Last Updated:December 1 @ 12:13 pm

Zimmerman appeals for new judge in Martin shooting

By Mike Schneider

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The former neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin filed an appeal Tuesday saying the judge in the case is biased against him and should be replaced.

George Zimmerman said in an appeal filed with the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach that he fears he would not be able to get a fair trial if Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester continues presiding over the case. Lester had previously rejected a motion filed by Zimmerman to disqualify himself.

Zimmerman cited Lester's July order granting him a second bond in which the judge said the former neighborhood watch leader "flouted" the system by misleading the court about how much money he had available during a previous bail hearing. At the earlier bail hearing in April, Zimmerman sat silently while his wife testified by telephone that they had limited resources for bail. In fact, the Zimmermans had raised at least $135,000 in donations to a website set up for his legal defense.

Zimmerman's original $150,000 bail was revoked after prosecutors presented the judge with jailhouse recordings of Zimmerman instructing his wife how to transfer the money raised from the website to different accounts. The second bail was set at $1 million.

"Generally a statement by the judge that he feels a party lied in a case indicates bias against the party," Zimmerman said in the motion.

The order's suggestion that Zimmerman could be charged with perjury or held in contempt also "creates a horrible chilling effect on the case," the motion said.

Zimmerman fears that Lester might not believe his account of what happened at a "stand your ground" hearing in which a judge determines if the defendant was justified in using self-defense, the motion said. If the judge agrees with the defendant, then criminal charges are dropped and civil lawsuits can't be pursued. If the judge disagrees with the defendant, then the case goes to a jury trial.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the February death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford. Zimmerman pleaded not guilty, saying he acted in self-defense.

All proceedings in Zimmerman's case will be delayed until that court decides whether to hear the appeal.

The lack of an arrest for 44 days led to protests around the nation.

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  1. billwvComment by billwv
    August 15, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    “The lack of an arrest for 44 days led to protests around the nation.”
    Mr. Schneider: Did you mean to say that the ‘race baiters’ Mr. Sharpton and Mr. Jackson demanded that ‘their justice’ be done in the case?
    Mr. Zimmerman deserves as unbiased a judge as Florida can give him. Lester has shown without doubt that he is NOT the judge to preside over this case. The state prosecutor and the judge are very much biased against Zimmerman. In my opinion, they believe him guilty without any presumption of innocence.

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    • davnkatzComment by davnkatz
      August 15, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

      They MIGHT believe him innocent but they are definitely playing to the race-baiters. Instead of displaying impartiality (as required for justice) they are attempting to create an atmosphere to condition jurors to make a guilty finding. To me, that exemplifies liberal injustice.

      His appeal may have to go all the way to the SCOTUS, but I hope he prevails.

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  2. Le SellersComment by Le Sellers
    August 15, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

    We keep reading that there was no arrest for 44 days.

    This is untrue. Zimmerman was arrested AND RELEASED for lack of evidence the same night Martin attacked him.

    The infamous ABC news clip shows Zimmerman in handcuffs, getting out of a police cruiser, going into the police station. He was under arrest.

    Why is this so difficult to comprehend?

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  3. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    August 15, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

    All of the facts in this case have been falsified or twisted by media ever since it began. Lester is working under the same ‘boss’ as the media is, and they will all work together to convict (the innocent) Zimmerman.

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