Appeals Court Grants Zimmerman a New Judge

The decision was handed down Wednesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Judge Kenneth Lester, Jr.

    A three-judge panel ruled Wednesday that George Zimmerman should be granted a new judge in his case.

    The Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that Judge Kenneth Lester should enter a motion to disqualify himself in Zimmerman's second-degree murder case.

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    The ruling said Lester should "enter an order of disqualification which requests the chief circuit judge to appoint a successor judge." One of the three judges dissented in the ruling.

    "Although many of the allegations in Zimmerman's motion, standing alone, do not meet the legal sufficiency test, and while this is admittedly a close call, upon careful review we find that the allegations, taken together, meet the threshold test of legal sufficiency," the ruling said.

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    His attorney Mark O'Mara asked the court earlier this month to overturn a previous ruling by Lester not to leave the case.

    O'Mara had argued that Lester should disqualify himself after he said the judge made disparaging remarks about Zimmerman's character and advocated for additional charges against him in setting his $1 million bond in July.

    Zimmerman remains free on bail. He's pleaded not guilty.

    The dissenting judge wrote: "Although the trial court's order clearly manifested an exceedingly strong belief by the trial judge that Zimmerman 'flouted' and 'tried to manipulate' the system, I do not believe the order 'crossed the line' so as to require the granting of this motion."

    The following was posted on Zimmerman's defense team's website: "The Fifth District Court of Appeal granted George Zimmerman's Petition for a Writ of Prohibition. We expect a new judge will be assigned shortly."