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Trial Court Judge In George Zimmerman Case Removed By Florida Appeals Court

In what I will only say based on my experience here in Virginia is an extraordinary development, a Florida Appeals Court has removed the Judge presiding over George Zimmerman’s trial in the Trayvon Martin shooting case:

A Florida appeals court has granted George Zimmerman’s request for a new judge to oversee his trial for second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, theOrlando Sentinel is reporting.

A three-judge panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal found that Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. cast doubt on his impartiality when he wrote in his July 5 order setting $1 million bail that Zimmerman showed “blatant disregard for the judicial system” and that he was “manipulating the system for his own benefit.”

Lester’s order followed revelations that Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, had lied during an earlier bail hearing about how much money they had.

“Although many of the allegations in Zimmerman’s motion, standing alone, do not meet the legal sufficiency test, and while this is admittedly a close call, upon careful review we find that the allegations, taken together, meet the threshold test of legal sufficiency,” the appeals court wrote in its brief opinion.

The panel notes that Florida judicial rules require a judge to disqualify himself or herself “without determining the accuracy of the allegations in the motion, so long as the motion is ‘legally sufficient.’” That standard is met “if it alleges facts that would create in a reasonably prudent person a well-founded fear of not receiving a fair and impartial trial.”

So, Zimmerman gets a new Judge, which given some of the comments in Lester’s July 5th Order seems appropriate, which likely means that proceedings in this matter will be delayed even further.

Here’s the opinion:

Zimmerman v. State Of Florida

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. MarkedMan says:

    So Zimmerman and his wife lie to the judge, the judge calls them on it, and the Florida appeals court removes the judge. Right. Anyone still insisting that the judicial system in Florida treats white perps the same as black perps? Does anyone really believe that if Zimmerman was black, Martin was white, and such lies had been told that the appeals court would have spent even five minutes before rejecting the motion? The system appears to be going way out of their way to ensure Zimmerman gets off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

  2. bandit says:

    @MarkedMan: Zimmerman’s Hispanic moron.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  3. Rafer Janders says:

    @bandit:

    And your point is?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  4. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Rafer Janders: In Banditland, “Hispanic” and “ni&&er” are synonomous? Just trying to help…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. bill says:

    they need to push this bs away for a long time, no intelligent jury could convict him with such evidence.of course they have to pander to the street justice crowd that has never been accused of being intelligent. and our potus has their back, as usual.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  6. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @MarkedMan: Anyone still insisting that the judicial system in Florida treats white perps the same as black perps?

    I dunno. Who’s the white perp in this case?

    Oh, yeah, ZImmerman’s one of them “white Hispanics.” You gotta watch them, they’re sneaky…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  7. Rafer Janders says:

    You know that “Hispanic” indicates an ethno-linguistic-cultural group and not a skin color, right? You can be black and Hispanic, Indian and Hispanic, Japanese and Hispanic, Italian and Hispanic, German and Hispanic, etc. It basically means anyone from those Latin American countries which were once part of the Spanish Empire and whose primary language is Spanish.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Rafer Janders: No, they don’t know that. They just think its more polite than using “wetback” or “spic.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. rudderpedals says:

    The bar to recuse the 2nd and subsequent judges is low but I’m cool with that. Set Zimmerman aside for a moment because the principle is important, there really shouldn’t be any appearance of impropriety. If only the same principle applied in practice to members of the U.S. Supreme Court

    For what little it’s worth Zimmerman is now going on at least his 3rd judge.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    The removal ruling makes sense to me. When Mr. Zimmerman was first called to task for lying about his financial assets, it seemed to me that the judge, having been lied to, was the victim of the crime. That he would then be the judge and sentencer seemed kind of unAmerican to me. Getting lied to has a negative effect on many people. That risk should be avoided especially in regard to the seriousness of the initial charge.

