Mark O’Mara, the attorney George Zimmerman hired yesterday before turning himself over to authorities, is about to be thrust into the national hot seat. But as CNN reports, while he’s not a household-name lawyer, he’s spent some time in front of television cameras. He’s been in the headlines locally for his defense of Shamir Suber, who was charged with second-degree murder for a hit-and-run involving a 20-year-old woman. O’Mara, who has been a member of the Florida bar for more than 30 years and formerly worked as a prosecutor, also did some TV commentary during Florida’s last big national media brouhaha, the Casey Anthony trial.
But the most recent case he’s offered television commentary on? George Zimmerman’s, as recently as Tuesday, when he told Central Florida’s WKMG Channel 6 that the press conference Zimmerman’s former attorneys held to announce they were dropping their client was “problematic.”
Last month, O’Mara told WKMG that the shooting could be legally justified under Florida’s “stand your ground law,” which allows people to use deadly force anywhere they feel a reasonable threat of death or serious injury.
“Other people call it the license to murder statue because it doesn’t require actions to avoid the confrontation,” he said.
“If you can present evidence or at least your own testimony that (you) felt in fear that he was going to commit great bodily injury or death, that is what kicks in the statutory protection that you’re allowed to respond with deadly force.”
O’Mara’s case will be an easier road to trod than that of the prosecution. Under Florida law, to get a second-degree murder conviction, special prosecutor Angela Corey will need to prove that Zimmerman was acting with a “depraved mind.” But the case could be thrown out before then; under the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, if O’Mara can show it was “more likely than not” that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense, the judge may toss the case before trial — and the much higher burden of proof for the defense that comes along with it.