Now that an all-female jury of six white women and one Hispanic were chosen in the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial of Trayvon Martin, attorneys on both sides of the courtroom are prepared to deliver their opening statements.
But there are a few words, terms and phrases that prosecutors are barred from saying in court as they try to put Zimmerman, the former volunteer neighborhood watchman, away for the rest of his life.
Judge Debra Nelson ruled that prosecutors can say that Zimmerman profiled Martin based on factors such as age or clothing before he shot the unarmed 17-year-old, but they cannot say he was profiled based on race. She made the ruling ahead of Monday’s expected opening statements in Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial.
Defense attorneys had asked the judge to prohibit prosecutors from using a series of words in opening statements that they deemed inflammatory. Those words included “profiled”, “vigilante”, “wannabe cop,” and that Zimmerman had confronted Martin, who was black. Zimmerman identifies as Hispanic, though he is also white.
The judge said all of those aforementioned statements may be used, provided that race is not discussed if the issue of profiling is brought up.
Prosecutor John Guy had argued that there were a number of ways someone could be profiled other than race.
“That is not a racially charged term unless it’s made so, and we don’t intend to make it a racially charged term,” Guy said. “There are a number of avenues someone can be profiled in any one way or combination. We don’t intend to say he was solely profiled because of race.”