Judge Revokes George Zimmerman’s Bond, Orders Him Back To Jail

A Florida Judge has ordered George Zimmerman back to jail.

In a surprising move motivated by a motion filed by the State’s Attorney this afternoon, the Judge presiding over George Zimmerman’s Second Degree murder case has revoked the bond that was imposed last month after his arrest:

SANFORD – In a shocking turn, Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester has revoked George Zimmerman’s bond in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman now has 48 hours to turn himself in to authorities.

The decision came after revelations that Zimmerman and his wife may have conspired to lie about thousands of dollars in donations they’d collected before his bond hearing.

In a new motion, prosecutors accused Zimmerman and his wife of lying to the judge during a bond hearing about money they collected for his defense.

Prosecutors allege Zimmerman’s wife knew about the donations her husband had collected through aPayPal account, but didn’t mention the money at his bond hearing.

Zimmerman’s PayPal account ultimately collected more than $200,000, his attorney later revealed.

“Defendant has intentionally deceived the court with the assistance of his wife,” the motion says. “During the jail phone calls both of them spoke in code to hide what they were doing.”

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told the judge today that “this court was led to believe that they didn’t have a single penny” at the earlier bond hearing.

Zimmerman’s wife “flat out lied to this court,” de la Rionda said. Lester agreed, revoking Zimmerman’s bond. He must turn himself in, the judge said.

The prosecutors also alleged that Zimmerman has a second passport that was not turned in to the Court as required by the bond conditions. The passport that Zimmerman turned in had expired earlier this year, but he either did not disclose or inadvertently neglected to turn in the renewed passport he received shortly before this whole story went public.

It’s worth noting, of course, that this revocation was based entirely upon the evidence presented by the prosecution.  Once Zimmerman is back in custody, his attorney will have the right to apply for a new bond. There will be another bond hearing and, of course, Zimmerman will be required to explain the financial issues, presumably turn in the new passport, and explain these misrepresentations to the Court.

The news about the account with $200,000 in it had actually come out several weeks ago, and Zimmerman’s attorney notified the Court about it as soon as he learned about it. His attorney said that, as far as he knew at the time, Zimmerman’s failure to disclose the existence of the money was an oversight on his part, and the attorney himself was not representing Zimmerman when the account was set up. That money is now held in an Attorney Trust Account apparently. There was no action taken against Zimmerman at that time, it appearing at the time that this was an oversight. However, Prosecutors apparently presented this afternoon recordings made at the jail while Zimmerman was in custody where he is heard discussing the accounts with his wife and the two of them allegedly agreeing to keep the account concealed.

This won’t have any bearing on the question of Zimmerman’s guilt, although it may potentially become an issue if and when Zimmerman testifies at trial in an effort by the prosecutor to impeach his credibility. Most importantly, though,  the likelihood is that George Zimmerman will be spending the time between now and his trial in jail, unless the Judge decides to grant a new bond. This may mean that his attorney will push for an earlier trial date than he otherwise might have given the fact that his client is in jail. One also has to wonder what impact all of this may have on the relationship between Zimmerman and Mark O’Mara, his attorney. Twice now, O’Mara has communicated incorrect information to the Court based on what his client told him. Many attorneys will draw the line at a client who lies to them like this, especially on a repeated basis. On the other hand, O’Mara is essentially acting as Court-appointed counsel at this point and it could be difficult for him to get permission to withdraw from the case if he wanted to. We’ll have to see how that one turns out.

The lesson for today? If you’re under indictment for murder, don’t lie to the Court.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. John Burgess says:

    From Scott Greenfield’s Simple Justice law blog:

    If You Say So

    Some clients want to tell their lawyer everything under the sun, using tens of thousands of words to express thoughts that require maybe a dozen. Some answer questions posed to them succinctly and clearly. Some don’t say much. Some lie.

    The liar isn’t malevolent. He’s manipulative. Maybe he survived on the street by his wits, and can’t quite give up the tools that kept him alive thus far. More likely, he believes, as many do, that if he convinces his lawyer that he’s an innocent man, his lawyer will love him more and represent him better. It’s not that he views his lawyer as the enemy (though that often becomes the case as the lawyer is the messenger for a miserable system, and comes to personify all the client comes to hate), as much as he can’t quite bring himself to trust someone.

    And so the lawyer asked the client questions, and the client responds. The lawyer knows that the client isn’t being forthright with him, and pushes the client. Sometimes, he even tells the client that he’s lying, and that his lies won’t serve his cause.

    Do you really want your lawyer to be the stupidest guy in the room?

    They can’t help it. This isn’t an intellectual choice, but an emotional one. The believe they can beat the system, outwit it, by lying to their lawyer.

  2. DRS says:

    I think Zimmerman is the kind of guy who’s always front stage centre in some theatrical production that runs in his head, a man who makes his own reality. In the current situation you’d think he’d be all yes-sir-no-sir where his lawyer is concerned. Better safe than sorry.

    Going to be a heck of a trial.

  3. KansasMom says:

    “So all that money you wingnut losers donated to Zimmerman landed his stupid lying ass in jail. Love it.” John Cole

  4. merl says:

    at this point i don’t think he’ll ever get a fair trial. i also agree with drs. he’s been living like he was Charles Bronson or something. the death wish movies probably play in his head when he’s doing his neighborhood watch vigilante patrols.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    I’m curious about those who defended Zimmerman because the completely accept his version of the events. Will this news affect their perceptions?

  6. merl says:
  7. Herb says:

    @MarkedMan: “I’m curious about those who defended Zimmerman because the completely accept his version of the events. ”

    I’d say no, too, but that’s mostly because I don’t think the bulk of Zimmerman’s supporters “completely accept his version of the events.” Some of them do, sure. But I think the rest are forced into their “support” for Zimmerman for other reasons.

