“A judge Tuesday refused to delay the June 10 trial of George Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder in the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin,” usatoday.com reports. More to the point, “Circuit Judge Debra Nelson, at a hearing on motions ahead of the trial, also ruled that lawyers can’t mention Trayvon’s school records, past fights, marijuana use, ownership of gold teeth, or any photos or text messages found on the teen’s phone.” The toxicology report showing Martin had smoked dope on the night in question? Also out. That said . . .
Nelson said she reserves the right to change the ruling during the trial if lawyers open the door to such issues. However, she said that she can’t imagine that any of these issues would be relevant.
In other words, if the Prosecution starts delving into George Zimmerman’s past, Martin’s history of dope smoking, gun handling, street fighting and school skipping are fair game.
How this behavior is not relevant—given that identifying the person who threw the first punch is a critical consideration for the jury—is above my pay grade. You might say that Judge Nelson is gaming the trial to assure a particular outcome but I couldn’t possibly comment.
She also also granted the following motions:
• State motions to prohibit witnesses from offering their opinions about Zimmerman’s guilt, the proper punishment he should receive for his actions, and from telling the jury to disregard the law.
• A state motion to compel George Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie Zimmerman, to testify at a deposition, but Nelson said Shellie can take the Fifth and prosecutors will have to submit their questions in writing to the court and Nelson will decide if Shellie has to answer those specific questions.
• A motion to keep George Zimmerman from testifying about his lack of prior felony convictions.
• A defense motion to keep the identities of potential and actual jury members anonymous. Potential jurors will be referred to by numbers. Nelson said other issues will be dealt with once jury selection is underway.
At a press conference, the Martin family lawyers pronounced themselves satisfied with today’s rulings, saying that the images and text aren’t evidence. The trial’s due to start June 10. Florida just got a little hotter.