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Opening statements began this morning shortly after 9 a.m. day one of State of Florida v. Zimmerman trial in Seminole County Florida Criminal Justice Courthouse/Center, Sanford Florida with the State of Florida Prosecution team and the Zimmerman defense attorneys laying the foundations for their theories of the case, and then explaining just what each theory would show by way of admitted evidence to the sequestered jury panel of six women seated.

For some folks, this State of Florida v. Zimmerman trial represents this generation’ s “State of Mississippi v. Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam” trial from August of 1955 in Money Mississippi (where the victim was the late Emmitt Till.) Others are calling it the “Trial of for Yeezus generation” (for Kanye West’s latest hip-hop effort.) Although the name is State of Florida v. Zimmerman, most black-American folks commonly refer to this case as “The Trayvon Martin trial” everywhere you go.

Seminole County Circuit Judge Debra Nelson has tried to eliminate race as an expressly relevant factor in this trial and continued to rule that way today on all matters.  Make no mistake; she is in control of that court room for sure.  However, race is an immutable presence in the human condition and is reflected in the discourse, at times nationally, for better or for worse when it comes to this trial.  As a result, the aforementioned analogies have been more than appropriate given the apparent overwhelming opinion of black-Americans (based upon my instant life experience) that George Zimmerman is guilty as charged. And that view is also for the better or worse.  And that overwhelming opinion of black-Americans (based upon my instant life experience) that George Zimmerman is guilty as charged, I believe, is because of the published and reported and broadcast information by the mass American media for more than a year now concerning matters leading up to this trial.  And make no mistake, it is my opinion, that the overwhelming opinion of black-Americans are keenly aware of the history of the American justice system and its “history” with matters concerning black-America. Let me say expressly the following: I speak only for myself, and write only my opinion, and do not try to “speak for all of black-America” on this matter, or any matter.  I am only a legal analyst – journalist covering this trial.

Opening statements for the Prosecution were conducted by John Guy who alleged that the defendant, George Zimmerman, as a neighborhood watch volunteer, stalked and confronted the victim Trayvon Martin and then killed him with one bullet from a Kel-Tec semi-automatic 9 millimeter pistol (that Zimmerman legally had the right to possess) on that fateful Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. The prosecutor portrayed the watch captain as a vigilante, saying, “Zimmerman thought it was his right to rid his neighborhood of anyone who did not belong.”

Zimmerman Defense counsel Donald R. West opened for the defense and told jurors a different story: Martin sucker-punched Zimmerman and then pounded the neighborhood watch volunteer’s head against the concrete sidewalk, and that’s when Zimmerman opened fire.

“He had just taken tremendous blows to his face, tremendous blows to his head,” said West, after showing jurors photos taken by Zimmerman’s neighbors of a bloodied and bruised neighborhood watch volunteer.

But the “bombshell moment” of the trial happened when Zimmerman Defense counsel Donald R. West defense began his opening with a “knock-knock joke” about the difficulty of picking a jury for a case that stirred nationwide debate over racial profiling, vigilantism and Florida’s expansive laws on the use of deadly force.  The moment went something like this:

“Knock. Knock,” said defense attorney Donald R. West.

“Who is there?”

“George Zimmerman.”

“George Zimmerman who?”

“Ah, good. You’re on the jury.”

I have been practicing criminal law, among other areas of law, since January 23, 2001 here in Central Florida in and around the Orlando metropolitan area and throughout the state. I practice in both Orange County Florida, where my office is located and also in Seminole County, where the trial is taking place and have appeared in front of Seminole County Circuit Judge Debra Nelson on a couple of occasions. After the “knock-knock joke bombshell moment” from today’s opening moments of this trial, folks have called me today and tonight (and my phone is ringing as I write this entry), and have asked me on the street, and have asked me on the radio programs where I appear now as a legal analyst across the nation for this trial, “what was that attorney (Defense counsel Donald R. West) thinking when he made a joke like that in a trial like this?”  My only answer has been “I don’t know, but tomorrow is sure to have more interesting developments.”  Indeed so.

Source: Constitutionally-Speaking

Joseph Haynes Davis, Esq,, author of Constitutionally Speaking is checking in with updates from the George Zimmerman trial every Tuesday and Thursday during the Karen Vaughn Show. Listen every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:40 to hear expert analysis, reports, and reactions to what has been happening during the trial.