At the close of the 7th day of jury selection yesterday (see here for our Day 7 Wrap-Up of Jury Selection) Judge Nelson announced that Court and parties and achieved the goal of having pre-screened for pre-trial publicity a sub-pool of 40 prospective jurors.

These 40 jurors will now progress to full voir dire, with the ultimate goal of obtaining a jury of 6 active jurors and 4 alternates.

Both the State and defense each have 10 peremptory strikes, but it is unknown if either side used any of those in the preliminary voir dire.  Each side can also request the dismissal for an unlimited number of prospective jurors for cause.

The Lucky Winners

B7, B12, B29, B35, B37, B51, B61, B72, B76, B86, E6, E13, E22, E28, E40, E54, E73, G14, G29, G47, G63, G66, G81, H6, H7, H18, H29, H35, H69, H81, H86, I5, I19, I24, I33, I44, K80, K95, M75, P67

Compilation of Notes on Prospective Jurors

Below is a compilation of our notes for these 40 prospective jurors, as recorded contemporaneously during this past week of preliminary jury selection.  They are recounted here in the alphanumerical order of juror’s identification codes:

Prospective Juror B7

The first juror was B7.  He described how his father felt that the fight between Martin and Zimmerman had been avoidable, that Zimmerman had instigated the fight, but perhaps not to such an extent to constitute murder.  He recalled that Zimmerman had “chased” Martin.

He expressed concern about potential backlash from friends and family if the verdict was unpopular.  He also said he would be very concerned if juror anonymity was violated.  Both the State and defense took considerable time in questioning By, suggesting they both had substantial concerns.

Prospective Juror B12

For example, the first prospective juror, B12, apparently a woman, recalls seeing a picture of Trayvon Martin as “a kid”, apparently referring to the frequently-reproduced photo of the 17-year-old football player as a 12-year-old boy.  She also recalled hearing that Zimmerman had “followed” Trayvon.

Prospective Juror B29

The next prospective juror, B29, a woman, was questioned by Don West for the defense.  She reported that she had arrived from Chicago only four months ago, but had “no idea” about the case, and said “I don’t like watching the news, period,” and “I don’t read any newspapers, don’t watch the news.”

She did, however, recall that some “little boy passed away,” and “I’m assuming he was a kid, 12 or 13.”  She recalled seeing pictures of Trayvon in various formats, including T-shirts.  She reported hearing people talking about the event and taking sides about the “child who died.”

Prospective Juror B35

Next up was B35.  Later described by television commentators as an African-American man, he said that he watches the national FOX station for his news information.  In particular he said he watched Hannity at night, sometimes also O’Reilly—later he referred to them as “Shaun” and “Bill.”

He expressed resentment that the whole affair had been made into a “racial thing.”  He also recalled hearing that Zimmerman had “chased Martin down.”  He emphasized again that maybe both Zimmerman and Martin were at the “wrong place at the wrong time,” and that he didn’t think it was racially motivated.  He recalled that NBC had tampered with the recording of Zimmerman’s non-emergency call to police to make it sound as if Zimmerman, rather than the police, had been concerned with Martin’s race.

He said he did not approve of AL Sharpton and Jesse Jackson Jr. “saber rattling”.   He recalled the TV news saying that Zimmerman claimed he was screaming for his life, and that Zimmerman claims he was returning to his truck when Martin attacked him.  B35 noted that all his friends and family are pro-Martin, and that he’s alone in not yet forming an opinion.  He also spoke of recalling seeing pictures taken at the jail of Zimmerman’s head injuries.  “When I saw the scars, I thought he got a pretty good beating, that it was a rough fight.”

He also recalled seeing the photos of Trayvon as a young boy.  When questioned by West, B35 said that he “can count on one hand the number of people he knows who have not yet made up their mind,” and that he thought that the people who believed that Martin was killed simply for “walking while being black” were wrong.

