Law Office of Tim Powers
Friday we saw yet another crazy twist in the circus-like case of George
What started out as a simple hearing regarding whether to seal discovery
evidence from the media turned into a blame game and strict orders by
Judge Kenneth Lester that Zimmerman return to jail within 48 hours. Prosecutor
Bernie de la Rionda told the judge Zimmerman "misrepresented, misled,
and deceived the court" at his bond hearing April 20 when he failed
to turn over a second passport and, more importantly, failed to mention
the fact that he raised $135.000 on a website prior to the hearing. So
what happens now?
Basically, Lester is starting from scratch, and once Zimmerman is back
in custody, he'll hold a brand new bond hearing now that this information
has come to light to decide whether to raise his bond, or revoke it completely.
After a few weeks of relative calm and quiet in this case that has captured
the nation, Friday's news set a firestorm online and on TV with many
Martin supporters, including Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump, calling
for Zimmerman to remain in custody until the trial. Given the fact that
Zimmerman actually had much more money at the time of the original bond
hearing than he and his family led the court to believe, I think a higher
bond is necessary and appropriate.
The fact is, whether it was intentional or not, Zimmerman and his wife
deceived the judge in April when they said they were a family of little
means and unable to pay a high bond. When the judge calls a new hearing,
the main question he'll want answered is how much money does Zimmerman
have in his defense fund now. Based off that amount, he'll raise the
However, a full revocation, in my opinion, is too severe and unnecessary.
Remember, the purpose of a bond is to ensure the defendant will appear
in court. Judges are mindful not to set bond so low that the defendant
can potentially use the money to flee, which is why, given this extra
money from his website, a higher bond is fully appropriate. Yet to revoke
Zimmerman's bond and force him to remain in jail until the trial,
which may not be until next year, is unnecessary. As his defense attorney,
Mark O'Mara, reminded the court, Zimmerman has remained in constant
contact, there have been no problems with his GPS monitoring and he has
not been a flight risk. Even with the extra passport and extra money he
had after the initial bond was set, Zimmerman never attempted to flee.
In terms of the second passport, that, to me, is less of a consideration
in the judge's decision. He even said today that he was not swayed
by arguments about the second passport, often routinely obtained by people
who lose their passports. Plus, O'Mara said it was his fault passport
had not been turned in sooner, as he simply forgot to hand it over to
authorities until Friday.
The real question to me is whether Zimmerman will testify again at his
new bond hearing. When Zimmerman testified the first time it was a complete
shock, as criminal defendants almost never take the stand so early, if
at all, in a case. Yet, O'Mara took that gamble the first time around,
so I wouldn't be surprised if Zimmerman testified once again, this
time to try to appease the judge and explain he didn't intentionally
lie to him, but that these oversights were an honest mistake. He'd
likely claim, either on the stand, or in a written affidavit, that he
did not consider the funds raised from the website his own money since
it was going towards his defense and his attorney, and that as soon as
he realized he had this second passport, he turned it over to his attorney.
The risk in having Zimmerman testify again is prosecutors can cross-examine
him, and unlike last time, they'll be prepared and not flabbergasted
if he takes the stand. Still, the prosecution can only cross-examine him
within the scope of direct examination, so basically they can only ask
him about the money in the fund and the passport.
If you are seeking aggressive criminal representation by an experienced
criminal defense attorney for your Denton County bond revocation case
or arrest in Denton County, contact the offices of Tim Powers today. There
is no charge or obligation for the initial consultation. 940.580.2899.
*Tim Powers is an attorney licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court
of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For
legal advice about any specific legal question you should directly consult