June 27th, 2013
10:47 PM ET

Use of “cracker” in the court room

The defense spent a lot of time on the subject of race on Day Four implying it was Trayvon Martin who injected race into the confrontation with George Zimmerman by using the term “cracker,” just before their fatal encounter. Former prosecutor Sunny Hostin and Defense Attorney Danny Cevallos debate the role of racial terms in the Zimmerman trial.

Hostin says it, “didn’t make a whole lot of sense. . . especially given the fact that the defense tried so hard to keep the prosecution from saying racial profiling.”

“They’ve taken what was the elephant in the room,” she says, “and painted it bright pink and now everyone is talking about it.” She also believes the star witness’s use of the term makes her sound more credible, because she’s using Martin’s exact words instead of sugarcoating it.

But according to Cevallos, it’s all about relatibility for the jurors: “At the end of the day, jurors look for relatibility,” he says. “And when you relate to someone, you find them credible.” He goes on to say, “The jurors are going to ask themselves whether they’re aware of it or not, is this somebody that at a cocktail party, would I use that language? Do I view the word cracker the way this person views it?”

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Jackie

    Certain individuals in society feel the need to "break rules" i.e., remaining outside and not returning to his vehicle as directed BUT want to cry "self defense" when things don't go their way. The mere fact that Zimmerman didn't return to his car proves that he's a complete idiot! He needs to go straight to jail! If he isn't found guilty, he will never live a safe life. I'm sure jail won't be safe for him either. This is not at all complicated – Zimmerman is in the wrong from the very start – this whole ordeal is completely RIDICULOUS!

    June 28, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
  2. Stan

    It is becoming clearer that it is neither self defense nor 1st degree murder. Sadly, it is much more complicated than that. This case is a microcosm of several things that perplex our society. Among them are racial divisions and tensions; conceal and carry weapon laws; and flaws in the criminal justice system. Anything short of an honest and comprehensive treatment of the core issues will only further the divisions that exist in our culture.

    June 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
  3. sandra Gee

    Nobody picked up on Rachels point that if trevonne had been going to punchnthe guy, he would have put the phone down first.

    June 28, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  4. Loris Boyd

    In all of the conversations that have been had about the Trayvon Martin case it has yet to be said that Trayvon had the right to defend himself. He was a 17 year old kid being followed by someone he didn't know. He runs and Zimmerman still follows him. If Zimmerman would have just stayed in his vehicle Trayvon would not be dead. Trayvon doesn't know why he is following him. Zimmerman never said to Trayvon why he was following him. For all Trayvon knows this man may be planning to rob him especially since Zimmerman had a gun. I wish that someone would acknowledge the fact that Trayvon had the right to defend himself against a man who was following him with a gun. The defense job is to try to make the victim look like a horrible person and if you the media are not careful that is what will happen. Trayvon is not on trial George Zimmerman is. Would we be taking the same positions if he were a church going kid or from a upper class home? Let's not let this become a campaign against the victim because at the end of the day it still comes down to the fact that Zimmerman should have stayed in his vehicle.

    June 28, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • Ed

      True. But lets not forget he was hired to do neighborhood watch. Yes he should of stayed in car. But it still does not give anyone the rights to slam persons head into ground and do head injuries which is dangerous. If anything the community should have monitory damages to Martin family for not having there neighborhood watch with some kind of i.d. This was a tragic incident, but Zimmerman did not kill him in cold blood.

      June 29, 2013 at 12:34 am |
    • Angela J

      I agree and wondered the same thing. Let's say everything that has been said is true and Trayvon even managed to "get on top". This young man was fighting for his life. So, if you defend yourself against someone seeking to harm you, you become the aggressor? I disagree!!! If someone takes it upon themselves to pursue me and make me feel threatened and even comforts me, I should be able to defend myself. Isn't this the epitome of standing your ground?? That was originally what George was claiming, but how? He approached Trayvon so that means Trayvon was standing his ground and defending himself!!

      June 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
  5. Joel, Ph.D.

    Two things on George Zimmerman VS Trayvon Martin: 1. Why would George Zimmerman cry for help when he has the gun to defend himself. It seems that Trayvon Martin would be the most helpless and scared. (2. the injuries in the back of George Zimmerman's head cannot be from banging on concrete as they have no imflammation or bruises. Those injuries are more likely from scratches which Trayvon could have done to Zimmerman fighting for his life.

    June 27, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Joel, Ph.D.

      Also if George Zimmerman would have had his head pounded on concrete or the ground he would have bruise marks else where as on his face, ears or other parts of his face, head or neck which Trayvon would have had to have held with a tremendous grip . George Zimmerman has none of these. He only has scratch marks with no bruising or inflammation. He was very likely be scratched as Trayvon held for dear life.

      June 27, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
      • Ed

        It's tragic what happened. But he had other injuries aswell. Sounds like your trying to make Zimmerman a stone cold killer. This was a tragic incident.

        June 29, 2013 at 12:40 am |