Court to Replace Second Judge in Zimmerman Trial
George Zimmerman will get a new trial judge for second-degree murder charges in the death of Trayvon Martin thanks to a 2-1 decision by a Florida appeals court.
An appeals court stated that Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O'Mara's petition met the standard to justify removal. Its brief opinion read, "upon careful review we find that the allegations, taken together, meet the threshold test of legal sufficiency..."
The appeals court was not tasked with deciding whether or not Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. was biased, only that O'Mara's petition alleged "facts that would create in a reasonably prudent person a well-founded fear of not receiving a fair and impartial trial."
Next, Chief Judge of the circuit Alan Dickey must assign a new judge. "It's expected to be Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson, 59, another felony trial judge in Sanford who has a reputation for handing down tough sentences."
Circuit Judge Lester, who will now step down from hearing the case, offered a stinging rebuke of Zimmerman in a July bond ruling. He set Zimmerman's bond at $1 million, accusing him of displaying "blatant disregard for the judicial system" and "manipulating the system for his own benefit."
This will be George Zimmerman's third judge in what has come to look more like a media circus and show trial thanks mostly to Special Prosecutor Angela Corey, who has found multiple ways to elevate the case into national headlines -- potentially prejudicial to Zimmerman ever getting a fair trial.
Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler stepped down in April when Zimmerman attorney O'Mara filed a similar motion. That was because Recksiedler's husband is partnered with Mark NeJame, an Orlando lawyer paid by CNN to do commentary on the case.