Trayvon Martin Case: George Zimmerman Heads To Court Today For Second Bond Hearing

By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran
By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran
A Florida judge will weigh several factors Friday and consider if George Zimmerman is a flight risk or a threat to the community before deciding whether to set a second bond for him.

George Zimmerman, right, returns to the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford, Fla., Sunday, June 3, 2012, after his bond was revoked and he was ordered back to jail. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joshua C. Cruey)

(CBS/AP) ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida judge will weigh several factors Friday and consider if George Zimmerman is a flight risk or a threat to the community before deciding whether to set a second bond for him.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester revoked Zimmerman's $150,000 bond earlier this month when prosecutors said Zimmerman and his wife misled the court about how much money they had during an April bond hearing.

Zimmerman created a website for his legal defense that raised $135,000 at the time of his first bond hearing, prosecutors said. Zimmerman and his wife didn't mention the money then.

Shellie Zimmerman has since been charged with perjury. She is out of jail on $1,000 bond and her arraignment is set for July 31.

Prosecutors also said the couple talked in code during recorded jailhouse conversations about how to transfer the donations to different bank accounts. Legal experts said Zimmerman will need a good explanation to convince the judge to let him out of jail again while he awaits trial.

"If his explanation is really weak ... I think Lester could keep him in jail," said Randy McClean, an Orlando-area defense attorney who is following the case. "If he really comes across as being genuine and has a reasonable explanation, because I don't see how it could be a great explanation, then I think Lester will probably pump up the conditions, up his monetary conditions and let him back on bond."

Zimmerman turning himself in when charges were filed and keeping law enforcement informed of his location when he went into hiding worked in his favor, the judge said. Weighing against him is the seriousness of the charge as well as other brushes with the law, including an arrest for resisting an undercover officer.

The former neighborhood watch volunteer was charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting 17-year-old Martin on Feb. 26 at a gated apartment community in Sanford. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and claims the shooting was self-defense under the state's "stand your ground" law.

Zimmerman's attorney argued in court papers that his client is no threat to the public and proved he wasn't a flight risk by returning to jail when his bond was revoked. Attorney Mark O'Mara also argued that the bulk of the more than $200,000 raised by the website was turned over to a third-party administrator and Zimmerman has no control over the money.

The only witnesses O'Mara listed are two bail bondsmen. It may be up to only Zimmerman to re-establish his credibility with the judge, whether he testifies or his lawyer talks for him.

"Credibility is an issue. So O'Mara is going to certainly have to make apologies or Zimmerman will have to make apologies for what happened, and they're going to have to convince the court that he is a good bond risk," Karin Moore, a law professor at Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando.


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