Judge Nelson will not remove Mark O’Mara from the case

March 22, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Not Angela Lansbury said,

Yes indeed, anything is possible, and I could be way off base here. But I’m not arguing that O’Mara suborned perjury, only that his own client implicated him in that crime and that that set up a conflict of interest between lawyer and client, where Fogen had an interest in being deemed credible in all things and O’Mara had an interest in Fogen being deemed a liar. O’Mara needs to be able to say to whomever it may concern that everyone knows his client was a liar. He absolutely buried Fogen with quotes like “credibility problem” and “need to restore his credibility” when he should have defended his client’s credibility and thrown Shellie under the bus all alone. When a lawyer has an interest in his client being seen as a liar, he can’t ethically represent that client.

I’m not sure a judge can bounce a defense lawyer directly, but s/he could file a complaint with the bar and/or state supreme court and halt the proceedings until the complaint is resolved. That complaint would be heard almost immediately and would have the effect in most cases of pressuring the lawyer to withdraw. The judge would need to complete the record of the ethical lapse before filing the complaint, which in this case would include Fogen’s phone call and O’Mara’s letter, together proving the conflict. So I think when O’Mara saw Lester file his letter over a month after it was submitted, he was on alert for disciplinary action. I don’t see any another reason for Lester to have entered that letter into the record.

You raise an interesting issue but I do not expect Judge Nelson, or any other judge in her situation, would take any action against O’Mara because it would be viewed as interfering in the attorney-client relationship. For better or worse, the defendant selected O’Mara as his attorney and O’Mara made a strategic decision to concede that the defendant and his wife misrepresented their assets because he was innocent, unsophisticated and did not trust the court to deal with him fairly.

The strategy worked because Judge Lester permitted the defendant to be released on bail.

I do not believe O’Mara was ever in any danger of being charged with a crime relating to his knowledge of the money and the passport and he duly informed the court about them after the bail hearing. Therefore, I do not believe that it’s fair to state that he had” an interest in his client being seen as a liar.”

Finally, Judge Nelson may not even know about the recorded jailhouse call and the defendant’s comment about the $37,000.

Nevertheless, I do believe that O’Mara has a conflict of interest between his desire to use this case as a vehicle to fame and fortune and his obligation to represent his client’s best interests.

Playing the race card, demonizing the victim, misrepresenting the facts to the media, and trying this case in the court of public opinion are not helping his client.

Jose Baez should not comment about Zimmerman case

March 10, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I do not believe it is appropriate for Jose Baez to comment publicly on the Zimmerman case for Channel 6 or any other form of media.

Since Baez represents Chris Serino, who was in charge of the investigation of Trayvon Martin’s death, he has a duty to vigorously represent Serino’s best interests at all times, even after he no longer actively represents him.

Baez also has a duty to maintain client confidentiality which precludes him from sharing inside information that he obtained from Serino.

I do not see any way that Baez can honestly and reasonable comply with his duties to his client while commenting as an independent expert regarding the investigation and the defendant’s likely guilt or innocence.

There will be times when his duties to his client prevent him from commenting honestly and independently about certain aspects of the case and he will have to cheat one way or the other when he expresses an opinion.

That situation creates a conflict of interest that violates the rules of professional responsibility.

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Shellie Zimmerman Arrested and Jailed for Perjury

June 12, 2012

Shellie Zimmerman was arrested today and jailed for perjury, based on her false claim of indigency under oath at the bond hearing at her husband’s bond hearing. She posted a $1,000 bond and was released about an hour later.

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting:

In an affidavit, prosecutors revealed new details about Shellie Zimmerman’s alleged efforts to hide money from the court.

Four days before she testified to having no knowledge of the funds, the affidavit says, Shellie Zimmerman began a series of transfers into her account — totaling $74,000 between April 16 and April 19.

The affidavit says about $47,000 more was transferred from George Zimmerman’s account to his sister’s [account]. Shellie Zimmerman withdrew about $18,000 more cash, prosecutors say.

Prosecutors say the Zimmermans used a rudimentary “code” to discuss the money in recorded jailhouse phone calls — referring to $100,000, for example, as “$100.” At least two of the calls, the state alleges, were made while Shellie Zimmerman and her husband’s sister were at a local credit union making the transactions.

“In my account do I have at least $100?” Zimmerman asked. “No… there’s like $8. $8.60,” she replied.

Zimmerman told his wife to “pay off all the bills” with the money, prosecutors said, including an American Express card and a Sam’s Club card. He also instructed her on how to pay for his bail.

According to the affidavit, after her husband was released on bond days after the bond hearing, she transferred more than $85,000 back into his account. A branch manager at their credit union told prosecutors he knew the couple, and saw Shellie Zimmerman talking to her husband on the phone on April 16.

The manager said he’d helped Shellie Zimmerman transfer control of George Zimmerman’s account, at one point speaking directly to George Zimmerman by phone.

In addition, USA Today is reporting that Judge Lester, who presided over the bond hearing and to whom the case is preassigned filed an order earlier today stating in part,

Lester concluded that Zimmerman’s wife had “testified untruthfully” about her husband’s finances at his initial bond hearing and that Zimmerman had failed to tell the court about one of his two passports.

Lester also noted that the evidence against George Zimmerman “is strong.”

“Most importantly, though, is the fact that he has now demonstrated that he does not properly respect the law or the integrity of the judicial process.”

Devastating news for George Zimmerman.

At this point, I do not believe Mark O’Mara can represent Shellie Zimmerman because, to do so, would create a conflict of interest. His primary duty is to represent and protect George Zimmerman, his client. Needless to say, if George put her up to this, her best interest would be to rat him out and her own lawyer likely would advise her to do so.

Meanwhile, O’Mara may have some potential legal issues to deal with also. How could he not have known about the money in the Paypal account? And what about the second passport that he apparently had in his possession. Did he knowingly participate in the fraud perpetrated by the Zimmermans?

I have a feeling the bond hearing will be stricken due to these recent developments. It is an incredibly dangerous minefield for George and Shellie Zimmerman, for George’s sister, and potentially for Mark O’Mara and even George’s father.

If the hearing goes off as scheduled, expect the prosecution to be beating a drum repeatedly with the following question,

What did you know and when did you know it?

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