George Zimmerman Bail Set at $1 Million

Update: You can read the bail order here. My analysis is below.

The Judge has set George Zimmerman's bail at $1 million. He has to post 10%, will not be allowed to open a bank account, and must be on GPS. Order to follow. Feel free to discuss here or at TalkLeft Forums.

The Court on page 5 confirms "the State failed to prove that the Defendant may be held without bond." On page 4, he repeats his finding the evidence is "strong", and says that the June 29 hearing was not an Arthur hearing, so the evidence on self-defense presented by the defense is mostly irrelevant. He lists a number of short-comings in the defense presentation at both the April 20 and June 29 bail hearing. [More...]

At the April 20 hearing, Judge Lester says the defense failed to produce evidence to contradict the state's evidence (which was only the affidavit for probable cause affidavit and testimony of Investigator Dale Gibreath):
Notably, at the initial bond hearing, this Court had only limited evidence; to that point, the State showed the Defendant had shot and killed Trayvon Martin. There was other evidence presented through the probable cause affidavit and the testimony of Dale Gilbreath, an investigator with the State Attorney's Office, that the Defendant's actions were imminently dangerous to another and that he acted with a depraved mind regardless of human life. The Defendant certainly indicated through cross-examination that he acted in self-defense, but he put forward no evidence such. (Argument by counsel is not evidence.) As a consequence, this Court found as a preliminary matter that the evidence against the Defendant was "strong."
But O'Mara did present evidence on April 20 -- the testimony of Investigator Gibreath -- who made several admissions of shortcomings in the state's case.

The Judge then quotes Art. 1 Section 18 of the Florida Constitution which states bond can only be denied as a matter of right if the state has proven "the proof of guilt is evident and the presumption great." He says the strength of the self-defense case now is of limited relevance to the issue of whether bond should be granted and he does not opine on it. He says that's an issue for a Stand Your Ground hearing or at trial.

That the Defendant shot and killed the victim is virtually undisputed. The only issue is the viability of the Defendant's selfdefense/Stand Your Ground claim.
Since the June 29,2012 hearing addressed whether to reinstate the bond was not an Arthur hearing, the presentation of evidence attacking the State's case is of limited relevance at this stage of the proceedings. Nonetheless, the Court reviewed all of the exhibits and considered the witnesses' testimony regarding the Defendant's self-defense theory.

Again, he doesn't make any findings on the self-defense evidence.

Since he can't deny bond as a matter of right, he can only deny bond if he finds there are no conditions that can reasonably assure Zimmerman's appearance at trial, the safety of the community or the integrity of the judicial process.

He says danger to the community is not an issue, and while he thinks the evidence about the money could support a finding Zimmerman was preparing to flee before being released on bond, the issue he's concerned with is:

The actual questions before the Court at this time are: is the Defendant entitled to bail when he presents false testimony at a prior bond hearing and what recourse there is when the Defendant has shown blatant disregard for the judicial system.

He says of Article I, Section 18: "By its plain language, this Court is authorized to detain the Defendant without bail if it is determined that it is necessary to assure the integrity of the judicial process."

Another failure by the defense in his view: He says the defense "didn't present any witness to affirmatively state that the Defendant has not received runds from any other source."

He says "there is little authority establishing what "assure the integrity of the judicial process," as set forth in Art. I, 5 14 of the Florida Constitution, actually means in operation."

Well, there is some. Section 907.041 states:

[c]The court may order pretrial detention if it finds a substantial probability, based on a defendantís past and present patterns of behavior, the criteria in s. 903.046, and any other relevant facts, that any of the following circumstances exists:
2. The defendant, with the intent to obstruct the judicial process, has threatened, intimidated, or injured any victim, potential witness, juror, or judicial officer, or has attempted or conspired to do so, and that no condition of release will reasonably prevent the obstruction of the judicial process;
There's no allegation Zimmerman did any of those things.

In any event, the Judge did agree in order to refuse to reset bond after revocation, when a defendant is constitutionally entitled for bond and has not been charged with a new crime, he must weigh all the bail release factors in Fla. Stat. 943.046(2).

[the] violation of a bond condition, without more, would not justify permanent revocation of the bond if the defendant is constitutionally entitled to a bond, The Court would still be required to conduct an analysis under Fla. Stat. 907.04 1 to determine whether a defendant is entitled to be re-released on a new bond....This Court must. then, determine the appropriate bond amount based upon the criteria set forth in Fla. Stat. 943.046(2).

He weighs all the factors, and sets bond at $1 million, which can be met through a bondsman who will charge 10% and noting that the defense fund has $211,000., finds Defendant has the ability to pay it.

Conclusion: This judge is going to have a hard time believing anything Zimmerman says in the future. At a Stand Your Ground hearing, Zimmerman will have to make his case based on the physical evidence and witness statements, since the judge is unlikely to find his testimony alone sufficient.

At trial, the Judge's opinion of his credibility will be immaterial. He clearly has enough for a self-defense instruction, and possibly for a Stand Your Ground instruction.

In an appeals case a few weeks ago, State v. Rice, a Florida appeals court confirmed that a defendant can appeal a denial of a Stand Your Ground motion before trial through a writ of prohibition. (PDF version here.)

[T]here is no question that prohibition was the appropriate relief for Rice to seek after the trial court denied his motion to dismiss based on his claim of immunity under the Stand Your Ground law.
Rice was charged in November, 2008, and the writ of prohibition wasn't denied until 2010. He went to trial in January, 2011. The jury considered and rejected his Stand Your Ground claim.
Even though Judge William Wright ruled Rice wasnít immune from prosecution under the Stand Your Ground statute, Rice still can use it as a defense [at trial.]
With Zimmerman on bond, the defense will be in no hurry to take this case to trial. If it decides to appeal a denial of Stand Your Ground before trial, and the Rice case timeline is typical, it might take three years, until 2014, to get to trial in this case. By then, almost no will remember the details of this case. The impact of this bond ruling on Zimmerman's credibility at trial will be non-existent. The jurors won't have read the court's order, and reporting on the overall case will have slowed to a trickle. Any prospective juror who is so familiar with the case as to remember the details of a ruling three years earlier would certainly be bounced by one side or the other.

This was a good day for George Zimmerman, not such a great day for his defense team which just lost $100,000. in available fees, and not a good day for the state, which failed to make a sufficient case for keeping Zimmerman jailed pending trial.

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    If he is not charged with a new crime... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by bmaz on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:18:39 AM EST
    ...over the discrepancy at the prior bond hearing, and he is not, this is akin to upping the ante for exercising his constitutional right to silence at said hearing. I think I would be inclined to appeal the order.

    Lester suggested that the state press charges (none / 0) (#4)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:39:49 AM EST
    On page 7, under item (j), Lester points out that the state hasn't charged Zimmerman with a violation of 903.035(3), and Lester says there is probable cause for such a charge.

    Puzzling (none / 0) (#7)
    by friendofinnocence on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:52:12 AM EST
    He also said the felony did not technically occur while Zimmerman was on pretrial release.

    Be that as it may, does this mean once again the state can file charges and get his bond revoked, assuming he does get out and back into hiding?


    Wouldn't result in revocation (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:01:00 PM EST
    It's not a new crime while out, it's an old crime.  I think Lester is just of a mind that the state should further pile on.  He'll do his part to help (e.g., he's said there is probable cause, so the charge is prima facie well brought), but he can't revoke bail for this charge.

    He can revoke bail if Zimmerman enters Orlando airport property.  I suggest Zimmerman find those legal boundary markers, and make sure no public road or other "way" that he might travel happens to enter / cross through airport property.


    I'm not convinced he can't revoke... (none / 0) (#101)
    by Gandydancer on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 06:26:44 PM EST
    ...if the state decides to charge 903.35(3), since IIRC he says that had they done so he would have had the authority to no-bail, and if that situation changes... well, what is the actual caselaw that would prohibit a reconsideration?

    Jeralyn mixes in the requirement that Z pay 10% of the $1M in with a partial recapitulation of what the judge actually ordered. The judge didn't actually order that, though it may be standard practice, But it was apparently violated in the first bail. Z only -paid- 3.33% ($5k), with the rest a debt.

    O'Mara says Z doesn't have enough collateral to obtain a $1M bail, rendering $1M effectively a no-bail. First step is to ask for reconsideration from Lester, I suppose. If that state of Z's finances doesn't change rapidly (-very- rapidly) he needs to appeal the amount ASAP. Dunno how long it would take to get a result, but no reason to think the timeline is going to get any shorter if he doesn't start it running. Might piss off Lester further, but the time to treat the judge as irremediably hostle is fast approaching.

    The way the availability of a bail system (with its 10% "fine") works to increase the demanded bond is revolting. Not sure what the answer is, but the way it's working is not right.

    Jeralyn's observation that the $100k fine may come from O'Mara's pocket is spot on. I always thought he'd shot himself in the foot when he'd argued Z into getting the first bond from a bondsman. But that was only $15k. And its not clear that the trustee he's picked is allowing Z to get the remaing $10k from the fund (it was still unpaid after the revokation). The agency problem in hiring a lawyer can be huge (I had that problem with my mother's estate).

