Many have commented about the fairness of George Zimmerman’s bond hearing conducted yesterday in Seminole County, Florida. Some think he got off light since the prosecutors were seeking a bond of $50,000. Others wonder why the bond was increased to $9000 when the standard bond for the same three criminal offenses was only $4,900. So, was Zimmerman treated fairly?
At the hearing, Judge Fred Schott was told by prosecutor Lymary Munoz that Zimmerman’s girlfriend revealed to law enforcement that he not only pointed a shotgun at her and broke her table on Monday, but also disclosed that he tried to strangle her just ten days earlier. The prosecutor passionately told the judge that the alleged victim is afraid of Zimmerman.
While the alleged choking is not charged by prosecutors at this time, the judge did refer to it as the reason for increasing the bond from the standard amount. Additionally, the judge ordered Zimmerman to stay away from the alleged victim’s residence. Zimmerman has been living there for the past three months. He was also ordered not to have any contact with her, surrender all of his guns, and must also wear a satellite monitor.
Zimmerman’s latest arrest is the third known domestic violence related allegation that he’s been involved with. Back in early September, he was initially handcuffed by police and then later released after he was accused by his estranged wife and her father in law for threatening them with a gun. Police made no arrest, claiming they had insufficient evidence.
I do believe that Zimmerman was treated fairly. Prosecutors wanted his bond to be five to six times higher than it turned out to be. The judge knew about his murder case, however, correctly chose not to allow it to influence his bond decision. Raising the bond from the standard amount based upon the allegation that the alleged victim was choked by Zimmerman a short time before the latest crimes, is also fair. The judge has every obligation and right to consider all facts in determining how much of a danger a particular defendant poses to society.
What I do admire about this judge is that he didn’t let the “light’s, camera, action” affect his ruling. While it’s obvious from the things he said and the way he said them that he was aware the world was watching, he chose not to allow that to influence his ruling. I believe the bond amount coupled with the special conditions he received were typical for a case like this and very fair under the circumstances.