Prospective Juror B37

Next up was B37, a female.  She had a humorous degree of disdain for the press, indicating 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.”  She recalled rioting in Sanford, people picketing, lots of news media, when the case first began to receive heightened attention.  Her recollection of the event was that “an unfortunate incident happened,” and indicated that she had “not formed an opinion.”  When asked directly whether she trusts the media, she responded, “I do not.”  She said that she had many pets, including 3 dogs, 4 cats, a parrot, a crow with one wing, and two lizards.  Also, two daughters.  When asked about here recollection of the victim, she indicated that he was a “boy of color,” in his late teens.  She recalled that Zimmerman had been involved in a scuffle, late at night, and a “boy” had been killed.

Prospective Juror B51

Next up was B51, described by reporters as an older white woman.  She indicated that she recalled some basic facts about the case, including that Zimmerman was in Neighborhood Watch and had a gun permit.  Unusually, she also indicated that she was a newspaper reader.  She indicated that she had not formed an opinion about the case.  She said she found the case “sad” on both sides, and that the loss of life is always sad.  She expressed surprise that the neighborhood watch in Zimmerman’s neighborhood was so active and organized.  When asked if Zimmerman had been doing something wrong being in the Neighborhood Watch, she said, no, “he was doing what he was supposed to be doing.”  She also recalled reading that Zimmerman had been told not to follow Martin, that the police “asked him to wait . . . I’m thinking he didn’t wait was a problem . . . he didn’t wait.” Asked by West if she thought Zimmerman had done something wrong, she responded, “No. Perhaps he did.  Yes,” for not waiting on the police.  She indicated that she is open to changing her mind if presented with contrary evidence:  “I’m not closed minded.”  She was aware that some people felt that Zimmerman was not arrested quickly enough, and that’s why the police chief was replaced.

Prospective Juror B61

A young white or hispanic woman in her 20’s, B61 has a very slight ‘valley girl’ swing to her voice.  She loves Good Morning America and watches it every morning.  This is where she gets the majority of her news, though she does sometimes watch CNN or local news.  She is on social media, as all her age seem to be, but says she didn’t get any information about the case there.  She’s a church attender, but did not hear about the case in any way at church or while with church acquaintances and friends.  She said “I know there was a shooting,” as well as protesting, but “that’s about it.”  She also knows there is a debate about “was there a cause or reason” for the shooting.  She says she does not think it’s a racial issue, and that “We have laws for a reason, and that’s how we should look at it.”  Interestingly, she said she was aware that Zimmerman had been raising legal defense money, and that she’d visited his web site.  She believes that the media has been at times biased towards Martin and at other times towards Zimmerman.  Asked if she had any concerns about being on the jury, she only “safety,” but that she trusts the court for that.  She indicated that the case had not been a topic of conversation among her friends.  Asked by O’Mara if she thought coverage of the case was slanted, she said “I’m sure it has . . . depends who’s talking at the time.”

Prospective Juror B72

B72 is a “jack of all trades,” described as a white or hispanic male in his 20s, who mentioned being a classroom teacher, program coordinator, and “maintenance technician” where he said he “maintains the facilities” of a school.  I see this meaning he was a janitor.  He said he had a “dark view” about the media, and didn’t want to be “brainwashed” by them.  He is also a self-described competitive “wrestler” and “arm wrestler”.  The three things that he says stuck in his mind about the case?  The words “Zimmerman”, “Trayv-e-on” (mispronounced), and “skittles.  He is a colorful conversationalist, often adding bits of information that is entertaining, though not always pertinent  He also believes that the college culture, and liberal professors in particular, are “way to out there.”, referring to liberal bias.  He said he didn’t pay much attention to the news, saying “it drags you down,” stuff like “tornadoes, shootings.”  Asked if he remembered the day he first heard about the case he said that he did, it was the same day that he accomplished his first one-armed pull-up. He recalled that that Zimmerman had been a “community patrol guard,” and when asked if Zimmerman had pursued Martin answered, “I don’t know.”  He said that some of his friends think, “Yeah, Zimmerman definitely did it,” and one friend thought that Zimmerman was just “guarding his turf.”  He said that he talked with a friend who was “passionate” about the case, who said that Martin was innocent and Zimmerman “shot the poor kid,” although B72 says he does not take that friend’s opinion to heart. He indicated that he could understand finding someone suspicious in the neighborhood but that he would pursue the person.

