The Christian Science Monitor offered some ideas:
Some legal experts following the case, however, were not surprised at the defense's decision to forego a "stand your ground" hearing, given normal legal maneuvering in a high-profile murder case.
One argument goes that Zimmerman's ultimate claim may not be "stand your ground" at all, since he technically was on the ground and unable to retreat any further at the moment he shot Trayvon. In that scenario, he could claim self-defense under pre-"stand your ground" laws.
A more likely scenario, says University of Florida law professor Bob Dekle, is that Mr. O'Mara doesn't want to go through a bench mini-trial and possibly tip off the prosecution about its strategy should the "stand your ground" plea fail.
Hmm. Some discussion of the law is here and here. The burden of proof does shift between the pre-trial hearing and the trial. At the hearing, the pre-ponderance of evidence must support a self-defense claim; at trial ,the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that self-defense was not in play. So conceivably, the same set of facts could lose in a hearing but lead to acquital at trial.
And if the defense is worried that the political pressure on the judge will weigh against dismissal, the pre-trial hearing might result only with the defense tipping its hand in order to generate headlines such as "Judge Rejects Zimmerman Self-Defense Claim". That sort of pre-trial publicity might not be helpful (I am not a high-priced jury consultant, but that is my guess).
TROUBLE IN PARADISE: Witness 8, aka "Dee Dee", seems to have a bit of a credibility problem:
Zimmerman's defense appeared to question the credibility of a teenage girl, identified only as Witness 8, who claims she was on the phone with Martin just moments before he was shot. Witness 8 is arguably the key witness in the upcoming trial.
Witness 8 told authorities that Martin told her that he was scared of a strange man following him. She also claimed that that after hearing the shooting over Martin's phone, she was hospitalized for trauma, a claim that prosecutors later admitted was false.
The defense wanted Judge Debra Nelson to question prosecutors about how they learned that this claim was not true, but Nelson refused. Defense attorney Donald West also asked the court for more information about the account she gave attorneys.
Jeralyn Merritt has an exhaustive post on Witness 8. Her post-shooting trauma and hospitalization was not inconsequential - it fact, it was the explanation for her failure to contact police or investigators for weeks after the shooting. Here is Matt Lauer of ABC interviewing Trayvon Martin's mother and family attorney Ben Crump:
LAUER: This is not a recorded phone call, Mrs. Fulton. The young lady--the police in Sanford asked anyone with information to come forward if they had that. This young lady, according to our reporting, had not come forward. And we're now getting her version of this phone call. Can it be trusted?
Ms. FULTON: Yes, it can. She was distraught because of the situation that happened with Trayvon and that--the fact that she was on the phone with him when he--when the incident occurred--right before the incident occurred. So she was very distraught. She had to go to the hospital. She was hospitalized. She also mentioned to us that she had feelings for Trayvon, so it hurt her dearly to know that he has passed away.
I guess some new explanation will be offered.