Weather Alert

|
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 11:59am

Zimmerman trial lawyers question potential jurors on knowledge of case

CNN
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 7:14pm

The second day of jury selection in George Zimmerman's murder trial in the death of Trayvon Martin was tightly focused on the potential jurors' knowledge of the case.

Zimmerman seemed engaged in the process Tuesday, taking notes and chatting with his attorneys periodically as they questioned the people who could decide his fate.

The former neighborhood watch volunteer is charged with second-degree murder for killing Martin on February 26, 2012; he claims he shot the teenager in self-defense.

Ten potential jurors were questioned in open court in Seminole County, Florida, and another appeared at a sidebar, but it is not clear what happened during that sidebar. Four jurors were questioned on Monday, the first day of jury selection.

The questions posed to the potential jurors indicate attorneys on both sides are concerned about media coverage of the case and whether potential jurors have already formed an opinion in the case.

The shooting put a national spotlight on Zimmerman's hometown of Sanford and sparked fresh debates about race relations and gun laws in America.

One potential juror, a white woman who appeared to be in her 60s, said it seems Zimmerman erred when he pursued Martin the night he died, despite being told not to follow the teenager by a 911 operator.

However, that same juror said the case seemed to be tragic for both Martin and Zimmerman.

"Loss of life is always sad," said the potential juror. "Sad on both sides."

Every potential juror questioned so far in the case has acknowledged hearing about the case in some way.

Another potential juror, a black woman who appeared to be in her 30s, said she hasn't seen any media coverage of the case, but she has heard about the case at church. She said she does not have cable or Internet, but her pastor prayed for both families at church.

Another claimed to have heard about the case for the first time earlier this year.

To protect the potential jurors from the media, Judge Debra Nelson has sealed the potential jurors' names, and the media is barred from photographing them until after the trial.

One potential juror said the media presence outside of the courtroom is "intimidating."

Nelson has not discussed the process she is following for jury selection.

Some jurors are being eliminated, likely for hardship, based on how they fill out a jury questionnaire. Hardships can include reasons such as family, work or health issues. Candidates not eliminated for hardship are being called into the courtroom to answer questions about pretrial publicity of the case.

A representative for the court told HLN that once 30 jurors have been questioned about media coverage and have not been eliminated for cause, they will then move on to traditional voir dire, in which attorneys will be able ask them questions about other subjects they believe to be important to the case. These subjects could include race, self-defense and crime.

News

Reader Comments

Post new Comment