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July 11th, 2013
05:30 PM ET

Zimmerman analysis: Prosecutor's closing arguments 'passionate' and 'effective'

(CNN) - George Zimmerman had already decided Trayvon Martin was a criminal when he spotted him walking through his Sanford, Florida, neighborhood, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told jurors in closing arguments of the former neighborhood watch volunteer's murder trial.

"I think it was a very effective presentation," said CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, who was in the courtroom and watched the jury carefully during the de la Rionda's closing arguments.

"They were with him, they were watching, they were listening. Even the ones that normally take these copious notes just listened," said Hostin. Jurors began taking notes during the middle and end of de la Rionda's presentation, when he pointed out inconsistencies in Zimmerman's statements.

The defense wanted this case to be about self-defense, but the prosecution was able to change that narrative, said Hostin.

"The prosecution took control of the narrative and said, 'This is about who started it. This is about George Zimmerman making assumptions that were wrong, chasing, tracking an innocent young boy.' And I thought that was very, very effective," said Hostin.

Criminal defense lawyer Linda Kenney Baden said while the facts de la Rionda presented were compelling, his delivery fell short.

"When you give a closing argument, you have to give the jurors the points that your jurors can take in and argue, and I didn't feel that," said Kenney Baden. "I feel like it meandered about."

"I felt the presentation left a lot to be desired," said Kenney Baden.

Criminal defense lawyer Tom Mesereau said he believes the prosecution is holding back some of its most compelling arguments for rebuttal, when defense is given no chance to respond.

"It's very typical strategy that you don't say everything you can in your closing, that you withhold certain things and let the defense guess as to what you might be withholding for rebuttal because they only get one shot," said Mesereau.

"I thought it was a very passionate closing argument," said Mesereau. "Even though it seemed to meander a bit, and get bogged down a bit in all the inconsistencies, the reality is you don't know what's going to affect certain jurors."

"By laying out every inconsistency, even if it was somewhat pedantic, I thought he was doing himself a good service," said Mesereau.

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