    Gotta run, but one more thing. I think Lester conplains of MOM saying he would represent Z pro bono -at the initial hearing-. But there was no fund then. Did I hallucinate that when I read the order? No time to look now...

    I think there was no info on the continued success of fund-raising after the shift to MOM's website at the revokation hearing. Where is the $200k figure (IIRC) for present funds coming from?


    Lester says ... (none / 0) (#103)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 06:47:33 PM EST
    On the issue of whether or not a 903.035 violation justifies setting no-bond status (as a post release crime, see 903.0471), Lester says it is "akin to a bond condition violation" (p3, last paragraph); and that "this Court is not presented with an allegation that the Defendant committed a new crime while on pretrial release, so Fla. Stat. 903.0471 does not apply." (middle of page 4).

    With regard to the state bringing a charge under 903.035(3), Lester says, at (j) on page 7, "cannot treat these potential offenses (the other being a contempt of court order by Lester), standing alone, as a basis to hold order pretrial detention as authorized under Fla. Stat. 903.0471."

    The caselaw is Paul.

    The $200,000 figure comes from O'Mara, but that figure does not account for defense expenditures to date, or anticipated costs for depositions, experts, and legal fees.

    I think O'Mara should have appealed the no-bond order in the first place.  On the bright side, now he has a better handle on Lester's point of view than he would have had, if he'd appealed the no-bond condition and won.


    Judge also ruled he couldn't leave the county. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by redwolf on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:22:09 AM EST
    This ruling is clearly a punishment from the state. Kangaroo court indeed.

    This is shocking and appaling (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Doug1111 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:40:19 AM EST
    to me.

    The general tenor (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:50:15 AM EST
    Lester is firmly in the prosecution camp, and O'Mara will have to spoon feed every piece of evidence to a hostile Lester.

    For example, Lester asserts that he (Lester) has been presented nothing that would indicate Zimmerman was misled into believing that he would not be charged with a crime.

    Hello?!!  What about the town of Sanford press release, endorsed by Chief Lee, no probable cause that he is not entitled to 776.032 immunity.  Not entered into Lester's courtroom.

    Lester finds Zimmerman was preparing to flee to avoid prosecution, but his plans were thwarted.

    I'm >< this close to putting Lester in the same pile Corey and de la Rionda are in.

    Join the club (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by bmaz on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:22:29 PM EST
    I have now put Lester squarely in that particular pile.

    I always have put him in that camp (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:50:02 PM EST
    I wrote the day he got the case "I think O'Mara may have jumped from the frying pan into the fire with this judicial switch." It's always troubled me that his wife is a career state's attorney in the next county, trying murder cases. It was her office (although not her personally) who filed the 2005 case against Zimmerman.

    I'm more interested in the closeness between Seminole County and Orange County, where his wife is a homicide prosecutor. The counties border on each other. His wife works for the State Attorney's Office, just as Angela Corey and her deputy prosecutors work for the State's Attorney's Office. Do they share investigators? Even though the counties are in different judicial districts, the same agency employs both. Will information be shared? Do investigators for one county work or consult with those in the other? I think O'Mara may have jumped from the frying pan into the fire with this judicial switch.  

    Did Lester already have a relationship with Corey? (2.00 / 1) (#157)
    by Tamta on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 08:43:19 PM EST
    Just because he went to the ... (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by Yman on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:45:36 PM EST
    ... same law school?!?

    Oyyyyyyy ...


    Ridiculous. (none / 0) (#160)
    by Angel on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 07:42:00 AM EST
    Jeralyn - Is this not enough for (none / 0) (#97)
    by Cashmere on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:43:08 PM EST
    O'Mara to request the judge be recused from the case?  Apologies in advance for my ignorance.  

    Sanford, FL (Seminole County)... (none / 0) (#121)
    by heidelja on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 12:36:44 AM EST
    ...where Lester resides by all appearances for his entire life has evolved into little more than a bedroom community of Orlando.  Not much different than the evolution of Lakewood, CO in Jefferson County or Littleton, CO in Arapahoe County are to the City of Denver in Denver County.

    What you are suggesting here is that Lester might have a bigger chip on his shoulder with O'Mara being "from (very nearby) Orlando" than the special State Prosecutors being from Jacksonville (aprox 120 miles away). Or could it be because O'Mara graduated from "upstart" Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee, Florida and Lester graduated from the University of Florida onetime "College of Law"? Both attended undergraduate school locally at any number of possible sites used by the University of Central Florida.


    I fail to see the justification of Lester's (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:55:41 AM EST
    view (From USA Today):

    Lester had revoked Zimmerman's initial $150,000 bond because of concerns that the defendant and his wife had tried to deceive the court over their extent of their financial assets.

    "Under any definition, the defendant has flaunted the system," the judge wrote. "Counsel has attempted to portray the defendant as being a confused young man who was fearful and experienced a moment of weakness and who may have also have acted out of a sense of 'betrayal' by the system. Based upon all the evidence presented, this court finds the opposite. The defendant tried to manipulate the system when he has been presented the opportunity to do so."

    Update at 12:19 p.m. ET: Judge Lester largely sided with the state prosecutor's portrayal of Zimmerman as a liar who intentionally misled the court and may have been preparing to flee the country once out on bail. He rejected the notion put forth by Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, that Zimmerman lied about his finances because he didn't trust the system after being charged with second-degree murder.

    Update at 12:17 p.m. ET: Judge Lester writes: "It is entirely reasonable for this court to find that, but for the requirement that he be placed on electronic monitoring, the defendant and his wife would have fled the United States with at least $130,000 of other people's money."

    My bolds.

    I certainly don't see the justification... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by unitron on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:20:24 PM EST
    ...for his view that it was "...at least $130,000 of other people's money."

    As far as I can tell it was "...at least $130,000 of money donated to, and therefore the propery of,  George Zimmerman."


    The problem with the justification (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:29:51 PM EST
    Well, not there is only one problem with it, but one of the problems is taking that $130,000, or $200,000, or whatever you want to take, and assuming it is a fixed sum-certain.  How does the judge know that Zimmerman won't get donations similar to that old lady bus monitor (upwards of $700,000, probably, by now)?

    If Zimmerman's well is deep, how does $100,000 out of pocket ally the court's fears, at all?  It's found money, and Zimmerman can find a like amount, again.


    Or his fans can all turn on him... (none / 0) (#95)
    by unitron on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:32:39 PM EST
    ...and that's basically all the money he'll ever have, until SS kicks in.

    I would not call myself a "fan" of him (none / 0) (#150)
    by Lina Inverse on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:53:11 PM EST
    But absent some startling new definitive evidence (very doubtful at this point) that's just not going to happen ... I would say prior to the conclusion of the trial, but if that's a kangaroo court as it's looking to be)and results in an unjust guilty verdict not even then.   See for example the Scottsboro Boys; there's going to be consequences when a case becomes political.

    Even if he takes a plea bargain, if it's clear it's his only option, especially to stop the persecution of his wife and perhaps other family members as this case develops, he'll still have supporters.


    Any disagreement with this sentence? (none / 0) (#42)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:51:17 PM EST
    "Under any definition, the defendant has flaunted the system," the judge wrote.

    plenty (none / 0) (#46)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:53:37 PM EST
    the facts don't support it. He remained silent. The money was lawfully acquired. There was not a single jail call that referenced an intent to mislead the court.

    Apparently the judge (none / 0) (#52)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:03:31 PM EST

    does not know the difference between flout and flaunt.  Although those too words are often confused.  :)

    Maybe it's a FL colloquialism: (none / 0) (#60)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:09:36 PM EST
    one flaunts  (makes much of) something of one's own (wealth, good looks, education) while one flouts  (disregards or violates) something outside oneself (convention, law, regulation); to flaunt is to show off and to flout is to treat with contempt or disregard with smugness

    Agreed, although ... (none / 0) (#61)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:10:35 PM EST
    ... it sure would be nice to think that a trial judge, of all people, would know the diffeerence between the two. Words matter.

    I'm still unsure as to how GZ's wife's (none / 0) (#65)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:21:40 PM EST
    false testimony on this issue is evidence of GZ "flaunting" the system. She was charged with perjory, not him.

    Read the order (none / 0) (#67)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:29:31 PM EST
    Lester says that Shellie's testimony was orchestrated by Zimmerman, that Zimmerman had planned to flee but was thwarted, and that if a defendant doesn't fully submit to the court, the integrity of the court is undermined (integrity of the court is it's ability to apply the law in a fair and impartial manner, while protecting the safety of the community and the rights of the accused).

    So, Zimmerman undermines the heart of the judicial process, planned to flee, and used his wife to advance his nefarious plans.

    Oh, and he had no reason to think he would not be charged.  Free advice for all you Floridians out there who have the misfortune of having to use self defense - DO NOT TALK TO THE COPS!  DO NOT TALK TO THE JUDGE!  They are not your friend, they do not want you to use self defense, and they will persecute you if you cooperate.


    Thanks, sorry if I'm not up to speed. (none / 0) (#69)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:47:06 PM EST
    Where is the court order? Googling did not turn it up...

    Right on this thread (none / 0) (#71)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:55:17 PM EST
    Jeralyn linked to the order after it came out.  She's provided a link near the very top of this thread.  3.2 Mb or so PDF, 9 pages.

