Jurors’ Decision in the Zimmerman Case

The six-woman jury presiding over the George Zimmerman trial was originally split in convicting the 29-year-old neighbourhood watch volunteer in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The woman, identified as Juror B37, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that when jurors started deliberations and took initial votes, they were split.  Three of the jurors were in favour of acquittal, two believed that Zimmerman should be convicted of manslaughter, and one believed he was guilty of second-degree murder. The anonymous juror said that the six female jurors exhaustively reexamined all of the evidence, including replaying tapes multiple times over, before reaching the not guilty verdict. The juror admitted to Anderson Cooper that they wanted to find Zimmerman guilty of something but from a legal standpoint, there was not basis to convict.

Edward Prutschi – a Toronto criminal lawyer at Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman criminal law firm – was an expert legal guest on CTV News to discuss the Zimmerman case and how the jurors transitioned from their original split decision to the ultimate unanimous not guilty verdict. Mr. Prutschi lauds the jurors due diligence and their ability to look at the evidence piece-by-piece and witness-by-witness to reach a consensus. In keeping with this theme, Mr. Prutschi mentions how the jurors asked for clarification on the laws itself, which demonstrates how seriously and responsibly the jurors approached their duties. Jurors in this case were appropriately constrained by the law and applied the law and connected it with the evidence to acquit Zimmerman, Mr. Prutschi points out. Although hindsight is 20/20, many legal analysts believe that the prosecution was overreaching when they elected to go for a second-degree murder charge and should have opted for the less-onerous manslaughter charges. Mr. Prutschi points out that although there is no way to ascertain if it would have made a difference, a second-degree murder charge is generally more arduous and difficult to prove.

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