April 12th, 2012
11:37 AM ET

Expert 'would not be surprised' to see Zimmerman get bail

George Zimmerman faces a second-degree murder charge in the killing of Trayvon Martin - a charge of such magnitude that bail is usually not granted, a Florida legal expert said Thursday.

"It's uncommon, but not unheard of," to grant bail in such cases, said Charles Rose, director of the center for excellence and advocacy at the Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida.

Any bail would be large and need a significant financial requirement, whether in money or property, from Zimmerman or his supporters, Rose said.

"The judge will have to hit the range for what is appropriate in cases like this," he said, possibly around $250,000.

The magistrate judge hearing Zimmerman's case Thursday will consider Zimmerman's character, his likelihood to make subsequent court appearances, and his ties to the community when deciding whether to grant bail, Rose said.

The law professor said he didn't think Zimmerman posed a flight risk as he's become so recognizable through media coverage of the case that he'd be spotted almost anywhere.

The magistrate will also determine where and under what conditions Zimmerman would live while on bond, Rose said. The neighborhood watchman would not be allowed to leave the state.

That could pose a problem for Zimmerman, his lawyer said Wednesday.

"I think nobody would deny the fact if George Zimmerman is walking down the street today, he would be at risk," Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, said.

Thousands have converged on Sanford, Florida, where the killing took place, to join in protests calling for Zimmerman's arrest and decrying the police department's handling of the case.

And earlier in the case, the New Black Panther Party, described as a hate group by a civil rights organization, made a $10,000 bounty offer for the capture of Zimmerman, despite vehement opposition from, among others, Martin's family.

Zimmerman, 28, who had been in hiding, turned himself in Wednesday after authorities said he would be charged in the case. The killing took place on February 26.

"You could make an argument that (Zimmerman) would be safer to remain in custody," Rose said.

But he said the authorities may prefer to have Zimmerman released on bond because of the "nightmare" it would be to guarantee his security in custody.

Rose said it's likely that the bail question has already been negotiated between Zimmerman's lawyer and prosecutors.

"I would not be surprised to see him walk in the door and walk out the door," Rose said.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Justice • Trayvon Martin
soundoff (259 Responses)
  1. Vee

    Do some of you people actually believe the young man life meant nothing? Ask your self if Treyvon would have murdered Zimmerman how would you feel and where would the young man be now, in jail from the beginning.
    Is it that much hate in this country that a group of people would think another person life doesn't mean a thing because of the color of their skin? America has a long way to go still.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • MagicMan

      Your comment makes too much sense for some people. Too bad most so called Zimmerman supports don't see it that way.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • edeveryday

      Profiling of blacks and any discrimination of them is the result of the "content of their character", (as a famous man once said.) That's how they should be judged. The majority of blacks can't seem to behave themselves on a day to day basis. It has nothing to do with the "color of their skin". That's all B.S. It just so happens that all these people, WHO CAN'T SEEM TO BEHAVE THEMSELVES ON A DAILY BASIS, have the same color of skin.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      If Martin had killed Zimmerman, we never would have heard about this case.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rich

    If George gets out he could very well be racially profiled himself as he isn't the picture the Fla PD likes to see.He should never have had a gun after fighting with police....oh yea thats right his father was a judge and mother a court clerk............figures

    April 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff S.

      His dad was a justice of the peace...not a judge. They are powerless, get your facts straight. Not to mention in another state. A CCW is issued and monitored at the state level.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Oh yeah, and the charges were dropped against him.

      April 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. asdfasdf

    Cost of the 100 welfare babies Trayvon and his children would have sired within two generations > Cost of imprisoning Zimmerman

    April 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      Outstanding point. The future cost of Trayvon to the taxpayers of Florida, and to some extent the federal government, was probably astronomical. In most companies, Mr. Zimmerman would receive an award (and possibly a day off with pay) for implementing such a cost-cutting measure.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BOMBO ©

    I was honestly surprised to see so many people on CNN ast night talking about how they believed charges needed to be filed and a trial needed to take place. But prosecuters need to prioritize DAILY based on the merits of a case whether to move forward or not. This case is unwinnable for the prosecution. The right call was to not file charges. Why?