    Some support “Stand Your Ground” and as long as Zimmerman is a proxy for that, they’ll support that.

    Some support Zimmerman because they’re reacting against Trayvon Martin’s supporters. They don’t Zimmerman or his story all that defensible, but Al Sharpton had a rally and Spike Lee sent out a Tweet and that stuff is way more objectionable than killing someone.

    Indeed, I think in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, most of Zimmerman’s support came from the former, but now that the case doesn’t seem to be make or break for Stand Your Ground, I’d say it’s mostly the latter.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    If you’re under indictment for murder, don’t lie to the Court.

    FTFY, Doug. My ex is a pathological liar who has yet to learn that lesson. She is now under indictment (again) for some random stupid lesser offense that she can not keep herself from committing. By this time next year, I expect she will be in prison again.

  9. Woody says:

    What we might be seeing here is what happens in a situation where there is an actual consequence for outright lying.

  10. anjin-san says:

    Lying to the judge… not a great idea.

  11. Jeremy R says:

    Zimmerman is the only surviving witness to many critical events of the night when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. You’d think the fact that he spoke in code to his wife so that both of them could deceive the court could make jurors think twice about accepting his version of events at face value.

  12. Jenos Idanian says:

    Let’s look at things from Zimmerman’s perspective here for a moment. He shot and killed a guy who was doing his level best to kill him, and now there’s a movement to make him the most hated man in America. He’s been branded a racist stalking child murderer by all kinds of people, including members of Congress, and a violent group that is apparently immune from criminal action has posted a bounty on him.

    You think he might be just a wee bit paranoid after all that?

    No, strike that — it’s not paranoia if they are out to get you. Or, if you prefer, sometimes paranoids have real enemies.

    Obviously, what he did was stupid, wrong, and illegal. And it looks like the authorities are doing the right thing here.

    But I don’t think this is a big deal. I’d put it marginally above the “Skittles and iced tea are ingredients in some party drugs” notion going around.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Why can’t the prosecution use this as evidence against him? If he’s lied to the court once already, why should his statement about what happened the night of the shooting be taken at face value?

    There’s a reason why we use prior testimony to impeach witnesses in trials.

  14. Meli B says:

    The issue here is credibility. His lawyer was not aware and now how does that relate to how the judge will look at George Zimmerman in court on trial. $200,000 and a passport also made him a flight risk. The money was for his trial and not his bail. A can of Arizona Tea and a bag of skittles..typical teenage purchase and OBVIOUSLY on his way back home to his father’s condo according to the map and WHERE GEORGE ZIMMERMAN took him out. Imagine had George Zimmerman never got out of his car. Trayvon would of made it HOME.
    I would like to also add that mistake of not going to the hospital to evaluate and document injuries is a issue too. Especially after a death has occurred on your behalf. LATER after the FACT and with a personal family physician will not cover up the truth no matter how good it looks.
    I agree, its going to be quiet the trial when it gets to court. Meanwhile, If I were that judge, I would make sure George Zimmerman knew where I stood with LYING.

  15. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist: I’ve tried several times, but I just can’t see how this relates to what I just said:

    Why can’t the prosecution use this as evidence against him? If he’s lied to the court once already, why should his statement about what happened the night of the shooting be taken at face value?

    There’s a reason why we use prior testimony to impeach witnesses in trials.

    I said “the Court did the right thing.” I meant in relation to revoking his bail.

    I think I understand why he did what he did. I’m even sympathetic for him over it. Anyone would be freaked if put in his position.

    But that sympathy doesn’t mean I excuse his violations of laws and rules.

  16. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    He shot and killed a guy who was doing his level best to kill him, and now there’s a movement to make him the most hated man in America.

    Really? Really?!

    What proof do you have of that? Being in a ground and pound situation is still not equivalent to “level best to kill.” It’s, all things considered, one of the most common fight positions that people end up in statistically speaking.

    Most of your recountings of this always seem to (a) forget Zimmerman’s role in creating the situation and (b) always place Treyvon Martin as attempting to kill Zimmerman.

    On the note of “b” the only true evidence we have as to how badly Zimmerman was in trouble was his own words. *blah* *blah* *blah* bruising and broken nose — look as someone whose been involved in both controlled and uncontrolled fights (and studied fighting), brusing happens, and so do broken noses, but neither by itself is a sign of eminent death.

    Its entirely fair to argue that Zimmerman felt his life was in danger — but that’s different — SO DIFFERENT — than saying that Martin was trying to kill him, let alone doing his level best to kill him.

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I think I understand why he did what he did. I’m even sympathetic for him over it. Anyone would be freaked if put in his position.

    Wow… it’s always amazing to me how hard you *try to understand* Zimmerman’s motivation and how little you have ever attempted to demonstrate any understanding of Martin’s actions.

    Of course, given your overall posting record, I can’t say it surprises me that you wouldn’t try to hard to understand the motivations of someone you immediately saw as a “criminal”.

  17. Jenos Idanian says:

    @mattb: It helps if you read the first sentence of my comment — it kinda sets the tone for the rest.

    Let’s look at things from Zimmerman’s perspective here for a moment.

    I was looking at the situation when Zimmerman was asked about his finances, from his perspective. And his story has always been consistent: he was defending himself.

    At no point did I say that is what happened — just that that is what Zimmerman has presented thus far. And it has been remarkably consistent with pretty much everything else that has come out so far.

    From Zimmerman’s perspective, a bit of caution is certainly understandable. And keeping his “legal defense fund” (which apparently isn’t set up formally as such) is also understandable.

    Understandable, but not legally excusable.

    This isn’t a Madoff or a Corzine, concealing criminal acts of high finance. This is a relatively average guy who’s in the biggest jam of his life — and, probably, a bigger jam than a lot of people will ever face. So he’s scared and freaking a little and making bad choices.

