September 10th, 2013
04:28 PM ET

Police say iPad may prove key in Zimmerman marital altercation case

An iPad used to shoot video of a confrontation that allegedly erupted Monday between George Zimmerman and his estranged wife, Shellie, and her father might prove key in determining whether charges will be filed, police said Tuesday in Lake Mary, Florida.

"Unfortunately, the iPad is in several pieces," police spokesman Zach Hudson told reporters about the device, which he said George Zimmerman had damaged.

The incident comes two months after Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was acquitted of second-degree murder in the shooting death in nearby Sanford of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old unarmed youth.

Police have sent the pieces of the iPad for analysis, Hudson said. "We want to get all the information, the footage, off it."

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Florida • Trayvon Martin
September 9th, 2013
03:58 PM ET

George Zimmerman taken into police custody after incident with wife

George Zimmerman was taken into custody Monday after an apparent domestic altercation with his wife and her father at a home in Lake Mary, Florida, police said.

"As of right now, (George Zimmerman) has been placed in investigative detention," Lake Mary police spokesman Zach Hudson said.

The incident comes two months after Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was found not guilty of murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Florida • Trayvon Martin • Trayvon Martin
August 27th, 2013
02:36 PM ET

Zimmerman wants $200K from Florida

Lawyers for George Zimmerman, the Florida man who was acquitted of second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin, plan to ask the state to reimburse Zimmerman for at least $200,000 of expenses incurred during his trial.

Under Florida law, an acquitted defendant cannot be held liable for court costs or any charges while detained in custody, as long as a clerk or judge consents to the refund.

The costs may include money spent for expert witnesses, travel expenses and fees for transcripts.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Courts • Florida • Trayvon Martin
Police report: Zimmerman pulled over in Texas
George Zimmerman has been largely out of the public spotlight since his acquittal earlier this month.
July 31st, 2013
05:02 PM ET

Police report: Zimmerman pulled over in Texas

George Zimmerman - who was acquitted earlier this month on murder charges tied to Trayvon Martin's death - was stopped this weekend for a traffic violation in North Texas, according to a report from the Forney, Texas, police department.

The incident happened shortly after noon Sunday, when an officer pulled over Zimmerman's 2008 gray Honda for what was described only as a traffic stop.

He was given a verbal warning, police said.

FULL STORY
Post by: ,
Filed under: Florida • Texas • Trayvon Martin
July 17th, 2013
09:02 AM ET

Discord, details flow after Zimmerman trial

The George Zimmerman murder trial is over, but details from the case continue to emerge at a dizzying pace.

Several jurors have spoken out after the verdict. The prosecution's key witness has been offered a full ride to college. And Attorney General Eric Holder blasted "stand your ground" laws but gave no hint about whether Zimmerman will face civil rights charges.

Here's the latest on the Zimmerman trial aftermath:

FULL STORY
Post by: ,
Filed under: Courts • Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin
George Zimmerman trial set for June 10, defense attorney says
October 17th, 2012
09:45 AM ET

George Zimmerman trial set for June 10, defense attorney says

George Zimmerman will go on trial June 10 for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman's lawyer said Wednesday.

The neighborhood watch volunteer is charged with second-degree murder.  Zimmerman has claimed self-defense in the February 26 shooting, saying Martin charged him after the two exchanged words, knocked him to the ground and banged his head repeatedly against a concrete sidewalk.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled Martin as a criminal and killed him, even though the teenager was doing nothing wrong.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty.

Martin's death sparked nationwide protests and inflamed public passions over race relations and gun control, as well as Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law.

More details emerge in Trayvon Martin investigation

What happened that night?

New documents shed light on Trayvon Martin killing'

FBI analysis - Zimmerman's 911 call (pdf - strong language)

In Session's Jean Casarez contributed to this report.

Zimmerman released from jail
July 6th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Zimmerman released from jail

George Zimmerman a Florida man charged with murder in the February shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin was released from jail on Friday, a day after a judge set a new bail amount.

A Florida judge on Thursday set a $1 million bail with new restrictions on Zimmerman (pictured), saying he believes the suspect may have been planning to flee the country to avoid prosecution in the killing of Martin.

Zimmerman's previous bail $150,000 was revoked last month after the judge learned Zimmerman and his wife had failed to disclose more than $150,000 in donations from the public.

