Trayvon Martin Drug Photos Can’t Be Mentioned, Says Judge

Russell Goldman, Yahoo! News, May 28, 2013

Lawyers for George Zimmerman will not be permitted to mention pictures of drugs and guns found on Trayvon Martin’s cell phone during opening statements in Zimmerman’s trial for murder next month, a judge ruled today.

At a hearing today in Sanford, Fla., Circuit Judge Debra Nelson set some of the rules for what will be a closely watched trial scheduled to begin on June 10. {snip}

Zimmerman, 29, is the neighborhood watch captain who is accused of fatally shooting Martin, 17, last February. He is charged with second degree murder and has pleaded not guilty.

Zimmerman’s lawyer argued that Martin’s marijuana use and history of fighting was central to proving that Zimmerman acted in self-defense.

{snip}

Nelson said that evidence would not be permitted in opening statements, but left open the possibility it could eventually be submitted during the trial.

The judge’s decision comes days after Zimmerman’s lawyers made public the contents of Martin’s phone, including pictures of marijuana leaves, a .40-caliber hand gun, and a photo that appears to show Martin smoking pot.

The defense also posted online, texts Martin sent about getting into fights and being kicked out of his house by his mother.

{snip}

O’Mara said the evidence was essential to combat an early narrative of the case reported by the media .

“Public opinion was swayed by a false presentation of this case from the beginning,” he said. “The Martin family, through their handlers, presented a picture of who Trayvon was and who George was that is wholly inaccurate.”

{snip}

Given the scrutiny the case has received, the judge said witnesses could not be asked whether they believed Zimmerman’s prosecution was politically motivated.

Another hearing to determine which scientific evidence, including information about the texts and photos found on Martin’s phone, will be admissible is scheduled for June 6. {snip}

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