Welcome to Day 9 Liveblogging Jury Selection in Zimmerman Trial

June 20, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Good morning to the last day of Spring and the 9th day of liveblogging jury selection.

Here is your link to Fauxmccoy’s fabulous spreadsheet of the prospective jurors (PJs).

Here’s the link to the livestream coverage.


Court resumes at 9 am EDT with the defense voir dire of the panel of 40.

See you in court.


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Please consider making a donation to keep independent journalism alive.

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Zimmerman: Day 8 Liveblogging Jury Selection Completed

June 19, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Good afternoon:

We have completed liveblogging the 8th day of jury selection.

Bernie de la Rionda spent the day teaching and indoctrinating the panel of 40 prospective jurors (PJs) with the legal foundation of the case that he will present to them in opening statement. Judging by their reaction, he succeeded in building rapport and trust.

The defense has a big mountain to climb tomorrow.

Bernie used a mixture of one-at-a-time voir dire as to the entire group and then switched to what we used to call the Donahue Method after the former TV host, Phil Donahue.

We would never have been allowed to conduct a classroom style multiple-hour education of the panel regarding legal principles as Bernie did.

Judges instruct on the law, not lawyers.

Voir dire means to question.

During his initial questioning of the panel, he asked each individual juror how long they had lived in Seminole County and Florida, their marital status and children, and what they liked to do with their spare time.

Then he used the Donahue Method to question the panel of 40 as a group on the following subjects:

1. Knowledge of the defendant, lawyers, court personnel and witnesses to be called;

2. Familiarity with TV programs about forensics, cops and the law;

3. Difference between direct and circumstantial evidence;

4. Whether anyone was arrested and prosecuted for a crime;

5. Victims of crime, particularly violent crime;

6. Experience with Neighborhood Watch programs;

7. Whether anyone believes they have the right to take the law into their own hands;

8. Whether anyone believes any person by reason of wealth, education, employment, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, language or dress should be treated differently under the law;

9. Whether anyone has been a witness before or served on a jury;

10. Member of law enforcement or knows someone who is;

11. Whether anyone has medical experience or knowledge;

12. Owns a gun, has a license to carry concealed, NRA membership;

13. Whether people who own guns have a responsibility to learn how to use them;

14. Whether anyone is a fitness freak or trained fighter or been in a fight;

15. Whether anyone has special knowledge or training in cell phones, phonetics, linguistics, or DNA testing; and

16. Whether anyone would not be able to look at gruesome photographs for their evidentiary value.

No one was excused today although I believe 2 PJs should be excluded for financial and familial hardship, especially since the trial is expected to last 2-4 weeks and the jury will be sequestered. Both are Hispanic.

B-29 is a married mother with 8 children at home. The oldest is 22. She works as a CNA. She is juror #2 in the box and would be replaced by B-51, a retired white female from Oviedo with a dog and 20-year-old cat. Knows a good deal about the case, but said “I’m not rigid in my thinking.” She moved to Florida from Atlanta and was the Director of a call center for 1,200 employees.

P-67 is an auto mechanic whose job might not be there after the trial. He is 22nd on the list of 40.

The defense will voir dire tomorrow starting at 9 am EDT.

If the defense has not completed questioning the PJs by 2 pm, Judge Nelson will excuse them for the day in order to resume and complete at least the evidentiary portion of the Frye hearing. The prosecution will be presenting one rebuttal witness, Tom Owen.

I doubt she will be ready to issue her decision at the conclusion of the hearing, so look for it early next week, probably Monday.

I will see you all tomorrow morning at 9 am EDT.


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Welcome to Day 8 Liveblogging Jury Selection in Zimmerman Trial

June 19, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Good morning:

Trained Observer posted the following comment yesterday at 6:28 pm. I have decided to use it as a scorecard for the next round of voir dire.

I recommend we use it as a starting point for our discussions during the day about the various prospective jurors. Feel free to agree or disagree with her recommendations. By actively involving yourselves in the process of selecting and exercising challenges while witnessing the lawyers doing the same thing, you will be participating in a unique learning experience.

