Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch leader, said in an appeal that he fears Lester is biased against him and he wanted a new judge to preside over his case.
On Wednesday, Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled in his favor.
“Although many of the allegations in Zimmerman's motion, standing alone, do not meet the legal sufficiency test, and while this is admittedly a close call, upon careful review we find that the allegations, taken together, meet the threshold test of legal sufficiency. Accordingly, we direct the trial judge to enter an order of disqualification which requests the chief circuit judge to appoint a successor judge,” the court said in a newly released document.
Lawyers for Zimmerman filed the 28-page motion filled with reasons why Zimmerman doesn’t believe Lester will give him a fair trial.
The defense slammed Lester for repeated comments that Zimmerman was "manipulating the system” and for holding the possibility of more charges, including contempt of court.
The defense also challenged Lester's neutrality after he called the state's case "strong” and characterized Martin as an unarmed juvenile while the judge ignored evidence that Zimmerman yelled for help for 40 seconds and that Martin broke his nose and bloodied his head with blows against concrete.
Zimmerman pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and says he acted in self-defense.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.