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As a condition of his release from custody, the court ordered accused killer George Zimmerman to remain in Seminole County. Zimmerman’s lawyer has filed a motion with Florida’s Eighteenth Circuit Court to allow his client to leave the county for more discreet digs. Mark O’Mara asserts that “since shortly after the tragic events of February 26,2012, Mr. Zimmerman and his entire extended family have had to live in hiding, fearing for their own safety.” But it’s not all about avoiding retribution for the homicide of Trayvon Martin, apparently . . .

The restriction of Mr. Zimmerman not to leave Seminole County has had an ongoing, deleterious effect on his ability to assist in the preparation of his own defense. Communications have been unnecessarily limited to telephone, and occasional visits by counsel. Mr. Zimmerman must be able to travel to meet with his lawyers, and to attend to various other necessary matters to prepare this matter to move forward.

So I guess that means Mr. Zimmerman doesn’t have much in the way of Internet access. Which could account for his defense team’s decision to shut down Zimmerman’s Facebook page. According to his defense team’s still active blog, they stopped ‘bookin’ ’cause of the comments.

One of our published goals is Discouraging Speculation, and Facebook, by its nature, does not help us with this goal. Every post made on Facebook becomes an open thread where anyone on the site can comment, and comments inevitably lead to conversations about evidence and speculation about guilt or innocence. This type of conversation is a natural part of discourse, and there are plenty of places on the Internet where it is appropriate for this to happen, but it need not happen on a page hosted by the defense.

This illustrates our biggest challenge with the page on Facebook: we cannot post without allowing comments. With comments active, each thread becomes a discussion forum. While we are not responsible for the comments people leave on our page, because we have the ability to delete comments, what we choose not to delete reflects on the defense team. Since we can ban users from posting on the page, who we choose not to ban reflects on the defense team. Admittedly, it does not always reflect well, and that is a concern for the defense. Because our page on Facebook has already accomplished many of our goals, allowing this concern to exist is not prudent.

Zimmerman’s peeps still have a Twitter account, though, complete with a fancy logo. And there are plenty of Trayvon Martin Facebook pages (e.g. Justice for Trayvon). Unsurprisingly, none of them contain pro-Zimmerman comments.

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  1. So he can move to a different county and be restricted to that one. Keep the move sealed, but local law needs to be informed, which means it will leak out eventually. I am all for keeping him safe, but at this point changing counties probably won’t help.

  2. Closing down the Facebook page makes a lot of sense based on the “power to delete/ban” argument. The only other choice would be assigning someone to monitor and moderate it, and shutting it down is clearly preferable.

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