Yesterday, George Zimmerman, who shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin just over a year ago, waived his right to a "Stand Your Ground" hearing ahead of his trial that had the potential to result in the dismissal of all charges. Apparently, his lawyers thought it was a bad bet, despite the fact that the "Stand Your Ground" policy has been at the center of Zimmerman's public defense and was cited as the reason he was not charged in the first place until a national public outcry led to his arrest.
Zimmerman contends that he shot and killed the 17-year-old Martin after the teen confronted him as he walked to his father's girlfriend's house. Were [Judge Debra Nelson] to have accepted his account under Stand Your Ground, all criminal proceedings would have immediately stopped, and Zimmerman would have walked free.Zimmerman's defense team "left open the possibility for that hearing to be rolled into Zimmerman's second degree murder trial," so a "Stand Your Ground" defense is still a possibility, but he's definitely going to trial and will not, as was an earlier concern, have the proceedings short-circuited by the ruling of a single judge.
But another unfavorable ruling by Nelson [who previously ruled in favor of the state that Zimmerman's bail conditions should not be loosened] could have been interpreted by jurors as a sign of guilt. Waiving the hearing could also prevent the prosecution from picking apart Zimmerman's testimony.