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May 31, 2012

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Confused witnesses and conflicting accounts should be enough to cast "reasonable doubt" on the prosecutor's case. Zimmerman benefits from confused flip-flopping witnesses.

But if Mark O'Meara is competent who should be able to make a huge issue out of the changed testimony, or catch those flip-floppers in the middle of even more inconsistencies...

BlogRaju is correct. A witness who exonerates you is just as good, from a legal perspective, than a witness who changes their story.
But from a PR perspective, it isn't. And this has always been about the PR.
Frankly, if Martin's parents could get $$$ to make it go away, regardless of what happens to Zimmerman, they'd take it.

As I read the story earlier today the same thoughts your express in your last paragraph went through my mind.

I think it was probably a combo of both.

That local talk radio guy may who said two of the witnesses told him they felt pressured is ringing truer now.

As well in the last three or four weeks the tide in the media as shift to being considerably more open to the idea that Zimmerman really did shoot out of legitimate self defense, fearing a concussion or coma. But this was after the time when the special prosector investigators or lawyers interviewed them.

The second interviews with at least two of the witnesses, Witnesses 2 & 6, occurred before Angela Corey was appointed special prosecutor. Another one of the witnesses said to have changed her story, Witness 12, was re-interviewed only four days after Corey was appointed. The media accounts are not entirely clear on the other witnesses, but, if there was pressure from the prosecutor, it does not appear to have originated with Corey, but was present when Wolfinger was still overseeing the case.

I agree, the prosecution isn't making much headway on this. Every trial attorney knows how to cross-examine a witness who has changed his story.

You start by asking the witness questions like "Do you think your memory of the event is better now or right after the event?"

Then you confront him with his statement and grill him with the inconsistencies.

Finally you ask him "Were you lying then -- or are you lying now?"

And even with this, the best the prosecution can realistically hope for is that the witnesses will stick to their later story. With 4 witnesses, there's a pretty good chance that 2 or 3 will try to explain away the inconsistencies and dig themselves in even deeper. Especially if they are stupid blacks.

There is also a small but real danger to the prosecution that one of these witnesses gets in serious trouble on the stand and tries to save himself by blurting out that the authorities pressured him to change his story.

Doesn't matter really, eye witness testimony is considered one of the most unreliable type of "evidence" and I'm positive the defense will be playing the conflicting accounts against one another to discredit all the witnesses and if necessary using the threat of perjury to get the real truths.

Zimmerman was set for beyond all reasonable doubt when the photo evidence of his bloody head, Trevon's bloody knuckles and THC in the autopsy report was introduced to the media.

I think they were re-interviewed starting March 20, which was 4 days after I heard about the story in the national press, so there was plenty of time for them to be biased by media coverage.

In general, witnesses to sudden, traumatic events are not hugely reliable: they don't have context to put the event in so it's easy to get it wrong.

"But from a PR perspective, it isn't. And this has always been about the PR."

Yes, that's a good point. The Leftist fallback position will probably be the same as it was with the Duke Lacrosse Hoax: "We'll never really know for sure what happened that night."

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