Zimmerman's lawyers seek Trayvon Martin's school, social media records
10/19/2012 11:00 AM
10/19/2012 11:00 AM
Lawyers in the George Zimmerman murder trial are expected to face off in court Friday over whether to allow subpoenas of Trayvon Martin’s school and social media records to proceed.
But the slain teen’s parents want to shift the attention to another set of sought-after documents: Zimmerman’s medical records.
Zimmerman, 29, acknowledged to investigators that he has attention deficit disorder, and medical records show that he was taking several medications for that. But prosecutors say they have only seen a portion of Zimmerman’s medical records, and there are more pages defense lawyers refuse to release.
Trayvon’s parents and their lawyer Benjamin Crump, are expected Friday at the Seminole County Circuit Court to make their plea for the records public.
“We know that Zimmerman was taking at least three drugs, including Adderall and Restoril,” said Crump, a Tallahassee civil rights lawyer who represents Trayvon’s parents. “We know they can cause aggression, hostility and hallucinations. We don’t know what psychiatric illness he had, which is crucial in understanding his state of mind that night.”
Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder for the Feb. 26 killing of Trayvon, who was unarmed. Zimmerman claims the teen attacked him for no reason, and he was forced to shoot in self defense.
Medical records showing Zimmerman went to a clinic the day after he fought with the high school junior show a physician’s assistant noted that Zimmerman took several medications, including Adderall for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and others for stomach ailments. He also takes Restoril, also known as Tamazepam, which is for insomnia.
The prosecutor, Bernie de la Rionda, issued a subpoena asking for Zimmerman’s full records, noting that the medical report sent to Sanford Police by the clinic was four pages long, and the records submitted by the defense were just three pages.
De la Rionda said he also wants to be sure Zimmerman had not been treated for injuries to his head or nose on other prior occasions. He also wanted to determine whether Zimmerman sought any follow up care.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara asked the judge to quash the subpoena. He said the request was overly broad and would “include information that is totally irrelevant to this matter.”
The issue is expected to be taken up Friday by Circuit Judge Debra Nelson.
Other matters in the case are also before her, including whether subpoenas in the case should be issued in secret. Media lawyers are fighting that request by the state.
It’s unclear whether prosecutors will object to the defense lawyer’s request for Trayvon’s school and social media records.
Trayvon, 17, was suspended from school the week he was in Central Florida staying at his father’s girlfriend’s house. The Miami Herald learned he had also been suspended on a prior occasion, when he was spotted defacing a locker and allegedly caught with a bag of what appeared to be stolen jewelry and a screwdriver.
In a quest to prove the media had wrongly portrayed Trayvon as an angel, conservative websites combed through what was purported to be his social media sites. They found profanity-laced music lyrics and references to “weed” and a fight at school. Critics argue that the teenager was probably up to no good on the night he walked to a convenience store, and Zimmerman was right to have called police and followed him.
O’Mara has said he’s not sure whether any of the information in the social media and school records will be relevant.
"In a case like this that's so high profile, everything becomes relevant,” O’Mara said in an interview last month. “The history of those involved - including those who have passed - becomes relevant.”
A lawyer for Facebook told attorneys in the case that the company would object to releasing Trayvon’s social media records.
In court papers, prosecutors said they did not necessarily object to the subpoenas, but were bothered by the fact that the defense publicized them, which the state viewed as a deliberate strategy to not just go on a “fishing expedition,” but to also “chum the waters.”
A tentative trial date was set for June 10.