JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON:<br />
Zimmerman Trial Day 17

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Crime Lab Analyst Anthony Gorgone points to a sweatshirt worn by Trayvon Martin on the night Martin was shot

 

On Wednesday, the State of Florida presented more evidence about George Zimmerman's work in a college criminal justice course, stating that evidence shows that the defendant neighborhood watch volunteer knew about Florida's self-defense law and had aspirations of becoming a police officer. That evidence was in contrast to the statements that Zimmerman said in an interview with Fox News last year saying that he did not know about the law.  However, it remains to be seen it this evidence and testimony will benefit the State of Florida as the jury of six women continue to hear the evidence.

Prosecutors presented the testimony of a former Seminole State College teacher and now U.S. Army Capt. Alexis Carter Jr. to contradict the statements made by Zimmerman from an interview aired on Fox News with Sean Hannity where Zimmerman said he did not have knowledge of the stand your ground law.  Carter testified that the subject was covered in the college class that he taught, which contradicted the statements made by Zimmerman on the Hannity interview, and he testified that it was Carter that taught Zimmerman and the class that Florida's stand-your-ground law says a person has no duty to retreat and can invoke self-defense in killing someone if it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm.

And again, although the State of Florida called Carter as a witness in its case in chief, Carter seemed to benefit the defense with his testimony on cross examination.

Zimmerman defense counsel Donald R. West’s cross-examination of Carter asked Carter for details about the "Stand Your Ground" law in order for the jury to get a better understanding of the statute.

On cross, West asked Carter the following: “You don't have to wait until you're almost dead before you can defend yourself?”

Carter responded “No, I would advise you probably don't do that,” prompting a bit of laughter in the courtroom that included Zimmerman.

Carter testified that Florida Statute 776.013 provides immunity not just to people who use lethal force to stop an attack but also to people who start confrontations, then find themselves overwhelmed by a violent response and fear of death or "grievous bodily harm."

Wednesday also featured a “technical blunder moment” for the prosecution when they attempted to have another instructor, Seminole County State College professor Scott Pleasants testify via Skype from Colorado.  Pleasants testified that Zimmerman had taken his online criminal justice class. However, to the embarrassment to the State of Florida, Pleasants' testimony was interrupted by people who attempted to Skype him because his info was displayed on the live feed, watched on the internet and on TV by people across the world.

Prosecutors also called Lt. Scott Kearns of the Prince William County Police Department in Virginia who testified that Zimmerman wasn't initially hired because of a less-than-stellar credit history and Judge Debra Nelson also ruled Wednesday that prosecutors can show Zimmerman's job application to the jury from a police agency in 2009 and his application to ride around and monitor with Sanford police in 2010.

Prosecutors want to portray Zimmerman to the jury as a vigilante who profiled Martin as he walked home from a convenience store on a rainy night.

The State also called Florida Department of Law Enforcement analyst Amy Siewert to the witness stand and questioned her on the forensics analysis performed on Zimmerman's gun. She testified that residue and tearing on Martin's sweatshirt showed Zimmerman's gun was touching Martin's chest when it fired showing jurors how the gun is fired by holding the 9 mm semiautomatic handgun. 

Under cross-examination by the Zimmerman defense, Siewert said the gun was safe to carry around loaded because it won't fire unless the trigger is pulled.

Prosecutors are trying to convince a jury by making the case that Zimmerman's ability to understand criminal investigations and desire to be a police officer doesn't show wrongdoing, but is relevant to Zimmerman's state of mind on the night Martin was killed.

ANALYSIS

Once again on Wednesday during week two of the trial, the Prosecution arguably had problems with witness testimony, and witness technology, which one can argue helped the defense team of George Zimmerman.  The testimony of U.S. Army Capt. Alexis Carter Jr. contradicted the statements made by Zimmerman on the Hannity interview.  However, Carter’s testimony seemed to possibly justify Zimmerman’s lethal deadly force against Martin when Carter told the jury that “you probably don't” have to wait until you're almost dead before you can defend yourself therefore bolstering the use of lethal deadly force in the manner that Zimmerman used it on February 6, 2012.

However, the prosecution should consider asking the following question to the jury:  Was the use of force by Zimmerman reasonable?  And, was there any need to exit the car?