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    Zimmerman judge kicked off case

    Zimmerman judge kicked off case

    Via AP (h/t Samuel Keck in Tip Line)

     A three-judge panel in Florida has ruled that a former neighborhood watch leader charged in the fatal shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin should be granted a new judge in his case.

    Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that Judge Kenneth Lester should enter a motion to disqualify himself in George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder case. Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara asked the court earlier this month to overturn a previous ruling by Lester not to leave the case.

    One of the three judges dissented in the ruling.

    The Orlando Sentinel reports that the State will not appeal the decision.

    More to follow once I locate a copy of the decision.

    Update:  Link to opinion by Ragspierre in the comments.  Not much there, it’s a short form Order, with little explanation.  My guess — it was a close enough call that the two judges didn’t want such a high profile case to have any unnecessary  distractions over judge selection.


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    Estragon | August 30, 2012 at 1:33 am

    It seemed to me at the time of the bond hearing and controversy that the judge had gone beyond the bounds. It is certainly possible to interpret his remarks on the record otherwise, but it is equally possible they indicated a level of prejudice warranting granting the defense request to recuse.

    […] The Judge In The George Zimmerman Trial Gets Bounced Off The Case – Legal Insurrection GA_googleFillSlot("BelowPost_640x120"); window.fbAsyncInit = function() { FB.init({ appId : '248812318541713', // App ID status : true, // check login status cookie : true, // enable cookies to allow the server to access the session xfbml : true // parse XFBML }); // Additional initialization code here }; // Load the SDK Asynchronously (function(d){ var js, id = 'facebook-jssdk', ref = d.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement('script'); = id; js.async = true; js.src = "//"; ref.parentNode.insertBefore(js, ref); }(document)) […]

    I notice the lead attorney for the State is listed as “Pamela J. Bondi, Attorney General,” a name that would mean nothing to me if I had not a few hours ago heard her speak at the GOP convention and to Greta van Sustern a little while later.

    I wonder if this is along the lines of a formality or if she had some relatively active involvement. Surely, the AG does not involve herself in every motion for a judge to recuse himself.

      ThomasD in reply to Jingo. | August 30, 2012 at 10:03 am

      That’s an interesting question. In Florida each judicial circuit independently elects a State Attorney as specified under the Judiciary section of the State Constitution, but AFAIK they are not in any way ‘under’ the State Attorney General who is a member of the Executive Branch.

      Is this some sort of courtesy to the office, or can she really exert direct control over an independently elected official?

      janitor in reply to Jingo. | August 30, 2012 at 11:31 am

      It’s just a formality.

    Observer | August 30, 2012 at 7:34 am

    It’s about time.

    Ragspierre | August 30, 2012 at 9:54 am

    “The next step is for Circuit Judge Alan Dickey in Sanford to pick a new judge. It’s expected to be Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson, 58, another felony trial judge in Sanford who has a reputation for handing down tough sentences.

    She’s been a judge for 13 years, much of it on the criminal bench, although she was a civil litigation specialist in private practice.”

    The Orlando Sentinel

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