Mo Ivory: F-ing Punks And Knock-Knock Jokes (Day One Of The Zimmerman Trial)
Let me start with this: This is going to be heated, argumentative and it’s going to get nasty.
If Day One was an example of the tone of the George Zimmerman murder trial, we are set to watch some dramatic television coverage, emotional outbursts in the courtroom and lawyers going at it with a judge who appears to be ready for the fight.
Zimmerman, the volunteer neighborhood watchman who is facing second-degree murder charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is underway in Seminole County, FL. .
Zimmerman sat in the courtroom emotionless, listening to the testimony that will either free him or send him to prison for a very long time.
On the flip side, Tracy Martin – the father of Trayvon – broke down in tears when police officers described trying to save Trayvon’s life upon arrival at the scene of the shooting. Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, asked people to pray for her and her family because she didn’t want any mother to have to go through what she is going through.
Prosecutors opened the trial with a bang, using the words, “[Expletive that begins with an ‘f’] punks, these assholes all get away”; a phrase Zimmerman repeated three times when he made the infamous 911 call while following Trayvon Martin. Prosecutor John Guy went on to further describe how only moments later Zimmerman fatally shot the unarmed Trayvon “because he wanted to.”
Defense lawyers were eager to present their opening statement but were clearly unprepared, or at a minimum trying to woo the jury of females.
It didn’t work!
Defense attorney Don West started with a knock-knock joke that bombed so bad everyone in the courtroom had puzzled looks on their faces.
West continued on, but there was a clear “what the hell did he just say?” cloud hanging over his head.
His most poignant assertion was that Trayvon was indeed armed when he used the concrete sidewalk to bash Zimmerman’s head. (I found that to be a stretch and very disrespectful. You can’t compare a sidewalk to a gun!)
Next came the first four witnesses: The son of Tracy Martin’s girlfriend, who had been playing video games with Trayvon before he left for 7 Eleven. The 7 Eleven employee who checked Trayvon out when he bought Skittles and a drink. The 911 dispatcher who took the first call from Zimmerman. And finally, a communication employee from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. Nothing too monumental in any of the testimony.
Mark O’Mara, the lead defense attorney asked the judge to dismiss Trayvon’s parents from the courtroom due to the fact that Zimmerman’s parents are not allowed in.
However, the request failed with Judge Debra Nelson, who reiterated the Florida law that allows victim’s families in the courtroom but does not grant such a right to the family of the defendant.
So, the Martins stay and the Zimmermans are out until they testify in the case; then they can stay in the courtroom.
The first day of testimony ended with Judge Nelson stating she would make a decision on whether to allow the admissibility of previous calls made to police by Zimmerman. The prosecution would of course want these calls to be admissible to show Zimmerman has a history of calling police to report suspicious African-Americans in his neighborhood. The defense wants the calls excluded and makes the argument that Zimmerman’s prior actions should not be admissible.
My overall feeling of Day One is that the prosecution is more prepared than the defense, Judge Nelson is annoyed by O’Mara and we will see some confrontation between the lawyers or the families before the end of the week.
<em>- Mo Ivory, CBS Local</em>