Friday, June 28, 2013

Zimmerman Trial - Day 4


Fox News Latino

Rachel Jeantel, the key witness for the prosecution in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman, takes the stand for a second day on Thursday after a controversial initial day of testimony.

The fireworks began soon after the 19-year-old Miami resident, one of the prosecution's star witnesses, entered the courtroom Wednesday and began to recount her story of being the last person to speak with Trayvon Martin before he encountered George Zimmerman.

Not the most sympathetic witness, but what do you think?  Did she help or hurt the prosecution?

On a side note, I thought Jared Marcus looked older than he is.  How about this one?

Please leave a comment.


  1. I've only caught bits and pieces of the trial, but from the parts of cross examination I've seen, Jeantel strikes me as a potential disaster for the prosecution. You can never predict the jury's actions 100%, but I would guess that they won't look kindly on her.

    From some of the clips of cross examination, it appears that she has been pretty well discredited so that her testimony needs to be taken with a large grain of salt. It all depends on how much her past lies and inconsistencies bother each juror.

    Also, she filled in lots of blanks that she couldn't know, which the defense did a good job of pointing out--e.g. That's when Trayvon got hit--later had to admit she had no way of knowing who hit first.

    The jury will have to separate her testimony on facts, which they'll have to evaluate how truthful they think she is, from her testimony on her opinion.

    Finally, one thing that bugged me and may have irritated the jury was her combativeness, willful ignorance, and seeming stupidity. A good example of the first two was an exchange where she said, (approximately) "How many times do I have to tell you, 'I Don't watch the News!'"

    The comment on stupidity is probably going to get me called names--Lord knows I saw a segment on the news with a linguist explaining Ebonics, and in that segment they were saying that calling her stupid was racist, as was the clarifying questions the attorney kept asking her.

    That segment with the linguist was one of the most nauseating bits of preening I've seen in a while, but I honestly don't give a rats ass about the topic. Yes, she's speaking her dialect of English rather than the modern standard dialect. That's fine as long as we're able to make 100% sure that the jury understands her statements.

    However, it's that kind of clarification that they were calling racist, insinuating that the defense attorney was mistreating her by asking her to clarify statements, to verify that they were properly understanding and restating what she said, etc.

    This clarification is the attorney's job. He has to make sure that things appear in the record, and he wants to take all potential misinterpretations off the table for jurors reviewing the trial record, and for any judges who review it on appeal.

    This is why I defended Laci, much as we dislike each other, when someone posted out of context Q&A sections ostensibly from his trials: you ask stupidly obvious things so that everything is recorded in the trial record.

    The defense lawyer wasn't being a racist; he was doing his job.

    Finally, back to my comments about her stupidity, it has nothing to do with her race or dialect. It has to do, instead, with her combativeness, willful ignorance, and seeming inability to follow the train of thought that the defense attorney was laying out before her.

    It's possible that she's a genius and was pretending not to understand these things, but I got the impression that she was a well coached witness who was breaking down any time they got away from the narrative, getting frustrated and angry when trapped in inconsistencies, showing disdain for the lawyer's attempts to clarify her statements, and, whether feigned or not, showing not just a profound inability to understand some simple questions, but a lack of interest in understanding them.

    In short, her cross examination reminded me of the questioning of Mayella Euwell in "To Kill a Mockingbird." She seemed more intelligent and better coached than Miss Mayella, but that was the scene that I kept thinking of as I heard bits of the cross.

    1. Also, she filled in lots of blanks that she couldn't know, which the defense did a good job of pointing out--e.g. That's when Trayvon got hit--later had to admit she had no way of knowing who hit first.

      Good thing Mikeb isn't on the jury. He refers to that as "fleshing things out a bit"--the polite way of saying "making shit up to advance a narrative, and in turn, an agenda," but is a perfectly legitimate exercise, according to Mikeb.

      . . . you ask stupidly obvious things so that everything is recorded in the trial record.

      For some reason, that reminded me of an almost certainly fictional account of a bit of courtroom testimony:

      Attorney: So you were shot in the fracas?

      Witness (obviously horrified at the idea): Oh, no sir--I was shot midway between the fracas and the navel.

      Always cracks me up.

  2. "Creepy ass cracker, "

    Well, there’s your racial profiling.