    The judge was right to revoke his bail. But as long as nothing else comes out, I see no reason he shouldn’t be offered bail again — this time, though, at a more substantial amount.

    And he needs to make that a formal “legal defense fund,” not just a PayPal account.

    So chill out a bit. I didn’t say what you think I said.

  18. Jenos Idanian says:

    @mattb: Oh, and the “what he did” was “conceal his newfound financial assets.”

  19. anjin-san says:

    It is worth noting that Zimmermann’s problems started when he decided to start driving around his neighborhood with a gun. He is in no way a victim. He is jammed up because of his own idiocy, the string of horrible decisions he made started well before he got to court. I suspect that is true of his lies as well.

  20. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: And, as we all agree, that kind of stupidity is only justly punished by having one’s head repeatedly bashed into the pavement.

  21. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: No, I think most of us agree that Trayvon had as much right to self-defense as George Zimmerman, and that it’s quite possible that the altercation between the two that night was just that.

    The exact nature of the altercation is still being determined. But I am pretty sure that it didn’t consist of GZ having his head repeatedly bashed into the pavement. That would have resulted in a likely concussion, possibly passing out, certainly a trip to the ER that night to rule out a concussion or other brain damage, and far worse injuries that GZ sustained.

  22. anjin-san says:

    No, I think most of us agree that Trayvon had as much right to self-defense as George Zimmerman, and that it’s quite possible that the altercation between the two that night was just that.

    Martin was being followed by an armed man, he was, as events proved, in danger. I think any of us would feel we had the right to self defense in the same situation.

    But I am pretty sure that it didn’t consist of GZ having his head repeatedly bashed into the pavement. That would have resulted in a likely concussion, possibly passing out, certainly a trip to the ER that night to rule out a concussion or other brain damage, and far worse injuries that GZ sustained.

    Bingo. Zimmermann’s scalp lacerations appeared to be superficial. I am not impressed by the blood, almost any scalp wound will bleed profusely. A more serious injury, the kind that results from having ones head “bashed” into pavement, would almost certainly result in a trip to the ER. I think I can say with some certainly if I was fighting in what I perceived as a life or death situation and I bashed someone’s head into the pavement even once, they would not be getting up anytime soon.

  23. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Monala: The exact nature of the altercation is still being determined. But I am pretty sure that it didn’t consist of GZ having his head repeatedly bashed into the pavement. That would have resulted in a likely concussion, possibly passing out, certainly a trip to the ER that night to rule out a concussion or other brain damage, and far worse injuries that GZ sustained.

    So, Dr. Monala, it’s your testimony that it would be very unlikely for Mr. Zimmerman’s known injuries — at least two different lacerations to the back of his head — to be the result of being struck two or more times against the pavement? Consider Mr. Zimmerman’s account, doctor — he was struck in the nose and knocked down, then Mr. Martin sat astride him and repeatedly slammed his head against the pavement. “Repeatedly” meaning “more than once.” You’re saying that a single slamming would account for the injuries shown? And what else about Mr. Zimmerman’s account do you find contradictory with the evidence?

    Finally, Doctor Monala, keep in mind that the photos you have seen were taken shortly after Mr. Zimmerman had received medical attention from EMTs, who would have taken steps to stop the bleeding and clean up the wounds.

    Feel free to consult with your colleague, Dr. anjin-san, before you answer.

  24. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    It helps if you read the first sentence of my comment — it kinda sets the tone for the rest.

    I did read that first sentence. I was more commenting on your string of comments as it has come to this issue — I’ve only ever seen you attempting to look at the situation from Zimmerman’s perspective. I’d go so far as to say you have done everything you could *not* to look at it from Martin’s perspective (except when you’ve put on your “thug” hat to imagine what might have been running through his little criminal mind).

    And, I should note that in “trying to understand” you seem to miss how this fits into a larger pattern of Mr Zimmerman not showing the best judgement — especially when it comes to working with his legal representation.

    I agree that Zimmerman is facing “the biggest jam of his life.” And that means he needs to treat the situation seriously and work with his lawyers. Organizing a legal defense fund is exactly the sort of thing that his legal defense team should be handling — not him, not his wife, not his family. And yet, as with reaching out to Hannity and other strange behavior we’ve heard about, that wasn’t what he chose to do.

    Yes, I think you can defend him as being scared. But this wasn’t a snap decision type of thing. This was a big screw-up on his part. Hopefully he’s learned from this and will let his lawyers handle all of this stuff in the future.

    But, for the moment at least, this sort of easily avoidable mistake doesn’t put his judgement in the best light.

  25. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    that kind of stupidity is only justly punished by having one’s head repeatedly bashed into the pavement.

    While I realize that it’s based on Zimmerman’s own words, this entire “repeatedly bashing” line you continue to use is problematic for a couple reasons:

    1. According to the eye witness testimony, Zimmerman was mounted and being struck on grass, not pavement (or rather the sidewalk). In fact, Zimmerman’s back was covered with grass stains.

    2. It summons the idea that Martin was somehow holding Zimmerman’s head and continually driving it down into the pavement. Again, as someone who knows a fair bit about self defense, the wounds (even cleaned up) on the back of Zimmerman’s head don’t match that (and I expect we will be hearing more on that as we get closer to trial).

    3. By eyewitness accounts, there was far more wrestling than striking going on — which, btw, is entirely in line with the typical statistics of this sort of physical confrontation.*

    As someone who knows more than his fair share about this sort of stuff (I teach self defense, I’ve trained MMA, I’ve worked with police and police trainers, and I’ve been grounded and pounded in the past): Zimmerman’s wounds are entirely conducive with someone whose head was resting on hard ground (either pavement or dry, packed dirt) and being punched about the head and face.

    Let me assure you that there is a huge difference between the two.

