Mo Ivory: Will An All-Female Jury (With No African-Americans) Do Right By Trayvon Martin?
Sunday I appeared on CNN with Fredricka Whitfield to discuss the all-female jury that holds the fate of George Zimmerman in their hands.
George Zimmerman, now 29, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida.
Zimmerman was working as a volunteer neighborhood watch captain in the gated community where Trayvon was staying with his father, Tracy Martin. If convicted of second-degree murder, Zimmerman could face 25 years to life in prison.
All of the evidence in this case will be presented by the prosecution (the State of Florida), and the lawyers representing Zimmerman (the defense team). And the case will hinge on who’s believed to be the aggressor.
Was it Zimmerman when he followed Trayvon even after being told by the 911 dispatcher not to do so? Or was it Trayvon – who Zimmerman claims attacked him, making him fear for his life and then shoot the teen?
No matter what your thoughts are, the actual decision is in the hands of six women who are the selected jurors.
This is what we know about them:
5 are white;
1 is Hispanic;
5 are mothers;
2 own guns
1 has a prior arrest record.
What will all those facts about the female jurors mean for a verdict?
I believe a female jury is a good thing for the prosecution.
Is it ideal? No, but it’s the next best thing after a jury with African-Americans because if there is any emotion that allows women to set aside their racial biases or gender identities, it’s protection of their children.
If there is ever going to be a jury that could sympathize and have compassion for Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s parents, it’s a jury filled with parents. So for me, this is a positive for the prosecution.
On the flip side, many legal experts have said that an all-female, predominantly white jury will be advantageous to the defense team. The argument is that women are logical, well-thinking, detail-oriented and they will pay attention to the evidence presented by the defense; including the injuries Zimmerman sustained from the fight with Trayvon.
They will pay attention to Zimmerman’s limited past of racially-tense interactions and they will understand his need to defend himself from a teenager who was home, suspended from school and aggressive.
Opening arguments begin today, and will start with Trayvon’s parent’s delivering a statement that is sure to pull on our already aching hearts.
I want you to know that I want to see Zimmerman convicted of second-degree murder in the death of a beautiful 17-year-old black young man that was going to the store on a rainy evening. I will watch this trial every day and bring you the updates on a daily basis.
Look for me to do the same on television at HLN and CNN.
- Mo Ivory, CBS Local
For now, I ask you: Do you believe Zimmerman will be convicted of second-degree murder or set free by an all-female jury?