Friday, June 1, 2012

BREAKING NEWS IN TRAYVON MARTIN STORY: Court Has Revoked George Zimmerman's Bond (UPDATED)

In a very dramatic development, a Florida court just has just revoked George Zimmerman's bond. The development took place during a hearing that focused primarily on media requests for evidence in the case. Both the state and the defense want certain evidence sealed from public disclosure.

The prosecution, however, also presented a motion to revoke Zimmerman's bond. Jeff Weiner, an Orlando Sentinel reporter, provided step-by-step developments from the hearing on his Twitter feed. Apparently, the state argued that Zimmerman and his wife deceived the court about his lack of money by failing to disclose the donations he received through a PayPal account. Furthermore, the prosecution argued that Zimmerman called his wife, who testified on his behalf during the initial bond hearing, and told her not to mention the money to the judge.

After hearing the state's evidence, the judge revoked the bond. Unless the judge issues a new bond, Zimmerman will have to report to jail until there until the completion of the trial.

Although the trial has not begun, this development could ultimately hurt Zimmerman's defense. If he chooses to testify - and it seems that he will, because he needs to explain his self-defense position - the prosecutor can undermine his testimony by raising false or misleading statements he offered during the bail hearing.

The prosecution also argued that Zimmerman turned over a passport to the state that he had previously reported as lost or stolen. He retains his valid passport. Although it is unclear whether this information influenced the judge's decision to revoke the bond, it too could undermine Zimmerman's credibility at trial. All in all -- this was a bad day for Zimmerman's defense.

UPDATE: The judge ordered Zimmerman to report to jail within 48 hours.


Unknown said...

I am so glad that George Zimmerman is so stupid.

Kathy Kattenburg

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Kathy, He strikes me as a bit narcissistic. He thinks he can say anything he wants and simply get away with it. I started feeling this way when he called the prosecutor when he learned from his former lawyers that he would probably be charged (they probably started asking about his location and said they would have a media announcement). Why would a pretty senior-level state's attorney talk to him -- against his lawyer's wishes and unrepresented by counsel? Ego the size of Jupiter. Also, consider he thought he was a big dude, riding around with cops, policing the neighborhood (where he was not even a property owner). Crazy.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Of course, stupid and narcissistic are not mutually exclusive conditions.

Unknown said...

"Why would a pretty senior-level state's attorney talk to him -- against his lawyer's wishes and unrepresented by counsel?"

True, of course, but would ANY prosecutor have responded agreeably to the defendant calling and wanting to speak with him or her? I mean, regardless of rank, I've always understand it to be one of the most basic principles in criminal law that the defendant or plaintiff in a case is not supposed to contact the opposing side's counsel for a private conversation.

You're right it's unbelievably narcissistic. Arrogant. I guess those qualities can make you stupid, since you recognize no principle except your own inner urgings.

Also, you *know* it's bad when Tom Maguire uses words like "weaselly" and "stupid" to describe Zimmerman's behavior (the specific behavior that caused the judge to rescind his bond).

Kathy Kattenburg

Nell said...

I wonder if the defense will have any luck getting the bail revocation suppressed as evidence on relevance grounds.

Based on the recorded jailhouse conversations between Z and his wife, it's pretty obvious that they knowingly concealed the existence of the assets during the bail hearing. On the strength of that deceit, I'd be inclined to allow the introduction of the bail revocation as evidence if I were the judge.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Kathy - it is actually an ethical violation for a lawyer to speak with a represented person without counsel present. It would have been highly unethical for Corey to speak with him - though he tried to say his lawyers were just "legal advisers," which is what lawyers do!

Nell: I looked at the Florida statute on "impeachment" evidence. You can generally impeach a witness (including the defendant) for prior inconsistent statements. Of course, these statements must contradict something the witness is saying at trial. The bail hearing lies would not fit in this category.

BUT, Florida law also allows impeachment of witness testimony by showing a pattern of prior falsehoods or other bad behavior that would call credibility into question (conviction for fraud, etc). I think it will come in.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Nell: to follow up - Zimmerman has made it difficult to offer character witnesses -- people who would say he is generally decent and honest. If they ever mention his honesty, then every lie they can document comes in the door.

Nell said...

Darren: Your point about character witnesses is a good one.

Zimmerman's wife was arrested for perjury today. If I were defense counsel, I would have wanted the option to call Mrs. Z to testify to George's sweet and gentle nature, especially given his past history of violence toward women. That option is now gone.

Mrs. Z's arrest looks to me like a calculated strategy by the prosecution to impeach any possible testimony she might have offered. Although the recorded jailhouse conversations were probably sufficient to impeach her, a perjury conviction would be the nail in the coffin.

Josh Green Rock said...

The prosecutor can undermine his testimony by raising false or misleading statements he offered during the bail hearing.
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