George Zimmerman seeking 'stand your ground' hearing

Zimmerman charged with murder in death of Trayvon Martin


ORLANDO, Fla. – The attorney for George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman charged with murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, said there will be a "stand your ground" hearing in his client's case.

Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, said in a news release, "Now that the state has released the majority of their discovery, the defense asserts that there is clear support for a strong claim of self-defense."

O'Mara, who has not yet filed a motion requesting the hearing, referred to it as a "mini-trial," with the major difference being that a judge -- not a jury -- will make the determination whether Zimmerman reasonably believed that the use of his weapon was necessary to prevent great bodily harm to himself at the hands of the 17-year-old Martin.

O'Mara also said that unlike a criminal trial, a stand your ground hearing places the burden on the defense to prove that the evidence fits the conditions of Florida's stand your ground law. If the court rules in favor of the defendant, criminal charges are dismissed and the defendant is also immune from civil actions related to the shooting.

O'Mara said it would take several months for the defense team to prepare for the hearing.

After not being arrested for more than a month after the February shooting in Sanford, a special prosecutor charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder in Martin's death.

"It's our obligation under the law to only file charges we can prove. We felt that second-degree murder was appropriate, and that's why we filed those charges," special prosecutor Angela Corey said months ago.

Zimmerman remains free on $1 million bond, and he's staying at an undisclosed safe house in Seminole County.