Trayvon Martin

Zimmerman Juror Put Her Head Above Her Heart


ABC News

Unlike Juror B37, who spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper shortly after George Zimmerman's acquittal, Juror B29, who spoke to ABC's Robin Roberts this week, did not sit in shadows. You therefore can plainly see that, contrary to press reports (including mine!) saying the jury did not include any blacks, the women who found Zimmerman not guilty included at least one whose complexion is darker than President Obama's. Juror B29, whose first name is Maddy (she did not want her last name publicized), identifies herself as a "black Hispanic," a label that also could accurately be applied, based on American racial conventions, to Zimmerman himself, since he had an Afro-Peruvian great grandfather. These details complicate the black-and-white narrative favored by critics of the verdict, including Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Maddy, who initially voted to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder, apparently was much less sympathetic to him than Juror B37. She nevertheless agreed that race played no role in the deliberations, saying, "I never looked at color." She also agreed that the jury had no choice under the law but to acquit Zimmerman, even though she believes he is morally responsible for Trayvon Martin's death. "I stand by the decision because of the law," she said. "If I [made] the decision because of my heart, he would have been guilty."

Contrary to observers who keep insisting that the right to stand your ground could have played a role in Zimmerman's acquittal, even though it played no role in his defense or prosecution, Maddy said nothing about the duty to retreat. Instead she focused on the elements required to prove second-degree murder or manslaughter. Some of what she said was not quite right. "As the law was read to me," she said, "if you have no proof that he killed him intentionally, you can't say he's guilty." But Zimmerman has never denied that he deliberately shot Martin in the chest; the question was whether the shooting was justified by self-defense. Regarding the manslaughter charge, Maddy said "we had to prove that when he left home, he said, 'I'm going to go kill Trayvon Martin.'" That sort of intent is not required to prove manslaughter, which is an unjustified killing without the addtional elements necessary for murder. What Maddy describes sounds like first-degree murder. In any case, it is hard to imagine how Zimmerman could have planned to kill someone he had yet to meet. 

Although Maddy may simply have misspoken during the interview, these statements make me wonder if she misunderstood the jury instructions. Either way, the dilemma she describes was one that several jurors faced: They wanted to find Zimmerman guilty of something, because they believed (correctly) that Martin would still be alive if Zimmerman had not deemed him suspicious and followed him. But they also concluded (correctly) that the prosecution had not presented enough evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was not acting in self-defense at the moment he fired his gun. "A lot of us had wanted to find something bad, something we could connect to the law, because for myself, he's guilty," Maddy said. "I would like to apologize [to Martin's parents], because I feel like I let them down. We just couldn't prove anything….I know I went the right way, because by the law and the way it was followed was the way I went. But if I had used my heart, I probably would have [created] a hung jury."

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  1. identifies herself as a “black Hispanic”

    So she’s too lazy to steal. Explains why she couldn’t get out of jury duty.

    1. Logged back in just to say fuck you and fuck your racist jokes.

  2. I do not understand the concept of “my heart found him guilty”. You either determine that, according to the law, he is guilty or not. Your heart has nothing to do with it. She actually found him not guilty. I suspect that talk about her heart is just to placate the people who might be predisposed to send her death threats.

    1. I suspect that talk about her heart is just to placate the people who might be predisposed to send her death threats.

      That, or something like it. But she was brave for coming forward.

      She sounds admirable.

    2. It’s interesting, because the media and the race-baiters are running this like it helps them. It’s exactly the reverse (assuming she’s telling the truth, which I highly doubt)–there wasn’t enough evidence to convict, even to a person inclined to believe in Zimmerman’s guilt.

      But I think she’s saying this to distance herself from the political anger. If the jury were convinced of his guilt but didn’t like the evidence, I bet they’d have nailed him for manslaughter, even though the evidence doesn’t work for it, either. At the very least, deliberations would’ve taken longer.

      Nah, the truth is likely that they, like the rest of us, don’t really know, and they voted to acquit because the self-defense argument was not only enough to establish a reasonable doubt, it’s frankly a more plausible argument than the entire case presented by the prosecution.

      1. This is true. She says that she removed her personal feelings from the equation and that based on the law and the facts, she had to find Zimmerman not guilty.

        Of course, all the lynch mob is interested in is “a white-hispanic-jew killed a black kid.” String’em up.

      2. I thought a Manslaughter charge was taken off the table by the prosecution? Wasn’t that half the reason people were upset with the prosecution? That they didn’t give the jury wiggle room to hit on a lesser charge than 2nd degree?

        1. No, the judge allowed a manslaughter verdict, the jury specifically rejected that option.

        2. They tried to add manslaughter and some kind of child abuse charge. The judge rejected the latter but added the former.

          Frankly, I don’t care for the idea of allowing the charge to be added, even as a lesser included offense, because the defense should know what’s at stake from the beginning.

    3. I do not understand the concept of “my heart found him guilty”. You either determine that, according to the law, he is guilty or not. Your heart has nothing to do with it.