    Too bad the FL Courts don't use the same text to PDF sort of conversion that is used in the federal and I assume other jurisdictions.  Smaller files, and much higher quality appearance.


    finding exactly what he was looking for.

    Not to mention... (none / 0) (#94)
    by unitron on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:31:08 PM EST
    ...that it hasn't actually been proved in court that she is guilty of perjury.

    That's the first version... (none / 0) (#86)
    by unitron on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:48:08 PM EST
    That's what was in the original Orlando Sentinel article by Rene Stutzman.

    She indicated to me in a reply to my email that that is what appeared in the judge's order.

    But since then the article has been updated and the word, still inside quotation marks, has been changed to "flouted".

    I'm awaiting a further answering email.


    And I just heard back from her... (none / 0) (#88)
    by unitron on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:52:22 PM EST
    The judge filed a revised order, correcting that little faux pas.

    Oh, thank gawd. (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:58:51 PM EST
    No one (none / 0) (#90)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:08:04 PM EST
    makes me laugh more with so few words.

    If a billionaire (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Redbrow on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:42:51 PM EST
    like Bill Gates who is worth $61 Billion were in GZ's position, would he really be expected to liquidate his fortune to post a $61 Billion bail or pay a bondsman $6.1 Billion?

    Apparently he would be... (none / 0) (#125)
    by Gandydancer on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 04:05:47 AM EST
    ...able to "afford" a $610 Billion bail.

    Awaiting defense team statement (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by MJW on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 03:33:20 PM EST
    GZLegalCase tweeted:
    Confirming $1,000,000 bond. We will have a statement shortly.

    Unfortunately, I bet it will be, "Thank you, your honor! May I have another?"

    The statement has been issued (none / 0) (#76)
    by MJW on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 03:59:43 PM EST
    Basically, they complain about the bail terms, but say an appeal would take too long, so they will post the bail.

    Time for habeas corpus appeals (none / 0) (#79)
    by MJW on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:14:00 PM EST
    Bond issues are appealed to the district courts of appeals in Florida through habeas corpus.  In Kelly v. State, bond was denied on Oct. 6, 2006.  The 5th DCA granted the petition for a writ of habeas corpus on Oct 19, 2006, and gave the trial court 3 business days to hold a pretrial release hearing.  If that case is typical, an appeal takes a few weeks.

    MOM mentioned a jail recording (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by firstfall on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 06:01:02 PM EST
    ...where GZ said to his wife: "Before you testify, pray first and tell the truth."

    Was that ever presented in the June 29 bond hearing? IIRC he said he was going to present it. Does anyone have a link to that particular recording?

    he didn't present it (none / 0) (#124)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 02:21:18 AM EST
    And you are right, he told Piers Morgan about it and said he would.

    Fleeing the country is preposterous (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by SLOphoto1 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:18:32 PM EST
    It is utterly preposterous for the judge to presume he knows anything at all about "fleeing the country," given his apparent complete lack of understanding of the actual logistics of someone trying to do so.  He presents his remarks as if such a maneuver were completely one-sided, i.e. George Zimmerman can simply "flee" to another country anytime and at will.

    How? A passport just lets you travel outside the US, it doesn't provide you with a visa to enter another sovereign country.  You need that other country's signed, written permission to do that. The judge seems to assume with incredible naiveté that any other country would automatically accept entry of George Zimmerman under these circumstances.  That is utter nonsense.

    George Zimmerman is a defendant in a homicide case - in which he used a FIREARM!  No country in the world is going to accept him at this point in time and under those circumstances. He couldn't even get asylum in Cuba.

    Brazil may accept bank embezzlers who arrive with large amounts of cash, but in the case of a murder suspect who had used a firearm, Brazil would simply take him into custody immediately and hand him over to American authorities upon arrival, or else simply deny him entry at customs altogether and put him on the same airplane back to the US. He would have nowhere to go after he had "fled" the US.

    The whole idea that George Zimmerman even actually COULD flee the country is utterly preposterous.

    It does, however, give a good insight into the utterly dimwitted mentality of any judge who could possibly concoct such an absurd "conspiracy theory," actually draw up a serious written legal opinion expounding it, and then expect anyone who understands anything at all about the actual logistics of someone trying to "flee the country" under those circumstances to take his utterly implausible scenario seriously.

    Many countries do not require a visa. (none / 0) (#118)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 11:39:42 PM EST
    The issue is persona non grata (none / 0) (#120)
    by SLOphoto1 on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 12:06:28 AM EST
    Almost all countries do require some form of visa to enter them, but the larger issue is not even whether or not a formal visa would be required. Once it became known that George Zimmerman was a fugitive suspect in a high-profile murder case in which he had used a firearm he would instantly become persona non grata in ANY other country in the world. Local officials anywhere he was spotted would have him picked up and taken into custody immediately. His American passport would be of no use to him, to the contrary it would identify him to authorities as a wanted fugitive suspect in a high-profile murder case.

    His face has been all over the international press, especially because in most other countries he would not even have been allowed to carry a firearm the way he did. He is openly known to have used that firearm in a homicide, so he "might" do it again in any other official eyes.  No country would want to have him there, and no country would have any interest in harboring him.  It simply would not work for him in the real world.

    Unless he took the whole $130,000 with him in cash (in itself a local felony when trying to enter any country) he would still need a passport to open up a bank account in another country to effect the transfer of funds. When his identity became known, the bank account would be frozen instantly.

    Entertaining wild, implausible "what if" speculations about how he could possibly hide under a rock somewhere in the Amazon rainforest living on almost no money at all are simply exercises in vapid sophistry. It simply would not work for him in the real world.


    Yes, (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by whitecap333 on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:48:17 AM EST
    the idea that George and Shellie intended to flee abroad and live large on the vast sum of $130,000 is absurd.  It does, however, provide a basis for Jacking up the bond to a $mil.  It also communicates to the public the judge's belief that  George himself believes the evidence against him so damning that he is doomed.  Raising the bond further works such a hardship on Zimmerman as to gratify, to some extent, those who burn to see him punished immediately, the procedures to come being a mere formality.  The "other people's money" dig seems to be an allusion to the claims that the Zimmermans have not been properly respectful of the intentions of their donors.  

    I would suggest the depletion of George's defense fund is hardly made inconsequential by O'Mara's willingness to defend the case pro bono.  He can't be expected to put a mil. of his own resources into it, even were he capable of it.  There are fully adequate defenses and "shoestring" defenses.  Looks like George may get the latter.  


    Assure the integrity of the judicial process (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by cboldt on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:48:12 AM EST
    Jeralyn has pointed to rules, statutes or similar that note the intention of a defendant to intimidate a witness (or the reverse, to bribe one) are acts that undermine the integrity of the judicial process.

    Judge Lester points to Williams v. Spears in discussing a condition that doesn't apply in this case, committing a new crime while on pretrial release, or committing a violation of a release order.

    Still, I'm curious to flesh out the meaning and legal thresholds for "integrity of the judicial process," and will share what I've found.

    Richard Hornsby discussed the question in a June 29 post, Poor George wants a Bond.  In that post, he cites Wells Fargo v. Reeves, (Fla. 1st DCA June 13, 2012), and includes the following blockquote:

    Fraud upon the court is an egregious offense against the integrity of the judicial system and is more than a simple assertion of facts in a pleading which might later fail for lack of proof. Rather the requisite fraud on the court occurs where it can be demonstrated, clearly and convincingly, that a party has sentiently set in motion some unconscionable scheme calculated to interfere with the judicial system's ability impartially to adjudicate a matter by improperly influencing the trier of fact or unfairly hampering the presentation of the opposing party's claim or defense.

    To support dismissal for fraud on the court, the party alleging fraudulent behavior must prove such by clear and convincing evidence. Inartful pleadings, inconsistent testimony, and even lying to the court by a witness are generally insufficient to support a dismissal for fraud upon the court.

    Mr. Hornsby explains that "dismissal" in the Wells Fargo case is analogous to "denial of bail" in the Zimmerman case.  In other words, the question is whether or not Zimmerman's action has interfered with the judicial system's ability impartially to adjudicate a matter.

    I don't see how Zimmerman's action (even assuming he was planning to flee) in any way interferes with the judicial system's impartiality, or taints the evidence before the court.

    On a separate subject, Mr. Hornsby also has a post that explores the legal meaning of "first aggressor" and "provocation."  I find that to be a well composed explanation for those who are seeking greater insight to the law of self defense.

    The only thing (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by DebFrmHell on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:19:34 AM EST
    I remember reading is that Prisoner Intake Form that Zimmerman signed.

    It correctly stated that he was unemployed.  It did not ask if he had access to money.  A line was drawn through the questions that would be answered by a background check.

    IIRC, it asked if he needed a lawyer as per Miranda and he reported that MOM was his lawyer.

    Nowhere in any official document that I can find is GZ asked how much money he has that I can find.  The PP account only surfaced a few days after the original bond hearing and at that time even Judge Lester didn't know what to make of the funds or how it would play judicially.

    While the judge is on the record as discounting the Passport issue, how is now such a high priority for establishing that GZ and his wife planned to "flee with other people's money?"

