Today the Court continued its preliminary questioning of prospective jurors, moving through seven candidates by the end of the day.  As was the case yesterday, questions were limited to how much exposure the prospective juror had to the case through the media and other channels, as well as how that may have impacted their opinion of the case.

Prospective Juror H7

H7 is a middle aged white man with a very raspy voice. He knew about a number of different topics, including Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries, the 911 call, the attempts by the lawyers to get expert testimony admitted, and Trayvon’s dubious history.  Beyond the overal topic head, he knows very little.  His testimony sounds like a series of news headlines and reflected little substantive content. For instance, he recalled seeing the pictures of Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries, but can’t recount the specifics of the event on the night in question.  He said he knows there was a 911 call, thinks he’s probably heard it at one time, but can’t remember its contents at all.  He knows expert testimony is in question for the case but not what that expert testimony is about.  He knows that Trayvon has a troubled history, but not what the trouble was.

When H7 was asked about media bias, he said he believes the news networks were biased against guns.

[RETURNING WEDNESDAY]

Prospective Juror H10

Perhaps the briefest interview so far, H10 is an African American man who claimed he never even heard of George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin.  Says that, for religious reasons, he cannot judge any man’s guilt or innocence.  Excused after he makes this statement, only about 3 minutes into questioning.

[DISMISSED]

Prospective Juror H13

H13 is a white woman in her 60’s, who offered up right at the start less about what she knows and more about what she doesn’t know and is still curious about.  She said she would like to know why Mr. Zimmerman called 911, what time it was when the shooting took place, why Zimmerman (as she put it) “reached out” to Mr. Martin, and questioned why Mr. Zimmerman had a gun.  Seemed to imply that was at minimum imprudent and at most extremely wrong.  She speculated that maybe Zimmerman had the gun because the community watch group authorized it or requested it. She seemed to feel that if the community watch was involved in the decision for him to have a gun that would somehow make him less culpable for having it.  The defense team wished to delve far deeper into her views on this but was stopped due to it being outside the preliminary voir dire scope of pre-trial publicity.

H13 obviously finds the protests important.  She saw them and recalled race riots of the past, specifically that of Rodney King, and worried that the demonstrations would move from peaceful to violent. She also thinks that if Zimmerman is deemed not guilty that protests would resume.  When asked whether she thinks there could be violence she says no, she only worries about protests.  When pressed, though, she admits that she couldn’t be certain it wouldn’t become violent. She isn’t worried at all, though, about her personal safety, saying she’s never heard of another juror having any issues in that regard. She does say, though, that she’s worried for the community of Sanford.  Despite this she insists this won’t affect her deliberations. She thinks she is a fair person and would be fair to both sides.

Perhaps most the shocking of H13’s comments was in response to the question of whether she could set aside her current belief that Zimmerman followed Martin against police orders if she heard evidence to the contrary at trial. Her response was that she probably couldn’t: “I don’t think I could be open to that.”  Despite this response the defense continued to question H13 at length.

[DISMISSED]

Prospective Juror H18

H18 is an hispanic mechanic that recently opened a shop.  He says starting the business kept him so busy he didn’t have the time to follow the case.  He believes the loss of income from not being at the shop during sequestration would be a severe hardship. Upon further questioning he conceded that his business “will still be there,” and he would survive. (Contrary to my guess in my tweet below, this prospective juror was not dismissed.)

[RETURNING WEDNESDAY]

Lunch Recess

Prospective Juror H27

I thought H27 would be fast.  I was wrong.  He donated $20 to the Zimmerman legal defense fund, something that I would think would make him clearly invested in the results of the case, regardless of the amount.  What seemed to me to be an open-and-shut case of, “you’re dismissed. Thank you for your time.” turned into well over an hour of questioning.  Why?  Because he says his mind is still open.

He has a very good understanding of the case, being familiar with Zimmerman’s statements after the event. He is also familiar with the various recordings, and even knows about Mr. Zimmerman’s prior record of getting in a fight at a bar in 2005. It has been a striking consistency that prospective jurors who have seemed favorably disposed to Mr. Zimmerman seem to be startingly more informed those those who seem disposed against him.

H27 also had a couple of interesting questions asked of him by de la Rionda, asking whether he’d made an online posting of a picture of Mr. Zimmerman and whether he’d commented on something about Spike Lee in regard to this case.  Presumably he would have posted a comment with regard to Mr. Lee’s tweet of what Lee believed (incorrectly) to be Zimmerman’s personal address. This tweet raised fears for the life of the person actually living at the tweeted address, particularly in the context of the $10,000 “bounty” by the New Black Panthers that had been widely reported in the media.

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He says he’s formed an opinion, and that opinion is “70%” certain, though he’s highly skeptical of the news media and feels they could have spun the information to fit their goal to sell news.  He’s open to the possibility that his information is incorrect and would convict if that was shown to be true based on the evidence in court.

[DISMISSED]

Prospective Juror H29

H29, an older white man, was approved for the next round very quickly.  Seems if you distrust the media enough you’re prime pickings for this jury.  Says he doesn’t believe a word he hears from them, and so therefore knows no facts for certain about the case.  Passed through without much fuss.

[RETURNING WEDNESDAY]

Prospective Juror 31

H31 is a single hispanic woman in her 30’s with 2 children, both under the age of 14.  While initially a great potential pick due to her lack of knowledge of the case, that lack of knowledge came from being the sole provider for two young kids.  It quickly became apparent that there would be a substantial hardship involved in taking away the kids’ sole caregiver for a month and she was dismissed.

[DISMISSED]

Prospective Juror H35

H35 is a young white woman with self-professed social anxiety and few friends.  She doesn’t listen to the news, instead picking up all relevant information about her community and life from Facebook.  She admits to once liking a picture of Trayvon on Facebook but struggles to explain why, though she did give some vague reasoning that the post said you should like it if you’re not racist but not if you are.

Other than that liking an image of Trayvon makes you not a racist, she knows little of the case.  She said she recalls someone was shot and concludes, based on that knowledge alone, that there must have been a gun involved.  She also knows Trayvon went and got skittles, that those skittles were “somehow” important, and that a hoodie was involved.

[RETURNING WEDNESDAY]

At that point the court recessed until 9AM tomorrow for the purposes of juror voir dire, The court remains in session, however, for the purpose of completing the Frye hearing that was left incomplete prior the preliminary voir dire of prospective jurors.

Well, that’s it for today’s coverage of day six of the Zimmerman trial. Be sure to check back in then, as well as during the weekend to see if any news occurs during the interval.


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense” which shows you how to successfully fight the 20-to-life legal battle everyone faces after defending themselves (second edition shipping in June – save 30% and pre-order TODAY!).  Many thanks to the Professor for the invitation to guest-blog on the Zimmerman trial here on Legal Insurrection!