    Jeantel then heard a "bump" and "grass sounds."

    "Get off. Get off," were the last words she said she heard from Martin, who at that point was apparently in a physical struggle with Zimmerman.

    I have always questioned how the line could have went dead on a cell phone if it was not damaged and still had its battery in. If she heard the beginning, she should have heard everything.

    Jeantel also did not initially contact authorities after her phone call conversation with Martin. She said she expected police to contact her.

    This is the biggest hole. Of course she wouldn’t call the cops on her boyfriend who was about to deliver a beat down on a “creepy ass cracker”. If he felt his life was in danger, she would have called 911. She expected the police to contact her? Really?

    1. TS makes a good point. Did the phone and Bluetooth fall in the grass? I have had instances where my phone has shut off when it fell on a hard surface, though mine is a model with physical buttons and not a touch screen.
      As for not calling the police, that is also a good question. It displays a mindset that if Martin were to win, there is no need to call the police. Or perhaps its a result of the "Don't Snitch" philosophy that has become somewhat common in some neighborhoods.

  3. On a side note, I thought Jared Marcus [sic] looked older than he is.

    I suppose that's the closest young Mr. Marcum will get to a retraction and apology for your libel.

    Speaking of young Mr. Marcum, it appears Mikeb's heroes have finally gotten smart enough to drop all charges.

    Now for the lawsuit against these terrorists. If there's any justice in the world, he's going to own those sick, predatory thugs.

    Back to Zimmerman--the closest we appear likely to get to an eye witness is something of a problem for the prosecution's case, doncha think?

    1. You're funny, Kurt. A retraction and an apology for saying he looked older than he is? I know, I also referred to West Virginia's high level of educational excellence. Sorry, no retraction or apology for that either.

      About the "problem for the prosecution's case," I don't think so. The eye-witness said there was no head-banging. That hurt the defense, doncha think?

    2. No apology, Mikeb, even though you were shown to be wrong? Well, you think that a witness has to see the whole of an event for anything that the defendant says to be true, so I'm not surprised.

    3. A retraction and an apology for saying he looked older than he is?

      Just going to gloss over your rather strong implication that he must have failed at least once to advance through the grades at the standard pace, I see. How utterly unsurprising.

      The eye-witness said there was no head-banging.

      Congratulations for so perfectly capturing exactly what he did not say. Perhaps you are unaware about the vast difference between one saying that something didn't happen, and saying that one didn't see it happen. Since Good didn't see the entire beating, that in no way contradicts the defense's account of events.

      I still have no idea whether or not Zimmerman is guilty, and there's no telling what a jury will decide, but if the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman is lying about having a reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary to prevent his death or grave bodily harm, they should probably get started on that endeavor, because I have yet to see any significant progress on that front.

      Doncha think?

    4. I addressed the head banging in more detail on your post about this. But I'll ask: How did he get the cuts if his head wasn't banged on the ground or concrete, either by grabbing and banging it or by punching it so hard that it was slammed into the ground?

    5. He didn’t say “there was no head banging”, what he said was that he didn’t see it (the difference being that if he witness the entire fracas and can definitively claim that Zimmerman’s head was not smashed against the concrete). He also said he saw Martin swinging his arms, but did not see him connecting with Zimmerman’s face. The prosecution is grasping on to whatever they can (I’m sure all those punches missed, and the cuts on the back of Zimmerman’s head must have come from when he fell down the stairs earlier that day). It’s kind of link in a generic shooting murder trial where we have a witness who says he saw the accused pull out a gun and fire at the victim, and the defense says “but did you actually see the bullets hit the deceased”, to which the witness replies “no”. …”so those bullet wounds could have come from somewhere else?”

      What he did say clearly is that Martin was on top swinging “MMA style”, and Zimmerman was yelling for help. Do you really think John’s testimony hurts the defense?

    6. That's right, there's a big difference between "there was none" and "I didn's see any."

    7. Now you're just being obtuse. Good didn't see the entirety of the fight, and his vantage point didn't allow him to see what was happening to Zimmerman's head. Therefore, his not seeing any head banging doesn't prove that it didn't or couldn't have happened.

      If it didn't happen, then how did Zimmerman get the cuts on the back of his head?

