George Zimmerman trial: Did the word 'cracker' crack the prosecution?

Published On: Jun 27 2013 09:10:04 AM EDT
Updated On: Jul 05 2013 01:09:59 PM EDT

By Orlando criminal defense attorney Lyle B. Mazin

Lyle B. Mazin was the attorney at the forefront of exposing corruption in the pre-trial monitoring of Orange County defendants.

Referring to a person as a "creepy ass cracker" is by no means a positive reference. Some might be more offended by it than others and some not offended at all. However, "creepy ass cracker" certainly offended the prosecution yesterday as this "cracker" statement might have just cracked the prosecution's case into pieces.

Rachel "Diamond" Jeantel, the young lady who was last on the phone with Trayvon Martin, took the stand yesterday and vivacious gave her account of what she recalls from the night George Zimmerman shot Trayvon. During her testimony she provided the jury with a revelation, the prosecution with a blow and the defense with a golden nugget. She explained that Trayvon told her that a "creepy ass Cracker" was following him.

Ok, so Trayvon had a poor vocabulary, what's the big deal? One word: Profiling.

The State of Florida is molding its case to fit the theme that Zimmerman was an agitated "wannabe cop" who "profiled" Trayvon. Successful prosecutors establish their theme of prosecution during openings and elicit facts throughout trial to pound that theme home in closings. Make no mistake about it, this is the state's theme. The state vigorously fought to be able to call Zimmerman these two terms during pre-trial motion hearings and harped on it throughout their opening. However, the State's theme is cracking. Literally.

The state wants to use the word "profiling" because they want to incite the emotions of the jury. There is no better way to incite a jury than to portray the defendant as a racist. Every time the word profiled is used, the state really wants the jury to hear "racist." Prosecutor John Guy notoriously repeated Zimmerman's words, "f***ing punks. These a**holes always get away" while pointing at Zimmerman and wagging his finger in shame. Guy was hoping the jury would understand that phrase to mean that Zimmerman had profiled and categorized black males into a group he refers to as punks. Well, the state can lower their sails because that wind is gone.

Zimmerman never actually used a derogatory word. Trayvon did. Again, the fact that Trayvon said "cracker" is not a defense to murder. However, it is a defense to Zimmerman being a racist. The state can no longer harp on the word punk. In contrast to cracker, punk is harmless. Simply because Trayvon used those words does not dictate he was racist and the same applies to Zimmerman. The state cannot, at least with a straight face, ask the jury to be grossly offended by Zimmerman and not equally offended by Trayvon. If the state does attempt that, the defense can equally point out the words of Trayvon. At a minimum it equalizes the racist card. Remember, the burden in this case is high and in order to obtain a guilty verdict the state cannot finish this race equal. They need to be way ahead.

Say what you like about the confidence and performance of Zimmerman's defense team thus far, but it is unquestionable (assuming they realize it) that they have gained some solid traction in quashing the states theme of prosecution. In addition to potentially diffusing the race factor in this case, earlier this week the Zimmerman team also dispelled the disparaging nature of the "wannabe cop" accusation. Defense attorney Mark O'Mara spent a considerable amount of time talking to Sgt. Anthony Raimondo about what he did prior to his law enforcement career and why he desired to become a police officer. While the on the surface the questions might have seemed trivial, what O'Mara just explained to the jury is that at some point, every cop is a "wanne be cop." Even the impeccable Sgt. Raimondo.

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