Trayvon Martin lent his phone to a very violent person

Well, either that or he was a violent person.

The forensic expert testified that he recovered multiple conversations between Trayvon Martin and specific family members and friends discussing multi-round street fights and schoolyard fights in which Trayvon Martin had participated. Martin’s half-brother, Demetrius Martin, even asked Trayvon when he would teach him how to fight. Trayvon Martin’s family appeared to know Trayvon was a street fighter.

Most troubling, Conner found multiple conversations — between four and six — where Trayvon discussed attempting to buy black-market guns.

Seems a violent gun-nut did attacked someone that night after all. Luckily he picked a fight with someone who was able to defend himself. Sadly, the media (and others) have been only too ready to pick up where Martin failed.

The guns Martin discussed acquiring included a Smith & Wesson Sigma pistol and a .38 Special revolver. One conversation showed Martin trying to sell a .22 revolver, suggesting he was already in possession of it.

One of the participants in one of the gun conversations was a Fulton, possibly a relative on his mother’s side. All of these conversations took place immediately in the days and weeks before Trayvon Martin left Miami for Sanford.

The reason these conversations were hidden until recently is that the deleted texts were created by a password-protected hidden app designed to beat police surveillance by hiding data and data types as different kinds of files than what the police would be looking for.

The texts are, by all accounts, absolutely damming. The security involved, and the quantity, means that the messages are very, very unlikely to have been used by someone borrowing the phone occasionally. And there is an established precedent which means that such texts are admissible in court.

So naturally the judge refused to allow them. Of course, she didn’t actually explain the reasoning behind her decision but her comments the night before made it clear that, short of a video of him actually writing them, she’d refuse. A number of people have pointed out that the logic she was using would see pretty much anyone accused of trading child port walk free.

Oh, and did I mention that this evidence was (illegally) only turned over at the last minute, and the judge has refused any delays so that the standards she’s set down for authentication can be met?

But that wasn’t enough for the judge.

On Wednesday, Judge Debra Nelson, who is presiding over the trial of George Zimmerman, repeatedly asked Zimmerman whether he would be testifying, over the objections of his attorneys. Nelson told Zimmerman that he had the “absolute right to remain silent” and then asked him whether he wanted to testify. Don West, Zimmerman’s attorney, objected; Nelson overruled him and said, “The court is entitled to inquire if Mr. Zimmerman’s determination as to whether or not he wants to testify.”

She asked Zimmerman how much time he wanted to figure out if he wanted to testify, to which West objected. Nelson then said, irritated, “Your objection is overruled!” Mark O’Mara, another of the defense attorneys whispered, “What is going on?”

Such exchanges are very unusual in criminal trials. Judges rarely confront possible witnesses or defendants on whether they will testify over the objections of attorneys.

A few minutes later, Judge Nelson continued to ask Zimmerman about whether he would testify. She gave him a few minutes to consider. Then she returned to Zimmerman and asked him whether he would testify; he said he would not. She then repeatedly asked whether it was his decision not to testify in the case, rather than the decision of his attorneys.

Trying to encourage an accused person to act against the advise of his own attorneys seems unethical to me.

Update: Apparently some people are upset that the trial hasn’t been about race. And by “some people” I mean the New York Times.

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