    And, of course, if you view this as another exercise of “the process is the punishment”, does Mr. Zimmerman not get to remain even longer under the heavy thumb of the state ???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  11. DRS says:

    @bill:

    of course they have to pander to the street justice crowd that has never been accused of being intelligent. and our potus has their back, as usual.

    The “street justice crowd” that protested police inaction and called for the justice system to do its job properly? Looks like “street justice” isn’t what it used to be back in the old days when the KKK and its friends would break people out of jail to torture and lynch them. Yup, calling for a proper investigation and a trial is a real sign of anarchy on the streets.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  12. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @DRS: Apparently, you missed the New Black Panthers putting a bounty on Zimmerman’s head, Spike Lee Tweeting an (incorrect) address for Zimmerman, and all the evidence that has emerged so far that shows the police apparently DID handle the case properly from the outset…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  13. grumpy realist says:

    Well, in Illinois each side can ask the judge to recuse himself based on nothing at all. Probably won’t get it, but it’s there in the law books.

    Let’s make sure that Zimmerman gets an absolutely fair trial. Otherwise they’ll be setting themselves up for an appeal if Z. gets convicted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. DRS says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It’s an insult to the outraged citizens who protested Martin’s killing to link them to a fringe group like the NBP, and Spike Lee got lambasted properly for his stupidity. Are you sure you can’t work Sharpton in here somehow?

    …all the evidence that has emerged so far that shows the police apparently DID handle the case properly from the outset…

    Right. That’s why Zimmerman wasn’t taken into custody until two months after the shooting. Right. Nice try.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. scott says:

    @DRS…why wasn’t he taken into custody? Because of his parent’s judicial connections. Not because of color, look at his pic. I see a light brown man. Not a white one.

    Some people want to make this a white/black issue to fit their own agendas. In truth this is a case of a spoiled rich privileged kid with a judge daddy and a court clerk momma.

    Of course the people behind the curtain are more than happy to keep those below them bickering over white/black nonsense. Classic case of divide and conquer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. bill says:

    @DRS: funny, i thought the black panthers put a bounty on his head- and nobody flinched. appeasing rioters is no way to rule, never was and never will be. kkk, that’s so 60′s…………and democrat!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. KariQ says:

    Good. Regardless of Zimmerman’s innocence or guilt, the judge is not bringing credit to himself or Florida with his conduct in this case. A new judge may delay the trial, but it does seem the right thing to do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @scott: @DRS…why wasn’t he taken into custody? Because of his parent’s judicial connections. Not because of color, look at his pic. I see a light brown man. Not a white one.

    “his parent’s judicial connections?” You mean, how his father is a RETIRED magistrate from Virginia? I’m sure that pulled a LOT of weight in the case of homicide.

    What’s a magistrate do, anyway?

    A principal function of the magistrate is to provide an independent, unbiased review of complaints of criminal conduct brought to the office by law enforcement or the general public. Magistrate duties include issuing various types of processes such as arrest warrants, summonses, bonds, search warrants, subpoenas, and certain civil warrants. Magistrates also conduct bail hearings in instances in which an individual is arrested on a warrant charging him or her with a criminal offense. Magistrates provide services on an around-the-clock basis, conducting hearings in person or through the use of videoconferencing systems…

    Yeah, I’m sure that this retired sub-judge from out of state really had enough clout to broom a murder charge.

    Are you really that stupid, or that fixated?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  19. Monala says:

    @bill: Not to defend the New Black Panther Party–I think they’re despicable–but they didn’t put a bounty on Zimmernan’s head, they put a bounty out for his capture and arrest. And shortly thereafter, the head of the NBPP was arrested.

    Not defending Spike Lee either–his actions were equally despicable–but he met with the couple whose address he mistakenly tweeted (the address was the mistake, not the tweet), apologized to them, and compensated them.

    So neither of these incidents were swept under the rug or ignored.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Jeff Grey says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Actually what it shows is that the court system is set up to steal as much oney as it can from anyone who gets pulled into it. Unless your a crook , and then you dont have to tell them how much money you have before you go to court.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0