    If a Murder 2 charge = $150k
    Then a possible Perjury or Contempt Charge = $850k

    So much for bond not being a punishment...

    All IMO, of course.  Due to serious computer issues I am doing this from memory so I apologize in advance if I have things wrong.  I'm sure someone will happily point out my errors!

    Mixed calculation (none / 0) (#140)
    by cboldt on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:40:53 AM EST
    The determination of bail is a mixed calculation, and looks at the seriousness of the charge (murder is more serious than perjury), and also looks at the defendant's financial situation.

    If a wealthy and a poor person are both charged with the same serious crime, bail for the wealthy person will be higher.

    Lester jacked Zimmerman's bail up on the premise that Zimmerman went from a poor person to a wealthy person; and that Zimmerman is almost, but not quite, a flight risk.


    So if Lester (none / 0) (#149)
    by DebFrmHell on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 12:24:10 PM EST
    knows that Zimmerman has "one-removed" access to 200k, he determined the million dollar would take away half of it?

    And that is if he can either make a deal with the bondsman concerning the collateral?  His parents were trying to get a second mortgage so that tells me their home is not paid for in its entirety and I hardly think that it is worth a million dollars anyway.  So where is he supposed to come up with that kind of collateral?

    And the fact that the judge will not let him leave the county?  The place that is the least safe for him?  I think that is the worst part of all of the restrictions.  

    Who is going to rent to him? It could be seen by others as sympathizing with him and attract negative attention.  It wouldn't take but a nanosecond for someone to go online and search property registries to come up with ownership of any rental.  


    Lester's order does not (none / 0) (#154)
    by expy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 05:00:50 PM EST
    prevent Zimmerman from leaving the county.

    It only requires that Zimmerman seek court permission before leaving the county.

    That is, Zimmerman can move, but first he has to let the court know where he is going and get approval.

    As there is a supervising probation officer assigned to monitor GZ as another bail condition, the actual process would probably be to first discuss needs with that officer.

    All of the other conditions (bank account, curfew, etc.) are also subject to modification on a showing of valid reasons for such modification. GZ's lawyer should be very familiar with the process of seeking such modifications.


    I think this statement (none / 0) (#153)
    by expy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 04:54:11 PM EST
    Lester jacked Zimmerman's bail up on the premise that Zimmerman went from a poor person to a wealthy person; and that Zimmerman is almost, but not quite, a flight risk

    sums things up quite well.  

    Given that Zimmerman was in fact able to meet the increased bail within a day, then I think the Judge's call as a practical matter was correct. That is, I'm not offering an opinion on legal merits, just that the Judge figured that Zimmerman would be able to meet the higher bond, and in fact he did, very quickly.

    I think you have to keep in mind that judges don't want to make decisions that make them look stupid if things go wrong. Most bailed defendants show up to court, but some don't. If a high profile defendant skips bail, then it would make the judge look really bad if the bail amount were also seen in the public eye as "low". It doesn't matter if the defendant is later caught and returned to custody, the judge still looks bad. $1 million is hefty enough that no one is going to say that the judge was too "soft" if the defendant skips. From the judge's perspective, even a 10% chance that the defendant might try to run is risky.

    Given the speed with which bail was posted, I think that GZ will have enough in continued donations to adequately fund his defense.

    I am guessing that O'Mara probably anticipated the $1 million figure, especially as it was the amount the prosecution sought back in April. So he probably has been working for the past month to be ready to meet that amount. The request for more donations on his web site is just Fundraising 101 - donations go up whenever a fundraiser can cite to a specific need with a high dollar figure.  


    I protest (4.43 / 7) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:22:29 PM EST
    that this comment has been recommended and not deleted.

    It is outrageous.

    hold your horses (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:01:11 PM EST
    it's been deleted. I just saw it, I was writing my update.

    Yeah, sure, other than... (3.50 / 2) (#155)
    by bmaz on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:16:35 PM EST
    ...the fact that raising the bail is vindictive in intent and punitive in nature, and the whole fabricated schticht about "flight risk" simply asinine, I guess it is all very confirmatory.

    Do you try SYG immunity... (none / 0) (#13)
    by fredquick21 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:23:21 PM EST
    knowing Lester will make the decision? Is this Lester being upset with Zim misleading the court or is Lester sending a message about what's to come in this case? *Not this $1mill is what the state originally asked for in the first bond hearing...

    Of course you move for 776.032 immunity (none / 0) (#18)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:51:05 PM EST
    Lester isn't the last word.

    The evidence is what it is, and the state's body of evidence is weak.  I expect Lester to rule against Zimmerman, regardless of the evidence.

    O'Mara should be focused on putting on the best case for the appellate court, making sure the record favors his client.

    Even if he loses that, he has the jury for an acquittal.


    Can O'Mara ask for a change of (none / 0) (#25)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:12:58 PM EST
    venue for the SYG hearing, on the basis of he judge's souring of the defendant during the bond hearings?   A fresh start on a different matter would seem right.

    He's already gotten the ... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:35:04 PM EST
    ... initial judge to recuse herself from the case, if you've forgotten. Why press his luck, and thus place his client further behind the eight-ball?

    Per my earlier look at the law in FL, (none / 0) (#45)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:52:42 PM EST
    it's a one-off.  He's already burned his challenge.  

    I have not forgotten, (none / 0) (#47)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:53:42 PM EST
    but a new case can be made, not on the basis of being lucky or luckless, but for a fair hearing.  Judge Lester should recuse himself from subsequent steps, but that is unlikely.

    a change of venue wouldn't do it (none / 0) (#49)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:57:17 PM EST
    He'd need to recuse the judge. I've always doubted Lester was a good judge for the defense. But a recusal challenge now? He'd probably need more than this bond ruling.

    But since this ruling pretty clearly shows the Judge is not inclined to believe Zimmerman about anything, O'Mara really has no reason to be so deferential to him anymore.


    That's another roll of the dice. (none / 0) (#56)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:04:50 PM EST
    I suppose O'Mara could do so and thus send notice that he's no pushover or doormat -- but he could also get a judge assigned to the case who's even more of a hardliner, and not at all pleased with what happened to his two predecessors in State v. Zimmerman.

    Were you O'Mara, what would you do, Jeralyn?


    Actually, Lester is #3.... (none / 0) (#122)
    by heidelja on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:01:42 AM EST
    per here

    As for "what happened" is that

    Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler, who was presiding over the George Zimmerman trial, stepped down due to a conflict of interest, leaving an opening that needed to be filled by another circuit judge.

    The next judge in line to take the case was Judge John D. Galluzzo, be [sic] he said he also had a conflict...

    Could a change of venue, that is, (none / 0) (#66)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:27:02 PM EST
    a motion to take SYG and/or trial to another Florida location be made at this point, given that the judge is unlikely to recuse himself from future judicial steps and, in the case of a trial, the bond hearing publicity, including the judge's ire,  may influence a local jury pool.  Hopefully, the judge would not come along with the changed location--Florida is a big state.

    Lester seems to want to have it both ways (none / 0) (#14)
    by prosecutorabuser on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:27:17 PM EST
    On the one hand, he claims that Zimmerman was very sophisticated about how the criminal justice system works and that therefore his deceit cannot be ascribed to youth and inexperience. On the other hand, the evidence for Zimmerman's supposed deceit comes from the recorded conversations in prison. But everyone knows that all conversations in prison are recorded. There are signs everywhere to that effect. Zimmerman must surely have been aware of this, particularly was he was supposedly such a sophisticated participant in the criminal justice system.

    Therefore, how does Lester explain Zimmerman's cheerful discussion of his supposed fraud on the court within earshot of court officials? He didn't believe that court officials would listen to the tapes? In a case as high-profile as his?

    Maybe, Lester had in mind Sharon Stone's defense in Basic Instinct? If you openly signal your crime then you must be innocent.

    I suspect that judges don't like it when (none / 0) (#17)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:48:23 PM EST
    defendants act as if they think they are smarter than everyone else, and that's what seems to be coming through in much of Lester's ruling.

    And it isn't that Lester is trying to have it both ways, it's that he's saying that Zimmerman is trying to have it both ways - clearly smart enough to have an understanding of the system, smart enough to set up the website, etc., but wants to claim immaturity and confusion for deceiving the court.

    And apparently, while Lester may have been satisfied that O'Mara did the right thing with the passport, he's not feeling as confident about Zimmerman's intentions.


    Tha door swings both ways (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:57:39 PM EST
    I suspect plaintiffs, defendants, and their counsel don't like it when the judge acts as if he thinks he is smarter than everyone else.  Especially not when the judge lacks a basic understanding of the case history.

    For example, what would you think your chances of being charged with a crime was, if, after submitting to interrogation, the PD and town issue a press release saying that all the evidence supports your narrative; and that there is an absence of probable cause to charge you with a crime?

    Smarty-pants Lester says there was no event that should have misled Zimmerman a belief that he would not be charged with a crime.

    A big chunk of Lester's criticism of Zimmerman depends on this erroneous finding of Lester's.


