Many citizens are probably wondering why the jury selection in the George Zimmerman murder trial is taking such a long time — is well into its second week — and the final jurors haven’t even been picked yet.
The prosecution and defense are being extremely meticulous in who is selected because many legal analysts believe the case may be won or lost before the actual trial begins, based upon who sits in the jury box.
Among the prospective jurors, one is a member of the National Rifle Association, another said she was the victim of a violent crime, a few have been arrested and yet another is an arm wrestler.
Twenty-seven of the 40 potential jurors are white, seven are black, three are mixed race and three are Hispanic. Twenty-four are women and 16 are men, reports the Associated Press. The racial and ethnic makeup of potential jurors is considered extremely relevant because prosecutors have alleged that Zimmerman, while a neighborhood watch volunteer for his community, Fla., profiled Martin in following the teen as as he walked back from a convenience store to the home of his father’s fiancee.
Many were asked aspects of their personal lives and their perspective on issues related to the case, such as:
- Have they ever owned a gun;
- Have they ever fired a weapon;
- Have they ever been neighborhood watch volunteers;
- How do they feel about the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida;
- Have they made judgments on how people dressed, particularly those who wear hoodies, which Martin was wearing the night he was killed;
- If the race and age of Martin were important in the decisions they would make.
Fourteen candidates said they had been victims of crimes, including four who’d been victims of violent crimes. A white woman in her 50s said it would be difficult for her to keep her experience with a violent crime out of the courtroom.
“It’s always in my mind,” she said.
When asking potential jurors about whether clothing mattered, a reference to Martin’s hoodie, a white woman in her 30s said, according to the AP, “I try not to make judgments, but I know we make assumptions.”