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Judge Debra Nelson (courtesy

“In a major blow for the prosecution in the George Zimmerman case, a judge on Saturday barred the testimony of two audio experts who suggested that a taped 911 call indicated Trayvon Martin was crying out for help during the violent struggle that ended with a gunshot,” reports. “The testimony of Tom Owen and Alan Reich, both of whom analyzed a 911 call by a neighbor that captured the sounds of the brawl, was key for the state because it could have painted Zimmerman as the aggressor.” Yes but, “In the ruling released Saturday, Seminole Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson said prosecutors can still play the 911 tape and other recordings at trial, and lawyers can introduce witnesses who are familiar with the voices of Trayvon or Zimmerman to testify about the identity of the person or persons screaming.” I’m calling that one a draw. TTAG’s coverage continues with the opening of the trial on Monday.

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      • Again, not a legal expert. I don’t see them proving 2nd degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt. If they can’t drop back to manslaughter then he will likely walk.

        About 2 weeks after that we’ll hear about his book deal.

        The thing that still dumbfounds me is why did he get out of the car? His job as neighberhood watch and concerned citizen was done once he had contact with 911. As I’ve stated before, there was more than enough stupid on the street that night from both parties involved.

        • “About 2 weeks after that we’ll hear about his book deal.”

          Zimmerman deserves a couple of million dollars if he is adjudicated not guilty.

        • “The thing that still dumbfounds me is why did he get out of the car? His job as neighberhood watch and concerned citizen was done once he had contact with 911.”

          Next time I see you, your wife, daughter, mom or friend being assaulted I’ll remember that…

          Free people can get out of their cars and confront anyone they want.

        • Gyrfalcon, no one was being assualted. There were 2 free men on the street that night. GZ and TM.

        • “Gyrfalcon, no one was being assualted. There were 2 free men on the street that night. GZ and TM.”

          Oh is that so? You should come forward as a witness then.

        • Gyrfalcon. No one was being assualted til after GZ got stupid and left his car. He did not see my wife or anyone else being attacked and rush to defend them. TM belonged there and GZ did not report a crime to the dispatcher, just a suspicious person.

          As for free people being able to confront anyone they want. Yes they can. But that makes them the aggressor in this type of situation. Hard to claim self defense under those circumstances.

      • depends on the jury instructions – if his lawyer feels confident, he won’t agree to a lesser included charge. it is rolling the dice, but given the florida definition of 2nd deg murder requires “a depraved heart”, prosecutors overcharged to begin with. I like his odds now, and the moment anyone says what a good kid he was, then all of his past comes in.

    • Probably before she had her male genetalia surgically removed and her Thyroid scraped.

    • This is Judge Nelson’s last criminal case. After this she’s transferring to family (divorce) court. My understanding is that that is regarded as a step down, though I don’t move in legal circles, so I don’t know that personally.

      • A step down, unless she’s a recognized expert in family law, domestic relations and matrimonial. Then it would be an excellent career move.

        • I’ve also heard that it’s good for her, because her wacky-ass bench rulings (some of which have been reversed on appeal) will now be hidden under the seal that accompanies most family court cases, as opposed to exposed to the world in a criminal case.

      • Rotating state court judges between the different types of courts (family, civil, criminal) every few years is standard operating procedure, at least in my state.

  1. Pretty basic Evidence ruling I would think, the general idea being that the prosecution is allowed to have people who knew Travon to say whether or not that is his voice based on personal knowledge. And the experts should not be allowed to testify because they never knew Travon, and the methods by which they identified him are not based in scientific fact eg like DNA or fingerprints or such.

    • Trayvon’s father heard the tape 2 days after the shooting and a month before the media became involved, and said the voice yelling for help was not Trayvon.

      • now if O’Mara has real balls, he will call trayvon’s dad and ask him about his prior statements and then cut him short when he tries to ramble. the ultimate authentication . . .