    While it's all circumstantial (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:22:57 PM EST
    at this time, I think the judge isolated the situation down to that moment when all the stars were aligned perfectly:

    1. Unexpected windfall of almost a quarter million dollars
    2. Lucky coincidence of two passports
    3. Lots of frantic movement of funds
    4. Suspicious use of "code" words via phone
    5. Zimmerman's strangely upbeat, mocking tone recorded

    Of course, every item has been accepted, and explained, as "perfectly normal" by Z's supporters, but I think his fans would do well to remember, and respect, that there really are two sides to the dilemma he finds himself in.

    And, one more piece of advice: If I were a supporter, I would assume (correctly, I believe) that Lester is being kept abreast of the "chatter" emanating from all the news and blog sources. And, I would further assume that all the adolescent nonsense about "lynch mobs," and "kangaroo courts" aren't being helpful to Mr. Zimmerman's case.


    I think you are right (none / 0) (#33)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:34:04 PM EST
    -- I would assume (correctly, I believe) that Lester is being kept abreast of the "chatter" emanating from all the news and blog sources. ... I would further assume that all the adolescent nonsense about "lynch mobs," and "kangaroo courts" aren't being helpful to Mr. Zimmerman's case. --

    Basically, The court isn't going to act solely based on the law and the evidence before it.  It is going to be influenced by public "chatter."  That's pretty much what you are asserting.

    From the little perusing I've done, Lester will find his actions to be endorsed by a majority of the chatter.

    Naturally, Lester can do or say whatever he wants, and this inevitably opens him up for criticism.  But unless you add some reasoning beyond "expressing your opinion is bad for your side" rationale, your advice isn't going to persuade anybody to change their opinion of Lester's actions and written justification.


    Stick to the facts, and ... (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:43:58 PM EST
    ... give judges a little credit for being more than some political hack. Lester is a seasoned jurist with a lot of experience on the bench, and your insinuation that he's basing his rulings in this case upon public opinion is noxious.

    You are free to disagree with Judge Lester's decisions, but you have absolutely no business questioning his judicial integrity because of said disagreement.


    No... (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by bmaz on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:03:56 PM EST
    ...Lester has earned every bit of that opprobrium from his emotion and contorted conduct.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#91)
    by lousy1 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:26:26 PM EST
    Maybe Lester is ethical but not too bright.

    I would grant him a reasonable doubt but I fear he has forgotten the concept.


    Donald, with all respect (none / 0) (#108)
    by SuzieTampa on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:11:24 PM EST
    Lester is an elected judge. He's also a human being exposed to the opinions of others. Like all humans, his opinions are tempered to some degree by his own values, education, background, etc. It's possible to think that public opinion, or the opinions of people he likes and respects, influence him, without thinking that he's unethical, inexperienced or stupid.

    I think (5.00 / 2) (#102)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 06:47:05 PM EST
    you misinterpreted my comment, or maybe I wasn't clear in my meaning.

    I have read many, many, rational, highly intelligent, and well thought out, opinions on this case, regardless of whether they were pro, or con, vis-à-vis George Zimmerman. Also, I believe, much of a final verdict, if there is a trial, or a decision in a SYG venue, will be based on circumstantial evidence. Therefore, I think it would be highly advantageous for Lester to avail himself of this fountain of information.
    Anyway, it's just smart decision making.

    On your other comment:
    "Basically, The court isn't going to act solely based on the law and the evidence before it. It is going to be influenced by public "chatter." That's pretty much what you are asserting."

    That's a complete misrepresentation of my post, and reflects your unfortunate projection rather than having anything to do with me.

    I wouldn't think I'd have to "dumb down" my remarks for someone of your caliber to understand them honestly and fairly.

    So, I'll try  again. If you know that Lester is aware, and interested, with input from sources outside of the normal channels, and if you think your  cogent comments might be helpful in Lester's decision making, I don't see how polluting your thoughts with uncalled for ad hominem and childish pejoratives can be helpful.


    Which is it? (none / 0) (#106)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 06:57:11 PM EST
    I said, paraphrasing what I took as your remark, "Basically, The court isn't going to act solely based on the law and the evidence before it. It is going to be influenced by public "chatter."  Now you object.  But in your objection you say, "If you know that Lester is aware, and interested, with input from sources outside of the normal channels, and if you think your  cogent comments might be helpful in Lester's decision making ..."

    Either Lester is going to be influenced by public "chatter" or not.  I took your post as saying he would be.

    If you object to unsubstantiated criticism, I agree.  It's useless except as an emotional vent.  But my low opinion of Lester is based on my review of the basis he uses to form his opinion (at best, assumes facts not in evidence in order to reach findings), and his mis-application of law to the issues before him.


    Shame on (none / 0) (#113)
    by DizzyMissL on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:48:44 PM EST

    One thing I never understood was, (none / 0) (#21)
    by leftwig on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 12:57:48 PM EST
    If the judge buys the story on the passport, why not on the funds?  MOM notified the court of the money collected by Z's website on 4/27 and took control of the money that day (according to him), which I think is roughly the same day he received Z's other passport.

    Could it be that he's not all that interested in handling this case?


    The judge thinks that (none / 0) (#109)
    by expy on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:17:57 PM EST
    Zimmerman deliberately concealed the money and passport #2 as part of a plan to skip bail & leave the country.

    He thinks that O'Mara got wind of it all after Zimmerman was out of custody and took prompt action to stop it by gaining control of the passport and money. He probably assumes that O'Mara has given him a sanitized version of the discussion that took place between lawyer & client when these facts came to light.

    (I think that the client behaved stupidly, but that experienced lawyers should anticipate that their clients will act stupidly, and be proactive in advising their clients and in preparing witness testimony.)


    This is no more than a... (none / 0) (#123)
    by heidelja on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:24:40 AM EST
    ...a drummed up (by Lester not expy) conspiracy theory
    He thinks that O'Mara got wind of it all after Zimmerman was out of custody and took prompt action to stop it by gaining control of the passport and money. He probably assumes that O'Mara has given him a sanitized version of the discussion that took place between lawyer & client when these facts came to light.

    Without any specific proof to support this theory, it is simply one of heresy.

    To a VERY large degree, Lester does not understand the disorganized thinking of one who has ADHD/ADD. And certainly he does not know the manner of a one who has been jailed and while waiting for his bond hearing he collects $20,000 per day of "other people's money" to support himself! Zimmerman had no control of how much will ever be donated to him nor once even if he would have gotten released on bond when the "conspriacy conversations" were recorded the days prior to Apr 20.

    The way Lester "thinks" seems to be the way it once went reported on local (Orlando) Central Florida News 13 to be that "George and Shellie were planning for their future" when their calls had been recorded.


    Let's leave religion out of this... (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by unitron on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 04:28:55 AM EST
    "Without any specific proof to support this theory, it is simply one of heresy."

    I'm going to assume that you actually meant hearsay.


    Are you serious? (none / 0) (#159)
    by heidelja on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 09:16:38 PM EST
    No typo here, I truly meant heresy as per one goolged source providing this definition:

    Opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted: "cutting capital gains taxes is heresy".

    Except it may have been quoted for reason here

    Quotation marks can also be used to indicate a different meaning of a word or phrase than the one typically associated with it and are often used to express irony.

    Thanks you Jeralyn (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 01:52:39 PM EST
    Please delete my comments as well.

    I did, except for one to show (none / 0) (#53)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:03:54 PM EST
    the objection and my response. I'm glad you pointed it out. All comments on the subject of a "lynch mob" have been deleted, and commenters are warned not to use that term here.

    Judge admits Zimmermans had no funds (none / 0) (#54)
    by Redbrow on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:04:16 PM EST
    It was OTHER PEOPLE'S money. Shellie did not lie when she stated SHE had no funds and George was not a potted palm.

    "but for electronic monitoring, defendant and wife would have fled the US with $130,000 of other people's money"

    I think he meant (none / 0) (#59)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:09:35 PM EST
    money that didn't originate with them meaning they didn't earn it. He uses that fact later as a reason they wouldn't care if bond was forfeited, it's not money they earned.

    We talked about this a while ago in the context of why a defendant would offer to put up a house of relative rather than use a bondsman. Courts tend to think (particularly in drug cases) a defendant is less likely to flee when a relative's home is used for bail rather than money, because a defendant won't want their relative to lose their house. If it's just drug money being put up, losing it is just a cost of doing business and doesn't make for much of an incentive not to flee.


    But it wasn't extra money... (none / 0) (#93)
    by unitron on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:28:39 PM EST
    ...it was their brand new entire source of income and funds for the foreseeable future and beyond.

    But seriously (none / 0) (#55)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:04:48 PM EST
    What if the fund trustee asserts that the money in the fund is not available for purchase of a bond?

    How did Lester come to the conclusion that the money in the legal fund is available for purchase of a bond?  How does he conclude that $1,000,000 is reasonable bail, without making a finding on the limitations of the trust, and without making a finding relating to Zimmerman's financial status?  He even says that Zimmerman did not affirmatively state absence of all other income, adding to the court's uncertainty here.

    Given that Zimmerman's counsel, West, seems to be satisfied with Lester's order, my questions above are resolved in the court's favor - still, it seems to me that Lester's opinion has a big assumption there.  All the more surprising because on April 27th he said he was unsure of the court's power to reach that money.

    O'Mara has also said (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:10:48 PM EST
    previously he would have to check with the trustee to see if the money could be used for bond. He wasn't sure.

