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First he had to endure unjustified stalking and suspicion. Then he had to to endure an unwarranted attack for 'walking home while Black.'

Next unarmed, he had to be gripped by the fear of an armed assailant chasing him down, under the guise of Florida's barbaric "Stand your Ground Laws."

Now Trayon Martin and his family, must endure this new indignity that excludes the expert audio analysis of the confrontation, and Trayvon's very last words -- pleading for his life.


Judge excludes state audio experts in George Zimmerman trial

by David Ovalle, The Miami Herald -- 06.22.13

[...]
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.

In her 12-page order, sent via e-mail to the lawyers in the case, Nelson found that the methods the two men used to analyze the audio were not generally accepted in the scientific community.
[...]

She singled out Reich, who claimed he heard Trayvon saying specific phrases, including “I’m begging you.” Nelson said his report to the prosecution, which differed from one given earlier to a newspaper, “would confuse issues” and “mislead the jury.”
[...]

Another state expert, Tom Owen, used computer software to analyze a four-second snippet of cries. He compared it to a sample of an audio clip of Zimmerman, and concluded the voice on the 911 call did not belong to him.


Confuse or mislead the jury?  I would think knowing who was pleading "I'm begging you"

-- would go directly the heart of the case:  

Who was in fear for their life;  and who was in desperate need of "Self-defense"

-- which is the supposed basis for establishing a "Stand your Ground" exoneration of armed wrong-doing in the state of Florida. If Zimmerman was not the one "pleading" -- then technically Zimmerman has no case.

The presiding Judge, just gave back to him that unimaginable scenario to hide behind. That Trayvon had put him, in fear for his life.  Using his skittles and his fists, the jury is to supposed to believe.



Here is some of the reasoning of one of the audio experts, that now thanks to Judge Debra Nelson, the Zimmerman Jury will never be "confused or misled" by:


Trayvon Martin shooting:  It's not George Zimmerman crying for help on 911 recording, 2 experts say

by Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel -- March 31, 2012

[...]
[Tom] Owen, a court-qualified expert witness and former chief engineer for the New York Public Library's Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, is an authority on biometric voice analysis — a computerized process [Easy Voice Biometrics] comparing attributes of voices to determine whether they match.
[...]

"I took all of the screams and put those together, and cut out everything else," Owen says.

The software compared that audio to Zimmerman's voice. It returned a 48 percent match. Owen said to reach a positive match with audio of this quality, he'd expect higher than 90 percent.

"As a result of that, you can say with reasonable scientific certainty that it's not Zimmerman," Owen says, stressing that he cannot confirm the voice as Trayvon's, because he didn't have a sample of the teen's voice to compare.

Forensic voice identification is not a new or novel concept; in fact, a recent U.S. Department of Justice committee report notes that federal interest in the technology "has a history of nearly 70 years."


If the pleading voice "I'm begging you," wasn't Zimmerman's voice, according to the "court-qualified expert witness" Tom Owen,

Then WHO's was it?


The Ice-cream vendor down the street?

The Birds flying overhead?

The fearful neighbors cowering behind their blinds?


No, the only "confusing and misleading" thing about excluding the "forensic voice identification analysis," is when in the modern world will the black man in America, ever receive "fair and equal" treatment in the eyes of the Law.

This latest travesty, is but another in a very long line of injustices, of being assumed "an automatic suspect" -- of living while Black, in our supposed Land of the Free, for everyone under the Law.  




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Comment Preferences

  •  Casey Anthony all over again (6+ / 0-)

    Cue the jury (who "doesn't follow the news, it's too depressing") to become confused on the concept of reasonable doubt et voila, Zimmerman's got a whole new life in an undisclosed location coincidently in need of a neighborhood watch toughy. He will live out his days eating twinkies and taking benzos. Yay justice.

  •  the judge ruled (17+ / 0-)

    that the evidence was not scientifically reliable.  That's not an impossibly high standard, and it means that the prosecution and the government experts could not establish a consensus in the field that their methods were reliable.

    And if that's the case, then the law and the Constitution don't allow it in.

    I hope he is convicted because I believe he did it, but this ruling is not necessarily a "travesty."

  •  My fingers are crossed that the Martin family (8+ / 0-)

    get some justice, My gut feeling says GZ will get convicted.

    •  I so hope your gut feeling is spot on as I cannot (7+ / 0-)

      even nor will I watch this trial. When I try to, nausea and nervousness takes over. My sister is visiting and feels the same way.  My sister teaches in a high school where more than half her students are African American.  She sees her students when she looks at Trayvon.  She thinks of her students when she hears about Trayvon.