      • Yes TRUE – Martins father definitely stated “that is NOT my son screamming fro Help” (that means it WAS GZ calling for help, as the black gangster thug named Trayvon — who would be Obamas son if Obama were not a salami smuggler — pummelled GZ and nearly killed him). SIMPLE CASE. BUT …. BUT …. BUT THEN we get the Black Grievance Industry (BGI ) involved and their sole purpose in life is to MAKE a BUCK out of any black boy tragedy, at the hands of a non – black person. They are an industry ! Attorney Crump completely makes up a witness who never existed (DEE DEE # 8) and will NOT appear at trial because she does not exist; and Crump fabricates a story that DEE DEE was on the phone with Trayvon for over 5 hours THAT day (including the last 2 minutes before the scuffle). Alas, no phone records support this false tale. The NSA has EVERY phone record for the last 5 years, BUT NOT this one.
        The Black Grievance Industry — buy their stock, because it is supported by Eric Holder and the fake Prez. This case is a travesty for innocent GZ. Martin was a thug — Baker acted several times because he was a DANGEROUS PERSON ! Eat it BGI. Dat be bein da truf !! It was GZ screamming.

  2. Zman looks like he’s packed on more than a few pounds since his initial in-processing photos after the murder.

    • Supposedly, he gained in the neighborhood of 100 lbs. BTW, the judge looks like the guy from the TV show The Newsroom, Jeff Daniels, with a wig.

      • I could. If he had just realized his self-appointed title of “Neighborhood Watch Captain” would make even a primary school hall monitor die from a fit of laughter, he wouldn’t be in this position. It’s his own fault.

  3. No way Zimmerman is getting off/out of this. The racial issues involved require some kind of punishment, regardless of any set of facts. The politically correct mindset will win the day here.

    • Baring any revelations, from what I have been able to put together, the act of exiting the car and confronting the deceased was that of aggression. Not saying the dead person was a model citizen, but walking through a neighborhood, even with the intent of picking a home to rob, is not a capital offense. Man slaughter at the least.

      • Sammy, there is zero evidence that he confronted Martin. What little evidence there is supports Zimmerman’s claim that Martin confronted him.

        • Aww, come on, Ralph. Lots of people can say who provoked it. And most of them do.

          But you’re right, nobody can say it with unimpeachable credibility.

        • Don’t even bother.

          I have tried pointlessly for the past year to keep pointing out to people, he didn’t disobey the 911 operator, he was going back to his car.

          It happens on TTAG and I wonder WTH is going on, the idea he disobeyed it, came from the MSM. He said okay and the call ended a few seconds later.

        • “I have tried pointlessly for the past year to keep pointing out to people, he didn’t disobey the 911 operator, he was going back to his car.”

          Nothing wrong with disobeying a 911 operator. They’re not law enforcement, not on the scene, and have been known to give instuctions that have gotten people killed.

          • I believe the exact quote as “we don’t need you to do that.” That’s hardly “stay in your car sir.”

      • So getting out of your car and being confronted by a mixed-martial arts practitioner whose first words to you are “You got a problem?” and whose second words to you are “You do now” is an “act of aggression.”


        According to your definition, Zimmerman committed “an act of aggression” by merely existing.

        • “mixed-martial arts practitioner”

          Hahahahahaha. All 17 years and 158 pounds of him, and to you he’s the black Chuck Liddell. Hysterical.

        • @Stephan Jarrett, when I was 17, I was involved in street fights in The Bronx. So what?

          Maybe you can say that you never had a fight, but most guys can’t. I’m not insulting your manhood here, but I’m making the point that fighting doesn’t turn you into a ninja. Unless you’re black.

          BTW, there are reports that GZ had been a part-time bouncer. And he was no ninja either.

        • Why are we apparently willing to accept that GZ had a right, even a duty to get out of his car and confront a stranger on the public street when at the same time posts about a sworn police officer stopping and talking to gun owners on the street illicits outrage from the AI?

      • @ Sammy: “confronting the deceased was that of aggression.” TM wasn’t deceased, at that time, yet.

        Why do you insist on calling TM “deceased” or “dead person” instead of his name or initials?

    • Fortunately Paul, Zimmerman has a jury of 6 to decide his fate, not the “politically correct mindset”.

