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George Zimmerman trial date set. But will it really happen?

October 17, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • George Zimmerman, accused of murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, at a bond hearing in June.
George Zimmerman, accused of murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin,… (Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel…)

The second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman, charged in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, is tentatively set for June 10, a Florida judge decided on Wednesday.

Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson set the date, but the defense said there were still several issues pending, including a self-defense immunity hearing. Zimmerman has argued that he shot Martin in self-defense and acted legally under Florida’s “stand uour ground” law.

In a later tweet, defense attorneys said they would seek a stand-your-ground hearing in April or May. If they are successful, Zimmerman would not face trial in the shooting.

PHOTOS: Tense moments from Trayvon Martin case

Wednesday’s brief court action came in what is called a docket sounding, a chance for the parties to discuss progress on the case. Another status hearing is scheduled for Dec. 10. The parties are to return to court on Friday to argue motions.

Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26  shooting of Martin, 17, in Sanford, Fla. The case has raised racial and self-defense issues from the outset.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, has acknowledged that he shot Martin, but insisted he acted in self-defense. Martin’s family and civil rights supporters have argued the teenager was profiled because of his race.

Zimmerman was not arrested the night of the incident, but after national demonstrations was later charged with second-degree murder by a special prosecutor. He is currently free on bail.

The defense has insisted in recent days that state prosecutors have moved too slowly in turning over evidence and related materials to which it is entitled. It has also argued that it needs time to prepare its case -- issues that will be discussed at the Friday court hearing.

Among motions to be argued is whether the defense can subpoena Martin’s school records and whether the prosecution can get Zimmerman’s medical records.

Earlier this week, the Martin family announced it had launched a website and political committee to fight stand your ground laws across the country. Opponents argue the laws are too broad and give people too much latitude to use deadly force, even in situations where it is unneeded.

The website Change for Trayvon and a committee of the same name are intended to give the Martin family “a voice in the political process,” according to the group.

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michael.muskal@latimes.com

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