Category: RTM News Reel Written by Eric Guster/ NewsOne Staff
This is the second week of George Zimmerman‘s (pictured) murder trial for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The lawyers will continue jury selection through this week and will begin with opening statements once the jury is selected. A key difference in this trial compared to others across the country is that, with the exception of capital murder cases, Florida requires only six jurors for criminal trials. Most jurisdictions and states require 12 jurors for all felony criminal trials, which is a far cry from the six in Florida. In addition to the six jurors, there will be four alternates chosen to hear Zimmerman’s trial.
Picking a Jury
As jury selection continues, both sides continue to have a difficult job ahead of them in determining whether jurors are being truthful about their beliefs, biases, or fears. Some jurors may be afraid to render a decision based upon the evidence because of the potential of violence when a verdict is reached. Jurors in high-profile cases face extra scrutiny due to the nature of the case and the national attention that the case has received. These jurors, even though they are only identified by their juror numbers, have the potential to be revealed to the public. The fears that they have may prevent them from rendering a fair and honest decision in a case such as this.
Other jurors may hide their biases and racist views in an effort to get on the jury for various reasons, including rendering a verdict based upon what they believe already regardless of what the evidence is. With cases of this magnitude, some potential jurors want to be a part of the process in order to obtain book deals or gain income and fame because of their involvement with the trial.
Circuit Judge Debra Nelson, the judge presiding over the Zimmerman case, stated that she will sequester jurors during the trial. This is a fantastic decision because it will prevent outside influences from coming in to the jury’s decision of a verdict. The jurors will not have access to news, Internet, Twitter, and other information sources that could taint their deliberations.
Unfortunately, the Zimmerman defense team struck an early low blow by releasing photos showing Trayvon smoking as well as other photos — allegedly from Trayvon’s phone — that showed a gun and a fight that Trayvon allegedly recorded.
In releasing the fight to the public, Zimmerman’s team attempted to attack Trayvon’s character and show as many negative images of him to influence the jury’s decision. Afterward, the defense backed away from their claim that the fight was instigated by Trayvon or that he was involved in the fight, but the intended damage was already done.
One example of how this information can taint a potential juror’s mind is when Juror E-81 stated during jury selection last week that Martin was “smoking pot, getting involved with guns, and learning how to street fight.” Obviously, the defense team was successful in getting information that was not properly offered as evidence through court proceedings to jurors.
When a jury is sequestered, all information that they receive to make a decision in the verdict is supposed to only happen during the course of the trial. The judge will have motion hearings outside of the presence of the jury in reference to what evidence can be presented. Due to sequestration, there is no chance of them watching or reading news reports about what evidence they are prevented from seeing, thus eliminating that outside information from influencing their decisions.
But sequestration isn’t foolproof.
I have been involved in hundreds of trials and cannot count the number of times jurors have admitted researching something on the Internet, reading information about the case in the paper, or doing their independent research, which is forbidden for jurors to do. Effective sequestration will help give this case the best chance of a fair verdict.
Watch Guster discuss the second week of the George Zimmerman trial here:
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 12:53
Category: RTM News Reel Written by News One
SANFORD, Fla. — A jury of six women, five of them White and the other a minority, was picked Thursday to decide the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman (pictured), a neighborhood watch volunteer who says he fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in self-defense.
Prosecutors have said Zimmerman, 29, racially profiled the 17-year-old Martin as he walked back from a convenience store on a rainy night Feb. 26, 2012, wearing a dark hooded shirt.
The race and ethnicity of the minority chosen for the jury was not immediately available. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.
Two of the jurors recently moved to the area — one from Iowa and one from Chicago — and two are involved with rescuing animals as their hobbies.
One juror had a prior arrest, but she said it was disposed of and she thought she was treated fairly. Two jurors have guns in their homes. All of their names have been kept...
Last Updated on Friday, 21 June 2013 06:56
Category: RTM News Reel Written by News One
In a wide-ranging interview for ‘Rolling Stone,’ legendary tennis player Serena Williams joins a growing list of famous apologists by speculating on the morals of the 16-year-old rape Steubenville rape victim, the effectiveness of the teen’s parents and questioning whether the punishment the two rapists received is “fair,” reports Deadspin.com.
Read quote below:
We watch the news for a while, and the infamous Steubenville rape case flashes on the TV—two high school football players raped a 16-year-old, while other students watched and texted details of the crime. Serena just shakes her head. “Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 07:02
Category: RTM News Reel Written by News One Staff
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 14:22
Category: RTM News Reel Written by Huffington Post
DETROIT — Chrysler abruptly agreed to recall 2.7 million older model Jeeps Tuesday, reversing a defiant posture and avoiding a possible public relations nightmare over fuel tanks that can catch fire in a rear-end collision.
In deciding on the recall, Chrysler avoided a showdown with government safety regulators that could have led to public...
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 07:47
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