George Zimmerman Murder Trial Gets New Judge

04/19/2012 08:56 AM ET

George Zimmerman Murder Trial Gets New Judge - Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester, Jr. has been assigned to the George Zimmerman murder case. Lester, who’s been on the bench 15 years and has a great deal of experience with high-profile murder cases, was named the new judge on Wednesday.

It was originally given to Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler, but she recused herself Wednesday after Zimmerman’s attorney asked her to step aside because of a possible conflict of interest: Her husband is the law partner of Mark NeJame, who’s been hired to comment on the case for CNN.

All criminal cases in Seminole County are assigned by chance, based on a rotation system. Next up in that rotation was Circuit Judge John Galluzzo. He, though, could not accept the case because he formerly practiced law with Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara.

O’Mara is also the godfather of one of Galluzzo’s four children.

So Galluzzo stepped aside, passing the case to the next judge: Lester.

He has already made plans to preside at Zimmerman’s bond hearing. It’ll start at 9 a.m. Friday and be in Recksiedler’s courtroom, 5D at the Seminole Criminal Justice Center.

Dozens of news organizations are expected to be there. Zimmerman’s case has become a cause célèbre and one of the most racially divisive in the country.

He shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old Feb. 26, as the teenager walked through Zimmerman’s Sanford neighborhood. Critics accused Zimmerman of racial profiling and Sanford police of botching their investigation.

When police did not immediately arrest him, protesters took to the streets in cities across the country.

Special Prosecutor Angela Corey, the state attorney in Jacksonville, ordered Zimmerman’s arrest April 11 on a charge of second-degree murder.

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