Judge: Zimmerman can leave county to see lawyers
SANFORD, Fla. (AP) – The former neighborhood watch volunteer charged in the fatal shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin can leave the county where he lives so he can meet with his attorneys, a judge said Friday.
Judge Kenneth Lester said he will adjust George Zimmerman’s bond terms so he can have easier access to his lawyers. The terms of Zimmerman’s $1 million bond that were set last month had required him to stay within Seminole County, where the unarmed 17-year-old was shot in February.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty. He maintains he shot Martin in self-defense.
Zimmerman wasn’t charged with second-degree murder until 44 days after the shooting. During that time, protesters around the nation demanded Zimmerman’s arrest, and the Sanford Police Department was accused of racism and incompetence.
He’ll now be allowed to travel to nearby Orange County, where the offices of his attorneys are located. Any other movement will require he provide a detailed itinerary for continued GPS monitoring.
Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s lead attorney, said the allowance by the judge will make it a lot easier for his client to participate in the preparation of his defense.
Zimmerman, his wife and several family members have been in hiding since the shooting, fearing for their safety.
O’Mara said it is possible he will ask the judge to expand the order to allow Zimmerman to reside in Orange County as well.
“Or other places,” he said. “I don’t think he needs to be limited to central Florida. I don’t think he needs to be limited to Florida because of some of the threats and danger that’s still out there.”
So far, Zimmerman’s defense fund holds about $60,000 to $70,000, O’Mara said Friday. Zimmerman’s finances have come front and center in the case after the judge revoked Zimmerman’s first bond, saying he had lied to the court about how much money his website had raised.
Ruling on another defense request, Lester also said he’ll personally review some medical records to determine if they must be handed over to prosecutors.
The records in question are from a clinic where Zimmerman sought care the day after the Feb. 26 shooting. They detail injuries that Zimmerman says he suffered in a fight with Martin immediately before the shooting. Zimmerman had two black eyes, a broken nose and two cuts to the back of his head.
It is important evidence because Zimmerman maintains Martin was beating his head against the concrete and led him to feel a need defend himself.
Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said he wants to make sure there aren’t other records from the clinic because the state has so far received only a three-page report that did not include X-rays or other records.
De la Rionda also said he wants to be sure that Zimmerman didn’t have any previous injuries to his nose or head before Feb. 26.
O’Mara said that he doesn’t believe anything in the records would harm his client’s case and that he is fighting the release to protect Zimmerman’s privacy.
“You just don’t waive all your constitutional rights to privacy just because you’re a criminal defendant,” O’Mara said.
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