George Zimmerman’s defence team has officially announced it will seek a “Stand Your Ground” hearing to prove the former neighbourhood watchman shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defence.The “Stand Your Ground” hearing, which won’t take place for several months, will essentially be a “mini-trial” with only a few key changes separating it from the real deal, Zimmerman’s lawyers announced Thursday on his legal defence website.
In a “Stand Your Ground” hearing, a judge – not a jury – is the one to decide whether that legal defence applies to the case. Plus, the burden is on the defence to prove the defendant actually acted in self-defence.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin. He claims Martin was attacking him and he was acting in self-defence when he shot the teenager.
If the judge accepts his “Stand Your Ground” defence, the criminal charges against Zimmerman will be dismissed. He’ll also be immune from any civil lawsuits, according to his website.
Thursday’s announcement is the first time Zimmerman’s lawyers have publicly acknowledged they’ll seek a “Stand Your Ground” defence.
In his first media interview last month, Zimmerman told Fox News’ Hannity he had never heard of “Stand Your Ground” laws before he killed Martin.
However, he said he was terrified for his life that night, forcing him to shoot the teenager.
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