Juries

Why didn't prosecutors nix juror B37?


The juror identified as B37 in the trial of George Zimmerman found herself in the middle of controversy after the defendant’s acquittal in the slaying of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.

There was an announcement of plans to write a book. There was an appearance on CNN in which the juror said she thought Martin “played a huge role” in his own death and Zimmerman “was justified” in shooting the youth. “I think Trayvon got mad and attacked” Zimmerman, the juror said. Four jurors later issued a statement saying juror B37 does not represent their views, Fox News reports. Then juror B37 said she wouldn’t write a book after all, according to ABC News.

Now Slate is raising another question about juror B37: Why didn’t prosecutors nix her with a peremptory challenge? During voir dire, posted on Gawker, juror B37 seemed eager to serve and favorable to the defense, some experts tell Slate.

Slate summarizes the voir dire highlights. “B37 consumes no media beyond the Today show—no radio, no Internet news, and no newspapers used for anything but lining her parrot’s cage. Perhaps because she does not consume any media, she was under the false belief that there were ‘riots’ after the Martin shooting. She also described the Martin killing as ‘an unfortunate incident that happened.’ ” She emphasizes her dislike of the media with the observation, “You never get all the information.”

Slate spoke to lawyers who offered these opinions:

• B37’s observation that “you never get all the information” indicates “she thinks the world is one big reasonable doubt.” (Stanford law professor Robert Weisberg)

• B37’s devotion to animals raises red flags. “The animal thing is weird. She doesn’t know how many animals she has, and she mentions her animals far, far more than her two daughters. She strikes me as eccentric and unpredictable. I never, ever want eccentric, unpredictable people on a jury.” (Iowa criminal defense lawyer Gail Brashers-Krug)

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