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Old July 10, 2013, 12:38 PM   #201
Tom Servo
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I've heard the jury was instructed to reserve manslaughter as a possibility, so I was under the impression that the charge could be commuted.

If not, then it'll most likely be flat acquittal, as I really don't see Murder 2 happening.
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Old July 10, 2013, 12:41 PM   #202
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Tom, how could the jury receive instructions prior to rebuttal/summations?

In any case, I was wrong - Zimmerman was charged under the "depraved mind" clause of Murder 2, making manslaughter a lesser included offense.

Here is the entirety of Florida's murder statute:
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/...s/0782.04.html
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Old July 10, 2013, 12:48 PM   #203
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If not, then it'll most likely be flat acquittal, as I really don't see Murder 2 happening.
Don't leave out the possibility that the jury will not reach a verdict.
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Old July 10, 2013, 01:18 PM   #204
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Don't leave out the possibility that the jury will not reach a verdict.
That's certainly a possible outcome - but I think having only six rather than twelve jurors makes a hung jury somewhat less likely.

That said, none of us are mindreaders and only the attorneys and judge have any personal information about these particular jurors, so there's no way to tell. There are plenty of examples where jurors, in subsequent interviews, revealed that their verdicts were based on any number of emotional factors extraneous to the facts of the case and the law. Sometimes they just want to send "us" some sort of message.
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Old July 10, 2013, 01:36 PM   #205
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Tom, how could the jury receive instructions prior to rebuttal/summations?
Honestly? I heard it on the teevee.

Laws on paper, I'm versed in. Trial procedures? I don't know much beyond throwing myself at the mercy of the court when I get a speeding ticket.
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Old July 10, 2013, 01:44 PM   #206
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I have seen several discussions in which it was mentioned that juries sometimes feel the prosecution has not made its case for the primary charge, but the jurors feel that there was some degree of wrongdoing by the defendant, so they return a guilty verdict on a lesser charge.

The "lesser included charges" are very scary in Zimmerman's case because most of them would involve some type of felony that involved use of a firearm, triggering Florida's special minimum sentencing provisions. As this article notes, the results could be very strange:

Quote:
Realistically though, George Zimmerman must hope he is acquitted out right. Because absent a Manslaughter conviction, Judge Nelson would be statutorily required to impose the 25 year mandatory-minimum prison sentence under Florida’s 10-20-Life for any felony but Manslaughter or Felony Battery.
I believe that jurors are not informed about the penalties for the various charges.
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Old July 10, 2013, 01:44 PM   #207
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If I heard correctly, on of the jurors said she did not believe that killing is justifiable, even in self defense. Unless she acts differently, that means either a conviction on some charge or a hung jury.
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Old July 10, 2013, 01:48 PM   #208
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If I heard correctly, on of the jurors said she did not believe that killing is justifiable, even in self defense. Unless she acts differently, that means either a conviction on some charge or a hung jury.
If that's true, she should never have been allowed on the jury in the first place and would be reversible error by the judge.

But I ask how this could have become public information. Was voir dire conducted in open court?
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Old July 10, 2013, 01:49 PM   #209
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If I heard correctly, on of the jurors said she did not believe that killing is justifiable, even in self defense.
I'd be surprised if such a juror were allowed to be selected. It would be unquestionable grounds for an appeal, if convicted, and would violate (as I understand them) the basic requirements of being a juror, which is that you are willing to be open-minded about all possible legal findings.
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Old July 10, 2013, 01:53 PM   #210
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From the latest scholarly review on juries (Devine, 2012):

1. Larger juries may spend slightly more time in deliberation - but a small effect.

2. Larger are slightly more likely to hang but again a small effect

3. Jury size doesn't seem to influence verdict.

The author has a caveat that the base of studies is small so the functional equivalency (which the Supreme Court discussed) still needs investigation.

Take away - we can't tell in this case if the jury size will mean anything.

Sidebar - the author reviews that women are more likely to convict in sex crimes with kids. Whether that indicates anything here - dunno.

I know the author is working on an up to date review of gender effects.
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Old July 10, 2013, 01:53 PM   #211
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Laws on paper, I'm versed in. Trial procedures? I don't know much beyond throwing myself at the mercy of the court when I get a speeding ticket.
Generally, here's the process:

1) Pretrial hearing
2) Opening arguments (assuming judge finds adequate evidence to support indictment in pretrial)
3) Prosecution presents its case
4) Defense (generally) files for dismissal (rarely granted)
5) Defense presents its case (the phase we're in now, though I understand defense is going to rest today without Zimmerman testifying)
6) Prosecution rebuttal witnesses (if any)
7) Closing arguments/summations
8) Determination of jury instructions (including whether lesser included charges will be part of the instructions)
9) Jury deliberations/verdict
10) If verdict is guilty, defense may move to set aside verdict (VERY unlikely to be granted in this particular case)
11) Sentencing/determination of bond continuance (if guilty)
12) Appeals (if guilty)
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Old July 10, 2013, 02:15 PM   #212
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I've thought all along that the judge has been heavily biased (reversibly so) toward the prosecution in this case, but this takes the cake:

Quote:
Nelson ruled Wednesday that jurors will not see Trayvon Martin's text messages, which purportedly show he had been in fights and was trying to purchase a gun.
Here's the article: http://www.hlntv.com/article/2013/07...y-12?hpt=hp_t2

How could these texts not be admissible? They're exculpatory to the defendant, relevant, there's no question of provenance, and directly speak to the state of mind of the decedant. I see no possible way the judge can legitimately throw them out.
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Old July 10, 2013, 02:21 PM   #213
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She's probably throwing them out on the basis that Zimmerman would not have known about them, and so can't use them to build a defense of reasonable fear.

