George Zimmerman is currently facing criminal charges of second-degree murder relating to the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a gated Florida community earlier this year. We’ve previously discussed self defense and North Carolina’s Stand Your Ground Law on this blog before; with this post we’d like to focus on the reason Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie Zimmerman, is now facing perjury charges.
If you’ve been charged with a crime, if you’ve been arrested for a crime or if you are in jail awaiting trial on criminal charges, it is important that you speak only with your criminal defense attorney when discussing details related to your case. Although conversations between spouses may generally be considered privileged or confidential and afforded certain protections under the law, jailhouse conversations, including those between husband and wife, are not necessarily confidential.
Therein lies the problem, or at least part of the problem, for Zimmerman’s wife. Prior to George Zimmerman’s bail bond hearing, he spoke with his wife about their finances during a call from the jailhouse. Transcripts reveal that the couple discussed paying off bills and transferring assets. Almost $50,000 was transferred to George Zimmerman’s sister and another $74,000 was transferred to Shellie herself before the April 20th bond hearing.
On April 24th, after George Zimmerman was released on bond, $85,000 was transferred from Shellie Zimmerman to George Zimmerman.
However, at the April 20th hearing, Shellie testified that was unaware of any financial assets that her husband would be able to access to assist in his own defense. She also denied any knowledge of how much money had been raised on a website built to collect donations for Zimmerman’s defense. She now faces perjury charges and is scheduled to be arraigned on July 31.
Lesson #1: Discuss the details of your case, even if they may not seem related, with your attorney.
Lesson #2: Don’t lie to the court.
Source: Digtriad, “Zimmerman’s Wife Released After Perjury Arrest,” June 13, 2012