Juror B-29 – “George Zimmerman got away with murder”

Well, another juror has come forward from the Zimmerman trial, and she has given quite a different interview. I have not been able to find the full, unedited interview – and I don’t even think they broadcast one. To me, that’s important because this entire case has been about picking and choosing what information they will give to the public – especially the media. Indeed, the clip lined above contains information well known at this stage to be false.

(They also conclude with the Martin family’s so-called forgiveness.  Excuse me? This is a family who whipped up a lynch mob, and continue to do so. Let alone what we now know about their son’s character – evidence that was illegally withheld from the Jury. Forgiveness is not theirs to give.)

But what they have broadcast is curious. On the one hand, she says he was guilty of murder. On the other hand, she states that they had to follow the law and evidence and let him off.

Naturally, her “George Zimmerman got away with murder” comment is being highlighted just the same as the David Bain “gross miscarriage of justice” comment from the Privy Council was touted by his supporters. But this entire case has always been about one side highlighting limited headlines, and the other pointing to the detail which utterly destroys that narrative as false. In other words, she fed each side exactly what they are used to processing – one easy and believable headlines, the other, detail which disagrees with that and sticks to the facts.

I don’t think she intended to be that clever. But the fact she said that in an interview where she showed her face demonstrates clearly to me that much of this is about getting the lynch mob off her back. Because make no mistake, this woman, and all the jurors, have been targeted by the lynch mob almost as much as Zimmerman himself.

Mark O’Mara (Zimmerman’s lawyer) has a blog and here are his comments:

We acknowledge, and always have, that George killed Trayvon Martin. Over the last 15 months, we’ve heard from a lot of people who feel that anytime a life is lost at someone’s hands, the person responsible is guilty of SOMETHING. Indeed, it is natural to feel this way. In a self-defense case, however, that fact that the defendant committed a homicide is stipulated — it is undisputed. However, self-defense is one of the instances under the law when homicide is justifiable. People may disagree with self-defense laws, but a juror’s job is not to decide what a law should be, her job is to apply the facts presented at trial to the laws they are instructed about. Based on her statement, it seems Juror B-29 looked at the law, and whether or not she agreed with the law, she did her job and made her decision on a legal basis. This is the essence of what we seek in a juror: the ability to use one’s common sense, apply the law to the facts, agree not to be swayed by sympathy or emotion, no matter how loudly it’s argued by the prosecutors, and decide a lawful and fair verdict.

When Robin Roberts asks Juror B-29 if she stands by her decision, she says, “I stand by my decision because of the law. If I stand by my decision because of my heart, he would have been guilty.” While that decision of guilt would have been an emotional one, it would not have been a legal one. We applaud her ability to maintain the distinction.

We don’t expect jurors to be heartless people. Every murder case starts with someone who has had their life taken, someone who leaves behind grieving loved-ones. Every loss of life is a tragedy, and we don’t ask jurors to be immune to that. But we do ask jurors not to reach their verdicts based on what their hearts tell them; for the verdict, a juror must set aside emotions and follow the law. Based on her comments, Juror B-29 accepted a tremendous burden, set her feelings aside, and cast a verdict based the evidence presented in court and on the law she was provided.

I personally think that’s a very gracious response. And for all my criticism here, there is no doubt that, in the end, she did do the right thing.

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