Saturday, March 17, 2018

What evidence should the jury see in the Noor Salman trial?

After the jury was selected, lawyers and the judge held a closed session in which they tried to tie up some loose ends about what evidence should be presented in court on the opening day of the trial with the jury. In contention where graphic audio and video recordings. The defense wants to limit the amount of violent content which might re traumatize family of victims as well as survivors who come to the trial. There is so much police body cam footage that it all can't be seen. The defense felt that all this evidence is against Omar Mateen, the gunman and that it has little to do with Noor Salman.

This jury trial is going to great lengths to protect the identities of jurors and witnesses. One witness, nick named Nemo will never have his real name associated with his friend Omar Mateen. Nemo was apparently used as an excuse when Omar wanted to cheat on his wife. Motion 287 was raised by the defense and it precluded the prosecutors from making certain allegations in their opening statements. If a founding statement can not be proven throughout the trial it should not go in the opening statements. Judge Paul G. Byron however denied this limitation. He feels that the jurors should be able to decide for themselves if the statements are proven. Any opening statement is not to be considered as evidence.

Points of contention were:
  • Making the statement that Omar Mateen was targeting a gay club.
  • The notion that Omar Mateen visited the Pulse website on June 10. The IP addresses were not found or verified. He logged out of Google on June 10th at about the same time as Noor claimed that he showed her the Pulse website. He may have switched to Chrome incognito which hides suspicious web activity.
  • Mateen's purchase of ammunition at Walmart Supercenter while with Noor.
  • The fact that Noor was put on the bank accounts just prior to the attack.
  •  In the final days, Mateen's expenses far outweighed his income.
  • A cellphone call by Angel Colon from the Pulse bathroom was not allowed. "They are shooting up the place."

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Friday, March 16, 2018

Weekend Top 6 Picks for March 17th and 18th 2018.

Saturday March 17, 2018
10 AM to 1 PM Free. Sketchbook Project at the Park. Winter Park Station, Amtrak/Sun Rail Station, 148 W Morse Blvd, Winter Park, FL 32789. With #Connection being the theme of the Orlando urban sketchers #SketchbookProject, we will take it to the Winter Park 59th Sidewalk Art festival - where we'll document in sketches the connection between people, art and the festival spirit on location, from observation!
If you wish to be part of this project or just wish to sketch with us on location please join us at 10:00am.
Sketching into the project sketchbook pages is not mandatory.
We will meet at the Sunrail train station at 10:00 am. After our traditional meet & greet, we'll disperse to points of interest around the park as a group or as individuals to begin sketching.
We'll meet back near the Sunrail station at 1:00 pm for the Sketchbooks Throw down ceremony.
To those who wish to participate in the project on location:
How this will work: The sketchbook we've received from the project organizers will be disassembled and reassembled. Each participating sketcher will receive one page- 7 x 10inch- with potential of 4 sketching pages (front and back folded in half).
You can pick up a page from Margaret Gibson on location at the event or use your own paper, keep within the dimensions of 7 x 10 inch and keep in mind the paper will be folded in half.
If you cannot attend our sketch outing on Mar. 17th and still are interested in contributing your sketch to the project please contact Margaret Gibson for additional details, and as indicated here:
Submitting our collaborated sketching work to the worldwide collection at the #BrooklynArtLibrary will greatly define us urban sketchers artists and the global art movement we represent and are part of! We are proud to take part in this project!
What to bring:
Your own sketching/drawing/painting supply
Your sketchbook or painting paper to sketch more
Sitting stool
Hat and drinking water
A friend or family member and anyone who likes to sketch
All skills are welcome!

11 AM to 11 PM Free. 3rd Annual Crooked Can Celtic Festival. Crooked Can Brewing Company 426 W Plant St, Winter Garden, Florida 34787.
The biggest party of the year is coming back to the Crooked Can Brewing Company for its' THIRD YEAR!
Join us for Three Days of Live Celtic Music, Irish Dancers, Local Vendors, Delicious Eats and so much more.
Oh , let's not forget about our Crooked Can Brews!!

4 PM to 8 PM. Free. Cruisin' Downtown DeLand Car Show! East Indiana Ave Downtown DeLand, Deland FL.  Classic cars & rods. Live DJ, giveaways, shopping & dining. Fun for the family! Every 3rd Saturday night!

