Just in on the Smoking Gun, via Drudge, that George Zimmerman passed a lie detector test the day after he shot Trayvon Martin. He apparently voluntarily submitted to it without consulting counsel, and did not indicate deception. This is relevant, because Zimmerman’s fear for his personal safety goes directly to whether or not he was justified in using deadly force. He also denies confronting Martin. This is not earth-shattering news, however, because lie detector tests are not generally admissible at trial in Florida (or anywhere that I know of in the U.S.)
Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and Defense statutes say that people can use deadly force to defend themselves if he reasonable believes it necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm. They generally aren’t allowed to do so if they are the aggressor, but may still be allowed to use deadly force if the force coming back at him creates imminent danger and there are no means of escape. The lie detector is relevant to Zimmerman’s fear, but will not be allowed in front of the jury.
Lie detectors are disfavored in court because determining the reliability of witnesses is primarily the function of the jury; and courts dont’ want to take that away from the jury. This case will be decided by the jury’s estimation of Zimmerman’s testimony, and how reliable they think he is. (And hopefully not by sympathy. While my heart goes out to Martin’s family, the sympathy is not legally relevant to Zimmerman’s charges.)
As to the deception by Zimmerman and his wife regarding funds for the bond- that is also relevant, but I’m not sure if there’s enough there for the prosecutors to put in front of the jury. George Zimmerman took the stand, but did not testify to his finances- his wife did. That’s why she has been charged with perjury, but he has not.