Florida Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler who was set to preside over the Trayvon Martin shooting case has removed herself from the case after the attorney for defendant George Zimmerman argued she had a possible conflict of interest.
Judge Kenneth M. Lester Jr. will now preside over the case.
Recksiedler’s husband works with Orlando attorney Mark NeJame, who was first approached by Zimmerman’s family to represent the neighborhood watch volunteer. NeJame declined and referred them to Mark O’Mara, who is now representing Zimmerman.
O’Mara said he requested that Recksiedler step down now because the case is just beginning and he wanted any possible conflict to be addressed right away rather than in the middle of the case. Recksiedler was assigned the case after Zimmerman’s arrest last week.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for the Feb. 26 shooting of the 17-year-old Martin. Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense after the teen attacked him. Martin was unarmed.
Martin’s family and supporters claim Zimmerman was the aggressor.
The switch in judges isn’t expected to change Friday’s bail hearing during which Zimmerman will ask to be released on bond.
In another South Florida dispute with racial overtones, civil rights leaders protested Wednesday demanding discipline for a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue captain whose comments concerning the Trayvon Martin case on his personal Facebook page have become the center of a major controversy.
Brian Beckmann asked on his Facebook page “whether our urban youths are victims of racist profiling or products of their failed, (expletive), ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents, but like Mrs. Corey, we speak only the truth. They’re just misunderstood little church going angels and the ghetto hoodie look doesn’t have anything to do with why people wonder if they’re about to get jacked by a thug.”