Tag Archives: Jury

George Zimmerman Trial Juror B29 Says He ‘Got Away With Murder’

george zimmerman trial juror b29

George Zimmerman trial juror B29, revealing her first name to be Maddy speaks with Robin Roberts in an exclusively interview for ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The Huffington Post

The only minority on the jury that found George Zimmerman not guilty for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin sat for an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts for Friday’s “Good Morning America” and revealed very strong feelings about how the 29-year-old faired in his trial.

“George Zimmerman got away with murder,” she said. “But you can’t get away from God. And at the end of the day, he’s going to have a lot of questions and answers he has to deal with. [But] the law couldn’t prove it.”

Although formerly only known as juror B29, she allowed her face to be shown and chose to withhold her last name, only using her first name Maddy.

A 36-year-old Puerto Rican nursing assistant, Maddy was the only minority on the six-person jury. She admitted she was the juror who originally wanted to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder, but eventually realized that the evidence didn’t support a guilty verdict with respect to his claim of self-defense.

“I was the juror that was going to give them the hung jury. I fought to the end,” she said. “That’s where I felt confused, where if a person kills someone, then you get charged for it. But as the law was read to me, if you have no proof that he killed him intentionally, you can’t say he’s guilty.”

She continued, “as much as we were trying to find this man guilty…they give you a booklet that basically tells you the truth, and the truth is that there was nothing that we could do about it. I feel the verdict was already told.”

However, as a mother of eight children, Maddy said she wonders if she made the right decision and feels like she owes Martin’s parents an apology.

“It’s hard for me to sleep, it’s hard for me to eat because I feel I was forcefully included in Trayvon Martin’s death. And as I carry him on my back, I’m hurting as much Trayvon’s Martin’s mother because there’s no way that any mother should feel that pain,” she said.

Maddy is the second juror to speak out since the trial ended. Juror B37 first spoke with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, saying Zimmerman was “justified” in shooting the teen. Shortly after the interview, four jurors released a statement saying juror B37′s opinions were not representative of their own.

Zimmerman was acquitted on July 13 after several weeks of his second-degree murder trial for shooting and killing Martin in February 2012. Although jurors were allowed to consider a lesser charge of manslaughter, he was found not guilty on all counts and maintains he shot the teen in self-defense.

Portions of Roberts’ interview with Maddy will air on Thursday evening’s “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Nightline.” The interview will air in its entirety Friday morning.

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New Accusations Against Zimmerman Jurors As Sheriffs Office Admits It Allowed Unsupervised Access

The Zimmerman trial is called into question as the sheriff’s office confirmed that jurors had unsupervised access to family and friends during trial..Image @ WFTV: Zimmerman Trial graphic

Addicting Info

The image of a murder trial jury often times gives the image from 12 Angry Men, a group holed up, cut off from contact from the outside world, with the weight of life or death hanging over their heads as they decide the fate of the person on trial. However, in the case of the Zimmerman trial, the revelations are of steak dinners, fancy pedicures and trips to local museums, all on the taxpayer dime. The decision to pamper the jury was undertaken for a myriad of reasons. As one Florida attorney, Randy Reep, pointed out:

These women of course are not criminals, yet we took them from their families. While we did not say this then, now it is clear, half of the country is going to very vocally find fault with your dedicated effort. A Bloomin Onion at Outback would not adequately reimburse these women for the bitterness [some will level at them for their jury service.] 

In a statement by the Sheriff’s office, this was elaborated upon:

Jurors watched television and movies, exercised at the hotel fitness center, and spent weekends being visited by family and friends.

Hold on a second. The Sheriff’s office did not take them away from their families, they had access to them over the weekend! However, they were carefully monitored to prevent jury tampering at least, right? To verify this statement, AI’s own Dr. Mark Bear contacted them, telling us:

Just verified with Heather Smith, from the Seminole Country Sheriff’s Office at 407-474-6259. She states, “Generally speaking, jurors serving on the Zimmerman trial were afforded two hours of visiting privileges with family of friends each weekend.” I asked what she meant by generally speaking,” and she states, “there were more opportunities afforded jurors but not all took advantage.”

So, these visits were unsupervised. WFTV has dug into these visits, and what they found calls into question the verdict. As WFTV’s legal analyst, Bill Sheaffer, points out:

It only takes two seconds for an inappropriate comment to be made to a juror by a family member inadvertently or otherwise to possibly affect the verdict, how they look at the case.

