Zimmerman Trial Begins with Jury Selection
With the judge denying yet another attempt by George Zimmerman’s legal team to delay its start, his trial for the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin began in a Florida courtroom on June 10 with jury selection that could take up to three weeks itself.
Monday kicked off with Judge Debra Nelson reportedly denying a last-minute request by Zimmerman’s lawyer Mark O’Mara to delay the trial. O’Mara has complained for months about the state dragging its heels in turning over evidence to the defense.
Judge Nelson also ruled that prosecutors could not use words like “profiled,” “vigilante,” “wannabe cop,” and “self-appointed neighborhood watch captain” to refer to Zimmerman during jury selection.
The selection of the jury begins with potential jurors filling out questionnaires and then being questioned by both the defense and the state. One report estimated that selection could take up to three weeks.
During questioning on Monday, lawyers could be heard asking potential jurors about what kind of shows they liked to watch on TV, and whether they have seen any media coverage or talked to friends about the case. They also asked potential jurors whether their lives would allow for them to be possibly sequestered for up to six weeks.
Then in a process called voir dire, lawyers will ask further questions of a pool of about 21 people, weeding out people they think will be biased against their side.
The final jury will have six members with four alternates.
Families in the Spotlight
The first day of the trial also saw family members of both Zimmerman and Martin making public statements.
“We are relieved that the start of the trial is here with the jury selection as we seek justice for our son Trayvon,” his father Tracy Martin said. “We also seek a fair and impartial trial. We ask that the community continue to stay peaceful as we place our faith in the justice system. We ask that the community do the same.”
Robert Zimmerman Jr. made a bold prediction, saying the Zimmerman family is already looking forward to a verdict in favor of his brother. “[A]s a family we’re very confident in the outcome of the case,” he said, adding that the case should never have been brought against him to begin with. “I believe it’s an improper charge altogether,” he said. “I wish they would just withdraw it.”