George Zimmerman’s murder case for shooting unarmed teen Trayvon Martin is tentatively set for trial next June (2013). That’s a reasonable time frame for such a complicated case. Zimmerman’s attorneys reiterated that they plan to file for an immunity motion on self-defense (stand your ground), and anticipate that should happen around April or May. Florida’s stand your ground law provides immunity from prosecution to those who are acting in self-defense. If Zimmerman is successful, the case will be dismissed without having to go to trial. The hearing will essentially be a mini-trial, as the judge will have to make a factual determination. The Defendant has the burden of proof at such a motion, unlike at trial where the burden falls on the prosecution.
Stand your ground motions can be time and money savers, as it is generally much less taxing to put on a limited motion than an entire trial. This motion will likely involve several days of testimony, so it certainly won’t be cheap, but a jury trial, with selection and additional evidence to be presented, will likely take several weeks. Additionally, if Mr. Zimmerman was acting in self-defense, he shouldn’t have to face a trial. The judge will determine if the facts demonstrate that he was acting lawfully. Prosecutors don’t like arguing these motions: they could have their case dismissed. However, it’s more efficient to resolve these issues in pretrial, and if they can’t convince a judge that they have a solid case, we shouldn’t be wasting our time on expensive trials. I’m sure I’ll have more to say when the motion is heard. #georgezimmerman