Zimmerman Florida Murder Trial Begins with Jury Selection

On February 12, 2012, George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in Sanford FL.  Jury selection in his Florida murder case began today.  Seminole County brought in “a pool of 100 prospective jurors will be separated into groups of 21, with each prospective juror being brought into a room for questioning by the judge, state and defense.”  (Fox News)

The prosecution and defense agree that Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.  Prosecutors are arguing that Zimmerman committed 2nd degree murder.  His criminal defense attorneys are arguing that he acted under Florida self defense laws and that the homicide was justified.  Fox News gave a break down of the basic facts and arguments:

“Investigators know Zimmerman was on patrol following a series of break-ins inside the Sanford, Fla., community. And they know the altercation occurred as Martin, visiting from the Miami area, was returning from a convenience store where had bought Skittles and an iced tea and that he was on a cellphone call to a female friend immediately before the altercation.  But other details and accounts of that night remain in dispute and are expected to be the focal points of the court arguments.  Prosecutors say Zimmerman tracked down Martin and started the fight.  Zimmerman says Martin spotted his gun holstered around his waist and under his clothes and said, ‘You are going to die tonight.’ He also says Martin grabbed the gun first and fired. Martin was shot in the chest at close range and died at the scene.”

 Zimmerman’s lawyers moved for a continuance of the trial.  “Circuit Judge Debra Nelson rejected the request after lead defense attorney Mark O’Mara told the judge his defense team needed several more weeks to prepare. ‘We’re not fully ready and need more time,’ O’Mara said.  O’Mara blamed prosecutors for a delay in turning over evidence and said he needs time to interview an attorney for Martin’s family. Prosecutors opposed the request for a delay.”

The Zimmerman case has attracted national media attention.  The “shooting in central Florida sparked a fierce national debate about such issues as gun control, equal justice and race after Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, fatally shot Martin, a black teenager.”  Because of this, many people expected the courthouse to be packed.  “Law enforcement officials at the Seminole County Courthouse Monday had been anticipating scores of protesters supporting either Martin’s family or Zimmerman. But so far the crowds had stayed away on the first day of the trial.”  This could be because this is only jury selection.  Once the trial actually begins, things could change.  We will likely see more people in the area.  The trial is expected to last approximately six weeks.   I wrote an article last week on 20 Miles Law Jacksonville lawyers website.  It was titled Lottery to Win Seats to Florida Zimmerman Trial.  Since there is a lottery to see the Zimmerman trial, I am assuming there will be crowds.

The last article that I wrote on this Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer website about the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin case was Zimmerman’s Criminal Attorneys Argue Martin Was Violent.  It discussed whether certain character evidence about Trayvon Martin would be admitted at the trial.  “Nelson has already ruled that defense attorneys won’t be able to mention Martin’s past marijuana use, suspension from school and past fighting during opening statements, though Nelson left open the possibility that the defense could try again later during the trial if it could show relevance.  Such a situation could arise if prosecutors attempt to portray Martin as an angelic kid.”

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