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Shellie Zimmerman Plea Deal (Update – Plea Deal docs added)

Shellie Zimmerman Plea Deal (Update – Plea Deal docs added)

We have detailed before the perjury charge against George Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie, based on her testimony during a bail hearing as to their assets.

I’ve pointed out that legally the charge was weak because perjury requires an affirmative misstatement of a material fact, and many of her answers, while evasive and misleading, did not rise to that level.  Many of the questions at issue were ambiguous and called for opinionated characterizations.

Perhaps recognizing the weakness of the case, it appears that the prosecution has agreed to a plea deal. (Update: Plea Deal docs embedded at bottom of post.)

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Shellie will plead guilty to a lesser count of perjury, and will receive a sentence of one year probation:

Shellie Zimmerman, the wife of acquitted murder suspect George Zimmerman, will today plead guilty to a less serious form of perjury in a plea deal that will require her to serve one year of probation.

It was a negotiated deal, designed to leave her with no criminal record. The 26-year-old was a nursing student nearly done with her schooling at the time of her arrest. Had she been found guilty of a felony — the perjury charge she was facing — she would have been banned from applying to become a nurse for three years.

The deal also requires her to write a letter of apology to Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr., the judge to whom she was accused of lying, and to serve 100 hours of community service.

The official charge filed against Shellie Zimmerman is perjury during an official proceeding – of lying during one of her husband’s bond hearings last year. That’s a third-degree felony, which carries a possible five-year prison term.

Update: The Orlando Sentinel has updated its story, now that the plea deal was accepted in court:

Circuit Judge Marlene Alva accepted the plea during a brief hearing at the Seminole County criminal courthouse in Sanford.

It was a negotiated deal, designed to avoid a felony conviction. The 26-year-old was a nursing student nearly done with her schooling at the time of her arrest. Had she been found guilty of a felony — the perjury charge she was facing — she would have been banned from applying to become a nurse for three years.

Shellie Zimmerman Plea Deal

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Comments

I have two issues with this:
1) How does a guilty plea leave her without a criminal record?
b)Given how horribly weak the case against her is, I would hope she is doing this against the advice of her attorney. Perjury is a crime of moral turpitude. Having that conviction on her record will cause her problems for the rest of her life, especially in a nursing career.

It’s a shame the persecutors have won this one, when she should never have been charged in the first place.

    sequester in reply to riposte3. | August 28, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Sorry, she has already pleaded guilty. See the Orlando Sentienel. The plea to Perjury when not in an official proceeding is a misdemeanor. Of course the proceeding was an official proceeding so the deal means the prosecution gave up.

    When she completes probation the conviction will be expunged. There will be no record of a conviction for a crime of moral turpitude. Sometimes, discretion is better than valor. Prisons are full of innocent people who wanted to take their case to a jury.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to sequester. | August 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Expunged or not, this is still an outrage.

      Maybe they just don’t have the money to take it to trial. If that’s the case, then chalk up another travesty in this entire case.

      riposte3 in reply to sequester. | August 28, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      “When she completes probation the conviction will be expunged.”

      I see. That’s something with FL law I was unaware of. Here in VA, a conviction cannot be expunged – even a conviction for something as minor as spitting on the sidewalk (yes, that’s actually a crime – a Class 4 Misdemeanor) will stay on your record for life.

      With the expungement, I can’t really blame her for taking it. But, like JackRussellTerrierist said, it’s still an outrage that she was charged at all.

      I think that this is supposed to be that the guilty plea, as well as the charge will be dismissed, not expunged.

      A dismissal acts as if the charge was brought, but the case was dismissed for whatever reason. The record of charges being brought still exists.

      To have an offense expunged is something completely different, and acts upon a record as if the charge was never brought in the first place.

      Usually you cannot get a charge expunged until a certain period of time has elapsed after the charge has been dismissed (and sometimes for certain pleas or for crimes of moral turpitude, there is often no expungement available).

