posted at 7/11/2013 6:46 PM EDT
In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:
Ahh..I get it. I don't think I realized that particular right ( to confront witnesses) belongs solely to the defense. Understanding that..it makes sense. It all seems a bit complicated but I think I get it. The burden is on the prosecution to prove their case.
In response to miscricket's comment:
Also...and hopefully WhatDoYouWantNow sees this question...How can the judge allow the videotaped statement of Zimmerman's police interview to be shown to the jury without giving the prosecution a chance to cross examine his statements?
Well, the constitutional right to confront witnesses and their statements belongs to the defendant alone, and confrontation takes the form of cross-examination. So the prosecution could not demand that the statements be excluded due to inability to cross-examine.
Now, I am a bit curious. (I may also be forgetting something, which tends to happen when you primarily do appeals and are focused on specific issues all the time, and a question comes up that deals with something you haven't had reason to look at in 5 years...)
I take it the defense introduced the interview?
Ordinarily, statements made out of court are inadmissible as hearsay (and since 2004, as also a violation of the defendant's confrontation right - with exceptions, of course). The defendant's statements may be offered by the prosecution as an exception to that general rule as a statement of a party opponent. This is what one law professor called the "up your A rule".
Whether the defendant can offer his own statements and in what circumstances is a different question.
If the defense wanted the video in and the prosecutor did too, I suppose the prosecutor could have joined in a motion to do so in which case...no problem because now they're offering the defendant's statements against him.
Alternately, rules like the one against hearsay must sometimes bend when trumped by the defendant's due process right to present a defense.
Chances are I am presently embarassingly forgetting some basic procedural rule because I haven't had a reason to research it in several years.....
It likely does not come up much because the defense usually doesn't want the defendant's statements in, but the prosecutor does
From what I gather, the defense released the videotaped interview that occured when this shooting first happened...the one where the police /prosecutor decided not to charge him. I think a lot of people are forgetting that the police did not exactly act in the interest of justice when this shooting first happened. It was only after an independent investigation and an independent prosecutor that charges were brought.
I thought the reaction by Zimmerman's defense attorney over the judge's ruling which allowed the jury to consider manslaughter was interesting. He seemed confident that the prosecution was not going to prove 2nd degree murder, but less confident in the possiblity of manslaughter.
Also..only 6 people on the jury? All women. Should be interesting.