Now that George Zimmerman is back in jail after losing his get out of jail card, due to what prosecutors call “blatant lies” about his finances, it’s time to turn to what’s next for Zimmerman. Zimmerman lost his get out of jail card by misrepresentations to the Court that he had limited financial means to pay bail. Zimmerman’s wife testified that she had no money to assist for a bond. Based on hearing testimony about Zimmerman’s limited finances, Judge Kenneth Lester ordered him released on $150,000 bail. Prosecutors had demanded a $1 million bail to secure George Zimmerman’s release.
Now after hearing a recorded jail conversation between Zimmerman and his wife, Shelly, prosecutors learned that he had readily available funds of $135,000 on the day preceding the bail hearing. Ironically, if the court had set bail at the requested $1 million, Zimmerman had the money to immediately post bail. A bail bondsman customarily requires 10% of the total amount to post bail. Zimmerman had more money than the required $100,000.00 to post a $1 million bail through a bail bondsman.
At April’s bail hearing, defense attorney Mark O’ Mara said it would take some time for the family to secure the bail funds as they were a family of “very short means.” Zimmerman’s wife testified that she was a nursing student and her husband was unemployed and it would take time to “scrape up” funds for a bail. And now that the truth has come out, it will haunt Zimmerman and his attorney. His attorneys want or really need to put a spin on the circumstances saying that Zimmerman did not have access to funds consisting of $135,000 and which ultimately grew to over $200,000. The defense attorneys requested a hearing to explain the lack of truthfulness and will request a new bail. Good luck with that one.
Here’s what Judge Lester should do under the circumstances. Zimmerman is entitled to explain himself at a hearing in the hopes to establish a new bail. However, there is no dispute about what his wife was asked in court concerning his finances. And she “blatantly lied” while her husband sat passively listening to her known perjured testimony. So he should not be rewarded now with a new bail for failing to initially tell the truth. I think every parent would agree that a child doesn’t get rewarded for lying. A child gets punished. That’s exactly what should happen to Zimmerman. The judge should deny a new bail and Zimmerman should be ordered to remain on no bail status until trial.
After the hearing, the prosecutor should bring separate and new charges of perjury. Perjury is plain and simple—lying under oath. And plain and simple, Shelly Zimmerman lied under oath. At a minimum, both conspired to commit perjury. George Zimmerman, who passively sat listening to his wife’s known untruthful testimony, should be charged with conspiracy to commit perjury.
Lying to the judge should get your get out of jail card permanently revoked. And that’s exactly what Judge Lester should do. Perhaps the second time around will be the charm when Zimmerman will be forced to remain on no bail status until his trial date—for Trayvon Martin’s killing and on any new perjury charges.
Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and legal /political commentator appearing 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 founded LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. She also writes for the Huffington Post.