Trayvon Martin: Florida governor to name task force to look at gun law
(CNN) — Florida’s governor will announce Thursday morning, April 19th who will be part of a task force that will look at the state’s gun laws in the aftermath of the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
In March, as outrage was growing about the shooting, Governor Rick Scott said that Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll would lead the task force but said he would take time to figure out some of the other members.
“After listening to many concerned citizens in recent days, I will call for a Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection to investigate how to make sure a tragedy such as this does not occur in the future,” Scott said at the time.
Also Thursday, Sanford, the city where the shooting took place, has scheduled a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. to provide members of the public an opportunity to discuss the incident, according to the Sanford mayor’s office.
George Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch volunteer fatally shot Martin on February 26, a killing he has said was in self-defense. The case has stirred civil rights activists nationwide and drawn intense publicity.
A bond hearing is scheduled for Friday for Zimmerman and the new judge in the case, Kenneth Lester Jr., will preside over the hearing, court officials said.
The previous judge in the case, Seminole Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler, approved a motion Wednesday to disqualify her after it was revealed that her husband works with a CNN legal analyst who has commented on the case.
Recksiedler said in her decision that while the findings on each basis were “legally insufficient” for disqualification, “the cumulative effect of the events and the totality of the circumstances provides a legally sufficient basis for this court to grant the motion to disqualify,” a statement from the court said.
Wednesday’s order directed the case to be returned to the chief judge for reassignment, who in turn ordered that Lester be appointed to preside over the Zimmerman case.
Lester has served on the circuit court since 1996. He is currently assigned to the Criminal Division but has previously served in the Juvenile, Delinquency, Dependency, Probate, Guardianship, and Mental Health divisions of the circuit court.
A 2011 poll by the Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers rated Lester the top judge in the county in terms of legal knowledge and diligence. He had the second-highest overall score among Seminole County circuit judges in that survey, which also ranked the jurists for impartiality, freedom from bias and demeanor.
CNN’s Kelly Frank and Matt Smith contributed to this report.