      For example, if a first time Defendant is offered “Pre-Trial Diversion” in Texas (aka a guilty plea with a mini-probation, after which the case is dismissed), expungement of the offense is not available. EVER. This is because a first time Defendant is only supposed to have ONE chance at “Pre-Trial Diversion” and if there was an expungement of the offense, he could then claim that he should be granted PTD on the grounds that he has “never” been charged with another offense.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Chuck Skinner. | August 28, 2013 at 9:56 pm

        The articles say expunged.
        The way the comments in media were made suggested it would be expunged.

          So called “journalists” make for horribly bad commentary on the law. Largely this is true because they don’t take the time to learn what they’re talking/writing about, and because they have a common tendency to use terms with vastly different meanings interchangeably, thus confusing the very people they are supposed to be informing.

          They then get offended when someone says “stop using terms improperly because it makes you look like an idiot.”

        sequester in reply to Chuck Skinner. | August 29, 2013 at 5:54 am

        In this case, adjudication of guilt has been withheld. See the Florida Bar for details of the consequences of such an arrangement. The salient point is that she will have no criminal record and can legally answer “NO” if asked if she has ever been convicted of a crime.

          Accurate, but partially not the point I was griping about.

          What the court is doing here is called “Deferred Adjudication” (or as Florida calls it “Withhold of Adjudication”). If Shellie is a good girl, does her community service, pays her court costs, checks in with her probation officer and eats her vegetables, at the end of the probationary period the case will be dismissed by the court being divested of jurisdiction to hear the case.

          The bigger problem is that a lot of employers have gotten smart about this structure, and now ask “have you ever plead guilty or nolo contendere to a criminal charge, or have you ever been accused of a criminal charge.

          Without an Expungement of the offense, Shellie Zimmerman will have to answer “yes” to those questions, regardless of the fact that she does not have a criminal record.

          From the article you linked: ” In addition, the sealing and expunction statutes also preclude the removal from the public record of a number of offenses regardless of the withholding of adjudication. The most notable offenses are those that involve acts of domestic violence. Other disqualifying charges include arson, aggravated assault and battery, illegal use of explosives, child and elderly abuse, hijacking and car jacking, kidnaping, homicide and manslaughter, sexual offenses, communications fraud, offenses by public officers or employees, robbery, burglary of a dwelling, stalking, and attempts or conspiracies to commit the underlying offenses.

          So, it appears that expunction is available for perjury, but I would be very surprised to see it as “automatically” given for this particular plea bargain.

Community service sets her up to be in a known place at a known time and that may well lead to her being harmed or killed by a Black Grievance Industry-indoctrinated extremist.

    Ragspierre in reply to VotingFemale. | August 28, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Not so much. She could do her bit by manning a phone at a rape crisis, suicide crisis, or other center. Since she’s a nursing student, she could man a public health information board.

    Lots of stuff.

      tencz65 in reply to Ragspierre. | August 28, 2013 at 11:11 am

      Rags i am glad you put in your 2 cents . I too was worried for her . Had No idea all that was available.
      Hope she’s safe , inside !!

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tencz65. | August 28, 2013 at 11:52 am

        Is legalinsurrection becoming the bew Rush Limbaugh?
        I wish I had bold for this comment.

        DITTO!

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to tencz65. | August 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm

        Rags was our resident member who originally condemned and criticized George and Shellie both for this incident. He supported the perjury charge against her. Of course, he’s changed his tune as the case developed.

          Well, that is a lie.

          I still say Shellie and George did wrong.

          They did. As O’Mara acknowledged.

          I also said they hurt themselves badly. They did.

          I ALSO said if they were my clients, I would have fired them. I have done it before. I won’t lie. I won’t represent people who do it court.

          Call it a flaw.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | August 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm

          LOL! Ya’ call it a lie, then go on to admit it.

          So, by calling it a lie, you lie, even though you say you don’t lie, which we can see is a lie!