  4. I know this is unrelated to the Judge’s capability but I just thought that this is what it would look like if cousin it would shave…

    • The Federal/Model Rules of Evidence classify the tapes under a hearsay exception for public records and the identification via voice is almost always admissible. Now, the exclusion of the experts is clearly good lawyering by the defense. Without looking at the ruling, I would guess that they were excluded based on two things: First, the evidentary catch-all of being highly prejudicial to the defendant. Second and more specifically, this case turns on the defense that Zimm was being attacked and/or had reasonable belief of being at risk of imminent bodily harm. The Federal rules prohibit an expert witness from giving an opinion that is legally conclusive. Here, I feel like their opinions would have been to close to the central issue in the case.

      • IDK Florida law, but it’s my understanding that the expert testimony was excluded based on the FL equivalent of Federal Rule 702. In this case, the defense witnesses established that the principles and methods used by the prosecution were unreliable.

        I call it the “Voodoo Science” exclusion.

        • Did you actually watch any of the Frye hearing, Ralph? The prosecution “experts” were astonishing. I could have been more convincing, and I know nothing about the subject. It was clearly voodoo science, and one of their main experts has a financial stake in the software he used to come to his wackjob conclusion.

        • Looks like I glanced over that part, but does any one know where to find the actual ruling?

          PS: “VooDoo science” exclusion. I like it!

        • Also, in most jurisdictions, the tape is admissible hearsay under the res gestae or excited utterance rules or the “state of mind” exception. Besides, screams are generally not considered hearsay.

        • @Matt in FL, I felt that the prosecution “experts” had formed a conclusion before they ever heard the tape, and then manufactured a method to support it.

          Claiming no inside knowledge, it seems to me that the prosecution said to the experts, “Here’s a tape of Trayvon Martin screaming for help. Now you prove it.”

        • @Ralph, re: forming a conclusion

          One of the experts (who was originally found and retained by the Orlando Sentinel to ana1yze for them) has spent over ONE THOUSAND HOURS listening to the tape. It’s a 16 second piece of tape, and he’s spent ONE THOUSAND HOURS on it. I want anyone to look me in the face and tell me that in that amount of time, you would not end up hearing what you want to hear, even if you didn’t start with a preconception. I can’t find the citation now, but I believe he’s also the expert who eventually said he heard Zimmerman saying other things, akin to the quote from Jules in Pulp Fiction, “great vengeance and furious anger,” or words similar to it.

          Edit to add: Contrast that one thousand hours, by a guy who’s getting paid by the hour, to the FBI examiner, who spent (I think) 2-4 hours on it before saying, “Nope, there’s nothing usable there.”

        • @Matt in FL, I understand that when the state’s expert played the tape backwards, he heard “Paul is dead.”

        • @Ralph: I agree that you could get it under those exceptions, however I feel the following is a better way to go:

          “Public Records: FRE 803(8)

          Rule 803(8) recognizes three types of public records: (1) those setting forth the activities of the office or agency, (2) those recording matters observed pursuant to a duty imposed by law, and (3) investigative reports. (Other rules also deal with different aspects of public records. Rule 1005, by permitting the use of certified copies, recognizes an exception to the best evidence rule for public records. Authentication of public records is governed by Rules 901(b) and 902. Under the latter rule, many public records are self-authenticating and thus admissible without the need to produce an authenticating witness. All these provisions combine to make admissibility quite easy to achieve.)”

          @Matt: Thanks!

        • The FL rule is about the same as most state rules are similar to the Federal Rules:

          (8) PUBLIC RECORDS AND REPORTS.—Records, reports, statements reduced to writing, or data compilations, in any form, of public offices or agencies, setting forth the activities of the office or agency, or matters observed pursuant to duty imposed by law as to matters which there was a duty to report, excluding in criminal cases matters observed by a police officer or other law enforcement personnel, unless the sources of information or other circumstances show their lack of trustworthiness. The criminal case exclusion shall not apply to an affidavit otherwise admissible under s. 316.1934 or s. 327.354.

    • The good news is that Florida was the first state to pass concealed-carry and everybody there is armed, or will be by the time the verdict is issued.

    • About two weeks ago, RF said: “Mark my words: if Zimmerman walks, riots will result.”

      My response from then, which I still stand by now: “I’ll take that bet. I don’t see it. Minor disturbances, some protesting, maybe, but if you think there’s going to be L.A. post-Rodney King type rioting going on, you’re just flat wrong.”

