George Zimmerman, the Florida man charged with the murder of teenager Trayvon Martin, works with his criminal defense team in hopes to be reassigned to a different judge. Zimmerman’s lawyers argued that their client feared he could not get a fair trial before Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester.
Judge Lester revoked Zimmerman’s $150,000 bond in June and later increased it to $1 million, after being told by prosecutors that Zimmerman and his wife failed to disclose more than $150,000 they received from public donations at the bail hearing. Judge Lester explained that he acted without punitive intent and that the bond increase was to assure that Zimmerman and his wife would not flee the United States if Zimmerman were released. The judge states, “Notably, together with the passport, the money only had to be hidden for a short time for him to leave the country if the defendant made a quick decision to flee.”
Zimmerman’s defense team was unsuccessful in their July request that Judge Kenneth Lester recuse himself. According to the judge, the request was “legally insufficient”. On Monday, August 13, 2012, Zimmerman’s lawyers filed an appeal with Florida’s fifth district court of appeal disputing Judge Lester’s decision not to step aside in this highly controversial case, asking the court to remove Lester from the case.
Zimmerman is now free after posting the more recent $1 million bond. He claims self-defense in an incident, in Zimmerman’s Sanford, Florida neighborhood, which led to the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.