    Getting punched when there is little give room for the head can be dangerous, but it is no where near as immediately dangerous as getting ones head actively based into the pavement. Even in a secured mount, scoring quality debilitating shots against the head of someone who is actively resisting is a pretty difficult thing to do.

    Note: Statistically speaking, most deaths in this sort of situation are from stomping, not punching. I would more readily buy into an immediate danger if Martin had been standing over Zimmerman and giving him a curb (or lawn) job… It’s in that situation, when full body weight can be brought to bear through a concentrated weapon like a shoe where the physics are immediately and dangerously against the person on the ground.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Zimmerman was in a good place. And I’m sure I would have been in a panic in his position, but it wasn’t as immediately and necessarily life threatening as you continue to make it. And that is ultimately going to be the question that needs to be answered — was the situation enough to warrent the use of deadly force.**

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Finally, Doctor Monala, keep in mind that the photos you have seen were taken shortly after Mr. Zimmerman had received medical attention from EMTs, who would have taken steps to stop the bleeding and clean up the wounds.

    Jenos, no offense, you really don’t know what you’re talking about here.

    As far as I know, Zimmerman received no stitches to the back of his head. None show up in the high res pictures ( http://photos.denverpost.com/mediacenter/2012/05/photos-travon-martin-george-zimmerman-case-evidence/35975/ ). That’s a pretty clear sign that his head wasn’t being bashed in the way you seem to imagine.

    Either he was on grass (and hence the lack of open wounds/splits) or it was on the sidewalk and his head was largely in contact with the ground the entire time. I’ve fallen backwards onto pavement and split my head open to the tune of a number of stitches on two occasions. I have fight aftermath photos where heads have been bashed and large lateral gashes have opened where the scalp split from pressure (it’s a pretty common injury given how thin the skin is there).

    I’m not saying that Zimmerman wasn’t being punched. I’m not saying his head didn’t hit the pavement. I am however saying that this is not statistically in keeping with the typical types of injuries one would see in the type of fight that you keep describing (with Zimmerman’s life in immediate danger from repeated bashing on the pavement).

    And again, I fully expect that there will be a lot of medical testimony to this fact when this finally gets to trial.

    * – While we’re on statistics and the entire “Martin was on top of him” part of this, the statistics of this type of confrontation suggest that Martin was most likely dragged to the ground and into mount by a falling Zimmerman grabbing out for anything to help stop his fall. The actual cases where a person has the presence of mind to follow their opponent to the ground of their own volition are extremely rare.

    ** – It’s still going to be a hugely uphill battle for the Prosecution to get murder to stick. I personally think the charge has always been over reach. Especially given (even in more progressive states) how sympathetic juries typically are to people who say that they truly believed their lives to be at risk. The only exception (ironically) is if the person has had prior self defense or martial arts training — then juries tend to side (rightly or wrongly) with the state.

  26. mattb says:

    Just to be clear (not that it will most likely matter) — when I wrote:

    I have fight aftermath photos where heads have been bashed and large lateral gashes have opened where the scalp split from pressure (it’s a pretty common injury given how thin the skin is there).

    I didn’t mean pictures of me post fight. I mean evidence photos of people (and bodies) that were taken after these sorts of attacks/confrontations.

    People involved in self defense tend to trade/circulate these sorts of photos and statistical evidence in order to help defeat a lot of the classic misconceptions about these sorts of confrontations.

  27. MarkedMan says:

    Jenos, I’m curious about something. Do you carry a gun?

  28. Meli B says:

    George did not stay in the car. He pursued and followed Trayvon Martin. I believe the altercation arose out of Trayvon Martin asking George Zimmerman WHY HE WAS FOLLOWING HIM. I am sure George popped off in reply and perhaps even Trayvon was trying to be on his way to his father’s fiance’s home..IN THE SAME COMMUNITY by the way. George Zimmerman was not going to let him off so easy and continued to provoke Trayvon Martin. The wrestling and fighting then took place. WHY did GEORGE not just leave it all alone?? Stay in his car? George Zimmerman also has a history of three reports in the past with domestic violence along with police.
    The fact that George Zimmerman never went to the hospital to DOCUMENT his injuries is almost an ADMISSION OF GUILT. Whenever there is a DEATH, especially in a struggle with injuries, YOU BETTER go to the hospital and have a evaluation and documentation of the event. What was George Zimmerman hiding by refusing to go? The serverity of his injuries to cover up how everything went down? He shot Trayvon 18-24 inches and not to injure him, to KILL HIM. Who knows..Trayvon might of been reaching for that big CAN of ARIZONA Tea to defend himself and George thought it was a gun. GOD and George Zimmerman only know the truth and before this trial is done…so will we.
    This was a interesting article..I read about why George did not go to the hospital. These are all opinions of course. The writing is on the wall. IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM…you go to the hospital..Not run away from one.
    http://thisruthlessworld.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/do-medical-records-exonerate-george-zimmerman-not-so-fast/
    Everyone’s comments are interesting ..thanks for sharing.

  29. Jenos Idanian says:

    @mattb: Finally, Doctor Monala, keep in mind that the photos you have seen were taken shortly after Mr. Zimmerman had received medical attention from EMTs, who would have taken steps to stop the bleeding and clean up the wounds.

    Jenos, no offense, you really don’t know what you’re talking about here.

    As far as I know, Zimmerman received no stitches to the back of his head. None show up in the high res pictures ( http://photos.denverpost.com/mediacenter/2012/05/photos-travon-martin-george-zimmerman-case-evidence/35975/ ). That’s a pretty clear sign that his head wasn’t being bashed in the way you seem to imagine.

    Where did “stitches” come in? A bit of direct pressure and literal “cleaning up” would suffice.

    I don’t have any qualifications like you do, but I see one possible hole in your “punched repeatedly” scenario — Zimmerman had no other reported head injuries besides the broken nose and the back-of-head lacerations. If he was being punched hard enough to scuff up the back of his head, where were those punches landing? And wouldn’t there be bruises if he was being punched that hard?