Leading up to the judge's decision Thursday, Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara asked the judge to set the same $150,000 bail amount that he granted in April. Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda countered that Zimmerman should remain in jail without bail because he was complicit in lying to the court and can't be trusted.

FULL STORY
Post by: ,
Filed under: Courts • Crime • Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin
Zimmerman's new bail set at $1 million
July 5th, 2012
11:43 AM ET

Zimmerman's new bail set at $1 million

A Florida judge set the new bail amount for George Zimmerman - a Florida man charged with murder in the February shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin - at $1 million on Thursday.

It was unclear how quickly Zimmerman (pictured) could post the bail and be released from jail. His attorney argued that Zimmerman should not be jailed because the state's case is weak and his claim of self-defense is strong.

Zimmerman's previous bail $150,000 was revoked last month after the judge learned Zimmerman and his wife had failed to disclose more than $150,000 in donations from the public.

Leading up to the judge's decision Thursday, Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara asked the judge to set the same $150,000 bail amount that he granted in April. Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda countered that Zimmerman should remain in jail without bail because he was complicit in lying to the court and can't be trusted.

Zimmerman, who says he shot the unarmed Martin in self-defense, could stay in jail until his eventual trial or could be released Thursday if he posts bail. He would not have to post the full amount. Only a percentage is needed to make bail.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Florida • Trayvon Martin
Investigator: Zimmerman missed opportunities to defuse situation
George Zimmerman failed to identify himself twice during a confrontation with Trayvon Martin, a detective says.
June 27th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Investigator: Zimmerman missed opportunities to defuse situation

George Zimmerman failed to identify himself twice during a confrontation with Trayvon Martin and missed opportunities to defuse the situation that led to the death of the teen, a detective says in a newly released report.

Zimmerman, who served as a neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder in the February 26 shooting death of Martin, 17, in Sanford, Florida.

The revelation is part of information Florida prosecutors released Tuesday. It includes a previously undisclosed portion of a video of Zimmerman showing injuries he said he suffered in the altercation with Martin.

Zimmerman, 28, told police he shot the teenager in February in self-defense and has pleaded not guilty. But Martin's family and civil rights activists said Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, racially profiled Martin and ignored a 911 dispatcher's advice not to follow him.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Florida • Trayvon Martin
June 21st, 2012
07:50 AM ET

George Zimmerman: Trayvon Martin attacked me

New documents, audio and video have been released in the case against George Zimmerman who is charged with the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin. Below are updates on statements Zimmerman made to police, made public as part of discovery, which have been released by his defense team.

[Updated at 8:14 a.m. ET] Zimmerman told police that at some point during the exchange with Martin he began hitting his head into the sidewalk.

"When he started doing that, I slid into the grass to try to get out from under him ... I'm still yelling for help," Zimmerman told investigators.

Martin, he said, put his hand over Zimmerman's mouth and nose and told him, "You're going to die tonight."

"When I slid, my jacket and my shirt came up, and when he said, 'You're going to die tonight,' I felt his hand go down my side, and I thought he was going for my firearm, so I grabbed it immediately, and as he banged my head again, I just pulled out my firearm and shot him."

When he did, he said Martin, who had been on top of him, fell away and said, "All right. You got it. You got it."

Zimmerman claimed in the interview he was driving to the grocery store February 26 when he saw Martin walking in his neighborhood. He said he pulled over and called a police non-emergency number "to report a suspicious person."

He noted there had been some burglaries in the area, prompting him to start a neighborhood watch program. He said he had never seen Martin before, and thought it was odd that although it was raining, "he was just walking casually, not like he was trying to get out of the rain."

As he spoke to the dispatcher, he said Martin circled his vehicle, but he "lost visual of him" and got out of the vehicle to find him. The dispatcher, he said, told him "we don't need you to do that," and he was heading back to the vehicle when Martin jumped out, asking him, "What the f-'s your problem?"

He said he told Martin, "I don't have a problem," but the youth replied, "Now you have a problem," and attacked him. He said he fell backward after being punched in the nose, and "he was wailing on my head."

Zimmerman told police he yelled for help repeatedly, and heard one man say he was going to call 911.

"I screamed 'Help me' probably 50 times, as loud as I could," he said.

