Judge strikes lead Zimmerman investigator's comment from record
Judge Debra S. Nelson on Tuesday ruled that the opinion-based testimony from the lead police investigator in the death of Trayvon Martin should be stricken from court records.
Sanford police Detective Chris Serino testified on Monday about his investigation into the fatal shooting of the 17-year-old Miami teenager by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.
At the start of court on Tuesday, the state sought to bolster or widen its already-granted motion preventing police from giving opinion testimony about the Zimmerman investigation. Nelson had allowed Serino and Detective Doris Singleton to testify on Monday that they saw no evidence of ill-will, spite, or hatred, all of which are elements of second-degree murder.
Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda introduced case law to the motion, which limits what police can say about their interpretation of the law. The state wanted Serino's opinion struck from the court record after Serino said on Monday that Zimmerman was telling the truth.
The defense said cases that limit police opinion on veracity apply to authorities attacking the defendant and that Zimmerman's case involves authorities supporting Zimmerman.
O'Mara asked for time to research the case law. The state said it's also entitled to a fair trial and that the court has barred opinion testimony, so the jury should be asked to disregard improper comment of Serino.
Ultimately, Nelson sided with the state, telling the jury, "That was an improper comment as to truth of veracity of another witness. You are asked to disregard question and answer."
The 29-year-old Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. He claims he acted in self-defense.