How much will the Zimmermans’ bond fib hurt George Zimmerman?
An AP report on the subject (as found on the Fox News website) is headed “George Zimmerman’s credibility could be issue in legal case” In support of this proposition, the article offer the opinions of 3 attorneys, (one of whom is Benjamin Crump). Orlando defense attorney David Hill sagely points out that this shoots down (pun intended) GZs chances of winning an SYG dismissal: “If he was in on something that was not truthfully revealed to the judge, when there is a `stand your ground’ hearing, of course you’re going to second-guess him.” This is no real loss to GZ since he wasn’t going to prevail at an SYG hearing anyway, and right now the NRA is breathing a big sigh of relief that their treasured legislation is now further removed from controversy and challenge.
GZs credibility might matter at an actual homicide trial, or it might not.
It’s really a question of how Florida law frames the burden-of-proof in a case involving self-defense, and how the judge interprets and rules on the law. Florida’s law is different from other states regarding self-defense. The exact details seem a bit murky and open to interpretation in what little I’ve read, and I’m no expert on legal procedures in any state.
In most cases (i.e. criminal trials where self defense is not invoked), the burden is entirely on the prosecution to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. This may hold true in a GZ trial, which would mean the State would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that GZ did not act in self-defense. If that’s so, then all the defense would need to do is mount effective challenges to key prosecution witnesses and evidence, and they could rest the defense without calling any witnesses at all, confident that the State’s burden had not been met. This is basically what John Edwards attorney did. After he cut Andrew Young to shreds, he didn’t really have to do anything else.
But self-defense can shift the burden, meaning that since GZ has already stipulated he shot an unarmed teenager to death, he may be required to provide a valid rationale for doing so in order to achieve an acquittal. I don’t think any of us knows how the actual trial judge will rule on this — whether Zimmerman will indeed be required to prove he had a valid reason, what the standard for validity will be determined to be, and what the standard of proof will be determined to be. You might read the SYG law one way, but the court may read it another, and other conflicting or complicating statutes may come into play.
Having his bond revoked doesn’t help GZ any, but how much it will hurt him really remains to be seen, and in the end it is likely to be a fairly small matter, viewed against the big questions of how the court interprets the laws, and sets procedures for the case.