Read Zimmerman's written statement to police (PDF)

[Posted at 7:50 a.m. ET] In an initial interview with police following the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman described a life-and-death struggle that began when the youth "jumped out from the bushes."

Zimmerman said Martin punched him repeatedly in the face. "I started screaming for help. I couldn't see. I couldn't breathe."

He said Martin "grabbed my head and started hitting it in the sidewalk."

The audio of the Zimmerman's first interview with police investigators was made public late Wednesday as part of the discovery items released by his defense team.

Zimmerman, 28, is charged with second-degree murder in Martin's February 26 shooting death. Zimmerman has claimed he shot Martin in self-defense, but Martin's family and civil rights activists from across the country claim that Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, racially profiled Martin and ignored a 911 dispatcher's advice not to follow him.

Read some of the previous documents in the Zimmerman case

FULL STORY
Zimmerman's wife arrested on perjury charge
June 12th, 2012
04:41 PM ET

Zimmerman's wife arrested on perjury charge

The wife of a Florida man charged with fatally shooting an unarmed teen in February has been arrested on a perjury charge, according to a Florida state attorney's office.

The charge relates to testimony that Shellie Zimmerman (pictured) gave during a bail hearing for her husband, George Zimmerman. Prosecutors contend that Shellie Zimmerman falsely told the court that she and her husband were indigent.

Shellie Zimmerman, 25, was arrested Tuesday, according to Jackie Barnard, spokeswoman for the state attorney's office in the state's Fourth Judicial Circuit. She was released after posting $1,000 bail, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said.

George Zimmerman, 28, is a neighborhood watch volunteer charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17, in a Sanford, Florida, neighborhood. George Zimmerman told police he shot the teenager in self-defense and has pleaded not guilty.

A Florida judge revoked his bail June 1 after agreeing with prosecutors that he had misrepresented how much money he had. He is expected to ask for a new bail hearing.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Courts • Crime • Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin
May 15th, 2012
12:28 PM ET

Zimmerman prosecutors release evidence list

Prosecutors released a summary of evidence Tuesday in the case against neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who is accused of second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.

The eight-page document released to the public contains a list of possible witnesses and law enforcement reports that could be used in the prosecution's case against Zimmerman.

But it doesn't include details from those statements or reports, and contains no new revelations about the case, which sparked nationwide protests and reflection on race relations and gun laws in the United States.

The document is part of the routine exchange of information between prosecutors and defense attorneys that occurs before trials.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Crime • Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin
April 24th, 2012
09:30 AM ET

Town where Trayvon Martin died in 'limbo' after city nixes chief's resignation

The rejection of the resignation plan for the embattled police chief in the Trayvon Martin case leaves the city in "limbo," the city manager said Tuesday.

"It would be better for us to have a separation," Sanford, Florida, City Manager Norton N. Bonaparte told CNN, speaking about Chief Bill Lee. "It will be challenging for him to come back."

City commissioners in Sanford voted Monday to reject the proposed resignation of Lee, who has been under fire for the handling of the probe into Trayvon Martin's death in February.

Lee has been on paid leave since March 22, a day after the commission expressed a lack of confidence in him because of the case. He remains so after the commission's decision, and Capt. Darren Scott continues to serve as acting chief.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Florida • Trayvon Martin
April 20th, 2012
12:14 PM ET

Live blog: Zimmerman 'sorry' for loss of Martins' son; bond set at $150,000

After George Zimmerman took the stand during his bond hearing and told Trayvon Martin's parents that he was sorry for the loss of their son, a Florida judge Friday set Zimmerman's bond at $150,000.

The judge set a number of conditions, including GPS monitoring. The judge said Zimmerman wouldn't have the opportunity to be released Friday, because his attorney and state authorities needed to hammer out the monitoring and other logistics.

Friday's bond hearing also included testimony from one of the state's main investigators in the case, with Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara challenging the state's assertions. Under questioning, the investigator said the state didn't have evidence to contradict Zimmerman's account that Martin started the fight that led to the shooting, but he did say evidence did call into question other parts of Zimmerman's account.

