Gee, You Think? (Zimmerman Trial Edition)

Via the AP:  Zimmerman credibility may be issue in Martin case

The credibility of Trayvon Martin’s shooter could be an issue at trial after a judge said that George Zimmerman and his wife lied to the court about their finances to obtain a bond, legal experts say.

Regardless of one’s position on this topic, this has got to be one of the most “no s***, Sherlock” paragraphs I have read in some time.

Even before the bond issue this trial was going to hinge rather heavily on Zimmerman’s credibility, because, as the next paragraph of the story note:

That’s because the case hinges on jurors believing his account of what happened the night the 17-year-old was killed.

You don’t say.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Media, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Yet another example of how banal and idiotic media coverage of legal issues actually is.

    On a side not, it’s an open question whether or not this whole issue regarding the bond and Zimmerman’s finances would even be admissible at trial on the issue of credibility. One thing I think it might make less likely are the odds that this case will be thrown out via the judicial hearing provisions of Florida’s self-defense law. It has always been doubtful that any judge would acquit a defendant via a evidentiary hearing rather than letting the case go to the jury, now that Zimmerman has pissed off the judge presiding over his case I’d say the chances are pretty close to zero.

  2. Bill Jempty says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Dunno know on the pissing the judge off part. Here in Florida a pro se defendant once got his ear chewed off by the judge over a procedural matter at the beginning of a motion hearing but the Plaintiff lost on the motion. The Plaintiff’s attorney was unprepared when the case was called plus didn’t know the facts involved.

  3. @Bill Jempty:

    Yea but when it comes to issues of credibility — and from what I’ve read the Judge basically said in Court on Friday that it seemed clear to him that Zimmerman and his wife had lied to the court at the original bond hearing — it may potentially be a different matter.

    It depends on the judge, of course. And, like I said, I think its unlikely in any case that GZ will be lucky enough to see this case tossed before getting to a jury simply because of how high-profile it is.

  4. PD Shaw says:

    I agree w/ Doug, especially about the banal legal coverage part. The news stories are implying that the recent events are admissible, when the general rule is that evidence of specific instances where a person has lied in the past are not admissible.

    Florida appears to be more strict than other states, but the concern with proving that person A lied as a means of proving he commited crime X is that it is a fallacy of either relevance or ad hominem. John Edwards can be a lying son of a bitch, but it doesn’t mean that the state can prove he commmitted a crime.

  5. sam says:

    @PD Shaw:

    John Edwards can be a lying son of a bitch, but it doesn’t mean that the state can prove he commmitted a crime

    Well, yeah. But in the instant case, isn’t there a perjury issue? I mean, the declarations of penury were made under oath, right?

  6. PD Shaw says:

    @sam: If its perjury, then Zimmerman would have to be convicted of it first. Then the judge would have to decide if its probative value outweighed its prejudic effect.

  7. jd says:

    When I first read about this, something about $25000 in donation through PayPal, I thought about how other people’s donated funds had been locked up by PayPal until, what? the DHS approves it? I’ll bet the bond hearing included a question about available funds and these literally weren’t, they answered the question truthfully and now he’s in hot water because of a misunderstanding.

  8. grumpy realist says:

    @jd: Then he’ll have a chance to explain at the next bond hearing.

    I think the “coded stuff” was another factor in the decision. Moral of the story: don’t piss off the judge.