It seems strange that Mark O’Mara, George Zimmerman’s attorney, has been releasing so much evidence to the public. It was as if he was more interested in publicity for himself than representing Zimmerman. Of course the “stand your ground” law has been widely publicized as the defense Zimmerman will use to justify the shooting of an innocent Black teenager. However, there may be an underlying, more significant reason, that O’Mara is releasing the medical reports on Zimmerman. As indicated in those reports, Zimmerman had a broken nose, but he declined to go to a specialist, and in all the pictures of Zimmerman there is no noticeable swelling of discoloration of the nose. He has lacerations to the back of his scalp, but none was bad enough to require stitches. Thus, these medical records do not paint a picture of a person being sufficiently injured in a fight to cause him to be fearful for his life. So why would O’Mara focus such attention on these records?
It may NOT be the injuries from the night in question that makes the medical records important. It may be the medication report that becomes the most significant part of the case. It has been reported that in the “weeks before the shooting” Zimmerman was prescribed Adderall to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, as well as a medication to treat insomnia (a sleeping pill).
Adderall is the brand name for Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine. Adderall is an amphetamine, and the drug of choice for college students who want to stay up all night. In the warnings for Adderall, the patient is told that the medication may cause difficulty falling asleep, irritability, hyperactivity, and unusual changes in your personality or behavior. Side effects are listed as difficulty falling or staying asleep, headache, stomach pain, believing things that are not true, feeling unusually suspicious of others, and aggressive or hostile behavior. Symptoms of overdose may include restlessness, confusion, aggressive behavior , feelings of panic, fast breathing, and upset stomach.
Each of these symptoms could be associated with Zimmerman’s behavior the night of the shooting. The medical report also documents occasional nausea within the hours after the shooting which would also be consistent with the “upset stomach” that is a stated side effect.
Stand Your Ground may not be the only defense asserted by Zimmerman. Even if the jury decides that Zimmerman was the aggressor, Adderall may mitigate any aggressive behavior of Zimmerman. Zimmerman may be found to have shot Martin, but if he was under the influence of Adderall, his behavior might be explained, not as motivated my malice as required in a hate-crime, but instead motivated by a medication. Remember:
1. He was taking sleeping aids, so the indication was that the Adderall was having a deleterious effect.
2. His 9-11 call indicated that he though Martin looked suspicious.
3. Zimmerman says that he believed Martin had a gun, but he didn’t.
4. Zimmerman was aggressive and confused about whether Martin was dangerous.
5. The 9-11 call documents fast breathing.
6. He reported an upset stomach within 24 hours of the shooting.
Some countries allow conditions that “affect the balance of the mind” to be regarded as mitigating circumstances. This means that a person may be found guilty of “manslaughter” on the basis of “diminished responsibility” rather than murder, if it can be proved that the killer was suffering from a condition that affected their judgment at the time. Medication side-effects are examples of conditions that may be taken into account when assessing responsibility.
Thus the fact that George Zimmerman was taking Adderall may be a “mitigating circumstance” in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman may be found to have killed Martin and be guilty of manslaughter, but it is now questionable if he could be convicted of a hate crime. The “twinkie” defense may be now called the “Adderall” defense.