      I am very worried if Zimmerman is found not guilty, I worry about what message this will send. I am tied up in knots over this.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:39:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the message it'll send is that the system works. (0+ / 0-)

        the prosecution doesn't even have anything close to proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

        •  we'll see about that in about a month Johnny! (2+ / 0-)

          watch this space:)

        •  Proof of what, exactly? (4+ / 0-)

          That Zimmerman killed Martin with his handy dandy gun? Defense has so stipulated, Zimmerman has never denied it.

          That Zimmerman had convinced himself that Martin was up to no good? Stipulated. That he followed Martin despite dispatch's strong advice against it? That his excuse for disregarding the advice was that he thought Martin might "get away?" They've got the whole tape and transcript of the actual call.

          Zimmerman's entire hope for some kind of defense against the charge of second degree murder is to claim he was so terrified of the teenager that he feared for his very life. Even though he was the one with a loaded gun, and Martin was armed only with skittles and tea.

          It would probably have been a waste of the court's time to go with these experts, due to the questionable methodology. The defense could spend a week foisting oppositional 'experts'. The facts alone provide a significant degree of doubt that the person begging for his life was the killer, and not the victim. The defense has to get around that, and experts who testify the voice is NOT Zimmerman would devastate their only defense.

          The facts are the facts, the question is whether or not Zimmerman's lawyer can convince a jury that he had good enough reason to fear for his life that it justified the homicide. Don't forget the defense waived a SYG hearing that would have gotten him off scott free right then and there. Obviously his lawyer(s) recognize it's going to be a hard sell to an actual judge. They're banking on an impressionable jury.

          The prosecution doesn't have to prove that Zimmerman killed Martin. They have to prove he did it unnecessarily and with a degree of situational malice (aforethought is murder-one, not murder-two). Proof of Zimmerman's justification for killing the kid is and was always going to be a hard sell. To any jury that's not bought.

        •  Sorry I disagree Johnny, I feel it sends a message (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DefendOurConstitution, CaliSista

          that if you see a kid in your neighborhood, particularly a minority, who does not appear to belong there..you can follow him, try to get him to stop, play cop and shoot the kid if he resists or tries to run away.

          Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

          by wishingwell on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:43:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You know this -- how? (0+ / 0-)

          n/t

          Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

          by Dogs are fuzzy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:08:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  If he is found innocent there is still the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell

        possibility of a civil trial, and possibility of a civil rights charge, though that seems unlikely.

    •  I hope you're right, the worst part will be the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doroma, jamess

      defense trying to blame/prosecute the victim and his family having to endure this.

  •  Thank you for covering this decision (15+ / 0-)

    If this is true

    In her 12-page order, sent via e-mail to the lawyers in the case, Nelson found that the methods the two men used to analyze the audio were not generally accepted in the scientific community.
    then it is important to not open this door for appeal. I think voice analysis is even more murky than fingerprint analysis, and has never been subject to standards or blind proficiency testing. You know, where the expert is tested on whether they correctly identify voices that are hard for the rest of us to distinguish.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:32:50 AM PDT

    •  thanks LilithGardener (6+ / 0-)

      the way I read Owen info

      there's no way it was Zimmerman.

      not even on a likely basis (50%) -- so why throw him that lifeline?

      Seems kind of "biased" to me.

      But hey, I just a humble blogger.

      •  Because it's only 50% (6+ / 0-)

        - more likely than not isn't good enough.

        That means it's a coin toss. And bringing in experts at that level of certainty just wastes court time, IMO.

        For scientific evidence to be used in court it needs to be in the 95% or better range.

        Imagine paternity - well, he might be the father, but there's a 49% chance he's not. We never accepted paternal responsibility until certainty was much, much higher.

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:00:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Because the standard for criminal convictions... (6+ / 0-)

        ...isn't just "a likely basis"—it's "beyond a reasonable doubt."

        I fully believe that George Zimmerman should be convicted of murder for his shooting of Trayvon Martin, but I also fully believe that he deserves a fair trial and that he does not deserve to be convicted of murder unless it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he murdered Trayvon Martin.

        Zimmerman has the right to a fair trial and the right to the presumption of innocence, just as we all do if we are charged with a crime.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:24:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ??? (0+ / 0-)

          That Zimmerman killed Martin is not at issue. A homicide by gunshot was in fact committed, and Zimmerman admitted all along he was the one who did it.

          Guilt or innocence in this situation isn't an issue apart from the specific charge (which the jury will decide). Zimmerman, who was armed, is guilty of killing Martin, who was unarmed. He will be as guilty of that for the rest of his life as he was the moment he pulled the trigger. This trial is about Zimmerman's excuse for killing Martin. How can someone be innocent - or guilty - of an excuse?

          •  Sigh. Not correct. (7+ / 0-)

            Self-defense is not an excuse.  It is the law.  In every state in this country, a person is entitled to use deadly force if that person is in reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm.  That's not an excuse.  It's legal justification for an action in every state in this country.  

            The caveat is that, if person is engaged in unlawful activity, and that unlawful activity is what caused the action that put that person in fear of death or great bodily harm, then that person is not authorized to use deadly force in self-defense.

            In this case, two central questions will be (1) whether Zimmerman was in reasonable fear of death or bodily harm from Martin at the moment when Zimmerman shot Martin.   If the answer is no, game over for Zimmerman. (2) If the answer is yes, whether something Zimmerman did something unlawful (like physically attack Martin) to prompt Martin's response that put Zimmerman in fear of death or great bodily harm.  

            Actually, that's phrased a bit wrong, because the prosecution has the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the answer to question (1) is no; and/or the answer to question (2) is yes.  If the prosecution does not meet the burden of proving that beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury must return a verdict of "not guilty."  

            •  I would say that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dream weaver

              stalking someone, with a gun, is an unlawful activity.

              Carrying Skittles and Iced Tea, is not.

              I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
              but I fear we will remain Democrats.

              Who is twigg?

              by twigg on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:41:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This was not illegal stalking. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Neuroptimalian, Pi Li, VClib

                See this comment, where I quoted the law and cases interpreting the law.  

                To summarize that comment, to be stalking under the law, you have to show repeated events.  You maliciously follow, you stop following (like you leave the area or start doing something completely different and unrelated), time passes where you are not following or attempting to following, there's another incident where you maliciously follow, you stop, you start again . . . "Stalking" laws take an action that is perfectly legal (but perhaps not "good") -- following someone, calling them, even saying nasty things to them -- and says that, if there are numerous separate and distinct instances of doing something otherwise legal , the repeated nature of those instances of conduct that would be legal if you did it once, along with malicious intent behind the repetition, is what is being criminalized.  For example, there's nothing illegal about walking past a person's house when they are leaving to go to work and saying really nasty things to that person.  (It's not a good thing, but it's not illegal.)  But if you do that every day for a week, that repetition is what may convert a bad, but otherwise legal act into stalking under the law.

                As far as the law is concerned, this was one instance of one person following and watching another person in a public area.  Regardless of what either person was thinking, regardless of whether that was a stupid thing for Zimmerman to do,  there's nothing illegal about following someone and watching them in a public area.  And I strongly suspect that the jury will be told exactly that when they are instructed on the law.  

                Now, if Zimmerman physically attacked Martin punched him, swung at him, etc. -- or if Zimmerman pointed a gun at Martin, THAT would be illegal conduct.  

                •  I believe Zimmerman (0+ / 0-)

                  had a long history of calling in young black males to law enforcement.

                  The pattern is there ... it's stalking.

                  I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                  but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                  Who is twigg?

                  by twigg on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:33:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No. He has to have repeatedly followed Martin (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pi Li, VClib, Dr Swig Mcjigger

                    for it to be stalking.  You can't "stalk" you follow different people at different times.  It has to be repeated action directed at the same person.  

                    Think of it this way.  If a guy repeatedly and maliciously follows his ex-girlfriend, that's stalking.  If he's just angry at women, and repeatedly follows different women between the ages of 20 and 30, that's not stalking.  It may be bad behavior, but it's not stalking under the law.  

                    •  I know how to think of it (0+ / 0-)

                      and I think my example is valid.

                      It may not have been tested yet, but it's a decent case to answer.

                      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                      Who is twigg?

                      by twigg on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:25:56 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  It goes to "intent" (0+ / 0-)

                        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                        Who is twigg?

                        by twigg on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:26:22 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  You are just wrong. You don't have to take my (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Pi Li, VClib

                        word or it.  Think of it this way.  If Zimmerman was in the commission of felony stalking, then the prosecution could have charged him with first degree murder -- murder in the commission of a felony is first degree murder.  They did not.  They charged him with second degree murder - -which means they are NOT claiming he was committing a felony by following Martin.

                        Here's more proof.  While you will hear the prosecution say "profile" "wannabe  cop" and other things the Court approved, I'll bet you WON'T hear the prosecution say "stalking," because legally, he wasn't stalking.  If they say he was "stalking" -- acting illegally-- that would likely be a mistrial, because they essentially would be alleging he committed a criminal act that he has never been charged with committing.  

                        And "goes to "intent" only matters if your ACTIONS are illegal.  In my example about the man following different women, his "intent" is completely irrelevant, because his ACTIONS are not illegal.  If I'm walking behind you on a public street, watching you -- an action that is completely legal -- it does not matter what my intent is.  Period.  End of story. It does not matter if I hate you and wish you were dead.  As long as ALL I am doing is walking behind you, watching you, or even saying something to you, the fact that I hate you and wish you were dead doesn't matter.  

                        "Intent" matters in Z's shooting of Martin, clearly.  But it has nothing to do with the question of whether Z acted completely legally by following and watching Martin.  It may have been a stupid thing to do, but legally, it was NOT stalking.  

