Zimmerman Judge Forbids Testimony on 911 Call

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 22 2013 4:46 PM

Zimmerman Jury Won’t Hear Testimony on Identity of Screams Heard in 911 Call

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George Zimmerman looks at the potential jurors during his trial in Seminole circuit court June 20, 2013 in Sanford, Florida

Photo by Gary W. Green-Pool/Getty Images

Two days before the high-profile George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial is set to begin, the judge delivered what many are interpreting as a blow to the prosecution. The judge ruled Saturday that jurors won’t hear from experts who would have suggested that Trayvon Martin was the one who could be heard screaming in a 911 call before he was shot. Jurors in the trial involving the killing of the unarmed 17-year-old will hear the 911 call but will have to decide for themselves whose voice can be heard in the audio, reports the Miami Herald.

"There is no evidence to establish that their scientific techniques have been tested and found reliable," Circuit Judge Debra Nelson wrote in her 12-page ruling, according to USA Today. The judge agreed with the defense team that techniques used by the experts are not “widely accepted at this time.” Indeed, the defense had presented four experts who said it was impossible to determine the identity of the person on the recording. But the judge does not ban anyone from talking about speculation over the identity of the voices heard on the recording, meaning that others, including Trayvon’s mother, could identify his voice in the recording.  

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.