George Zimmerman Trial: How Can Zimmerman Have an All-Woman, 6-Member Jury?


There is no doubt that George Zimmerman's defense team faces many challenges in the second-degree murder trial surrounding the shooting of Trayvon Martin. But when the jury was announced this afternoon for a trial expected to last two to four weeks, it caused a lot of eyebrows to raise across America.

The judge had previously announced that the jury would be kept anonymous and sequestered during the trial due to its high-profile nature. But on Thursday afternoon, the final jury was selected... and it was only six people. In Florida, many of us found out today, 12 jurors are required only for capital cases when the death penalty is being considered. 

Americans were even more perplexed when it was revealed that all six of the jurors are women. Five of of them are white and the sixth juror's race and ethnicity are not immediately available, beyond being described as a minority.

Juries are typically supposed to come as close as possible to mirroring the community they're drawn from. Sanford, in Seminole County, is 78.5% white and 16.5% black.

Other details known about the six-woman jury:

- One juror had a prior arrest, but she said it was disposed of and she felt like she was treated fairly.

- Two of the six jurors have guns in their homes — a fact very pertinent in a case that has always been something of a proxy for America's debate surrounding guns.

- Two of the jurors recently moved to the area, one from Iowa and one from Chicago.

- Two of the jurors rescue animals as a hobby.

Forty potential jurors who made it to the second round of questioning led to the six-member, all-woman jury, and two additional women and two additional men who will serve as alternate jurors.

With the jurors selected, the lawyers begin to craft their arguments. Prosecutors are arguing that Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin. Debates rage on about what can be admitted as evidence, from photos from Trayvon Martin's cell phone to 911 calls from the night of the shooting.

America continues to wait, continues to debate, and continues to wonder what justice looks like in this case. And our judicial system continues to play its role in that process.