Known to many who follow the case closely, Frederick Leatherman is a blogger popular among the “anti-Zimmerman” coalition due to his credentials as a former attorney.
His writings often feature his pseudo-scientific interpretations of forensics (often in contradiction with the findings of actual forensic scientists), his pseudo-legalistic analysis of the case (often in contradiction with the vast majority of legal experts (and reality)), conspiracy theories (involving Zimmerman’s friends family, and even official witnesses in the case), blatantly specious arguments, red-faced temper-tantrums, and name-calling towards George Zimmerman and those inclined to think he may be innocent.
The over-the-top anti-Zimmerman rhetoric he spews daily, and his undue confidence in Zimmerman’s conviction, is music to his readers’ ears. It gives them hope, and a sense of validation in their hatred towards Mr. Zimmerman. In return, Mr. Leatherman enjoys lavish praise heaped upon him by his readers, who affectionately- albeit inappropriately (see below)- address him as “Professor Leatherman”. Recently, Leatherman capitalized on his recent following by encouraging them to donate money to his PayPal account.
Any credible attorney would surely wait until official evidence has been released before forming definitive conclusions about a case. Not Mr. Leatherman. In his very first post on the matter, Leatherman confidently pronounced Zimmerman guilty of murder before a prosecutor had even decided whether to charge him! For this, and other reasons, he discredited himself re: the Zimmerman case on day one.
Like many convinced of GZ’s guilt, I believe the initial media narrative fit right into Mr. Leatherman’s personal and political proclivities, and he just couldn’t help himself. His blog postings and comments have only gotten more outlandish and inflammatory as time has gone on.
At the time of this writing, his most recent post is, “Why Did George Zimmerman Kill Trayvon Martin“.
Let’s take a look at some lines from it:
- “[George Zimmerman] wanted to be respected and he believed he would be respected, if he could get away with killing an expendable person whom no one would miss or care about.”
- “[George Zimmerman's] life is a tapestry of massive failure for which he appears to compensate by lying and manipulation.” “It’s almost as if he killed a projection of the person whom he most despises in the world, a nobody. In other words, I suspect he killed a projection of himself.”
- “I believe George Zimmerman probably would have killed any apparently “expendable” stranger he encountered that night on “his turf” who did not willingly submit to his authority as the self-appointed sheriff of the neighborhood. That person could have been you or me or anyone else on foot in that neighborhood that night looking for an address.”
- “Trayvon Martin’s life appears to have been no more important to [George Zimmerman] than a cockroach.”
- “I think [George Zimmerman] is a danger to others and belongs in a psych ward or in prison.”
Mr. Leatherman ends his rant with:
“In the discussion that follows, please do not demonize him.“
You have to wonder, how can someone fail to see the irony in such a statement? (or in his opinion that Mr. Zimmerman “belongs in a psych ward”?
[Keep Leatherman's hateful personal attacks on Mr. Zimmerman in mind when you consider my motivations in writing this. And this is merely the latest example, not the worst. Mr. Leatherman routinely makes hateful attacks upon Mr. George Zimmerman- , and routinely allows hateful attacks to be made upon Zimmerman's friends and family. Above all, Mr. Leatherman is a hatemonger,crackpot, and an abject hypocrite. Personally, it is the two in red that bother me.]
Some of his other comments aptly illustrate other tendencies:
“I wish [George Zimmerman] would take a battery of psychological tests that I could review to get a better understanding of who he is.”
“Welcome to the world of forensic psychiatry and psychology.”
Similar to his embarrassingly inflated credentials as a professor, it seems that Frederick Leatherman often feigns expertise in fields he clearly does not have. This appears to be a proclivity that Frederick Leatherman has possessed for some time. A former client of Mr. Leatherman wrote
“..Leatherman fancied himself an expert on DNA”.
Many of Leatherman’s “forensic findings” have been proven to be dead wrong. In this latest post, he seems to suggest that he has some level of competence in “forensic psychiatry and psychology”, going so far as to “welcome” his impressed readers to “the world of forensic psychiatry and psychology”. Even his legal analyses and explanations re: the Zimmerman seem to reflect a sloppy incompetence on his part.
Mr. Leatherman is a former public-defender who, to my knowledge, never managed to win a single case.
Perhaps most telling may be what his own clients say about Mr. Leatherman’s abilities. One of his own former clients seemed to paint a picture of Mr. Leatherman as an incompetent, temperamental crackpot that suffered religious delusions, apparently abused alcohol and possibly drugs, and who was a failed attorney.
From page 6 of a legal filing:
In a letter to a judge, Leatherman’s former client wrote:
There is some evidence to corroborate his former client’s claims. Mr. Leatherman apparently felt compelled to sign an affidavit admitting some of his failures to represent this client. A prosecutor even filed a motion in court to compel Mr. Leatherman to keep a logbook of his activities because, it seems to me, he feared that Leatherman’s incompetence may well become an issue on appeal. Much to his client’s relief I suspect, later Mr. Leatherman withdrew himself from the case.)
[Update: See "Why Mr. Leatherman Left Washington" for information that may shed further light on Mr. Leatherman's legal career.]
In 2006, Mr. Leatherman moved out of state to take a job teaching classes at a start-up, for-profit, law school (that he was fired from the next year). Apparently, he was later rehired (and then fired again.) The school itself, which failed to ever achieve accreditation, folded after only four years. For Leatherman to cling to the title of “Professor” in “retirement” is inappropriate and, frankly, kind of pathetic.
Mr. Leatherman appears to be living in a fantasy world. His life is a tapestry of massive failure for which he appears to compensate for by exaggerating his credentials, and receiving praise from the choir he preaches to. Outside of his echo chamber, Mr. Leatherman is widely considered a laughingstock.
For further information: