George Zimmerman Trial Coverage > Trial Motions and Rulings

Court Ruling on State's Motions in Limine


as to what can come in and what is inadmissible.

Granted without objection:

a. The State's Motion in Limine Regarding Self-Serving Hearsay
Statements of Defendant;
b. The State's Motion in Limine Regarding Opinion as to Appropriate
Penalty or Disregard of Law;
c. The State's Motion in Limine Regarding Prior Criminal History;
d. The State's Motion in Limine Regarding Calling of Witnesses, subject
to the limitation set forth in Amos v. State, 618 So. 2d 157 (Fla. 1993).
e. The State's Motion in Limine to Limit I Exclude Improper Opinion
f. The State's Motion in Limine Regarding CVSA Testing.

As to the States motions regarding evidence concerning Trayvon Martin:

These requests to exclude are granted (evidence inadmissible):

a. Had ever been suspended from school (Johnson v. State, 718 So. 2d
848 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998); Cupas v. State, 57 So. 3d 228 (Fla. 4th DCA
b. Communicated about, or previously used, marijuana (Diaz v. State,
747 So. 2d 1021 (Fla. 3d DCA 1999);
e. Had ever possessed or worn a set of (false) gold teeth;
f. Any aspect of Trayvon Martin's school records and or performance in
school (Johnson, 718 So. 2d at 849);
g. The contents of any text message received or sent by Trayvon Martin
prior to February 26, 2012;
h. The contents of any text message received or sent by Trayvon Martin
on February 26, 2012.

These requests are denied (evidence is admissible)

c. Had ever allegedly been in a fight;
d. Communicated (or that has been attributed to Trayvon Martin) and had
"screen names" via social media, regardless of format and the contents
of any such communications

However: As to the fighting and social media:

The ruling in paragraph 3 is intended as a pretrial ruling and does not
implicitly find that such matters will be admissible at trial. If a
contemporaneous objection is made, the offering party may be required to
establish the relevance, authenticity, and admissibility of such evidence
before it may be presented to the jury.

Ruling on Toxicology:

a. Granted as to allegations of Trayvon Martin's use of marijuana prior to
February 26, 2012;
b. Reserved as to allegations that Trayvon Martin was under the
influence of marijuana on February 26, 2012.

Additional Rulings:

6. The parties shall not discuss any prohibited matters during opening
7. No evidence of these prohibited matters may be introduced through testimony
or by exhibits without prior authorization of the Court.
8. If a party believes that matters excluded pursuant to this Order have become
admissible based upon other evidence presented during the course of the
trial, the party shall request to have the issue heard outside the presence of
the jury. These matters may only be presented to the jury with the prior
authorization of the Court upon a ruling that a party has "opened the door"
and rendered the evidence both relevant and admissible.

Defendant's Specific Response to State's Motion in Limine Regarding Self-Serving Hearsay Statements of Defendant

--- Quote ---At the hearing on May 28, 2013 the defense objected to this broad statement and explained to the Court that while the defense agreed that there are various statements made by Mr. Zimmerman that would not be admissible absent a specific showing, there may indeed be res gestae statements that are admissible and that the defense didn’t want the Court’s Order excluding self-serving hearsay statements to be construed to include admissible res gestae statements. The Court was advised that the defense wanted an opportunity to address the res gestae statements prior to the commencement of the trial.

As the Court is aware, res gestae type statements made soon after an event are admissible notwithstanding that they are hearsay. Florida Statutes 90.803 (1), (2), and (3). That they may be “self-serving” or exculpatory is not a reason for exclusion. Alexander v. Slate, 627 So.2d 35 (1" DCA 1993). Stiles v. Stale, 672 So.2d s50 (4"‘ DCA 1996).

Witness 13 and his wife heard a commotion in the back of their townhome. They heard
yelling and then heard a shot. Witness 13 grabbed a flashlight and went outside to see what had happened. Within seconds of the shooting, W13 approached Mr. Zimmerman who was staggering, bleeding and breathing hard. The witness observed blood on Mr. Zimmerman’s face and the back of his head consistent with someone having been injured in a fight. Mr. Zimmerman asked W13 if he was bleeding? Witness 13 said “yes”' and W13 asked Mr. Zimmerman what had happened? Mr. Zimmerman told W13 that the other person was “beating me up” and he shot him.

Within a minute or so, Sanford Police Officer Tim Smith arrived on foot at the location
where Mr. Zimmerman and W13 were standing. Officer Smith spoke with Mr. Zimmerman at the scene upon his arrival. Mr. Zimmerman acknowledged being the person who fired the shot and that he had a firearm on him. Mr. Zimmerman spontaneously stated that he had yelled for help and that no one helped him. Both witnesses were disclosed by the state in discovery and were deposed.

These statements of Mr. Zimmerman are precisely like those found to be admissible in
the cases cited above and are clearly part of the res gestae in the case before the Court. The statements are admissible pursuant to Florida Statute 90.803 (1), (2), and (3).
--- End quote ---


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