    Were there conditions attached by the (none / 0) (#63)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:17:38 PM EST
    donors as to how the recipient could use the money?

    no, it's a matter of state ethics (none / 0) (#64)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:20:03 PM EST
    since lawyers can't use their own funds to post bail for a client. It's an issue of who the funds belong to once Zimmerman turned them over to O'Mara to put in a trust account. We have a prior discussion of this somewhere.

    He is on record (none / 0) (#58)
    by Redbrow on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:07:50 PM EST
    stating it is other people's money, not the Zimmerman's.

    Other people's money earmarked for defense costs living expenses NOT bail.


    If George Zimmerman is convicted (none / 0) (#70)
    by me only on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 02:52:21 PM EST
    can he then open a bank account?  If so, how can a judge order a person to not have a bank account?  How can you pay bills or cash checks w/o a bank account?

    I think the bank account order (none / 0) (#110)
    by expy on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:24:47 PM EST
    is overreaching.  

    I also think that it is misguided practically as it simply forces Zimmerman to funnel money through others, such as his wife and other family members, who can open all the bank accounts they want.

    I think a better approach would have been for him to order that Zimmerman was barred from opening any new bank accounts without court permission.


    I'd add (none / 0) (#111)
    by expy on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:28:55 PM EST
    that it is possible for a defendant to bring a motion to modify particular bond conditions at any time.

    So the remedy for the overly harsh banking requirement would probably be a specific motion seeking permission to open and maintain a checking account for the purpose of paying household bills.

    So the net result might be the same as if the judge had ordered that in the first place.   The same thing would apply to any of the other conditions --- for example, if Zimmerman found a job with a shift that went from noon-8pm, his lawyer could bring a motion to modify the curfew provision of the bond to allow him to work.


    The point I am attempting to make (none / 0) (#138)
    by me only on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:34:44 AM EST
    is that if the penalty cannot be applied to a convicted felon, how can it be applied to a person simply charged with a crime?

    I understand the curfew and travel restrictions.  If he is convicted he will sit in a cell, which is worse.  Where I live, you cannot get utilities turned on without a bank account.  You cannot pay your property tax in cash without prior arrangement (if it is over a certain amount).  My health insurance company doesn't take cash, either directly from a bank account or you have to pay ahead.  I mean, think about it, if you have a mortgage, you usually have an escrow account, which is required by your lender.

    Thanks for your reply.


    It would be my guess that George will (none / 0) (#144)
    by Anne on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:53:58 AM EST
    either submit his bills for living expenses to the trustees of the donations fund for payment, or he will have those bills routed directly to/in care of the trustees.

    George doesn't own any real property; he will have to rent.  Wherever it is he decides to live, he is probably in a better position to be trusted to pay his bills because he will have a third-party trustee handling them, than he would if he had a bank account like everyone else.

    The judge simply does not trust that George would not set up another donation site and have money funneled into a new account; I can't say that I blame the judge for that.


    Anne, this isn't about George (none / 0) (#145)
    by me only on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:58:24 AM EST
    It is about the power to make such a ruling.  I remember something recently about SS wanting (requiring?) people to take direct deposit.

    Zimmerman's bills will be paid via the (none / 0) (#146)
    by Anne on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 10:23:17 AM EST
    trust established with the funds donated to defray his living expenses; it isn't all going to go for legal expenses.

    I would guess that with the judge being aware of this arrangement, he did not feel he was imposing any undue hardship on Zimmerman, just ensuring that George didn't have the ability to conceal funds.


    I function just fine... (none / 0) (#136)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:52:44 AM EST
    without a bank account, and would never dream of getting one.  Banks are enemies of the state imo.

    Pay bills with cash, it says right on there good for all debts public and private.  If you must, a money order.  Only accept cash, or if you must cash a check there is the local check cashing guy.  You pay a fee of course, but it still beats the dirty feeling of having an account with one of them enemies of the state.  

    The exception being the good credit unions and community banks that haven't been taken over by the bankster mafia yet.

    When I heard that part of the ruling my first though was "that's not a pre-trial punishment, that's a pre-trial reward!".  Sh*t if Zimmer only took cash donations from his fanclub he and his wife wouldn't be in this revoked bail/perjury mess.

    Take note kids...cut out the leecherous snitches at the bank, mind your own business and leave your firearm at home when going to shopping, you'll stay out of trouble that way;)


    kdog, I read a story in today's (none / 0) (#151)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 04:16:55 PM EST
    Oregonian that will horrify you. According to this story, by the year 2020 smart phones will replace cash and plastic as the way we pay for things.

    All you will need is, of course, a smart phone (a real boondoggle for Verizon, AT&T and others) the right apps, and you will be purchasing everything electronically.

    I read the story and thought of you instantly. I thought of myself next as I am a frequent payer of cash. I believe in cash. Go, cash.

    It is becoming more and more difficult to function in this world as the semi-luddite that I am.


    P.S. I did not link to the (none / 0) (#152)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 04:18:35 PM EST
    Oregonian story because The Oregonian's online site is total cr@p. It is impossible to find things there.

    It depends on your definition of Exonerated (none / 0) (#74)
    by IrishGerard on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 03:38:49 PM EST
    Zimmerman was not charged with a crime as a result of the initial investigation. He was not arrested in accordance with Florida's self-defense immunity statute 776.032

    you accuse me of hyperbole yet it's OK for you to misstate the facts.

    I'm misstating nothing (none / 0) (#80)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:18:41 PM EST
    Zimmerman was never "exonerrated".  The fact that he was not initially charged or arrested does not mean that he was "exonerrated" - he was still under investigation.  In fact, on March 20, Wolfinger announced the convening of a grand jury.  Prosecutors don't convene grand juries for defendants who have already been "exonerrated".

    What? (none / 0) (#83)
    by Redbrow on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:29:15 PM EST
    I though the investigation was closed until Sharpton and Crump forced it to be 're-opened'?

    That is what they took credit for and was widely reported in the media anyway.


    Not sure what "media" ... (none / 0) (#85)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:39:51 PM EST
    ... was reporting that the investigation was "closed until Sharpton and Crump forced it to be 're-opened'", but I must've missed it .... not a big fan of conservativetreehouse, wagist or theblaze, I guess.

    Wolfinger announced the grand jury on March 20.  The case was assigned to Corey two days later, before the grand jury was convened.


    I can tellya what "media".... (none / 0) (#143)
    by deanno on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:49:38 AM EST
    Tamron Hall on MSNBC (initially Trayvon Hedquarters before HLN took over) on the day that GZ was arrested actually stated that the "investigation" into his shooting was "five and a half hours".

    The investigation was from 2/26--3/12.


    IF that's true ... (none / 0) (#147)
    by Yman on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 11:21:53 AM EST
    ... Tamron Hall was wrong, although there's no link (or even quote).

    OTOH - She said nothing about the investigation being "closed until Sharpton and Crump forced it to be 're-opened".


    TRUST ME (none / 0) (#162)
    by deanno on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:29:11 AM EST
    I heard TH say it.

    Heh (none / 0) (#163)
    by Yman on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:52:49 AM EST

    Yeah funny .. (none / 0) (#167)
    by deanno on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:35:05 AM EST
    that a repected "journalist" can make such an error.

    No, I meant "funny" ... (none / 0) (#169)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:03:12 PM EST
    ... that you can't find a link to such a controversial statement, ...

    ... or that you expect anyone to trust you.


    Jeralyn has posted numerous times (none / 0) (#92)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:28:11 PM EST
    that the investigation was ongoing, and never shut down or closed.

    Now, would it have been closed or ever gotten the attention of the governor, if there hadn't been efforts to get the case in front of the media?  

    Maybe not, I don't know.  I just don't know how you blame the family of a dead teenager for wanting the authorities to care that their child is dead.  

    What I do know is that people have been going to the media for years for help in drawing attention to cases they feel are not being given the proper attention; we have a case somewhat like that here in MD right now, except that the one now charged with the killing is a cop who was off-duty at the time.  The kid's family thinks the cop got special treatment and the charges should have been more severe.

    I just think you have to separate whatever it is you believe Crump may be looking to get out of this from the very real pain and the many questions Trayvon Martin's family wants answers to, because it is quite likely they are not the same.  


    What mainstream media did (5.00 / 3) (#105)
    by SuzieTampa on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 06:56:56 PM EST
    Both the Tampa Tribune, my former newspaper, and the Tampa Bay Times (a k a St. Petersburg Times) reported on rallies in which they quoted people saying that Sanford authorities weren't going to arrest GZ and that's why they needed protests. The stories did not mention that the case would be going to a grand jury.

    The Crump team suggested repeatedly that Sanford police and prosecutors had decided not to arrest  GZ, implying that the case was closed. It was widely interpreted this way.

    It's hard to say what the Sanford authorities would have done if the governor had not gotten involved, but we do know that they were still investigating. I am 100% sure, however, that our governor got involved for political reasons. Keep in mind that the Interstate 4 corridor from Orlando to Tampa is considered vital to state and national elections.


    Wolfinger was the one (none / 0) (#114)
    by IrishGerard on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:01:29 PM EST
     who initially refused to file charges against zimmerman.
    he believed that zimmerman acted in self-defense.
    he recused himself after the public outcry over his decision.

