Prosecutors can say 'profiled' at Zimmerman trial
by Kyle Hightower, Associated Press and Mike Schneider, Associated Press
June 21, 2013 11:00 AM | 681 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda, left, talks with defense attorney Mark O'Mara, during a pre-trial hearing for George Zimmerman, the accused shooter of Trayvon Martin, Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in Sanford, Fla. Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled to limit what attorneys can say in their opening statement at Zimmerman's trial. Attorneys won't be able to mention Trayvon Martin's drug use, suspension from school and past fighting during opening statements. Nelson also refused to allow jurors to travel to the shooting scene during trial, and rejected a defense request to delay the trial set to begin June 10. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. He was not in court for the hearing. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda, left, talks with defense attorney Mark O'Mara, during a pre-trial hearing for George Zimmerman, the accused shooter of Trayvon Martin, Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in Sanford, Fla. Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled to limit what attorneys can say in their opening statement at Zimmerman's trial. Attorneys won't be able to mention Trayvon Martin's drug use, suspension from school and past fighting during opening statements. Nelson also refused to allow jurors to travel to the shooting scene during trial, and rejected a defense request to delay the trial set to begin June 10. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. He was not in court for the hearing. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
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SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — Prosecutors can argue in opening statements that George Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin based on factors such as age or clothing before he shot the unarmed 17-year-old, but they cannot say he was profiled based on race, a judge ruled Friday.

Judge Debra Nelson made the ruling ahead of Monday's expected opening statements in Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.

Defense attorneys had asked the judge to prohibit prosecutors from using a series of words in opening statements that they deemed inflammatory. Those words included "profiled," ''vigilante," ''wannabe cop," and that Zimmerman had confronted Martin, who was black. Zimmerman identifies as Hispanic.

The judge said all of those statements may be used, provided that race is not discussed if the issue of profiling is brought up.

Prosecutor John Guy had argued that there were a number of ways someone could be profiled other than race.

"That is not a racially charged term unless it's made so, and we don't intend to make it a racially charged term," Guy said. "There are a number of avenues someone can be profiled in any one way or combination. We don't intend to say he was solely profiled because of race."

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara said he was concerned using the word "profiled" would "infect" the jury with a racial component that shouldn't be there.

"I want to be very, very cautious," O'Mara said.

Six female jurors were chosen Thursday for the second-degree murder trial of Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer who says he fired on Martin in self-defense last year in a gated community in Sanford. Zimmerman is pleading not guilty.

The judge has yet to rule on whether a prosecution expert can testify that screams for help on a 911 call came from 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Defense attorneys don't want the expert to testify, claiming his analysis is flawed.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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