    Reasonable doubt. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense. In and of itself, that is not reasonable doubt. He needs something to back it up. Well, he does. One 911 caller is "absolutely certain" he saw Zimmerman getting beaten up and calling for help. He has not backed off on this despite media scrutiny. Two police reports leaked to the press (so far) specify injuries suffered by Zimmerman, and that he was treated at the scene by EMS. These injuries don't need to be particularly serious. But they are on record. And there are likely other reports (other officers on the scene, EMS, hospital) that we have not seen yet.

    Now don't all bite my head off. I'm not talking about likelihood here. He likely went too far in shooting Martin. I am talking about what can be proven – beyond a reasonable doubt. If Zimmerman has a good lawyer, and indications are that he has, prosecution has no chance. Under normal conditions, they wouldn't even try.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Three witnesses saw Zimmerman on top of Trayvon. What did the autopsy reports show? Obviously the Prosecutor feels that the evidence she was able to review was enough to make her feel that she could win. In addition, if there was shabby investigative work by the Police, then that will also come out. It will also bring out evidence that can later be used by the family to sue the Homeowners Association which isn't protected by the Stand Your Ground law.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • jbj

      bulls**, you cant start a fight, get your butt kicked and then claim self defense.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Z_2k

      I agree. Charging Z with 2nd degree murder is about as stupid as charging Casey Anthony with 1st degree murder.
      Manslaughter would have been a more certain conviction, but you know you just have to appeas the "crowd" and give them something that they think will result in the expected amount of "justice for Trayvon". Maybe the prosecutor thinks Z will plea-bargain for a manslaughter conviction, but I think he knows where he stands with these charges and won't plea out. He'll plead not guilty and stick with that, forcing the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and the jury to unanimously agree , that evidence proves the Z is guilty of 2nd degree murder. If not, he walks...just like Casey Anthony.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Feast of Beast

      Well stated.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Did you all miss the part about reasonable doubt? The defense doesn't actually have to PROVE anything. It's the prosecution that has burden of proof.

      The defense just need reasonable doubt. Trust me, one eyewitness plus several official reports filed in writing, even if the police back off on the reports later, will be enough for a full aquittal. Line up as many witnnesses as you want on the other side, it's about reasonable doubt. It's not about race, or any of the rest of this nonsense.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Sorry, "you all" was directed at a number of other comments on this page, not the actual responses to my post.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justice

      No... one and I, mean No one..... has seen a Medical Exam Report to determine the injures that Mr. Martin may have suffered to his body, and to what extent was the condiction of Him... Not... just the Gun Shoot wound to the Chest.... But the whole state of what type of contusion his Head... Face... and.. Body.... may have suffered... So for any one to say what was on the person that did the shooting is missing the whole picture to this thing... there is and will always be to sides to every store..... So lets wait on the Medical Exam" Report from young Mr. Martin's welted body before we make opinions...after all the young mans body stayed in the Mortuary for three Day's before the Family was notified of His Death.... and there fore No... One Knows the state.... of what Occurred on that Night..... Peace..........

      April 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JayS

    Zimmerman arrest = one less Mexican on the streets.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Peruvian. And if his Father is White, then He is White. Remember, Obama has a white Mother, but Daddy is Black and he is our Black President. So if Daddy is White for Zimmerman, he is White. Done.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • juanito

      There are more than 500 millions of Hispanics in the world, ALL MEXICANS ARE HISPANICS BUT NOT ALL HISPANICS ARE MEXICANS. GZ was born in USA none of his parents is mexican.

      April 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CNN

    How many 16 year olds do you know with a gold grill? Sure he was an outstanding young man with no criminal record whatsoever right?