Zimmerman, 28, was charged on April 11 with second-degree murder in the February death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, after the case sparked a heated, national debate over racial profiling and saw thousands of protesters demand Zimmerman's arrest. Martin's family contends Zimmerman racially profiled their son, who was black, and was walking back from a convenience store in Sanford, Florida.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who is Hispanic, maintains he acted in self-defense. His family says he did not profile Martin. (Timeline of case)

The following is a running account of the bond hearing:

[Updated at 12:14 p.m. ET] The state's attorney in today's bond hearing, reacting to reporters' questions about O'Mara's assault on the prosecution's case, said that not all evidence has been publicly revealed.

"We did not put our entire case on today. Let's leave it at that," he told reporters outside the courthouse.

[Updated at 11:55 a.m. ET] Mark NeJame, an Orlando lawyer and CNN legal analyst, said O'Mara's move to put Zimmerman on the stand during the bond hearing "was a calculated risk to humanize George Zimmerman."

"We've heard a lot of negative things for weeks now, and we've now heard a living breathing person" make an apology, NeJame said.

[Updated at 11:15 a.m. ET] The hearing is over. Zimmerman stood up and shook hands with his attorney, Mark O'Mara, before sitting down again to wait to be taken from the courtroom.

[Updated at 11:10 a.m. ET] The judge has set a bond of $150,000, with conditions.

The conditions include:

– GPS monitoring

– Zimmerman would have to contact authorities every three days

– No contact with the victim's family

– No possession of firearms

– No use of controlled substances, other than those prescribed by a physician.

As for O'Mara's request that Zimmerman be allowed to reside away from Florida, the judge said O'Mara and the state should get together and determine whether that can be accomplished.

Because O'Mara and the state need to meet about the arrangements for monitoring, Zimmerman will not have an opportunity to be freed today. the judge said.

[Updated at 11:07 a.m. ET] The state's attorney is now making a case against leniency when it comes to the bond decision, and has asked for no bond, or a bond of $1 million.

The state's attorney argued that Zimmerman is a danger to the public, citing not only the second-degree murder charge, but a previous charge of battery against a law enforcement officer, which was discussed at length earlier in the hearing.

[Updated at 11:02 a.m. ET] The hearing is now turning back to the issue of bond. O'Mara is asking the judge for:

– $15,000 bond.

– The ability of Zimmerman to leave the state

– Secrecy over Zimmerman's whereabouts

O'Mara, speaking to Zimmerman's ability to pay bond, noted that Zimmerman cannot work in public because of the case's publicity, and that his wife is not working because she is in school.

[Updated at 10:58 a.m. ET] The prosecuting attorney is now questioning Zimmerman. He asked whether Zimmerman had ever said he was sorry when he spoke to police. Zimmerman responded that he had told one of the investigators that "I felt sorry for the family."

The prosecutor told Zimmerman that if that's true, it must have been recorded. He asked Zimmerman if he was sure, and Zimmerman said he was "fairly certain."

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Courts • Florida • Justice • Trayvon Martin
Judge disqualifies herself from George Zimmerman case
CNN contributor Mark NeJame said Judge Jessica Recksiedler (pictured) did nothing improper by waiting to be asked to recuse herself.
April 18th, 2012
03:20 PM ET

Judge disqualifies herself from George Zimmerman case

A Florida judge Wednesday approved a motion to disqualify herself from the criminal case involving a neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, according to the court.

The defense team for George Zimmerman requested Monday that Seminole Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler, who was assigned to Zimmerman's case, be removed after she revealed that her husband works with a CNN legal analyst.

Zimmerman's defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, had said Monday he was confident the motion would be granted.

Recksiedler said in her decision that while the findings on each basis were "legally insufficient" for disqualification, "the cumulative effect of the events and the totality of the circumstances provides a legally sufficient basis for this court to grant the motion to disqualify," a statement from the court said.

Zimmerman, 28, fatally shot Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, a killing he has said was in self-defense. The case has stirred civil rights activists nationwide and drawn intense publicity.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Courts • Florida • Trayvon Martin
April 12th, 2012
04:45 PM ET

After Zimmerman’s arrest, Martin’s advocates laud public pressure

After neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder in the February shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, the teen’s mother said she finally got what she asked for.

“Thank God. We simply wanted an arrest," Sybrina Fulton told reporters shortly after the charge was announced. "We wanted nothing more and nothing less, and we got it."

