After nearly two weeks of jury selection, both the prosecution and the defense agreed upon a jury of 6 women in the upcoming second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman.
Since Zimmerman is not charged with capital murder, there will only be 6 jurors hearing his case, not including alternates.
From a defense attorney’s point of view, this may not be the best case for six female jurors.
For one, the case involves the shooting death of a 17 year-old, Trayvon Martin. The prosecution will refer to Martin as a “child” whereas the defense will highlight the deceased’s 6’2 frame as being hardly childlike.
However, the death of an unarmed teenager is likely to evoke more emotion in women, especially women who have children of their own.
Also, it may be hard for women to understand George Zimmerman’s mindset when he got out of his car to follow Martin, who appeared suspicious to him. In my experience as a trial lawyer, women tend to rationalize better than men, and may view getting out of your car to follow a suspicious person as reckless.
The prosecution will play up to the maternal instincts of the female jurors. While jurors are supposed to be impartial, no person can ever disregard their own life experiences and emotional connections to cases. Every mother on that jury will, at some point during the trial, imagine that it was their son who was shot. Jurors are instructed not to do that but no juror can forget that they are still human.
I have, and still do, believe that Zimmerman will be found guilty of aggravated manslaughter. And with an all-female jury, that belief has only been confirmed.
I don’t think the jury will find that Zimmerman intended to kill, but that his conduct was so reckless that he can still be held criminally liable for Trayvon Martin’s death.