While there were two lawyers at the defense table, there were three at the State’s: Bernie de la Rionda, John Guy, and Richard Mantei.  With about a hundred lawyers to pick from, knowing her office would be in the spotlight, State’s Attorney Angela Corey wouldn’t have put anyone on the team she thought would make her look bad.

Mantei was third chair, and the lowest guy on the totem pole gets the scut work in any organization. For instance, he was the one they sent in to argue that the state had proven its case when it hadn’t during the argument for judgment of acquittal. Perhaps the two senior guys didn’t want to be on film forever BS-ing the judge. I suspect Mantei is a good prosecutor when he actually has a case.

The lead prosecutor in the courtroom was de la Rionda. He’s the only one of the three I’ve seen live in a courtroom, and I can tell you that he knows the law and presents himself with articulate confidence.  De la Rionda is said to have an extraordinarily high conviction rate. Why he accepted a case like this, as close as he is to retirement age, I cannot understand. His frustration was obvious throughout the Zimmerman trial; I can’t imagine a man with his skill and experience being so abrasive in front of a jury for any other reason.

In second seat was Guy, by far the best orator on that prosecution team. My students have heard me warn them about attorneys who seem to have majored in drama and minored in law, and Guy certainly fit that mold in Zimmerman. Remember his “Fucking punks” opening, and his breathless assertion that the defendant killed the deceased “because he wanted to”? If he is as good a prosecutor as I hope he was when he really had a case, he may be disgusted enough after this trial to quit. If so, he’ll have a future in theater.  I would suggest something Shakespearean, because the Zimmerman case gave him experience in things that were “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

I’ve seen other cases, more than one in Florida, where assistant prosecutors flatly refused to argue a case for conviction when the evidence showed the defendant wasn’t guilty. That didn’t happen here. Perhaps they truly believed Zimmerman was guilty, though it’s hard for me to believe that, given the evidence they must have studied at great length. On the other hand, they worked for Angela Corey, who does not have a public history of treating kindly those employees who go against her wishes.

I’ve seen many people on many a forum and blog call these prosecutors incompetent. I don’t think they were.  They simply had no case.  If you hired the greatest chefs in the world to cook for you, and you stocked the larder with feces, the best you could hope for them to put on the table would be a big, steaming pile of shit. And in the end, through no lack of argumentation skills on their end, that’s how these three prosecutors’ case ended up.

Now, forevermore among their peers, they’re stuck with the blemish of this case, and the accusations of withholding evidence which have come along with it, and which don’t seem to have been fully resolved at this writing.  When retirement comes to each, I doubt that any will consider trying this case to have been their best career move.

Before you blame the team, blame the coach who sent them into a game that never should have been played. We’ll discuss their coach later.


  1. This has been a really informative series, Mr. Ayoob, and I’ve really enjoyed reading it. I was wondering if you could comment on the fact that Zimmerman didn’t testify. When I took your MAG-20/Classroom, you told us to expect to testify. In Zimmerman’s case, do you believe it was a good idea that he didn’t?

  2. Excellent writeup. I didn’t follow the trial very closely, but your even-handedness in critiquing the players on both sides is exemplary. For many, the temptation to descend into ‘snarkiness’ would have been irresistible.

  3. Thank you for this series and for this piece in particular, written with a depth of understanding which almost all media “expert” commentators seem to lack. Thanks for the “plain-speak”, too. Excellent reading, which I hope reaches many.

    Having spent time as a prosecutor, I understand the reasons for some of the more criticized actions that the prosecutors took. What bothered me most, on the other hand, was the theme of questionable ethics it seems to me were employed. Like everyone, prosecutors are human and subject to the influences of personal interest — so they want to win — but the prosecutor’s job is ideally to seek truth and justice, not merely to win, and their ethics should ideally be informed by that.

    To seek to win through emotion over facts, to seek to confuse rather than reveal, to try to win arguments or burn defense resources by ambush (e.g., the child abuse instruction), or to withhold potentially exculpatory evidence longer than is reasonable — especially to the extent these prosecutors seemed to do — is to ask too much liberty from prosecutorial ethics.

    Sure, sometimes you try a crappy case, because justice suggests a defendant’s feet really should be put to the fire. That does not mean the prosecutor abdicates his/her duty to justice. This prosecution left me a little embarrassed for the profession.