Prospective Juror B76

Prospective juror B76 was another woman.  she recalled hearing that a young man had been shot and that Zimmerman had been injured.

She also said that she didn’t believe what she heard on TV.

Prospective Juror B86

The next juror was B86, described as a white woman in her 30s.  She’s an actual newspaper subscriber who said that it was “kind of hard not to follow the case, it’s everywhere.”  She described how she felt the “media blows things out of proportion.”  She also recounted that her kids had joked about the skittles Trayvon had been carrying at the time.  She recalled hearing that Zimmerman followed Martin even though police told him not to, and that the teenager was shot in a scuffle.  She also recalled seeing the bloody Zimmerman picture, stating that “it looked like a broken nose,” and as if “something severe happened.”  She also recalled that the photo showing the injuries had not been shown until “much later.”  She recalled hearing the 911 recording and thinking that she couldn’t tell who was screaming, Zimmerman or Marin.    She recounted how she had heard that Martin had been suspended from school, because she herself was involved in school disciplinary matters.  She is unwilling to say that she can guarantee that she can put the fact of the suspension out of her mind.  When questioned by O’Mara she said, “Yes,” she would be OK with deciding the case based solely on the evidence at trial.  Asked about raising her now-adult kids she responded, “They weren’t the problem . . . the ex-husband was.”   She also mentioned that her son was in town only for a couple of months in the summer and being sequestered could be difficult.

 Prospective Juror E6

The next prospective juror introduced a letter change, being identified as E6.  She was described as a white woman with a  blonde ponytail who appeared nervous.  She said she heard about he case on the local news about when the shooting happened.  She indicated that she saw “a headline here and there,” but didn’t’ follow the case closely.  She told the State that she always takes the news “with a grain of salt”, and that she was confident she could judge the case on the evidence.  She said she has two children, 11 and 13, and that she would not allow them to “walk around at night.” West questioned E6 for the defense.  She said she was working full-time when the confrontation occurred, and didn’t recall any pictures from right after the shooting.  She said she didn’t particularly follow this case, and that “I’m not one to just sit in front of the TV.”  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.

She did recall seeing a picture of Zimmerman’s bloody face, “just the one basic picture, the same picture I think they always flash.”  She also said she’d heard the recordings of both Zimmerman’s non-emergency call and the Witness #11 911 call.  She said she didn’t have an opinion about who might have been screaming on the 911 call.  With regard to the expert witnesses on speech recognition and speaker identification, she recalled that “there was nod determination made, something to that effect.”  She also was dismissive of the news, saying “I don’t put much stock to what’s in the news, it’s so speculative,” and that she can accept limiting the verdict to evidence presented at trial.  When questioned by West she said that she used the case as a lesson for her kids to be careful, to not give a “false impression.”

 Prospective Juror E13

A very young white woman who seemed to know nothing. She worked two jobs but says she can be sequestered. She basically knew nothing about the case.  She was described as giggly and light-hearted.  She recalls hearing that it was a “racial thing,” based on things the Martin family had said, and added, “A lot of people think that.” Still, she says “I don’t really know,” when asked if she thins Zimmerman was racially motivated, because she doesn’t know what happened.

Prospective Juror E22

A middle-aged black woman, E22 expressed her strongest opinion not about Trayvon or Zimmerman, but about the Stanford Police.  She felt that she couldn’t have an opinion on Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence because she didn’t have all the information, but came down hard on the SPD for not having investigated Zimmerman further before deciding not to arrest him, saying “the police should have been a bit more proactive in their investigation.”  She indicated that the police should have arrested Zimmerman right away instead of concluding already what happened.  She recalled the news reporting that “one individual was following Martin, not for good reasons, that’s how it started.”   Curiously, de la Rionda asked if she was trying to get on the jury for a secret agenda.  She denied this.  She expressed sympathy for Witness #11 whose 911 call recorded the fatal shot.

