George Zimmerman Waives Right to "Stand Your Ground" Pretrial Hearing, Stuns Courtroom

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George Zimmerman's attorneys stunned court observers Tuesday when they waived their client's right to a "Stand Your Ground" pretrial hearing.

That hearing, scheduled for April, could have led to a dismissal of the charges in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012.

Zimmerman Waives Hearing

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain in his Sanford, Fla., subdivision, shot and killed the teen, who was visiting a house in the area.

He claimed self-defense but faces second-degree murder charges. The move allows the defense more time to prepare for the trial this summer. 

It also raises the stakes for the defendant.

Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law entitles a person to use deadly force if he believes his life is threatened, and absolves them of "an obligation to retreat."

This applies even if retreat is possible.

Given that "Stand Your Ground" is seen by many observers as the linchpin defense, waiving a chance to have the case thrown out on that basis was shocking.

However, he likely calculated that a judge would not dismiss this high-profile and remarkably complex case before a jury even had a chance to hear it.

In recent weeks, Zimmerman's defense has suffered multiple several legal setbacks involving his bail and the deposition of a key witness in the case.

Another unfavorable ruling could've been interpreted by as a sign of guilt, while a pretrial hearing would've also given prosecutors a preview of Zimmerman's testimony.

Before the April hearing was waived, Zimmerman's defense set out to attack the credibility of Witness 8, arguably the key witness in the upcoming trial.

Defense attorney Donald West asked the court for more information about the allegedly false account she gave attorneys regarding crucial events.

According to records obtained by ABC News, she was on the phone with Trayvon Martin as his fatal confrontation with George Zimmerman began.

She claims he told her that he was scared of a strange man following him.

The state admitted that Witness 8 lied when she stated that she did not attend Martin's funeral because of a medical issue; no medical records supported that claim.

The defense wanted Judge Debra Nelson to question prosecutors about how they first learned that this claim was not true, but Nelson refused.

The defense also asked for law enforcement biographies of both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, in particular Martin's social media history.

"It's time and money to get some of the information here and we are running out of both," said West, lamenting his client's tenuous financial situation.

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Wow....I have never heard such ignorance before now. It's people like you that do not belong in this world. Go get an education.

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@ annette

...THERE'S MORE COMIN' , WEIRDO...

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THIS JEW IS STILL ALIVE ANF THE +NeIG+GER TRAVON IS STILL .. WELL .. TRA-GONE !

Annette-morgan

2+2 in this case as far as zimmerman is concerned =5 because trayvon did NOT move into that area. He was only there that weekend visiting his father and was not involved in any break-ins. Zimmerman is guilty of at minimum 2nd degree murder. He is a murderer without a doubt. He has withdrawn his stand your ground pretrial because he knows he is guilty. he is shady all around. thats why his wife is being charged of perjury. They got almost 350,000 in donations and intentionally lied to the court about it to get a low bond and he had a second passport he failed to surrender to the court and was planning on fleeing like the coward he is. Stand your ground is absolutely dependant on the jury taking zimmermans word but he has already proved his word means nothing because he has lied over and over.

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the right thing to do is to punnish the man.
...........serious.

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there were several burglaries where trayvon lived prior to moving..he lands in this area and what do you know a rash of thefts and burglaries breakout.2 + 2 = 4.The only thing Zimmerman (hispanic--not white) is guilty of is being a pussy who cannot fight otherwise he would have never had to shoot the guy

Annette-morgan

All of these comments are disgusting. Trayvon was a teenage boy who did NOTHING wrong. He was simply walking home with skittles and iced tea in his hands and had the misfortune of having Zimmerman the wannabe cop, chasing him down like a rabid dog. Zimmerman had absolutely no right whatsoever to be following Trayvon muchless approaching and confronting him. We teach our children all about stranger danger and how they should fight back, kick, hit, punch, scream and do whatever necessary to protect themselves so if Trayvon fought back after zimmerman confronted him he had every right to do so. zimmerman should spend the rest of his life behind bars for taking the life of that young INNOCENT CHILD and all of you racist, ignorant people should educate yourselves and familiarize yourselves with all of the FACTS of the case before making judgements on an innocent child. That child would still be alive if it weren't for zimmerman walking around acting like he is God.

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Zimmerman claims that he fired in self-defense after Trayvon punched him, broke his nose, then began pounding his head onto a sidewalk. While those assertions are every bit of self-serving; however, none of that would have EVER happened had GZ stayed in his truck and not gotten out to chase TM down on foot with a loaded 9mm gun and then try to DETAIN the boy against his will. GZ lost any claim to self-defense because he CREATED that situation, and under Florida law,"there is no self-defense when you create the situation." Vila v. State 74 So.3d 1110 (5th Dist. 2011).

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I think he should be acquitted. What he did falls under the stand your ground law, not 2nd degree murder. I'm not saying the Stand Your Ground law is right, but it's a law and he should be protected under it. If FL is dumb enough to let Casey Anthony walk free, hopefully let will let Zimmerman walk free. Why are you f-tards saying Trayvon got what he deserved and he's a thug type punk a$$ POS? Did you know him personally, or are you just a racist POS?!

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Zimmerman shouldn't have been arrested in the first place. Martin got what he deserved. That thug type of black feels it's ok to get violent, fine, tou get violent, you get Trayvoned.

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Poor George. The guy has been railroaded over that punk ass POS Trayvon Martin.