ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – Less than a week after attorneys for George Zimmerman filed a motion to have the judge in the case removed, the state has fired back its response.
Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated Sanford community, is charged with second degree murder in the death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin who he shot and killed February 26th as the two scuffled.
Last Friday, his defense team filed a motion to have Judge Kenneth Lester disqualified after a second bond because the, “the Court makes gratuitous, disparaging remarks about Mr. Zimmerman’s character; advocates for Mr. Zimmerman to be prosecuted for additional crimes; offers a personal opinion about the evidence for said prosecution; and continues to hold over Mr. Zimmerman’s head the threat of future contempt proceedings.”
Defense attorneys said because of that, “the Court has created a reasonable fear in Mr. Zimmerman that this court is biased against him and because of this prejudice he cannot receive a fair and impartial trial or hearing by this court.”
Judge Lester is the second judge to be in charge of the Zimmerman case, after a previous judge was disqualified for a potential conflict of interest with attorneys.
In their response to deny Zimmerman’s motion, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said the motion for Judge Lester to disqualify himself is without merit.
De la Rionda called the request “absurd on its face.” He wrote that though the defense takes issue with language used by Judge Lester in setting Zimmerman’s second bond at $1 million, it doesn’t create any predisposition about future rulings.
“This too is a point Defendant apparently overlooks; despite being biased against hime, the Court has TWICE granted him bond in this high-profile homicide case, and in fact has exercised its discretion on numerous occasions to grant Defendant benefits not ordinarily enjoyed by the criminal accused,” wrote de la Rionda.
Zimmerman who is staying in an undisclosed location has pleaded not guilty to the charge.