                      •  twigg - not under Florida law (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        coffeetalk, Pi Li, andalusi

                        Z did nothing illegal up to the point the two of them confront one another. What happened at that point is what the trial is all about.

                        The prosecution isn't going to make a stalking claim because under Florida law an event that takes ten minutes from the 911 call to the tragic end in no way fits the Florida stalking statute. The prosecution won't embarrass itself by making such a frivolous claim. The judge would smack them down and embarrass the prosecution in front of the jury.

                        "let's talk about that"

                        by VClib on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:44:03 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  Could a lawyer argue the contrary? (0+ / 0-)

                  For example, by claiming that breaking a pursuit into two parts makes it a repeated pursuit?

                  Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

                  by Dogs are fuzzy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:18:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No. (I am a lawyer, by the way.) (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pi Li, VClib

                    In that comment I linked to, a Florida Court, interpreting the Florida statute, discussed what "repeatedly" under the statute meant.  It concluded that a case where person 1 harassed person 2 at a kiosk in a mall, then person 1 left the area, 15 minutes passed where he was gone from the area, then he came back and did it again, then left the area, then an hour passed where he was gone from the area, then he came back and did it again, could be stalking.  The Court said that "repeatedly" meant what you normally think for it to mean-- different events, separated by the passage of time.  The fact that harasser left the area, time passed, and then he came back and did it again, he left the area, time passed again, and he came back again is what made it "repeatedly."

                    In addition, this is a criminal statute.  You can't play those kinds of semantic games with criminal statutes.  Criminal statutes have to be strictly construed -- they have to be crystal clear, so that you know BEFORE you commit the act what is criminal and what is not.  

              •  It was not stalking according to Florida law. (0+ / 0-)
            •  Self defense under SYG (0+ / 0-)

              is a defense in this case, something it is the job of the defense - i.e., NOT the prosecution - to present and try to prove. The prosecution maintains that Zimmerman killed an unarmed teenager with his gun in a neighborhood alley because he had delusions of piggy grandeur and profiled the teenager from a distance as 'suspicious' and having criminal intent. Not just in his own mind, these are things he told the dispatcher. Before the dispatcher told him to break off the pursuit. The state presents its case based on its conclusion that the evidence shows this was an unjustified killing - murder-2.

              Against that case the defense will argue that Georgie boy was terrified of the Skittles-wielding teenager and suffered genuine fear for his very life from the ebil Skittles-rays and tea-bullets. So there was no malice or bad intent, Martin was deadly dangerous with his Skittles and tea-bullets and even a fist to the nose of the guy with the gun. And that means killing him was justified.

              Zimmerman's lawyer(s) waived a formal SYG hearing. If the evidence were sufficient, he would not be facing a jury at this time or ever. Instead, they chose to try it on the murder trial jury as mitigating circumstance for the killing, hoping they'll have better luck. It's a longshot, I think. He'd have been better off claiming the gun went off by accident as they struggled. Too late for that now...

              •  Not correct under Florida law. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Neuroptimalian, Dogs are fuzzy, VClib

                As long as a defendant raises a prima facie case of self-defense then the burden shifts to the prosecution to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.  

                So, here's what the jury will be instructed:

                If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the  question of whether the defendant was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find the defendant not guilty.
                That clearly means the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman did not act in self-defense rests with the prosecution.  Basically, if there's enough for the judge to give the jury instruction on self-defense and what it is and what it is not, the jury will also be told that the burden is on the prosecution to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it was not self-defense.  
          •  There's a lot to unpack there. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coffeetalk
            That Zimmerman killed Martin is not at issue. A homicide by gunshot was in fact committed, and Zimmerman admitted all along he was the one who did it.
            You're right that it is indisputable that Zimmerman shot and killed Martin—but the legal characterization of that shooting as a "homicide" is precisely what is at issue here.

            If a reasonable person in Zimmerman's situation would believe that his or her life was at risk, then this was not a homicide but a case of self-defense.

            Now, I believe that Zimmerman's killing of Martin was in fact a homicide, and I am hopeful that the prosecution will succeed in convincing the jury of that beyond a reasonable doubt.

            But you quite simply can't jump immediately from the established fact that Zimmerman shot Martin, to saying that it is a similarly established fact that Zimmerman's shooting of Martin was a homicide. It's not at all established; that's why we have trials.

            He will be as guilty of that for the rest of his life as he was the moment he pulled the trigger. This trial is about Zimmerman's excuse for killing Martin. How can someone be innocent - or guilty - of an excuse?
            Because the "excuse" here—the context of the situation beyond the already-established fact that Zimmerman shot and killed Martin—is what determines whether this was a homicide, the unlawful killing of another person, or a case of self-defense. Simply assuming that because it's established that Zimmerman shot Martin, it's automatically a homicide and any attempts by Zimmerman to defend himself are nothing more than an "excuse," suggests a complete and inappropriate rush to judgment.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:01:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You've lost the meaning of words. (0+ / 0-)

              Homicide is the killing of a human being by another human being. Period. Full stop.