      All the mansplaining in the world won’t make a woman come to terms with the cognitive dissonance that they entertain on a daily basis. Pure feminine feeeellllinnnnggggssss

      1. You can think someone is guilty, but still have a reasonable doubt. If you have a reasonable doubt, then, as a juror, you have to acquit.

        1. If the head is split, you must acquit!

        2. Absolutely. There’s a world of difference between thinking someone is likely guilty and being willing to convict on the evidence.

          But what’s being said here is more in the “I know he’s guilty.” No one knows whether that’s the case except Zimmerman. I don’t trust that kind of statement.

  3. Whatever misgivings I have for her rationale, she is a pretty brave soul to speak in person. I wouldn’t do it. There are too many hate mongering nut cases with an emotional investment in the case to do that.

  4. god forbid your fate ever be in the hands of people like this. Jurors – people too stupid to get out of jury duty

    1. She managed to do the right thing when her sentiments were pointing in the other direction, I’d be glad to have her on mine.

      1. Lucky for her, no prosecutor will ever let her slip through in a jury pool ever again.

    2. Even scarier, someone who really wants to be on a jury.

  5. This is going to fuck with certain peoples’ heads big time.

    1. It’s amazing how much this case has legs. I guess something has to distract us from our government’s evil ways, huh?

      1. Pro L, stop being distracted by phony scandals and Republican talking points.

        Embrace the Barry-sponsored Two-Minutes Hate.

  6. For the record, ABC edited the interview to make the juror seem more adamant that Zimmerman “got away with murder” than she really was.

    In the unedited version she visibly pauses a few times when answering, making it obvious that she’s unsure how to answer it.

    1. Jesus, is the media anything other than propaganda now?

  7. This is sad. Illiterate Anglo-Saxon peasants living 1500 years ago would have been able to analyze this case with more sophistication than these jurors.

    Zimmerman acted in self-defense. Whether or not he followed Trayvon prior to that is irrelevant. As far as I know, following somebody for a short period of time like that is not and never has been a crime in the long Anglo-American tradition.

    This pushes me further towards the an-caps, simply because getting rid of a government monopoly on justice means that people would have to actually think about these issues instead of viewing government as a big, arbitrary rule-maker that should be given infinite powers to punish everything and anything that we collectively determine is “bad.”

    1. Given all of the evidence, what more pushing do you need?

    2. I’m not sure the defense did the best job in driving home the point that Zimmerman was acting within his rights by following Martin, and that acting contrary to the police operator’s “We don’t need you to do that” was neither a violation of the law nor particularly overzealous in a situation where the police had failed to respond in time to reported prowlers on repeated prior occasions.

      But in as much as he was acquitted, I guess they did an adequate job.

  8. because they believed (correctly) that Martin would still be alive if Zimmerman had not deemed him suspicious and followed him.

    This is what really bothers me more than anything else. Martin made it home without incident. He went back out to confront Zimmerman.

    The whole “Zimmerman started it!” shtick is misleading as hell. Your neighbors can follow you on the public way. This isn’t even close to stalking.

    Again, I’d like to know about the burglary statistics in that neighborhood before and after the incident.

    1. Martin made it home without incident. He went back out to confront Zimmerman.

      I hadn’t heard that before. How do we know that?

      1. I don’t think he actually went home and back out, but he had 4 full minutes from Zimmerman’s 9-1-1 call to the gunshot heard on the later 9-1-1 recording. He was something like 60-100 yards from home, in a rainstorm. He was out looking for trouble.

        1. He was something like 60-100 yards from home

          Thank you for the precision.

    2. The whole “Zimmerman started it!” shtick is misleading as hell.

      But, but, but he followed the kid only because he was black and for no other reason at all!

      And he was given a direct order to not get out of his car!

      Sure, neither of those things are actually true, but, but, but… he killed a child!

      1. How many more times likely is a crackety ass cracker to be assaulted by an Afro-American male than the reverse?

  9. I’ve been called to jury duty seven times, and only two cases was I picked for a jury. In one, a last minute agreement was made, and we were called out of the room before the trial began. Dismissed an hour later. The other was a capital case, and this is an entirely true story. The guy was on trial for murdering his business partner. During the selection, the guy tried to stare me down as I was being questioned. I didn’t look away but smirked back at him. That evening he hung himself in his cell. I like to think that I broke him. Truth be though, he already looked broken and pathetic when he was trying to stare me down.

    1. So that’s why you’re on the run.

  10. “because they believed (correctly) that Martin would still be alive if Zimmerman had not deemed him suspicious and followed him.”

    WTF do you mean ‘correctly’?

    You’re arguing as fact something that hasn’t actually been proven. Mr Sullum, you’re operating a watered down version of what NBC did and presenting something as fact that you have know way of knowing.

    Maybe Martin would still be alive if he hadn’t attacked somebody. Maybe Martin would have still died if Zimmerman had been home all night, because he was out casing places to burglarize. Maybe he would have died from liver failure. Maybe if GZ had followed him more closely, TM would have headed straight home instead of back-tracking on GZ.

    You, Sir, are talking out your ass, just as much as Mr. Holder or our president.

