Singleton & Serino Testify in Zimmerman Case

The trial of George Zimmerman, accused of second-degree murder in the case of Trayvon Martin, advanced this week with the testimony of Chris Serino and Doris Singleton. Serino, Sanford police detective, and Singleton, another investigator in the case, testified Monday on their investigation following Martin’s death.

Zimmerman has admitted that he shot and killed black teenager Trayvon Martin, but claims that he did so in self defense after the teen attacked him and began banging his head against the concrete. Martin’s family and prosecutors are trying to prove that Zimmerman had ill will against the teen, had followed and scared him, and attacked him partially on the basis of race.

When talking about the teen, Zimmerman answered questions in a straightforward, anger-free way. The state claims he profiled the teen when he saw him walking about the neighborhood’s streets, but according to Zimmerman it was he who was attacked and not the other way around.

Just a few hours after the attack, Zimmerman was quoted in an interview with Serino, saying, “In Catholic religion, it’s always wrong to kill someone.”

Serino responded, “If what you’re telling me is true, I don’t think that what God meant was that you couldn’t save your own life.”

A few days later, though Serino and Singleton suggested that Zimmerman may have been following the teen around before the attack, possibly scaring the teen. That possibility is one that many are taking into account.

“I think that the idea that Trayvon Martin is being followed by George Zimmerman is coming across,” said legal analyst Kendall Coffey in a “Spinning the Law” segment. “And by the way, that’s consistent with other evidence, including the tone of some of the police statements that have not been brought into evidence yet.”

One crucial piece of evidence is the 911 call recording, on which you can hear someone calling for help. Zimmerman claims he had just given the police dispatcher location information on where he had seen Martin and was heading back to his car when he was attacked and began screaming for help. The prosecution, however, claims that the voice calling for help was actually Martin’s.

The sound on the recording has thus far not been enough to conclusively determine who had been yelling for help, but if investigators are able to figure that out, it would be crucial to the case’s outcome—because it could show who the aggressor actually was.


OJ Simpson- blasted by the court of public opinion

OJ Simpson is back in court, this time to contest that the case that landed him in prison- an ill-advised attempt to reclaim some of his sports memorabilia property that he claimed was stolen from him- was botched by a lead lawyer that didn’t have his best interests in mind.

This lawyer, Yale Galanter, was apparently aware of the sting before it happened, and advised Simpson that he was within his right to approach the people.  This turned out to be very bad advice, as he was convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery due to one of his friends bringing a gun along with them.

And while bad advice isn’t grounds for a mistrial, being a witness in a case that you’re defending is a conflict of interest that should have resulted in Galanter recusing himself from the case. More than that, however, it seems that Simpson is accusing Galanter of failing to properly defend him, by not reviewing evidence properly, by not telling Simpson about decisions and plea bargain opportunities, and by advising him not to testify in his own defense.

But while mistakes were certainly made in the case, it’s not obvious that different tactics would have resulted in a different verdict.  Due to the fall-out from Simpson’s earlier murder “trial of the century” it seems that the public was biased against Simpson.

Kendall Coffey discussed the case back in 2008 when it was being tried.  And as Coffey tells it in his book Spinning the Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion, evidence exists to support the idea that the police and prosecutors were working very hard at putting Simpson in jail.

Kendall Coffey writes, “when police alleged that O.J. Simpson, along with gun-toting accomplices, stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room to confiscate allegedly stolen sports memorabilia, they brought serious charges against all the defendants, including robbery and kidnapping counts with possible sentences of life in prison.  Apparently, though, police were more interested in nailing O.J. than his less notorious co-defendants.  Three of the alleged accomplices received “deal-of-the-century” plea bargains to get them to testify.  O.J.’s co-defendants, even those who say they had guns, bargained their way to probation and community service.”

Simpson’s past arrest for murder was officially kept from the jurors in the case however, as Coffey writes, this “could have indeed mattered to the three adults in Nevada who did not already know.”  Indeed, the Simpson trial was one of the biggest televised trials in the history of media.  According to Spinning the Law, “reportedly the first question Russian President Boris Yeltsin asked US President Bill Clinton when he arrived for a summit was, ‘do you think OJ did it?'”

As Kendall Coffey puts it, “the conventional wisdom was that the dream team “out-lawyered” the prosecution, thus securing acquittal for an obviously guilty man.”  Obviously such a belief in the minds of the public can end up disastrously for those who, like O.J., end up back in a court of law.



O.J.’s own lawyer said he had never been in a case where every witness is made out to be a liar.