  4. The bits and pieces I saw of the case had me wondering if the prosecution was going over the top in order to keep somebody else off thier back. There was more over the top drama queen stuff than all the Perry Mason put together. I was watching thinking not only would it not help, but could back fire. Made me wonder if they were in a subtle protest at being invovled. Sorta like the public defender who is defending scum that creeps even them out. They play the game, but are relieved when the out come does not go thier way.

  5. In a lot of ways I feel sorry for them. I doubt any of them went to work out of love for Angela Corey. If they did, they deserve to have this on their resume. When you can’t win with the ref in your corner though, is it fair to blame the coach? Yes, she is one of the worst persecuters in the state of Florida, on par with the Kook from Duke, Nifrong and deserves to be sued, prosecuted and disbarred for her actions in this case, and from what I have read, quite a few others.
    If they serve out of a sense of duty, a call to justice, I can see them, knowing they have a crap sandwich, and forced to eat it, not taking relish with it. Their boss would not have allowed them to surrender, maybe they did what they did out of a sense of duty, coupled with a demand for justice. Ie, I gotta take this to the jury, but I don’t have to win at any price.
    Maybe in some ways, this trial served justice. George was living with a price on his head, and a cloud over his name. With out this trial, the media sensationalism would have won out. Now, even the viewers of MSNBC know the truth, and the truth has set George free. If ever the Black Panthers, or some other St Skittles worshipper were to kill him, no jury could be swayed to nullfication on a “he deserved it for what he did” meme.
    GOD bless you, look forward to what you say about Satan’s Angel a Corey.

  6. @Eric: There are many reasons for a defense attorney not putting a defendant on the stand, but perhaps the most common is that they are either going to have to admit that they have lied during the investigation or are going to have to lie, under oath, on the stand to avoid making that admission. If a defense attorney knows that his client is going to lie under oath, he cannot put him on the stand. If the client insists on being put on the stand, the attorney must withdraw from the case.

    What would Zimmerman have lied about or have been prone to lie about on the stand? I think that the evidence suggests that it was could well have been something actually fairly innocuous, but which would have thrown the rest of his testimony into doubt, namely: what it was that he did between the time that the police dispatcher told him that they didn’t need him to be following Martin and the time the confrontation took place. Four to five minutes passed between those two events, based upon the time his call with Jeantel ended (which can only be established within 60 seconds). Zimmerman said he simply turned around and headed back for his truck and that Martin jumped out and confronted him on the east-west sidewalk along that direct path. But the length of time between those events, together with the fact that Martin’s body and cellphone were found some 40 or so feet down the north-south sidewalk that T’s with the east-west one, suggests that something else could very well have happened.

    I do not think that it is unreasonable to infer that Zimmerman actually did something different than what he told the police from the beginning: Rather than heading straight back to his truck, he disregarded the dispatcher’s advice (it was neither an order or an instruction) and went looking for Martin. I do not believe that there is any evidence (and indeed some, albeit faint, evidence to the contrary exists) that Zimmerman intended to interact with Martin, but once it had happened and Martin was dead he would have known immediately that having not followed the dispatcher’s advice was going to throw suspicion on him. Thus he could have lied about it and then could have lied further when he reinacted the confrontation the next day up on the east-west path rather than near where Martin’s body was found.

    As often happens with such bad decisions, such a lie would have actually proved to be a bigger problem for the defense than the truth would have been. If you put Zimmerman on the stand and he admits that he not only lied to the police that night, but concocted an ever bigger more elaborate lie the next day after he had a chance to think it over, how are you, as a juror, going to feel when he testifies that Martin ambushed and cold-cocked him? “Oh, yeah, I was lying then, but I was telling the truth about that part and I’m telling the truth now.” Not a good plan. On the other hand, let’s say that he lied to his defense lawyers and they believed him enough to put him on the stand. Would you really want to give the prosecutors a chance to at least point out those inconsistencies and try to use them to break him down in cross-examination?

    That’s all speculation, of course, and there could be a million other reasons why they did not want him to testify. One very common reason is that when you put some people under oath and cross examination that they come across like they’re guilty and lying even if they’re demonstrably telling God’s unvarnished truth. Others come across as so arrogant or prideful or self-righteous that the jury will dislike them so much that they won’t give them the benefit of the doubt. There are many, many other possible reasons, but the idea about Zimmerman possibly making a bad decision in what he told the police fits right in with his making a bad decision in getting out of his truck in the first place and being horribly disappointed that “Those *ssh*les, they always get away” followed by his suspect actually disappearing.

