After being released on a $150,000 bail, prosecutors discovered that George Zimmerman’s wife lied under oath about the amount of money available to him for bail. Leading the court to believe that there was “very little” funds available to his family; Zimmerman really had almost $130,000 on hand from money raised through a web site. Prosecutors have since released the 151 calls placed from the jail, including ones between Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, speaking in code about the money available to him and their attempts to move and hide money. Judge Lester revoked Zimmerman’s bail on June 3. Zimmerman has remained in jail pending his second bail hearing on June 29. Zimmerman’s wife has been charged with perjury for her part.
Zimmerman’s lawyers will have a difficult time proving that Zimmerman did not mislead the court. After all, the conversations between him and his wife are on tape. And the court has records of the bank accounts. So what’s left is for them to admit that Zimmerman made a mistake because he was scared. And the defense will argue that he’s still entitled to bail for the same reasons he was entitled to bail at the first hearing. He is not a flight risk, has ties to the community and has a defense to the crime. Nonetheless, Judge Lester could have Zimmerman remain in jail on no bail status until his trial date.
At the first bond hearing, the prosecutors asked for $1 million bail. In light of what was perceived as Zimmerman’s financial status, the judge released him on the paltry $150,000 bail. During the second bond hearing, Judge Lester could increase the bail or keep it the same. It’s highly unlikely that Zimmerman will be placed again on $150,000 bail. This time, the bail will be closer to what the prosecutors requested at the first trial.
If the judge wants to teach Zimmerman a lesson for being untruthful, he could set the bail at a cash bail which would mean that Zimmerman would have to put up cash to procure his release. Ordinarily, a defendant can post 10% of the amount through a bail bondsman. He would not be able to use a bondsman, if a cash bail were set. That would teach him the lesson that he needs to learn. Using his cash to procure his freedom would send Zimmerman a loud and clear message about lying.
The best lesson for Zimmerman would be if Judge Lester allowed him to keep his money raised and remain in jail on no bail status until his trial date—which has yet to be set.
No matter what happens, Zimmerman’s credibility is at issue for future court proceedings. Judge Lester will not forget that he’s a liar. And the prosecutors will not let the judge forget that he’s a liar. If Zimmerman could lie to get a low bail, think how much more he could lie to keep his freedom.
Zimmerman’s bail hearing is scheduled for Friday, June 29.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and founder of LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. As a legal and political commentator she has appeared in national and local media including the Michael Eric Dyson Show, NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, RT TV, CBC- Canadian TV, NPR, XM Sirius radio, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She also writes for the Huffington Post and Politic 365.