    If Judge Lester blatantly disregards the 'preponderance of evidence' and denies the motion to dismiss charges, a Jury will most certainly find Mr.Zimmerman 'not guilty' for the same reason Wolfinger decided not to file charges in the first place; justifiable homicide.

    I suppose, however, for many people, not guilty will also mean not exonerated.


    Good to know (none / 0) (#116)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 09:46:53 PM EST
    Guess there's no reason to even bother with an hearing or trial.

    BTW - Wolfinger was the one called for a grand jury to decide whether to charge Zimmerman before Corey was appointed.  Zimmerman has never been "exonerated", except in the minds of some of his supporters.  I suppose, however, for many people, guilty will also mean exonerated.


    The legal process is driven by the evidence (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by cboldt on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:49:29 AM EST
    -- Guess there's no reason to even bother with an hearing or trial. --

    I would guess that the majority of justified self defense cases, maybe even the vast majority, are resolved without a hearing or a trial.  There is always an investigation, but if the evidence that surfaces during the investigation shows the use of force was justified, then there is no charge.  And without a charge, there is no action before a court, no hearing, and no trial.

    Corey disposed of a self-defense case where one Armenian shot another, then fled the scene.  The shooter returned to the scene, made a statement to police, and was arrested.  After review of the evidence, Corey decided to not bring charges, and the shooter was released from custody.  There was no hearing.  There was no trial.

    At the bottom of the criticism of Corey (and now, by extension, Lester) is the difference in evidence in support of Zimmerman's narrative vs. evidence in support of a murder 2 charge.  The state has not produced a compelling narrative based on evidence.  In contrast, Zimmerman's narrative is fairly well nailed down, and has the support of all of the reliable evidence.

    I stuck "reliable" in there to account for Cutcher (didn't see it, bases her conclusion that Martin was screaming on her assumption that Martin has a boy-like voice); DeeDee (didn't see it; didn't come forward for weeks); and Sybrina.  IOW, not that the state has -no- evidence in support of its yet-to-be articulated narrative, just that the weight of reliable evidence is darned heavy in Zimmerman's favor.

    If this case had proceeded through a grand jury, it is very unlikely the grand jury would have brought a true bill against Zimmerman.  There would have been an investigation, there would be much evidence.  But without a charge, there would be no hearing or trial before a court.


    Disagree and ... (none / 0) (#130)
    by Yman on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:09:09 AM EST
    ... already knew your opinion.

    Well, that wasn't very helpful (none / 0) (#131)
    by cboldt on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:14:27 AM EST
    What statement do you disagree with?

    That those who think Zimmerman was justified reach that conclusion based on their impression of the evidence?

    That there aren't hearings and trials unless the prosecutor brings a charge?

    That a majority of self defense cases are resolved without a charge being brought?

    Or is your disagreement merely that the evidence supports finding Zimmerman guilty of murder?


    The last 3 paragraphs (none / 0) (#132)
    by Yman on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 07:42:01 AM EST
    The first two merely state the obvious.  But since you ask, I do disagree with the statement that those who think Zimmerman was justified reach that conclusion based on the evidence.  Some do, but others have other motives and agendas for choosing to support him.

    BTW - Cherry-picking the evidence for items that you deem reliable is easy.  For example, it would be extremely easy to dismiss Zimmerman's narrative (particularly on critical events uncorroborated by others or physical evidence) as unreliable, given the contradictions and his history to date.


    Zimmerman didn't do himself any favors (none / 0) (#134)
    by cboldt on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:02:50 AM EST
    This case well illustrates the folly of cooperating with investigators.  If Zimmerman had said nothing more than "he hit me first, he was beating me, I thought he was going for my gun, I feared for my life, I shot him," the prosecutor's job would be much different.

    If you reduce Zimmerman's narrative to those statements, we would have the same uncorroborated points we have now, but we wouldn't have the use of inconsistencies in his own remarks as basis for concluding he is a liar.  You'd have to find other evidence.

    At any rate, I didn't mean to be cherry picking evidence, other than to substantiate generally why I find the evidence more on Zimmerman's side than on the state's side.


    Agreed, but ... (none / 0) (#135)
    by Yman on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 08:11:04 AM EST
    1.  that's the advantage to the only other witness to critical events being dead, and

    2. he did talk.

    The state of Florida (none / 0) (#142)
    by deanno on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:46:30 AM EST
    has NO evidence in this case, and never really presented anything so far to buttress the PC Affidavit.

    Their contention that Zimmerman "ran down" TM is counted by THEIR OWN detective who stated that he had no evidence to contradict Mr. Zimmerman's account that he was heading back to his truck.

    One can't have been heading back to one's truck AND running down TM at the same time, can one.

    Plus their sole witness who saw one man chasing after another has recanted--and saw ONE man running.


    Details are important (none / 0) (#156)
    by Mary2012 on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 03:22:28 AM EST
    One can't have been heading back to one's truck AND running down TM at the same time, can one.

    It all depends on the details.


    What details--if Zimmerman were heading back to (none / 0) (#175)
    by deanno on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:49:41 AM EST
    his truck, then he wasn't "running down" TM, was he?

    The SPD are on record (as reported by the Orlando (none / 0) (#141)
    by deanno on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:42:10 AM EST
    Sentinel) as discounting what Mary Cutcher had said.  They found inconsistencies in her statements to them and at one point pointed out in the article that what she said originally supported GZ's account of what happened.

    Zimmerman WAS exonerated for all intents... (none / 0) (#139)
    by deanno on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 09:40:02 AM EST
    and purposes when the Chief Investigator of the SPD said AFTER the case was handed over to Wilfinger, "Everything I have is adding up to what he (GZ) says."

    "For all intents and purposes" (none / 0) (#148)
    by Yman on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 11:24:45 AM EST

    Strange that Wolfinger was convening a grand jury after that comment was made, for someone who was "exonerated" ("for all intents and purposes").


    He was convening a Grand Jury (none / 0) (#161)
    by deanno on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:27:35 AM EST
    BUT the comments by the man in charge are what they are.  Serino said said that EVERYTHING I have is adding up to what he says---sounds like an exoneration to me.

    Wilfinger was probably trying to "cover himself".


    Good to know your opinion ... (none / 0) (#164)
    by Yman on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:56:28 AM EST
    ... about what was going on in Wolfinger's head.

    Funny stuff.

    BTW - Serino was the one who wanted a manslaughter charge, but you give more weight to one of his comments than you do either:  1) his decision that, after looking at all the evidence, Zimmerman should be charged, or 2) Wolfinger's decision to convene a grand jury.

    Guess there's a reason for that.


    February.26.2012 (none / 0) (#165)
    by IrishGerard on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:40:18 PM EST
    There you go again.
    we are all well aware that wolfinger called for a grand jury on Mar.20 ; it's irrelevant

    The Sanford police department is not going to cut loose a homicide suspect without first consulting the State's Attorney on the night of Feb.26

    So, pray tell, who was this mystery SA that made the decision that charges were not warranted?


    Hilarious (none / 0) (#170)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:07:04 PM EST
    You think that because they didn't charge him on the very night of the killing, that means he's "exonerated"???


    The investigation continued and, after reviewing all the evidence they gathered during the investigation, Wolfinger decided to convene a grand jury.  If Zimmerman had been "exonerated", there would be no need for a grand jury.  Moreover, Corey wouldn't have filed murder charges against him.


    I think you meant to use Huh not Heh? (none / 0) (#171)
    by IrishGerard on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 04:24:28 PM EST
    If wolfinger believed a crime had been committed he would have charged zimmerman himself; that's his job.

    Wolfinger convened a grand jury as a result of the public's displeasure over his decision not to file charges against zimmerman.
    Is this really in dispute?

    Angela Corey's decision to file 2nd degree murder charges was politically motivated. that's obvious to anyone who's been paying attention.
    I have not seen/heard of even one prominent attorney who believes the evidence warrants a second degree murder charge.

    Why was George Zimmerman not arrested the night of the shooting?
    When the Sanford Police Department arrived at the scene of the incident, Mr. Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony.....[Link]

    i'm out


    Wrong - on all counts (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:19:42 PM EST
    I think you meant to use Huh not Heh?

    No, I meant "Heh" ... as in "Heh, that's funny".  You can't read my mind any better than you can read Wolfinger's.

    If wolfinger believed a crime had been committed he would have charged zimmerman himself; that's his job.

    Actually, no.  Wolfinger had the option (as Corey chose) of charging him without a grand jury, but can also use a grand jury to seek an indictment of Zimmerman.  Either one is "his job".

    Wolfinger convened a grand jury as a result of the public's displeasure over his decision not to file charges against zimmerman.
    Is this really in dispute?

    Uh, yeah ... it is.  If Zimmerman had truly been "exonerated" and Wolfinger sought an indictment, he would be (at the very least) subject to disciplinary sanctions - including disbarment.  There is zero evidence that Wolfinger sought a grand jury due to public pressure, as opposed to a genuine, good-faith basis for the charge(s).

