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Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

George Zimmerman Expected at Hearing to Determine ‘Stand Your Ground’ Defense

ZIMMERMAN HEARING

The pretrial maneuvering between prosecutors and George Zimmerman’s defense team continue, as the defendant is expected to appear in court tomorrow for a hearing on whether he will use Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law as his defense or waive his right to use it. In a little more than a month, Zimmerman is scheduled to go on trial for the murder of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

While prosecutors believe that Zimmerman cannot use the statute once the trial has commenced if he waives the right to use it now, Zimmerman’s lawyer Mark O’Mara disagreed.

Under the controversial “Stand Your Ground” statute, a person can’t be prosecuted if he shoots someone because he was in fear of his life. Zimmerman’s legal team canceled a scheduled hearing earlier this month to make the case.

“If you can convince someone, a judge, by preponderance of evidence that you acted in self defense, then you’re immune, and that can happen however it happens,” O’Mara told Reuters.

O’Mara said he hasn’t yet decided how he will proceed on the issue.

“I know the state would like to have that information, it seems. I don’t feel compelled to advise anybody of my strategy in this case,” he said.

Prosecutors are fearful that Zimmerman might try to revive the “Stand Your Ground” defense after the trial if he is found guilty, according to the motion they filed with Judge Debra Nelson.

The judge is also scheduled to hear a defense request to unseal a settlement between Martin’s parents and the homeowner’s association at The Retreat at Twin Lakes, the subdivision where he was killed. Though it isn’t known how much they settled on, the association’s insurance company at one point offered its policy limit of $1 million to the family, which they initially rejected.

Zimmerman’s lawyers believe the jury should consider the financial interest of potential witnesses in the case.

About Nick Chiles

Nick Chiles, Editor-in-Chief of AtlantaBlackStar, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. He has written or co-written 13 books and won over a dozen major journalism awards during a journalism career that brought him to the Dallas Morning News, the Star-Ledger of New Jersey and New York Newsday, in addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of Odyssey Couleur travel magazine.

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