Prospective Juror E28

A plump white woman in her 60’s, she works odd hours and knows very little about the case as well.  She said she was ‘very old-school, I do not have Facebook.”  She says she “purposely did not” research or read about the case after receiving the questionnaire.  She said she’s had no discussion of the case at church or at any social organizations, and that she’d never heard anything good or bad about Mr. Zimmerman.

Prospective Juror E40

Next up was prospective juror E40, described as a middle-aged white woman, perhaps in her 60s.  She was living in Iowa when events occurred, and the matter wasn’t big news in Iowa.   She said she “just didn’t have time” to follow the case, because she was too busy at work.  She was aware that “somebody was a teenager.”  O’Mara questioned for the defense.  She indicated that she would keep fellow jurors focused on the evidence and the judge’s rules.  She said that she didn’t watch much news, but that her default news station is NBC.  Defense then wrapped up, making E40 one of the most quickly completed prospective jurors of the day.  There was a sense that the lawyers for both sides were becoming fatigued.

Prospective Juror E54

E54 was the next prospective juror, described as a  white male probably in his 50s, and a “dead ringer for Oliver Stone.”  He recalled Zimmerman phoning the police to report a suspicious person.  He also recalled that there was a later 911 call.  E54 appeared to be by far the best informed juror of the day.   He knew that Zimmerman had not been arrested right away, and that he was eventually charged with second degree murder.  He also knew about the protests at the time, but says he “lost interest in it.”  He expressed wonder at why there were protests when the police apparently though there was no reason to even charge Zimmerman, and assumed that new evidence must have been developed which led to Zimmerman’s later arrest.  He said he thought about joining a protest because of Zimmermans’ arrest.  [Editorial comment:  No jury for you!]  He then said about the protests that, “it turned out to be a good thing, I guess, because we’re trying to learn the truth.”  He recalled that the protests started off as local people, then national people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson Jr. got involved.  He said he watches TV for his news, primarily the national ABC network.  E54 observed that his son dresses in the same way Trayvon was described as dressing, and he used the event to talk to him about the shooting, “just to be careful, people who wear that outfit can be misconstrued.”  He recalled Zimmerman’s injuries and that Zimmerman had been “attacked.”  De la Rionda jumped on that disclosure, clearly concerned about the word “attacked” to describe Martin’s actions against Zimmerman.  West questioned E54 for the defense.  He affirmed that he would base his verdict on the evidence produced in court.

Prospective Juror E73

A woman in her 60’s, E73 became the guardian of her 15-year-old and 18-year-old nephews after her brother passed from brain cancer.  She is very active in the arts community, even volunteering to help start an arts festival in Sanford shortly after the shooting.  She firmly believes the media is biased, and avoids Fox.  When asked about the difference between opinion and news, she responded: “The difference between FOX and CNN.”  She watches CNN more often, and on rare occasion will watch NBC.  She feared the shooting would negatively impact Sanford’s image and would make people not want to go there, especially for the arts festival.  She said she read about the case fully when it first happened, but then stopped paying close attention.  Asked if she’s watched the court proceedings, she responded, “I watch Law & Order.”  She recalled the picture of Zimmerman’s bloody face, as well as pictures of Martin, at various stages of his life.  She voiced that she thought the case presented a “very, very tough” concept, regarding the fact that “someone who was unarmed being by someone who is armed.”  She expressed the sentiment that the media was trying to make the case a racial matter, but that she did not believe it to be racial.  She was aware that Martin was wearing a hoodie when killed, and she herself has an 18-year-old who “lives in a hoodie,” but said that wouldn’t affect her judgment in the case.  She also noted that serving on the jury wouldn’t be a hardship, unless they were sequestered.  In that case jury service would be “real difficult.”  She also has a 15-year-old, and three dogs.