Fulton’s comments were among a wide range of reactions from people across the country who advocated for the arrest of Zimmerman, the 28-year-old man who claimed self-defense in Martin’s shooting and wasn’t charged until a special prosecutor’s review of the case.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who advocated for Martin’s arrest, said Wednesday that "there should be no high-fiving" over Zimmerman's charge. But he lauded the public pressure that he said caused Florida’s governor to order a prosecutor to review the case.

"If we did not get this far, we would condemn them," Sharpton said. "We must say that despite the fact that we are of ... different political persuasions ... we came together and said only the facts should matter."

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Florida • Trayvon Martin
George Zimmerman appears before judge
April 12th, 2012
01:49 PM ET

George Zimmerman appears before judge

[Updated at 2:01 p.m. ET] A solemn George Zimmerman, wearing gray jail coveralls, appeared before a Seminole County, Florida, judge Thursday, speaking only a few words as his arraignment was set for next month.

All matters including bond and further motions in the case will be handled by the circuit court, Judge Mark Herr said. The case will be assigned to Judge Jessica Recksiedler going forward.

As the short hearing was concluding, Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, asked that records containing personal information on witnesses, including addresses and telephone numbers in some cases, be sealed. As nothing else besides the probable cause affidavit had been filed in court Thursday, Herr said Recksiedler will address a motion to seal the file.

O'Mara did not ask that Zimmerman be released on bond, although he said earlier in the day he wanted his client released as soon as possible.

He did note, however, that being out on bail could jeopardize Zimmerman's safety.

"I think nobody would deny the fact if George Zimmerman is walking down the street today, he would be at risk," he explained.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Florida • Trayvon Martin
April 11th, 2012
08:02 PM ET

Zimmerman charged with second-degree murder

George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who says he was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, has been charged with murder in the second degree, special prosecutor Angela Corey told reporters Wednesday.

Read the charges (PDF) | Read Corey's remarks (PDF)

Corey said that Zimmerman has surrendered to authorities in Florida and has been arrested. The charge carries a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.

Police say Zimmerman fatally shot Martin, a 17-year-old African-American, on February 26 in Sanford, Florida, after Martin began walking home from a convenience store. Zimmerman, who is Hispanic and was a neighborhood watch volunteer, had called 911 to complain about a suspicious person in the neighborhood. He was released without charges after claiming self-defense, but the case was referred to Corey for a review as thousands converged on Sanford to join in protests calling for Zimmerman's arrest.

The following are running updates on the story:

[Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET] Zimmerman's new attorney, Mark O'Mara, said that he expects to file a motion seeking bond for Zimmerman on Thursday. Currently, Zimmerman is being held without opportunity for bond.

O'Mara told CNN by phone that he thinks Zimmerman is "troubled by the fact that the state decided to charge him," but that he "understands what is in front of him," and he's "doing OK."

At a news conference outside his office seconds later, O'Mara told reporters that Zimmerman voluntarily surrendered to Florida authorities, and that authorities were in the process of moving him to custody in Seminole County, Florida.

"He's concerned about getting a fair trial and a fair presentation," O'Mara said. "There's obviously been a lot of information flowing. I think a lot of it has been premature and inappropriate."

"The worst thing that can happen in this case is that it doesn't get tried properly," O'Mara said. "Give us our chance to do it the way it's supposed to be done."

On Tuesday, Zimmerman's former attorneys Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner told reporters they had lost contact with Zimmerman and no longer represent him.

iReport.com: What's your reaction?

[Updated at 7:04 p.m. ET] Sanford's mayor, Jeff Triplett, called "for continued calm in Sanford, its surrounding communities and around the nation."

"The case is in the hands of the justice system. Please allow it to work through the process and come to a natural conclusion," Triplett said in a news conference in Sanford, following Corey's announcement.

FULL POST

Overheard on CNN.com: Zimmerman charges spark emotional discussion about law and race
George Zimmerman, left, says he shot Trayvon Martin, right, in self-defense.
April 11th, 2012
07:14 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Zimmerman charges spark emotional discussion about law and race

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

George Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the February 26 shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, a Florida state attorney announced Wednesday. State attorney Angela Corey said Zimmerman had surrendered to authorities and had been arrested. As the news developed, readers engaged in powerful discussions on the live blog.

