Florida prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda had “prayed that [George Zimmerman] would have the courage to take the stand,” he told ABC News in an exclusive interview Sunday, adding that Zimmerman’s “inconsistent statements” would have made him the prosecution’s star witness.
In the interview with the four Florida prosecutors who fought to convict Zimmerman, lead prosecutor de la Rionda said, “I prayed that he would have the courage to take the stand but, as we all well know, he’s got the right not to.”
“Anytime you put in a defendant’s statements and a lot of those are self-serving, then usually a defendant will make the decision not to testify because you’ve got his story out. We felt it was important to get his story out because there were so many lies.”
De la Rionda, who would have cross-examined Zimmerman had he taken the stand, said he would have been interested to see how the former neighborhood watch captain answered several of his questions:
“Why did you assume because [Trayvon] Martin was wearing a hoodie, he was committing a crime? Why did you assume that because he was walking he was doing something improper? Why didn’t you identify yourself? Why did you assume he didn’t belong in the neighborhood?”
“I think [Zimmerman] had the gun out earlier … but we didn’t have the eyewitnesses,” de la Rionda said.
They believe Zimmerman pointed his gun at Martin not too long after they confronted each other and that the teen was screaming for help. As they attempted to convince jurors during the trial, they pointed out that the screams stopped immediately when the gunshot was fired.
“It’s common sense. No one stops screaming for help unless they are certain they killed him,” Corey said. “He had said he thought he missed.”
De la Rionda, said, “I think that gun in his mind empowered him to approach [Martin] because what he was trying to do was detain Trayvon Martin so he wouldn’t get away because all the prior guys had gotten away. He was acting like a cop when he didn’t have the power.”
That’s a nice theory, Bernie. Too bad you didn’t have a shred of evidence too support it. If Bernie de la Rionda really was counting on using his cross examination of George Zimmerman to win the case then he is incompetent. There is an old military maxim that goes “Never count on the enemy’s help”. It applies in law too.
My evidence instructor said that his class was the most important subject for trial attorneys to learn. He used to stress that the key to winning cases is admissible evidence. Or as my old boss used to ask, “How do you plan to prove that?”
That’s what trial preparation is. You lay out your theory of the case and then you figure out how to prove it. Your evidence can be physical or it can be testimonial, but either way it has to be admissible.
In civil cases you can put the other party on the stand and make them answer questions under penalty of perjury. But in criminal law the defendant has the right to remain silent. He doesn’t have any ‘splainin’ to do.
I suspect (but have no admissible evidence to prove) that BDLR was just making excuses for why they lost. I hope that’s the case. Otherwise it’s scary to think that a veteran homicide prosecutor who was 30-1 in previous murder trials is that stupid.