West questioned E73 for the defense.  She said se was aware of the NBC video editing controversy, that Zimmerman’s “words had been twisted,” and that someone had been fired over it.  She repeated to West her statement that the difference between slanted and straight news was “the difference between FOX News and CNN.”  She says she doesn’t watch FOX News “if I can help it.”  When asked by West about the screams on the 911 call she responded, “Could I tell whose voice it was? No.”

Interestingly, on the subject of firearms, she said, “I don’t own a gun,” “I can’t conceive of being armed, I can’t conceive of shooting someone.”  She acknowledged that an unarmed person could cause enough of a threat to be perceived as life-threatening.  When asked whether someone else could care for her 18- and 15-year-old were she sequestered she reluctant to commit to that.

Prospective Juror G14

G14 is a white female apparently in her 50s. She recalled seeing pictures of Zimmerman’s head injuries, and of Martin in his hoodie. “I recall that there was a lot of anger, a lot of people upset,” that Zimmerman “was not arrested immediately.” When asked what she thought about Zimmerman not being arrested right away, she responded “I just assumed that there was a reason that he wasn’t.” She expressed the sentiment that there were out-of-town protesters who were prompting “a discussion that didn’t need to be had,” but said that she wouldn’t hold her feelings about protesters, etc. against either side. She also said that “It wasn’t really known what had happened,” and that people speculating “was not really helping the matter.” She recalled hearing about the defense’s motion for a continuance. She also recalled that what “I thought I heard was that” Zimmerman “was asked not to follow him, that the police were coming.”

Prospective Juror G29

A 30-something black woman, G29 is a fan of the Philips Phile on 104.1 in Orlando, a liberal talk radio show that had Al Sharpton on while he was in town.  Like nearly all jurors that have made it through the questionnaire round she says she does not have a firm opinion of the case and is willing to set it aside any knowledge of it that isn’t presented in court.  Her recollection of the event was more slanted than the other jurors, recalling that Mr. Martin “went to go buy something from the gas station and Mr. Zimmerman perceived him to be a threat so he got out of his car and started harassing him.  He thought he was perhaps racial profiling, that’s where I got the whole race thing from. ”  She recalled that the Facebook comments she saw were “favorable to Mr. Martin.” She said she had no problems being sequestered for the duration of the trial. She also affirmed that she would base her verdict on the evidence presented in the court room. Interestingly, it was then revealed that she had posted her summons to appear for jury service on her Facebook page. When asked why, she simply said, “it was just something to do.” She also mentioned that she’s lived in Seminole county for only the past 8 months. She recalled the shooting being described as either murder or an accident, and did not mention hearing self-defense as a possible explanation.

Prospective Juror G47

An early 20’s white male  wearing a collared shirt and vest, G47 was unemployed at the time of the event but since began working at a restaurant, which promoted him to assistant manager just one work day before his jury duty began.  Despite this, he takes considerable ownership of his job, calling the cooking equipment there “his” and referring to “his employees.” He struck this observer as rather pretentious, and not someone I would want to be sequestered with for four weeks or more. Humorously, G47 conditioned many of his statements with such phrases as “not really,” “probably,” and “for the most part.” Each time it caused West to pull up short and dig in, resulting in an experience not particularly enjoyable for anyone involved. West was apologetic, but determined. Somewhat disturbingly, G47 suggested that the “defense might have to prove Zimmerman’s innocence,” but also claimed to not yet have arrived at an opinion on the case.

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Prospective Juror G63

Another young man in his 20’s or early 30’s, G63 is currently unemployed and of “mixed race,” being parts German, Philippino, Chinese, and Spanish.  Despite having a few minorities in his ancestry he does not believe race is a factor in this case. G63 has also formed no opinion of the case, and can offer little knowledge of events or subsequent proceedings.  He did recall looking up “Stand Your Ground” but was unsure if that was before or after he became aware of this case.  He also mentioned the Castle Doctrine and self defense law in general, though when asked could not remember any details of any of these concepts. He knows the case inspired some debate about “gun law,” and he recalls hearing that someone high up in the criminal justice system had been fired for mishandling the case by not promptly arresting Zimmerman.

