It was July 13,2012 when the attorney for George Zimmerman filed his motion to ask the Judge to recuse himself. The basis for that motion was rather unusual. Usually a motion for recusal is based upon some connection the judge has to the parties or lawyers in a case. For example, I once was involved in a wrongful death case in East Texas where the Judge was the father-in-law of the deceased. That Judge did recuse himself the day before the trial. The importance of having a disinterested judge was illustrated by the picture of the judge that hung on the courtroom wall behind the bench. That picture matched the image of the father-in-law of the deceased who sat on the front row of the audience section of the court room. I’m sure the jury never made the connection between the Plaintiff in the case who shared the same last name as the name that appeared on the name plate on the front of the bench.
In twelve years of practicing trial law I never saw a motion to recuse because the judge perceived that a party to the case had lied while under oath, while on the witness stand. In a criminal case where the judge is assigned the task of setting bail, it is required of the judge to listen to all testimony and assess the credibility of the witness. If the judge finds any testimony to lack credibility, it is appropriate, and necessary, for the judge to take that into account when setting bail. When Zimmerman asserted that Judge Lester should withdraw from the case he did it on the basis that the Judge could not be fair and impartial, due to the Judge’s impression of Zimmerman after his dishonest testimony.
Judge Lester has now officially denied Zimmerman’s motion. Determining that a party to a case is a liar, does not make the judge “biased.” There is a difference between “bias” and “competency” at assessing the truthfulness of a party or witness. Any competent judge would reach the conclusion that George and Shellie Zimmerman lied. If he didn’t trust anything that Zimmermans said after that date, it would not be an indication of “bias,” but of competency.