Posted Jun 21, 2013 03:15 pm CDT
An all-woman jury that includes no blacks has been picked to consider the fate of George Zimmerman, the man accused in the slaying of Trayvon Martin.
One of the six jurors appears to be Hispanic, report the New York Times, the Associated Press and Fox News. Zimmerman, who identifies as Hispanic, is accused of shooting Martin, an unarmed black teen, in a February 2012 altercation that began after Zimmerman followed the youth through the neighborhood. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, has claimed he acted in self-defense.
Twelve-person juries are not required in Florida unless the death penalty is sought.
Among the jurors are a nurse who treats Alzheimer’s patients, a woman who told her children the case shows why they should not go out at night, a woman who described the incident as a struggle in which a gun “went off,” and a woman who described protests over an initial failure to prosecute as “rioting.” An alternate juror, a white man, said he used the case to caution his stepson about wearing a hoodie.
Orlando defense lawyer Diana Tennis told the Times a jury without blacks is not unexpected, given the demographics of the county hosting the trial; only 11 percent of the population there is black. “It’s not statistically significant,” Tennis said. “But whether or not it’s significant for the community depending on the outcome is another thing.” AP, however, says the county’s population is 16.5 percent black.
Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, didn’t see a problem with the makeup of the jury. “People can look at it and have this response, that there’s no blacks on the jury, or no this or no that, or no men on the jury,” he told AP. “Tell me that we did something wrong in the process and I’ll agree with you.”
ABAJournal.com: “In Trayvon Martin slaying trial, jurors will be anonymous but not sequestered, judge rules”