Shellie Zimmerman, wife of George Zimmerman, Filed for divorce Thursday. Whilst this will surely result in the end of his marriage, it could also signify more legal problems for a man who was already cleared of a second degree murder charge.
The couple apparently had been argueing since before George Zimmerman shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Shellie Zimmerman stated that she was not even home on the evening that the killing took place, as she had gone to stay at her parents’ house since the night before because of an argument between her and her husband.
Shellie Zimmerman has herself faced her share of troubles with the law. In truth, she has helped George above and beyond any measure of reason, and certainly outside of the scope of what marriage should entail, and that is why she was charged with perjury.
After George Zimmerman was arrested, his wife lied to the court about their finances by saying they were indigent, whilst being in control of over $150,000 that was donated to his legal fund. Because of this, Shellie was sentenced to one year probation, and 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty to perjury.
Legally, George Zimmerman does not need to worry about getting arrested anytime soon. After his acquittal, however, he did not get his gun back, because federal authorities claimed it, among other things, as evidence for a federal case. This is not insignificant, and brings memories of the Rodney King case. Rodney King was viciously beaten by several police officers who were later acquitted in state court. The verdict in that case incited riots throughout California, most notoriously in East Los Angeles. A few months later, four of the officers that beat Rodney King were arrested again, and two were convicted on federal charges relating to that incident.
So what are the new legal problems for George Zimmerman? For one thing his wife wants to divorce him. George Zimmerman’s biggest legal problem yet might not even be his two speeding tickets since his acquittal, nor the PR disaster he brought upon himself when he toured the factory that manufactures the same model gun that he used to kill Trayvon Martin, which even George’s attorney said was an ill-advised move. There is something called spousal privilege, and while the laws that apply to it vary from state to state, the divorce makes it easier for Shellie to testify against George if she is willing to do so.
Let us examine the marriage between Shellie and George further. In her divorce petition, Shellie alleged that since George was released, he only stayed at their home three or four nights. Also, while she attended his trial, George never visited her. Shellie claimed that she moved out of their home on August 13, and described her relationship to George as “irretrievably broken” in court documents.
An op/ed by Milton Ruiz