  7. Mas,

    You hit the bull’s eye with this article again. And the commentators also did a good job.

    My guess for why the prosecutors took this case is because they thought they might be able to win in the style of Johnnie Cochran (OJ’s lawyer). I seem to remember F. Lee Bailey also becoming famous for doing something. The problem is, this jury was a little too smart and ethical to be swayed as much as they needed to be swayed to convict. Thank God.

    I loved the Shakespearean quote and drama references. If I remember correctly, Shakespeare also wrote, “What fools these mortals be,” and “Kill all the lawyers.” 😉

  8. This is the only trial I watched from beginning to end. Could not help it as it was on every major network in Florida. The reason I wanted to watch it was because I could not understand why it even went to trial. From what I had read, no one but Zimmerman really knew what happened and the only eye witness had Zimmerman on the ground being pummeled. As a Florida resident I saw the pressure put on the State and figured that they would arrest Zimmerman and hold a trail in the future. This would defuse the escalating civil rights protesting and postpone things after tempers have cooled. It would show that the State was doing something but it bothered me that they were acquiescing to the mob.

    So with great curiosity as to what kind of defense, other than emotional, the prosecutors would have, I watched the trial every day. It got to be humorous as State witnesses had nothing but good to say about Zimmerman. I did not understand all the emotional outburst about what might have happened as that would seem to feed reasonable doubt which would help the defense. The prosecutors came up with several scenarios and I could not help thinking that if I was a juror, they were providing me with reasonable doubt since they were showing that they did not even know what happened. I was left feeling that they were just making up all sorts of stories to show the jury that something other than what they were being told happened by the evidence, could have happened.

    It was entertaining and I felt a little embarrassed for the Prosecutors at times. I also left the trial concerned that so many people felt that there is no justification to kill anyone for any reason. So many focused, and still do, on Stand Your Ground laws which were not even an issue in this case. Many still feel that no one has the right to kill anyone. They should run away, use their fists or talk their way out of a situation. That worries me as I have been saying that we are becoming a nation of wimps who hold a single live above all else and that does not bode well in a world where self and national defense is increasingly needed.

  9. The prosecution was forced into a situation that defense attorneys normally find themselves in when trying to defend the indefensible, in this case trying to prosecute a case that would never have been prosecuted under normal circumstances. This precipitated the “if you can’t convince them with facts, dazzle them with bulls###t” tact we saw played out in the trial. Sad that we live in an era when political correctness will cause government officials to force a citizen to forfeit his fortune and his future for lawfully defending his life when attacked by a person known by them to be a person of less than stellar reputation. This prosecution itself should be classified a hate crime.

  10. Strike 1: It was a crap case and they took it anyway. Maybe they were coerced. Maybe most people involved in bringing this case to trial, following a pressure that came all the way from the White House (via the DOJ), were ‘good soldiers’ hoping for cushy jobs in the private sector once they retire with this black mark on their resume (TOFTT?).

    Strike 2: They used questionable tactics (pure appeal to emotions to sway a female jury? Rather offensive and patronizing). They didn’t play fair (releasing incomplete phone records for TM, for example).
    Mark O’Mara mentioned having placed, a first in his career, several (7?) complaints against the prosecution. Enough said?

    Strike 3: To me, de la Rionda was convincing and forceful during his closing arguments, in tone and delivery, anyway. I’m sure he’s an effective lawyer with a good case in hand. Otherwise I found him unlikable, apparently giving in to office politics (Wesley White) or borderline flirtation (witness Jenna Lauer) in court. I base my obviously subjective opinion on this trial only.

    I couldn’t agree more with Dugo. Taking a loser case and pulling no punches to get a win when a man’s life is in the balance is why people have no faith in the legal system. It’s a clear display of politics over justice, and proof that to some pros said system is just a game.

  11. As for Z not taking the stand, there was simply no need to expose him to the cross-examination. After all, the prosecution admitted into evidence a video taken the day after the event, with Z completely walking police thru his version of events.

    If the prosecution had not admitted that into evidence, I don’t believe the defense could have, and would have had to consider putting Z on the stand.

  12. Mas, way too kind.

    As a fellow Florida Bar member, I almost feel compelled to file a Bar complaint. Their conduct in the courtroom was atrocious and bad for the profession. They used a quote from Voltaire without attribution. They hid evidence. They altered exhibits to avoid offending blacks. More than one half of everything they did and said was clearly false and/or objectionable. Why O’Mara and West put up with it I do not know. Justice was served for Zimmerman but not for everyone else.