          LOL! 🙂

          Rags I read you for entertainment…occasionally. You’re far less then what you think your are.
          Aside, I would never hire a lawyer who first convicts his clients

          Your lie is about my “changed tune”.

          People can go back and look it up.

          I invite them to.

          I also invite them to look up your catalog of overtly racist remarks.

          Happy to compare.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | August 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      None of those assignments would protect her, although it would be better than her working on a trash pick-up crew along a highway, thus subjecting her to a drive-by killing.

      She would still be vulnerable coming and going, as well as being in the presence of other people and in-custodies who know who she is.

      The best assignment would be answering phones or assisting in the medical department or something like that IN police/jail department buildings on an on-call basis rather than on a schedule established in advance.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to VotingFemale. | August 28, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    If that happened, it seems to me that GZ would have grounds for a huge lawsuit against whichever stellar government agency had custody of her at the time, especially if her attorney sends them written warning/documentation of the threats in advance.

So will the judge ask Mrs. Zimmerman whether she agreed to this plea deal like her husband’s judge asked him whether he personally agreed not to testify?

    Ragspierre in reply to snopercod. | August 28, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I would say yes. It is a formality that has to be on the record, from what I’ve observed watching criminal proceedings waiting for my turn in court.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to snopercod. | August 28, 2013 at 11:54 am

    She probably waited for the appropriate moment though.
    It’s de rigeur.

    serfer1962 in reply to snopercod. | August 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Snoopercod…all Plea Deals require the defendant to state that it is they who agreed to it not their lawyer. That they do not agree just to reduce further court process.

    Nobody looking at $20K lawyers bill, to be uograded at a later date, would tell the truth and just agree to the damn thing
    The Lawyer benefits with cash
    The Prosecutor gets a gong for conviction
    The blemish on the soul of the victim of legalese gets a temporary stain
    The world is saved again for the legal sharks to hunt some more

Henry Hawkins | August 28, 2013 at 10:12 am

I’m sorry, but the only reason she got this break is because she’s white.

    The only reason she was charged is because she is married to George Zimmerman!

    Nuts. Plea deals are routine, most especially when the case was weak in the first place.

    kermitrulez in reply to Henry Hawkins. | August 28, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Henry, please provide the long list of black people with felony convictions for perjury. Oh wait, Florida rarely charges perjury and drops many of those cases. Angela Corey, however, has filed a large number of perjury charges, especially in contrast to her colleagues. Why? Because it fits her pattern of wildly overcharging to get a plea.

    I’ll save you the trouble of going to the site though. “From 2009, when she took office, through June 30, she successfully prosecuted nearly three dozen perjury suspects in Duval County.

    Most were guilty of lying while filling out workers’ compensation forms, making insurance claims or filing police reports. A far smaller number — 10 — were witnesses who lied in court, records from her office show.

    Sentences imposed on those 10 people generally ranged from 12 months of probation to 13 months in state prison. One defendant, also a burglar, was given five years of prison time.”

    Now please tell me how this case’s outcome is a deviation from the norm in any way.

    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-02-18/news/os-shellie-zimmerman-perjury-stats-20130218_1_shellie-zimmerman-perjury-case-perjury-charge

      Henry Hawkins in reply to kermitrulez. | August 28, 2013 at 11:37 am

      George was acquitted because he’s white (or Cherokee, I can’t recall right now), and his wife got a deal because she’s white too. It’s all very racist. Yay, Obama!

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to kermitrulez. | August 28, 2013 at 11:58 am

      It’s probably not so much overcharging, but setting up perjury traps for friends and relatives. “We got your wife dead to rights. Now plea or we will send her to jail.”

        That’s called Extortion and it’s a Disbarrable offense.

        If any attorney should do something of that nature, in the presence of any other attorney (which MUST be present for the Prosecution to speak to a represented Defendant), the other attoney, usually the Defendant’s attorney, is REQUIRED by the ethics rules of EVERY state bar to file an ethical complaint against the offending Prosecuting attorney for misconduct.

