An attorney for George Zimmerman said in court Tuesday that he did not need a two-week immunity hearing in April to determine whether the defendant acted in self-defense under Florida's "stand your ground law."
Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, 17, during a neighborhood confrontation on Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla.
His defense has maintained that he shot Martin, who was unarmed, in self-defense.
The two-week hearing had been scheduled to determine whether Zimmerman could be exempt from culpability by a legal principle in Florida known as "stand your ground," in which a person is given immunity for using deadly force if he or she had a reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily injury.
In an immunity hearing, a judge would decide whether Zimmerman was protected by the stand-your-ground law. Zimmerman did not appear at the hearing, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Defense attorney Mark O'Mara has not given a detailed explanation for the move on a website set up for Zimmerman's legal defense, as has been his custom. But he told the judge he might like to integrate the stand-your-ground defense into Zimmerman's trial and told local reporters the move would give the defense more time to prepare."We decided to focus on the idea that George wants to have a jury of his peers decide his case," O'Mara told reporters, according to the Associated Press. "And it's going to be, I think, a more accepted result for everyone who has to accept the result -- that he gets an acquittal at trial, more so than an immunity hearing given by a judge."
Zimmerman's lawyers have long requested more time to prepare for the trial, which recently included a failed attempt to force the attorney for Martin's family to sit down for a deposition.
Nearly 70% of defendants using a stand-your-ground defense have gone free since the law passed in 2005, according to a Tampa Bay Times investigation. The same analysis found that the odds of proving a successful self-defense claim go up to 73% if the victim is black.