FLORIDA, June 24, 2013 — The all-female six-person jury selected for George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial has generated a groundswell of media attention.
The former neighborhood watch captain fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed seventeen-year-old with a history of truancy, firearms-related issues, and handling marijuana, during February of 2012. Zimmerman claims that this was done in self-defense after Martin beat him severely.
Evidence does suggest that Zimmerman suffered head injuries the night Martin died, though exactly how and why remains a mystery. What can be certain, however, is that the shooting’s aftermath has been a polarizing influence on American social and political life. It has also drawn considerable attention to the oft-overlooked central Florida port city of Sanford, where the shooting took place.
Over the last year, Robert Zimmerman, George’s brother, has spoken and written about the matter at length. He seems satisfied with the jury’s makeup.
“I think the process went smoothly and the result is that Seminole County jurors will decide this case,” he states. “I think legitimacy is furthered by the local community knowing that members of their own community will be the decision makers. Many had the opportunity to see the defense team at it’s finest [and] I have received many compliments about Mr. O’Mara’s work during the process.”
Mark O’Mara, George Zimmerman’s attorney, has attracted some controversy in his handling of the case. Nonetheless, he appears to have found no small measure of success with jury selection.
“Justice is historically depicted as a blind-folded lady,” Robert points out. “I think gender or race is irrelevant [and] the most important thing is that the jurors have assured the court they will be able to make a decision based on the facts presented. I did hear from many who were surprised but I think most don’t follow cases with as much interest as they have this one. An all-male or all-female jury might go unnoticed in other cases that are not high-profile.”
Some might say that an all-female jury is likely to sympathize with Martin, while others could claim the exact opposite. What are Robert’s ideas about this?
“I don’t think gender is a factor,” he explains. “Sympathy was addressed during the selection process [and] the jury we now have has assured the court they will make a decision based on the evidence rather than sympathy for either party.”
That sounds like the best news to have come out of this sad episode yet.
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