Key court hearing set in George Zimmerman case
Updated On: May 28 2013 08:57:17 AM EDT
With jury selection scheduled to get underway in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial in less than two weeks, prosecutors and defense attorneys will be in court Tuesday morning as the judge considers more than a dozen motions.
[VIEW BELOW: Tony Pipitone live-tweets from inside courtroom]
Zimmerman will be asking the judge to postpone the trial for an unspecified period, claiming his attorneys need more time to research one of the state's witnesses.
Dr. Alan Reich, a speech identification expert, believes screams heard on a 911 call are not Zimmerman shouting, "Help," but rather Trayvon Martin yelling, "Stop." The defense will argue they must investigate the legitimacy of Reich's claims, as well as his abilities and background experience.
In order to limit pretrial publicity about the case, prosecutors will also ask the judge to impose a gag order on all attorneys and witnesses. Two previous gag order requests have been denied.
Zimmerman's attorney believe a better way to find a fair jury will be to sequester all 500 prospective jurors. If the judge approves, the final six jurors and alternates will remain sequestered throughout the trial, which the defense believes will last four to six weeks.
In addition, the defense will ask the judge to allow jurors to visit The Retreat at Twin Lakes subdivision in Sanford, where Zimmerman shot and killed Martin. Zimmerman's lawyers believe the field trip is necessary to give jurors a geographical understanding of where witnesses saw and heard certain evidence.
During Tuesday's hearing, prosecutors are expected to ask the judge to bar jurors from hearing certain information about Martin's background, including school records, text messages suggesting he was a fighter, and toxicology results indicating the teen had smoked marijuana before his death.
The state argues such details are irrelevant to the case, but defense lawyers believe that information shows Martin's state of mind the night they claim the teen ambushed Zimmerman, prompting the neighborhood watchman to shoot in self-defense.
Prosecutors do not want jurors to hear certain information about Zimmerman. They will ask the judge to prohibit any mention of Zimmerman passing a "Computerized Voice Stress Analysis" test.
The state also does not want the defense to ask police officers or other witnesses their opinion of whether or not Zimmerman should have been arrested after the shooting.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty.