Judge Orders Zimmerman to Jail for Lying to Court
Accused murderer George Zimmerman must return to jail within 48 hours, after a judge found he and his wife lied about their finances at a bail hearing in April.
Zimmerman "can't sit back and obtain the benefit of a lower bond based upon those material falsehoods," Judge Kenneth Lester said in making his ruling, the Associated Press reports.
Many news reports say the judge revoked Zimmerman's bond. But technically, those reports are confusing the terms "bond" and "bail."
Under Florida's Rules of Criminal Procedure, a judge has discretion to revoke a defendant's bail if he finds there's "good cause" to do so. Lying to a court about one's finances apparently fits the bill.
George Zimmerman's bail was set at $150,000 in April. He paid 10% of that amount to secure a bond for his release, his attorney Mark O'Mara has said.
(A bond is typically paid by a bail bondsman when a defendant can't make bail. Bondsmen also charge a set fee for their service, usually 10% of the bail amount.)
In arguing for George Zimmerman's bail to be revoked, prosecutors asserted his wife Shelly "flat-out lied" to get a lower bail.
"This court was led to believe that [George Zimmerman and his wife] didn't have a single penny," one prosecutor argued. But it turns out the Zimmermans had collected about $200,000 in online donations via a website -- a fact O'Mara has acknowledged.
In addition, Zimmerman and his wife "spoke in code to hide what they were doing" during jail telephone calls, prosecutors alleged.
George Zimmerman's revoked bail, and his pending return to jail, may be temporary, his lawyer Mark O'Mara said. "I hope they'll give us a day in court to explain George's behavior and look at all the circumstances," O'Mara told reporters after the hearing. You can see more of O'Mara's comments in this MSNBC video clip:
- Judge revokes Zimmerman's bond (CNN)
- Posting Bail (FindLaw)
- What's Difference Between Bond and Bail? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Why Some Trayvon Evidence Shouldn't be Released (FindLaw's Blotter)
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