    As far as my “taking Zimmerman’s side” so much, I’ll just note that so far, the facts have shown his account to be pretty damned plausible. Besides, aren’t there enough people here on the “let’s just hang the racist, profiling, stalking psycho” side?

    Hell, I can think of at least two on that side who’d immediately start defending Zimmerman if I did take their side, just out of sheer contrariness.

  30. Jenos Idanian says:

    @MarkedMan: Jenos, I’m curious about something. Do you carry a gun?

    Should I?

    I think I’ll go the Rick Perry route and neither confirm nor deny. After all, it’s certainly none of your business.

  31. Meli B says:

    George Zimmerman has no hair..or very short short buzz..He could of easily injured his own self falling to ground running after Trayvon. There was a chase, then they both went down. I am sure they both struggled and rolled…but intererestingly enough. Trayvon only had a bruise or injuries to his knuckle..Defending his life from George Zimmerman or trying to get away from him. For all we know, George Zimmerman took him down and shot him right there standing over him, 18-24 inches. I have read some of the coroner’s report.
    Trayvon had No reason to attack George Zimmerman. No weapon to defend himself or fight George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman’s credibility however is the issue here. Why he contiued to follow Trayvon when the dispatcher told him not to. NO LAW was bring broken by Trayvon Martin or act of violence in progress taking place. It unfortunate that paranoia got the best of George Zimmerman and his real task now is to save his own life…How ironic is that?

  32. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Meli B: My, what a rich imagination you have. And isn’t Zimmerman a genius, to have arranged for all those elements of his story — including witness testimony and forensics — to be consistent both with his account and your totally plausible and not in the least far-fetched and in no way incredible scenario?

  33. Meli B says:

    Dont humor yourself too much. I have been in this profession for 32 years…GEORGE is lying.
    And George knows HE IS LYING. Only a trial can bring that to surface. And it is coming.
    I have seen too many dead people from violence and put some of them back together and helped saved their lives. And heard just about every story of denial of “what really happened”.
    GEORGE is LYING.

  34. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Where did “stitches” come in? A bit of direct pressure and literal “cleaning up” would suffice.

    Jenos, that’s our point. There’s very little between the outer skin layer and the skull. The result is that the scalp tends to — under impact — split pretty easily. That’s why cut men are so important in fights.

    Getting your head bashed against the pavement tend to open lateral wounds that can’t be closed via simple pressure. Same is typically true with face wounds.

    I don’t have any qualifications like you do, but I see one possible hole in your “punched repeatedly” scenario — Zimmerman had no other reported head injuries besides the broken nose and the back-of-head lacerations. If he was being punched hard enough to scuff up the back of his head, where were those punches landing? And wouldn’t there be bruises if he was being punched that hard?

    That actually was my second point. That’s most people are pretty bad at punching people on the ground. Especially when they are grappling.

    Ultimately, I don’t think there were a lot of punches thrown. Or a lot of heads bashed (other than in the initial fall). But if Zimmerman had never been in a real fight before it might have felt like he was one step away from his brains leaking out his ears. The problem is that the photographic evidence doesn’t back that up.

    To your point, there was little bruising on either the front or the back of the head. Nor were there any significant splits or cuts (front or back) that required more than a little direct pressure to close. Nor was there a diagnosis of a concussion (again having had at least one concussion, it doesn’t take much and should have been the result of any bit of repeated “bashing”).

    Do I think that Zimmerman thought his life was in danger? Yes. Do I think Zimmerman’s life was in danger? No — or at most, the biggest threat to his life was the very gun he was carrying and the chance that it *might* have been turned on him (provided Martin wanted to and knew how to disengage the safety). Generally speaking, I think *sans gun* this entire thing wouldn’t have gone much past a school yard fight — and all the photographic evidence seems to point to that assumption.

    Based on my experience here’s what I suspect happened:

    – Verbal escalation and possible pushing.

    – Martin most likely punched Zimmerman first. I take some issue with using the phrase “sucker punch” here (but that’s the subject of a different thread). Either way, it makes sense that that Martin did throw the first punch — a heavy, loopy right hand. I also doubt that it broke Zimmerman’s nose (again, surprisingly hard to do standing up).

    – Zimmerman, who was probably already backing up with his hands up, is hit and begins to fall. This most likely happened rather slowly (as this often does in a fight). As he falls he grabs onto the nearest thing: Martin. Martin was also most likely off balance from the loopy right* that he threw and was probably half falling onto Zimmerman already.

    – The two fall to the ground together with Martin landing on top. Zimmerman’s head most likely bounces on the ground opening up the key wounds. Perhaps Martin has enough control to stay somewhat upright and rains a couple blows, causing Martin’s head to impact once or twice more. It’s most likely in this part of the scuffle where Zimmerman’s nose breaks as the ground would provide the lack of give to assist the break.

    – Zimmerman, like most people, goes primal (chances are Martin is primal to) which means he’s reaching out and trying to hold onto his attacker to keep from getting hit (we’re hard wired to do this btw). The look from the outside is wrestling. In the scuffle, Zimmerman’s head is probably making impact with the ground (as heads tend to do in this sort of wrestle/fight). It’s scary (especially with everything going on) and might have felt like his head is being bashed, but it wasn’t (at least not in the way you seem to think it was).

    – At some point, there’s a bit of an opening and sense starts to return to Zimmerman. Perhaps Zimmerman’s clothes fell away and revealed the gun. Perhaps Zimmerman remembered he had the gun. Either way the gun become visible and both people fixate on it. And both have the same reaction — “I need to get the gun.”

