Follow-Up On Stalking Charges Against George Zimmerman. The Attorney Shuffle.
On May 8, 2018, I reblogged an article published by CBS Miami that reported charges against George Zimmerman for stalking and threatening. In case anyone is unfamiliar, Zimmerman is the man who killed 17-year old, unarmed Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012.
This post contains embedded documents filed with the court that you can read by clicking on the wording in blue, indicating a link. They will open in another window or tab, depending on your browser setting.
In the latest case, the charging information, request for a capias, and summons were filed on March 26, 2018. The summons was served on May 3, 2018, and on May 17, 2018, Zimmerman requested appointment of a public defender. He claimed having no source of income and being $2.5 million in debt.
On May 23, 2018, Public defender Blaise Trettis was appointed to represent Zimmerman, and entered a not guilty plea on Zimmerman’s behalf.
Something of interest happened thereafter.
After claiming that he is indigent and unable to afford a lawyer, on May 24, 2018, Zimmerman filed a motion for substitution of counsel, terminating the retainer of the Office of the Public Defender. The motion was filed by attorney Zahra S. Umansky on Zimmerman’s behalf. Zahra S. Umansky entered appearance to represent Zimmerman. Umansky waived Zimmerman’s appearance for arraignment, entered a plea of not guilty, requested a jury trial, and requested a copy of the charging information filed against Zimmerman. It’s okay if Umansky is taking the case pro bono, but six days later, something else happened.
On May 30, 2018, the court entered an order substituting the Umansky law firm, and appointing the office of the Public Defender as the attorneys of record. There is no motion to withdraw as attorney on the docket sheet so there is no public record giving a reason.
In 6 days, Zimmerman went from having a public defender, to having a private attorney, and back to having a public defender.
The name Zahra Umansky sounded familiar. From April 2012 through July 2013 during Zimmerman’s pre-trial hearings and trial, there were many attorneys interviewed by news sources for their opinions. I figured that Umansky was one of those attorneys who appeared on television giving her opinion about the case, so I Googled her name. What I found is a video of her interview with Soledad O’Brien on CNN.
Zahra Umansky was George Zimmerman’s defense attorney in 2005-2006 in the case where he was charged with battery of a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence.
Notice in the video below that Umansky omitted pertinent information until she was asked. Specifically, the charges against Zimmerman in that case were dismissed because of his agreement to enter into a diversion program to undergo anger management. That is considered a conditional discharge because the dismissal of charges are dependent on the defendant completing the agreement.
Zimmerman is due in court on June 27, 2018 for a pre-trial hearing. I suppose it is then that we’ll know who is representing him.
Here’s the video from 2012.
June 27, 2018 Update
Today, Zahra Umansky appeared on behalf of George Zimmerman, who was not in court. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Judge Mark Herr admonished Umansky not to dwell on Zimmerman’s acquittal for killing Trayvon Martin. That’s because Umansky told judge Herr that she plans on deposing a Seminole County Sheriff’s Office investigator who had contact with Zimmerman during the investigation of Trayvon’s death.
“We are not going to open this case to the history of Mr. Zimmerman,” Herr said. “We are not going to go back in time to re-open old wounds.”
The next hearing is scheduled for August 1, 2018.