Zimmerman's Trial Delay Request Denied

By Andrew Lu on February 05, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A Florida judge has rejected George Zimmerman's request to delay his trial in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman's murder trial will move forward as scheduled on June 10, 2013, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Judge Debra Nelson ruled on the matter Tuesday, which would have been Trayvon Martin's 18th birthday.

Zimmerman's attorney had sought a six-month delay, arguing there was much work left to be done and that the defense couldn't possibly be ready by June. The defense also cited delays in fighting the state over key pieces of evidence.

So why did Judge Nelson deny Zimmerman's request?

Basically, the judge found that both parties had earlier estimated that they would be ready by June. And the judge did not consider the issues raised by Zimmerman's lawyers "insurmountable," reports the Sentinel.

Naturally, you may be wondering what issues would be considered insurmountable and justify a judge delaying a trial. Some common reasons can include:

  • Inadequate Time to Prepare. This is probably the most common reason that attorneys seek delays. Judges have a lot of discretion in delaying a trial for this reason, and typically may grant a delay in complex cases, situations in which new evidence pops up, and when an unrealistic timeframe was initially established.

  • Conflicting Obligations. Attorneys lead busy lives, and may have multiple trials scheduled in the same week, if not the same day. A judge may delay a trial to accommodate schedules, though this is never a guarantee.

  • Emergencies. If a family members falls ill or another type of emergency arises, a judge may be sympathetic and grant a delay.

  • Agreement by both parties. If both sides come to an agreement that a delay is necessary, a judge may defer to their judgment and agree to the delay.

In denying Zimmerman's trial delay request, the judge appears to be suggesting that the delays cited were routine, and would not overly burden the parties as they prepare for trial. Both sides had earlier stated that they would be ready on time, and the judge is now making them stick to their word.

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