Judge to stay on in George Zimmerman case

George Zimmerman charged with murder in death of Trayvon Martin

Published On: Aug 01 2012 12:29:11 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 01 2012 01:22:04 PM EDT
Ken Lester
SANFORD, Fla. -

The judge in the George Zimmerman case will not recuse himself, ruling that the defense motion asking him to step down was "legally insufficient."

In a statement signed and released Wednesday morning, Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. wrote, "The Defendant's Verified Motion to Disqualify Trial Judge is hereby denied as legally insufficient."

It was not immediately known if Zimmerman will appeal the decision.

Zimmerman sought the judge's recusal, claiming Lester showed bias against him in a ruling after a bond hearing.

In a motion, Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's attorney, wrote, "the Court (made) gratuitous, disparaging remarks about Mr. Zimmerman's character."

The motion also said that "the Court has created a reasonable fear in Mr. Zimmerman that this Court is biased against him" and "he cannot receive a fair and impartial trial or hearing."

The state attorney's office objected to Zimmerman's motion.

Lester also wrote that although he has to legally accept Zimmerman's allegations as true, they were still insufficient for him to step down.

Zimmerman, 28, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed while walking through a Sanford neighborhood in February. 

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.

Meanwhile, Lester will hear another case involving Florida's "stand your ground" law, which has come under fire in the wake of Martin's death.

Lester will hear the case of 43-year-old Anita Smithey, who claims she shot her husband while he was raping her in their Oviedo home on May 4, 2010.