And, it turns out, there is evidence to find that jury tampering did happen, as Juror B37 discussed in her aborted book deal:

The potential book was always intended to be a respectful observation of the trial from my and my husband’s perspectives…

Her husband holding a perspective strong enough to write a book on the subject, given unsupervised access during the trial to his wife on the jury. Juror B37 has also admitted that the decision was reached with information not presented at the trial itself.

This is a siren bell warning of jury tampering. And this is but one juror, how much was discussed with the other jurors. The failure to supervise has now resulted in a potential legal nightmare for the state of Florida, which can be held liable for failing to properly ensure an untampered jury. Add to it the money that juror B37 could anticipate from such a book deal, which would be worth far more if given a not-guilty verdict than otherwise, and we are looking at a potential post-trial jury payoff negotiated through the husband.

And the concerns over Juror B37 are far older than that apparent after the trial. In watching her jury interview, one finds a very concerning pattern. As discussed by legal expert Gail Brashers-Krug, a former federal prosecutor and law professor and who is currently a criminal defense attorney in Iowa:

She really wants to be a juror. She seems to be going out of her way to minimize the disruptive effect of a multiweek trial on her life. Jurors rarely do that. She is also taking pains to avoid saying anything particularly sympathetic to either side. Both sides tend to be very skeptical of jurors who are particularly eager to serve on high-profile cases. Often they have their own agendas, or are attention-seekers.

We find a juror with their own agenda, who managed to sneak her way onto the jury, with unsupervised access to an element harboring their own viewpoint and opinion, and who aimed to profit off of a non-guilty verdict. She had the means, by having access to her husband unsupervised. She had the motive, by profiting off of a book deal. And she had the opportunity by being on the jury in the first place.

Jury tampering is a third degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to five years in prison. But with a man who would cover up a tuberculosis outbreak in charge of ensuring the judicial process is followed, it is highly doubtful a real investigation into jury tampering will happen in Florida.

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Zimmerman Juror Decides Not To Write Book About Trial

It’s official…

Buzzfeed

Intense and immediate backlash apparently changed the mind of Juror B37 — and her agent. “I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to my life as it was before …”  posted on July 16, 2013 at 12:52am EDT

Late Monday night, Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management LLC told BuzzFeed that Juror B37 will no longer pursue a book deal.

The juror’s statement, via Martin:

“I realize it was necessary for our jury to be sequestered in order to protest our verdict from unfair outside influence, but that isolation shielded me from the depth of pain that exists among the general public over every aspect of this case. The potential book was always intended to be a respectful observation of the trial from my and my husband’s perspectives solely and it was to be an observation that our ‘system’ of justice can get so complicated that it creates a conflict with our ‘spirit’ of justice.

Now that I am returned to my family and to society in general, I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to my life as it was before I was called to sit on this jury.”

The juror’s announcement came after Martin — who has also represented Amanda Knox’s ex Raffaele Sollecito — decided to drop her following hours of outrage on social media.

“After careful consideration regarding the proposed book project with Zimmerman Juror B37, I have decided to rescind my offer of representation in the exploration of a book based upon this case,” Martin said in an email at the time.

Earlier Monday, when the partnership was first announced, Martin said she hopedJuror B37’s book would help the public “understand the commitment it takes to serve and be sequestered on a jury in a highly publicized murder trial …. It could open a whole new dialogue about laws that may need to be revised and revamped to suit a 21st century way of life.”

But on Monday evening, Juror B37 went on CNN to defend the jury’s decision to find George Zimmerman not guilty.

“I think both were responsible for the situation they had gotten themselves into,”she said. “I think they both could have walked away.”

Not long after the interview aired, calls for Martin to drop the juror intensified. A Change.org petition by Genie Lauren circulated, asking Trayvon Martin supporters to not “allow this person to profit off of the injustice that they’ve served to the American public.” By 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, it had more than 800 signatures.

Continue here to read Twitter comments about the book proposal

 

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Breaking News: No Book Deal from Martin Literary Management for Juror B37

Just an FYI:

I was so outraged at the news that one of the jurors was going to write a book about the Zimmerman trial verdict that I wrote to Martin Literary Management like  so many others have done since the news of the book deal:

May I respectfully say that I will not purchase said book.  I’m sure it will be a best seller among the Zimmerman supporters, but to profit off of the death of a young teenager is not only ghoulish and wrong, it’s actually “creepy”.

