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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,

I just wanted to drop a note to let you know I'm covering the George Zimmerman trial down in Florida for one of the internet's largest legal blogs, Legal Insurrection.

Some of you may know me as a lawyer with a practice specializing in the law of self defense, others as that guy who shoots the IDPA matches wearing a suit jacket along with his cargo pants.

In any case, if you're tired of the incredibly biased mainstream media coverage (or should I call it mis-coverage) of the Zimmerman case, consider taking a look at my coverage of the trial and analysis of the legal issues, all from the perspective of a gun guy who has CCW'd every day of his adult life.

It is, of course, all entirely free, and Legal Insurrection doesn't sell anything.

Past coverage (up through last night's daily wrap-up post) can be found here: http://bit.ly/15KXK1a

Today's live coverage will be added to that list when Court goes into session at 9AM.

Thanks for your consideration!

Andrew
 

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So, is the judge trying the case going to limit the defense to ONLY showing photos of Martin when he is 12 years old, like what was apparently the case with all the media streams? :laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Zimmerman Jury Selection -- Day Four Wrap-Up

Hey folks,

I just posted up the wrap-up for day four of jury selection in the Zimmerman case.

There were two notable events of the day.

The first was Judge Nelson's decision to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial. This decision clearly caught some of the prospective jurors off guard, creating considerable hardship for more than a few. On the other hand, several jurors had expressed concerns about their safety if their anonymity was not preserved, one that she would feel like she had a bulls-eye on her back.

On a practical note, it's unclear to me how they truly expect to remain anonymous. From the national public, sure. But nobody can realistically disappear from family and work for a two to four weeks without explaining what's up. It would seem the fact that they were a juror would inevitably get out--but maybe not until after the burning was over.

The second notable event was the questioning of E81. She looked de la Rionda straight in the eye and said she believed that Zimmerman should just go home, and that he had acted in defense of himself. When asked if he was going to have to perform "magic" to get her to change her mind she essentially told him he'd just have to do his job--work hard to convince her otherwise. (He acknowledged that the burden of proof was, indeed, on the State.)

She knew a great deal about the case. She recalled seeing the picture from Trayvon's phone of the mairjuana, and that he had gotten into trouble a few times. She had seen video of him refereeing a street fight, for sport, and believed that he was training to be a street fighter. She thought he might have been looking for a reason to fight that evening, that Trayvon became aware that he was under observation by Martin and that Trayvon had been the aggressor in the conflict.

A firm believer in gun rights and CCW, E81 said that the more guns there were out there in the hands of law abiding people, the safer it was. SHe believed that everyone who was not a felon or mentally unsound should be allowed to carry a gun.

There's more on this wonderful young woman, but you'll have to click over to the full wrap-up report, right here at Legal Insurrection, to read the rest.

Tomorrow we do another full day of live stream, all-day coverage of day two of jury selection. Be sure to join us.

Best,

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Zimmerman Jury Selection: Day 5--Live streaming, all-day coverage

Hey folks,
Just FYI, Day 5 of jury selection has just kicked into gear. Our live, all-day coverage can be found at Legal Insurrection here, if you're interested in following along.

We'll also be doing our usual end-of-day summary of events. I'll drop a brief note when that's up, for folks who are interested.

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ZIMMERMAN TRIAL: EVIDENTIARY FLASHBACK

From the March 3, 2012 FBI report of interview with Sanford Police Department Investigator Chris Serino:

Serino is concerned that many of the leaks in this case are coming from within the Sanford Police Department. He listed Sgt AUTHOR BARNS, REBECCA VILLENOVE (phonetic),and TREKELL PERKINS as all pressuring him to file charges against ZIMMERMAN after the incident. Serino did not believe he had enough evidence at the time to file charges. Serino also stated that Barns is friendly with TRACY MARTIN [Trayvon Martin's father].
Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
ZIMMERMAN TRIAL: EVIDENTIARY FLASHBACK: Sanford PD Questioning of Zimmerman

I thought some of you might be interested in taking a look at some actual evidence--as opposed to speculation--from the Zimmerman case, so I've pulled together some "Evidentiary Flashbacks" to look at actual evidence that's been collected over the course of the investigation and discovery preparations for trial.

