Author Topic: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon  (Read 9497 times)

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Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2013, 11:13:58 AM »
Quote
[TalkLeft: deleted gratuitous, slanderous reference..]

I appreciate that the whole post wasn't deleted. I was half expecting it would be.  It was marginally on the general topic of books about the Zimmerman case, but not at all on the topic of Robert Sr.'s book.

In case anyone is curious, I'll rephrase.

Johnnie Cochran's ex-wife also wrote a book. She told her life story, in the process making some unflattering statements about her ex.

Better?

For a number of reasons, I am skeptical that the allegation in question is defamatory in the legal sense, though of course it is in the every day sense. It it were, I think it would be libel rather than slander. To say more would be going even further off topic, so I will forbear.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #31 on: June 22, 2013, 12:46:27 PM »
I'm not worried about this book as I don't see anything to impeach with as that would be what the prosecutor would look for.

Thanks for the explanation.

I take it that Robert Sr. didn't pull a Tracy Martin, and admit he didn't recognize his son's voice on the recording.

There's more than one way to skin, I mean impeach, a witness.

Fla. Stat. 90.612
Quote
(2) Cross-examination of a witness is limited to the subject matter of the direct examination and matters affecting the credibility of the witness. The court may, in its discretion, permit inquiry into additional matters.

Credibility includes bias (Fla. Stat. 90.608(2)). 

The prosecutors wouldn't have to ask about the book directly. They might ask questions like this:

Have you ever said that a prominent person was a racist?
Who was that person?
What made you think the person was racist?
Have you ever said that some organization was racist in character?
How many organizations have you described as racist in character?
Have you ever described as racist in character an organization that was not African-American?

The existence of the book would constrain Robert Sr.'s answers. If he denies saying what is in the book, it can be introduced as impeachment.

I would expect the defense to object to such questions on the grounds that their 'probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice' to the defendant (Fla. Stat. 90.403).

This is obviously a judgment call, making it hard to predict how a judge will rule.

Parenthetically, Judge Nelson cited 90.403 today, in the Order Excluding the Opinion Testimony of Dr. Reich and Mr. Owen (p. 11).

Offline MJW

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #32 on: June 22, 2013, 05:56:56 PM »
The prosecutors wouldn't have to ask about the book directly. They might ask questions like this:

Have you ever said that a prominent person was a racist?
Who was that person?
What made you think the person was racist?
Have you ever said that some organization was racist in character?
How many organizations have you described as racist in character?
Have you ever described as racist in character an organization that was not African-American?

I would be stunned if any of those questions were allowed. "Bias" doesn't mean racial bias, or bias against sugary snacks; it means bias for or against a one of the parties. The prosecution can point out that as the defendant's brother, he's biased toward the defense. That's the kind of bias the rule involves.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 06:06:28 PM by MJW »

Offline MJW

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #33 on: June 22, 2013, 06:18:32 PM »
I should clarify my previous comment. Since Martin was black, then if RZ could be shown to be a raging racist, that would very likely be admissible. But no one in their right mind would consider his saying a prominent person is racist evidence that he's a raging racist.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #34 on: June 22, 2013, 10:56:08 PM »
"Bias" doesn't mean racial bias,

There's a ton of case law saying it does.

Granted, all the cases I've found are about racial bias against a defendant. Racial bias against a victim, or racial bias that in any way hurts a prosecution case, I haven't seen a case that's on point for that. In the cases where the bias is against the defendant, the 6th Amendment protection of the right to confront witnesses is often cited. So there may be a different standard for defense and prosecution in this regard. But I'm skeptical until I see a case.

ETA: Racial bias was a crucial issue in the O. J. Simpson case. One of the prosecution's major witnesses wound up pleading 'no contest' to a perjury charge, on that very issue. Again, bias against the defendant.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 11:06:50 PM by nomatter_nevermind »

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #35 on: June 22, 2013, 11:13:37 PM »
But no one in their right mind would consider his saying a prominent person is racist evidence that he's a raging racist.

I think 'raging' is your word. Is there a case saying racial bias isn't relevant unless it's 'raging'?

If accounts of the book are correct, Robert Sr. didn't say that just one prominent black person was a racist. Evidence can be cumulative.

