT

@119 - Assuming that what you say is true, and Zimmerman followed Martin based on a stereotype, that is enough to convince you beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman started the altercation?

By NoleLaw on 2013 07 09, 4:21 pm CDT

From an ethical viewpoint GZ started the altercation by following TM, based on stereotyping. From a legal vantage point, under Florida law, I'm not sure that it matters. That is why I have been repeatedly saying GZ is very likely legally innocent yet just as likely morally guilty.

By Michael on 2013 07 09, 4:43 pm CDT

#121. Zimmerman said he was suspicious because Trayvon was ducking in between houses, that it was raining and Trayvon wasn’t trying to avoid the rain but also didn’t appear to be an athlete in training, and that he seemed high on something. All of that is race neutral.What part of that is stereotyping?

By ME on 2013 07 09, 7:47 pm CDT

@5: If Rachel Jeantel's testimony is your idea of articulate, do us all a favor and don't have any children.

By Tyrone on 2013 07 16, 1:42 am CDT

I don't think that was her fault. I sensed some developmental issues there, and it's probably better not to pick on her. I don't think she did any harm, except maybe to the prosecutors who called her, and Ben Crump who was hoping for that parade of dollars that ain't happenin' now.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 16, 2:23 am CDT

@ 123 - I think it is also possible that Rachel Jeantel was terrified testifying in court. Rachel has been bullied most of her life for being fat. Then in February 2012, one of her few friends was pursued and shot to death while she was talking to him on the phone. Now the man who did this is sitting a few feet away watching her talk about that night. That could be more than enough to terrify a reasonable person. If Rachel was terrified, then I think she was being reasonably articulate for a terrified person. She managed to get the words out, focusing on answering the questions as long as the questions did not presuppose facts not in evidence. It takes quite an accomplished speaker to know how to handle the type of questioning that she was dealing with, since Zimmerman had good counsel. They were presumably paid well to put her on the spot and make her sound uncertain and inarticulate, and they succeeded, However it is unlikely that that is how she normally sounds.

For someone who is not used to public speaking and debate, being cross examined is very difficult. I have been a witness in a few real but non-violent cases, and in several more mock cases in law school, and it is not the easiest job in the world even for an aspiring lawyer when you are being questioned by someone who knows what he is doing and wants to discredit you.

I am a fairly articulate self confident extrovert, and I enjoyed being a witness under the circumstances I was testifying under, but I would not have wanted to be in Rachel's shoes.

Zimmerman had better than average attorneys representing him, and they asked Rachel difficult questions, because that is their job. Don't judge her so harshly by how she managed in a situation that is difficult for far more polished and experienced speakers than Rachel. I expect that with her friends she is adequately articulate, and would make a much better impression.

By Kit on 2013 07 16, 3:01 am CDT

Ms. Jeantel provided the only evidence of any racial bias or prejudice in the entire trial, when she related Martin's description of Zimmerman as a "cracker."

By Jerome on 2013 07 16, 4:38 am CDT

Kit, maybe we were watching different trials, but I did not think she was any more articulate on direct, so I don't see it as being even possibly attributable to any wiles of the defense.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 16, 5:28 am CDT

We don't know Rachel Jeantel’s background, i.q. or anything. We need respect her as a human being and stop commenting negatively about her. Justice was done and that is what really counts.

By Me on 2013 07 16, 11:47 am CDT

@ 127 B. McLeod, I agree that she was not extremely articulate on direct, but I thought she was less so on cross. In either case, I still think that she was somewhere between uncomfortable and terrified the whole time. I expect that if she and i were chatting quietly somewhere she would have had an easier time explaining what happened than she was able to do on the witness stand.

@ 128 Me - I agree we do not know Rachel Jeantel's background, IQ, or anything. I also know that even bright articulate people sometimes have trouble being clear witnesses, so how she appeared before the cameras may not be typical of how she talks.

By Kit on 2013 07 16, 1:44 pm CDT

Ms, Jeantel was born and raised in Miami, and was a senior in high school. The demeanor of a witness is important in evaluating the witness' testimony. Her demeanor was not in line with what is expected in court. Other witnesses who had plenty of reason to be uncomfortable were able to conform. I'm not sure why Ms. Jeantel covered her face, whined about coming back the next day, etc., but it is legitimate to consider her testimony in light of her demeanor.

By Jerome on 2013 07 16, 5:01 pm CDT

it is legitimate for the jury to consider Jeantel's testimony in light of her demeanor. It is not okay for the rest of the world to pile on top of her for characteristics that may be the result of i.q., learning disabilities, mental health issues, etc.

By Me on 2013 07 16, 6:58 pm CDT

@ 130 Jerome - Were you bullied regularly in school from early grade school on, and have almost no friends as a child?

Were your parents immigrants with limited command of English?

