The drama meter is well into the red already in the George Zimmerman Florida second-degree murder case, and the only issues in the court’s hands thus far are where Zimmerman will be before the case goes to trial. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a teen-ager with whom Zimmerman had an altercation with in his Sanford neighborhood. Zimmerman is claiming he was protecting himself under Florida’s lenient and controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, which says someone does not have to retreat if they reasonably believe their life is being threatened. Jacksonville’s elected State Attorney has been appointed as the special prosecutor in the nationally-watched case, which has reporters from across the country and all of the major television networks covering every significant hearing. This week was the second bond hearing for Zimmerman. He was initially out on $150,000 bond, but that was revoked after the judge found Zimmerman’s wife lied in the first hearing about how much money the family had received in donations to its legal defense fund. This time, according to the Florida Times Union, the judge set the bond at $1 million and added restrictions that Zimmerman cannot leave Seminole County without permission from the court. He had been allowed to live out of state in a secure, undisclosed location, but the judge now perceives Zimmerman to be more of a flight risk.
Zimmerman posted bond two days later and, now that he is out again, expect the case to be delayed. It might not stall as much because of the high-profile nature of the case, but it will no doubt have an impact on when the case goes to trial. It’s one of the best weapons in the state’s vast arsenal and, trust our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer who knows, the state is not afraid to use it. When a person is out of jail and knows they have a significant chance of going to jail or prison, they really don’t have a ton of motivation to speed things along. But, if someone is in jail, they usually either want to get out if they can by being found not guilty at a trial or want to get the sentence moving so they know what they’re facing and can ride it out.
So the state does what it can to keep people in jail. Pure and simple. That’s likely why prosecutors went on a fishing expedition through Zimmerman’s jail phone calls after the first bond hearing. And they caught a whopper. They found Zimmerman and his wife orchestrating a lie about money that had been raised for Zimmerman’s criminal defense. The judge accused Zimmerman of trying to game the system and referenced it several times in the second bond hearing. Typically, a person can be released from jail by posting 10 percent of the posted bond. So, in Zimmerman’s case, that would be $100,000. Some bondsmen take less in high-profile cases such as this, and those negotiations are between the client and the bondsman.
Criminal cases are a constant back and forth struggle for an edge. Because of discovery rules, all evidence is on the table for both sides to see before a trial. So the strategic aspects – who has the upper hand in negotiations, whether the state files a minimum mandatory sentence, if the defendant is already out of jail – are all part of the power struggle. Our Jacksonville Criminal Bond Reduction Attorney can file motions to have a bond reduced, which could result in a hearing similar to the one for Zimmerman. If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County Bond Attorney is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.