Last week, Circuit Judge Deborah Nelson ruled that George Zimmerman’s defense will not be allowed to mention incriminating photos and texts found on Trayvon Martin’s cell phone during the opening statements of the trial, which is to begin on June 10. Prosecutors found pictures and texts on Martin’s phone referencing guns and marijuana, which calls his character into question. The prosecution and others have painted him to be an angel that could do no wrong, where in reality, he dabbled in guns and drugs and was suspended from school. Furthermore, the defense maintains that the texts and pictures show that Martin was “hostile” on the day of his death, which might have factored into Zimmerman’s decision to shoot him. The jury will not get to hear these key facts, however, as Judge Nelson dismissed these text messages and photos as “irrelevant”. She did note that the defense could try to introduce this evidence later in the trial if it could show relevance.
In all likelihood, Zimmerman’s defense knew ahead of time that Judge Nelson would disallow this evidence during opening statements. Instead, it is likely that the defense raised these issues before the Court simply to get the information out. The media reported on this information, which brought it right into the public eye. In this sense, the defense scored a major victory in the court of public opinion, in that now people can see that perhaps Martin was not a mild-mannered bookworm, and that he may well have been capable of being the aggressor. This may turn the political tide in a way that could make a favorable plea bargain possible. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.