This post marks the launch of Legal Insurrections’ comprehensive live coverage of State of Florida v. Zimmerman (1712FO4573).
In addition to the types of comprehensive legal analysis already posted in the course of last week’s pretrial hearings, we are introducing all-day coverage of the trial itself, including a live video feed from the court room and live Twitter feed (embedded at bottom of post) of selected commentators.
Over the course of the day I’ll include brief commentary on significant events as they occur, complemented by more in-depth analysis as developments warrant.
Live Stream Video
(You may hear a brief commercial when you first start it.)
[Video feed removed end-of-day.]
Monday, June 10
Update 5:ooPM: Done for the day, back again 9AM tomorrow!
Limited Scope of Today’s “Pre-” Voir Dire
CONFIRMED: the scope of this “pre-” voir dire is intended to be limited solely to matters of pre-trial publicity.
First Prospective Juror, B12, Being Questioned by State (de la Rionda)
Jury Questionnaire Review
This morning 100 prospective jurors completed juror questionnaires. These are now being independently reviewed by Judge Nelson, the State, and the defense, at which point they will try to identify specific prospective jurors that have deemed at least initially acceptable to all three.
At 2:10PM, as I write this, there is a bench conference underway, they may be trying to get consensus on first group of prospective jurors for voir dire.
A number of motions were heard this morning, immediately prior to the start of jury selection.
The defense first motioned the court for a continuance on the basis that the State’s slow-rolling of discovery evidence had simply left them unprepared for trial at this time. The additional time required might be a couple of weeks or more—it was hard to tell until they’d had a chance to examine and evaluate the recently delivered discovery, as well as the still to be scheduled deposition of Attorney Crump. The State objected to any continuance, and the Judge Nelson denied the motion. So, no continuance for the defense.
The defense also raised the matter of its motion in limine to restrict the use of certain inflammatory language during the trial. The Court indicated that she was not ready to rule on that motion, but it was agreed that the inflammatory language of concern would at least not be used during jury selection.
Finally, the defense asked if there could be a relaxation of certain rules of evidence, given the State’s delay in delivering, and sometimes completely failing to deliver, relevant discovery. Specifically, they asked that if some piece of evidence became relevant and was admissible except for inadequate authentication, and the defense could prove that authentication could not have been completed because of State’s conduct, that the evidence nevertheless be admitted. Judge Nelson stated she would consider that on a instance-by-instance basis.
Finally, the court described today’s process for jury selection. Another judge was pre-qualifying the entire jury pool, from which 100 prospective jurors would be arbitrarily selected. Those 100 would be given a juror questionnaire. The completed questionnaires would then be reviewed by each counsel. Then each prospective juror would be sent up one at a time for initial voir dire, from which 21 would be selected for full voir dire. (Voir dire is the process of examining prospective jurors to determine their qualifications and suitability to serve on the jury, and to ensure the selection of fair and impartial jurors.)
(My tweets can be identified as coming from @lawselfdefense.)
Andrew F. Branca is a MA lawyer with a long-standing interest in the law of self defense. He authored the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense” (second edition shipping June 22–save 30% and pre-order TODAY!), and manages the Law of Self Defense web site and blog. Many thanks to the Professor for the invitation to guest-blog on the Zimmerman trial here on Legal Insurrection!