Prospective Juror G66

A retired white female from Chicago, G66 had a great mid-east accent and the courtesy, openness, and kindness to go with it.  Often joking with both lawyers and laughing aloud, she still made sure to add a “sir” to every no or yes response. She indicated that she watches the news every day, and that she wrote the whole timeline of what happened on her questionnaire. She recalled seeing a picture of Martin with his hoodie on, and feeling sorry for him. She said she also felt sorry for Zimmerman when she say his injuries. Her recollection was that a neighbor called the police to report a “scuffle, and then she heard a shot.” Supporting the speculation that she based this recollection on having heard the Witness #11 911 recording, she said he heard the screams on the 911 call but has not decided who she thinks it is. She said she would base her conclusions on the facts in evidence at trial, and that she had not yet formed an opinion either way. She indicated that she could manage the issue of sequestration.

Prospective Juror G81

An African American male in his 30’s or 40’s, who lives less than 1/2 mile from the scene of the shooting and often brought his kids to play in a park just across the street from the complex.  A complex political character, he listens to both Ed Schulz of MSNBC and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. G81 portrayed the two sides of the case uniquely, saying his friends saw it either as a “tragedy” or “typical” depending on which side they were on.  He recalled that Martin looked 14 or 15 in the photos he saw. When asked to expand on this, he pointed to the fact that too many African American males die violently each year in this country, and have since the days of Jim Crow and even slavery. G81 also saw the case not just from whether Zimmerman “did the right thing” but whether the Stand Your Ground law in the state was a good law.  On how the media portrayed the episode he said “At first it was a shock that a young man was shot and it was permissible here in Florida.”  He thinks the case will be decided based on whether Zimmerman properly met the limitations of Stand Your Ground.

Prospective Juror H6

A white man in his 30’s or 40’s, H6 is also described as “big.”  He was rare in describing the media as slanted toward Mr. Trayvon early, but becoming less biased as time went on. He began to doubt the narrative that Mr. Zimmerman was at fault when he saw the pictures of him with injuries to his face and head. He sais he hasn’t formed an opinion about the case, and recalls hearing that Zimmerman called the police to report that Martin was “someone suspicious.” He also recalled hearing Zimmerman on the non-emergency call to the police and thinking that “he sounded like he was concerned about his neighborhood.”

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.

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.)

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.

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.

Prospective Juror H69

H69 was a possibly Hispanic woman who likes to read the Wall Street Journal and gets her information from almost nowhere else.  She said she recalls so little about the case that she didn’t even remember the names Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman until she came to jury duty.She remembers seeing the faces of both Martin and Zimmerman on TV screens on occasion and recalls a friend saying the media misrepresented Trayvon’s age when they used old images.

Other than this one conversation she says she recalls absolutely no other mentioning of the case with family or friends. A rare find indeed for a juror.  H69 happily announced she is pregnant with her first child, a baby girl. She is extremely concerned about sequestration and says it would be very emotionally difficult for her family, who she says packs the room at her sonogram appointments, to miss such a long period with her.  Later, though, she said that she could be sequestered so long as she still had an acceptable amount of contact with her family.

Prospective Juror H81

H81 was in his 50s and perhaps of mixed race.  He is a regular viewer of MSNBC, stated eloquently that, “The [evidentiary] rules of the court protect the presentation of the facts.” He was well aware that there are reasons why certain evidence is excluded and accepted that he would have to set aside information he knew outside the court.

During his questioning by the prosecution it was discovered that he involved in two cases related to a homeowners association that is currently listed in Judge Nelson’s docket, perhaps as part of a legal team for those cases.  Judge Nelson asked him whether that would impact his deliberations in this case and he said “no.” Although there were early reports that he had been dismissed he was later present among the jurors to continue to the next round.

