The George Zimmerman jury has been chosen.  6 jurors and 4 alternates have been selected from a pool of 40, which were chosen from a larger pool.  Zimmerman, 29, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and is arguing self-defense.  The whole process took about two weeks.  The first round of questioning weeded out those potential jurors who had biases, prejudices, or agendas (most importantly about media bias and pretrial sensationalism effects).  The second round took place Wednesday and Thursday, had more to do with biographical information (i.e. victim of a crime, arrest experiences, etc.), ideals (i.e. compassion, integrity, etc.), ideologies (i.e. self-defense, gun laws, etc.), and the law (i.e. the ability to understand and apply it fairly).  The good news is that the jury is sequestered, so there will be minimal risk of fear and sensationalism affecting them.  The trial will begin with opening statements on Monday, June 24 at 9:00 a.m. EST.

After previously dealing with what is called a “stealth juror” or a potential juror who wants on the jury not to find truth or justice, but act in a very selfish, agenda-oriented way, there was another one Thursday.  A woman who could have ended up on the final jury was stricken after it was discovered that she posted her jury summons on Facebook and she knows a person involved in the case.  What was she thinking?!  But, the big headline Thursday was that the jury is all-women.  To me the big headline should have been the prosecution wanting to “serial strike” white women.  The defense had to ask for a gender and race neutral reason, which was not satisfactory in 2 of the 4 cases.  Two men and two women were picked as alternates.  Alternate jurors replace jurors if they fall ill, an emergency arises, or they must be removed.  According to prosecutors, the racial diversity of jurors is important.  As many legal buffs know, you won’t hear a lot of prosecutors say that, especially in years past.  The six jurors were 5 white and one Hispanic or African American (there are conflicting reports).

Prosecutors argue that Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin when he followed the 17-year-old last year as Martin was returning from a convenience store to the house of his father’s fiancée.  Zimmerman exited his vehicle and followed Martin until Martin confronted him and they got into a fight.  We know that the media has mostly developed this one-sided storyline (not as bad as in previous cases though since I’ve heard that Fox News, predictably, has argued for Zimmerman).  It is wrong for people to not give someone a fair chance and hear their side.  That is why a fair trial is so important.  We should not want to punish someone for something they did not do, just because someone believes they did.

Defense attorneys argue that on the rainy night of February 12 of last year that Zimmerman, who has admitted to shooting Martin in the chest with his 9-mm handgun (which he has a permit for) was returning home after going grocery shopping and noticed a man acting strangely.  According to reports, Zimmerman first noticed Martin standing on Zimmerman’s friend, Frank Taffey’s yard.  He then called a non-emergency police line to report the strange occurrence.  Later, Zimmerman got out of his truck, but proceeded back to it after being told not to follow Martin.  George Zimmerman says that Trayvon Martin attacked him as he walked back to his truck, punching him in the face and slamming his head into the sidewalk.

Photographs show that Zimmerman had a broken nose, bruises, and bloody cuts to the back of his head.  Reports say that Trayvon Martin suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and had cuts on his knuckle.

Six Jurors: 

Juror B-29 was described as either a Hispanic or African American woman who works as a nurse.  She treats people with Alzheimer’s.  She has seven children and lived in Chicago last year.  She said, when asked about her thoughts on self-defense, “It’s not a decision you weigh. It’s a split second reaction. I think everyone is entitled to protect your life.”  Previous questioning revealed that Juror B-29 fell victim to one of the media’s overused sensationalism tactics.  She was quoted as saying, “some little boy passed away” and “I’m assuming he was a kid, 12 or 13.”  That would be because the media lied to us by using a younger picture of Trayvon Martin.  When I first saw these reports, it was a little unbelievable, though not impossible, that George Zimmerman acted in self-defense, but now that the truth has been revealed, we can get back on track with a fair trial (two words the media doesn’t understand).  Trayvon Martin was not a child; he was 17-years-old, not 12.  B-29 when asked about her source of news responded,

“I don’t like watching the news, period.”

Juror B-76 was described as a white middle-aged woman.

She indicated “[I] don’t believe what I hear on TV.”

