The judge in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case agreed this morning to let the defendant travel to Orange County but only to go to his lawyers' offices.
Defense attorney Don West this morning asked Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester to let Zimmerman, 28, move out of Seminole County.
Lester said no, that that entailed too much planning and coordination with local law enforcement agencies, who are required to monitor Zimmerman's whereabouts 24 hours a day.
Last month, Lester agreed to let Zimmerman out of the Seminole County Jail, provided he post $1 million in bail, wear a satellite tracking device, check in with law enforcement several times a week and stay within the county's confines.
Seminole is where Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder, shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, on Feb. 26.
Zimmerman was a Neighborhood Watch volunteer and told police that Trayvon punched him in the nose, knocking him to the ground then got on top of him and began banging his head on a sidewalk.
The defendant was not at today's hearing, which lasted just eight minutes.
During it, Lester said Zimmerman could travel to Orange County to meet with his lawyers but could go nowhere else and could not leave Seminole County for any other reason.
"Right now, it's not going to be carte blanche," the judge said.
He did not rule out the possibility of Zimmerman eventually moving out of Seminole but said that would require a detailed plan of where he'd move and a clear explanation of why he should be permitted to move.
After the hearing, defense attorney Mark O'Mara said he might ask the judge to allow Zimmerman to move to another state. Confining him to one county, O'Mara said, makes it easier for anyone who is trying to track Zimmerman down to find him.
"I don't want that to happen," O'Mara said.
Zimmerman remains in hiding, O'Mara said, living in a small place and, in general, not going outside.
"If it were me, I'd probably go stir crazy," the lawyer said.
Lester ruled in favor of Zimmerman, at least partially, on another matter today: He won't allow the defendant's medical records to become public.
He said he would review them in private then later listen to lawyers argue about them in a closed court session.
O'Mara had asked the judge to quash a state subpoena for Zimmerman's medical records from an Altamonte Springs doctor's office.
O'Mara described the subpoena as overly broad, seeking irrelevant information and a breach of his client's privacy even if they disclose only a "hang nail, a bunion."
Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda argued in court paperwork that he needs to know more about injuries Zimmerman says he suffered the night he shot and killed Trayvon, who was walking through Zimmerman's Sanford neighborhood and whom Zimmerman described to police as suspicious.
O'Mara released three pages of Zimmerman's medical records from the same doctor's office several weeks ago. They show that the day after the shooting, a physician's assistant diagnosed Zimmerman with a fractured nose, two black eyes, two cuts to the back of his head and a back injury.
An appeals court is still considering whether to boot Lester off the case. The state late yesterday filed a 26-page pleading, urging the Fifth District Court of Appeal to leave him in place.
Assistant Attorney General Pamela Koller wrote that Lester gave Zimmerman "a well-deserved tongue lashing" in a July 5 bond order in which the judge accused the defendant of manipulating the court system by failing to disclose that he and his wife had $130,000 and a spare passport.
But in the same order, Koller pointed out, Lester ruled in Zimmerman's favor, granting his request to be released on bail.
A judge who does that, Koller wrote, has not provided clear evidence that he is biased or will be unfair to the defendant in the future.
Also today, de la Rionda handed over to O'Mara the most recent batch of state evidence, according to court paperwork.
It includes Trayvon's cell phone records, 217 photos from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, eight photos taken by a private investigator hired by Trayvon's family, Zimmerman's school records from Manassas, Va., and eight Seminole County Sheriff's Office incident reports from the night Trayvon was shot.
Most of those -- not including the cell phone records -- should become public in the next week or so.
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