    Why was George Zimmerman not arrested the night of the shooting?  When the Sanford Police Department arrived at the scene of the incident, Mr. Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony

    Seriously?  Because they didn't have all the evidence on the night of the shooting.  He/, on the night of the shooting they hadn't even analyzed the physical evidence yet, let alone gotten statements from all the witnesses.  If Zimmerman was "exonerated" simply because they didn't charge him immediately, why did the investigation continue for weeks?  Why did the Sanford PD spend hundreds(thousands?) of man-hours if Zimmerman was already "exonerated"?

    It's beyond silly to make such a claim.


    Guess you (none / 0) (#166)
    by deanno on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:34:05 AM EST
    have problems with the English language.  The Chief Investigator on this case said three days after that CYA "capias" request, that everything he had REPEAT EVERYTHING is adding up to what he (GZ) said.  He also agreed that TM was the "primary aggressor" and that GZ acted in self defense.

    You can't be acting in self defense and committing manslaughetr at the same time, now can you?


    If that was the case (none / 0) (#168)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:01:44 PM EST
    ... there would be no need for a grand jury.  A prosecutor doesn't convene a grand jury unless they believe a crime was committed.

    BTW - I'm fine with the English language, but I'd be happy to help you with your logic.


    And I'll be happy to repeat the direct quote... (none / 0) (#173)
    by deanno on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:42:01 AM EST
    but first, a prosecutor can succumb to pressure from let's say "the community" to convene a grand jury to take the heat off himself and thus see what a GJ will do.  I think this was the case here.

    The SPD had no case against Mr Zimmerman and still don't.

    Here is the exact quote from the Orlando Sentinel which Martin supporters seem to ignore:

    "Two weeks ago during an exclusive interview with the Sentinel Lee disclosed certain details of the investigation, and during that session, attended by Serino and others, Serino said his investigation turned up no reliable evidence that cast doubt on Zimmerman's account--that he had acted in self defense."

    'The best evidence we have is the testimony of George Zimmerman, and he says the decedent was the primary aggressor in the whole event", Serino told the Sentinel March 16.  'Everything I have is adding up to what he says'.

    Again, facts like the English language, are stubborn things.  And we have the man in charge of this investion as late as April 2 EXONERATING George Zimmerman.

    So you can be committing manslaughter and acting in self defense at the same time, now can you?

    So it's NOT my logic that's faulty.


    And yet, just a few days ... (none / 0) (#176)
    by Yman on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:57:20 AM EST
    ... after Serino's comment, Wolfinger convened a grand jury to decide whether to bring charges against a man who had been "exonerated".


    BTW - Serino is the investigator.  While he is the same investigator who said Zimmerman's story doesn't add up and recommended filing charges against him, he's not the one who makes that decision.  The prosecuctor's office makes that decision, and Wolfinger decided to convene a grand jury.  You don't convene grand juries for suspects who have been "exonerated".  Moreover, when Wolfinger recused himself, Corey looked at all the evidence and decided to file charges.  Now you may suspect that Wolfinger and Corey reached those decisions, but that's all your theory is ...

    ... baseless, groundless, evidence-free suspicions.


    The cooment is a direct quote from (none / 0) (#181)
    by deanno on Fri Jul 27, 2012 at 09:49:23 AM EST
    the Chief Investigator.  EVERYTHING is adding up to what he says!!!

    Again Wolfinger convening a GJ doesn't negate the fact (obviously Wolfinger is knuckling under to the mob in the streets) has nothing to do with the fact that Serino exonerated GZ in the interview on 3/16.


    Belated Wolfinger defense (none / 0) (#127)
    by unitron on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 05:01:30 AM EST
    I think, knowing more now than I did when this first went national, that Wolfinger, unable to immediately find dis-proof of self-defense, found himself prohibited by Florida law from arresting or charging.

    I'm pretty sure that particular part of their law was part of the overall SYG package they adopted, but at any rate it's in there somewhere.

    Apparently that led people to think they'd quit investigating altogether.

    Which they had not done.

    You can believe that, after getting ready to take the case to the grand jury, and announcing that he was doing so, Wolfinger suddenly, within 2 days, decided on his own to recuse himself, and the governor immediately sprang into action and decided to appoint Corey.

    Or, like me, you can wonder if perhaps, when Wolfinger announced that the case was going to the grand jury, the governor immediately had a case of the vapors and privately informed Wolfinger that he was out and told Corey to keep it away from the grand jury and find a way to hit Zimmerman hard enough to force a plea deal that also keeps it away from a petit jury, so that they can have a way to dissipate minority community emotion and also avoid anyone taking too close a look at their SYG laws.  


    From the order: (none / 0) (#75)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 03:53:52 PM EST
    Finally, the Defendant did not offer any explanation of or justification for his deception that was subject to cross examination

    I gather the court means any explanation/justification was offered by Defendant's counsel.  

    It's phrased correctly (none / 0) (#78)
    by cboldt on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:11:20 PM EST
    Lester is saying that O'Mara's word cannot substitute for Zimmerman's word; and Zimmerman refused to offer an explanation or justification for sitting there like a potted palm.

    Judge Lester is an elected offical... (none / 0) (#77)
    by Andybinga on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:09:34 PM EST
    The next election for Judge Lester will be on August of 2014. Nothing like getting an unelect Judge Lester movement started early as I have no respect for a judge who twists the law.

    Seems more appropriate, if at all, to (none / 0) (#81)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:18:57 PM EST
    await the conclusion of the criminal case.  

    (non) Forfeiture of original bond fee (none / 0) (#84)
    by MJW on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:33:09 PM EST
    The defense statement says:

    We paid $15,000 initially for the first bail fee so an additional fee of $85,000 would have to be paid to post this new bond assuming we can work out the collateral issue.

    That suggests the 15K wasn't lost when the first bond was revoked.

    Not unless the judge also ordered (none / 0) (#96)
    by Peter G on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:36:24 PM EST
    -- in addition to revoking the bond -- that the premium be forfeited.

    that's up to the bondsman (none / 0) (#99)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:55:59 PM EST
    the premium is his fee for making the bond. If this is a new bond, rather than the reinstatement of the old bond with an increased amount, the bondsman would require a new premium, as would the insurance company backing them. The bondsman may be willing to give Zimmerman a break, but I'd bet he'd have to get the ok of the national insurance company underwriting the bond. When I used bondsmen in state court years ago, it was one premium per bond. If the defendant's bond gets revoked, a new bond requires a new premium. It's like a the fee you pay a bookie, he keeps it no matter what and it's his fee for placing the bet, win or lose. In federal court here we no longer use bondsmen as the court acts as the surety when there's a 10% bond (and it gives it back at the end of the case.)

    Bond (none / 0) (#104)
    by whitecap333 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 06:51:15 PM EST
    O'Mara is saying the $15,000 is still good, but an additional $85,000 will be required for a $mil. bond.  Only problem, the Zimmermans will need to come up with a $mil. in collateral, and they don't have it.  They're "trying to work something out."  Doesn't help to have the judge saying "I'm tellin' ya, he's a flight risk."  O'Mara also says there's about $211,000 in the fund, with about $40,000 accumulated in costs and expenses, not including attorneys' fees.  It would appear that the court has, in effect, imposed a judicial penalty of 50% on donations sent for legal and living expenses.

    Yea, I saw that bit about (none / 0) (#112)
    by firstfall on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 07:31:30 PM EST
    ...still having that 15k. I thought that when bond was revoked he would have lost the 15k "fee". Apparently not. Would he have to use the same bondsman? I can't imagine a bondsman giving up their fee if the defense decides/needs to go with a different bondsman.

    SYG Instruction? (none / 0) (#87)
    by RickyJim on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 04:51:41 PM EST
    At trial, the Judge's opinion of his credibility will be immaterial. He clearly has enough for a self-defense instruction, and possibly for a Stand Your Ground instruction.

    Self defense instructions have been explained in detail here before.  This is the first time I have heard of a Stand Your Ground instruction.  Thanks in advance for an explanation.

    it's in instruction 3.6 (none / 0) (#98)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 05:47:01 PM EST
    Available here, but please discuss this on the forums rather than here in the bond news thread.

    No duty to retreat. § 776.013(3), Fla. Stat. See Novak v. State 974 So. 2d 520 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008) regarding unlawful activity. There is no duty to retreat where the defendant was not engaged in any unlawful activity other than the crime(s) for which the defendant asserts the justification.

    If the defendant [was not engaged in an unlawful activity and] was attacked in any place where [he] [she] had a right to be, [he] [she] had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand [his] [her] ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if [he] [she] reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to [himself] [herself] [another] or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

    Define applicable forcible felony from list in §776.08, Fla. Stat. that defendant alleges victim was about to commit.

    A good day? (none / 0) (#115)
    by expy on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:01:57 PM EST
    This was a good day for George Zimmerman, not such a great day for his defense team which just lost $100,000.

    I think it was a very good day for one particular Florida bail bondsman... who apparently will soon be $85,000 richer.  

    Not so much for Zimmerman.  Maybe the best that can be said for his day is, "it could have been worse."

    As to O'Mara -- ??  Didn't he take this case under the false belief that there was no money at all? So looks like he might be back to where he started on finances.

    O'Mara's Motion (none / 0) (#179)
    by J Upchurch on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 04:26:51 PM EST

    After reviewing this, I'd say this is good for at least one post by Jeralyn.