George Zimmerman's attorney files motion for new judge

Attorney Mark O'Mara says Judge Jessica Recksiedler has conflict of interest


SANFORD, Fla. – Attorney Mark O'Mara has filed a motion for his client, George Zimmerman, asking for the recusal of the judge assigned to his case.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26.

O'Mara arrived at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility earlier Monday to have Zimmerman sign the motion, which asks for Circuit Court Judge Jessica Recksiedler to recuse herself so a new judge could be appointed by Zimmerman's Friday bond hearing.

"I'm sorry that right away as we get into the case, all of a sudden, there's the first problem," O'Mara said outside the jail Monday.

O'Mara became Zimmerman's attorney after being recommended by attorney Mark NeJame, who was contacted by Zimmerman's family. Recksiedler's husband, Jason Recksiedler, works at NeJame's law firm. Recksiedler has been a judge for nine months and was chosen out of a lottery to oversee the trial.

"Because she's related to Mr. NeJame's office and this case is going to get so much scrutiny, it makes sense to address it and resolve it now," O'Mara said. He said he doesn't suggest Recksiedler would be biased, but that it's better to address it sooner rather than later.

"It's much better now than later," O'Mara said when asked why he's filing the motion Monday. "That's the reason for this."

At a status hearing Friday, Recksiedler asked for the motion to be filed before the Friday bond hearing.

"If you choose to file a motion to disqualify me as judge, it has to be filed in writing for me to address it," Recksiedler said. "If you do choose to file, we do have a bond hearing set for next Friday," she said, asking that the motion be filed before then.

Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood watch leader, shot and killed Martin, 17, in late February. Zimmerman claims the shooting was in self-defense, but state prosecutors say he profiled the teen and was the aggressor in the shooting.

Zimmerman was not immediately arrested because police said there was no evidence to refute his claim of self-defense.

Florida's "stand your ground" law came under fire, and the lack of an arrest in the shooting prompted marches, rallies and protests across the country.