Samantha Scheibe, who has accused George Zimmerman of pointing a shotgun at her, has sworn out an affidavit stating that she does not want for the State to go forward on the Aggravated Assault charge he is facing. Notably, she also contradicted her previous statement, saying that Zimmerman did not point the firearm at her. She says she was intimidated by investigators who interrogated her after the incident.
The state attorney’s office has the final decision on whether they proceed with charges, but the recantation of the primary allegation will make it hard to prove any case beyond a reasonable doubt. Only the two of them really know what happened that day, and without her cooperation, the state would have great difficulty proving the initial claim. I expect they will not proceed.
CBS is reporting Zimmerman has been arrested following a disturbance at his home: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57612824-504083/george-zimmerman-arrested-following-disturbance-at-fla-home/
George Zimmerman, 11/18/13
UPDATE: CNN is reporting that the arrest is for pointing a shotgun at his girlfriend. Aggravated Assault with a firearm carries a 3 year mandatory minimum sentence in Florida. The cases are notoriously hard to prove, as they are often he said/she said scenarios with little physical evidence. There is also a criminal mischief charge (destruction of property), but there are not any facts available yet.
The Sanford Police announced yesterday that after a review of the incident, no criminal charges were warranted. This was expected from the details available at the time of the dispute.
The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill today that would make a few minor changes to the Stand Your Ground Law. It’s nothing major, it won’t affect the Stand Your Ground provision that has had some controversy. It will, if passed into law, create guidelines for neighborhood watches and clarify liability for harming bystanders. It will also make it clear that law enforcement must fully investigate when there is a self-defense claim. That’s not a very meaningful provision, as the old law did not discourage investigation, merely prohibited arrest when stand your ground was found. This is presumably to address the law enforcement shortcomings in the Zimmerman case, but it should be noted there was extensive investigation by Sanford Police in that case; many people disagreed with the outcome of the investigation.
Police were called to a home in Lake Mary yesterday by George Zimmerman’s wife Shellie, in regards to a domestic dispute of some sort. Mrs. Zimmerman, who recently filed for divorce, made numerous allegations including violence by Mr. Zimmerman toward her father, and allegations that he was threatening both of them with a gun. She can be heard on the 911 call saying that he was putting his hand on the gun. Authorities responded, as did the lawyers, and after conducting an investigation, that included a temporary detention of Mr. Zimmerman, police declined to file any charges.
More details have emerged today. According to police, they did not recover a firearm. Apparently, Mrs. Zimmerman then backed off of that statement and changed her story about what happened. Mr. Zimmerman claimed that she and her father started the fight. Due to the conflict in evidence, law enforcement was unable to determine that a crime occurred. I am reluctantly including the USA Today link today for the updates, because the 911 recording posted there is defamatory to Mr. Zimmerman. Keep in mind that Mrs. Zimmerman is a convicted perjurer.
I encouraged people yesterday not to jump to conclusions. Social media blew up with cracks about Mr. Zimmerman, and firearms, when it turns out that there was no gun involved. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed at the incident, and nobody was hurt. I expect the case report will be forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for review, but would not expect charges to be picked up against Mr. Zimmerman. Frankly, in light of the statements made by Mrs. Zimmerman, she could be facing charges for giving false information to the police, which would also violate her probation. Mr. Zimmerman does not wish charges to be filed, and it’s unlikely the State will want to pick it up.
George Zimmerman in Court during his murder case
There’s not much detail available yet, so we shouldn’t jump to conclusions, or start spouting “I told you so’s”. Zimmerman has not been charged with anything, at this stage, it is an investigative detention. Crimcourts will be following this as it develops…
UPDATE: No charges as of 5 p.m. ABC has the recording for the 911 call already.
UPDATE 2: Nancy Grace reports on Twitter that Shellie Zimmerman is not pressing charges. Perhaps her father will. The state has the ultimate filing decision, but they usually respect the wishes of a victim. Mark O’Mara confirms…
George Zimmerman in Court
George Zimmerman’s Attorney has indicated that he and his client may seek reimbursement for between $200,000 and $300,000 in costs expended during his defense. It must be noted, because multiple media outlets have been reporting it unclearly, or incorrectly, that this money is not for legal fees. Zimmerman cannot be reimbursed for the money that would go to his attorneys. The money is limited to money for taxable costs expended by any defendant who is found innocent, potentially including a great deal for witness fees. That’s a substantial amount to tack on to the nearly one million that has already been laid out by the State to prosecute the case.
As I said, the legal fees are not included in this request. Mr. O’Mara indicated that neither he, Don West, or the rest of the Defense team have received any money for their work on this case. That’s the best legal value in history, for superb representation from experienced attorneys.
If Zimmerman is sued in civil court, for instance, if the Martin family files a wrongful death claim, he could potentially be reimbursed attorney’s fees for defending that suit, if he can demonstrate that he should have been immune from prosecution. He did not file an immunity motion in the criminal case, but that wouldn’t rule out exercising that rule if he were to be sued. It serves as a deterrent to the filing of such lawsuits.