Below is a snippet from the transcript of the [CORRECTED DATE] February 27, 2012 (the day after the shooting) Sanford Police Department questioning of George Zimmerman. In it Zimmerman describes to police investigators in his own words how and why he emerged from his vehicle, the circumstances of he he observed and then lost sight of Martin, and how Martin emerged from bushes in a darkened area of the complex and attacked Zimmerman--punching him in the hose, knocking him to the ground, and hitting his head on the concrete sidewalk.

The whole thing is way too long for a forum post, so I've put the longer version of this up on the Law of Self Defense blog, if you want to read it in greater length.

Here, however, is a particularly interesting segment:

George Zimmerman: I saw him coming at me and I went to grab my phone. I don’t remember if I had time to pull it out or not.
Investigator Singleton: Okay, you attempted to try to recall the –
George Zimmerman: To call the police.
Investigator Singleton: –to call the police, right.
George Zimmerman: 911 this time.
Investigator Singleton: Okay.
George Zimmerman: ‘Cause the first time I called non-emergency.
Investigator Singleton: But you’re not sure if you actually got it out of your pocket or not? Oh, okay and that’s when it was, that’s when he slugged you.
George Zimmerman: He just hit me, yeah.
Investigator Singleton: And what did he say before that? You said, he asked you like something about, I said, you got a problem?
George Zimmerman: He said, “You got a problem, homey?” and I said, “I don’t have a problem.” And he said, “Now you have a problem.”
Investigator Singleton: Okay.
George Zimmerman: And that’s when he hit me.
Investigator Singleton: And that’s he struck you in the nose first.
George Zimmerman: Yes, ma’am.
Investigator Singleton: And that’s what knocked you down?
George Zimmerman: Yes, ma’am.
Investigator Singleton: Okay. And, this is all, this is, you’re saying this is behind the buildings, though?
George Zimmerman: Yes, ma’am.
Investigator Singleton: How, is there, are you sure, is it a patio that he’s hitting ’cause you said he’s hitting your head on a sidewalk.
George Zimmerman: No, no, it’s the, it’s the sidewalk.
Investigator Singleton: There’s a sidewalk behind–
George Zimmerman: Yes ma’am.
Investigator Singleton: --the buildins?
George Zimmerman: It’s a dog walk.
Investigator Singleton: Okay. . . . the dog walk is, is cement.
George Zimmerman: Yes ma’am.
Investigator Singleton: Okay. Okay. Okay, so he’s hitting your head . . .
George Zimmerman: Yes, ma’am. As I went to sit up, then he grabbed me by the, the front of my head and started banging it into the–
Investigator Singleton: And that’s when you could look either to your left or right and you could see this guy? And you were saying help me?
George Zimmerman: I don’t remember. I screamed help me probably 50 times as loud as I could.
____________________________________

There's more here at the Law of Self Defense blog if you're interested.

It must be mentioned that Zimmerman's testimony could well simply be self-serving. It is, nevertheless, entirely legitimate evidence that the State must overcome, beyond a reasonable doubt, if they are to obtain a conviction.

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Evidentiary Flashback: Zimmerman Recounts Fight for Life, the Day After

Evidentiary Flashback: Zimmerman Recounts Fight for Life, the Day After
I was just reviewing the transcript of Zimmerman's questioning by the Sanford Police Department on February 27, 2012 (the day after the shooting,) and I was reminded of how absolutely chilling it is.

It's just words on paper, a police transcript, but you can feel the tension building line by line until the deadly climax, and then falling off. Zimmerman's responses start off as one or two words, usually just "Yes, ma'am," and then grow to a few words, longer sentences, then a couple of sentences . . .