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Chuck Skinner. | August 28, 2013 at 10:29 pm

          Only if done overtly. I think that if you examine Corey and BDLR’s MO it was to make the trial as expensive for Zimmerman as possible. Sort of like a civil litigant making their trial expensive as possible to force a settlement.

    someones going to regret not using the sarc tag 🙂

Ah yes, so now unless Florida goes after that incompetent prosecutor Corey for her misconduct and her basic manufacture of those ridiculous charges against G. Z., Florida will stand accused of being prejudiced against Hispanic’s of a pale tinge, while allowing p!$# poor incapable attorneys at (Dis) law to roam freely. Absolutely wonderful.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Doug Wright. | August 28, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Incompetent? She’s not incompetent. You disserve mere incompetents by casting her M.O. among their failures. She’s evil, vicious and manipulative, and very successful at it – hardly incompetent. In my estimation, she’s a borderline psychopath.

Of course she took the plea “deal.” Otherwise, she would have had to spend a small fortune to defend this spurious charge in court. Sometimes you gotta fold ’em, but it’s a damn shame that the poor girl has to go through any of this.

I was running on the treadmill at the gym when I saw this come over the TV. Hopped off and jumped on the gym’s computer, and saw the Prof already beat me to it. 🙂

This is great news for Shellie, a better deal in many ways than getting an acquittal after a lengthy and costly jury trial, given the “no permanent record” provision of the plea deal.

100 hours community service is probably what George and Shellie do for a relaxed weekend. 🙂

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 28, 2013 at 11:56 am

    That’s what I thought when I saw the 100 hrs CS. Given how much of it the Zimmerman’s have always done, the judge could’ve reduced that to community service ‘time served’.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    It maybe good news for Shellie realistically, but, also realistically, the charge should never have been brought. The entire matter is an affront to anybody with any sense of fairness.

      Sometimes, “in the halls of justice, the only justice is in the halls.” This deal was worked out in the halls outside the court room. Among the various paths that events could have taken this is likely the least arduous for the Zimmermans. It’s a real break for them, and I’m glad they got it.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm

        I agree it’s a break for the Zs in the context of her being charged, but not in the context of her being wrongfully charged. The bottom line is she offered to the court to get in touch with the person who had the exact figures and the court turned her down or ignored it, thus setting her up for the charges.

        Isn’t there a legal term for a situation of a person or entity deliberately creating a scenario through which they can take a punitive action against another?

        Lay some Latin on me, brother! 🙂

MouseTheLuckyDog | August 28, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I wonder if she will be conciling black yuts for her service.

Well, when you think about it, what group MORE needs some good counseling? I’d do it if I had the time.

Win-win, seems to me, so long as it is done safely.

MouseTheLuckyDog | August 28, 2013 at 2:42 pm

A couple of things about the story bother me.
Shellie asked for permission to leave the state if she gets a job out of state. The probation office has to sign off on it.
She also asked to serve her community service at her church. The judge said it depended on whatever board oversaw such stuff.

Does Angela Corey have influence in either of the two organizations to make things hard for Shellie?

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | August 28, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    If Corey doesn’t have that influence at this moment in time, she will exercise her usual corrupt M.O. to get it.

    serfer1962 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | August 28, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Mouse…Having gone through this for turning in a broken rifle for police disposal and wound up convicted of something, experience says the judge is out of the question.
    Its the probation guy who handles all this. He has the court order and the requirements to check off. He also has a list of Community Services placements. If not on the list Shellie should ask. Best bet is to go to probation with her choices in hand and approved by them for the probation guy to work on.

Hmmm. I wonder if she could teach a firearms class for her community service??? To help people apply for concealed carry permits.

Squeeky Fromm
Girl Reporter

I understand why she is taking the plea deal, but she shouldn’t. She should be fighting it. If the decision went the wrong way, there is the option of appeal. You can’t appeal a plea deal.

    She should be fighting it.

    It’s easy to be brave and “stand on principle” when it’s not your life, your future, and your financial solvency at stake.

    I’m pretty sure that if I were in her place, I’d have taken the plea as well. It still sucks, but it’s kind of the least worst option. It’s time for her and George to draw a line under this and try to get on with their lives as best they can.

Let’s not forget, this is also a crushing defeat for John Guy. He started all this with a murder 2 charge and a felony perjury charge.

He ended up with an outright acquittal on the murder charge (after only 16 hours of deliberations) and a misdemeanor perjury plea that disappears in a year.

Not much to show for 16 month of work. 🙂

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 28, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I think it’s more of a defeat for Angela Corey then John Guy.
    I don’t like the guy, if I may be a bit vulgar, I think he leads with his dick instead of his brain — or rather his attempt to convince everyone in the room he has the biggest dick. In this case though he had the sense to cut his loses.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | August 28, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      Corey has probably severed his “ahem” and has it stuffed and mounted on a plaque hanging on her office wall by now….along with Bernie’s.

    Not much to show for 16 month of work.

    And a million or so dollars of taxpayers’ money :-/ #grrr

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Amy in FL. | August 28, 2013 at 6:00 pm

      More after the defense bill is approved, and the sanctions hearing turns over some costs.

        Let’s hope.

        Sorry, FL tax payers, but you picked these loons (or, at least, you picked the loons that picked these loons).

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Yes, very few of us picked Corey — those of us who live in one of the 19 judicial circuits she doesn’t represent had no say — but I plead guilty to having voted for Scott 🙁

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | August 28, 2013 at 10:40 pm

        Amy maybe you can answer this better then I. AFAIU whatever trial costs Corey’s bunch, get picked up be Seminole. But do Brady violation sanctions get picked by Seminole or Jacksonville. Why should Seminole pick up the bill for Jacksonville’s slimyness?

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 29, 2013 at 12:04 am

    “Not much to show for 16 month of work.”

    Not much prosecutorially (is that a word?), but major gains politically for the left.

      Perhaps. Perhaps not.

      Whether this creates major gains for the left will be shown through the amount of legislative traction that the left can get on issues related to TradeMark (er… Trayvon Martin).

      Repeal of “Stand Your Ground” already went down in flames, when less than 42% of the Legislature was willing to hold a “special session” to even debate repealing the law (which would have failed anyway at legislative vote).

      The Florida politicians know which side of the bread is buttered, and there is no traction amongst the 65+ age group for ANYTHING that the Black Grievance Industry and the Race Hustlers are pushing.

      Actually, largely the Race Hustlers are being widely mocked, if not well covered in the Moron Surplus Media for their failed attempt to turn Trayvon Martin into a civil rights rallying point, especially because so much data has been brought forward on his thuggery, drug use, weapons possession and criminal dealings.

      Anyone who tries to paint a picture of “Saint Trayvon” in the presence of someone who followed the case closely without an agenda is likely to be shamed in any sort of reality-based argument Yes, I know Liberals don’t live in reality. There are some people who can’t be saved.

      In short, the whole Trayvon Martin episode has created quite a backlash against the BGI, and shown one more episode of hypocrisy in the so called “leaders” of the Black Community.

    Spiny Norman in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    But still… VICTORY!

    /twittersphere

What I see here is a frantic attempt by Corey to tie down George Zimmerman for a year and prevent him from escaping the various horde of leftists who have sworn to kill him. A Not Guilty verdict on this would have left the two of them free to simply leave the United States for a much safer location, and left Corey without *any* guilty verdict at all from this disaster.

    platypus in reply to georgfelis. | August 30, 2013 at 2:24 am

    I’m a little late here but wish to point out that there is nothing stopping them from leaving the country. Or the state, for that matter. Only felonies can get extradited between states and most of those are not. Out of the country — out of the jurisdiction. See e.g., Snowden.

    We had to ask pretty please with sugar except Putin doesn’t do sweets. It would be the same with these two.

[…] Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has the text of the plea agreement at his post on this development.  In addition, the Conservative Treehouse […]

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