George Zimmerman returned to a Seminole County courthouse in Sanford, Fla., on Friday, where Circuit Judge Debra Nelson granted the defense request to use Trayvon Martin’s school records as well as his social media accounts.
Twenty-nine year old Zimmerman, the neighborhood volunteer watchman charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of 17-year-old Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford, is out on his second bail awaiting trial, which will begin on June 10, 2013.
According to MSNBC, Nelson, who is the third judge to preside over this case, ruled that attorneys for the accused killer can used the teen’s school records and Twitter and Facebook accounts but must keep the contents private. She also ruled that the defense could have access to Martin’s teenage girlfriend’s accounts. The teen was the last person to have verbal contact with Trayvon, for she was reportedly on the phone with him just before he was shot and killed. News reports have revealed that the young woman said that Martin did tell her a man was following him that night.
The judge also granted the prosecution’s request for Zimmerman’s medical records, though she ruled she had to review them first to determine whether any of it should be withheld.
Trayvon’s mom and dad, Sybrina Fulton and Tracey Martin, along with their lawyer, were outraged by Zimmerman and his legal team’s motion and aired their deep dissatisfaction during a press conference held before the ruling. Attorney Benjamin Crump, speaking for the family had this to say: "We think it a terrible precedent to set—why is it relevant about his school records and his Facebook page? George Zimmerman knew none of that on Feb. 26 when he claimed Trayvon’s life.”
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara admits that subpoenaing the school for Trayvon’s records and going after his social media accounts might look “horrible” and appear as if he was putting the victim on trial, but that it was necessary to show that his client did not “act with ill-will” or “hatred” towards the teen.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder. He was free to go home the very night he killed Martin, claiming self-defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law”--even though he had killed an unarmed Martin as he walked home from the neighborhood 7-Eleven that rainy night. All the teen had on him was a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. The neighborhood watchman was arrested almost two months later, when public outcry had reached fever pitch.
Several videos and medical records released since the killing showed the neighborhood watchman with some bruises but prosecution believes he racially profiled then stalked the young man which set the deadly events in motion.
As I mentioned before, Judge Nelson is the third judge to preside over this case—a case that has not even begun trial. Zimmerman and his legal team lobbied to have the two previous judges thrown off. The first was Judge Jessica Recksiedler, and Zimmerman's team citing conflict of interest because her husband, who was asked to be Zimmerman’s lawyer but declined, had recommended O’Mara. The second was Judge Kenneth Lester Jr., because they claimed his bias would prevent Zimmerman from getting a fair trial.
Lester was accused of bias because he had revoked the first bail set at $150,000, throwing Zimmerman back in jail after the court had found that he lied about being broke-- when he had more than $200,000 hidden in PayPal accounts.
His wife, Shellie, was also arrested for perjury, for she too had lied about the money they collected from online donors. Lawyer O’Mara currently has a second website set up to collect more donations for his client’s defense. Even with all this money apparently flowing, Zimmerman has petitioned the court to pay for his defense, citing lack of funds.
Zimmerman is currently out on $1 million bond.
For additional reading, click link below: