Lawyers for George Zimmerman, accused of second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, will seek a “Stand Your Ground” hearing.
A statement on the website for Zimmerman’s legal defense confirms that Mark O’Mara is preparing for a hearing, which the website describes as a “mini-trial.” There will be no jury, however, and the judge alone will decide whether Zimmerman has proved that he was in reasonable fear for his life when he fatally shot Martin February 26th.
“Now that the State has released the majority of their discovery, the defense asserts that there is clear support for a strong claim of self-defense. Consistent with this claim of self-defense, there will be a “Stand Your Ground” hearing,” the statement on the GZLegalCase website read.
The statement continued:
There are significant differences between a “Stand Your Ground” hearing and a trial. In a “Stand Your Ground” hearing, there is no jury; the decision is made by the judge alone. In a criminal trial, the prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but in a “Stand Your Ground” hearing, the burden is on the defense to prove that the evidence fits the conditions of the “Stand Your Ground” law. If the Court rules in favor of the defendant in a “Stand Your Ground” hearing, not only are criminal charges dismissed, the defendant is also immune from civil actions related to the shooting. The primary focus of a “Stand Your Ground” hearing is whether George Zimmerman reasonably believed that his use of his weapon was necessary to prevent great bodily harm to himself at the hands of Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman maintains he shot Martin after the 17-year-old attacked him. Zimmerman spotted the teen inside the gated community where he and his wife rented a townhome, and where Martin was visiting with his father from Miami.
O’Mara said preparing for the “stand your ground” hearing will take time.
The law has become controversial in the wake of the Martin shooting, and a Florida task force led by the state’s lieutenant governor is reviewing its application.
UPDATE: Lawyers for the family of Trayvon Martin released the following statement in response to the O’Mara “Stand Your Ground” hearing announcement:
Let it be clear on the record, that we feel confident that the unjustified killing of Trayvon Benjamin Martin should and will be decided by a jury. Many of the legal architects of the Stand Your Ground law have already opined that it does not apply in this case. A grown man cannot profile and pursue an unarmed child, shoot him in the heart, and then claim stand your ground. We believe that the killer’s motion will be denied during the Stand Your Ground Hearing, and as justice requires a jury will ultimately decide the fate of a man that killed an innocent child.
There is only one version of this story that represents that Zimmerman was attacked by Trayvon Martin, and that’s Zimmerman’s self-serving version. Everyone will agree that the killer’s credibility is clearly questionable.
Trayvon’s parents do not feel that this is a man that feared for his life the night he shot and killed their child, this is a man whose only fear is spending his life in prison.
Follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport.