We are learning this morning that George Zimmerman possessed a substantial amount of money at the time of his bond hearing which was not disclosed to the court. Zimmerman's attorney plans to disclose this information to the court at a hearing today. In light of this development, many are wondering whether the court will remand Zimmerman back into custody.
Under Florida law, "good cause" must be shown in order to modify a criminal defendant's bond. Fla. R. Crim. Pro. 3.131(d). In this respect, the prosecution must prove "a change in circumstances or additional evidence not made known" at the initial bond hearing. E.g., Burton v. Felton, 625 So. 2d 1334 (Fla. 3d DCA 1993). To this end, Florida courts have tended to focus on changed circumstances or additional evidence that demonstrates an increased financial ability to post bond. Sikes v. McMillian, 564 So.2d 1206 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990) (holding that bond modification based on subsequent information alleging drug charges was improper because there were no profits which defendant might have used to post bond).
With that being said, this is a big deal. Knowledge of this money could very well have made a difference to the judge who presided over George Zimmerman's bond hearing. Moreover, the judge is unlikely to take kindly to the fact that this information emerged first via national news sources rather than in the courtroom.
This development has also led the Martin family attorney and others to attack George Zimmerman's character on grounds of dishonesty. Although character evidence is generally inadmissible in a criminal trial, a testifying witness's character for veracity is always at issue. With that being said, this incident could cast a long shadow if Zimmerman testifies at his murder trial. Will be interesting to see how this unfolds today.