              The reasons and excuses for one person killing another person cannot ever in a bazillion years make the dead un-dead or negate the fact of the killing or magically render the kill-shot undone for the human who delivered it.

              That isn't a difficult concept, James. "Self-defense" may keep you out of prison because a jury believe that excuse, but it doesn't undo the deed.

              •  No, self defense means your actions were lawful. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                nextstep, VClib

                That's the concept you don't understand.  "Self-defense" is not an excuse.  It means that the person who acted in self-defense acted legally, and the OTHER PERSON, who may be dead, is the one who acted illegally.  

                If Stranger comes up to me and points a gun at me and says "I'm going to shoot you," and I shoot him first and he dies, I acted in self-defense.  That means I acted legally, and HE acted illegally.  That's not "an excuse."  

            •  Of course it's a homicide. (0+ / 0-)

              Whether it's a murder and not a justifiable homicide is the question in front of the legal system.

              Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

              by Dogs are fuzzy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:22:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Joieau - James used the term murder (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pi Li

            and you used the term killed. They aren't the same under the law. Z is presumed innocent of murder even though no one is disputing that he killed Trayvon.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:39:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It is not good, but according to USA Today (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener, doroma, jamess

      article on this ruling:

      Even so, the actual 911 call can be played in court and witnesses familiar with the voices of Zimmerman and Trayvon can testify to who they believe is screaming, the judge ruled.
      So it is disappointing, but it does not preclude the jurors from hearing the recordings and the real contest will be whose witnesses at recognizing the voice have more credibility.
  •  Not a Travesty (15+ / 0-)

    This was a Frye hearing about scientific evidence, applying the Supreme Court's standard in the Frye case:  is the expert testimony based on scientific principles that are sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the field?

    This hearing had zero to do with any of the actual facts in the case.  It was focused solely on whether the voice analysis science used by the defense experts was sufficiently established to be considered generally accepted.  The judge ruled that the science had not become generally accepted.

    The jury can still hear the tape, and can still hear from witnesses testifying about who they believe the voices/screams were from.

  •  I also do not like that there are only 6 jurors (7+ / 0-)

    in these cases. I thought 12 jurors was the norm?  Is this just Florida or certain states?

    Also, there is a lack of diversity on this jury with 5 white women and one woman being described as either Latino or African American.

    But then again, it is so interesting and perhaps a very good thing that it is an all female jury.

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:42:15 AM PDT

  •  This was the right decision (15+ / 0-)

    You're correct that forensic analysis of audio recordings can have a place the courtroom. The problem is, not all the audio "experts" could agree on what was being said. Only one of the experts, for the prosecution, heard the "I'm begging you" and "This shall be" bit. Some experts said the scream came from Martin, some Zimmerman, and one expert said it was impossible to match a scream to a voice.  All of this would no doubt have confused the jury and resulted in a stalemate anyway.

    As you point out here...

    If Zimmerman was not the one "pleading" -- then technically Zimmerman has no case.
    ...this could be an important element that his case hinges on. And frankly, most judges just aren't going to let such a crucial aspect of this case hinge on scientifically unreliable evidence. The quality of the recording probably makes a definitive voice analysis impossible, and jurors are just going to have to sort it out for themselves, it happens.

    Black Holes Suck.

    by Pi Li on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:46:55 AM PDT

    •  I am not sure of that but it's a valid point. What (0+ / 0-)

      the real travesty is was done from day one when the police bungled this case (and who knows what evidence was compromised) and didn't arrest GZ with the pretext that SYG law exonerated the vigilante. In what world is having a guy armed with a pistol chase a kid armed with Skittles and shoot him dead considered even close to self defense because of the threat?

  •  Unfair criticism -- need to address the standard (10+ / 0-)

    the judge had to apply in her ruling before you criticize it.   You can't simply assume that any ruling the defense asked for is incorrect or unfair, any more than you can assume that any ruling the prosecution asked for is incorrect or unfair.

    As a lawyer, I can tell you that you can pretty much find an "expert" to say almost anything you want.  It is the job of the judge to decide if the expert is using a method that is generally accepted in the field as scientifically valid.  If the expert's methods are considered scientifically valid in the field, the expert is generally allowed to testify.  If the expert is an "outlier," using a method that others in the field do not consider scientifically valid, then the judge is supposed to exclude the expert.  The standard the judge used in this case is called the "Frye" standard for a case that discussed this standard.  My understanding is that, as of July 1, Florida adopted the more stringent Daubert standard, which is now the rule in Federal Courts and in the majority of states.   You need to look at the standard that the judge was obligated, as a matter of law, to apply in deciding whether to allow the experts to testify.

