George Zimmerman Trial Coverage > Trial Expectations

Possible Reversible Error

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MJW:
I thought it might be interesting to discuss possible reasons the DCA might reverse if Zimmerman is convicted.

My current list is:

1) Improper Richardson hearings. A Richardson hearing is a hearing required whenever a discovery violation is alleged.  The purpose is to decide if a violation occurred, and if it did, whether it was done on purpose, and how much harm it caused. There have so far been three Richardson hearings. Two resulted from the defense filing pre-trial motions complaining about violations, the third was because during the trial, Dr. Bao's notes seem to indicate he'd changed his opinion about the THC levels, but the defense hadn't been notified. I think the third hearing was conducted properly, with the state having to show that no violation occurred. But I don't believe the first two were at all done correctly. Judge Nelson made no attempt to find out what the state knew and when. The burden was entirely on the defense to prove a violation occurred. The second Richardson hearing was apparently continued until after the trial.

2) Not granting a continuance. This is closely related to the second Richardson hearing. The defense claimed the state had withheld evidence they needed to prepare for trial. This issue was partially defused by the Frye decision not allowing the expert voice ID evidence.

3) Allowing in the 911 calls. I think the calls have almost no probative value. There only value to the state's case is prejudicial: to suggest Zimmemran had racial motives for calling the police about Martin.

4) Allowing a witness to be called to impeach Zimmerman's out-of-court statement to Hannity that he was unaware of the SYG law. Even for statements made in court, under oath, Florida doesn't allow impeachment on collateral matters. An attorney who asks about collateral matters must "take" the answer of the witness.  The prosecutors claimed they were justified to impeach the statement because the defense stipulated to the Hannity tape redactions. But unless the defense insisted that particular statement come in under the doctrine of completeness, stipulating to allowing it is, at most, equivalent to not objecting to a question.

RickyJim:
Do you mean the prior NEN calls in 3)?  If so, they can be used to show that Zimmerman adopted a new more aggressive tack on 2/26/12 for whatever that is worth.

MJW:

--- Quote from: RickyJim on July 06, 2013, 06:42:39 PM ---Do you mean the prior NEN calls in 3)?  If so, they can be used to show that Zimmerman adopted a new more aggressive tack on 2/26/12 for whatever that is worth.

--- End quote ---

In my opinion, it's worth nothing. It's an illogical reason the state used as a fig leaf to hide their real motive. How in the world is evidence someone didn't overreact  in the past evidence that they overacted later?

RickyJim:
What are the statutes or other rules the DCA might cite in stating that the court in the Zimmerman case committed reversible error?  Is there something, in particular, about allowing irrelevant evidence in?

MJW:

--- Quote from: RickyJim on July 06, 2013, 07:29:31 PM ---What are the statutes or other rules the DCA might cite in stating that the court in the Zimmerman case committed reversible error?  Is there something, in particular, about allowing irrelevant evidence in?

--- End quote ---

It's almost all case law. For instance, the rule that a witness can't be impeached by extrinsic evidence on a collateral matter is stated in many opinions, such as Correia v. State, 654 So. 2d 952 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995).

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