New Attorney, New Judge, New Hearing
Days before the special prosecutor assigned to investigate the Trayvon Martin shooting in Sanford, Florida filed formal charges of second degree murder, George Zimmerman had went underground and stopped communicating with his attorneys.
The attorneys held a press conference announcing that they are removing themselves from the defense team for that reason. They said they still feel that their former client was innocent, but that they can not work with a client that does not stay in contact. He was welcomed to retain their services again if he had chose to. Turns out, Zimmerman was speaking to another attorney and retaining his services. Mark O’Mara has taken over as the defense counsel for Zimmerman.
The new attorney represented Zimmerman at his initial court hearing. He also filed for a bond hearing, since no bond was granted originally for Zimmerman. The motion for a bond hearing was granted and scheduled for Friday April 20. But before that hearing was to arrive, O’Mara asked judge Jessica Recksiedler to recuse herself from the case. The basis for the recusal was that judge Recksiedler’s husband works for Mark NeJame, who at one point was in contact with the Zimmerman family and is now legal analyst for CNN in the Martin case. Even though judge Recksiedler recused herself based on that, other members of the legal community say that she is still qualified to oversee this case as well as any other criminal case that comes before her court. She is removing herself to eliminate any claims of unfair or judicial misconduct later.
Judge Recksiedler granted the motion for a bond hearing, and had scheduled it for tomorrow, April 20. But she has since removed herself from the case. The new judge assigned is Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. Judge Lester will conduct the bond hearing that is still scheduled for 9 AM tomorrow. At that hearing, defense attorney O’Mara will ask judge Lester for a bond that will allow Zimmerman to be released from the custody of the Seminole county sheriff’s office. He is currently being held in the John E. Polk correctional facility in Sanford in isolation with no bond. O’Mara is asking for a bond in the $10,000 to $15,000 range, which would be in step with Zimmerman’s income. O’Mara feels that this is a reasonable amount. However, with Zimmerman being charged with second degree murder, other legal analysts feel that if a bond is granted, the number will be much higher. Maybe in the range of $50,000 to $200,000, and include release conditions.
Zimmerman’s family is expected to testify at the bond hearing, to talk about his ties to the community and no real previous criminal record. The family is expected to testify via phone.
The bond hearing is scheduled to happen at 9 AM on April 20, 2012 in Seminole County. The hearing will be streamed on many local and national news networks.