On June 1, a hearing is scheduled for the court to rule on motions filed by both the prosecution and the defense in the George Zimmerman case. The prosecution has requested that certain parts of the discovery materials be sealed, and we agree with some of those requests. In addition, we have asked that the release of specific items to be delayed. Meanwhile, the Orlando Sentinel Communications Company and WFTV, Inc. have filed a counter motion requesting all discovery materials be made public.
Both the Defense and the Prosecution have made it a priority to protect the identities of the witnesses in this case. Additionally, it is important for the court to consider whether materials that are inadmissible in a courtroom, irrelevant to this case, and unfairly prejudicial to either party, can be open to public scrutiny without further hindering a fair trial.
The practice of redaction in discovery materials is not unusual in legal cases; however, due to the sheer amount of discovery and intense public interest in this case, we have requested a 30 day window to properly review the materials.
We understand that 30 days can seem like a long time, especially to a public with an appetite for information in the era of the 24 hour news cycle, but consider a 30 day review in the context of the entire defense timeline. We expect a second round of discovery from the prosecution soon, and we are simply requesting a short amount of time to process it. To further outline the probable progress this case, we anticipate discovery will continue to be forwarded, from the State Attorney's Office and from other law enforcement agencies, over the next several weeks. We will then seek additional discovery as we believe may be appropriate and necessary. This will take an additional several weeks to draft the requests, work through any resistance we may receive and get the discovery. Once we have all the discovery in hand, we will set depositions of witnesses, which is allowed under our discovery rules (Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.220). Presuming there will be at least fifty witnesses (and all witnesses, such as experts, have not yet been identified) the process of depositions will take a few months. Only after the depositions are complete will we be in a position to decide if there are motions (such as the oft mentioned 'stand your ground' motion) that are appropriate to file and have heard. It is anticipated, though not certain, that this case will not be ready for trial until sometime into 2013.
This is why on May 8, Mr. Zimmerman waived his right to a speedy trial, allowing his defense the time required to prepare for a fair trial, and why we have moved to continue the case. We anticipate additional continuances will be requested, based on this timeline.