Sorry for the delay in posting this. I fell asleep in the sun and was zonked out yesterday. Thank Kimmer for doing this.
Hello Tattlers, guest blogger @Kay_Rock back again to talk about my favorite topic: the often unlady-like Lady Justice and her watch over the endless desire of Americans to kill one another. Today we’ll talk about the tinderbox known as the Zimmerman Trial.
As you know, Florida’s reputation for legal fuckwittery is well established. Today, the rest of the nation will watch nervously as opening statements begin in the Zimmerman trial in central Florida. And considering this case has already sparked fury-fueled internet wars across social media and rekindled old feuds across the nation, we won’t be turning away any time soon.
George Zimmerman, a resident of Sanford, Florida, is accused of the 2nd degree murder of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman claims that the killing was self-defense. The teen-aged Trayvon, armed only with a pack of skittles, caught neighborhood-watch-warrior Zimmerman’s attention as the boy walked to his father’s house in the gated townhome community. He never arrived.
In the year since, the argument about whether the killing was racially motivated has split neighbors, coworkers, friends and families as people debate whether the hoodie-wearing teenaged African American boy was racially profiled by Zimmerman. The response has run the gamut from posthumously vilifying Trayvon (in the hopes of providing a retroactive defense, perhaps?) to denying that race plays any role in the day-to-day lives of Americans. One can only assume the folks in the latter camp have failed to leave their homes since… the late 1600s? Or perhaps Captain Kirk and Spock brought them here from the utopian future where hatred is reserved for those pesky Klingons and all of earth lives in economic and racial harmony and peace. Kumbaya.
Also throwing their hats in to the ring for this battle are the gunfighters, taking turns slapping each other with rebel flags and background check papers.
I’m sure before this is over, Nancy Grace will have inspired a few more groups into a frothing frenzy, blinding justice with her holy bangs of righteous indignation.
As much as our collective hatred and mistrust is focused on the defendant, attorneys, judge, victims families, and each other, we all have one thing in common: every eye is focused on the invisible jury.
Jury selection was completed Thursday, and few details have been released about the six members and four alternates. Yes, that’s only six. Florida only uses 12 jurors in capital cases in which the death penalty is a possibility. For all other trials, they figure six people can screw it up just as well for half the cost. And considering the jury will be sequestered until the conclusion of the trial (complete with “entertainment” being provided for non-trial days), the expense won’t be minimal. I wonder if Judge Belvin Perry will be sending over his infamous dessert lady? Nobody loves a jury like the great Judge Belvin.
We do know a few little tidbits about our jury:
The six primary jurors are all women. Five of the women are white, and one is Hispanic. They are mostly middle age and older. Two of the four alternates are male (one white, one Hispanic). None of the jurors is black. One juror had a prior arrest. Two are new to the area (one from Iowa, one from Chicago). Two have hobbies that include animal rescue. With luck, court watchers will start to share more information as the trial unfolds, and we’ll be able to get you more details as soon as they become available. One thing is certain, though; the ethnicity of this jury isn’t likely to quell the burning flames of racial tension surrounding this trial.
The jury selection process in Seminole County has already raised eyebrows, as some potential jurors were very open about sharing pre-conceived opinions. The judge, Debra Nelson, did not seem concerned that the jury pool was being tainted by potentials who called the victim a “thug” and criticized his parents. Standards for rehabilitation seemed quite flexible. When asked if they could still be fair, as long as a juror could shrug and nod a bit, Judge Deb seemed satisfied that they could continue in the selection pool.
Jury selection was followed by a hearing at which the judge denied the state’s request to bring in voice experts to identify the person screaming for help during Trayvon’s final moments.
With so little to go on, we are all grasping at straws to try to guess which way the wind might blow in this case, and every decision Judge Deb makes is being scrutinized and analyzed by talking heads and tweeters alike, with equal credibility.
So what are your thoughts? How will a juror of animal-loving, gun-toting older white women handle a case so loaded with critical social landmines? Will Lady Justice be able to stop weeping and once again smile over the Florida Landscape?