    1. There’s been a little fallacious reasoning around cause and effect in this case. But for Zimmerman following Martin, Martin doesn’t get shot. Sure. But there were a lot of variables the same could be said of. If the lighting had been different. If Zimmerman had drawn the gun initially. If Martin had been armed.

      The fact is, a bad situation happened that might not have happened nine times out of ten. But saying that Zimmerman created the circumstances is silly–Martin did his part, as did factors neither controlled.

      1. I think what Sullum was alluding to was that the “logic” employed by the anti-Zimmerman side is that since Zimmerman’s decision to follow Martin was a deliberate action undertaken by Zimmerman as part of a chain of events that led to Martin’s death, then Zimmerman must therefore be criminally responsible for the end result.

        I don’t see how one could argue that Martin would have still ended up being shot by Zimmerman if Zimmerman hadn’t followed him.

        1. Right. My point is that there’s nothing automatic about the murder happening because Zimmerman followed Martin. From what has been said by witnesses (and “witnesses”) since the trial, it’s becoming apparent that Martin likely threw the first punch.

          Interesting that the person who may very well have initiated the use of force isn’t to blame in any way. I think that’s the weird part of all of this–even the race-baiters tend to think (from what they say) that Martin started beating on Zimmerman because the strange guy was following him. Well, that’s even more closely a proximate cause to the shooting than Zimmerman following him.

          1. If X follows B, then B caused X (the thinking goes).

            If X follows C, then C caused X (the thinking goes).

            But if C follows B, then B caused X more than C caused X (the thinking goes).

            We leave “A” out of the conversation entirely to make our argument irrefutable.

        2. But it isn’t correct that he is criminally responsible just because there was an initial deliberate action. The action wasn’t a use of force, it was getting out of the car. He had no reason to think getting out of the car would end with anyone getting shot.

          That’s like saying if you have a car accident it’s your fault because you chose the deliberate action to drive out of your driveway. It’s absurd. Sullum should not use the word “correctly” to describe such reasoning.

      2. You stated that better than I did above.

  11. It seems to me that this whole fixation on the duty to retreat is really beside the point. What people on both sides of this controversy appear to be missing is that what’s much more important to this case is the way Florida defines second-degree murder and the way Florida handles burden of proof when it comes to self defense. From what I’ve read, one of the elements of this crime in Florida is a “depraved indifference” to human life. In many other states, the only requirements are that you killed the person and you did it on purpose. If you claim you did it in self defense, this is an affirmative defense that you have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence. In Florida, at trial at least, it is the State’s burden to prove it was NOT self defense. This is specific, if not unique, to Florida. This is not necessarily to say that Zimmerman could not have met this burden of proof, but it would have been his burden in many states. So it is a bit ingenuous to say that the specifics of Florida law had nothing to do with the outcome.

    1. I don’t agree. With the evidence presented, Zimmerman would’ve won in any jurisdiction in the country.

      The depraved indifference bit is about establishing the mens rea for murder. That’s the real difference between second degree murder and manslaughter.

      As for the burden of proof, that’s more complicated than it sounds. In other jurisdictions, the prosecution still has to prove that a defendant committed murder beyond a reasonable doubt, self-defense or not. Only a minority actually try to put the onus on the defendant.

      This minority view isn’t a good one, because all a defendant should have to do (if anything) is punch holes in the prosecution’s case. That’s not something the defendant should have to do with a “preponderance of the evidence.” If, let’s say, the prosecution has to make the jury 99% sure the defendant is guilty, then all the defendant need do to kill the case against him is shift that confidence to 98% or less.

    2. A defendant has to be able to make a reasonable claim to self-defense, but as long as they can do that the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was not self-defense. This is true in every state but Ohio.

  12. disingenuous*

  13. What pisses me off is Morning Joe. Even this morning, he was spewing his disinformation saying that Zimmerman chased after Martin and then shot him down. This refuted by the evidence.

    We heard from several readers who thought we erred in Thursday’s column by asserting that George Zimmerman continued pursuing Trayvon Martin after the 911 dispatcher urged him to stop. Here’s a partial transcript of the call:

    Dispatcher: Are you following him?
    Zimmerman: Yeah.
    Dispatcher: Okay, we don’t need you to do that.
    Zimmerman: Okay.
    Dispatcher: Alright, sir, what is your name?
    Zimmerman: George. He ran.
    Dispatcher: All right, George. What’s your last name?
    Zimmerman: Zimmerman.

    The dispatcher goes on to ask Zimmerman his phone number and the two discuss logistics for meeting the police when they arrive. It seems our readers were right.

    1. The last paragraph should also be in block-quotes.

  14. You definitely never get out of your car when there’s a dangerous black teenager around.

    1. On second thought, he should have just locked his car doors and stayed inside his truck, but then the sound of a car door locking would activate the genetic memories of slavery in Trayvon Martin’s DNA and make him drink lean and beat up a white Hispanic.

      You can’t win!

  15. She’s an idiot.
    I spent an extra 10 minutes on the toilet this morning, and when driving to work I hit a deer. If I had gotten up sooner, I would not be guilty of killing that deer.
    Correlation is not causation.


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