Trayvon Martin judge discloses conflict of interest

April 13, 2012 at 2:28 PM
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SANFORD, Fla., April 13 (UPI) -- The judge in the case of a neighborhood watchman who killed unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin said Friday her husband will be a CNN analyst for the case.

Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler made the disclosure at a special 10-minute hearing and said she was obliged to give the prosecutor and defense attorney the opportunity to ask her to step down from the case, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Lead prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said he has no reason to ask Recksiedler to step down but Mark O'Mara, attorney for suspect George Zimmerman, said the disclosure concerns him and he may ask for another judge next week.

Recksiedler's husband works for the law firm of Mark NeJame and originally considered representing Zimmerman before deciding he preferred the CNN gig, the newspaper said.

Separately, Recksiedler announced Zimmerman will get a bond hearing May 20.

O'Mara had said Thursday he hopes to have his client released on bond within two weeks and have "a place to be safe."

O'Mara said he did not seek bond right away because he said it would have forced prosecutors to make more evidence public, which he said might have increased public fervor, and he wanted "to calm things down."

O'Mara also asked Seminole County Court Judge Mark Herr to seal the case records to keep them from the news media, which he said had too much piecemeal information already.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey agreed with the request, and Herr agreed to seal all the case's supporting evidence.

Zimmerman, handcuffed and dressed in a gray county jail jumpsuit, entered a plea of not guilty to a second-degree murder charge.

He nodded and said "yes" when Herr asked him questions about the charge against him.

Herr said he found probable cause to move ahead with the case and set formal arraignment for May 29.

Zimmerman, who seven weeks ago studied criminal justice and dreamed of becoming a cop, is currently in seclusion at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford, where he is Inmate #201200004452, has breakfast at 4 a.m. and gets yard time 3 hours a week.

Zimmerman, 28, shot and killed Martin in a gated community in Sanford Feb. 26, as the 17-year-old was walking from a convenience store to the home of his father's girlfriend.

Zimmerman, whose father is white and mother is Hispanic, told police he shot the unarmed black teen in self-defense.

If convicted, he faces a maximum life sentence.

The prosecution alleges in the public filing Zimmerman "profiled" Martin and "falsely assumed" he was "a criminal" -- one of the "punks" who "did not belong in the gated community."

The filing does not mention race.

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