Andrew Branca at www.legalinsurrection.com has a guest post on the principles of self defense.
It might be worth thinking about what the prosecution could do to disprove any of these.
1. Innocence. A person who initiates a conflict cannot claim self defense. The person who initiates a conflict cannot claim self defense unless something happens to restore his innocence. It is unlikely that getting out of a car and walking quickly to the last point where Trayvon had been seen constitutes aggression. If the ping logs show that Zimmerman ran up and down the dog walk and that Trayvon was also running up and down that would be a different matter.
2. Imminence. Branca indicates that Zimmerman’s right to self-defence is lost if he created in Trayvon a fear of imminent harm. If Witness 8 appears on the stand and survives cross-examination this would help the prosecution.
3. Proportionality. Was Zimmerman’s fear of great bodily harm, even if genuine, justified. Here, the key issue seems that Trayvon appeared to ignore “John”. If the “expert” witnesses can show that Zimmerman was not screaming or that his injuries were self inflicted that would help the prosecution. That seems unlikely at the moment.
4. Avoidance. If witnesses show that Zimmerman had the opportunity to escape and did not take it this would be a plus for the prosecution.
5. Reasonableness. Here it seems that the judge has created serious problems for the defense which apparently cannot refer to Trayvon’s use of marijuana or other drugs or his interest in fighting.
Incidentally, would the toxicology report refer to use of steroids? Trayvon appears quite muscular for someone who stopped sports four years ago.