    8. I'm not sure Mike was being sarcastic. Were you, Mike? If you were, here's another way to make my point:

      Defense: "Mr. Good, did you see George Zimmerman shoot Travon Martin?"

      Witness: "No, sir. I did not."

      TS: I rest my case, Mike.

  4. I think maybe the testimony of the Spanish-speaking Selma may be a little bit more valuable. She testified that she actually saw, (Zimmerman), the man wearing red and black, on top of the body of Martin. The video of Zimmerman in the police garage clearly shows him wearing a black and red jacket. It also shows the back of his head fairly clearly. There is absolutely no blood, no cut, no bandage, nothing at all wrong with (the outside of) his head.

    1. Pay attention to the timeline. What Selma saw was after the shot, and is consistent with Zimmerman's police report. From his report that night:

      At this point I slid out from underneath him and got on top of the suspect holding his hands away from his body.

      Here is a very detailed analysis of the trial. There are also pictures in here of the bloody Zimmerman, since you only saw the pictures after he had received medical attention.

    2. It will depend on whether the jury believes Selma or the other witness is remembering things more accurately.

      However, you bring up the police garage video, and I have to ask why. It's grainy, poor quality, only shows the back of his head very briefly (a part that the media stopped reshowing because there was a dark patch that could have been a blurry rendering of the cuts we know he had), and we have a nice, HD photo taken by first responders showing his broken nose and the cuts on the back of his head.

      One way or another, those cuts need to be explained.

    3. Selma's statement doesn't contradict the other witness, or Zimmerman's account, so the jury doesn't have to make that choice. John saw events before the shot, while Selma saw events after the shot.

    4. There are also pictures in here of the bloody Zimmerman, since you only saw the pictures after he had received medical attention.

      I apologize if I'm not willing to re-read several newspaper articles from last year, but my impression was that the video of Zimmerman in the police garage was taken the night of the homicide. How could he have received medical attention in the back of a patrol car? The truth is he declined any medical help the night in question. Aren't the only photos of Zimmerman with the tiny lacerations on the back of his head, and I guess the swollen nose, all taken the next day after the police dropped him off at his condominium and he had all night to sort of "dress" his wounds, so to speak? The video of him getting out of the patrol car in the police garage the night of the murder didn't show any apparent trauma or even blood. If an attacker was really slamming a cueball like Zimmerman against the pavement, one would expect a large amount of blood as well as blood stains picked up by forensics from the sidewalk. Had Martin truly pounded Zimmerman in the way that he claimed, anybody in their right mind would go to the ER to be checked for a concussion.

    5. He did receive medical attention in the back of the police car from the EMTs who arrived on site. I believed it is in the police report. I don't know what kind of treatment they gave him, and I am not claiming to be an expert on wound treatment, but if they cleaned him up and applied Dermabond to close the wounds and stop the bleeding, I wouldn't expect you to see it from surveillance footage taken from a distance. Dermabond is a clear "liquid skin" glue, and from my experience works a lot better on headwounds which tends to seep for hours without it. Again, I'm not a medical professional, but that's been my experience,

    6. Junior, I'm not talking about pictures in old articles--Mike posted the picture in the past week or two. The picture I'm talking about is the one taken at the scene on the night in question. It's the one that's dark, taken of him up close with his nose bashed in and lacerations on the back of his head.

      Paramedics arrived on the scene before he went to the police garage and apparently cleaned him up a bit. Yes, he declined a hospital trip--dumb move if his story is true since he was probably concussed. Some people do stupid shit like that, declining to get checked out after car accidents as well. Such a dumb move does not indicate that his story was false.

  5. Flying Junior, if you look to an earlier post of Mike's here you'll see a photo taken of Zimmerman at the scene. There is plenty of blood and indications of a broken nose. It will be interesting to see if the prosecution uses it. I'm pretty sure the defense will be. There seem to be some differences in what each witness saw.

  6. Rachel Jeantel did the prosecution more harm than good. I base that on her appearance and way of speaking. I say that at the risk of being further branded a - well whatever you want to brand me.

    1. How about her sullenness and her inability to get the facts straight?

    2. I think the problem was more with her attitude, the rude way she responded to the defense counsel, and the fact that it seemed like she was rehearsed on her testimony, but unable to be consistent when pushed outside the bounds she'd rehearsed.