    We all know what happened next…

    TWO OTHER POINTS:
    #1: Zimmerman’s claim that Treyvon is talking to him the entire time is most likely (a) made up or (b) remembered due to stress. Ditto the thing about Treyvon saying that he’s going to take the gun and shoot him. The fact is that during a real fight, the brains speech and communications centers largely shut down/are overwhelmed. Unlike Spiderman, the vast majority of people don’t banter in fight or flight situations. In fact, the longer a confrontation stays verbal, the better the chances that it won’t go physical (in the self defense biz, one of bits of wisdom is “if they talk, they can be made to walk”). It’s when people stop talking that things get bad and punches are about to be thrown. And often people can’t talk for minutes after a fight due to the adrenal dumps and post fight shock.

    #2 Weapon retention – Just because someone goes for a gun doesn’t mean they’re going to use it. It’s pretty much hard-wired human reaction to go for the weapon so it won’t be used on you (first) and then to use it against the other person second. So anyone who attempts to claim that Martin’s attempt in going for the gun was to shoot Zimmerman are reading a LOT into the situation. It was a possibility, but it wasn’t as big a possibility as many seem to think.

  35. mattb says:

    @Meli B:

    I have been in this profession for 32 years…

    Which profession?

  36. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Hell, I can think of at least two on that side who’d immediately start defending Zimmerman if I did take their side, just out of sheer contrariness.

    The problem is that you take to it with a zest that has no room for a conseration of the truth. Instead you need to demonstrate that Martin was a criminal and deserved what he got. You pretend that you know things about fighting and fight related injuries when you clearly don’t. And you refuse to acknowledge where your argument falls off the rails.

    Plus, I’ve never see you ever argue for anyone you don’t see as belonging to your side. The net result is that you end up representing the safe, partisan side of things with little consideration for what actually might have happened.

    It’s one thing to be a devil’s advocate in the cause of trying to find a better, closer truth. It’s another thing to simply be contrarian to score points regardless of possibly knowing that you’re wrong.

    And I’m sorry, it’s one thing to argue that George Zimmerman isn’t a racist. I don’t think he is. It’s another thing to pretend that he is constantly not at fault and always the victim and that thug Treyvon deserved it.

    That’s the point you’ve chosen to take.

    Don’t blame us for pointing out how your choice to take up the cause with that much fire and pride says something rather negative about you to just about anyone who reads your posts.

  37. Jenos Idanian says:

    @mattb: Sorry, fail. I’ve smacked around birthers on several occasions, and on a few occasions expressed disgust with a few on “my” side.

    I don’t recall “trying to prove Martin was a criminal.” I’ve cited a few things that are factual about his background (and at least one that was false, but fooled me at the time).

    I know you won’t buy this, but I’m interested in the truth and justice prevailing. That the immediate narrative — the one that was so bad for Zimmerman was 1) pushed by people I greatly distrust and dislike and 2) keeps falling apart as more details emerge are convincing me that the smartest thing I can do is to keep pointing out how Zimmerman’s story is, by and large, holding up.

    Well, that and avoid actually expressing any conclusions.

    The next point I’m thinking of working is how Zimmerman’s getting out of his vehicle and following Martin on foot broke no laws whatsoever, and in many cases is laudable. We are told “if you see something, say something.” Well, Zimmerman saw something — a guy who fit the description of the suspect in a series of at least 8 burglaries perfectly acting suspiciously. He also called the cops, and stayed on the line to keep them up to date on where the suspect was going and what he was doing.

    He also, apparently, stopped following Martin when the 911 operator said “we don’t need you to do that.” Note that 1) the operator did NOT give him any direct instructions, and 2) the operator has no legal authority to give him any orders anyway.

    Currently, it seems to me that Zimmerman lost Martin, and then Martin circled back and confronted Zimmerman. So at least a portion of the responsibility for the confrontation goes on Martin — who was free and clear, but chose to go back and “get in Zimmerman’s face.”

    But based on my understanding of the law, it looks like the first to break the law was Martin, who apparently threw the first punch. Nothing Zimmerman did before then, based on current facts, broke any laws or constituted justification for physical force.

    Of course, this could all be contradicted by new evidence. But it ain’t happened yet.

    Well, except within Meli’s fevered imaginings, that is…

  38. Monala says:

    Well, Zimmerman saw something — a guy who fit the description of the suspect in a series of at least 8 burglaries perfectly acting suspiciously.

    a) In only 4 of the 8 robberies had a suspect been identified as black. The rest may or may not have been.
    b) In the most recent robbery, I believe the suspect had been caught — and thus, the crime wave (which was over a 14 month period, so not a huge wave) may have been over.
    c) Regardless, should all young black males have been considered suspects, because one or more had committed a crime? Especially in a community that is 20% black, and therefore, likely has several young black male residents?

  39. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    Currently, it seems to me that Zimmerman lost Martin, and then Martin circled back and confronted Zimmerman.

    No one knows that for certain.

    But based on my understanding of the law, it looks like the first to break the law was Martin, who apparently threw the first punch.

    We don’t know that for certain, either.

    All we know for certain is that the two had a confrontation, and TM was shot and killed. How it began, who threw the first punch, are still unknown.

  40. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Your POV only works if you take Zimmerman’s word as truth, even though he has strong motivation to lie about what happened, and has already lied under oath.

    What you wrote here: The next point I’m thinking of working is how Zimmerman’s getting out of his vehicle and following Martin on foot broke no laws whatsoever, and in many cases is laudable.

    … can be reworded to support Martin. “In walking home, Martin broke no laws whatsoever. In choosing not to perhaps wait instead of entering the home (and therefore, not leading a creepy guy into the house where only his younger future stepbrother was waiting), Martin also broke no law as whatsoever, and behaved laudably (protecting a younger child).”

    Yes, I’m speculating. But so are you. You don’t know what happened to start the fight, and neither does anyone else except Zimmerman. And for a variety of reasons, I don’t find him credible.