Sunday March 18, 2018

 9 AM to 5 PM Free. Friday Saturday and Sunday The 59th Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Central Park in Winter Park. The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most prestigious outdoor art festivals. The Festival debuted in March 1960 as a community project to bring local artists and art lovers together. It is produced by an all-volunteer board and draws more than 350,000 visitors each year. Over 1,100 artists from around the world applied for this year’s Festival. An independent panel of three judges selected the 225 artists exhibiting their works. The Festival consistently ranks as one of the top juried fine-art festivals in the country. Recent accolades include the #4 ranking in Art Fair Calendar’s “2016 Best Art Fairs” and Art Fair Source Book’s listing in their “Top 10 Fine Art Shows, 2016”. The Festival is also listed in Sunshine Artist Magazine’s “Top 100”.

The Festival features a wide variety of fine arts and crafts in the following categories: clay, digital art, drawings & pastels, fiber, glass, graphics & printmaking, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media 2D, mixed media 3D, painting, photography, sculpture, watercolor and wood as well as our Emerging Artists.
Artists complete for 63 awards totaling $72,500. The Best of Show winner is purchased for $10,000 by The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival Board and donated to the City of Winter Park. Previous Best of Show winners are on permanent display at the Winter Park Public Library. A $5,000 “Art of Philanthropy” Purchase Award is sponsored by the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation. A $2,500 “Distinguished Work of Art” Award is presented through The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. There are 10 Awards of Excellence of $2,000 each, 20 Awards of Distinction of $1,000 each and 30 Awards of Merit of $500 each.
Girls and boys can create their own artwork at the Children’s Workshop Village. Easel painting is very popular, and local art centers and museums feature a variety of fun, hands-on art activities for children. Admission is free and participants may take home their artistic creations. The Children’s Workshop Village hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Easel painting is from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Leon Theodore Schools Exhibit. The place to discover the talented artists of the next generation is at the Leon Theodore Schools Exhibit where artwork by thousands of Orange County students is on display. The creativity and level of expertise displayed by these young artists will delight and amaze you. Be sure to check out this wonderful exhibit. Complimentary Bike Valet. Enjoy the Festival while your bike is safely monitored. Located on Morse Boulevard across the street from the Amtrak Station parking lot, a free bike valet service is provided during Festival hours by the Winter Park Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Board.  

1PM to 8 PM Free. Will's A Faire Spring Market. Will's Pub 1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803. Will’s A Faire, the one day retro, vintage, local and handmade market is back at Will's Pub on March 18th for Spring 2018. Will's A Faire is the Biggest Outdoor/Indoor vendor market in Orlando, with 50 to 75 Vendors, Live Music a la Southern Fried Sunday, Craft Cocktails, Craft Sodas & Craft Brews from Will's Pub and lil indies, Food Trucks & Free Fun for the Entire Family! Bands, Food Trucks and Specific Vendors: TBA! The Market runs from 1pm until 8:30pm.

3 PM to 5 PM  Free. Lutheran Cantata Choir and Chamber Ensemble. Saint Luke's Lutheran Church (2021 West SR 426 Oviedo FL. Lutheran Cantata Choir and Chamber Ensemble. A Voice from Heaven - Claire Hodge, Director. Reception for the audience after the concert.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Jury Selected for Noor Salman Trial.

Judge Paul G. Byron interviewed one juror who was a motion graphics artist that works for the local news stations. He created a 3D model of Pulse and extensive motion graphics for the TV News coverage following the Pulse Nightclub massacre. This juror was excused for cause. In our media overflow courtroom, the reporters watched closely as the prospective juror left courtroom 4B. He was recognized as having worked for Channel 9 News. The great thing about sketching the trial from the media overflow courtroom is that I get to hear the opinions from News station legal analysts. In the end however the only opinions that matter are the opinions of the 12 jurors.

After a solid week of interviewing jurors and narrowing down the jury pool to 56 prospective jurors, the final process of picking the final 1 was rather fast, taking less that 40 minutes. This process was referred to as Striking the Jury. The defense lawyers could strike 2 jurors off the list for every 1 juror the prosecutors struck form the list. Each lawyer used a different color marker to strike names from the list. No one in the media will ever know the names of anyone on the jury. Come Wednesday when the case begins, we will finally learn how many jurors are female and how many are male. I would think that the defense would want female jurors since they might sympathize with any reports that Omar Mateen mistreated Noor Salman his wife. Up until today, I have avoided mentioning the gunman's name in any of my posts about the horrific Pulse Nightclub mass shooting. With the case in full swing, I think I will have to mention his name often.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Would you have been selected for the Noor Salman Jury?

Any media inquiries to purchase courtroom sketches should call or text (407) four five zero-0807. I am out of touch while in the courthouse. I will get back in touch ASAP.