    My understanding is that the two experts who were excluded used methods that were not generally recognized in the field as valid and reliable.  In fact, an FBI expert in the area said he was "disturbed" by the methods used by the experts that were excluded.  Apparently, the judge excluded the experts because “There is no evidence to establish that their scientific techniques have been tested and found reliable."   If the prosecution wanted to present the experts, the prosecution had the burden of demonstrating to the Court that the methods used by these experts were considered reliable in that scientific community.  As I understand it, nobody else in the field (including an FBI expert) believed that you could tell who was, or was not speaking through a scream.  In addition, most experts in the field testified that you had to have to have an audio of a certain length to identify the speaker, which wasn't present here.  One expert that was excluded "looped" a very short clip (i.e., played it over and over to get to the right "length,") and there was no evidence presented to the Court that the method of "looping" a very short clip was scientifically tested and found to be reliable.  If the judge is correct when she states that the prosecution did not present any evidence that the methods used by these two experts were scientifically tested and found to be reliable, she was probably correct to exclude them. A judge is supposed to act as a gatekeeper for experts, and is not supposed to let anyone who claims to be an expert testify before a jury.  A judge is supposed to independently find that there's some basis for determining that the expert's methods are valid and reliable before that expert is allowed to testify.  Sometimes the methods can be validated through the literature -- textbooks, scientific studies, etc. discussing the methodology and the evidence that the method is valid and reliable.  Sometimes the methods can be validated through other experts who say, for example, the methods Mr. Expert used are pretty standard, whether I agree or disagree with Mr. Expert's conclusions.  Apparently, if the judge's statement in the ruling is correct, the prosecution did not present and of that kind of "back up" of the methods used by the experts that were excluded.   (I will be interested to read the full opinion to see it, but I'm basing my comments on the reports of the basis of her ruling, for example in the links I include).  

    If the judge had allowed the testimony, and Zimmerman had been convicted based on testimony about scientific methods that had not been tested and found to be reliable, that would have been a huge issue in Zimmerman's favor on appeal.  

  •  To be fair . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, bobatkinson

    While all the pundit analysis seems to indicate that this ruling hurts the prosecution, it's also true that Zimmerman's best defense would be to try to prove that it was his voice on the 911 recording.  

    Zimmerman's team doesn't have much else, if anything, to back up his any of his claims, and if this audio evidence were still admissible, it's a certainty that the defense's attorneys could find some hack to say that it was George's voice.

    The way it stands, imho it's rather a wash.

    Another beautiful day in Surveillance Nation.

    by thenekkidtruth on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:57:39 AM PDT

    •  I thought the defense had their own expert voice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thenekkidtruth

      analyst? Is theirs allowed to testify?

      •  The judge, I believe, has ruled voice analysis (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doroma, happymisanthropy

        on both sides inadmissible, as I understand it.

        Open to correction on this, because legal details aren't my thing, but as I read it, she isn't allowing any voice analysis at all - only the prima facie content information on the 911 recording itself.

        Another beautiful day in Surveillance Nation.

        by thenekkidtruth on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:08:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks..that's a good thing then, the jury can (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thenekkidtruth

          hear the 911 recordings and make their own decision. I think both family members will claim that it's their person screaming. The jury will have to use other forensic evidence(other than who was screaming) to help them reach a decision.

          •  Yuh, I see things the same way (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            doroma

            A hack witness produced by the defense might sow reasonable doubt, and that's been dispensed with.

            Now it's down to the jury analyzing the preponderance of the evidence, which, I believe, favors the prosecution.

            Another beautiful day in Surveillance Nation.

            by thenekkidtruth on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:18:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Defense could sow doubt with the FBI expert (0+ / 0-)

              saying that current technology does not have the ability to determine if the voices were TM or GZ.  Therefore human witnesses cannot be relied upon either.  

              High doubt as to the facts means the prosecution does not prove its case.

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:57:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  The defense's experts, including the FBI (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pi Li, VClib

        expert, testified that,

        1.  No scientifically tested method can determine, from a scream, the identify of the speaker.    

        2.  The audio clips were too short, under generally accepted scientific methods, to be able to validly conclude who the speaker was, and the method of the excluded expert (looping one short audio clip over and over) was not a tested method that was found to be scientifically valid.

        What the jury will hear is the audio.  Perhaps they will also hear that based on the limited audio clip, experts cannot conclude, with scientific certainty, who the speaker is.  

        •  my question is does the defense have a expert (0+ / 0-)

          voice analyst testifying at the trial? The prosecution one won't testify...will the defense one testify?. That's what I asked and I have been answered already. Thanks.

  •  'shit, he's running' - Those 3 words made up my (6+ / 0-)

    mind and I haven't heard anything to change it yet. I'm glad I'm not on the jury, but I'm so opinionated I probably wouldn't be.

