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Thursday, April 19, 2012
George Zimmerman Trial Judge Steps Down

George Zimmerman Trial Judge Steps Down

Judge Jessica Recksiedler removed herself from the highly public George Zimmerman second-degree murder case in Florida on Wednesday. The Seminole Country Circuit judge voluntarily removed herself from the case citing a possible conflict of interest.

Veteran Judge Kenneth Lester Jr., according to the Orlando Sentinel, will be replacing Recksiedler, who was assigned to the case when it was announced last week that Zimmerman would be charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Lester has presided over several high-profile death penalty cases in the state, according to the publication.

Earlier in the week, Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, requested that Recksiedler recuse herself from the case because her husband is partner in a law firm that includes lawyer Mark NeJame.

NeJame has recently been hired by CNN to comment on the case, and was asked about a month ago to represent the client. He told The Wall Street Journal that he was unable to take on the case due to other obligations, and also said that he had recommended Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's current lawyer, for the case.

O'Mara is a seasoned defense lawyer with over 30 years of experience practicing law.

Martin, an African-American teen, was shot in a gated residential community in Florida on Feb. 26. The teen was shot during a confrontation with Zimmerman, who is part Hispanic.

At the time of his death, Martin was unarmed wearing a hooded sweatshirt and carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea.

Zimmerman told police he shot Martin in self-defense and has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, but the case has led to much debate about Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law, and race relations in the U.S.

A bond hearing to determine if Zimmerman is eligible for bail will take place at the Seminole Criminal Justice Center on Friday at 9 a.m.

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