Please share your reaction in the comments area below and on CNN iReport.

Zimmerman charged with second-degree murder

Some of the conversation was about Corey's motives.

TP: "For claiming that George Zimmerman wouldn't be tried in the court of public opinion, Angela Corey seems to be running for office with that speech of hers more than prosecuting a case."

This person said an investigation is necessary.

Jeannie: "Now maybe justice can be served. Let the facts and evidence be presented in a court of law. I'm so sick of hearing people whine about race and some stupid pictures and how old they are in them. My question is, why wasn't the case properly investigated in the first place? Why did it take Al Sharpton and (Jesse Jackson) to come on to the scene to get the national attention? So he was charged and the evidence will be presented. Why anyone would be angry about this is beyond me. I'm white and I hear more white people angry as can be that he was charged ... I don't get it."

Some said they thought Corey was playing to public sentiment rather than the facts of the case. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Florida • Justice • Overheard on CNN.com • Race • Trayvon Martin • Trayvon Martin • U.S.
What's happens now that Zimmerman is charged in Trayvon Martin death?
April 11th, 2012
06:07 PM ET

What's happens now that Zimmerman is charged in Trayvon Martin death?

The special prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin shooting case has announced she has filed a charge of second-degree murder against George Zimmerman.

So, what did special prosecutor Angela Corey have to do legally to get here and what will happen next?

In Session's Beth Karas and Jessica Thrill break down the steps Corey took in order to file the charges and how the case will proceed from here.

STEP 1 – Now that Zimmerman is in custody, he has a “first appearance” before a judge

* Zimmerman had his first appearance at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
* First appearance hearings have to happen within 24 hours of someone’s arrest.
* The judge read the charges, so Zimmerman is clear about the crimes he is accused of.
* The judge addressed Zimmerman’s right to counsel. Zimmerman has hired Mark O’Mara.

STEP 2 – Zimmerman’s bond

* Second-degree murder is considered a “nonbondable” offense because the maximum penalty is life in prison.
* Both sides may have already agreed on a reasonable bond.
* But if they haven’t, then Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, can ask for an “Arthur hearing” in an attempt to get bond set.

  1. If O’Mara does ask for an “Arthur Hearing,” it could happen early next week.

* At the “Arthur hearing,” the burden is on the prosecutors to show that Zimmerman should not be given bond.

  1. To meet that burden, they will have to present evidence to support no bond.
  2. If the prosecutors fail to meet the burden, the judge will look at other factors to decide whether to set bond. Those factors include Zimmerman’s ties to the community, whether he’s a flight risk and whether he’s a danger to the community.

* This hearing is the opportunity for the defense to see the prosecution’s evidence against Zimmerman. So, we could get to hear some of the evidence that has not been disclosed.

STEP 3 – Arraignment

* The arraignment will likely happen within two to three weeks of the arrest.

* Zimmerman may or may not appear in open court for his arraignment.

  1. Often the defendant will waive the appearance at the actual court hearing and his attorney can enter a written plea of not guilty on his behalf.

* Zimmerman will be arraigned and must enter a plea on the charges, most likely “not guilty” (at this stage, defendants almost never plead guilty).

  1. In fact, O’Mara has already indicated that publicly.

STEP 4 – Defense files a motion to dismiss based on “stand your ground” law

* Zimmerman is entitled to a pretrial evidentiary hearing on whether he can use the stand your ground immunity.

* The burden at that hearing is on the defense to prove by “a preponderance of the evidence” (meaning it’s more likely than not) that Zimmerman was justified in using deadly force.

  1. In Florida, an individual can use deadly force anywhere (with no duty to retreat) as long as he/she:

– is not engaged in an unlawful activity;

– is being attacked in a place he/she has a right to be; and

– reasonably believes that his/her life and safety is in danger.

* The judge decides whether Zimmerman’s actions were justified and therefore entitle him to the stand your ground immunity.

  1. If the judge finds the force was justifiable, then the charges are dismissed and Zimmerman is immune from further criminal prosecution and, possibly, civil liability.
  2. If the judge finds the force was not justifiable, then the charges against Zimmerman move forward (see steps 5 and 6 below)

* If the judge rules Zimmerman is immune, the prosecution can appeal that decision to a higher court.

FULL POST

« older posts