    Whether these prosecutors volunteered for the case or were chosen by her royal clownness the State Attorney doesn’t matter to me. If they thought Zimmerman was guilty of the charge, they are legal morons. These are despicable persons, plain and simple.

    As for the State Attorney, she is a complete and evil fool. She proved it in her post verdict lecture. Just ask her former boss who fired her. The people of the county need to put her on the next stage to lawyer twilight zone. Nobody should sleep peaceably in their bed with her in office.

  13. It wasn’t a trial, it was the offering up of an American citizen as sacrifice to the mob. George Zimmerman wasn’t expected to make bail, was expected to depend on a court appointed defense, be convicted, locked up and forgotten. The mob would go away and stop frightening customers and tourists and there would be no broken windows.
    Somehow, probably the Grace of God, enough people saw what was happening and refused to tolerate it.
    It’s almost funny, the spineless cowards still have their mob problem, all they accomplished was to intensify it.

  14. To me, the telling reason not to allow GZ to testify was the risk that the prosecution could through hard questioning, confuse him and make it appear that he actually did lie earlier on. His original statement, taken right after the shooting and fresh on his mind was enough. Not giving the prosecutors the chance to tear into him was basic common sense.

  15. Mas,

    Echoing what others have said I love this series. It is by far the most in-depth, unbiased and comprehensive coverage of this case. It makes me feel like I am back in your class.

    Best regards,

    Mike S.

  16. JeremyR: There are still people who believe that Martin was an innocent victim. My local newspaper published a letter from me in which I questioned Martin’s legal justification for knocking Zimmerman down, sitting on him and beating him about the head. I did not try to justify Zimmerman’s actions. A few days later, there was a rebuttal letter from someone who claimed there was no evidence Martin did anything to Zimmerman and who could not understand how the jury reached its verdict. Apparently, the writer was not aware of the juror who said she wanted to convict Zimmerman but couldn’t given the evidence and the judge’s instructions.

    This has been called a “show trial”. I have wondered if the prosecution, including Corey, always knew they would lose but proceeded on the premise that averting riots was more important than treating Zimmerman fairly. Was the prosecution team surprised when their own witnesses helped make the defense’s case?

  17. After the Zimmerman trial the State Attorney said the jury system in Florida was worthless, or words to that effect. Given that she was neither fired nor tossed out of the bar association, I have to assume all the lawyers in the state agree with her.
    Therefore if called to jury duty I cannot find anyone guilty of ANYTHING!
    Who notes his Daddy told him back in the 1950s, the defense want’s to get their client off. The prosecution wants to rack up a score. The Judge wants to get this lot out of the courtroom and the next bunch in. Only the jury judges Right and Wrong. He was quoting a lawyer famous in the 1930s.

  18. I have to wonder if the prosecutors threw the case, -because- they knew it was a travesty.

    Mas points out that the three prosecutors actually had good records, and that the one he’s personally seen in action is quite competent. Why the clumsy presentation, then? Why call witnesses they -had- to know would be de facto witnesses for the defense?

    I wonder if Corey picked these three because of their “winning” records, but they looked at the case, and decided their personal ethics could only go so far. I wonder if they even had a choice about trying the case, or were told “You WILL do this.” I wonder if they did all this as a deliberate slap to -her-, putting together a case that was so full of holes and faults that, even had the jury voted to convict, would have been thrown out at the first opportunity.

    They had to have known that, conviction or not, what they did in the courtroom would never matter to the media or the race-baiters. They had to have known their case would never stand in appeal. So why take it? Why be so clumsy?

    I suspect it may have been deliberate, a willingness to accept a giant black mark on their own records, in order to place an even bigger one on the person who may have forced them to take the case.