I do not believe this has ever been done before, so celebrate and learn.

The selection process is described below the scorecard.

My recommendations for next round, hoping hardship rids line-up of some “iffy” candidates, and strikes can be saved for a final shaping after defense squanders its share. (Admittedly, there’s so very much we don’t know about these PJs.)

B-12: Middle-aged white female; works late shift. Likes CSI, says she’d heard Fogen followed Trayvon. KEEP FOR NOW

B-29: Hispanic female nurse on an Alzheimer ward with 7 kidsl lived in windy Chicago at time of shooting. WEED OUT ON HARDSHIP

B-76: White middle-aged female who says Fogen had an “altercation with the young man. There was a struggle and the gun went off.” TRY TO WEED OUT

B-7: Middle-aged white male; NPR listener. Recalls when Florida implemented “stand your ground” and debate over whether needed.KEEP

B-35: Middle-aged black male owning a vending biz. Critical of Sharpton & Jackson; says this case not racial. KEEP

B-37: Middle-aged white female who works for a chiropractor and has a ton of of pets. Described protests in Sanford as “rioting.” STRIKE-OLA

B-51: Retired white female from Oviedo with a dog and 20-year-old cat. Knows a good deal about the case, but said “I’m not rigid in my thinking.” KEEP

B-86: Middle-aged white female working at middle school. Says if Trayvon had not been “expelled” from school in Miami — she oughta know the diff between expelled and suspended — “this could have been prevented.” DUH, WEED OUT

E-6: A young white female and mother who used to work in financial services. Used case as teaching moment for her kids, warning them to not go out late. KEEP

E-40: White female in 60s living in Iowa at shooting; heard about on national news and recalls shooting in a gated community and a teen killed. KEEP

E-54: Middle-aged white male with teenage stepson who wears hoodies. Saw photos of Fogen’s head and face with boo-boos. KEEP

E-73: Middle-aged white female from Sanford’s artsy community, raising late brother’s 15- and 18-year-olds. Says media interjected race in case. KEEP FOR NOW

M-75: Young AA female says many friends have opinions on case, but claims she doesn’t.KEEP

B-61: Young white female; remembers “after the protesters, it seemed to turn more into a racial issue…I don’t think it’s a racial issue.” KEEP

B-72: Young male doing maintenance at a school and competes in arm wrestling. Avoids news because he does not want to be “brainwashed.” TRY TO WEED OUT

E-22: Middle-aged AA female; says after shooting Sanford police should have booked Fogen and asked more questions. KEEP

E-13: Young white female collegiate who works two jobs; Heard shooting was a “racial thing.” KEEP FOR NOW.

E-28: Middle-aged white female nurse; claims she knows little about case and has no opinion about Fogen’s guilt. KEEP

K-80: Middle-aged white female with kids who has not followed case; Cconsiders “racial undertones” in case “disturbing.” WEED OUT ON HARDSHIP

K-95: Middle-aged woman who’s a full-time student and “IT geek” with two kids; Critical of protests calling for Fogen’s arrest. TRY TO WEED OUT

P-67: Native Mexican wants to serve on the jury, describing civic duty. “Some people think it is a racist thing,” he said of the shooting. A KEEPER

G-14: Middle-aged white female who recalls a “lot of anger, a lot of people upset” that Fogen was not arrested immediately. KEEP

G-29: Young black female has lived in Seminole County for eight months. Cites racial tension build-up, but claims she “stayed away from it.” KEEP

G-47: Young white male assistant restaurant manager says Fogen appears to be “stuck in the worst situation” possible. KEEP FOR NOW

?-63: Young, unemployed apparently mixed race male. Knows a little about case but pans stereotyping and says people sometimes interject race into cases . KEEP FOR NOW

G-66: Retired white female who cares for toddler grandson and moved to Central Florida in 2011. Saw photos of Fogen injuries and, “I felt sorry for him.” STRIKERAMA