On the other hand, such evidence could be introduced if it could show a pattern of behavior consistent with behavior the defendant described as having taken place.

Not sure the judge is technically incorrect in this instance.
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Old July 10, 2013, 02:21 PM   #214
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Mind. Blown.

They're on a recess now. I think the last one.



Quote:
On the other hand, such evidence could be introduced if it could show a pattern of behavior consistent with behavior the defendant described as having taken place.
Exactly!
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Old July 10, 2013, 02:27 PM   #215
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To clarify, as I understand it from self defense classes and study, here is an example:

I have studied martial arts for a couple decades, and am actually pretty skilled.

Some knucklehead and I get in a fight, and he shoots me. His defense is that I was such a dangerous opponent, he was automatically in fear of great bodily harm. However, he only knows about my training after the event, from research done by the police and/or his defense team.

At the time of the event, I was dressed normally, and just looked like a history teacher or similar, in reasonably good shape. (40s, 6ft, 195, nothing spectacular nor terrifying.)

He CAN'T use my level of training to establish his reasonable fear, because at the time of the event he didn't know about it.

Now, he could possibly work around this, if for example he were an MMA fan, and recognized some move, throw, lock, or hold I put on him, and realized it were actually done well. He would have to establish that he could, in fact, recognize that technique, and my relative proficiency at it, and then he could very well introduce my background.

Or, if I had a habit of beating up knuckleheads, his defense team might establish that the actions he described me as taking matched a pattern of past actual, documented behavior.
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Old July 10, 2013, 02:29 PM   #216
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Or, if I had a habit of beating up knuckleheads, his defense team might establish that the actions he described me as taking matched a pattern of past actual, documented behavior.
If the article is factual, then in my opinion that is exactly what they show.
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Old July 10, 2013, 02:31 PM   #217
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The defense would have to show that fights with his peer group at school were akin to attacking a total stranger; it might or might not work.
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Old July 10, 2013, 02:33 PM   #218
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The defense would have to show that fights with his peer group at school were akin to attacking a total stranger; it might or might not work.
Not sure I agree. A propensity for getting involved in fights is a propensity for getting involved in fights. And this may be corroborated by Martin's school records, which the judge in this case also very conveniently ruled inadmissible.
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Old July 10, 2013, 02:36 PM   #219
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On the bright side for Zimmerman, that could be yet another potentially reversible error should he be convicted of anything.
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Old July 10, 2013, 02:41 PM   #220
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On the bright side for Zimmerman, that could be yet another potentially reversible error should he be convicted of anything.
I agree. And I think a case can be made that the judge has shown demonstrable bias against Zimmerman since the very beginning of the trial. The only point of contention in which she has ruled against the prosecution is the THC blood evidence taken from Martin. Everything else, from my recollection, has been in favor of the prosecution.
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Old July 10, 2013, 03:55 PM   #221
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Originally Posted by MLeake
The gym owner rated him a 1 on a scale of 1-10.
Actually, I believe he rated him as a .5 (as in "point five") on a scale of 1 to 10. In other words, not even up to a minimum standard.
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Old July 10, 2013, 04:07 PM   #222
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Not sure I agree. A propensity for getting involved in fights is a propensity for getting involved in fights. And this may be corroborated by Martin's school records, which the judge in this case also very conveniently ruled inadmissible.
^^^ This.

I can't imagine that information such as this would NOT be admissible.
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Old July 10, 2013, 04:16 PM   #223
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Found an online article with the transcripts of Martin's text messages:

http://www.actionnewsjax.com/content...kCC6gWjdg.cspx

Here's one I find of particular interest:
http://www.actionnewsjax.com/media/l...ion_report.pdf
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Old July 10, 2013, 04:23 PM   #224
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I could be mistaken, but I thought the issue with the text messages was they could not be "authenticated". Meaning they could not prove the Martin sent them and he is not around to verify if he wrote them or not. I have provided my phone to others to send text messages, so I guess I understand the ruling.

It could be I just did not understand the judges position.

Also, the judge has ruled in favor of the defense on a couple of issues, most recently they allowed the testimony of a defense witness to remain even though he was in the court during the testimony of other witnesses. She also did not allow the state to use the gym owner as a rebuttal witness after the state discovered he had some information about Zimmerman on his website.
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Old July 10, 2013, 04:27 PM   #225
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By that standard, phone records could never be introduced as evidence.
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