Today a jury will hear opening arguments in the Noor Salman trial here in Orlando Florida. Noor Slaman is accused of aiding and abetting her husband Omar Mateen as he planned the horrific attack on the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando that left 49 people dead. Each prospective juror filed out a questionnaire which narrowed down the pool to start. I heard there were 600 questionnaires sent out. Each prospective juror was the assigned a number and asked to come in individually for follow up questions. Judge Paul G. Byron's first question was weather the person had served on a jury before. and more importantly had they been the foreman on that jury. The biggest concern is that someone might want to get on the jury and their mind is already made up prior to hearing any evidence of testimony. The roll of a juror is to keep an open mind and listen to both sides of every argument in court.

Next Judge Byron wanted to get a feeling as to what media coverage each juror had been exposed to. Everyone in Orlando experienced the initial coverage just following the Pulse Nightclub massacre on June 12, 2016 but some people immediately return to life as usual. He specifically searched for what news coverage prospective jurors heard about Noor Salman herself. his primary concern is that each prospective juror be able to set aside the media coverage they had seen and only consider the evidence and testimony given in court.

The next line of questions had to do with religion. Do you have friends who are Muslim? What do you know about Islam? Would you assume Noor Salman is guilty just because she is Muslim? She was born in the United States and is a citizen. Do you feel the prosecution might have the same bias as the president? Everyone was effected by the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers on 9-11 in some way. Would you be able to set your feeling aside about that attack and judge the case based solely on facts presented in court? Have you been a victim of terrorism here or overseas? Do you know anyone who is directly effected by the 17 student and teacher murders at Parkland High School in south Florida?

Noor Salman is charged with an incitement. An indictment isn't not evidence it is just a document that states what she is accused of. The indictment can not be considered as proof of what Noor did, it is not evidence. Would you as a juror feel pressure from the community to find her guilty even if the evidence did not prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt? We are all presumed innocent in a court of law. We each walk in with a clean slate and it is the job of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. We all have the right to remain silent. Mrs. Salman does not have to testify in this case. If she elects not to testify can you not hold that against her?

He asked about each prospective jurors deliberation process. Are you quick to form an opinion or do you need to weigh all the evidence before forming an opinion. Are you reluctant to change your mind once it is made up? Do you have negative feelings about people who use gun ranges for recreation? I most certainly wouldn't make it on the jury partly because of my intense involvement in trying to understand how Orlando had tried to heal since the horrific shooting, and because I can't stop myself from sketching. I am literally not allowed to enter courtroom 4B with a sketchbook. I would have my press privileges revoked and would be escorted form the building. A pencil is a dangerous weapon.

The case begins today at 9 AM at the Federal Courthouse (401 W Central Blvd Orlando Florida). The case begins exactly one month after the mass shooting at Margory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has called for a walkout in honor of that mass shooting. Students across the country are organizing similar walkouts. In an e-mail, he wrote, "Our community has been so inspired by the students at Stoneman Douglas, students here in Orlando and across the country that have pressed lawmakers to approve school safety and pass measures aimed at preventing gun violence. In solidarity with our students, and to honor the victims, join us for a walkout to the lawn of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (445 S. Magnolia Ave. Orlando Florida.)" It seems that the mass shooting are coming closer and closer together. There have been 10 school shooting since 17 students were murdered in Parkland. The town officials ace just now considering collecting memorabilia from the memorial site after religious leaders hold a ceremony on the evening of the one month mark. 

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Jury Selection for the Noor Slaman Trial.

 Any media inquiries to purchase courtroom sketches should call or text (407) four five zero-0807. I am out of touch while in the courthouse. I will get back in touch ASAP.

Jury selection began on Thursday Mach 8th in the Noor Salman trial with 42 prospective jurors in the pool to start the goal was to reach 56 jurors before starting the process of cutting that number down to 12 jurors with 6 alternates. The media overflow courtroom 3A is similar to courtroom 4B. It is just inverted with the jury box being on the opposite side of the room. it  is not possible to sketch jurors, so I just sketched the reporters who sat in the jury box and in the lawyers tables.

Juror 212 is an advocate for LGBT Rights and she felt she could not be impartial because of that. She was excused for cause. Juror 274 has a husband who is a contractor in Kuwait and Iraq. Because thing he told her, she feels the Middle Easter women do not have equal rights. They have to wear birquas and not make eye contact. The judge assured her that Noor is a United States citizen born in America and asked if she could be impartial in this case. She said she could keep an open mind.

