Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has a post discussing the sourcing of some of the “facts” in the Trayvon Martin case. In that vein, here is the Orlando Sentinel:
The Trayvon Martin case has generated thousands of news stories and scores of speeches and public proclamations. Sometimes the facts get confused. Here are a few examples:
The Volusia County Medical Examiner refused to release Trayvon’s body to his family for three days, an unusually long wait.
Not true, according to the medical examiner. It picked up the body at the scene just after 10 p.m. Feb. 26 and notified a Fort Lauderdale funeral home 39 hours later that the body was ready. The funeral home, Roy Mizell and Kurtz, did not pick up the body for an additional 24 hours, the medical examiner reported.
Volusia County spokesman David Byron said it would be impossible to find out the average length of time the medical examiner there keeps bodies, but said it can vary by several days, depending on circumstances — for example, if there’s a dispute among family members about what to do.
Dr. Jan Garavaglia, medical examiner for Orange and Osceola Counties, said her office generally releases bodies in 24 to 36 hours.
The Medical Examiner’s Office in Monroe County — the Florida Keys — said the average there is five days.
Sanford police failed to collect key evidence in the case: the clothing of George Zimmerman, the gunman who killed Trayvon.
Not true, police said. They took his clothing as well as Trayvon’s and packaged it for crime-lab analysis. A spokeswoman for Special Prosecutor Angela Corey would not disclose Tuesday where the clothing is now, but she wrote in an email that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement “is assisting with the processing of physical evidence.”
Typically, evidence from Seminole County crime scenes is analyzed at the FDLE lab in Orlando.
Looks like some of my educated guesses were pretty good in regards to the timing of the investigation and evidence processing. I have never been involved in a murder case but I have a pretty good idea how things get done in the real world.
I am amazed as some of the assumptions people have made about this case. Some of those assumptions are based on fact and some are based wild conjecture. Some people can’t seem to see the obvious. At one blog it was suggested that the police station surveillance video doesn’t show blood on Zimmerman’s clothes because the cops seized his original clothes.
Another person responded by asking “Where did he get the clean clothes?” Uh, howbout from his home? He lived in that condo park and even if his wife wasn’t home he could have let the cops take his keys and enter his condo. The police would want to seize his clothes as evidence as soon as possible and he was being cooperative. That is an obvious and simple way to get him some clean clothes to change into.
Is that what happened? I don’t know. In any event I would be surprised if the police didn’t make contact with his wife at some point. They would want to verify his story about being on a trip to the store when the incident occurred. And they would want to do it before he had a chance to talk to her.
If this case went to trial each and every fact would have to be sourced. Take the part about Trayvon going to the neighborhood 7-11 and having some Skittles and a can of iced tea on him when the incident took place. Where did that information come from?
How do we know this is true? Did he tell someone that’s where he was going? Did he actually go there? Did he make those purchases? Did he still have them in his possession when he was killed? Here’s the kicker – is any of that the least bit relevant to the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman? If it’s irrelevant the jury will probably never hear any of it.
Later on I’ll do a post discussing what a trial in this case would probably look like. Maybe I’ll do it from the perspective of Zimmerman’s defense attorney.