Duval County Prosecutor and Florida Criminal Lawyer Opening Statements in Zimmerman Case

After approximately two weeks of jury selection, the George Zimmerman murder case started today.  In a Florida criminal trial, the State of Florida presents their case first.  This means that the prosecutor will always give the first opening statement.  There are two Duval County attorneys prosecuting the case.  Bernie De La Rionda and John Guy are the prosecutors for the Zimmerman case.  John Guy was the attorney that made the opening statement.  He “greeted the jury in the George Zimmerman trial Monday with a quote full of expletives…. [His] first words to the six-woman jury may have raised a few eyebrows.” (CNN)  Guy stated, “Good morning. ‘F*****g punks, these a******s all get away,’….These were the words in this grown man’s mouth as he followed this boy that he didn’t know. Those were his words, not mine.”  Guy told the jury that Zimmerman “got out of his car with a pistol and two flashlights to follow Trayvon Benjamin Martin, who was walking home from a 7-Eleven.”  He explained that Martin was with a fruit drink and a bag of candy. Eventually the two became entangled on the ground in a fight. A witness has said Martin was on top of Zimmerman, Guy said.

After Guy presented the State of Florida’s theory of the Florida murder case, Zimmerman’s defense attorney gave his opening statement.   Like Guy, Don West, took an unorthodox approach.  However, it was not with curse words.  West started with a knock-knock joke.  He stated, “Knock knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? Good, you’re on the jury.”   After he failed to get a laugh, he apologized for the joke.  He stated, “No more bad jokes, I promise that….I was convinced it was the delivery.”  He presented the defenses case.  He stated that “Zimmerman was forced to act in self-defense to save his own life.”  West “broke down Zimmerman’s 911 call in which he first reported seeing Martin and told about following him.”  He set the ground for self defense.  He stated, “Little did George Zimmerman know at the time in less than 10 minutes from him first seeing Travyon Martin that he, George Zimmerman, would be suckered punched in the face, have his head pounded on concrete and wind up shooting and tragically killing Trayvon Martin.”

In a Florida criminal case, the state also is the first to present evidence.  The state began its case in chief today:

“In the first day of testimony, jurors heard witnesses recount Martin’s trip to the convenience store, Zimmerman’s call complaining about a suspicious person walking through his neighborhood before Martin’s killing, and a call from the previous August, in which Zimmerman reported an alleged burglary to police.  Proceedings ended for the day when defense attorney Mark O’Mara objected to the earlier call, which prosecutors argued was necessary to explain Zimmerman’s remark about burglars who ‘get away.’” (CNN)

The Zimmerman murder case “ignited national debate about gun laws and race relations, Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, is accused of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012 in Sanford, Florida.” Many Jacksonville criminal lawyers and defense attorneys believed that Zimmerman would file a Florida Stand Your Ground Motion, but he did not.  He is arguing that he acted in self defense though.

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