Of all the key figures in the courtroom during the Zimmerman trial, I found Judge Debra Nelson the most enigmatic.
Some of Zimmerman’s advocates called her the fourth prosecutor. It’s true that she granted more approaches to the bench to the prosecution than to the defense, and those who kept count said she sustained far more objections from the prosecution than from the defense. Her insistent questioning of the defendant himself as to whether he chose not to testify is something I haven’t seen before in more than 40 years in the criminal justice system.
I would have liked it if she had allowed prior bad acts by the late Trayvon Martin to come in to the jury. At the same time, as I’ve explained earlier in this blog series , she was well within judicial prerogative to make the decision to keep that material out.
The trial lasted a month, and it’s been more than a month since the jury delivered a verdict. I’m still waiting to hear how she will rule on the requests the defense made for sanctions against the prosecution for the prosecution’s failure to provide discovery material – evidence – in a timely manner.
But, hey: did you watch Judge Nelson when the jury verdict was read? Is it my imagination, or was she wearing a very slight smile, a smile as inscrutable as the Mona Lisa’s?