along with his attorney Mark O'Mara.
Such hearings amount to mini-trials in which a portion, often a large portion, of evidence that would have been presented at a jury trial is presented before a judge. But the burden of proof, unlike in a trial, is on the defense. If the judge were to rule in Zimmerman's favor, he would not have to stand trial and could not be sued in a civil action under Florida law.
On the website, defense attorney Mark O'Mara wrote:
The primary focus of a 'stand your ground' hearing is whether George Zimmerman reasonably believed that his use of his weapon was necessary to prevent great bodily harm to himself at the hands of Trayvon Martin.How soon the hearing would occur is unknown. It might not be until next year, which is when the trial is expected to begin. The announcement stated:
Preparing for the “Stand Your Ground” hearing will require the same time and resources that would be necessary to prepare for a trial. It will take time to collect and submit reciprocal discovery, depose witnesses and experts, and identify evidence to be submitted during the hearing. We anticipate this will still take several months. Mr. O’Mara, again, urges everyone to be patient during this process and to reserve judgment until the evidence is presented in the “Stand Your Ground” hearing.Benjamin Crump, the attorney that represents Martin's family, said in a statement:
"A grown man cannot profile and pursue an unarmed child, shoot him in the heart, and then claim stand your ground. [...] We believe that the killer's motion will be denied during the stand your ground hearing, and as justice requires a jury will ultimately decide the fate of a man that killed an innocent child."The Tampa Bay Times examined the outcome of some 200 "stand your ground" cases in Florida and discovered that some killers with highly questionable claims were freed. Seventy percent of the defendants in "stand your ground" cases the paper reviewed won dismissals.
Crump said Trayvon's parents "do not feel that this is a man that feared for his life the night he shot and killed their child, this is a man whose only fear is spending his life in prison."
• Defendants who claimed "stand your ground" were more likely to see their cases dismissed when the victim was black.
• The number of cases has risen, in part, because defense attorneys have chosen to use the law in bizarre ways. One person used "stand your ground" after shooting a bear, another when he beat a dog.
• "People often go free under 'stand your ground' in cases that seem to make a mockery of what lawmakers intended. One man killed two unarmed people and walked out of jail. Another shot a man as he lay on the ground. Others went free after shooting their victims in the back. In nearly a third of the cases the Times analyzed, defendants initiated the fight, shot an unarmed person or pursued their victim — and still went free."
Zimmerman remains free on a $1 million bond and cannot leave Seminole County. He is monitored with an electronic bracelet.