  19. Mas, while this is a good article, I can’t help but feel that it is incomplete. There is one more member of the prosecution team that is due for criticism. He is the initial prosecutor. The one who stepped down and was replaced by Corey. Right from the beginning, this case had three hot-button issues. First, a 17-year old minor was killed by an adult. Second, an armed person shot and killed an unarmed person. Third, the involved parties were of different races. Given all these hot-button issues, the initial prosecutor should have never, never, never undertaken to make the decision to not prosecute Zimmerman on his own volition. By doing so, he provided the race-mongers and media all the ammunition they needed to decry a “miscarrage of justice”. A prosecutor must not merely see that justice is done but he must also do so in a way that reassures the public that justice was done. What he should have done is walk this case directly to a Grand Jury with a tentative charge of manslaughter against Zimmerman. Then he should have laid out the facts of the case, in a fair manner, to the Grand Jury and let them decide. My guess is that a Grand Jury, after looking at the evidence, would have “No Billed” Zimmerman on the grounds of self-defence. Either way, this action would have sucked the wind from the sails of the race-mongers and media. They can attack the decision of a single prosecutor but they could not have attacked the decision of a Grand Jury of the People without also attacking the whole justice system. Instead, the initial prosecutor fumbled the ball and the case was blown up to the point where the State was forced to spend millions of dollars on a case that they had little chance to win, the public has been split along racial lines and Zimmerman has been put through hell. IMHO, the initial prosecutor deserves even more criticism then Corey or anybody else on the prosecution team.

  20. I agree Geoff–the mark that these prosecutors are not professional was the after the verdict press conference.

    Re: Zimmerman not testifying. The simple answer is he did not need to do so and it exposed him to risks of being tripped up by contradicting or not being consistent with prior statements. Given that the prosecution put into evidence the video of Zimmerman’s questioning and the Sean Hannity interview, the defense could then use the rule of completion so that the jury got to see all of Zimmerman’s prior statements without the risk of cross examination. Normally, a defendant claiming self-defense would have to testify in order to place that into evidence with all of its inherent risks. Zimmerman did not have to because the prosecution did it for him with these videos. Best of all worlds for the defense–your guy tells his story and does not get cross examined. Win-win. Thus, even the minor inconsistencies in Zimmerman’s statements that the prosecution pointed out were not harmful as without cross-examination to get those inconsistencies, the drama for the jury is not present.

  21. Dave, while I agree that Zimmerman’s actions are unaccounted for the 2 minutes from the time he hung up with the dispatcher until the confrontation, and that he could have gotten to his truck in about 30 seconds after hanging up, please recall the evidence technician’s testimony and map of the evidence found at the scene.

    Zimmerman’s phone and keys were found dropped approximately where he said Martin confronted him, not where the incident ended.

    He still had his cell phone in hand since he was expecting a call from the responding officer(s). He was using a flashlight because it was about 30 minutes until total darkness that day, and he was using the flashlight on his keychain because his main flashlight wasn’t working.

    It seems odd that if Zimmerman initiated anything that he would drop both those items rather than stow them in preparation of the act. If he encountered and pursued Martin after the dispatcher call ended, then at least the keys/flashlight should have been found where the incident ended.

  22. I just don’t think that anyone with integrity would’ve taken the case and/or presented it the way it was done. Time will tell what the motivations of all parties were. The draw of being part of a highly mediatized trial and scoring a spot as legal expert on some TV program post-retirement might’ve been one. After all, win or lose, being viewed as a champion of the Martin cause has to be a bona fide credential in the eyes of most media bosses.

    I find it doubtful that any lawyer would take a case and ‘throw’ it on purpose in order to serve the greater good. As in, let’s put on a show to appease the masses riled up by the media, but let’s make sure that justice is still served in the end.
    The prosecutors must’ve known that it was a lost case, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think they botched it on purpose. If anything, they tried to look good while losing, and by that I mean to pander to certain groups and certain ‘elites’.

  23. Terry Leatherwood: You make a very interesting point and one that I had not thought of before. Very insightful.

  24. Thanks for the insight into the prosecution.

    This case has so many red flags associated with it, it’s simply unreal. The public relations effort that eventually involved state and national officials was aided and abetted by a media that no longer bothers to do the basics taught to wannabe journalists. The lynch mob outcry was outrageous.

    The ensuing unrest that was generated by high officials and again supported by the DOJ team was another WTH.

    I hope that the Kruidbos lawsuit exposes more of the behind the scenes activities that turned a simple act of self defense into a national travesty.

  25. You said that you didn’t think the prosecutors were incompetent, and I agree that that is a harsh judgment to make against any lawyer, but there were elements to their handling of the matter that were somewhat incompetent.

    First, that they took the case at all points to ethical incompetence. A lawyer should not prosecute unless he believes the defendant is guilty AND believes he has the evidence to convict. Neither was true in this case and going ahead points to a grave moral and ethical blindness and incompetency in all of the prosecutors.