  •  You used circular reasoning in your diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy

    Circular Reasoning: supporting a premise with the premise rather than a conclusion.

    In your diary, you wondered whose voice is it screaming, if not Zimmerman.

    But you did not refute the judge's claim that the methods used by these experts were not generally accepted by the scientific community.

    In short, you ignored the judge's argument.

  •  The judge wants Zimmerman to get away with murder. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, The Jester

    It's just that simple.

    Obama is the Chickenshit-in-Chief for failing to stand up to Republicans on all their phony scandals, from the "beer summit," to Van Jones, "death panels," Shirley Sherrod, contraception, Benghazi, and the IRS.

    by expatjourno on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:06:12 AM PDT

    •  That's completely unfair and scurrilous. (10+ / 0-)

      The judge had to make a decision regarding whether the methods used by these experts was scientifically tested and proven to be valid.  If you have a basis for believing that there WAS evidence in the record to demonstrate that, and she ignored it, you can criticize her on that basis.

      Certainly she has made some rulings against the Zimmerman defense team, ruling, for example, that the prosecution can use terms like "profiled" "wannabe cop" etc.  

      •  I don't know about scurrilous, given what's... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cap76

        ...happened from the beginning.

        But yes, I read some comments indicating the judge may have made the correct ruling, so I retract my comment.

        Obama is the Chickenshit-in-Chief for failing to stand up to Republicans on all their phony scandals, from the "beer summit," to Van Jones, "death panels," Shirley Sherrod, contraception, Benghazi, and the IRS.

        by expatjourno on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:01:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The judge must presume Zimmerman is innocent... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      expatjourno, VClib

      ...until the prosecution can prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, according to the standards of the American judicial system, that he is guilty.

      That's how the system is supposed to work.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:28:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I understand how the system is SUPPOSED TO work. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dogs are fuzzy

        The judge is also not supposed to stack the deck.

        This is the South. Black victim. Wannabe cop defendant. Long history of people getting away with killing African-Americans.

        Did I jump to conclusions in this instance? Quite possibly so. It sure looks like it. But it's based on my knowledge of history, not any lack of knowledge about "how the system is supposed to work."

        Obama is the Chickenshit-in-Chief for failing to stand up to Republicans on all their phony scandals, from the "beer summit," to Van Jones, "death panels," Shirley Sherrod, contraception, Benghazi, and the IRS.

        by expatjourno on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:08:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  the judge is totally in the conspiracy. (3+ / 0-)

      its turtles all the way down.

    •  Possible: such things happen. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      expatjourno

      Your evidence it's happening in this case?

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:38:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Statistical probability, given where the trial... (0+ / 0-)

        ...is being held.

        But some of the commenters did a good job of explaining why the ruling was correct. Had I read those first, I would not have written the comment that way and maybe not at all.

        Obama is the Chickenshit-in-Chief for failing to stand up to Republicans on all their phony scandals, from the "beer summit," to Van Jones, "death panels," Shirley Sherrod, contraception, Benghazi, and the IRS.

        by expatjourno on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:32:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I hope and pray Trayon gets justice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, jamess

    But i have little faith in this Judge, the jury and the justice system.

  •  no surprise there. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk

    the "analysis" proffered was just a guy listening real hard.  whatever it is, its not admissible under the Frye standard.

  •  Anyone who wants to criticize the judge's (5+ / 0-)

    ruling, should at least read it first.  

    You can see it here.

  •  I heard/read some of the arguments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Dogs are fuzzy

    in this motion and the decision was not a big surprise to me. Not only were the audio guys putting forth a new technique not in wide use (or use at all), they did not seem to offer any independent analysis showing their method worked as claimed. It's possible I may have missed such testimony but I would have expected to see a reference to it in the news accounts.

    To show their method worked as well as the more established ones they could have provided comparison studies of test audio samples. If they could duplicate the results by comparing a series of unknown audio samples by both methods and derive the same results or by performing parallel tests with another facility, the Prosecution may have prevailed.

    Zimmerman is responsible for Trayvon's death. Whether he will be held criminally responsible is another story based on Florida's laws and the jury's interpretation of those laws.

    My opinion is that a combination of racial profiling, cop wannabe-ism, and an irresponsible gun owner's overinflated "might makes right" ego delivered the death penalty for WWB.

    "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

    by CaliSista on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:27:16 AM PDT

  •  You people have a serious lack reading... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DefendOurConstitution

    ... comprehension.

    Re: Hit rating.

    I did NOT call for violence at all.

    I merely said what most people would feel if the Justice System so seriously fails a murder victim.

    That IF a family member, reacted to such a failure of justice by taking the law into their own hands.... I, on their jury, would vote to acquit.... as is MY RIGHT under the US Constitution, known as freedom of speech.

