Been Too Long

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Okay, I have left you hanging! But, after starting a new business, settling into what that means, wrapping my head around it, I am back. This time with a promise, myself, and as the firm grows, will bring you regular posts.

Here are a couple of the things you can look out for with that promise:

1) Informational posts about current clients with criminal law and family law matters

2) “Hot” legal topics and our analysis, always welcoming commentary as long as we can keep it civil

3) Guest bloggers with insight on legal topics outside of the firm’s focus to

4) Suggestions and resources to help navigating legal matters outside of the courtroom

5) Community events and ongoings

6) Information about helpful community partners and resources

7) ANYTHING else that you might want to know about!

As The Law Office of Diana S. Miers, PA approaches it’s one year anniversary, I wanted to thank you all for the support in making this a great year! The firm has grown, found a home downtown, narrowed it focus to criminal defense and family law, and teamed up with a number of community resources to provide outreach and advocacy across the greater Orlando community. We look forward to what can be accomplished in year two!

Of course, as always, contact the firm for any questions you might have about your legal needs at (407) 603 – 6538.

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And isn’t it Ironic? – Busy Parents Needing Help May Have to Pay Higher Premiums

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We have all heard of Moms (and Dads – to stay fair) working overtime.  But what about Nannies?  A recent lawsuit filed against Alanis Morisette, the oft criticized user of the word ironic/y, brings up an interesting topic, should Nannies get overtime?  Asking the Nanny to stay so you and the Hubby can head out for a much needed and long overdue Happy Hour or Date Night, could that really open you up to a lawsuit?  Interestingly enough, this falls on the heels of a legislative bill in California recently signed by the Governor requiring Nannies working more than 9 hours  a day or 45 hours a week to be paid overtime.  The California bill does exclude babysitters.  It will be interesting to see if much like the definition of “part-time” employment and its effect on individuals in the wake of the Affordable Healthcare Act will change who is a babysitter and who is a Nanny.

So, what is your practice?  Do you pay by the hour?  Do you have a formal contract with a Nanny?  Do you record your nanny expense on your taxes?  Is she (hey, I don’t discriminate, the L.A. times article did) recording this income?  How will this lawsuit and the new California Law affect you?

Well, the short of it is, the California bill does not affect us here in Florida.  But, that does not mean that something like this will not be coming down the pipeline for us.  Someday the same type of legislation could make its way here.  Who knows with all of the bills that come through, maybe it is already there.  All I hear about now is the Compassionate Care Marijuana initiative.  Its never wrong to keep up on the topics, stay apprised, and protect yourself if something comes your way.

I am betting if overtime becomes the Nanny premium, Holiday gifts for the Nannies will subside, but Nanny cam sales will take off.  No one will want to be spending that premium for sub-par childcare!  Hold on to your favorites and think really hard about that Holiday Bonus for the Nanny.

Best wishes for a quick and painless week!

Trading Down: Freedom for Fear

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               Today marks the 12 years since the attacks of September 11, 2013.  Leading up to today, I found myself traveling by air, and rather than feeling scared, I felt annoyed.  The dreaded TSA, no one seems to like them  and we are always hearing how the organization does not work.  Using Google you can find a laundry list of TSA failures.  But, is it more than that? Is the fear from 9-11, the fear that something will happen again leading to the erosion of freedom, your freedom, one small step at a time?  Instead of embracing our heritage, the constitution, and our freedom, did we let our fear become the post 9-11 focus?

               I can barely remember the time we could walk my Dad and drop him off directly at his gate when he would travel for business.  After 9-11, forget dropping someone off at their gate, there were no liquids allowed on the plane.  Then some allowed in a clear container, in a clear bag, now who knows if they are even scanned.  One thing for sure, I cannot bring a bottle of water on the plane.  Then we got X-ray machines that sent an unknown image to some unknown person in some unknown place, only to find out, these probably were not X-rays.  But, we were supposed to take the TSA’s word that these machines were mere X-rays, safe, and your privacy would be intact.  So, what do we do, get the scan, we have to get on the plane right?

                But, is it right?  Months after these privacy protecting scanners start snapping pictures of us pre-flight, what do we find out?  Not only was all of that privacy protection wrong, but they were nude scanners and they didn’t always work.  I fell victim to the idea all of these precautions were necessary.  I got scanned, but where is my body shot now?  Freedom for fear.

