'Trayvon Martin is not on trial here' says lawyer - KMSP-TV

'Trayvon Martin is not on trial here' says lawyer for Martin family

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SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

During a news conference following Wednesday's jury selection proceedings, a lawyer for the family of Trayvon Martin stressed that the teenager George Zimmerman is accused of murdering is not the one on trial.

Martin family attorney Ben Crump said at a short meeting with representatives of the media, "Trayvon Martin is not on trial here, he is the victim. George Zimmerman, his killer, is the man who is on trial."

Crump also took issue with a comment made by former New York City police detective Harry Houck Tuesday on a FoxNews.com live panel, in which he said that Martin would still be alive if he didn't have a "street attitude."

"This comment is reprehensible and extremely reminiscent of the victim-blaming rhetoric we saw a year ago," said Crump.  "We all know,Trayvon Martin was unarmed.  All he had was Skittles and can of iced tea.George Zimmerman was an armed adult.  He profiled and chased Trayvon Martin and shot him in the heart."

On a third day of juror questioning, the lawyers sought to whittle down the pool of hundreds of potential jurors to just six, plus four alternates, who will decide the fate of Zimmerman, a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer.  In Florida, 12 jurors are required only for criminal trials involving capital cases, when the death penalty is being considered.

The day began with Circuit Judge Debra Nelson asking Zimmerman about the responses to questionnaires by potential jurors.

"Have you had the opportunity to discuss with your attorney how you felt about the responses to those questionnaires?" she asked.  "Yes, Your Honor," Zimmerman replied.

Attorneys asked each potential juror what they thought of the news coverage of the case and whether or not it tainted their views.  A potential white juror in his 20s, known at "R-39," had a strong opinion.
"Murder is murder.  Even if it's self-defense, it still doesn't make it right," he said.

He was dismissed after acknowledging bias.

A middle-aged white man, known as "E-7," said he was unemployed and wanted to be on the jury.

"I can't form an opinion, because everything I have can be flushed with facts."

Then, the judge asked him a question about a Facebook posting, after he had indicated that he had posted some thoughts about the case.

"Did you post something on March 21st under the Coffee Party Progressives?" Judge Nelson asked.  "That's possible, because they're on my list," E-7 replied. Then the judge handed the potential juror a piece a paper asking him to identify the post as his. 

"I don't need an explanation for what is posted, I just want to know if it is, in fact, your posting," said Judge Nelson.  "Yes, yes that is," he responded.

The postings were about Trayvon Martin and the Million Hoodie March and have since been deleted.  Then "E-7" was asked to leave.

Two potential black jurors were questioned on Wednesday.  One woman criticized the Sanford Police Department for not making an arrest immediately after the shooting of Martin. The other woman said she is keeping an open mind, even though many of her relatives support Trayvon Martin.

"But my immediate family that I see, they want to wait and see exactly how the trial progresses," she said.


The judge has been strict with media and their equipment, but it was a bodyguard who caused a disruption in court when his cell phone went off.

Attorneys had interviewed 18 potential jurors by lunch break Wednesday on the third day of selection. By the end of the day Tuesday, 75 jury candidates had been dismissed.

There are now 20 candidates who have been questioned individually about pretrial exposure and have not been dismissed for cause or hardships.   Once they have 30 jurors, they will be brought together as a group for broader questioning by lawyers on both sides.

Zimmerman, 29, is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder charges in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. If convicted, Zimmerman could face life in prison.

Some information taken from wire sources.
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