Offline SuzieTampa

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2013, 07:42:54 AM »
I'm not sure if Jeralyn will allow this, but ... RZ said that black people who inject race into issues that don't involve racial bias are being racist. Or, to put it another way, he is accusing blacks of being racist against non-blacks when they try to get an advance by talking about race when the non-blacks aren't racist.

Does that make sense? In other words, he isn't saying all African-Americans are racist against non-blacks.

Offline annoyedbeyond

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2013, 07:43:44 AM »
Are you confusing bias, which according to the on line legal dictionary just means:

Quote
bias n. the predisposition of a judge, arbitrator, prospective juror, or anyone making a judicial decision, against or in favor of one of the parties or a class of persons. This can be shown by remarks, decisions contrary to fact, reason or law, or other unfair conduct. Bias can be toward an ethnic group, homosexuals, women or men, defendants or plaintiffs, large corporations, or local parties. Getting a "hometown" decision is a form of bias which is the bane of the out-of-town lawyer. There is also the subtle bias of some male judges in favor of pretty women. Obvious bias is a ground for reversal on appeal, but it is hard to prove, since judges are usually careful to display apparent fairness in their comments. The possibility of juror bias is explored in questioning at the beginning of trial in a questioning process called "voir dire.


with bias crime, which has a meaning closer to what you're talking about?

There can be bias without it being racial. Not everything is about race. Not even in this case.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #38 on: June 23, 2013, 08:25:49 AM »
In other words, he isn't saying all African-Americans are racist against non-blacks.

I didn't say he was.

Offline MJW

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #39 on: June 23, 2013, 11:38:33 AM »
If accounts of the book are correct, Robert Sr. didn't say that just one prominent black person was a racist. Evidence can be cumulative.

Is it inherently racist to say prominent black persons are racist, even if they are, or will they hold a mini-trial to determine if they really are racist?

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #40 on: June 23, 2013, 12:09:47 PM »
Is it inherently racist to say prominent black persons are racist

I don't think so. If the prosecution wants to argue that, which is not what I am suggesting, it might be considered a question of fact for the jury.

You are ignoring my follow-up question, 'What made you think the person was racist?'

I guess I should have made clearer that my list of questions was not meant to be exhaustive. I did say 'questions like this'. I meant them to be suggestive of the beginning of an inquiry.

After a thorough exploration of what African-Americans Robert Sr. thinks are racist, and why, some might consider the results to be evidence of racial bias. I would certainly consider that a question of fact for the jury.

There is still the matter of weighing probative value against danger of prejudice. I think the defense would have a strong case there.

I'm not saying I'm confident that these issues would come in. I'm saying I'm not confident that they wouldn't.

ETA: I couldn't come up with an exhaustive list of questions if I wanted to. I can't begin to imagine the questions a clever, experienced lawyer might come up with, to use Robert Sr.'s book to argue to a jury that he is racially biased.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 12:14:25 PM by nomatter_nevermind »

Offline MJW

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2013, 12:23:38 PM »
I don't think so. If the prosecution wants to argue that, which is not what I am suggesting, it might be considered a question of fact for the jury.

You are ignoring my follow-up question, 'What made you think the person was racist?'

Yeah, I'm sure the prosecution wants to give RZ an opportunity to recite a litany of outrageous statements made by those he said were racists. Lawyers like to ask open-ended questions whose answers they can't anticipate.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 12:28:24 PM by MJW »

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #42 on: June 23, 2013, 12:48:51 PM »
Yeah, I'm sure the prosecution wants to give RZ an opportunity to recite a litany of outrageous statements made by those he said were racists.

You think Robert Sr. is up to a performance like that, without a CTH blogpost in front of him? Without a ghostwriter?

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #43 on: June 23, 2013, 01:14:47 PM »
Lawyers like to ask open-ended questions whose answers they can't anticipate.

What have they go to lose? If they fail to discredit Robert Sr., they're no worse off than if they didn't try.

Offline MJW

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Re: Robert Zimmerman, Sr. Launches e-Book on Amazon
« Reply #44 on: June 23, 2013, 01:16:48 PM »
You think Robert Sr. is up to a performance like that, without a CTH blogpost in front of him? Without a ghostwriter?

That's why lawyers love asking that type of question: it's an adventure!

 

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