George Zimmerman Trial Analysis


Wolf: Page, first of all, what was your bottom line assessment on this, the final day of arguments?

Page: Well, it was a long day for the jury and I’m not at all surprised they were ready to go home at 6:00. I think the lawyers did a great job. I think the state, the prosecution had to try to bring in motion back into this case. They certainly tried to do that. Mr. Guy’s rebuttal closing argument was fantastic. For the first time in a long time, the jury was asked to step in to the shoes of Trayvon Martin. You know, up to this point in the trial, everybody’s been focused on what was George Zimmerman thinking. Where was he, what was he doing? I think it was important for the state to remind the jury that we’re here because Trayvon Martin is dead. I think that was very effective.

Wolf: Page, were the lies significant?

Page: Not necessarily. But many times, the jury will look at a potential witness, a defendant, and believe that if they lied about little things, their minor inconsistencies, then maybe they’re lying about the big stuff, too. And I think the state had to do this. I mean, this is the whole reason they put Mr. Zimmerman’s prior statements into evidence. And that was, I think, a mistake, because then, the defense did not have to call him. I think if you’re attacking Zimmerman’s credibility, it would have been much more effective if you are cross-examining him at trial. But at this point, all they can do is reference those statements and try to get the jury to think, “Look, if he’s inconsistent about some minor things, then you can’t believe any of his story and that’s not the way it went down.

Wolf: I’m gonna have our legal analysts all stand by. We have much more to assess in this Zimmerman trial. It wrapped up today. The jury began three and a half hours of deliberations. They’re gonna resume deliberations tomorrow morning, 9 a.m. Eastern.

Let’s bring back our experts, our legal analysts Sunny Hostin and the criminal defense attorney Page Pate. Page, what do you think about this relationship between the attorneys on both sides and the judge?

Page: In this case, I really think the relationship has been fairly good. They’ve all been professional. You know, I think we can expect a certain amount of stress to go along with almost any criminal trial, especially one like this, where everyone in the world is literally watching. So it’s a fine line. The judge has to keep things moving along and I certainly think she’s done that in this case, but also be fair. Let both parties present their case and give them every opportunity that they need within the law and I think she’s done that.

Wolf: You know, it’s interesting, Page. We did some checking. Amount of time in major cases, high-profile cases, recent ones, the juries deliberated before they reached a decision. In the Jodi Arias trial, the jury took nearly 15 hours, guilty of first-degree murder. Casey Anthony trial, the jury took more than 10 hours, acquitted of first-degree murder. Back in 1995, in the O.J. Simpson trial, the jury took less than four hours, acquitted of two counts of murder. The longer… Is there a rule of thumb among lawyers, criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, the longer a jury deliberates, the more or the less likely of acquittal or a guilty verdict?

Page: You know, that’s a great question. I’ve been trying criminal cases now for 20 years and I can’t figure it out. You know, I’ve had juries come back and find my clients not guilty and they’ve done it very quickly. Then I’ve had jurors come back or basically stay out days, stay out longer than the trial lasted. You know, what it does indicate to me, though, is they’re spending a lot of time with the case. In my experience, talking to jurors after a trial is over with, you normally find that they want to do their job and they want to do it the right way. I think that’s why they ask for their inventory list. They’re gonna go through this stuff. They’re gonna be methodical. They know everybody’s watching them. They know Trayvon Martin’s family has been in the courtroom every day. This case matters. It matters to them, it matters to the parties, the lawyers. So they’re gonna take their time, but I don’t think how long they stay out is really indicative of their ultimate verdict.

Wolf: Yeah, I think you’re right.


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