Did Trayvon Martin get a fair trial?
Juror B37's -- the one who, less than two days after the verdict was rendered, signed a book deal but has sinced reneged on it -- entire voir dire, the process in which both sides have the chance to intervew prospective jurors and eliminate those they don't want, was captured on film and was posted on Gawker yesterday. There's a link to the video in the article posted below. I can't seem to copy the entire article, but here are a few highlights. After reading this information about Juror B37, do you think this was a fair trial? Could justice really be served with someone like this on the jury?
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he tape raises another question that should be debated in every trial advocacy class in America: What were the lawyers, especially the prosecutors, thinking when they seated her? Why didn?t prosecutors use one of their peremptory challenges to nix her? She?s contrarian, she raised serious ontological doubts about the nature of truth-seeking, and she was only ever truly animated on the subject of rescue birds. Both lawyers were visibly cowed by her."
"Robert Weisberg teaches criminal law at Stanford Law School, and he immediately wonders what it meant when juror B37 asserted that ?You never get all the information. How do you form an opinion if you don?t have all the information?" Weisberg sums up his lawyerly concerns in one sentence: ?She thinks the world is one big reasonable doubt.?"
"Brashers-Krug has another reservation about seating B37: ?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.?"
"Watching B37 run rings around her interlocutors raises once again the fundamental question of what we achieve whenever we attempt to seat a juror who knows nothing whatsoever about a high-profile case. We are left with people who avoid any brushes with policy, law, or politics and?paradoxically?come to convince themselves (as does B37) that everything they will hear in the courtroom is truth. This is hardly a new problem. Mark Twain grumbled about it in Roughing It in 1864."
"It?s not that juror B37 is a miscreant or a fool so much as a reflexive doubter that truth and facts are really knowable anymore. She speaks for the millions of Americans who believe that everyone is lying about something and the media lies about everything. The Internet, she explains, is for getting to the next level on Candy Crush Saga, not for getting information. And since everything is a lie, she doesn?t care enough to learn that the riots she believes to have happened did not. One wonders whether she would buy her own book about the truth behind the Zimmerman verdict."
Zimmerman trial juror B37: Why did prosecutors let her on the Trayvon Martin jury? - Slate Magazine