Prospective Juror H86

If H69 was relatively uninformed about the case, H86 has practically lived under a rock. A white woman in her 20’s, H86 just bought her first TV two weeks ago.  She doesn’t remember any specific pictures of Zimmerman and Trayvon, recalls no recordings, and says the case has been brought to her attention “maybe 5” times. This includes the 15 second news blurbs during commercials on TV.

What little exposure she did have to the case on the media she further discounted because of perceived media bias. She recalled that 6 months earlier a friend of hers had been falsely portrayed in a news story, and this apparently left a lasting impression.

Prospective Juror I5

I5 is a black man in his 50’s who watches CNN.  He watched HLN briefly but switched away after deciding they were “out of control” and like to “glorify” the news for their own interests. He said their way of reporting the news is “not right.” He commented that HLN seemed to have prosecuted Zimmerman before he had his day in court.

Although he doesn’t prefer the channel his wife often switches to the local FOX station. He admitted, to laughter, that she’s the one that’s in charge of the remote when they’re watching together. He doesn’t have an opinion yet on the case, stating the now-standard, “how can I decide if I don’t have all the facts?” reasoning based on his aforementioned wariness of the media’s reports.

While he was aware of the protests, he didn’t think they were helpful or even appropriate.  He wasn’t aware whether or not Zimmerman had been arrested at the time of the protests, and instead inferred the intent of the demonstrators of hyping up the case generally, which he thought could cause problems and wasn’t likely to help.  He felt that they should “let the [legal] system do it’s job.”

Being African American West made a particular effort to drill in on the racial components of the media exposure.  I5 was pretty firm.  He wasn’t convinced there was a racial aspect of the events that night because he hasn’t seen any definitive evidence of it.

Prospective Juror I19

I19 is perhaps the most overtly pro-Trayvon juror to pass through to the next round. A woman in her late 20’s, at the height of the media scrutiny she was inclined to think that Mr. Zimmerman would go to jail, and hasn’t changed her view since.

Still, she says that she can keep an open mind in the case and has had very little pre-trial publicity exposure.  Interestingly, her mother loves being part of juries, is fascinated by legal cases, and is a bit jealous of her daughter’s summons.

I19’s big issue is whether she can handle sequestration.  She says she has recurring bills that she cannot pay if she doesn’t work. She is also hard pressed to find a person who could easily help her, stating her mother doesn’t make much money and her grandparents are on a fixed income. Still, she has a plan to ask both her employer and her family for help and get back to the court tomorrow with the results.

Prospective Juror I24

I24, a middle-aged white female with grown children, followed the case at first but eventually “just tuned out.”  She heard a report early on that Zimmerman was not injured and learned later that he was.  She cites this as one example of why she doesn’t trust the media.  She said that it’s sad how the media reports what they hear first, then apologize if it’s incorrect, but the damage from the initial report is done.

She also recalled how the first news reports made it seem obvious that Martin was an “innocent young man,” but as time went on it became clear that wasn’t the case.

She summarized the case for the prosecution in the most empathetic way, showing she understood the true emotional difficulties of the situation.  She said, “a young man lost his life and another man is fighting for his life.” and “no one is a winner in this case.”

Prospective Juror I33

I33 is a white male in his 50’s or 60’s who watches FOX news. Described as a “folksy kinda fella” from one of the journalists in the court room, I33 “lives in the middle of nowhere” and has a rural flare. When asked if he uses social media he replied, “I just learned how to use email.” Mr. West welcomed him to the 21st century with general laughter and even a smile from Judge Nelson.

I33 knows an average amount for most jurors selected for questioning.  He knows Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Martin got in a fight, but doesn’t know why, remembers a few pictures from the case, and knows there was a 911 call but doesn’t think he’s ever heard it. Due to a car injury I33 is not able to work regardless of whether he is sequestered, so the hardship for him is far less than many others.

Prospective Juror I44

Apart from watching MSNBC (and CNN), none of I44’s testimony would lead you to believe he was a liberal. A hispanic man in his 40’s, I44 has 3 children ages 1, 10 and 12. Convinced that the news is too negative and depressing he does not allow it to be on around his kids in the house.