Sheila A. Bryant
Mother and Grandmother
I received a rather prompt, short reply from the literary agent:
After careful consideration regarding the proposed book project with Zimmerman Juror B37, I have decided to rescind my offer of representation in the exploration of a book based upon this case.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me.
All the best, 
Sharlene Martin |Literary & Media Manager
Martin Literary Management LLC
Of course it doesn’t mean that B37 won’t get her book deal, but at least not from this particular literary agent.

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CNN’s Anderson Cooper Interviews Anonymous Member Of Zimmerman Jury Who Defends Acquittal Decision

Speechless…

Mediaite

CNN’s Anderson Cooper landed the first “exclusive” interview with one of the six women who sat on the George Zimmerman murder trial jury for the last month. Seated in darkness and identified only as Juror B-37, the woman told Cooper is “seems like it’s been years” since the trial began and shared which moments of the proceedings had the biggest impact on her.

Speaking about the opening statements, the juror called defense attorney Don West‘s knock-knock joke “horrible.” She said, “nobody got it. I didn’t get it until later, and then I thought about it, and I’m like, I guess that could have been funny, but not in the context he told it.” She told Cooper that in general she found the witnesses to be “credible” and said when it came to the 911 call audio of the screams, she believed those who said it was Zimmerman’s voice “because of the evidence that he was the one that had gotten beaten.” All but one of the six jurors agreed with that assessment. “I don’t think there was a doubt,” she said, “that everybody else thought it was George’s voice.”

If there was one witness who the juror didn’t find entirely credible it was Trayvon Martin‘s friend Rachel Jeantel. “I didn’t think it was credible, but I felt sorry for her. She didn’t ask to be in this place. She wanted to go. She didn’t want to be any part of this case. I think she felt inadequate toward everyone because of her education and her communication skills. I just felt sadness for her.” She added, “she was embarrassed by being there, because of her education and her communication skills, that she just wasn’t a good witness.”

Cooper asked the juror specifically about Jeantel’s “creepy-ass cracker” statement that drew wide attention during the trial. She said she thought it was “probably the truth” and that “Trayvon probably said that” but said she didn’t “think it’s really racial. I think it’s just every day life. the type of life that they live, and how they’re living, in the environment that they’re living in.”    (Emphasis are mine)

Watch part 1 of Cooper’s interview below, via CNN:

In the second part of the interview, the juror told Cooper she thought Zimmerman’s “heart was in the right place” on the night he shot and killed Martin and the only thing he is guilty of is “not using good judgement.” She said she thought he had “every right so carry a gun,” adding, “I think it’s everyone’s right to carry a gun.”

When Cooper asked if the juror thought Zimmerman “really felt his life was in danger” she responded. “I do. I really do.” When he asked if she thought Martin “threw the first punch,” she said, “I think he did.” Despite those assertions she admitted that among she and the other jurors, “nobody knew exactly what happened.”

She reiterated that she did not think race played a role in the case. “I think if there was another person, Spanish, white, Asian, if they came in the same situation where Trayvon was,” she said, “I think George would have reacted the exact same way.” The juror hedged a bit when Cooper asked her whether she would feel comfortable having Zimmerman on “neighborhood watch” in her community saying it would be OK “as long as he didn’t go too far.” She eventually said she thought he’d “learned his lesson” and after the trial “would be more responsible than anyone else on the planet right now.”

Watch part 2 of Cooper’s interview below, via CNN:

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Piers Morgan Conducts Riveting Interview With Trayvon Martin’s Friend, Witness Rachel Jeantel

Mediaite

Piers Morgan followed Anderson Cooper‘s bombshell interview with an anonymous Zimmerman trial juror tonight with an exclusive chat with the witness everyone has been waiting to hear from since the verdict came down: Trayvon Martin‘s friend Rachel Jeantel.

Jeantel, who created a media firestorm with her highly-polarizing testimony towards the beginning of the trial, appeared on Piers Morgan Live alongside her attorney. She described her reaction to Zimmerman’s acquittal as “disappointed, upset and angry” and called the jury’s assessment of what happened “just B.S.”