G-81: Tall black male lives less than a half mile from shooting. Cites Sanford’s racial divide, but says media has misportrayed the city. KEEP

H-6: Young white male who heard call Fogen made to cops before shooting. “He sounded like he was concerned for his neighborhood.” TRY TO WEED OUT

H-7: Red-haired 50s male in a biz suit citing a “big brouhaha in Sanford,” describesd protesters as “a nuisance” and says “I still don’t know why it became a high profile case.” STRIKOLA

H-18: A dark-skinned looker in his 20s with accent who’s a mechanic, owns his shop with a partner and moved here from Kuwait. Avoids discussing certain topics. “When it’s politics, religion or race, I just don’t get involved.” KEEP

H-29: White-haired male calls national civil rights leaders who led protests in Sanford “a little circus come to town.” Says “negative for the city,” … “That honestly turned me off.” TRY TO WEED OUT

H-35: Young female who said she knows little about case. She “liked” a photo of Trayvon on Facebook. Needs to move by and of June, claiming hardship. WEED OUT ON HARDSHIP

H-81: Middle aged male (a lawyer? What kind of lawyer? Does he sit around all day looking at real estate contracts … or does he do trial work?) describes shooting as an “incident” between Fogen and Trayvon; calls shooting a “very tragic situation.” He has two pending civil cases before Nelson. KEEP FOR NOW

H-69: Preggers PJ who saw news about case on TV at work. Mentions several times that she recalled seeing pictures of Trayvon as “a young child.” WEED OUT ON HARDSHIP

H-86: Young white female says she knows almost nothing about the case. Says she keeps up with current events, but “certain cases and things I don’t follow.” KEEP

I-5: Middle-aged AA male says he heard self-defense was involved with case, at one point referring to Fogen as “gentleman that was defending himself.” KEEP

I-19: Young white female says she hasn’t followed case and knows only basics: “I don’t watch the news, I don’t read the news,” she, who lies or is really stupid, said. STRIKE

I-24: Older white woman who followed case at first, but then “just kinda tuned out.” Says “a young man lost his life and another man is fighting for his life.” STRIKE

I-33: Older white male, saying “more I heard, the less I wanted to hear.” Heard a 911 call involved in case, and “some controversy as to who was doing the screaming” heard. TRY TO WEED OUT

I-44: Dad of 3 says he’s skeptical of media and its “negativity.” Calls himself a “sports nut.” KEEP FOR NOW

I have previously described the process of group voir dire as follows:

When she gets to 40, she will gather that group together seating the PJs in the jury box, and subsequently the benches, in the order in which they were called and likely instruct them to raise their hands indicating an affirmative answer as she asks a series of questions, pausing to record each PJ’s affirmative answer to each question.

For example, she might ask for a show of hands by each PJ who has been a victim of a crime and write down each PJs number who raises their hand.

After she completes her list of questions, the lawyers, starting with Bernie de la Rionda, will question the first PJ on the list (B12) regarding each question she answered affirmatively. After both lawyers have finished with B12, they will pass or challenge her for cause. If she is excused, she will be replaced in the box by PJ B51 (she is 7th in the order).

This process will be repeated with B51 until she is passed or excused for cause. If she is excused, her seat will be taken by B55. If she is passed, the lawyers will question B29, the PJ in the second seat in the box.

This procedure likely will be followed until 30 PJs have been passed for cause.

Then the lawyers will exercise their peremptory challenges, which is usually done secretly with the lawyers passing back and forth a sheet of paper alternately listing a PJ number until one or both sides exhaust their allotment of peremptory challenges.

If one side accepts the jury of 6 before exhausting their peremptories, they retain the right to use a peremptory challenge to excuse the PJ who replaces a member of the jury struck by their opponent after they accepted the jury.

Here’s the link to the livestream coverage.


Court resumes at 9 am EDT.

See you in court.

(H/T to Trained Observer for the excellent list)


Your continuing support allows me to continue posting independent articles like this.

Please consider making a donation to keep independent journalism alive.

Thank you

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