While I44 hasn’t formed an opinion, six of his friends are pro-Trayvon.  When asked whether he would worry about how his friends would react to him acquitting Mr. Zimmerman, I44 said that if he loses a friend because he made the right decision, “so be it.”

Prospective Juror K80

A white female in her 40’s, she has kids at home and was unsure how she would get them to daycare, etc. if she was a juror. She said that she would “figure it out. I always do.” but could not give specifics on how she may do that. She does not have family in town. K80’s “testimony” was not very significant. She avoided the news, thinking it focuses on things that are “gruesome” and that those topics are just too sad to watch. She did know that Zimmerman had a defense fund that was raising money and that Martin was not from Central Florida, but only knew that Trayvon died in a scuffle that day. She believed that this trial should not be about race, but rather that “a terrible accident occurred.” This was the only information on the case she could provide.

Prospective Juror K95

A white woman in her mid 30’s, K95 has a raspy voice and no-nonsense tone. A full time student she speculated whether she might be able to get her classwork done while sequestered by takes classes online and thinks it may be possible to do both. K95 knows very little about the case. She recalled a “young gentleman” had died, but hasn’t made any conclusions because she found the media coverage to be self-contradictory (i.e. one station would say one thing, the other would say the exact opposite) so she wasn’t sure what to believe. A self described “research buff” and “fact finder” she says she was turned off by the “racial talk” because she didn’t think they were acting from a knowledge of the facts. She says she didn’t form any conclusions for herself specifically because she didn’t bother to research what happened either. She mentioned that she was surprised that “big names” came into town, referring to Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson. She figured they did it because the Sanford was a great place to head down, do some business, then combine it with a trip to Disney World.

Prospective Juror M75

A young black woman, M75 says she lives just down the street from where events took place.  She got most of her information from Fox news in the morning, and occasionally watches ABC.  She fits the typical young person profile in that she regularly uses Facebook, and tweets often.  She said she first found out about the case from TV, then social media “blew up” on the matter.  She indicated that she keeps up with the headlines in the case, and prefers news to commentary.  She indicated that her friends varied in their support for Martin or Zimmerman, but that she herself had not yet made up her mind.

O’Mara handled the questioning for the defense.  He asked when she became aware of the case, and she indicated a couple of weeks after the shooting.  She recalls hearing speculation that Zimmerman perceived Martin as suspicious because Martin was out at night and was black.  She also expressed the sentiment that some in the black community “fell that they’re being targeted,” but said that she did not feel that way.  She also said that a lot of her friends are “on the side of Mr. Martin,” and they believe that Martin was targeted by Zimmerman.  She said the split among her friends was 60% pro-Martin, 40% no opinion.  When asked by O’Mara if any of her friends sided with Zimmerman she said, “Yes, but not many.”  She said she was aware that FOX News had a particular perspective, but did not feel they were biased about things like the case.  The juror was observed to be answering questions confidently, maintaining eye contact, and expressing little of the nervousness that has characterized many earlier prospective jurors.  She indicated that she had friends living in New York and California that could fairly be called “pro-Trayvon activists.”  When asked about evidence that won’t be presented at trial, she responded that, “You can’t consider it because it wasn’t presented.”  Asked by O’Mara, she indicated that she was not active in church.

Prospective Juror P67

P67 is a Catholic, Hispanic man who, unlike the rest, wants to be picked. He says it is a way to give back to his country, would want someone to do it for him, and doesn’t mind being sequestered. “why not?” he said. He appears to know so little about the case he didn’t even recognize Trayvon’s name. Yet, he posted on Facebook when he got the summons that he might be on this trial, saying he did so to illicit opinion on the matter from his family (whom he says mostly makes up his Facebook friends). He said he got no real advice as the result.

That’s it for our “top 40” jurors selected for full voir dire. Be sure to stay right here at Legal Insurrection for all the breaking news and analysis on Florida v. Zimmerman.


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!