With an all-female jury seated (five white, one Hispanic) and opening arguments occurring today, understand that not only should the charge against George Zimmerman never have been filed, but that the case is remarkably backwards. The shooting of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, was an unremarkable event — similar self-defense related shootings occur regularly. In virtually all of those cases, the local police do their work, local prosecutors review it, charges are filed or declined, and only local communities are aware of or care about it. Whereas the Trayvon Martin case is an anomaly that reverses all of the conventions and behaviors normally present in the criminal justice system.
The Prosecution: Without conducting any new investigation, Corey’s office produced an affidavit that not only failed to produce any probable cause that Zimmerman violated any of the three essential elements of the offense. It was also factually incorrect and withheld vital information of Zimmerman’s innocence. Any attorney or police officer filing an affidavit promises to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This one, filed by special prosecutor investigators T.C. O’Steen and Dale Gilbreath at the direction of de la Rionda and on behalf of Corey, fell far short of the most minimal requirements of the law. Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, attorney and commentator Mark Levin, attorney John Hinderaker of Powerline, and other notables took it to task in the harshest terms.
In response, an enraged Corey called the dean of Harvard Law School and, speaking with a representative of the Office of Communications, ranted about Dershowitz for 40 minutes and threatened to sue him and Harvard. Harvard was apparently unimpressed; Dershowitz still teaches there.
Bernie de la Rionda has taken the lead in handling the case. De la Rionda learned no later than August 2, 2012, that Dee Dee committed perjury but, despite multiple requests from the defense over many months, withheld that information until the evening of March 4, 2013, only hours before the matter would be heard in court and he would be forced to divulge the information.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara filed a motion for sanctions against de la Rionda for improperly withholding important evidence, and de la Rionda filed a petulant, angry, and unprofessional response that is a model of improper legal writing. He eventually admitted in court to withholding the evidence, with an excuse of: “I forgot about it.” Despite multiple defense requests, he forgot — for seven months — that his most important witness was a perjurer. Judge Nelson has yet to rule on O’Mara’s motion for sanctions despite de la Rionda’s admission.
Another example of de la Rionda’s malfeasance is his withholding — for many months — of digital color photographs of Zimmerman’s injuries taken immediately after Zimmerman was assaulted by Martin. It’s easy to see why de la Rionda would not want the defense to have those photos — they clearly depict Zimmerman’s badly broken and bleeding nose, and his bruised, lacerated, and bloody face, as well as multiple bloody cuts on the back of his head.
Recently, the IT director for the special prosecutor’s office blew the whistle on de la Rionda’s hiding of evidence from Martin’s cell phone, including photos of stolen jewelry, an image of Martin blowing what appears to be marijuana smoke, and an image of what appears to be Martin holding a handgun. Discovered in early January 2013, much of that and other evidence was not turned over to the defense until June.
It would seem that it is not justice, but furthering of agendas that is being sought here. What a disgrace.