      I still want to know what I win if I win.

      • Any rioting will stay in the black community. Leaving those boundaries would likely result in white-on-black shootings, which the folks of color are aware. For you folks outside of the South, we stay out of their neighborhoods and they stay out of ours.

        • “For you folks outside of the South, we stay out of their neighborhoods and they stay out of ours.”

          I’ll back this up. As a general rule, except for necessary transit through neighborhoods, people really don’t mix much. In the city in which I grew up, it was the north side of town, north of the central street where the roads became letters (Avenue A, B, etc.) My middle/high school was squarely in the middle of “alphabet city.” My county had court-ordered crosstown busing since the 60’s for desegregation purposes, and except for those bus rides in middle and high school, my life never took me up there, unless I was crossing through to get to something on the other side.

        • J&D and Matt in FL, you both put your finger on a real American problem.

          Without a higher degree of social interchange between black and white, I don’t think that it’s possible to build any kind of mutual respect.

          People like GZ will always be considered vigilantes and racial profilers who stalk black kids in order to shoot them, and 5’11”, 158 pound seventeen year old black males will always be considered 6’2″ fearsome martial arts experts just creeping around trying to find a white woman to rape.

        • Interesting Matt, in that nothing has changed in the 35 years since I was bus’ed to the junior high school in the bad part of our Florida County. Zero, zip, nada. Same as it ever was.

        • Ralph, social interchange is a two-party process. My perspective, which may be skewed, is a whole lot of white hands reaching out over the past couple of decades with no interest from the other party. And much worse over the last 5 years.

        • J&D, it has changed somewhat. I graduated almost 20 years ago, and things have changed since then. St. Lucie County had its desegregation order (and court-ordered busing) lifted in 1997. It was by far not their first attempt to get it lifted, but the judge had always denied it in the past. I think we were the last county in the state to have the order lifted.

  5. This is, I think, likely a win for the prosecution. The prosecution’s sound witnesses came off as complete kooks in the Frye hearing, who could neither explain their conclusions scientifically nor fully explain the methodology used to reach those conclusions. On the other hand, the FBI agent who testified for the defense came off as knowledgeable, dignified, and authoritative, and would have destroyed the prosecution witnesses. However, it would be hard to escape that one prosecution witness said unequivocally that the screaming voice was Trayvon’s, and the technical information surrounding all of it was confusing, and likely would have been lost on the jury, except that it “sounded important” so must be true.

    There are other reasons that the prosecution may not necessarily want to put people on the stand to identify TM’s voice. First, his mother said it was him, second, his father said it wasn’t. Also, having them on the stand opens them up to lines of questioning about his character and why he was in Sanford in the first place.

    • Also, having them on the stand opens them up to lines of questioning about his character

      Possibly. If the parents assert his good character, that’s certainly open to rebuttal. Which tells me that if they appear, they’ll be well coached.

      The prosecution doesn’t really need to put the parents on the stand. How the parents feel isn’t a part of the case. But they’ll probably testify since here’s nothing like a crying parent to tug on the heartstrings of a jury.

  6. Does anyone familiar with criminal law know how lesser charges work, and can explain it? Especially if the rules differ by state? They’re charging him with second degree murder, and many people say he’ll be convicted of manslaughter. How does that work exactly? Sometimes it seems the jury has the discretion to decide on less, but other times, if the prosecution can’t prove the higher charge, then that’s the end of it. I’ve also, from time to time (not connected specifically to this case), hear the term “lesser included charges.” Can anyone explain the situation to me?

    • I can’t speak for the whole downgrading murder-2 to manslaughter thing, Matt. But “lesser included charges” are all the little crimes committed in the process of committing a bigger crime, ie: a conviction of aggravated assault might also include the “lesser but included charge” of simple battery (and depending on the circumstances, trespassing, weapons possession, causing a public disturbance,etc etc etc whatever else can stick to add just a little bit more to the rap sheet).

      • Thanks Loyd. I was always under the impression that if they charged Murder-2, that meant manslaughter (or whatever) was off the table, unless they reached a plea deal. I thought it was all or nothing at that point.

        • Florida actually has a schedule of lesser included offenses. Manslaughter is listed as a LIO in a second degree murder trial, so it’s not off the table at all.

