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Judge Refuses to Allow Drug Photos in Trayvon Martin Murder Trial

Published on 05/31/2013 -

By

A judge in Florida made a key ruling this week in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing Trayvon Martin, a teenager who was unarmed at the time of his death.

According to Reuters, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson refused to allow Zimmerman’s criminal defense team to delay the trial further, and will not allow the defense to present photos of Martin allegedly taking drugs.

Sources expect the second-degree murder trial to start next month, although Zimmerman’s attorneys may still try to delay the proceedings a bit longer.

Trial of George Zimmerman Nears Start Date

George Zimmerman’s trial, which is likely to captivate the country, is scheduled to begin on June 10, and Nelson seems intent on sticking to that date.

The trial stems from an incident on February 26, 2012, when Zimmerman, who claims to have been acting in self-defense, killed the 17-year-old Martin after allegedly feeling threatened by the unarmed teenager.

Zimmerman and his attorneys have tried to portray Martin as unstable, which explains their desire to present evidence of Martin’s past marijuana use to the jury, as well as his alleged involvement in school fights.

But Nelson refused to admit this evidence at the beginning of the trial, saying that Florida criminal laws dictate that Zimmerman must prove that the information is relevant to his defense.

She also prohibited Zimmerman’s attorneys from mentioning Martin’s past drug use in their opening statement. In another important ruling this week, Nelson also denied a motion by the state of Florida for a gag order.

Gag orders, which prevent participants from publicly discussing the trial, are only used in rare circumstances.

Inquiry into Killing of Trayvon Martin Soon to Begin

Zimmerman’s trial will attract a significant amount of attention from the press, so Nelson is likely exercising extreme caution in her effort to provide a fair trial. The stakes, though, are extremely high.

According to Benjamin Crump, a lawyer helping Martin’s grieving parents, the “whole world is watching to see if everybody in American gets equal justice.” But the trial could turn on matters far more mundane.

One particularly heated battle will center on tapes of 911 calls made to police during the altercation. In the tapes, a man can be hear screaming the background, but expert analysts have reached different conclusions about the identity of the screamer.

And attorneys on both sides have pressed Nelson to rule on the admissibility of the calls, which have been analyzed by numerous experts using a wide variety of methods that may or may not be valid in a court of law.

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