Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was charged with second degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was formally arraigned this afternoon.
In a motion to continue the case, Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara explains simply that he “needs additional time to prepare.” The motion also indicates that the state is not objecting to the request. The law entitles felony defendants a trial within 175 days of being charged, but they often waive that right to give their lawyers as much time as possible to prepare. O’Mara waived Zimmerman’s appearance at the hearing and filed a written not-guilty plea, making the actual arraignment a formality.
Zimmerman, O’Mara and the lead prosecutor in the case didn’t attend, and the arraignment took less than 30 seconds, a court administration official said. Judge Kenneth Lester accepted Zimmerman’s plea and scheduled the case to be heard on the docket May 8.