Thursday, June 20, 2013

George Zimmerman Jury Selection: It's Time to "Unlike" Jurors

Jury selection is moving along in the George Zimmerman trial.  Forty potential jurors have been selected for general voir dire questioning. That means that pre trial publicity did not bias these people to the extent that they were excused for what they knew about the case. Now the attorneys will ask them questions about their personal experiences and beliefs to encourage open ended  responses to see if they want them as jurors.

HLN is calling out their comments as if jury selection were a game show. Like them or strike them?  BUZZ. In a felony jury trial each side gets 10 strikes for whatever reason as long as it is not for bias against race, gender or sex.  These peremptory strikes may stem from a juror having a bad hair day. No reason is necessary to "unlike" a potential juror.

Strikes for cause are not limited, but are more difficult because a specific reason must be stated and granted by the judge.  Usually one side or the other wants a juror excused because they feel that this person will not support their side. If a strike for cause is denied, a remaining peremptory challenge can be used to eliminate the juror.

Both sides want jurors who have a depth of experience and who can be rational, reasonable, open-minded and independent.  The prosecution needs to show malicious intent to get a second degree murder conviction so they want jurors that can play the race card.