Will George Zimmerman get a fair trial?

President Obama talked about “racism” at Morehouse College this weekend. The timing is interesting because the trial of George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin in February 2012, will begin in June. Zimmerman is Hispanic and Martin was black.

President Obama stated at Morehouse, “We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices. Growing up, I made quite a few myself. Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. I had a tendency sometimes to make excuses for me not doing the right thing. But one of the things that all of you have learned over the last four years, is there’s no longer any room for excuses.”

President Obama interjected himself into the Zimmerman case when he said that if he had a son he would “look like Trayvon”.

Clash Daily reports, “State prosecutors in the case against George Zimmerman are pushing to keep Zimmerman’s attorneys from bringing testimony about Trayvon Martin’s past during the trial.”

Screen capture from Trayvon Martin’s social media site courtesy Clash Daily

“The state said in motions filed on Friday they want to prevent Zimmerman’s attorneys from bringing up Martin’s personal life, including his school records, previous suspension from school, fights, text messages sent prior to his death unless related to case and his social media use. The motion also says the state wants to prevent the defense from using Martin’s toxicology report, which showed the level of marijuana in Martin’s blood the night he was shot and killed,” notes Clash Daily.

Yahoo News reports:

George Zimmerman has waived his right to a pretrial hearing over whether he should be acquitted of murder charges under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who’s charged with second-degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, said Tuesday in court that he did not want the preliminary hearing, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The surprising move by Zimmerman’s legal team means the controversial case will go straight to trial in early June.

Zimmerman had the right under Florida’s 7-year-old “stand your ground” law to argue to the judge in a special hearing without a jury that he’s immune from both civil and criminal prosecution. The law,versions of which are on the books in 20 states, says people who have a reasonable belief their lives are in danger in a public place can harm an attacker without first attempting to retreat.

The 29-year-old says he acted in self defense when Martin attacked him on Feb. 26, 2012. Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled Martin, pursuing him around the neighborhood, and then confronting and killing him with his gun.

This Florida case grabbed national political and media attention when first reported. Some Sanford residents say the Zimmerman case reflects a larger issue of black racial profiling by police.

Governor Rick Scott commissioned a task force to review Florida’s stand your ground law. According to the Miami-Herald, “A 19-member task force commissioned by Gov. Rick Scott to review Florida’s Stand Your Ground law has put out its final report, largely voicing support for the law. The task force made a handful of recommendations for the Legislature, but began the report by stating that, at its core, the self-defense law is fine as it is.”

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