. . . and then he describes in harrowing detail the fight for his life:

Zimmerman: I, it was dark. I didn’t even see him getting ready to punch me. As soon as he punched me, I fell backwards, um, into the grass and he grabbed me. He was wailing on my head and I, then, I started yelling help. When I started yelling help, he grabbed my head and he started hitting my head into the– I, I tried to sit up and I, and yell for help and then he grabbed my head and started hitting it into the sidewalk. Um, when he started doing that, I slid into the grass to try and get out from under him and so that he would stop hitting my head into the sidewalk and I’m still yelling for help. And, I could see people looking and some guy yells out, I’m calling 911 and I said, “Help me, help me. He’s killing me.” And he puts his hand on my nose and mouth and he says, “You’re gonna die tonight,” and I don’t remember much after that. I just remember, I couldn’t breath and then he still kept trying to hit my head against the pavement or I don’t know if there was a sign or what it was. So, I just, uh, when I slid, my jacket and my shirt came up and when he said, “You’re gonna die tonight,” I felt his hand go down on my side and I thought he was going for my firearm. So I grabbed it immediately and as he banged my head again, I just pulled out my firearm and shot him.
A few lines later he recalled:

Zimmerman: I didn't know what he was hitting [me with]. It felt like he was hitting me with bricks.
The content before and after this snippet is great stuff, too, but much too long to post here. If you want to see more, it's freely available at the Law of Self Defense blog.

Zimmerman’s own testimony can, of course, be seen as self-serving. Nevertheless, this is entirely legitimate evidence that the State must overcome if it is to prove Zimmerman guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of a crime in this case.

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The Rise, and Fall, of Witness #8

I realize most of my posts today have been rather dire in tone, so let's lighten things up a bit.

Always good for a laugh is the letter orchestrated by Crump & company and written (if not authored) by Witness #8 (since identified as "Dee Dee"). Note that although she was presented as Trayvon's girlfriend she somehow neglected to learn how to spell his name properly.

March 19, 2012

I was on the phone when Trevon [sic] decided to go to the Cornerstore. It started to rain so he decided to walk through another complex because it was raining too hard. He started walking then noticed someone was following him. Then he decided to find a shortcut cause the man wouldn't follow him. Then he said the man didn't follow him again. Then he looked back and saw the man again. The man started getting closer. Then Trevon [sic] turned around and said, "Why are you following me!! Then I heard him fall, then the phone hung up. I called back, and that no response. In my mind I though it was just a fight. Then I found out this tragic story.

Thank you,
[Redacted]
Finally! The State had its own "ear"-witness who could contest Zimmerman's recounting of events. It was the State's strongest--almost their only--piece of evidence pointing towards Zimmerman's guilt.

Or did they?

In March 2013 the State would be compelled to admit in open court that Witness #8 hd perjured herself in her sworn statement to the prosecutors. Claims that she was a minor and that she was "Trevon's" girlfriend were also proven to be untrue.

The State might still put Dee-Dee on the stand. If they do the cross-examination should be a popcorn-worthy event.

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Zimmerman Jury Selection -- Day Five Wrap-Up

Hey folks,

I just posted up the end-of-day wrap-up for day five of jury selection in the Zimmerman case, available at Legal Insurrection here.

There were four notable events of the day, apart from the jury questioning.

Perhaps today’s most interesting news happened outside the court room. Juror E7, since identified by media sources as Jerry P. Counelis, who was dismissed from the jury pool on Wednesday for apparently misleading the court, was back at the court house today. We’ve done a separate write up just on Mr. Counelis, so if you’re interested in more just click the link in the header above. I did a separate post just on this interesting development, which can be seen on Legal Insurrection here.

Another unexpected bit of news today was the release by Robert Zimmerman, George’s father, of an e-book entitled as in the header above, covering the travails of his son through the current crises. I’ve downloaded a copy to my Kindle, and will comment as soon as I’ve had some time to “flip” through it. If you're interested, a copy can be obtained at Amazon here, for $3.99.

The Judge also raised the issue of scheduling the as yet not completed Frye hearing from last week, to determine whether the State's speech "expert" witnesses would be permitted to testify at trial. Nothing was determined within hearing of the cameras, but the court room was left with the impression that the Frye hearing would be wrapped up next week.