    Second, it was incredible that they essentially let Zimmerman tell his story through interviews they introduced rather than tempting him to take the stand where he could be examined on cross.

    Third, most of the witnesses they called testified like defense witnesses.

    Fourth, when the lead detective said he believed Zimmerman, I was shocked when they came back the next day and made a big deal of his comment by demanding it be stricken. That only burned it into the minds of the jury.

    Fifth, their attempts to hide evidence from the defense reminded me of Mike Nifong.

    These lawyers should pay for what they did in the Zimmerman case. When the agents of the state have no respect for the law, don’t expect the citizenry to be very punctilious about following it either.

  26. @Z: Sorry, but you have most of it wrong. If you’ll watch Zimmerman’s reenactment of what happened, you’ll hear him say that when Martin challenged him he reached for his cell phone but couldn’t find it because he had put it in a different pocket from the one he usually carried it in. His cell phone was not found on the ground at the crime scene but Martin’s was (item 7 in the photos). It and Zimmerman’s “second” flashlight (item 5) were found just to the East of where Martin’s body was lying, about 42 feet south of the “t”. On the other hand, it’s true that Zimmerman’s keys, attached to his small “first” flashlight, were found in the grass about 30 feet north of that point, at about the point where Zimmerman says that the fight entirely took place, and about 12 feet south of the “t”. Moreover, it was at least 4 minutes and as much as 5 between the time the dispatcher call ends and Martin’s call with Jeantel ends. In the reenactment, Zimmerman walks from the point of the “t” to the back street in a easy stroll in 30 seconds. Finally, I do not contend that Zimmerman initiated anything. However, if you view what Zimmerman says in the reenactment and compare it with the dispatcher tape, both of which are available unedited on YouTube, not much of what Zimmerman says in the reenactment is credible. Even if you do not believe that Zimmerman went south from the “t” trying to spot Martin, Zimmerman says in the reenactment that he is still sitting in his car when the dispatcher says, “Where are you … we need an address,” and he gets out of his truck to go all the way across the block to find a house number on Resort View Circle because he doesn’t know the name of the street that he’s sitting on. That conversation did not happen; the dispatcher didn’t ask where he was until 50 seconds after the dispatcher asks if Zimmerman is following the suspect, which he says that he is, contradicting the idea that he got out of the car to look for an address. Zimmerman says in the reenactment that before he got to the “t” that he saw Martin go south on the “t”, but that about the time he gets to the “t” that the dispatcher asks if he’s following Martin, he says yes, and instead of turning at the “t” goes on the the next street to get the address, which he does not do but turns around and starts heading back to his truck only to be confronted by Martin (who appears walking towards him northwards out of the darkness at the “t” with Zimmerman saying that he couldn’t see where he came from — and there being nothing there to hide behind, even though he previously said that he could see him turn down that direction from a much further distance away; it certainly must have become much darker in the 3-4 minutes which passed right then). Whatever happened, whether it was the fact that Zimmerman kept looking for Martin after the dispatcher advised him to stop — he did SOMETHING in those 3-4 minutes and walking to the next street and back would have only taken about 1 minute even at a easy stroll — or whether it was the fact that the idea that he got out of the car only to find an address (immediately after exclaiming that the suspect was running, at that), Zimmerman’s explanations do not even come close to corresponding with the dispatcher recording.

  27. This is a great series you’re doing ,Mas. It’s a lot like being in your class, a free sneak preview for those who haven’t taken it.
    Thanks for a great job.

  28. I see no reason to believe George was untruthful about anything. He told Serino that, having seen Martin heading south, towards the rear exit, he went east, over to the intersecting street (from where he would have been able to view said exit), fiddled with his large flashlight for a while, and started back towards his truck. Serino didn’t press him on how long he tarried. This leaves no inconsistency with the timeline. You can bet the statements George made to Serino and Singleton were part of the trial record. The prosecutors didn’t even attempt to present a plausible alternative to George’s account of what took place between time he left his truck and the assault. Bernie just couldn’t find a path through the minefield created by the timeline, George’s keychain, dropped at the T, Good and Lauer, who say the conflict began at the T and moved south, and even his “star witness,” who unhelpfully puts Martin safely “at the back of his daddy fiancee house,” 100 yards away from the T. Hardly surprising that Juror B37 and alternate E54 concluded that Martin backtracked to attack George.

