George Zimmerman Update: Case Hearing in Travyon Martin Shooting Pushed Back Two Weeks
Oct 03, 2012 10:57 AM EDT
(Photo : Reuters )
A preliminary docket-hearing scheduled for Wednesday in the George Zimmerman murder case has been postponed to October 17 by Sanford Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson. It is during the docket-hearing that both parties will stipulate if they are ready for trial.
Judge Nelson has scheduled another hearing for October 19, in which she will decide whether or not to grant Zimmerman's team access to the school records of Travyon Martin, the 17-year-old teenager shot by Zimmerman in February.
Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's lawyer had filed a court subpoena a few weeks ago to gain access to Martin's school records. Prosecutor Assistant State Attornie Bernie De la Rionda said that he has no objection to granting access to the teenager's record so as long as it should not be released to the public. However, O'Mara wants the records released to the public.
It is a well-known fact that the Zimmerman case has sparked discourse over race, De la Rionda says that O'Mara wants to take advantage of the media attention through this petition, which he sees as an attempt to just "chum the waters," according to Hispanicbusiness.com.
Also in another development, the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation has re-accredited The Sanford Police Department, which was under severe criticism in the way it handled the Zimmerman case.
Zimmerman at the time of the fatal incident was a volunteer watch-guard of a gated community, when he approached 17-year-old Martin after observing some suspicious behavior. Zimmerman claims that the encounter soon turned into a violent affront. In an act to protect himself, Zimmerman fatally fired at the teenager. When he was arrested in February and charged with the second degree murder of Martin, Zimmerman has maintained his defense of self-protection.
However, O'Mara, Zimmerman's lawyer, who admitted he would use the Florida State's "Stand Your Ground," in a quick change of strategy said that he will not take shelter in the immunity provided by the statue, but instead would present a clear case of self-defense.
According to the "Stand your Ground," law, if a person is in reasonable fear of danger than he/she could use deadly force, without having to evade the situation. This means that even though a person has the opportunity to escape his/her attacker he/she could choose to stand ground and fight back.
But now, Zimmerman's lawyer told the Huffington Post, "I think the facts seem to support that though we have a stand-your-ground immunity hearing, what this really is, is a simple, self-defense immunity hearing."
The basic argument, O'Mara will make is that Zimmerman was being attacked by the unarmed teenager and fired the shots in an act of pure defense without any opportunity to escape the situation.
Last week, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement released information that shows that only the DNA of George Zimmerman, who is being charged with second degree murder of Trayvon Martin, was found on the gun used to fire at the 17-year-old. The report reveals that the gun did not have any DNA of Martin.
In July, the Florida judge set Zimmerman's bail for $1 million, after previously revoking a $150,000 bond, for misleading the court about his finances.
He has been released from jail on bond, but under strict conditions including a round the clock GPS monitoring system.
According to Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's attorney, the trial is likely to start in a year's time.
Zimmerman was arrested in February for the killing of the 17-year-old, Zimmerman who was armed shot Martin after claiming that he was attacked by the teenager and fired in an act of self-defense. 28-year-old Zimmerman has maintained the claim to self-defense from the beginning of the case.