  41. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Sorry, fail. I’ve smacked around birthers on several occasions, and on a few occasions expressed disgust with a few on “my” side.

    Snort!

    Thank you so much for the much needed deep laugh.

    I’m sorry Jenos, but proving your even-mindedness by saying you “smacked around birthers” is funny for two reasons.

    First, you’ve picked upon the most fringe element (the one that everyone with a brain agrees are out of their gourds) of “your” side (btw: I say its your side because, well, outside of birtherism, I’ve yet to see you step out of step with arguments presented on that side… like any argument… not to mention your unfailing defense of anyone on that side you see as being “victimized”). I mean, it really doesn’t take up much to stand up to birtherism. So you’re really going out on a limb there.

    The second, and far funnier aspect of your “smacking around” birthers, is at least on OTB, every denouncement of birtherism is accompanied by “but it’s all Obama’s fault.” You say they’re wrong, but then you bend over backwards to explain why Birtherism is still based in some fact (Obama took forever to release his birth certificate, he released the wrong certificate, his campaign and his surrogates kept the issue alive, people don’t really believe it — it’s all just a protest, he intentionally wrote biographies that said he was from Kenya, he led people to believe he was from Kenya so he could get into colleges, get into law school, sell books, get elected president, it’s American to question why the black guy got so far in life… well maybe not the last one).

    I’ll take you at your word that you’ve gone against the grain on other issues. I just can’t say I’ve ever seen you do it here or not without finding some way to still blame it on the other sides.

    Either way, I remain somewhat underwhelmed by your rock solid, well thought out independence on most political and social issues.

    (yeah… that was sarcastic — if you’re tick is being the appointed and overzelaous devil’s advocate for all things conservative, my tick is being the know-it-all, trying to be somewhat independent, occupying the higher ground, paleo-liberal academic type — I’m pretty sure that despite being better informed, the end result is just as annoying).

  42. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    Zimmerman’s story is an abject lesson in “just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do something.” And further, if that something you are going to do involves law enforcement (like being a self appointed neighborhood watch) then you should get training to do it.

    Let me break it down for you:

    The next point I’m thinking of working is how Zimmerman’s getting out of his vehicle and following Martin on foot broke no laws whatsoever, and in many cases is laudable. We are told “if you see something, say something.”

    You leave out the facts that Zimmerman decided all by himself to become the neighborhood watch for the area… without, you know, doing all the leg work necessary to do it right.

    That has always, ultimately been my problem with Zimmerman, and fits into a larger pattern of behavior that he continues to apparently repeat around this case.

    Zimmerman didn’t break laws with his foot persuit. But if you actually look into EVERYTHING THAT NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH GROUPS ADVOCATE (stuff, btw developed in conjunction with the Police) ZIMMERMAN DID EVERYTHING WRONG. You don’t follow people on foot if you have the safety of a car, you don’t carry armed weapons, you don’t do things that can initiate a confrontation.

    Do you know why they made up these rules? It was to prevent exactly these sorts of situations — where innocent people and people who want to do the right thing — end up getting hurt.

    Try to explain it away as much as you like, but Zimmerman (and I’m sure his heart was in the right place) was trying to play cop without the training. And someone ended up dead.

    Let me continue…

    Well, Zimmerman saw something — a guy who fit the description of the suspect in a series of at least 8 burglaries perfectly acting suspiciously.

    As mentioned, not all of the suspects in the burglaries were African Americans. But more importantly, do you know when the majority of those break ins occured? During the week and during the day. Not 7.30pm on a Sunday Night — a time when statistically speaking the fewest break-ins occur because people are at home. BTW, break-ins typically don’t happen during inclement weather.

    Those are the sort of facts you learn when you go through neigborhood watch training. The police also help plan routes and set up patrol schedules for the most likely periods of criminal activity.

    Instead, Zimmerman is off patrolling the streets at 7.00pm on a rainy Sunday night. With a loaded gun.

    But at least he followed good procedure and stayed in the car. Oh wait…

    He also called the cops, and stayed on the line to keep them up to date on where the suspect was going and what he was doing.

    This would have been ok if he had not decided to follow the possible perp on foot, with his gun.

    Again, neighborhood watch people are explicitly told not to do this. Not to be armed. Not to follow. Not to do anything that might initiate a confrontation.

    Which he would have known if he had done any training. If he thought good practice rules applied to him.

    But of course, his heart was in the right place and he didn’t break any official laws (until he shot the kid).

    But the confrontation wasn’t at all his fault… except for the fact he did everything that neighborhood watch and police trainers tell you not to do because it could lead to a confrontation.

    And he didn’t apparently practice regular self defense training, because, as I’ve documented above, it’s pretty clear that he panic’d, though a light confrontation was immediately life threatening, was carrying a loaded weapon that he was sure was going to be used against him, and then shot an unarmed teenager.

    But based on my understanding of the law, it looks like the first to break the law was Martin, who apparently threw the first punch. Nothing Zimmerman did before then, based on current facts, broke any laws or constituted justification for physical force.

    Of course YANAL. But neither am I (though my partner is one). Even in legal circles, self defense does not necessarily boil down to who threw the first punch. The issue of what each person believed is a major factor. And what the jury will believe (though in Florida it seems like the Judge can also do what seems a lot like the finding of fact). So it’s not (surprise) as cut and dry as you make it out.

    Additionally, as others have pointed out, you seem to give all preference to Zimmerman’s account and ignore much of the evidence that contradicts or complicates his story (including the question of whether or not he broke off following Martin and if their path’s might have come close to crossing on Zimmerman’s path back to the car).

    Beyond that, the other issue with your legal analysis is the question of the use of deadly force. Just because X initiates the fight does not give Y the right to radically escalate. As I keep mentioning, just because Zimmerman claims his head was being repeatedly “bashed” into the pavement doesn’t mean that it was to the degree that warranted deploying the gun against an unarmed attacker.

