It is truly amazing to think that it will soon be a year that has passed since the State has had possession of Trayvon Martin’s phone and yet mysteries still remain even leading up to the point of Bernie de la Rionda handing Mark O’Mara discovery concerning the phone right in the middle of court on February 5th, 2013. If this one example can not show the world the discovery games the State is playing then nothing will short of them getting busted for evidence tampering. This is a travesty of justice I feel will not be resolved as this clearly has no effect whatsoever on Judge Nelson except to say that somehow she turns it all into being O’Mara’s fault citing that his problems are not insurmountable.
When last I wrote of Trayvon’s cell phone it was a complete mystery as to who, what, when and where some mystery person took the cell phone, unbeknownst to O’Mara, out of the evidence room of the FDLE and shipped it off to some mystery place in California were apparently the phone was accessed and sent back to the FDLE.
O’Mara’s concerns about these specific areas of the phone were expressed in two forms; Defendant’s Motion to Continue, filed on Jan 30, 2013 and Defendant’s Motion for Specific Discovery filed on Jan 31, 2013. In the State’s Response to Defendant’s Motion to Continue, filed on Feb 1, 2013, the State did not address the issue. The state also did not respond to the Defendant’s Motion for Specific Discovery until Feb 8, 2013 which has yet to be reflected in the court’s docket at time of this writing.
The state was allowed to argue the issue in the Defendant’s Motion for Specific Discovery in open court violating Nelson’s orders that anything that is to be argued shall be filed 48 hours before the hearing. The state also handed over its 12th Supplemental concerning the cell phone in the middle of court. However, in the State’s Response to Defendant’s Motion for Specific Discovery – Trayvon Martin’s Cell Phone we do get some answers however a couple more arise in their place.
On October 5, 2012, SA Gilbreath of Angela Corey’s office retrieved the phone from the FDLE. Gilbreath then sent the phone via FedEx from 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Melbourne FL 32940, which looks to be a UPS place, using the states office at 220 East Bay Street Jacksonville, Florida 32202 as a return address, to Detective Perry Khul at the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office in California on October 12, 2012.
Here is where the first new questions arise. The first concern is why did it take Gilbreath seven days to send the phone and why is it being shipped via FedEx? It may very well be a common occurrence in the legal world to ship evidence around in such a manner so unless O’Mara makes an issue of it I suppose it’s of no concern. However the second issue of the time gap between Gilbreath retrieving the phone and sending it is not the only time gap as we will see.
The phone was received by Kuhl on October 15, 2012 where it is then described by the state that Kuhl “was able to access the phone(figured out the code) allowing someone else to recover additional information”. This presents a bit of another problem as that language is vague to the extent if they mean someone in California accessed the information. Regardless, Kuhl shipped the phone, again via FedEx, on the October 29, 2012 back to Gilbreath who received it on October 31, 2012 at the State’s office. Again Gilbreath keeps the phone for eight days where it’s then given to SA supervisor David Lee of the FDLE on November 8, 2012.
On November 9, 2012 Lee gives the phone to SA Brenton of the FDLE for download of the contents of the cell phone.
At this point it is not entirely clear what happens with the phone and its location. The state describes that they informed and had discussions with the defense during November/December and say in their response that “access to the phone was achieved but further analysis would be required. FDLE did not have the tools necessary to do so.” This again is a bit vague. Was Brenton able to download the information or not? What further analysis was needed?
Regardless, on January 13th, 2013 Brenton flew with the phone from Orlando to Cellebrite in New Jersey where they say additional information was recovered from the phone and flew back, presumably with with phone, on January 15, 2013.
If you will notice, there is a rather large time gap here. The last date provided regarding the phone was November 9, 2012 and the next we hear of it is January 13th, 2013. So where was it for nearly two months? I suppose it could be assumed it was checked back into the FDLE evidence room after it was given to Brenton by Lee however there is no record of that.
The next we see of the phone in the response is that it was returned to the evidence vault on January 18, 2013 by Brenton to Jackie Blue of the FDLE.
Finally we get our newest and latest surprise. Somehow and somewhere along the way the description of Trayvon’s cell phone has morphed into what is now being described as a “flip-phone”. Of course the obvious problem here is that the phone is in fact not a flip-phone. It’s impossible to say at this point who made that entry. Was it Blue who did it when she was printing up the receipt? Or was it perhaps Brenton when he gave it to her? Was it changed in the computer system by someone else at some point during the history of the phones movements? When was it done and most importantly of all, why was it done?
So much smoke surrounds this phone that it’s hard not to say there’s not fire. Of course it could just have been a simple error to label it as a flip-phone but at this point in the game nothing should be left open to such question.