Asked about what Trayvon Martin was like as a friend, Jeantel described him as a “calm, chill, loving person” and said she never saw him get “aggressive” or “lose his temper.” She said that the defense’s attempts to portray Martin as a “thug” were unfounded and defended his relatively mild drug use. “Weed don’t make him go crazy,” she said, “it just makes him go hungry.”

Jeantel also responded to the massive mockery she received in social media for the way she speaks, explaining that she was born with an under-bite that has made it difficult for her to speak clearly. When Morgan asked if she’d been bullied for her condition, she simply responded, “Look at me,” to laughter from the studio audience.

Morgan attempted to get Jeantel to offer her opinion of defense attorney Don West, who many claimed was condescending towards her when she was on the stand. Jeantel shook her head, declining to say anything bad about the man given her “Christian” upbringing.

Watch part 1 of Morgan’s interview below, via CNN:

In the second part of his interview with Jeantel, Morgan turned to the “creepy-ass cracker” comment  she made and the major impact it had on the tenor of the case. She explained that the term is actually spelled “cracka” and defined it as “people who are acting like they’re police.” She said that if Zimmerman had calmly approached Martin and introduced himself, her friend would have politely said what he was doing there and nothing more would have happened.

Unlike the juror, Jeantel did think Zimmerman was racially motivated. “It was racial,” she said. “Let’s be honest, racial. If Trayvon was white and he had a hoodie on, would that happen?” She said she “had a feeling it was going to be not guilty” not because of the racial makeup of the jury, but because of the way the testimony went.

Jeantel insisted that Martin was “creeped out” and believed Zimmerman was following him, even worrying that he might be a “rapist.” She asked, “For every boy or every man who’s not that kind of way, seeing a grown man following them, would they be creeped out?”

Watch part 2 of Morgan’s interview below, via CNN:

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9 Things Said By Potential Jurors In Zimmerman Trial That Made Us Go “Hmmm?”

Looks like it might be a very long trial…

Global Grind

George Zimmerman’s trial is here. And though we’re all anticipating the outcome, we have to tackle first things first.

Jury selection. And that daunting process of choosing six jurors and four alternates is proving difficult, hilarious, sad, and LONG.

Let me break it down for you:

Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson ordered the clerk of counts to summon a total of 500 potential jurors. Between 100 and 200 of those showed up the first day, and 100 more will show up each day as needed until the panel is seated. Each potential juror will be given a lengthy questionnaire to fill out. Nelson and lawyers will review them and then question the jurors individually.

And the questioning, if you haven’t been keeping up, is too interesting to miss. Here are a few things that were said that made us go HMMM????

Juror B-29: A lady from Chicago says she doesn’t watch news…she prefers Bad Girls Club.

Damn, so do we! We were just embarrassed to say…

Juror B-12: How did this woman react to her court summons? “Oh my goodness, I might be on Zimmerman!”

It’s not a show…so….

Juror B-51: Her family doesn’t have time to discuss Trayvon and Zimmerman. Why? Because they talk more about their “family dysfunction” than the news.

Yes…family dysfunction is REAL.

Juror B-37: When the state attorney asked her to describe Trayvon, she referred to him as a “boy of color.” Ummm…

Can we just retire “color” and all of its derivatives?

Juror B-37: Oh. She also only uses the internet to find recipes. Oh, and information on her 10+ pets.

You mean you don’t check GlobalGrind? Duh! Somebody is missing out!

Juror B-35: One of the two black jurors so far watches Fox News and Sean Hannity. He also doesn’t believe that the killing was racially motivated. He also called civil rights leaders who focused on racial aspect of the case “so-called.”

The defense’s dream guy…

Juror B-86: What she remembers about Trayvon? Her sons making fun of the “Skittles” that he was holding when he was shot.

Ummm…what?

Juror B-86: Thought she heard that Trayvon was expelled from school. That struck a chord because she’s “big on school discipline.” And so, she wasn’t so sure she could get over that detail in the case…

Uhhhhh…

And last but not least…AGAIN…

Juror B-86: If Trayvon wasn’t “expelled” from school, he might be alive today.

WOW WOW WOW WOW!

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Top GOP Senator: Native American Juries Are Incapable Of Trying White People Fairly

In Washington, DC it’s no secret that Senator Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is not very bright.

Think Progress

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Republicans have offered a number of reasons why they oppose the Violence Against Women Act. Some think it’s unconstitutional. Others argue that it’s just a meaningless bill with a patriotic title.

On Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) added a new one: Native Americans supposedly aren’t capable of holding fair trials.

Last week, Grassley was one of just 22 senators—all Republican men—who voted against reauthorizing VAWA. During a town hall meeting in Indianola on Wednesday, a woman asked him to explain his vote. Grassley responded that the legislation is unconstitutional, a belief shared by at least five of his colleagues.

Since the Constitution guarantees citizens the right to a trial among a jury of peers, Grassley reasoned that white men would be deprived of their rights if those who were accused of violence against Native American women had to appear in a tribal court. “On an Indian reservation, it’s going to be made up of Indians, right?” Grassley said. “So the non-Indian doesn’t get a fair trial.”

GRASSLEY: One provision that non-Native Americans can be tried in tribal court. And why is that a big thing? Because of the constitutionality of it, for two reasons. One, you know how the law is, that if you have a jury, the jury is supposed to be a reflection of society. [...] So you get non-Indians, let me say to make it easy, you get non-Indians going into a reservation and violating a woman. They need to be prosecuted. They aren’t prosecuted. So the idea behind [VAWA] is we’ll try them in tribal court. But under the laws of our land, you got to have a jury that is a reflection of society as a whole, and on an Indian reservation, it’s going to be made up of Indians, right? So the non-Indian doesn’t get a fair trial.

Watch:

There is actually no requirement that juries reflect “society as a whole.” The Sixth Amendment requires juries to be drawn from the “State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed,” and Supreme Court decisions establish that criminal defendants also have a right to a jury which is “drawn from a fair cross section of the community,” where the trial court convenes to hear their case. But this does not entitle anyone to be tried by a jury that reflects the whole of American society.

A person who is tried in Vermont is likely to have an all-white jury because over 95 percent of Vermont is white. Similarly, a person who commits a crime in the Navajo Nation will face a jury of Native Americans because the population of the local community is made up of Navajo people. There is no reason to believe that Navajo jurors are any less impartial than white Vermonters, and Grassley is wrong to suggest otherwise.

Grassley went to great lengths to tell attendees that he had supported VAWA in the past. “I support 98 percent of what’s in the bill,” he said. If it weren’t for his belief that Native Americans’ are incapable of conducting a fair trial, perhaps he would have voted for it again.

If you want Congress to reauthorize VAWA, sign ThinkProgress’ petition here.

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Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Pulls Ad That Blames Women For Getting Date-Raped

What the hell is wrong with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board?  Why did they publish that ridiculous ad in the first place?

Think Progress

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board provoked an enormous backlash by airing ads that tell women who are date-raped that they have only themselves and their friends to blame. The ad was part of a $600,000 campaign aimed at curbing excessive drinking.

After hearing from hundreds of rape victims that the ads were extremely upsetting, even traumatizing, the board has decided to pull them:

The ads send the message that women are not only at fault for getting themselves raped—a societal bias reflected in and re-enforced by too many court decisions—it’s your fault if your friend gets raped, too.

Last night, after receiving hundreds of phone calls and hundreds of email complaints, the PLCB has yanked the ads.

“We feel very strong, and still do, that when we entered the initial discussion about doing a campaign like this it was important to bring the most difficult conversations about over-consumption of alcohol to the forefront and all of the dangers associated with it—date rape being one of these things,” says PLCB spokesperson Stacey Witalec.

“That being said, due to the number of concerns that we heard about that specific ad, and the victims especially that we heard from talking about how the image … made them feel victimized all over again, we felt it was prudent to pull it.”

The board undoubtedly had good intentions when they launched their campaign, but there are better ways to go about it. As Jezebel pointed out, “Shock tactics aren’t necessary to increase awareness of the possibility of rape. We know what can happen after a night of drinking.”

And their blame-the-victim message reinforced the difficulty prosecuting rapists in the state. It’s easier to get away with sexual assault in Pennsylvania than anywhere else in the country because it’s the only state that doesn’t allow expert testimony in rape cases. Because experts aren’t allowed to educate jurors about the behaviors of sexual assault victims and assailants, “jurors are left making judgments based on the biases perpetuated in the PLCB ad.”

“We’ve had several cases where juries have acquitted serial rapists because they felt the victims’ behavior after the assault was counterintuitive,” says Deborah Harley, chief of the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit of the District Attorney’s Office.

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