    Even in Florida, there are limits to when you can fire.

    I’m sorry, but you have to contort yourself to continually make Zimmerman out to be the pure victim here. He might not have wanted to murder Martin. I don’t think he’s a racist. I don’t think he’s guilty of murder. But he is morally culpable for the death of that young man and the pain inflicted upon that family. And to some degree he is legally responsible for creating the situation that led to the confrontation.

    This is a tragedy. You can feel sorry for both people involved as both acted stupidly. But that doesn’t man that Zimmerman shouldn’t be punished for his negligence. And I know a lot of gun owners, pro self defense people, and police officers who agree with my position.

    I know this won’t sway you. But I will continue to contend that your entrenchment on this has far more to do with your own biases than any facts in the case.

    In the end, it’s up to the Judge and, if it goes to trial, the Jury as well.

  43. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    it looks like the first to break the law was Martin, who apparently threw the first punch. Nothing Zimmerman did before then, based on current facts, broke any laws or constituted justification for physical force.

    One other point, if Martin felt that Zimmerman, who had been persuing him for some period of time, presented a credible threat, he was within his right to per-emptively engage (i.e. throw the first punch).

    It can even be argued that actively confronting Zimmerman was in no way illegal (in the same way that Zimmerman getting out of the car was not illegal).

    Zimmerman had lost sight of Martin. For all we know, Martin has lost sight of Zimmerman. Based on the phone call to the girlfriend, we know Martin knew he being followed and was concerned about it. If suddenly Zimmerman reappears, a jittery Martin might have thought Zimmerman was still following him (even though Zimmerman might have been walking back to the car).

    So a confrontation happens. I suspect both men were already amped up on Adrenaline by this time (based on what generally happens in confrontations, and the testimony of various people, including Zimmerman). The fight was already on before any punch was thrown.

    And under those circumstances, when each person felt the other was attacking them, bad things happen quick and the argument could be made that it’s better to hit first and ask questions later.

    That’s why trying to apply simple “lay’ readings to legal issues end up creating bad situations for everyone involved. Especially in a state where there a pretty wide range of interpretation allowed due to the general vaugeness of the self defense statutes.

  44. anjin-san says:

    if that something you are going to do involves law enforcement (like being a self appointed neighborhood watch) then you should get training to do it.

    It goes a bit beyond that. Zimmermann committed all sorts of neighborhood watch no-no’s. Neighborhood watch folks are supposed to observe, and call the police if they see something suspicious. No following, and certainly no guns. The national Neighborhood Watch organization made it very clear that he had nothing to to with them, or they with him. Zimmermann abandoned any patina of legitimacy the moment he armed himself. At that point, he was just someone with a gun and terrible judgement.

  45. mattb says:

    @anjin-san:

    Zimmermann abandoned any patina of legitimacy the moment he armed himself [and went out on a neighborhood watch].

    Fixed that.

    There’s nothing wrong, per sea with being armed, but arming yourself to then go on patrol is something else entirely.

  46. anjin-san says:

    and went out on a neighborhood watch

    Fixed that.

    Not really. Neighborhood watch rules forbid arming yourself.

    There’s nothing wrong, per sea with being armed

    In the eyes of the law, Zimmermann had a right to be armed. That being said, fool + gun = tragedy is an old story. This is just one more chapter.

  47. mattb says:

    @anjin-san:

    Not really. Neighborhood watch rules forbid arming yourself.

    That was my point. You don’t arm yourself and go on neighborhood watch.

    Zimmerman was a well meaning vigilante, and to your point, that’s an old recipe for disaster.

  48. Jenos Idanian says:

    Things I’ve learned from the Zimmerman haters:

    If a 911 operator makes an inference as to what she thinks you should do, that is a legally binding command.

    If you’re following a suspicious person and talking to the cops, it’s illegal to get out of your vehicle and continue the following on foot.

    If someone is following you for reasons you don’t like, you are legally justified to turn around and beat the living crap out of them. Even if they stop following you.

    If you are legally licensed to carry a concealed weapon, then don’t actually take it with you except in cases where you’re almost guaranteed to not actually need it.

    How educational this has been…

  49. anjin-san says:

    How educational this has been…

    Not really. You are still an idiot. What you are getting out of your Rain Man like obsession with Zimmermann, no one knows.

  50. mattb says:

    It’s funny @Jenos I’ve once again learned from this conversation that you are an unserious and fundamentally dishonest conversational partner (and I say dishonest because you claim that you listen and take our postions seriously and then crank out shit like you just did) and often an unmitigated a-hole… check that a-holes are useful. You sir are a douche.

    But do me a favor and take one of your learnings in particular:

    If you are legally licensed to carry a concealed weapon, then don’t actually take it with you except in cases where you’re almost guaranteed to not actually need it.

    And do the following when you apply for a pistol permit:

    Let them know that you are getting the pistol so you can carry it when you perform self appointed crime patrols of your neighborhood.

    Or if you already have a concealed carry permit, please head down to your local police or sheriff’s office and let them know that this is your plan. And record it. Because I’m am all but 100% sure that you’ll discover that this is a quick way to lose your permit.

    I also love how you continually ignore a key fact that we keep repeating — that Neighborhood Watch and other Police/Community sponsored patrolling organizations discourage, if not out and out forbid, citizens to carry firearms while on patrols.

    But… you know, it’s not like I teach self defense… that regularly discuss these issues with law enforcement folks… as always Jenos, I bow to your superior logic…

  51. anjin-san says:

    It’s when people stop talking that things get bad and punches are about to be thrown.

    “if they talk, they can be made to walk”

    That was my experience in my years in the bar biz. Big talkers almost always turned out to be all talk. Guys that were actually tough did little talking, but when it was time to fight they would take the other guy down fast and hard.