Juror B-37 was described, also as a white middle-aged woman who works in a chiropractor’s office.  She said that she used to have a concealed carrying permit, but let it expire and that she believes it is too easy to obtain.  She described the protests as “riot[s]”.  Juror B-37 also had a healthy understanding that the media is more entertainment than information now.  She said that her only “use for newspapers is for the parrot’s cage, that’s a better use than reading,” and that the “newspapers are just not truthful.”  When asked directly whether she trusts the media, she responded, “I do not.”  This is a smart woman.  The kind of person we need on juries, one that doesn’t like to be lied to, so that people can make loads of money on the suffering of others.  She said that she had many pets, including 3 dogs, 4 cats, a parrot, a crow with one wing, and two lizards.  Also, she has two daughters.

Juror B-51 was described as a retired white woman from Oviedo, Florida.  She knew the most about the case (as far as what the media said), but said she wasn’t rigid in her thinking.  She indicated that she liked reading the newspaper and that she found the case sad on both sides.  She expressed surprise that the neighborhood watch in Zimmerman’s neighborhood was so active.  This juror actually indicated that she believed that Zimmerman not waiting for police was a “problem”, but was wishy-washy on whether that was wrong or not.  She indicated that she was open to changing her mind, “I’m not closed minded.”  She was aware that the police chief was replaced because he, in some people’s eyes, took too long to arrest George Zimmerman.

Juror E-6 was described as a young white woman who used to work in finance.  She also has children.  She said she has two children, 11 and 13, and that she would not allow them to “walk around at night” and that they should be careful not to give a “false impression”.  She indicated that she saw “a headline here and there,” but didn’t’ follow the case.  She also admitted to watching the local news, which had reports on it.  She told the State that she always takes the news “with a grain of salt”.

“I’m not one to just sit in front of the TV…I don’t put much stock to what’s in the news, it’s so speculative.”

She was aware that Zimmerman had been a neighborhood watch person, and when asked said she thought that neighborhood watch could be either a good or bad thing.

Juror E-40 was described as a white woman in her 60s who lived in Iowa last year.  She reported watching national news programs.  She said that her default news station is NBC.  She said she “just didn’t have time” to follow the case, because she was too busy.

Additionally, one of the jurors said that she doesn’t have cable television.  Two other jurors have family members that own guns.  Two are involved in rescuing animals.  One juror said she has been the victim of domestic violence.

Four Alternates:

[Number Conflicting in Reports] was described as a white man in his 50s.  He stated that he told his 16-year-old stepson that wearing a hoodie is dangerous.

Juror B-72 was described as a Hispanic male in his 20s.  He works in the maintenance department of a school.  Some reports indicate he is some kind of teacher or coordinator as well.  He has a “dark view” of the media and doesn’t want to be “brainwashed” by them.  He said he didn’t pay much attention to the news, saying, “it drags you down.”  He admitted to speaking with his friends about the case, one in particular who was passionate in their belief that Martin was innocent, but that his friends’ opinions don’t rule his life.  He indicated that he could understand finding someone suspicious in the neighborhood, but that he wouldn’t follow him or her.  He also said he wasn’t sure if Zimmerman “pursued” Martin.

Juror E-13 was described as a white woman in her 20s.  She has an African American brother.  She said that she doesn’t watch the news, but that her first instinct when she heard about the shooting was that it was a “racial thing”, mostly based on what the Martin family said.  She said that she personally didn’t know if it was racially motivated since she doesn’t know what really happened.  She was described as giggly and light-hearted.

Juror E-28 was described as a white middle-aged woman who works as a nurse.  She likes to listen to the radio.  She works odd hours and is “old-school”.  She doesn’t do social media.  She says she “purposely did not” research or read about the case after receiving the questionnaire.

It’s a sad state today that we have, obviously, made it nowhere in relating to each other in a just or open-minded way.  Judge Debra Nelson has already made plans to delay the reading of the verdict by 2 hours to ensure security is tight.  Police departments are monitoring social media for threats.  It was refreshing to hear a group of people express some core beliefs in agreement with the American judicial system like reasonable doubt and presumption of innocence.  Let’s hope that carries throughout the trial.  Jurors should not have to be afraid to render a true verdict.  It is tragic that there were people in this jury pool that were afraid to even answer questions in open court because someone might recognize their voice.  The whack jobs that follow the media around need to find a new hobby and stop ruining a very important and pivotal part of our government.  Trials are only for thoughtful, open-minded adults.  It’s not a game or a TV show. People need to grow up.

