steffanie rivers

Steffanie Rivers

*George Zimmerman is back behind bars again.

A Florida judge revoked the $150,000 bond set for Zimmerman’s second degree murder charge in the Trayvon Martin shooting after prosecutors said Zimmerman and his wife lied about how much cash they had available to pay for his bond.

During Zimmerman’s bond hearing in April, apparently the couple didn’t disclose the $200,000 in donations collected in a PayPal account to help pay for his defense. First, if Zimmerman collected $200,000 in a PayPal account PayPal’s five (5%) percent fee it collects on every transaction amounted to $10,000, but I digress.

Secondly, for every deposit into a PayPal account Zimmerman would have received an email or a mobile text alerting him to the fact. So there is no way he would not have known how much was in the account.

Although everyone has a legal right to a bond hearing, the amount of the bond is supposed to be determined by (1) the severity of the alleged offense; (2) prior criminal history; (3) whether the alleged offender is a flight risk and (4) public safety concerns. That is, if he is believed to pose a threat to society or if harm might come to him because of his perceived guilt by the public.

In Zimmerman’s case (1) he killed Martin; (2) he had prior arrests (but no charges, hmmm) for domestic violence and resisting a police officer and (3) the court might have had reason to be concerned for his safety because of his perceived guilt by the public. Still he was allowed to post a bond. Whether or not Zimmerman could afford the amount of his bound should not have been a concern to the court, but apparently it was.

Thousands of people are denied bond everyday for the very reasons already stated. And for those who can’t afford to pay the bond they are granted, well that’s why bail bondsmen exist. And for those who can’t even afford to pay the ten (10%) percent to the bail bondsmen, judges normally don’t go out of their way to accommodate them. They are forced to wait it out in jail.

The fact that Zimmerman was allowed to negotiate the amount of his bond – with little to no concern for his prior criminal history – and the lack of due diligence by prosecutors who didn’t bother to read a news wire about this PayPal account are further examples of how the criminal justice system shows favoritism depending on the offender.

If Zimmerman lied about the money and only turned in one passport knowing that he had a second one his credibility has been damaged and his bond should be revoked. How much his credibility has been damaged remains to be seen. The verdict in the John Edwards case proves that liars with no credibility can walk away free.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, TX metroplex. Send comments, questions and speaking requests to [email protected].