Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why George Zimmerman Will Not Testify

Expectations from the jury for George Zimmerman to take the stand were not met today, July10, when George Zimmerman told the judge that on the advice of counsel he decided not testify in his own defense. This statement was proceeded by contentious repetition of the question of whether he would testify or not from Judge Debra Nelson and objections by Don West.

Mark O'Mara told Anderson Cooper that there was no reason for George Zimmerman to testify because the prosecution did not prove their case. He believes the evidence for self defense is overwhelming and objects to allowing the jury to consider lesser charges such as manslaughter and aggravated assault. The defense is relying on an all or nothing strategy  because of mandatory charging minimums. These "lesser offenses" could result in the same penalty as the second degree murder charge. The judge will need to decide on jury instructions.

The prosecution reversed their tactics today and conceded that Trayvon Martin could have been on top of George Zimmerman during the fight.  John Guy co opted the defense use of force expert Dennis Root using a dummy to suggest that Trayvon Martin was pulling away when the shot was fired. Then, Mark O'Mara, straddling the same dummy, challenged the prosecution and had Root testify that it was not possible to say what position Martin was in when he was shot.

Certainly the man under the attacker is not the aggressor and is most likely the person heard on the tape calling for help.The initial aggressor, if that is what George Zimmerman was when he first confronted or followed Trayvon Martin, can regain his "innocence" when he is in fear for his life and claim self defense. Witness Root said Zimmerman in his position on the ground had no other choice but to shoot Trayvon Martin. The problem is that we don't really know what happened in the initial confrontation and the 2 minutes which are not unaccounted for in testimony. We do know that Trayvon Martin's only injury was the gunshot wound so he would not have a self defense claim.

If this is what the prosecution has to offer the final day of trial, that they were wrong about their theory, then reasonable doubt rules and the jury must acquit George Zimmerman.

Putting the law aside, it's sad that in our culture men are ready to fight each other because of bias and fear and feel that they need to carry concealed weapons to protect themselves.