The Trayvon Martin case took a stunning twist on Tuesday when George Zimmerman’s lawyers waved a right that could be considered crucial to his defense.
ABC News reports that Zimmerman’s attorneys waived their client’s right to a scheduled April 22 hearing that was to be held under the “Stand Your Ground” law. The law has sparked a global discussion in the year since Trayvon Martin’s shooting.
Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer facing second-degree murder charges for the shooting of 17-year-old Martin is currently awaiting a trial date of June 10, 2013. The move to waive his right to the April hearing leaves Zimmerman’s defense vulnerable, because it can now be included in the trial this summer.
It also gives the defense more time to prepare, an obvious concern of theirs after a motion to delay the trial further was recently denied.
Trayvon Martin was on his way to the home of his father’s girlfriend just after 7pm on February 26, 2012 when he was killed. Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch member, reported Martin to the police, telling the 911 dispatcher that he looked “suspicious.”
Though the dispatcher told Zimmerman not to follow Martin, a series of events shortly followed the call which left Martin dead from a gunshot wound to the chest.
Zimmerman admitted to shooting Martin, but claimed that he acted in self-defense. He was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
Zimmerman’s defense has undergone numerous setbacks in recent months. Florida judge Debra Nelson denied a motion to delay the trial, and also ordered that Zimmerman remain under 24-hour GPS monitoring while he awaits court proceedings.
Former judge Kenneth Lester was asked to step down, with Nelson being appointed to the case afterwards. Zimmerman’s lawyers were also denied permission to question a young woman, who is supposedly the last person to speak with Martin the night he died.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Zimmerman’s lawyers are investigating the young woman, known as Witness 8. Don West, one of Zimmerman’s lawyers, said that the witness was “misinterpreted” in a sworn statement in which she said that she missed Martin’s funeral due to hospitalization. Prosecutors have confirmed that there are no medical records corroborating her claim.
What do you think? Should George Zimmerman’s lawyers have waived their client’s right to the “Stand Your Ground” hearing? Will that complicate his defense? Sound off!