When, where, and from whom did you learn what is expected in court? Family, teachers, an attorney prepping you to testify? Experience as a juvenile offender maybe that you later turned around? Were you accomplished in courtroom protocol at 19 or do you have expectations of others that you have never had to meet yourself?

When you were 18, did you have a friend shot or stabbed or beaten to death?

When you were 19, were you one of the key witnesses in a trial of the man who killed your friend?

Of course it is legitimate for the jury to consider Jeantel's testimony in light of her demeanor. I am sure that the jury did so, and I am sure that it weakened the case against George Zimmerman.

I am equally sure that it is not appropriate to judge anyone's general life skills based on their ability to testify in court. Those are two totally different things.

I am good at public speaking, including testifying in court. Jeantel is bad at testifying in court. Neither fact tells you anything meaningful about how either of us handles a variety of other situations.

Hopefully Jeantel will never again have to speak in court. Hopefully I will have many opportunities to do so. Other than that, it does not really matter. My skill does not make me an over all good person, although maybe I am. Her lack of skill in that one area doesn't tell you anything about her except that at this point in her life she really lacks skill in that one area, which in her future is probably going to be insignificant. Plenty of people who can't speak well in court have wonderful lives in spite of that inability. Public speaking for some strange reason is the number one fear in this country, and audiences like you are sometimes part of the reason. Get a life. You may also be a good public speaker, or you may be delighting at finally finding someone who is worse than you. Either way, your insistence on commenting on it tells me that it is your problem, not Rachel's.

By Kit on 2013 07 16, 9:08 pm CDT

@132: All I said was that her demeanor was a legitimate factor in evaluating her testimony. Somewhere in the midst of your attempted personal attack on me was your agreement with what I said. Not sure why you went into all the rest.

By Jerome on 2013 07 16, 11:25 pm CDT

@ 133 Jerome - No that is not all that you said. In addition, you said that plenty of other witnesses who had reason to be uncomfortable were able to conform. I submit that while Trayvon's brother, Trayvon's mother, and Trayvon's father may have had as much reason to be uncomfortable as Rachel Jeantel, they were not nearly the focus of the defense questioning on cross, and Trayvon's mother and Trayvon's father had the advantage of being considerably older and more experienced at dealing with adult situations, and even Trayvon's brother, going into his senior year of college, was at an advantage in dealing with the adult world compared to Rachel, about to become a high school senior. I don't know how much you remember about being a high school senior, or about being 19 years old, or about your first time in a court room. My first time in a courtroom, I was about a year younger than Rachel, but it was about a minor traffic ticket, not a homicide. I was also experienced as a public speaker in other areas, and I was not being cross examined. And I am a self-confident extrovert with well educated parents who coached me as best they were able on what to do and say in court and what to expect. I was still nervous, and I did not give my smoothest court appearance. So I sympathize with Rachel, and I don't think it is at all appropriate to belittle her, as I feel you are doing. I still remember my first court appearance, and it was over four decades ago. I was not attempting a personal attack on you, although you may have felt personally attacked. My questioning of you was nowhere near as critical as that which Rachel faced, and it is not in person and you have all the time in the world to answer me, although you did not avail yourself of the opportunity. So your response was as inept as Rachel's, and yet you see fit to belittle her repeatedly on this comment section, until I called you on it, and then you accuse me of attacking you, rather than defending Rachel, although defending Rachel was clearly my intent. If all you had said was that Rachel Jeantel's demeanor did not help her testimony and the jury had a right to consider that, I would have considered your remark so obvious as to not be worth commenting on. In stead, you seem to feel that being unable to meet your standards for courtroom demeanor at 19 years of age makes Rachel somehow deficient. I want to know why you think any 19 year old should have been far more brilliant. Was it your personal experience testifying in court at 19 years old, or that you expected us all to be such bigots that we would willingly join you in assassinating her character? Or is there some other reason that you have made several posts on this comment section complaining about her?

By Kit on 2013 07 17, 2:55 am CDT

@134: you said: "@ 133 Jerome - No that is not all that you said. In addition, you said that plenty of other witnesses who had reason to be uncomfortable were able to conform."
Can you point out where I said that? I don't recall saying that and quickly looked at my posts and couldn't find such a comment.

Moreover, I don't see where I have "belittled" Rachel "repeatedly" on this comment section. My comments have responded to others' comments which appeared to me to suggest that her behavior should be excused, and was unfairly held against her testimony, due to her perhaps difficult circumstances. My only point is that the demeanor of all the witnesses was taken into account, and that's how it works.

By Jerome on 2013 07 17, 3:37 am CDT

And the difficult haircut, which would also tend to make somebody self-conscious. The state child welfare agency should investigate her parents for cruelty.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 17, 3:42 am CDT

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