                 It is very easy to think that these precautions are preventing other terrorist attacks.  Other than the Boston Marathon attack, there have been minimal to no incidents, on American soil.  But, is it the TSA, the scans, the millions spent each year (dare I say billions), that keep us safe.  The Detroit attack seemed to be thwarted by passengers and the device failure.  But, to be passengers, wouldn’t the guy already have to be on the plane? That indicates to me that the precautions did not work.

                 It is hard to believe with the talk of 70% failure rates, guns getting through security, and attacks thwarted by passengers that all of this invasion of our privacy and spending of our tax dollars is preventing another September 11th like attack.  So, as I went through airport security and saw the frustration on the TSA Agent’s face when I requested a pat down, I claimed a small but proud victory.  You are allowed to request a pat down in lieu of the machine scan (at least for the time being.)  Yes, they have to use the back of their hand to ensure nothing is hiding under your bra, beltline, or in your upper thigh.  But, do you know what picture they take and who is goes to?

                 As a former prosecutor, I got many a jail tour, including having the X-ray scan that inmates coming into the jail receive.  In order to prevent weapons, drugs, and other contraband from entering a correctional facility, those checking in usually get s scan.  Shocker, these TSA scanners, turned out to be some of the very same machines.  So, to get on a plane for a wedding, family vacation, whatever you might be doing, you have to be subjected to the very same process as someone entering a jail facility?  To enter the jail facility you have to be under arrest or convicted of a crime.  There is some sort of standard to get to that screening.  But yet, just because you want to travel you have to  through the same screening.  I am not sure that makes sense to me. 

               Keep in mind, this post totally ignores the far reaching Patriot Act, NSA surveillance, etc., etc., etc.  But, maybe my intuition is wrong, maybe the TSA scans, screens, and machines saved thousands of lives.  If so, that is why I am happy to take my pat down.  Maybe, in this small little way, we are not letting the 9-11 terrorists win.  Maybe we are not letting fear erode our freedom.  A close friend calls these pat downs  “Freedom Frisks.”  Next time you are traveling, think about asking the TSA agent for your “Freedom Frisk.”  I bet you will claim that very same small but proud victory.

Wait, they can make me do my homework? – What terms of probation are common in Florida for Juveniles

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The following is a list of common terms of probation in Juvenile Delinquency cases:

1)       Cannot use any illegal narcotics – this is a no brainer, not only are they illegal, but a youth is just that, a youth.

2)      Approved Friends List – You will get the opportunity to provide a list of friends, roommates, family members that you would like to be around.  The probation officer will make the determination who you get to be around. Details on this process will come in another blog.

3)      No Contact Order – This usually applies to any victims if this was a victim crime or other people you were arrested with.  The goal is to ensure you do not cause any more problems for the victims and to ensure you are not keeping company with someone who will get you in trouble again.

4)      Community Service Hours – we all know what this is! If not, call us, we can direct you to a number of community programs looking for community service volunteers.

5)      Educational Programs – These may be videos, online spots, books you check out that are specific to the charge you pled to or were convicted of.

6)      Book Reports – The books can mirror school topics, self-motivation, mirror the charges you face, etc.

7)      Apology Letters – This may be to a victim, another party involved, your family, your school, or anyone else the DJJ officer recommends.

8)      No smoking –Not only is it unhealthy, for a minor it is also not permitted.

9)      Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programs – It could be NA, AA, substance abuse counseling, or other areas for treatment for substance abuse.

10)   Drug testing – the panel tests for almost everything.  They also have ways to detect if you are masking, or trying to mask any drugs in your system.  Alcohol tests are also available as well.

11)   Restitution – This is payment for anything you may have stolen, destroyed, wrecked, or ruined in the commission of your charges.

12)   Attending School

13)   Maintaining a certain G.P.A. – for example a 2.0 or 3.0., depending on your current G.P.A.

14)   Brining your G.P.A. up to a certain level.

15)   Enrolling in a G.E.D. program and completing the said program – if you are not attending school.

16)   No Drinking Alcohol

           These are not an exhaustive list of the terms of probation you may face as a juvenile.  But, they are many of the common terms.  The Department of Juvenile Justice determines the recommendation for terms of probation based on assessments of the juvenile, the juvenile’s prior history, interviews with the youth, and a myriad of other factors.  Depending on the charge, the individual, and their history someone facing probation for a petit theft may get different terms than someone accused of the same charge at the same store for the same item. 

