Our readers who work criminal trials can weigh in on this, but it sure looked highly unusual – almost as though the judge in the Zimmerman trial was trying to pressure the defendant into testifying.
This exchange was not in front of the jury…
In open court, and when we find video of this we’ll put it up, the judge asked Zimmerman a number of pro forma questions about the decision not to testify being his alone and not the product of coercion, etc., and the questions themselves sounded like standard fare – but the way she asked them really appeared as though they were intended to pressure him into testifying.
It came off as an intrusion into his 5th Amendment rights. And coupled with the judge’s refusal to allow the defense to present text messages from Trayvon Martin as evidence of his character and history – she called that material irrelevant, which seems quite strange given that a major piece of this case is how violent Trayvon might have been and how likely it is that Trayvon would have attacked Zimmerman and endangered his life – it certainly seemed like some judicial bias was at work in that case today.
Again, though, those of our readers who work criminal trials are welcome to weigh in.