It was a wild and crazy day in Sanford, FL yesterday, as special prosecutor Angela Corey charged George Zimmerman with second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Today, Zimmerman is slated to appear before a judge and plead not guilty to the murder charge. He is currently being held without bond at the Seminole County Courthouse in Sanford.
Zimmerman’s new attorney, Mark O’Mara, told NBC’s Today about the current state of his client:
“He is concerned about getting a fair trial and a fair presentation. He is a client who has a lot of hatred focused on him. I’m hoping the hatred settles down … he has the right to his own safety and the case being tried before a judge and jury. He wants to be out (of jail) to be able to help with his defense, but overall he is doing ok.”
As for state prosecutor Corey, she has her work cut out for her as she will have to prove Zimmerman intentionally went after Martin instead of shooting him in self-defense, refuting arguments that the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law empowered him to use deadly force and get past a judge’s ruling at a pretrial hearing.
In Florida, second-degree murder charges are typically brought in cases when there is a fight or other confrontation, but involve no premeditation to kill. In the case of Zimmerman, he can ask to have the second-degree-murder charge against him dropped without having to stand trial.
Two years ago, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that anyone claiming “Stand Your Ground” immunity in a death, battery or assault case can request a hearing on the evidence.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the hearing allows the prosecution and defense to argue all the elements of self-defense in the case evidence. To get charges dismissed, the accused must convince the judge that a reasonable person would believe that using deadly force or the threat of deadly force was the only way to protect his or her life, court records show.
The state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, passed in 2005, says:
“A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
Legal experts said Corey chose a tough route with the murder charge, which could send Zimmerman to prison for life if he’s convicted, over manslaughter, which usually carries 15-year prison terms and covers reckless or negligent killings.
The prosecutors must prove Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin was rooted in hatred or ill will and counter his claims that he shot Martin to protect himself while patrolling his gated community in the Orlando suburb of Sanford.
Zimmerman’s lawyers would only have to prove by a preponderance of evidence – a relatively low legal standard – that he acted in self-defense at a pretrial hearing to prevent the case from going to trial.
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Wait, What? George Zimmerman Murder Charge Could Get Dismissed? (DETAILS) was originally published on globalgrind.com