        • All my legal knowledge is based on conversations with my CJ major friends and my own Wikipedia-Fu, so Ralph or one of the other lawyers will probably correct me, but I came to the same conclusion. The difference between murder-2 and manslaughter is the whole crime of passion element (murder-2 is a bar fight where someone died, manslaughter is found your wife’s lover in the bar and killed him there in a fit of rage). Charging someone with one or the other seems like it would commit a prosecutor to a particular course of action in court, changed only by an agreement to plea to the lesser charge.

        • Interesting. So after reading this (.pdf warning), it’s basically up to the jury:

          You may find the defendant guilty as charged in the [information] [indictment] or guilty of
          such lesser included crime as the evidence may justify or not guilty.
          If you return a verdict of guilty, it should be for the highest offense which has been proven
          beyond a reasonable doubt. (Section 3.12)

          It would seem that Murder-2 (section 7.4, with included offenses) is unlikely, as I don’t see the prosecution proving “imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind,” and then manslaughter (section 7.7) would hinge on if the jury believes self-defense. If it’s self-defense, it can’t be manslaughter. Based on what I know of the case, I don’t see either of those things being true, but the jury will undoubtedly see evidence I haven’t seen, or haven’t seen fully.

        • @Matt, the LIO of aggravated manslaughter only lies in cases where the killing isn’t excusable homicide (such as self defense) or murder (can’t be convicted of both crimes for the same thing).

          Two notes:

          First, since Martin was 17, he’s a child under FL law for purposes of aggravated manslaughter.

          Second, manslaughter is only one of the LIOs. Other offenses are still on the table. It would be possible for GZ to beat a homicide rap and still go to the joint.

        • depends on the jury instructions – if his lawyer feels confident, he won’t agree to a lesser included charge. it is rolling the dice, but given the florida definition of 2nd deg murder requires “a depraved heart”, prosecutors overcharged to begin with. I like his odds now, and the moment anyone says what a good kid he was, then all of his past comes in . . .

          If he throws the dice, GZ may walk since it is hard to meet the standard of “depraved heart” when GZ didn’t know the kid, didn’t roll up on him, didn’t strike a bunch of blows, mentors black kids, and has not been in real trouble before. . . . . I don’t think they can just come back with manslaughter unless GZ and counsel agree to allow it to be included

        • Oh, I was unaware that defense counsel had to agree to that. Wouldn’t that be a stupid thing to agree to, in this case?

  7. Win, Lose, or draw… it will be a loss.

    If Zimmerman wins, there will be rioting in the streets calling for “no justice, no peace”… lots of people hurt, lots of damage.

    If Zimmerman Loses, there will be buttons pushed throughout the State of Florida with young Blacks tempting “Non-Blacks”….. talking trash and saying, “go ahead – Didn’t work for Zimmerman, do you really want to risk it?”

    Either way: Hoodies will be the fashion for the “Get-Evenism” Crowd. The antigunners will see it as a victory no matter what. They will be laying, waiting, in the shadows using buzzwords to entice more gun violence so that they can say, “See, we told you so!”

  8. As a fellow Floridian.
    I have a feeling that Zimmerman will walk after all is said and done.
    I hope so anyway.
    The worst part is the jury being all female that is actually the most damming part of this trial.
    6 women…who knows what will go through their collective heads as to the “Stand Your Ground” laws. Fire arms and self protection??
    Somehow the kid will come off as the little gang banger wanna be that he was..
    With the injuries that Zimmerman received. This will be enough for his claim of self defense.
    Whether he initiated his beating or not might be the only determining factor here.
    In Florida. When in” fear for your life” is usually good enough of a defense in a shooting situation.
    Whether or not you have any feelings about our Stand your ground laws or not doesnt matter here.
    They are here to stay and go for the defendant the majority of the time.
    The District Attorney down here had to charge him with something.
    For a few reasons.
    Mainly the publicity surrounding this case and not wanting to have a riot statewide if she had let Zimmerman go as she should have.
    The Sanford police did the right thing by out right releasing him.
    Without charges I might add lets not forget that folks.
    The District Attorney in this case is a well known news hound that does anything she can to get her face in the news and in print.
    Her fear of being the cause of a possible riot and face time in front of the cameras was her determining factor in setting charges in this case.
    When this is over.
    Im willing to bet all your going to see in the National news is her face in front of the cameras.