Finally, she released a group of 23 prospective jurors who had “survived” to the next round of voir dire. They were told to return to court next Tuesday, and admonished to not discuss or research the case in the meantime, nor access any news about the case. Of the 23, 19 were women, 4 were men, and three of the group were black. Talk around the court house is that both sides want to bring 40 prospective jurors into the next round of voir dire, in anticipation of heavy attrition.

The remainder of the day the court moved through preliminary voir dire of another seven prospective jurors. For all the juicy details, check out the full end-of-day wrap up post at Legal Insurrection.

Monday we do another full day of live stream, all-day coverage of day two of jury selection. Be sure to join us.

Best,

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
1st Written Statement of Zimmerman to Police, Night Shooting

George Zimmerman fired the shot that killed Trayvon Martin at 7:17PM, Sunday, February 26, 2012.

Just over four hours later, at 11:36PM, Zimmerman signed his first written statement recounting the events of the shooting to Investigator Singleton of the Sanford Police Department.

If you've ever been interested in seeing that written statement first-hand, instead of just hearing the evidence misinterpreted through a disinformation campaign fully supported by the mainstream media, now's your chance. Ever wonder how much, if at all, Zimmerman's later recounting of events might have changed from his original statement to police? Don't rely on any one else's opinion (not even mine)--come take a look at the evidence yourself.

I've obtained a copy of Zimmerman's original 4-page hand-written statement to the police, and uploaded both a typed transcript (a bit easier to read) and a PDF scan of the original documents to the Law of Self Defense blog.

You can access that blog post directly here: Zimmerman's 1st Written Statement to Police the Night of the Shooting.

Once at the blog you can also, of course, access the many other blog postings on both the Zimmerman case and other self-defense issues from around the country--it's all totally free, of course.

Be sure to register if you'd like to be alerted directly whenever we post up a new self-defense related blog, which usually happens two or three times a week. Although I post here in this forum as much as I can, a lot of longer pieces of legal analysis just isn't well suited to a forum post.

Enjoy.

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman "chase" Martin against police orders?

Hey folks,

One of the many untruths in the Zimmerman case that has been vigorously disseminated and ingrained into the public consciousness is that Zimmerman "chased/followed" Martin against police orders, or that he exited his vehicle after being told to stay inside the vehicle, or other variations of this theme.

This narrative has continued, with the full-hearted support of the mainstream media and its hundreds of "investigative reporters" despite the fact that even a cursory review of the evidence clearly shows this narrative to be patently false.

We know this because we have a real-time audio recording of the events in the form of Zimmerman's non-emergency phone call to the Sanford Police Department to report a suspicious person in his neighborhood.

I've prepared an audio clip of the relevant part of that non-emergency call, as well as an annotated transcript of what I hear in that audio clip, and posted them to my Law of Self Defense blog here.

When I listen to that audio not only do I NOT hear Zimmerman disobeying the dispatcher's instructions, I hear him exiting the vehicle specifically to answer the dispatcher's explicit question.

Take a listen/look and let me know what YOU think. Personally, I think this myth is . . . BUSTED.

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
New Game: Count the untruths in the affidavit for probable cause (see actual copy)

Hey folks,
George Zimmerman was arrested, charged, and soon will be tried for murder in the second degree based upon the affidavit for probable cause submitted by investigators from Angela Corey's office. *These two investigators, T.C. O'Steen and K.D. "Dale" Gilbreath, at the time collectively possessing 44 years of law enforcement including decades in homicides, put down on paper and under oath the words contained in this affidavit.

I've obtained an copy of the original affidavit of probable cause (created a transcript for easier reading) and placed them at my blog for public access here: Zimmerman Trial: Evidentiary Flashback: Affidavit for Probable Cause–Count the untruths.

Reading it now, with so much evidence finally revealed through discovery, and so much disinformation and propaganda now having been de-bunked, it is amazing that anyone could have believed the deceptions and untruths contained in this document.

I have my own count, but I'm sure I must have missed some. *How about we play a count the "half-truths/un-truths" game and see how many you folks can identify and list.

Bonus points for whoever can find in this affidavit, even assuming every word in it is true, the elements of murder in the second degree--782.04(2). Murder--gets bonus points, because I sure can't find them.

