On Wednesday, the judge in the case against George Zimmerman refused to recuse himself. Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester is the judge presiding in the case where George Zimmerman, an overzealous neighborhood watchman shot and killed an unarmed teenager named Trayvon Martin.
Judge Lester submitted a two-page order in response to a July request made by Zimmerman’s attorneys to recuse himself. In the order, Judge Lester said the request was “legally insufficient” and did not warrant him stepping aside. In their request, Zimmerman’s attorney’s stated that Judge Lester would possibly not conduct a fair trial against Zimmerman because he is the same judge that revoked Zimmerman’s bail and scolded him for lying about his assets at a prior hearing.
Zimmerman’s attorney’s have yet to respond to the judge’s decision to continue with the case.
Zimmerman is facing charges of second degree murder for killing 17 year old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman killed Martin in February and claimed that his actions were motivated by a fear for his life, citing self defense. Prosecutors are also accusing Zimmerman of racial profiling and have also pointed out that he ignored instructions from 911 dispatchers who specifically told him not to follow the teenager.
The case has drawn nationwide attention with civil rights leaders and activists and many in Black communities across the country asking why Zimmerman was not charged with a crime right after he shot Martin. Sanford Police claimed that they were still investigating and, amidst a lot of pressure, finally arrested Zimmerman in April, two months later. The Chief of Police of Sanford Police Department also resigned after Zimmerman’s arrest and many speculated that he would have been fired for mishandling the case if he had not resigned.
Zimmerman posted bail after his arrest but Judge Lester later revoked it, in June, after prosecutors accused Zimmerman and his wife of being dishonest about how much money they had collected in donations. The judge even said that he suspected Zimmerman had the intention of fleeing the country.
Even after Judge Lester set Zimmerman’s new bail at $1 million, Zimmerman was still able to post bail in early July. Zimmerman’s wife has also been charged with perjury and has pleaded not guilty.