ABCA judge ruled today that much of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin’s past — including his pot use and school suspensions — will be likely inadmissible at trial.
But George Zimmerman’s defence team has already released photos and text messages from Martin’s mobile phone. Litigation psychologist Amy Singer tells us that move was meant to expose potential jurors to as much information as possible before trial.
“It shows how intelligent they are,” Singer said about Zimmerman’s defence team. “If they were smart they’d pick people … who have read and heard everything and say ‘I think [Zimmerman] is innocent.'”
Zimmerman — who is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin — and his attorney Mark O’Mara have been openly discussing the case on the Internet, on television and in in-depth newspaper interviews.
At a hearing Tuesday morning, a judge denied the state’s motion for a gag order in the case.
Despite O’Mara’s apparent willingness to release much information to the public via a website about the case, he expressed concern that a jury might not be able to hear the case “without outside influence” and moved to sequester the jury pool. That request was denied.
“The big challenge now is going to be jurors facing a lynch-mob mentality,” Singer said.
Martin family lawyer Benjamin Crump accused O’Mara of “polluting the jury pool” by releasing information on Martin’s past.
A judge also ruled Tuesday that:
- The defence cannot bring up Martin’s past marijuana use, school suspensions or fights at trial without clearing “several legal hurdles.”
- The defence cannot mention during opening arguments that traces of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, were found in Martin’s system.
- The jury will not be allowed to visit the scene of the crime.
- The trial will not be delayed, as the defence requested, and will begin June 10.
- Jurors in the case will not be named during the trial, and reporters won’t be allowed to photograph them.
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