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In Zimmerman Jury Selection, Black Jurors Present Challenge


June 17, 2013 | WMFE - A week into George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial, attorneys face a special challenge when it comes to selecting black jurors. They're trying to keep race out of the trial. But they can't ignore public concerns about race.

[George Zimmerman returns to the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center - photo: Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel]

Kareem Jordan is a criminal justice associate professor at the University of Central Florida. He says the public must feel as though the verdict is fair, and attorneys must select a jury with no appearance of racial bias.

That means potential jurors likely will face more questions about race as jury selection continues this week.

"It matters their personal experiences that these potential jurors have, again whether or not they were the victim of a crime, whether or not they at least felt they were a victim of profiling."

Jordan says the questioning will be tricky for attorneys. They can't give any impression of racial bias, either. He says the best jury will be a diverse one, composed of many races and backgrounds.

Zimmerman faces trial in Sanford, the same place where he says he shot and killed unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

Attorneys will select six jurors and four alternates. They will remain anonymous and be sequestered throughout the trial.

 

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