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View Diary: Zimmerman Uses Legal Defense Fund to Pay His Living Expenses While Asking Florida to Pay Legal Costs (102 comments)

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  •  You don't have it "straight" (14+ / 0-)
    Let me get this straight.  Zimmerman is asking the taxpayers of the State of Florida to pay money to an account which Zimmerman then uses to pay his regular living expenses.  In other words, Zimmerman is asking the State of Florida to provide him government assistance.
    No, that's not what's going on. Zimmerman is not asking the State of Florida to pay his living expenses, or put money into any account of Zimmermans.

    His attorney is petitioning the court to be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses involved with his defence (such as court costs, expert witness fees, materials, etc.).  These costs DO NOT include normal attorneys fees, and they certainly don't include Zimmerman's "living expenses".

    In any event, Zimmerman, like all criminal defendants, is entitled, as a matter of Florida law, to be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred during his defence in the event of an acquittal. It will be up to a commission to determine which of the expenses will be reimbursed, and for how much.

    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

    by Pi Li on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:32:10 PM PDT

    •  I think you are missing the point (4+ / 0-)

      His expenses have been paid by his legal fund that has been funded by donations.  Any reimbursements he receives will be put in that same legal fund.

      Zimmerman is taking money from the legal fund to pay his living expenses.  So the state money will ultimately wind up in Zimmerman's hands.  

      •  And it's all perfectly legal. (4+ / 0-)

        That's the point you seem to be missing.

        If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

        by HairyTrueMan on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:43:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is simply not true (10+ / 0-)
        His expenses have been paid by his legal fund that has been funded by donations.  Any reimbursements he receives will be put in that same legal fund.

        Zimmerman is taking money from the legal fund to pay his living expenses.  So the state money will ultimately wind up in Zimmerman's hands.  

        Any money that is recouped by the State of Florida will go to O'Mara, who has paid all of the expenses for this case up to this point.  No money recouped from the state for legal expenses will "wind up in Zimmerman's hands".  And it certainly won't go into the "same legal fund" as the online donations.

        And in any event, even if Zimmerman had paid those expenses himself (rather than his attorney paying them upfront), he's still be entitled, via Florida law, to recoup them in the event of an acquittal.

        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

        by Pi Li on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:48:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is a good point. Many lawyers front those (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hayden, VClib

          costs for clients, and if O'Mara did, he will be the one getting reimbursed.  

        •  You say... (0+ / 0-)

          that Mark O'Mara paid for the expenses up front, but I don't think that is necessarily the case. Around the end of May GZLegal put out a call for donations because the defense fund was nearly empty and had more outstanding debts than assets. As I recall it took less than a week for them to pull enough to pay the outstanding debts and shortly after that they were talking about getting close to the goal of $120,000.00. George Zimmerman drew at least $500,00.00 from website donations if you count the haul before his attorney got a handle on the operation.
          I may be wrong, but what are you basing the notion that Mr. Zimmerman's attorney fronted costs? If the experts were paid for by the fund why wouldn't the refund go to that fund?

          This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

          by Tonedevil on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 10:03:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is a typo in the number beginning with the 5 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil

            in your comment.  Not sure if you mean $50,000 or $500,000.  Can you please clarify.

          •  Tonedevil - why does it matter? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dr Swig Mcjigger

            Reimbursable costs were incurred. The court will repay those costs. How the money is allocated is between GZ and his counsel. GZ is being treated just like any other FL criminal defendant who was found not guilty.

            Why does it matter to us?

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 05:25:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  How does your comment... (0+ / 0-)

              relate to my comment? I didn't assert that there is any problem with reimbursement. My beef is with the claim that Mark O'Mara fronted money for expenses rather than the money coming from the GZLegal web site donations. I don't know for certain that he did not, but I don't see any proof that he did and so I question the truth to Pi Li's assertion.

              This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

              by Tonedevil on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:26:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Tonedevil - why does it matter if GZ's counsel (0+ / 0-)

                paid the court fees and expert witness fees or if GZ did?

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 06:55:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I realize you aren't... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  VClib

                  Pi Li, but my comment is in direct answer to her's where she says, with no room for any other possibility, that Mark O'Mara fronted court expenses for George Zimmerman for his trial. I am certain that is not a provable statement and further I believe, though I have no proof either, it is not true. I don't care if George Zimmerman is entitled to be reimbursed for court costs and I don't care how it's distributed. As I understand it this is pretty much handled as a bureaucratic process. When a trial is complete if the defendant is found not guilty they are allowed to petition the court for expenses. At that juncture the list is reviewed by a judge or a clerk and any expenses that are approved are reimbursed.
                  My point, if you wish to understand it, is that simply asserting that Mr. O'Mara or his practice have paid the expenses is not the same as that really happening. I have seen you put forth the very notion that Mr. O'Mara and/or his practice may have paid some of the fees. With that in mind I have to ask, what proof do you have?

                  This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

                  by Tonedevil on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 10:56:36 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Then where has all that money donated to Zimmerman (0+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          Hidden by:
          johnny wurster

          gone, hmmm?

          Perhaps on his cracker wife's latest round of garish jewellery?

          "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

          by Australian2 on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:22:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  night cat - even if that's true (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coffeetalk, Kasoru, Dr Swig Mcjigger

        under the law it doesn't matter. Who paid the costs or the source of funds for those costs isn't an issue for the court regarding reimbursement. If counsel fronted the costs the court will repay counsel. If GZ paid the costs, regardless of the source of funds, the court will repay GZ.

        Zimmerman will be treated like any other FL defendant who was found to be not guilty.

        Why is this so hard to understand?

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 05:22:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because we hate (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dr Swig Mcjigger, VClib, Be Skeptical

          that Z walked. As and such we need to make him pay as much as possible?

          No anger feels as good as righteous anger. I get it. I really do. But as a reality based community we cannot let our anger get the better of us and call for rash actions that will hurt others that we do not intend to.

          If we do so... are we no better than shrub the lesser? Act out of spite no matter who it hurts?

          And to make it worse... it would have no impact on Z. It only fucks over others. Mostly people of low income. But fuck them right? Righteous anger feels good...

        •  I think what's appalling is that Z got a shitload (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          night cat, Tonedevil

          of money through donations and got a first-class defense, including top-notch expert witnesses. And everyone involved, including his lawyers and expert witnesses will eat most of it. Meanwhile, he has lived for the past 1 1/2 years on the kindness of strangers. And he "was entitled to" that largesse by murdering a 17 year old kid. Regardless of the law, you have to admit that's pretty appalling.

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