George Zimmerman is seeking a six-month delay in his trial for the alleged murder of Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer, claims that prosecutors have been slow to turn over evidence in the case, affecting his ability to prepare his defense. Zimmerman seeks to have his second-degree murder trial moved from June to November, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
The delay, if approved, would also likely delay Zimmerman's "Stand Your Ground" hearing.
That hearing, in which Zimmerman will argue immunity from prosecution under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, is currently set for April -- 45 days before the trial is scheduled to begin on June 10. But a trial delay could push back the hearing too.
Some specific reasons cited to justify the delay, as reported by the Sentinel, include:
- The state delayed in providing the defense a quality, color photo of George Zimmerman's facial injuries taken at the shooting scene. Zimmerman's defense claims that prosecutors initially provided a black-and-white photocopy in May, a color photocopy in August, and finally a digital copy in October.
- The state has still not provided a complete and intelligible recording of a Martin family attorney's interview with a girl who says she was on the phone with Trayvon Martin just before the shooting.
- A full record of the information on Trayvon Martin's cell phone has not been handed over to the defense.
In criminal cases, the state typically has to abide by strict rules regarding evidence. This includes meeting deadlines when responding to defendant's discovery requests as well as turning over exculpatory evidence to the defense.
While it is not alleged that the state has not met its legal obligations, Zimmerman is alleging that the state is being unnecessarily formal. As a result, Zimmerman claims that this has delayed the discovery process and affected how much time Zimmerman had to prepare his defense.
Courts typically grant delays for valid reasons like inadequate time to prepare, conflicting obligations, and agreement by the parties.
If the prosecutors do not agree to the delay request, it will be up to a judge to determine if the prosecutor's alleged delays were justified and whether that has affected Zimmerman's defense.
- Zimmerman's Motion to Continue (GZLegalCase.com)
- Why the State Had to Disclose Zimmerman Docs (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Zimmerman to Seek Stand Your Ground Hearing (FindLaw's Blotter)
- 'Stand Your Ground' Invoked in Shooting Over Pizza (FindLaw's Blotter)