Judge Presiding Over Zimmerman Trial Repeatedly Put Thumb On Scales
INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
July 12, 2013
Injustice: There are biased judges, and then there’s Debra Nelson, who’s presided over what can only be called a kangaroo court in the George Zimmerman trial.
The bias of Nelson, Florida Circuit Court judge and a lifelong Democrat, in favor of the prosecution and its efforts to railroad Zimmerman as a racist murderer has been palpable throughout the case. Her actions, which have actively aided the state, could poison jurors and factor into future litigation.
Her shameful rulings and behavior, therefore, are worth cataloging, and include:
Suppressing exculpatory evidence recovered from the (double-password-protected) cell phone of Trayvon Martin that reveal deleted texts of the 17-year-old bragging about street-fighting with friends and relatives and photos showing him brandishing guns, gangsta-style. This evidence supports Zimmerman’s claim he feared Martin and shot in self-defense.
Disallowing Martin’s criminal background, including arrests by Miami-Dade school district police for drugs, theft, graffiti and other delinquent behavior. (Martin, in fact, had been suspended from school the week he jumped Zimmerman inside his gated townhouse complex, after police found stolen jewelry and burglary tools inside his backpack.)
Excluding any testimony from audio experts who could definitively ID Zimmerman’s voice screaming for help on 911 calls as Martin bashed his head against a concrete sidewalk.
Allowing, conversely, the last-minute request of plainly desperate prosecutors to have jurors consider an alternative lesser charge of manslaughter to try to secure some kind of conviction, any kind of punishment, in the complete absence of a sound murder case.
Never sanctioning the prosecution despite Zimmerman’s lawyers justifiably filing no fewer than six formal complaints against the state for withholding exculpatory and other evidence from them in violation of discovery rules.
Yet repeatedly overruling — at times even reprimanding — Zimmerman’s lawyers when they objected to the underhanded tactics of the prosecution.
And even, in one of the most bizarre interventions by a judge many court watchers have ever observed in a criminal case, directly grilling defendant Zimmerman not once, but three times about his intentions to personally testify — while scolding his lawyers not to counsel him in what seemed to many to be an attempt by the court to bully him into taking the stand.
Seeing prosecutors losing the case, Nelson jumped into the ring to give them a direct shot at Zimmerman in a last-ditch attempt to make him look guilty in front of the jury.
Even former prosecutors slammed Nelson for her obnoxious impartiality. Andrew C. McCarthy, a former U.S. attorney who has prosecuted major criminal cases, called the trumped-up Zimmerman case a “travesty” of justice from start to finish. Any other judge would have thrown the case out as the garbage it was.
“In presiding over the trial of George Zimmerman, Judge Debra Nelson has made some awful rulings — none worse than failing to direct a verdict of acquittal on the preposterous second-degree ‘depraved mind’ murder charge,” McCarthy wrote.
“The state’s evidence that Zimmerman had the necessary criminal intent is non-existent, much less sufficient to meet the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard,” he explained. “Compelling evidence, moreover, establishes that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, a claim the state has not come close to refuting.”
Yet Nelson prevented jurors from hearing all that evidence. Over and over again, she ruled as inadmissible key facts and data that could have reinforced Zimmerman’s plea of self-defense.
PS “The reason that Trayvon was not in school at that time was because he was suspended for robbery: he had jewelry and, I believe, a computer which were stolen. The reason that he was not arrested was that the administrator in charge of the investigation wanted to prove to the public that the number of robberies committed by students was down. Therefore, he or she described his crime as a disciplinary action instead.”
Finally, Evidently, Nelson has higher ambitions, having twice applied for open seats on Florida’s supreme court. Let’s hope for the sake of impartial justice the governor continues to pass her over. She really has no business sitting on any bench.