    This does not CALL for anything, but is a cautionary statement as to WHY it is so important that the Justice System actually does it's job. Competently.

    Because if the rule of law and justice clearly does not exist, there will be anarchy... as history attests.

    That does NOT IN ANY WAY incite or call for violence against Zimmerman, and most certainly does not even reference...  the Judge.

    •  I don't think it was a lack of comprehension on so (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Jester

      many people's minds that gave you the HR. That said, I suspected that it may have been an attempt at some dark humor or irony and I'm willing to take off my HR (not that it will make a difference) if you explain what you meant clearly without coming across as promoting violence.

    •  Went back to check my "lack reading (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pi Li, Adam B, andalusi

      comprehension" and

      I think I comprehended correctly the first time. There's no "If" in this statement:

      Ok, now that justice has been undermined, here is my proclamation. The family of Trayvon are free to just kill this asshole,
      While there is an "If" in the next statement, the unwritten "Then" still calls for violence
      If the justice system refuses to work and do it's job... 2nd amendment remedies are approved.
      How is it different from those calling for "second amendment remedies" IF the country votes the "wrong" way, ACA passes, etc.

      "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

      by CaliSista on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:22:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hmmm (6+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure anyone who writes this sentence...

      ...You people have a serious lack reading...
      ... comprehension.
      ...has any room criticising anyone on reading comprhehension.

      Moreover, nice try, but there's not a lot of wiggle room in this:

      Ok, now that justice has been undermined, here is my proclamation. The family of Trayvon are free to just kill this asshole, I will vote to ACQUIT them period
      It wasn't a question. There was no "if" there...in fact, you called it a "proclamation."  I won't even get into how wrong on the facts and law the rest of your ignorant comment was.

      What you wrote was reprehensible, and if it were up to me you'd be banned.

      Black Holes Suck.

      by Pi Li on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:49:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Either way the judge ruled (0+ / 0-)
    “This ruling is not a blow to the prosecution,” Crump said, calling the evidence against Zimmerman “overwhelming. “The jury can use their common sense in this matter along with all the other evidence. I don’t think it will affect the case.”[...]

    But on the ruling issued Saturday, some legal observers called it a considerable win for the defense and a good move by the judge because the issue could have been reversed by an appeals court if Zimmerman is convicted.

    “It’s a big score for the defense,” said Miami criminal defense lawyer Terry Lenamon. “Why muddy up the waters with science that is new, novel and not generally accepted, especially in a high-profile case? It was a smart move by the judge.”

    Former Miami-Dade prosecutor Matthew Baldwin said that while the ruling is a setback for prosecutors, dueling experts at trial often cancel themselves out in the jury’s view.[...]

    “The practical reality is that juries often give the most weight to their own opinions when it comes to evaluating this kind of evidence,” Baldwin said. “Since they can listen to the tape as often as they want when they deliberate, their playing Sherlock Holmes is inevitable.”

    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/...

    The fate of Zimmerman is going to come down to the jury's opinion, rather than the experts'.

    "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

    by FiredUpInCA on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:15:03 PM PDT

  •  Strange that the prosecution would try... (4+ / 0-)

    to use these two guys as experts. The State of Florida and the FBI have people who are much more qualified. In fact, it seems that a defendant would more likely employ questionable experts in search of reasonable doubt.

    Bizarre case...

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

    by HairyTrueMan on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:40:56 PM PDT

    •  Yes, one of these two "experts" was relying on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pi Li, HairyTrueMan, VClib

      the validity of software that he promoted and got $1000 every time it was sold.  And even then he himself testified that the software was not set up to evaluated audio as short as the audio clip in this case, which is why he "looped" it.  And then he testified that there was no evidence that the software was scientifically valid when, instead of a single audio clip of sufficient length, you looped a much shorter audio clip.  Given that kind of testimony by the very expert himself, the judge's ruling is not surprising.  

      •  Weird that the prosecution would try to have... (0+ / 0-)

        his testimony admitted into the record. Perhaps the State was just trying to get the defense to waste money on the Frye hearing. I would hope that they weren't relying on the two questionable (at best) experts.

        If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

        by HairyTrueMan on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:26:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't see this as a major problem. (0+ / 0-)

    Both sides were going to introduce experts to speak for their client and it really would serve not purpose.  The tape speak for its self.

    There screams and cries for help, a shot that kills Treyvon and no more cries for help.

    Both sides will claim that their client was the one screaming.  But the more likely conclusion is that the screaming stopped because that person was dead.  Especially when Zimmerman was found kneeling on or astride Treyvon who he apparently though might still be alive and or armed.  

    If Z had been calling for help in the first place and he thought Treyvon might still be a threat, why stop calling for help.
    It will be difficult for the defense to make a convincing argument for that.

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