George Zimmerman has a bail hearing Friday morning. Will he be allowed out of jail? And is George Zimmerman safe out of jail, ask observers.
AP Photo/Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel
The neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing Trayvon Martin is asking a Florida judge to let him out of jail while he awaits trial, and legal experts say he stands a good chance of being granted bail at the hearing Friday.
George Zimmerman's attorney will make the request at a hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center. Two questions likely to be at the center of the proceeding are whether he would be allowed out of the country and how he would remain safe.
Family members of Zimmerman's are expected to testify by phone at the hearing.
Legal experts say factors in Zimmerman's favor include that he has ties to the local community and that he doesn't appear to be a flight risk since he turned in voluntarily after second-degree murder charges were filed against him last week. He also has never been convicted of a crime, which would indicate he doesn't pose a threat to society.
"Although it's not routine for people charged with murder to get bond, they do get bond, and I think there is an excellent argument to be made in his specific case for him to be released on bond," said defense attorney Randy McClean, who practices in Seminole County, about 15 miles northeast of Orlando.
A spokeswoman for special prosecutor Angela Corey's office said Thursday she wouldn't comment on whether Corey would object to Zimmerman being released on bond.
Defense attorney Mark O'Mara indicated he would ask that Zimmerman be allowed to leave the area, if he is granted bond, because of concerns about his safety. Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester was assigned the case Wednesday after a previous judge recused herself because of a potential conflict of interest.