Not even if the affidavit is true. *(Which it's not.)

(For a discussion of what Florida law means when it requires that a person have acted with a "depraved mind" to be guilty of murder 2, see: Getting to Murder 2: Finding George Zimmerman’s “Depraved Mind”, over at Legal Insurrection.)

Anyway, take a look for yourselves and see what you think.

Good hunting.

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman really "racially profile" Martin?

Hey folks,

First a quick reminder that I'll be providing live, all-day coverage of Day 6 of jury selection for the Zimmerman trial over at Legal Insurrection. We'll provide live video streaming, a rolling Twitter feed of selected contributors, real-time posts of breaking events, and of course our wildly popular end-of-day wrap up. *I don't have a link for you until we go live, but we'll start coverage as soon as the Court goes into session, usually right at 9AM.

Now, to the meat of this post: Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman really "racially profile" Trayvon Martin, and was that alleged racial motivation the "depraved mind" element that makes this killing qualify as murder in the second degree?

NBC News produced a version of the recording of Zimmerman's non-emergency call to the police in which he appeared to volunteer, unsolicited, the fact that Martin was black. (NBC is currently being sued by Zimmerman for this act of malice.)

Fortunately, you don't have to rely on anyone else's "opinion" on the matter. In my newest blog post I have placed a copy of both the relevant snippet of that call and a transcript of what was said (for convenience):

Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman really “racially profile” Martin?

Take a listen/look and see what you think. Did Zimmerman racially profile Martin? *Based on the facts in evidence, I'd have to say that myth is . . . BUSTED!

Andrew

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Zimmerman Jury Selection -- Day Six Wrap-Up

Hey folks,

I just posted up the end-of-day wrap-up for day six of jury selection in the Zimmerman case, available at Legal Insurrection here: Zimmerman Jury Selection -- Day Six Wrap-Up.

There were two notable jurors of the day:

H13 seemed to feel that the fact that Zimmerman was armed, even though lawfully, at the time of the incident suggested some wrongdoing on his part. Clearly, his being armed made her uncomfortable. She also recalled having "lived through" other racially-tinged riots, such as the Rodney King riots (albeit it seems she was not physically present at those riots, but knew of them from media reports). The most shocking of her comments, however, was when she noted that her present recollection was that Zimmerman had followed Martin against police orders. Asked if she would be able to reconsider that opinion if she heard evidence in court to the contrary she answers "I don't think I could be open to that." H13 was dismissed by the Court.

(For a thorough debunking of the false "Zimmerman followed Martin against police orders" narrative, click here: Zimmerman Trial: Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman “chase” Martin against police orders?)

H27 was well-informed about the case, and could recall hearing the various police recordings and other details. It has been a striking consistency that the prospective jurors who have appeared to learn in favor of Zimmerman have tended to be well-informed about the facts of the case, whereas prospective jurors who have seemed to lean against Zimmerman have professed an almost coma-like ignorance of the facts of the case. During questioning by de la Rionda H27 volunteered that he had contributed $20 to George Zimmerman's legal defense fund, but nevertheless said he could be a fair and impartial juror. H27 was ultimately dismissed by the Court.

For all the juicy details, click here: Zimmerman Jury Selection -- Day Six Wrap-Up.

Following the wrap-up of prospective juror voir dire the court recessed, only to return to complete the Frye hearing that had been left unfinished the week prior to the start of jury selection. For more on that, click here: Zimmerman Trial: Frye Hearing Continues with Prof. James L. Wayman



Tomorrow we'll do another full day of live stream, all-day coverage of day seven of jury selection. Be sure to join us.

Best,

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The Five Principles of the Law of Self Defense

Hey folks,

Well, we're gearing up for Day 7 of jury selection. It's amazing to think that we've spent all this time with the jurors and we're still only doing the preliminary voir dire, limited to asking questions about pre-trial publicity. If it takes an hour to get through a jury on that basis, and sometimes it has, how long is it going to take when the lawyers are doing an unlimited voir dire?

In any case, I thought it might be useful to take a moment, lift our heads from the weeds of jury selection and specific factual matters, and take a brief 30,000 foot view of the trial.

