partlycloudy
Friday February 12th, 2016 5:31PM

Zimmerman will seek 'stand your ground' hearing

By The Associated Press
MIAMI - George Zimmerman will seek to have second-degree murder charges dismissed under Florida's "stand your ground" law in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, his attorney said Thursday.

The hearing, which likely won't take place for several months, will amount to a mini-trial involving much of the evidence collected by prosecutors as well as expert testimony from both sides.

"Most of the arguments, witnesses, experts and evidence that the defense would muster in a criminal trial will be presented in the `stand your ground' hearing," said the statement posted by Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara on Zimmerman's official defense website.

Although the posting did not say so, legal experts say it's likely that Zimmerman himself would testify since he is the sole survivor of the Feb. 26 confrontation.

Under the "stand your ground" law, Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester can dismiss the charges if Zimmerman conclusively shows he fatally shot Martin because he "reasonably believed" he might be killed or suffer "great bodily harm" at the hands of the unarmed teenager. The law also says a person has no duty to retreat in the face of such a threat.

Janet Johnson, a Jacksonville defense attorney who has represented defendants in other "stand your ground" cases, said Zimmerman has a good chance to win his claim if he can also show he was in a place where he had a legal right to be and that he didn't create the danger.

"Or, if he did, he had abandoned that activity when Mr. Martin `attacked' him," Johnson said in an email. "There's only one side since Trayvon Martin can't testify."

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot Martin after a confrontation in Zimmerman's gated community in the central Florida town of Sanford, where Martin was visiting. The case drew local and nationwide protests because Zimmerman was not arrested for weeks after the shooting. Zimmerman claims Martin punched him and slammed his head against a sidewalk.

Evidence released by prosecutors, the website statement said, shows "clear support for a strong claim of self-defense." The statement urged "everyone to be patient during this process and to reserve judgment until the evidence is presented in the `stand your ground' hearing."

Prosecutors released 76 pages of additional evidence Thursday, mostly consisting of Zimmerman's community college school records. But they also released a grainy photograph that they described as "depicting the killing of a person," presumably Martin. In a subsequent email, they asked news media to not use the photo, which they said due to its content is exempt from the state's public records law. The extremely dark, poor-quality photo shows a small, unrecognizable shape at the center of the frame.

Martin's parents have contended that Zimmerman singled out their son as he was returning from a convenience store because he was black and that it was Zimmerman's aggression that led to his death. Zimmerman, who is free on $1 million bail, faces a possible life prison sentence if convicted of second-degree murder.

If his "stand your ground" claim succeeds, however, the criminal charges would be dismissed and Zimmerman could not be held liable in any civil action such as a wrongful-death lawsuit. Prosecutors would likely appeal a successful self-defense claim.

A spokeswoman for special prosecutor Angela Corey declined to comment Thursday. Benjamin Crump, attorney for Martin's parents, said in an email he believes the "stand your ground" claim will be denied and that Zimmerman's guilt or innocence will ultimately be decided by a jury.

"Trayvon's parents do not feel that this is a man that feared for his life the night he shot and killed their child, this is a man whose only fear is spending his life in prison," Crump said.

Legal experts have said that Zimmerman's credibility is crucial to his claim and that he undermined his own cause by deceiving the judge about his finances during an April bond hearing. That alleged deception led to perjury charges against Zimmerman's wife, Shellie. She has pleaded not guilty.

Lester remarked that Zimmerman "flaunted the system" by making misleading statements about how much money the couple had raised through online contributions from supporters. The judge, who will also rule on the "stand your ground" claim, revoked Zimmerman's initial $150,000 bond and had him returned to jail. Lesterlater allowed him to be released on the higher $1 million figure with additional restrictions.

"His credibility in asserting that he lawfully `stood his ground' is key and he has been proven to be less than credible in prior dealings with the court," said Johnson, the Jacksonville defense attorney. "The defense will try to limit how much of this comes in."
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 3 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 3 years ago )
U.S. News
New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain are emerging
WASHINGTON (AP) — New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect preg...
6:22PM ( 1 day ago )
President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Zika virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that spread it here and abroad, but says "there s...
10:40PM ( 3 days ago )
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 6 days ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 1 week ago )
Cruz (R) expected to claim conservative Iowa caucus victory, with Clinton (D) and Sanders (D) deadlocked among liberal vote
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were deadlocked in a tight race.
By The Associated Press
10:55PM ( 1 week ago )