The latest chapter of the George Zimmerman murder trial cut off the prologue Tuesday, as Zimmerman and his attorneys appeared in court to waive his right to seek an immunity hearing under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law — and keep the rest of their strategy close to the vest. For better or worse, that means Zimmerman's fate in the killing of Trayvon Martin will likely be put in the hands of 12 jurors beginning June 10, when one of the most emotional trials in recent American history will begin. "Under questioning from Circuit Judge Debra Nelson, Zimmerman repeatedly said 'yes' to a series of questions asking if he was aware he was giving up the right to a hearing before his second-degree murder trial in June," reported the AP.
The baseline takeaway of that, in plain English, is that Zimmerman and his team now think their best strategy is to test his case against a jury — rather than trying a desperate attempt to get all charges dropped. CBS reports:
Florida's so-called "stand your ground" law allows someone to use deadly force, instead of retreating, if they believe their life is in danger. A "stand your ground" hearing could have led to the dismissal of charges if Zimmerman conclusively showed that he fatally shot Martin because he "reasonably believed" he might be killed or suffer "great bodily harm" at the hands of the unarmed teenager.
That hearing would have been a bench trial, and one judge would have determined Zimmerman's immunity.