Sunday, June 2, 2013
I have a short article today to serve as food for thought.
Many of you may have missed it at the beginning of the May 28th hearing, but Judge Nelson ruled that Shellie Zimmerman will have to submit to a deposition by the prosecution in her husband’s case. Shellie Zimmerman is charged with perjury for lying under oath about her husband’s assets at his bond hearing.
In support of his request BDLR told Judge Nelson that she had appeared for her deposition with her attorney, Kelly Sims, and she cooperated for the first 20 minutes or so when defense counsel, O’Mara and West, interrupted the deposition to confer with her attorney outside the room. Following a short meeting, her lawyer advised that she was going to assert her 5th Amendment right to refuse to answer any other questions. That ended the deposition.
She will still be able to assert her 5th Amendment right to remain silent in response to any question asked. BDLR will then have the option to certify the transcript of any questions to which she pleads the 5th and ask Judge Nelson to review her claim and order her to answer, if she determines that she cannot claim the Fifth.
In support of the State’s motion to compel Shellie Zimmerman to submit to deposition, BDLR said:
She has information germane to this case in that she was present when the defendant made statements, not just to her — there’s no husband wife privilege — he made statements to other people when she was present, and she is also germane to what happened after the shooting itself.
Intriguing situation that suggests to me that the State may have promised her use immunity. That would be a promise not to use anything she says against her, so long as she answers the questions truthfully.
Such a promise would have no impact on the perjury case, even if she is questioned about it, so long as BDLR can show that the State did not use any of her answers to prosecute her. In other words, the prosecution would have to show that they relied exclusively on evidence that they already had before the deposition.
I do not believe they will have any trouble doing that and probably have already segregated the evidence they have against her for perjury in a separate file.
Now what do you suppose this “cooperative witness” has to say?
FYI: Here is a link to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. The rule on depositions is 3.220 (h), at page 149.
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