News: George Zimmerman Requests New Judge, Claims He Wants A "Fair Hearing" In Trayvon Martin Murder Case
Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 9:02AM
Freed Florida resident George Zimmerman is reportedly seeking a new judge in his publicized Trayvon Martin murder case, claiming the current one is holding a grudge against him.
If granted a new judge, this would be the latest since having Judge Kenneth Lester appointed over the spring.
The ex-neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing Trayvon Martin asked for a new judge Friday, claiming the current one is biased because he said George Zimmerman had "flaunted the system." Zimmerman said in a motion he feared he would be unable to get a fair "stand your ground" hearing or a fair trial with Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester presiding over the case. Lester was appointed in April after Zimmerman claimed a potential conflict of interest with the original judge. (ABC News)
Zimmerman's defense also claimed Lester is out to have him punished on additional charges.
Friday's filing also says Lester has advocated for Zimmerman to be prosecuted for additional crimes, offered personal opinion about evidence and has threatened their client with contempt charges. "Mr. Zimmerman has lost faith in the objectivity of this court and has a reasonable, well-founded fear that he will not receive a fair trial by this court," the document said. (WPTV)
The judge allowed Zimmerman to escape jail last week after raising a bail bond to $1 million.
George Zimmerman was released from jail on Friday, one day after a Florida judge set bail at $1 million. Judge Kenneth R. Lester Jr. found that Zimmerman's deceit over cash holdings at his first bond hearing in April was not enough to hold him without bail. However, he also said he believed the suspect may have been planning to flee the country to avoid prosecution in the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman had to post 10% of the $1 million -- or $100,000 -- to meet the requirement for release. He wore a white dress shirt under a gray suit as he walked out of jail and into a waiting SUV. "We are confident and comfortable that George will be safe," Zimmerman's attorney, Don West, told CNN outside the jail following his client's release. (CNN)
Despite raising his bond by $850,000, Judge Lester had said it was not to punish the ex-neighborhood watch volunteer.
"It appears to this court that .. the money only had to be hidden for a short time for him to leave, if the defendant made a quick decision to flee," Lester wrote. The defense attorney Mark O'Mara "presented no evidence to negate the court's impression that the movement of funds and false testimony was to aid and assist the defendant in fleeing the jurisdiction." He said it looked to him that the only reason Zimmerman didn't make a run for it, was because he was tethered to an electronic monitoring device. His plans, Lester said, "were thwarted." "The increased bond is not a punishment," Lester added. "It is meant to allay the court's concern that the defendant intended to flee the jurisdiction and a lesser amount would not ensure his presence in court." (Miami Herald)