George Zimmerman murder trial prosecutors want some evidence sealed

The Miami HeraldMay 24, 2012 

Prosecutors handling the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman filed a motion late Wednesday asking the judge to seal parts of the evidence.

Among the items Duval County Assistant State Attorney Bernardo de la Rionda wants kept from the public: the results of a test police conducted on Zimmerman the day after he killed Trayvon Martin. The results have already been provided to the court under seal, de la Rionda said.

“Any testing performed and findings in this case have not gained such reliability and scientific recognition as to warrant its admissibility,” he wrote.

De la Rionda did not specify what the test was, but in an interview last week Zimmerman’s father told The Miami Herald that his son had passed a “voice stress test.”

“It’s like a lie detector, but more reliable,” Robert Zimmerman said. “I told him, ‘If you are comfortable and have been truthful, go and do it. If at any time you are uncomfortable, just say: ‘Am I afree to leave?’ So he did it.”

De la Rionda also wants to seal two CDs of audio interviews with a witness identified as “W9.” She is the same person who called police anonymously just two days after the killing to say Zimmerman and his family were racists.

In an interview with the prosecutors who handled the case prior to the Duval County State Attorney’s office stepping in, W9 made more allegations, the record shows. “The subject matter deals with an allegation made by witness W9 regarding an act committed by Defendant. This material may or may not be relevant or admissible in this case,” de la Rionda wrote.

Zimmerman is charged in the Feb. 26 killing of Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman claims he acted in self defense. In the furor that followed the Sanford Police Department’s decision not to arrest him, the case was reassigned to a special prosecutor who charged him with a first-degree felony that can carry a life sentence.

O’Mara had initially requested the court file be sealed, but the judge did not agree, saying he would rule on evidence on a case-by-case basis. Under Florida law, most of the evidence in a criminal court file is available to the public once it’s handed over to the defense.

De la Rionda’s motion shows he filed a motion under seal — available only to the judge and the lawyers on both sides — on May 14.

The public motion filed Wednesdsay asks for the following materials to be sealed:

• Names, addresses and phone numbers of 22 witnesses.

• Crime scene photos and autopsy photos and any others showing Trayvon’s body.

• The 911 call that captured the shooting, which is already widely available on the Internet.

• Zimmerman’s statements to police.

• Cell phone records.

Prosecutors argue that some of the evidence is not subject to Florida’s public-records law.

“Publication of certain discovery materials described .. will result in this mater being tried in the press rather than in the court,” de la Rionda wrote.

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