    • I do not believe that GZ’s defense will raise SYG. That ship has sailed. It’s a straight self-defense case for them.

      SYG offers two major advantages to the defense: no duty to retreat, and immunity from arrest. GZ says he couldn’t retreat, so one advantage is gone by his own admission. He’s already been arrested, so immunity is gone. Which is part of the reason why the defense waived the SYG hearing.

      As far as the all female jury is concerned, if the defense didn’t want it, it wouldn’t be so. I also understand that there’s at least one juror that the prosecution tried to pre-empt but couldn’t, which is good for GZ.

  9. While people are fund raising for the parties involved in this, perhaps someone could hold a tongue-in-cheek fundraiser to buy the judge a beauty makeover.

  10. The problem for the State is huge, according to Florida law the state must PROVE, that at no time Zimmerman was ever in fear of losing his life, or receiving great bodily harm. With the advent of all the physical evidence of Zimmerman’s injuries, this will be a near impossible task. Add to this all the reversible errors in the case, and there is no way a conviction would stand on appeal.

    • Not just “believes,” Thomas. The belief has to be reasonable.

      If someone strikes you with a rolled up newspaper across your nose like a puppy, you may be in fear of your life, but that fear is not reasonable. I know that’s not what happened, but I’m making a point.

      The jury will decide of Zimmerman was in fear, and if that fear was reasonable.

      What is reasonable? If an observer with no dog in the fight would believe that the GZ was in danger of death or grievous bodily injury, then it’s reasonable. If not, then it doesn’t matter if GZ was scared.

      I’m sure that GZ was scared. The question is whether he had a reasonable fear of the loss of life or limb, or whether he just panicked.

      • Ralph, you reminded me of something about owning a dog, especially a young, not-quite potty-trained dog. This is it: if your puppy goes to the bathroom in your house, here’s what you do. Take a newspaper or magazine, roll it tightly, and then use it to smack the owner firmly on the nose. Repeat as necessary until the owner understands his/her responsibility to the animal.

  11. Lots of people running their mouths who still don’t know the basic facts at this late date. This trial will be one huge surprise after another for them.

  12. If George Z. was seen as being the one on the bottom, as one witness has stated, and getting his head pounded on the ground, why would Trayvon be the one screaming for help?

  13. @Ralph: Just to clarify, I was referring to the aspect of, any legal discussion heretofore thereof.

    ‘Lots’ has left the building.

  14. The U.S military are expected to kill Taliban judges, bailiffs and executioners whom convene with the intention of stoning females to death for extramarital indiscretions or men who are charged with the crime against allah’s laws known to Americans as homosexuality.

    • When I saw this, I added to my spam list for deletion, because it resembled so closely the word salad, almost intelligible stuff you usually find in spam comments.

      I eventually realized it wasn’t spam, but after reading it 4x, I still have no idea wtf it’s supposed to say, or how it’s relevant to this post.

      • Federal Government exists because it has monopoly on the use and extent of violence.

        Whether George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in an offensive or defensive capacity is entirely irrelevant. The State and its prosecution team have a pack hierarchy to maintain in firm control of. Mr Zimmerman will be found guilty and will be forced to spend time in penitentiary not because the ‘jury’ find that action just, simply because the State & Judge will be offering them a choice they simply cannot ‘logically’ refuse.

        This works especially in the interest of a Federal hegemony, given to the fact that Blacks states-wide were firstly advertising bounty for George Zimmerman ‘Dead or Alive’ conditions & secondly the outspoken Militaristic Black Panther cadre’s were reaching out to potential new recruits states-wide following the revelation of Martins gunshot death.

        The Fed will find Zimmerman guilty. The all Female (impressionable, maternal, misandric) gendered jury should have given this away to you days ago.

  15. 4Fsake Matt! Eat your damn salad. Ozzie (at the top of this post) IS watching you!

    GZ: salad good…. mashed potatoes bad. Juz sayin, home-fry.

    Pumping iron. Whatever. Mindset dude…

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