    April 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tristan

      Actually, I know plenty who have played around with things like gold grills and are now finishing up law school and 1 person in particular who is a very successful investor. What you wear doesn't always make you who you are. Are you not old enough to know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover?

      April 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • mrb

      so because of this he deserved to be shot and killed? EVEN IF it was self defense shooting someone point blank in the chest is wrong, shoot to kill? a 17 year old boy? let me get this straight...the shooting occurred no where near the truck he was supposed to be going back to. why did he get out of the truck AT ALL? lets just take the race part out of the story, two people, doesnt matter what color...it is STILL wrong, ZImmerman was the pursuer who had no right to follow this boy, or get out of his car until the police came, he did what he was supposed to do by calling the police then LEAVE IT ALONE, Zimmermans head and nose were by no means injured as dipicted by people. He would have been taken to the hospital if his nose was broken, it would have been swollen, blood or something would have been on his head if he was being beaten as his family says he was. Zimmerman was am angry man looking for a reason to use his gun. Trayvon was a boy. had he done things any teenager would have done in the past sure...but did he deserve to die?

      April 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Name*Ann-Belinda Honablezh

    Upon reading some of these commits, it makes one wonder if intelligence is possible for some people.
    Never-the-less, Mr. Zimmerman should have been arrested from the beginning....Just like any other person would have been. What ever happens should happen in a Court of Law.
    We all have opinions, but belitting others does not help the one writing.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. edeveryday

    You know it and I know it, judging by all the surveillance videos on YouTube taken in liquor stores and department stores of all the blacks pulling their little flashmobbing routine, and videos taken like the recent one in Baltimore of the white tourist being beaten, stripped and robbed by a mob of fine upstanding black citizens, there's probably a million blacks out there walking the streets right now that deserve to be in jail instead of Zimmerman.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      The white tourist was so drunk that he didn't remember what happen the next day. Plus, the video shows he was enjoying the lap dance by the young black lady. But it was sad to see him so drunk that he could hardly pull his boxers back up from his ankles while everyone was laughing at how small he was.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    Is he safer in a single jail cell or walking the streets? Ummmmmmmmmm.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gary

    No. Trayvon Martin is Dead. This was not Self Defense. That is why he is Charged with Murder. Keep this Killer Behind Bars until the Day of Sentencing. Screw Him. He didn't Care about any Good Upstanding Black Citizens out there, so Keep him in Jail. I have no sympathy for this THUG. Let him out and he will just be found anyways.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • JOSE0311USMC


      April 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David

    Now that they have charged him I hope this will shut Al Sharpton's big pothole...

    April 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      It will. Until the aquittal.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • JOSE0311USMC


      April 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • JOSE0311USMC


      April 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. April

    Trayvon's death is a tragedy; Mr. Zimmerman's fear also tragic. But, dear CNN, there are other stories of importance in the US. Enough.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      yeah, I said that everytime the news came on about Casey Anthony. Who cared.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. caliz

    All the enraged racists spewing bigotry here, should better kill themselves. They are hoping for a country where justice is for a particular race only. It's just not gonna happen. Better kill yourselves if you can't stand it !
    Justice for trayvon and every american – white, black, hispanic, asian etc.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rodneyagim

    That man is getting serve by the law and yes death penalty is in order or life period

    April 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Z_2k

      Z has got be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of murder-2 by a jury, and not a street mob, Rodney. It seems you have already found him guilty in your mind, even though you only have hearsay evidence as to his guilt.
      Hearsay evidence won't hold up in court, nor will statements of what people 'think' happened. You think people were mad when Casey walked....wait till Z walks. Lord, the drum-talk will be deafening.

      April 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. calizsys

    All the enraged racists spewing bigotry here, should better kill themselves. They are hoping for a country where justice is for a particular race only. It's just not gonna happen. Better kill yourselves if you can't stand it !
    Justice for trayvon and every american – white, black, hispanic, asian etc.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
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