  29. @Terry Leatherwood – Excellent post. I expect that your are exactly right. However, Corey could have also gone to a grand jury, but she did just the opposite of the previous prosecutor, and bypassed a grand jury and took the case to court for political reasons.

  30. The prosecution team was arrogant in their presentation and lacked sufficient evidence to get a prosecution. In my opinion this was the worst travesty of justice I have ever witnessed. The prosecution team knew out the gate this case did not meet the bar of criminal murder or any criminal charges for that matter. It clearly was a classic case of self defense as your Sanford Police Chief originally felt. It was clearly prosecuted on emotions to appease the protestors and this proved to be a colossal waist of tax payers money and listening to every jury member so far they all have mentioned NO VIOLATIONS OF LAW. If the jury saw this tell me this prosecution team and their leader did not know this.

  31. Typical political pandering by senior, so-called ‘public servants’ like Corey to further their personal agendas and/or to appease certain racial groups who may help their careers in the future. Maybe to avoid violence also.

    When I was employed by the local PD, I was ordered by one supervisor who was a slobbering brown-noser to the administration to arrest people on several occasions who I had no probable cause to take into custody. When I explained why these subjects should not be arrested, I was told to do so anyway and “let the courts handle it”. Knowing the PD will not back me up and hang me out to dry for an improper arrest, I did as ordered and wrote in my report why the suspects were placed in custody, on the recommendation of my supervisor. I made sure my reports contained no probable cause or possible reason to arrest those people, and didn’t have to make anything up as those were the facts. Needless to say, I was not popular with that supervisor or the administration because I wasn’t an obedient minion who would carry out suspicious orders without question.

    Bottom line is:

    Does one do the right thing and take the consequences, or do what one is told and kiss up to the higher ups and get a pat on the head? You decide.

  32. Let’s get the timeline straight: 7:13:38–NEN call ends; 7:16:11–first 911 call received. That gives us what? maybe 2 to 2.5 minutes between the end of the NEN call and the beginning of the struggle?

    George’s accusers have had a lot of fun with his inability to identify the cut-through he was parked on. That would be Twin Trees, signed only at entrance and exit. As one enters, this street makes a right angle turn to the left, then another such turn to the right. George told Serino the interior streets in these developments change names as they make such turns. He was simply mistaken, at least in this instance. Twin Trees retains its name throughout. Contrary to popular belief, he did not “patrol” this street or any other area.

    George never denied that he was trying to “keep a visual” on Martin. He hardly needed the permission of a civilian dispatcher to do this. If he was to obtain both a street name and house number for the police to “GPS on,” there was nothing for it but to go over to RVC. Upon reflection, he decided he would prefer to wait for the police at his truck. Where’s the mystery?

    Officers Serino and Singleton testified that variation is to be expected in multiple statements. “We’re not robots,” as Serino put it. Unbelievable, what some armchair sleuths have tried to wring from George’s uncertainty about where and how he fell, whether Martin came from bushes or simply emerged from the darkness, etc. It will here be remembered that Serino testified, to the consternation of the prosecution, that he believed George to be truthful.

  33. Sopater – What you say is true. I am reminded of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The initial prosecutor was “too cold” and Corey was “too hot” while taking the case directly to a Grand Jury would have been “just right”. 😉

  34. Your chef simile(?) was right-on, apropos and sadly true.

    Did they think that a jury of (only) six women would be more emotional than a mixed-sex twelve? More manipulable?

    I can’t help but think, “judged by twelve or carried by six.”

    This was a capital case (if no death penalty), wasn’t it?

    When do we get to the jury of one? Just before prosecutor/judge/jury/executioner all in one?

  35. Thanks for the entire series Mas, a great education on the reality, not the histrionics that went on in the media. And I ‘think’ they were ‘told’ to take the case, not given an option…

  36. Since Zimmerman’s actions, and certain inconsistencies in his statements, are again the topic here, I’ll give it another go.

    As archon41 pointed out, Det. Serino, while acknowledging minor issues, stated not being concerned about them and finding Zimmerman truthful. If this doesn’t convince everyone, it did the jurors. B37 at least said as much.

