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Charles Montaldo

Zimmerman Cancels 'Stand Your Ground' Hearing

By March 6, 2013

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In a move that surprised prosecutors, attorneys for the man accused of shooting Trayvon Martin cancelled a scheduled pre-trial hearing on issues surrounding Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. George Zimmerman's lawyers said they do not have time to prepare for the pre-trial hearing and the up-coming June 10 jury trial too.

The move, however, could signal a shift in strategy for Zimmerman's defense team.

Under Florida law, people who are in fear for their lives do not have to flee first before defending themselves, they can "stand their ground" if they are being threatened with bodily harm. If it is showed that they feared for their lives, they are not charged criminally and are given immunity from any civil liabilities.

Down on the Ground

When neighborhood watch captain Zimmerman encountered Trayvon Martin in his gated Sanford community on Feb. 25, 2012 he claimed Martin punched him in the nose, knocked him to the ground and got on top of him a banged his head against the ground. As Martin punched him wildly, Zimmerman said, he pulled a gun and shot Martin point-blank in the chest, killing him.

After photographing the injuries to Zimmerman's face and back of his head, Sanford police filed no charges, because in their opinion no Florida law had been broken.

More than 40 days later, after an uproar of political protests claiming Martin was racially profiled, Gov. Rick Scott appointed State Attorney Angela Corey as special prosecutor and she filed second-degree murder charges against Zimmerman.

No Place to Retreat

This week, when Zimmerman's attorneys cancelled the stand your ground hearing scheduled in April, it could be because if Zimmerman was lying on his back with Martin over him at the time of the shooting, he could not have retreated any further any way, making the "stand your ground" claim moot.

If Martin was on top of Zimmerman attacking him, Florida's pre-stand-your-ground self-defense laws would apply. When anyone is in fear for their life and can retreat no further, they have the right to defend themselves with deadly force, under most state laws.

Cancelling the pre-trial hearing on the stand-your-ground issue does not stop Zimmerman's attorneys from raising the issue at a later time or even during the jury trial.

See Also:
George Zimmerman: Why Did He Suddenly Abandon 'Stand Your Ground' Hearing?

Background:
The Trial of George Zimmerman

What Is Your Opinion?
Discuss The Trayvon Martin Case

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Comments

March 10, 2013 at 1:57 pm
(1) Kay says:

We cannot convict if we have no evidence. People have to stop using the race card. Has anyone proven racial profiling. Has anyone proven Zimmerman didn’t racially profile Trayvon. I think this was a case of an overzealous want to be cop that was not thinking clearly and took the life of an innocent young man. But I don’t think this was cold blooded murder, but second degree murder or manslaughter. The environment and office that have him a gun without thoroughly checking his background are responsible.

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