          For more information, or questions about your juvenile’s case, contact The Law Office of Diana S. Miers, PA today at (407) 603 – 6538 or visit www.dianamierslaw.com.

Juvenile Probation, A Parent’s Ball and Chain

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Often times, we see juvenile probation violations for the simple reason that a parent didn’t know the in’s and outs of the terms of the probation, the cost or time constraints didn’t allow them to help their youth complete the probation, or they simply didn’t want to.  If you have a child facing juvenile charges and is looking like he or she is going to be put on probation, being knowledgeable about the process can save you some headaches.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will go over the probation process, some of the common conditions of probation (rules the youth has to follow), how those conditions are easily violated, and what the consequences for violating might be.  This particular post, I will discuss the initial stages of probation for a juvenile.

First, juvenile charges are not called crimes.  In order to help alleviate stigma associated with the criminal justice system, juvenile “crimes” are handled under the Juvenile Delinquency system.  Instead of guilty and not guilty – there is delinquent and not delinquent.  The entire juvenile system has a primary purpose of rehabilitation of the youth.  This includes connecting the youth and family with the community resources necessary to help the youth and family stay on track.   Punishment, does have a place in the juvenile system though.  You can discuss all the details with your attorney.

If placed on probation, your youth will have to adhere to a number of conditions of probation.  At what is called the disposition hearing (in the adult world known as a sentencing hearing,) you and your youth will likely hear the terms of probation read to you by the judge, the state attorney, or the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) representative.  Additionally, you and your child will have to meet with a DJJ representative where you will be assigned a probation officer, read and sign each condition of probation to acknowledge you understand each term, and likely report monthly to the office to check in with probation.

If your youth doesn’t drive, you will likely be on the hook to get them there.  While going through this process, if you do not understand something, feel free to ask questions; encourage your youth to do the same.  If you do not, you and your youth may misunderstand a term and that could later cause a violation.  For example, not everything counts as community service.  If you do not ask the probation officer, you may drag your youth to a community service event, he or she completes the hours, and then they do not count for one reason or another.  Also, you may need to bring paperwork with you to complete community service.  You can get all of that information with your probation officer.

The probation officer you meet with is usually your youth’s assigned officer.  This person may make random stops at your house, the youth’s school, or require you to come in or contact them if an issue comes up.  They are your main contact.  If you find yourself with a youth who is not cooperating, YOU also can report violations.  Reporting your own child for a violation is difficult, but that may be what they need.   There may be additional community resources that your probation officer can direct you to help your youth and the family.

Remember, although your youth is the one on probation, you may be required to attend each session, you may be asked questions by the officers, and you may have to go the extra mile to help your youth.  It can be a difficult time period for families, so staying informed and setting manageable expectations always helps. If scheduling is difficult, talk to the probation officer and see what you can work out.  Communication is key.

If you have any questions, or would like some more information, contact The Law Office of Diana S. Miers, PA today at admin@dianamierslaw.com or (407) 603 – 6538.

We’re Moving!

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The Law Office of Diana S. Miers, PA is moving!  Our new address is 56 E. Pine Street, Suite 200, Orlando, Florida 32801.  It may take us a bit longer to get back to you with our move, but we will certainly strive for same day or within 24 hours contact.  We appreciate your patience and we look forward to showing off our new digs to all of you close by!

But, My Mom Said So. . .

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While the jury rendered their verdict, the protesters have left the Courthouse, and the Attorney’s are now all doing interviews on various news shows, the George Zimmerman trial still leaves us with many examples of issues that come up in trials all the time.  The most glaring demonstrates the idea of witness credibility, when the witness is your mother. For many, their mother is the one person who will always tell the truth.  But, when it comes to hearing a mother testify on behalf of their son or daughter in court,  do the rest of us believe her?

Specifically in the George Zimmerman case, Trayvon Martin and Greorge Zimmerman’s mothers each testified to the idea they heard their sons voice on that 911 tape.  Did you believe them?  Is it more likely that each of them wanted their respective son to be heard on the 911 tape screaming for help?   The juror that has already made a statement made it clear that she did not believe either party’s testimony.  We will just have to see how the other jurors felt on that matter, but I would assume from the verdict, the testimony of the mothers probably didn’t sway the jury one way or another.

Let’s extrapolate that idea out though, beyond that of the George Zimmerman case.  If you are charged with petit theft, battery, or a domestic violence where no one else was in the room besides your mother, you have to wonder if her testimony will be credible to members of the jury.  What about if you are charged with similar crimes and your mother is not present, but you were at home with her.  Surely we have all seen a TV show that rags on the “I was with my Mom” alibi. 

Prior to setting your matter for trial, you will want to have the discussion with your attorney about the credibility of your witnesses.  That may be no reason to take a plea agreement as opposed to a trial.  But, you certainly want to have that discussion as, it may play a role in how you decide to proceed with your case.  While we each love our mothers, we all know most of them would do anything for us.  While that may not include lying under oath, the six strangers who make up the jury don’t know that.

For a free initial consultation or case review, contact The Law Office of Diana S. Miers, PA at (407) 603 – 6538 or visit www.dianamierslaw.com.

The Power of Silence – Closings in the Zimmerman Case

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As noted in previous posts, to the charge of second degree murder, there are four potential verdicts.  We went through the idea that George Zimmerman was the initial aggressor and did not have the right to use deadly force.  We also went through the pieces of evidence, not yet talked about in depth that could be the little, unspoken details jurors use to find George Zimmerman was not the initial aggressor of the altercation and could use deadly force.  Rather than go through the same pieces of evidence and discussing their credibility, let’s talk about the closings and some key points for each side.

We have now seen the prosecutors shift from what seemed like focusing on two expletive-filled phrases uttered by the George Zimmerman, to weaving together the evidence presented.  This seems a good move for the prosecution as opposed to equating the expletives with the way you invite someone to dinner. Interestingly enough, it seems each side has now taken the position that they speak for an innocent party.  The prosecution contending Trayvon Martin acted innocently, buying skittles and a canned drink is nothing illegal.  The defense contending that George Zimmerman was innocent that evening.  Is it a risk for either party to so patently contend the one who they advocate for is innocent?  An interesting choice of words for both sides, from what seems to very many a very muddy case where two parties may have both made bad decisions. 

                The grass on the front of George Zimmerman’s feet in one of the pictures in evidence was a new idea in closing.  This point was not yet discussed in questioning, outside the presence of the jury, or in any main stream media analysis.  It was a moment that made me, and likely many others take pause.  But, is that one piece of evidence enough?  It is possible to explain away the grass merely by walking through the courtyard where the alternation took place.  Perhaps, but the discussion about where the grass was on George Zimmerman’s shoes, that was a point where the state pointed out, rightfully, and credibly, how do you really jive the grass where it is on his shoes, and the statements made by George Zimmerman.

                Notice, each party did not in depth discuss the testimony about whose voice was on the 911 tape.  Probably a smart move by each party.  Both brushed the topic, mentioning their strongest witnesses.  But, despite the number of witnesses and the number of questions about this topic, neither attorney discussed in detail the impact of the testimony.  Did the testimony sway your decision?  Did you rely on that testimony to reach your conclusion?  Probably not, essentially the testimony is a wash for both sides.

                Interestingly enough, just a short day later, and watching the recaps and discussions, I don’t know if there is anything else that sticks out for me regarding the state’s closing.  Is it possible that will be the same for the defenses closing?  Will that be the same for the jurors? Perhaps this is a disadvantage of the prosecution closing first and on a different day.  However, that is also why in our system, the state gets the last words with the jury in the rebuttal.  As they state carries the burden, the state is the last to speak with the jury.  This closing is Mr. O’Mara’s last shot.

One of the most powerful pieces of Mr. O’Mara’s closing was the four minutes of silence.  The

power of silence is most evident, in the Courtroom.  By yourself at home, you can turn on the tv or radio to quiet silence.  At work, you can talk to a co-worker, flip on Pandora, or makes some copies on that unexplainably loud copier.  But, in the Courtroom, don’t you dare speak, especially when there is silence.  So, that four minutes where Mark O’Mara asked the jurors to sit in silence, that spoke volumes.  You could see it in the gallery, the awkwardness that creeped over the public and the media.  The shifting of the eyes, looking around to see, is it over yet? 

 

The point of that exercise was to demonstrate just how many thoughts one can have in such a short amount of time.  It is creative, and it demonstrates a point, a powerful one.  Will that be the difference for the jurors?  As posting, we still have the prosecution’s rebuttal.  Then, the long and boring recitation of the jury instructions.  Any predictions on how long the jury will take to reach a verdict?  Any predictions on the verdict and a couple thoughts on why?

Feel free to post your thoughts, comments, or disagreements below.  For any questions, or to inquire about an initial consultation contact The Law Office of Diana S. Miers, PA at (407) 603 – 6538 or visit www.dianamierslaw.com.

 

 

The Evidence: What you might not be looking at

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The Zimmerman case has been everywhere, my blog, the news, the radio, the newspaper, the conversation at the coffee house, Facebook, twitter, and in the line at the grocery store.  So, instead of listing a number of facts you have heard eight ways and backwards, I thought I would list a couple pieces of evidence that are not the forefront of the trial, but may very well provide insight into what happened.  The following are a couple pieces that might lead the jury to believe George Zimmerman was not the initial aggressor and was entitled to use deadly force:

The wind noise on the non-emergency call:   I think this will be important for a couple of reasons. Obviously for the prosecution as they put forth a theory of a disgruntled neighborhood watchman, with just enough knowledge of the system, who is tired of ass holes getting away, that mistakenly profiled an innocent young man as a criminal and made the decision to hunt Trayvon Martin down and execute him.  But, if you listen to the non-emergency call made by George Zimmerman, that may not necessarily be what the wind noise indicates.  On the call, you hear the young man we now know as Trayvon Martin sees George Zimmerman, is heading toward him with something he cannot identify in his hands, begins to circle his car, and then takes off running.  George Zimmerman then gets out of his vehicle, then. You hear the car beep, the car door, the wind start, the non-emergency operator recognizing that George Zimmerman is following the “suspect,” the non-emergency dispatcher let George Zimmerman know he shouldn’t follow Trayvon Martin, and just seconds later, the wind noise stops.  If George Zimmerman really is following Trayvon Martin with the intent to shoot and kill him, why does he stop?  Why does he then continue a conversation with the 911 dispatcher? As much as the prosecution would like the jurors to believe this indicates George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin, it may also create the reasonable doubt needed as it shows George Zimmerman also stopped pursuit of Trayvon Martin. Whatever version, theory, or account is true, it seems pretty plausible either way.  Thoughts?

Where the flashlight was found:  We all have, or can very easily if we have not, find the picture of the flashlight laying in the vicinity of Trayvon Martin in the pictures taken by the neighbor on scene.  We know George Zimmerman had the flashlight when he left the car, so how does it end up near Trayvon Martin’s body?  One explanation is that George Zimmerman dropped it once the physical altercation started, whether he started the physical altercation or not.  Logic might say, while waiting for police, Zimmerman was attacked by Trayvon Martin and dropped the flashlight in his surprise.  It is equally as plausible that he dropped it while hitting Trayvon Martin, as the attacker.  But, isn’t it also possible he dropped it hitting Trayvon Martin in self-defense?  We haven’t heard much about the flashlight once it came to lay in the grass that February evening.  But, sometimes it is exactly that forgotten detail that can trigger a jurors mind and lead them to a verdict.  Could the flashlight be the key for one of the jurors?

Where was Trayvon Martin’s Cell Phone?:  There was only one piece of evidence, circumstantial or otherwise that indicates who started the physical altercation between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin in February 2012.  That evidence came from testimony by Rachel Jeantel who indicated she heard some screaming and or a thud and the phone then cut out while speaking to Trayvon Martin.  The implication of her testimony seems to me to be – Geroge Zimmerman attacked Trayvon Martin and started the physical altercation.  But, will the jurors consider her testimony credible?  Leaving aside the idea that she brought this testimony out during the trial and not in initial statements or depositions, I would like to know where Trayvon’s cell phone was found.  By her account, I would assume if George Zimmerman did attack Trayvon Martin, Martin certainly didn’t stop to place the phone in his pocket mid “tussle.” Logically, you would think his phone was dropped on the ground.  So, where is the testimony about where the phone was found?  So, did the officers recover the phone in his pocket or on the ground?  Either way, one could postulate that George Zimmerman placed the phone back onto Trayvon Martin’s body.   But, the timeline, the eye witnesses, and other evidence don’t seem to point to that type of movement on George Zimmerman’s behalf.  As a juror, I would want to know.  But, maybe that is why lawyers do not get to be jurors very often!