    Personally, given that in private security we often end up in gray situations similar to Zimmerman’s, I’m not that interested in whatever white lies he may have told to make himself look less aggressive in his actions. He was no doubt coached to avoid certain terms that could make him seem reckless. I think the whole ‘pursue’ vs. ‘follow’ hair-splitting controversy was precisely about that. When you know that the other side is going to use semantics against you (see one of Mas’ previous entries), it’s just smart to be prepared for the same tactics.

    A cop told me once that “you ‘John Wayne’ the intervention and ‘Mark Twain’ the report”, and this stuck with me. I suspect that Serino is very familiar with this mindset, and doesn’t think that because someone presents themselves in the most favorable light it necessarily means that they have anything sinister to hide.

    To those who seem desperate to fill the blanks and find ways to make Zimmerman guilty of something, anything, I have this to say: stop acting like a mix of Perry Mason and Miss Cleo; your agenda is showing. Professionals bent on putting the guy away, and not above calling him a liar, a coward and a racist without proof, have been unable to fill those blanks with anything incriminating. So, let it go?

    We will never know exactly what happened in every little detail because not even the only surviving party does: he was confused, scared, jumped, and in a certain state of shock. And that’s OK – life isn’t a movie with a neat little resolution in the end. I say we know enough. After the event your mind struggles to remember, but also make sense and justify, and a narrative emerges. That’s very different from lying.

    It’s really scary the extent to which perfect strangers who were never there and never experienced what you did can call themselves your peers and try to dissect your every move, word, and even thought. And it’s this kind of fear that has long made me a believer in Mas’ teachings.

  37. Great series Mas. I’ve been hanging on every installment. I didn’t have a chance to watch the trial live, but followed it through online blogs and web accounts. I’m enjoying your insights.

  38. I have yet to see even a remotely plausible alternative to Zimmerman’s account of what happened after he left his truck. Rachel Jeantel was the prosecution’s only real hope of showing that he “chased Martin down,” “pursued,” or “threatened” him. West didn’t leave her with much credibility. Putting aside the issue of the pressure she was under to avoid disclosing to Sybrina that her offspring authored his own misfortune, how do you integrate her testimony that Martin was safely “at” the rear of the Green house, just before the conflict began, with her tale of a “chase”? As noted above, Zimmerman had only a couple of minutes within which to perfect his wrongdoing. Might he have sped south, down RVC, rounded the corner, and chased Martin north, up the dogleg, catching up with him at Good’s patio? Or, say, went south from the T, finding Martin hiding there? So what do we do with the keychain, found at the T, and witnesses Good and Lauer, who say the conflict moved south from the T? The evidence leads relentlessly to the conclusion that Martin deliberately backtracked, in the darkness, back to the T to “confront” Zimmerman.

    The prosecution promised to show that Zimmerman had spun a “tangled web of lies.” I can’t think of a single alleged “lie” that survived the trial.

  39. I’ll tell you… lots of drama in this case. More than was necessary. Anyway, from what I saw of the case, John Guy annoyed me to no end. I’d say if there was an intangible as far as the prosecution is concerned, it was that, perhaps, to the jury… in a negative way.

    Angela Corey showed how terrible she is at her job… placing politics above all. I honestly hope they vote her out.

    One thing, Mr. Ayoob, that really concerns me and other CWP folks I know… now we are scared that some dumb politician will try to take our freedom away. All one needs to do is look at the narrative in the press… they can’t stand us, and if they can’t win in the US Senate (ala Feinstein, et al) they’ll go after us in ridiculous court cases.

  40. Excellent Articles and great honest replies by honest citizens. I have been a federal prosecutor in the military & a criminal defense attorney in K.C., M0 and practiced for 62 years In Missouri; tried over 150 homicide cases before either judges or juries. And the Florida States attorney, Mr. Obama and the black mob pressure presented and the State attorney had to know the case was a loser; the state’s job is not only to prosecute the guilty but also to protect the innocent. The case was a joke and should never have been filed…..

  41. The case should never have been filed; The state knew it was a loser. The state’s job is not only to prosecute the guilty but protect the innocent and citizens right of self defense

  42. I just finished reading the article from the link that Phil Wong posted above.

    WOW! It is a prime example of how liberals live in an alternate universe that has no relation to reality.

  43. Thank You Mr. Ayoob, this series of articles has been a most informed discussion of the case. Jmr945, brings up a point that has been troubling me since the DA charged GZ. If you watch the follow up from the Federal DOJ, it makes me believe that the long term goal was to somehow use Federal influence to effect State law. It’s truly tiresome to walk around paranoid all the time.