Of course social media in its predictably disappointing nature has already given these people nicknames.  Vinnie Politan, from HLN, and others are already calling the jury The Seminole Six because either they must trivialize everything or they can’t keep anything straight.  Social media is already calling Juror B-37 “The Parrot Lady”.  It’s only a matter of time before people turn nasty it is inevitable.  People find it fun to bully because, just like on the Internet, the person on TV isn’t a human being to them, they are an “object of aggression”.  It’s a sick distortion and detachment from reality.

The national media has descended on the courthouse for a trial, but regardless of what they or anyone else says, it is of the utmost importance to have an open-minded jury.

As Mark O’Mara, George Zimmerman’s defense attorney stated, “This is probably as critical if not more critical than the evidence.”

“If you bring that into the courtroom, then what we can’t get is a fair verdict,” he said.

Both sides have their favorites, but it is not who they are that matters it is what they stand for, most importantly fairness.

George Zimmerman’s family wants one thing and the Martin family wants another, only one is right about what happened that night.  The case is back dropped by severe racial tension, whether warranted or not it has occurred.  There were protests during the little more than a month that George Zimmerman was not arrested.  The protests resulted in the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, who has some of the lowest approval ratings in the country for a governor (for good reason mind you) appointing a special prosecutor, State Attorney Angela Corey.  Corey, known for her careless prosecutorial tactics charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.  Zimmerman faces life in prison if convicted. NBC and other media outlets are capitalizing on the tragedy.  The old media saying is “If It Bleeds It Leads”, you know.  NBC proceeded to muddy the waters by editing a 911 call, which either by wanton recklessness or by careful planning caused an outrage about racism.  The case is also back dropped by the facts of the neighborhood.  Recently, there had been a string of break-ins and the victims and witnesses described the burglar as an African American male.  I will be curious to see if this plays an important part in the trial.

There are some very important questions in this case.  The most important, what happened, not withstanding.  Does a civilian have to give a warning before acting in self-defense?  How far do our self-defense rights go?   In my opinion, the case isn’t about gun rights or racism.  It is simply about February of last year.  Trayvon Martin has lost his life and George Zimmerman is fighting for his.  The truth is the truth whether or not people like it.  Rights groups will tell you one thing, the families will tell you another, the media will feed its agenda, but the only true way to know what happened that night is to listen to both sides and evaluate the actual evidence.  And that is what a jury is tasked with doing beginning Monday.  Conjecture, sensationalism, and speculation can lead you to believe anything.  There will always be differences of opinion, but there need not be extremism and acts of insanity.

As we look forward to the start of the trial, you will of course hear endless analysis about the jurors.  The jury was just picked Thursday and I’ve already read at least one article online that is claiming bias by Juror B-37 because she didn’t watch any coverage of the case (in their words didn’t “care”) and she had a concealed carrying permit.  People will base their opinions of someone on such flimsy information.  I’m glad that no one that ended up on the jury seems to be this quick of a judge.  First impressions are usually wrong.

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Comments
  1. lawrence macdonald says:

    florida law. Stand your ground. No duty to retreat. and the castle doctrine applies.

    Like

  2. Lon Spector says:

    The Zimmerman trial set to start Monday? Could have fooled me.
    I was under the impression that Zimmerman was on trial the moment Al Sharpton and his
    minions alerted the lap dog media about the ca$e.
    I can only be greatfull that we had an African American president in an election year during
    this spectacle. If not every major metropolitan area would have been set a blaze.
    As to what the verdict(?) of this case will be, when poor Mr. Zimmerman is sent up the river,
    I would advise him to say that he was only “fronting” for the REAL shooter-a Jewish Rabbi
    who payed his family handsomely so George would do his time.

    Like

  3. JanCorey says:

    Getting closer to the ultimate acquittal. Good.

    Like

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