Juror 270 had a medical issue. She is recovering from Cancer which is now in remission. Though in recovery, she was excused for cause. Juror 277 was a student looking to go to law school. Judge Paul G.Byron  congratulated him and wished him well with his choice of college. He answered all the questions with enthusiasm and remained in the pool. Juror 275 had a father who works for the Winter Park Police. He had read many news accounts about the Pulse Nightclub Massacre and felt he could not remain impartial. He was excused for cause. Juror 282 was recently divorced and concerned about having time for custody of his 14 year old daughter. He had read a lot about the shooting on multiple online news sites. He was excused for cause. Juror 278 was a caregiver for her mother. She said that Noor must have known something about what her husband was about to do when he left to kill 49 people. She was excused for cause. With so many people with dead set opinions and biases, it is amazing that any local residents get past the questioning and into the jury pool.

On the walls of the courtrooms were oil paintings of past judges. One was of Patricia Combi Fawsett by local painter Don Sontag, the other portrait was of G. Kendall Sharp. Historic decisions are made inside these walls and the traditional oil portraits are a reminder of the long traditions that are upheld. Reporters come and go usually filing out mid afternoon to get their report on the air.I have settled into the daily routine at court and know that I am meant to be here to document this moment in Orlando history. On Wednesday March 14th the trial officially begins with a full jury.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Monday, March 12, 2018

Lisa Moreno cross examins a prospective juror.

Any media inquiries to purchase courtroom sketches should call or text (407) four five zero-0807. I am out of touch while in the courthouse. I will get back in touch ASAP.

Jury selection continues for the Noor Salman trial. Noor is the widow of the Pulse Nightclub massacre gunman. She is accused of aiding and abetting her husband and misleading FBI agents in the days after the shooting. Judge Paul G.Byron conducts most of the questioning of prospective jurors but sometimes the lawyers have questions of their own after the judge has finished.

Juror 269 was on a murder case 20 years ago so she was familiar with the process of being selected for a jury. She has just started a new job and would not be paid for jury duty so she was excused for cause. Juror 262 has a son who worked as a DJ at a club near Pulse. She was extremely concerned about his welfare on the evening of the attack. Juror 266 worked at the hospital near Pulse on the evening of the carnage. She was called  in to the trauma unit at 6 AM that morning when all the chaos was in full swing. She treated survivors as they fought for their lives in the months to come. She was excused for cause.

Juror 256 was a psychologist who has been called as an expert witness in other court cases. There would be a psychologist called as a witness in the Salman case and although the prospective juror said he could fairly judge and weigh his opinion when the testimony is given, he was excused for cause. The last juror for the morning, 267 said that he has attention deficit disorder. He woks in the tech industry which requires concentration, but if things get slow at work he will get lost in his phone. As he said, "We all are guilty of a bit of Candy Crush." The judge laughed and when the prospective juror left he was excused for cause. Reporters in the overflow news room who had never played the game, asked for some explanation.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Judge Paul G. Byron runs jury selection.

Any media inquiries to purchase courtroom sketches should call or text (407) four five zero-0807. I am out of touch while in the courthouse. I will get back in touch ASAP.

 Jury selection continues in the Noor Slaman trail. Noor is accused of aiding and abetting her husband who killed 49 people and injured many more. In the media overflow courtroom we spend a lot of time staring at Judge Paul G. Byron in the video monitors. It is a strange situation that cameras are forbidden in the courtroom, but three cameras are set up to broadcast 3 views of the proceedings to the media in overflow courtroom 3A. No electronics or cameras are allowed in that room, so the only way to record visually what is happening in the main courtroom is to sketch from the video projections. The same questions are asked each juror to see if they should be excused for cause if they aren't appropriate for the jury. I noticed the Pulse Nightclub owner take a seat in the back row of the courtroom to watch the proceedings.

Prospective juror 174 had a daughter who was attacked by her father in 2001. Social workers in that case tried to take her children away but she wouldn't have it. She doesn't tend to argue but balances all the information rather than rushing to judgment. She remained in the juror pool after questioning.

Prospective juror 176 felt that police sometimes overstep their power. He felt that the Pulse Nightclub massacre was in retaliation for 9-11. He has a friend who served in Afghanistan an was injured by a bomb. Although he claimed bias at every turn, he was kept in the juror pool. I was surprised at how seldom attorneys stepped in to question prospective jurors. The judge asked all the questions.

Prospective juror 156 felt that too many Muslims immigrate to the United States. Some jurors were clearly making statement to get out of jury duty. It is shocking to watch people do anything to avoid their civic responsibility.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Lisa Moreno and Noor Salman.

Any media inquiries to purchase courtroom sketches should call or text (407) four five zero-0807. I am out of touch while in the courthouse. I will get back in touch ASAP.