Again, while these issues may not be the forefront of the case, sometimes that is exactly what a juror’s decision hinges on.  I will be curious to see if any of the jurors do come forward with an explanation of their verdict.  As we approach the end of the defense case, the answer to that question also approaches quickly.  In the meantime, stay tuned for the next potential verdict – The jurors do believe George Zimmerman was the initial aggressor and he was justified in using deadly force. Verdict:  Not Guilty.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact The Law Office of Diana S. Miers, PA at (407) 603 – 6538 or visit www.dianamierslaw.com for more information.  –Diana S. Miers, Esq.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt – Potential Verdicts in the Zimmerman Case

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After having the chance to attend the George Zimmerman trial twice, I couldn’t wait to share my experience!  First, and foremost, the TV doesn’t capture the half of what goes on inside the Courtroom.  The sighs of the witnesses, the shrugs of the attorneys, what jurors take notes and when, the reaction of the media and public, and the subtle interaction between the attorney and a witness is not picked up by the cameras.  It is a particularly fascinating interaction in this case, as opposed to others, as many of the witnesses appear reluctant to testify, my guess would be because of the media coverage in the case.

Although the trial is very exciting to watch as an attorney, particularly a criminal defense attorney, sometimes I don’t want to tell people of my profession because their very next question is, “So, what do you think?”   That is neither a short answer nor an uncomplicated one.  So, I decided to break down the potential verdicts and the reasoning behind the said verdicts.  Below is a list of the potential verdicts and general reasoning behind them.  Over the next couple of days, I will detail each of the potential verdicts, the reasoning behind the potential verdicts, and the evidence that either supports or contradicts such a verdict.

The jury must first decide whether the state proves all of the elements of second degree murder.  But, because the defense team has asserted a claim of self-defense, the jury must decide if George Zimmerman was entitled to defend himself.  If so, was George Zimmerman justified in using deadly force?  Determining whether he was entitled to use deadly force requires an analysis of whether he was the initial aggressor that evening.  After their analysis, the following are potential verdicts and the reasoning behind such each verdict:

A)     The jurors believe that George Zimmerman was the initial aggressor and he was not justified in using deadly force.  Verdict: Guilty.

B)      The jurors do not believe George Zimmerman was the initial aggressor and he was justified in using deadly force. Verdict:  Not Guilty.

C)      The jurors believe George Zimmerman was the initial aggressor and he was justified in using deadly force. Verdict:  Not Guilty.

D)     The jurors do not believe George Zimmerman was the initial aggressor and he was not justified in using deadly force. Verdict:  Guilty.

E)      The jury cannot reach a decision, is split in some form or fashion – Mistrial because of a hung jury.

 

The jurors believe that George Zimmerman was the initial aggressor and he was not justified in using deadly force. Verdict: Guilty.

      First, let’s look at the evidence that supports this verdict.  While reading the list of facts or opinions supporting this guilty verdict, keep in mind that a juror must accept some or all of these facts as true, despite other testimony, to reach a guilty verdict.

1)      George Zimmerman sees what he describes as a suspicious person and calls non-emergency to report the activities of the suspicious person. (Non-emergency Dispatcher and George Zimmerman’s statements).

2)      George Zimmerman is a part of, the liaison to the Homeowners Association, and organizer of the Neighborhood Watch. (Homeowners Association Past President).

3)      He has been trained by law enforcement officers in what to do when you see a suspicious person and that includes when to call 911 v. the non-emergency number. (George Zimmerman’s statements, Homeowners Association past President, Best Friend of George Zimmerman).

4)      He utters that these “F***ing punks” and “…ass holes always get away,” to the non-emergency dispatcher. (Non-emergency Call).

5)      He is told by non-emergency not to follow the person he calls suspicious and he follows the person anyways. (Non-emergency call, George Zimmerman’s statements).

6)      George Zimmerman has a loaded gun, with a bullet in the chamber, and holstered at his hip. (George Zimmerman’s Statement, FDLE Employee Siewart, Neighbor, Officers on Scene.)

7)      On a dark and rainy evening, George Zimmerman follows this person into a poorly lit courtyard. (George Zimmerman’s statements, Officers on Scene, Neighbors.)

8)      George Zimmerman initiates contact with Trayvon Martin. (Rachel Jeantel.)

9)      A fight ensues; George Zimmerman takes his gun and shoots Trayvon Martin in the heart.  (Multiple Neighbors, 911 tape, Parts of George Zimmerman’s statements.)

10)   Throughout the fight, Trayvon Martin is screaming for help.  (Trayvon Martin’s Mother).

11)   Trayvon Martin is shot and killed, with no other injuries than a gunshot wound from George Zimmerman’s gun to the heart and two small abrasions on his fingers.  (Multiple Medical Professionals.)

12)   There is no blood, trace DNA evidence, or fingerprints, partial or otherwise from Trayvon Martin on George Zimmerman’s gun.

13)   George Zimmerman suffers minor injuries, two small lacerations that do not need to be sutured, among other bruises, swelling, and contusions.  No broken bones, long term effects, or other physical symptoms manifest from the fight that ensued, with regard to George Zimmerman. (George Zimmerman’s statements.)

14)   George Zimmerman made multiple prior calls to non-emergency and emergency lines reporting similar behavior. (Dispatcher.)

15)   There is a two minute gap in the account given by George Zimmerman from the time the non-emergency call ended and when the gunshot was heard on 911 calls. (Dispatchers.)

16)   The screaming stops when the gunshot it heard. (Multiple Witnesses.)

17)   George Zimmerman previously enrolled and attended criminal justice classes discussing or assigning reading about, among other things, self-defense, witness preparation and testifying as a witness, and Stand Your Ground.  (Former Professors of George Zimmerman at Seminole State College.)

18)   Use of a gun in a fist fight, can be excessive force. (Former Professor of George Zimmerman at Seminole State College.)

19)   The maximum and minimum amount of blows received to George Zimmerman was three (3). (Jacksonville Medical Examiner.)

20)   George Zimmerman admits that Trayvon says something like “Okay, you got me now,” In close proximity to the gun shot. (George Zimmerman’s statements.)

21)   George Zimmerman answers Sean Hannity’s question of whether there was a conscious moment that he knew he was going to die, with the idea he wasn’t sure because it all happened so fast. (George Zimmerman’s statements.)

22)   While shorter, George Zimmerman weighed substantially more than Trayvon Martin. (Multiple Medical Professionals.)

While this is not an exhaustive list of facts, these are many of the main facts or opinions in evidence that jurors may rely on to reach the conclusion that George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin and was not justified in using deadly force on that evening.   Let’s face it, we have an 18-year-old kid with a gunshot wound to the heart and a guy that walks away with what has been described as minimal to minor injuries with a history of profiling other “suspicious” behavior, and acknowledges that these “F***ing punks” and, “…ass holes always get away.”  Would it be easy to believe he was tired of it and so he went into that courtyard to put a stop to it?  Is it reasonable to think it was unnecessary to bring out a gun in the middle of a fight? With the evidence above, taken as truthful and credible, it might be very easy for a juror to come to that conclusion.

But, in order to reach a guilty verdict, the jury must either 1) Accept the premise that following Trayvon into the courtyard made him the initial aggressor and second he did not first exhaust all avenues of defense before using deadly force, or 2) Use only circumstantial evidence to determine what they believe happened once both Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman hung up their phones and the altercation began.  Rachel Jeantel, the woman Trayvon Martin was on the phone with leading up to the incident, gives her account that may lead one to believe George Zimmerman was the aggressor.  But, with her multiple versions of what happened that evening and her relationship with the victim will the jury find her credible?  The only other insight into what happened came from George Zimmerman, and he being the defendant, one has to wonder whether the jury will give credibility to his account.  Where does that leave the jurors?  It seems, filling in the blanks with pure conjecture. 

The opening statement from the prosecution seemed to promise that the evidence would show untruths in the statements of a deranged neighborhood watchman, who stalked and hunted Trayvon Martin and walked away unscathed.  Combined with media reports, this led me to believe I would see exactly that.  But, each witness appeared to confirm parts of the defendant’s story.  Most importantly, most of the eye witnesses seemed to identify Trayvon Martin straddling George Zimmerman and hitting him in the face. One witness recounted Trayvon Martin “raining down blows” in a mixed martial arts fashion at some point in the altercation.   For me, the witnesses’ accounts did not quite seem to match the opening statement by the prosecution, nor the media accounts released since the date of the incident. Instead, they matched the account of the defendant’s retelling of the incident.  With the disconnect in testimony, what we were told we would hear, and what the media releases described as happening, might it be just as easy for a juror to give credibility to George Zimmerman’s account of the altercation.

There are only two people who know what really happened in the minutes leading up to, through, and to the completion of the altercation that night.  Who will the jury believe?  Stay tuned for the next potential verdict –The jurors do not believe George Zimmerman was the initial aggressor and he was justified in using self-defense: Not Guilty.