I've posted at some length about the State's challenges in proving the charge of murder in the second degree (can't be done, in my opinion), or manslaughter.

As to manslaughter, petty much anytime you deliberately use any force against someone and they die it's going to be manslaughter--UNLESS you have some lawful justification.

And that's where Zimmerman's legal defense of self-defense will come into play.

A few days ago I put up a "self-defense backgrounder" post over at Legal Insurrection, but I don't believe I've mentioned it here so many of you might not have seen it.

The post covers the four main Florida self-defense related statutes I expect to be relevant in this case, and the statutory criminal charges in play (murder and manslaughter).

I also present a conceptual framework, "The Five Principles of the Law of Self-Defense," to guide our ongoing assessment of how successfully (or not) the State is making its case to disprove, beyond a reasonable doubt, Zimmerman's claim to have acted in lawful self-defense.

Enjoy!

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman “Chase Down” a Fleeing Martin?

Hey folks,

One of the enduring myths of the falsified public narrative promulgated by the State prosecutors and other anti-Zimmerman zealots has been that George Zimmerman “chased down” a frightened Trayvon Martin who was simply attempting to secure the safety of his destination (his father’s girlfriend’s home in at the Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood.

Is that what really happened? Or is George Zimmerman’s recounting more credible and consistent with the facts in evidence?



Take a look at my latest fact-based "myth busters" installment, and decide for yourselves: Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman “Chase Down” a Fleeing Martin?

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Goal of 40 Prospective Jurors for Full Voir Dire Achieved

Hey folks,

I just posted up the end-of-day wrap-up for day 7 of jury selection in the Zimmerman case, available at Legal Insurrection here: Zimmerman Jury Selection -- Day Seven Wrap-Up.

The biggest news of the day is that the Court's goal of selecting 40 prospective jurors to go on to the next round of full voir dire has been achieved, and Judge Nelson dismissed the jurors who did not make it through the first round of questioning. The lucky winners are:

B12, B29, B35, B37, B51, B61, B7, B72, B76, B86, E13, E22, E28, E40, E54, E6, E73, G14, G29, G47, G63, G66, G81, H18, H29, H35, H6, H69, H7, H81, H86, I19, I24, I33, I44, K80, K95, M75, P67, I5.

We’ll be posting a compilation of our notes for each of these 40 in post coming soon.

The announcement of the successful candidate jurors having been announced, we saw a relatively rare appearance by Prosecutor Angela Corey, when she stepped to the front of the court room and directed the courthouse personnel in arranging the chairs for the jurors tomorrow morning.

For all the juicy details, click here: Zimmerman Jury Selection -- Day Seven Wrap-Up.

Tomorrow we'll do another full day of live stream, all-day coverage of day eight of jury selection, the "Full Voir Dire Edition". Be sure to join us.

Best,

Andrew
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Zimmerman Trial: Never seen a juror questionnaire before? Here you go . . .

Hey folks,

As we’ve been watching the preliminary voir dire of dozens of prospective jurors over the past week or so, we’ve heard innumerable mentions of a “juror questionnaire.”* This is simply a list of questions, agreed to by both parties and the Court, which the jurors are asked to complete in writing before being questioned in voir dire.* Their answers help the Court and parties quickly identify prospective jurors who must be dismissed as a matter of course–for example, if they are related to or have a business interest with one of the parties.

Their answers can also shed a subtle but discerning light on any prejudices they might bring to the trial that could prevent them from serving as a fair and impartial juror.* Some of these questions often seem completely irrelevant to the case at hand–such as, “Please list your 3 favorite TV shows,” or “Please list the 3 people you admire most/least”–but to a skilled jury consultant the responses to these questions can provide a deep insight into the prospective jurors covert prejudices.

The defense has retained the services of a world-class jury consultant, and I have obtained a sample of a jury questionnaire he used in a previous murder case (a rather bizarre one, actually, State v. Durst).* If you’ve never before had the opportunity to see a juror questionnaire, now's your chance, as the court advances the 40 "winning" jurors into the next round of full voir dire.


Enjoy.

Andrew
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