 I did this sketch first thing in the morning as another day of jury selection got under way. I wanted to sketch Noor Salman, the widow of the Pulse Nightclub shooter, before the monotony of the process set in for another day. I heard form a reporter that Noor gave Lisa a fist bump at one point. I didn't witness this gesture, but the next day the monitor showing Noor had been redirected to point at the empty witness stand. I have to assume that her defense attorney didn't want the media watching Noor's every move. The fact that I can no longer sketch Noor makes it all the more important that I get in the courtroom before the trial is in full swing so that I can at least draw her as she leans over and talks to her lawyers.

Lisa Moreno is soft spoken and unaware that there are microphones she could be using. The microphones are usually pointing away from her. I admire her based on her accomplishments however. I remember reading that she was an attorney with successful experiences in two high profile war on terror related cases, those of Professor Sami Al-Arian and Ghassan Elashi, who was a Guantanamo Bay defense lawyer with security clearance. Professor Sami Al-Arain was under house arrest limbo for five years. All the charges were dropped.

Lisa has been the only defense lawyer so far to sit in on the jury selection process. On multiple occasions she has questioned potential jurors and had then released with cause since their knowledge of the case or bias against Muslims might lead them to not be able to rule fairly in the 3 week case. The trial itself might start as early as Wednesday of next week.

I found out today that I can not get into the main courtroom. The local media gave the seat that I was originally promised to a birthday party caricature artist that low balled the quote on the assignment. The primary concern for the local  media seems to be cost rather that quality. I feel a civic responsibility to cover this trail with the respect it deserves. I will continue to cover the trial but my sketches will be more about the media circus that will be unfolding in the downstairs courtroom 3A rather in the main courtroom 4B. I am disappointed but will make the best of the media drama and obscurity that continues to unfold.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Friday, March 9, 2018

Weekend Top 6 Picks for March 10th and 11th.

Saturday March 10, 2018
6 AM to 11 AM Free. Parramore Farmer's Market. East side of Orlando City Stadium opposite City View.  View, purchase quality, fresh and healthy food grown in your own neighborhood by local farmers, including Fleet Farming, Growing Orlando, and other community growers.

4 PM to 6 PM Free. Young Voices. J.P. Callaman Center 102 Parramore Drive Orlando FL.

8 PM to 10 PM $5 Second Saturdays in Sanford. 202 South Sanford Avenue Sanford FL. Live music event featuring two stages, drink specials and more.

Sunday March 11, 2018
10 AM to Noon Free. Heartfulness Relaxation and Meditation Class. University, 5200 Vineland Road Orlando FL 32811. The method of heartfulness, a simple and practical way to experience the hearts unlimited resources.

Noon to 1 PM Free. Yoga. Lake Eola Park near the red gazibo.

1P PM to 5:30 PM Free. Family Day. The Mennello Museum ofAmerican Art 800 East Princeton Street Orlando Fl 32803.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The prosecutors during the Noor Salman trial.

Any media inquiries to purchase courtroom sketches should call or text (407) four five zero-0807. I am out of touch while in the courthouse. I will get back in touch ASAP.

Jury selection continues for the Noor Salman trial in the Federal Court in downtown Orlando. Periodically the prosecutors would have to introduce themselves to prospective jurors. Standing they would announce the names of  Roger Hamberg and Sarah Sweeney the state's prosecuting attorneys and Darryl McCaskill of the FBI. During a lunch break I saw the prosecutors getting food downtown where I was eating, but I decided to keep to myself.

To recap, Noor Salman is the 31 year old widow of the Pulse Nightclub shooter. She is charged with aiding and abetting her husband as he planned the attack. From my seat in the jury box of courtroom 3A I would watch the attorneys through the long jury selection process. Roger always has a stern expression while the FBI  agent always seemed concerned. The prosecutors are tasked with proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Noor is guilty as charged.

Juror 44 had discussed the case with a friend who had served in Iraq. His friend had been injured by an explosive device while in service. He said that soldiers always had to watch the wife's of the men in Iraq since they would to anything that their husbands told them. That made the women always a potential threat and they were treated as such. He said that this conversation would influence his decision in the case and he was excused for cause.

Juror 112 worked three jobs and said that a three week trial would be an undue hardship. She too was excused. Juror 113 worked in the court system and that familiarity was another excuse for cause. Juror 91 had a friend who works in a gun range and he remained in the pool of 60 jurors who would later be whittled down to the final 12 plus 6 alternates.

I have to still find my way into the main courtroom. I was told that if I went in, I would be removed from the courthouse and my press privileges revoked. However Judge Paul G. Byron remarked in his rules for the media that there would be sketch Artists (plural) in the courtroom. I need to address the court media people and make final arrangements before things get crazy once the jury selection is over and the witnesses are called in to testify.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at