The prosecution and the defense stood ready to do battle today over Florida’s problematic “stand your ground” law, which grants immunity when one person kills another in self-defense. In a low voice that sometimes could not be heard, Zimmerman made the critical decision not to have the hearing before trial begins on June 10. Zimmerman can request an immunity hearing at a later date, but with no guarantee the hearing would be granted. Zimmerman’s trial date is set for early June. According to an April 30 article in USA Today, Zimmerman was a volunteer neighborhood watch person. He was charged with second-degree murder for pursuing and then shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a gated Sanford, Fla., community. The shooting was on February 26, 2012.
If the defense had gone for the hearing now, everything they have would be released and the prosecution would be able to use that information.
Trayvon Martin’s family argues that Zimmerman profiled, pursued and murdered a teenager who was only carrying a can of iced tea and some skittles. Zimmerman claims he shot Trayvon in self-defense after being attacked. Zimmerman ignored police instructions to stop following Trayvon. Instead, he stalked and approached the teenager. He managed get into a physical altercation and ultimately killed Martin.
More issues will be dealt with at today’s hearing. A testy exchange ensued when a prosecution and defense attorneys squared off over several issues. The defense contends that prosecutors did not give them everything they asked for and wants sanctions. In a rare occurrence, a defense attorney had to take the stand to testify about his claims against the prosecutor.
Another issue involves a key witness who was on the phone when Martin was killed. The witness is a young woman called “witness number eight”. She allegedly misstated that she was at the hospital when she was on the phone with Martin. She was on the phone when Zimmerman approached Martin and ultimately killed him.
Also, Zimmerman and his wife, Shelly lied while under oath at his bail hearing. This was about their finances. They both claimed to be broke when they were sitting on over $150,000 in donations from the public.
Zimmerman’s lawyers also want to make the state pay $4,555 in attorney’s fees because prosecutors delayed depositions in March. They did not want witnesses to be videotaped. The court later ruled that the witnesses could be videotaped. The judge ruled in favor of witness eight’s statements being videotaped.
According to an April 30 Orlando Sentinel article, Zimmerman says his victim attacked him and broke his nose. He now lives in hiding after numerous death threats, enormous public scrutiny and an alleged bounty on his head. This trial will be pivotal in American history because so called “stand your ground” laws are being applied in favor of whites who kill blacks, but not the reverse.