When Sharlene Martin announced that Juror B37 and her husband intended to write a book of her experience on the jury in the George Zimmerman case, it caused me to revisit Juror B37’s voir dire. Sharlene Martin, now former literary agent for Juror B37, wrote that the jury in the George Zimmerman case decided he was not guilty “…due to the manner in which he was charged…” Immediately, I remembered that Juror B37 referred to rallies and peaceful protests as “riots.”
Listening to Juror B37 during voir dire reminded me of Robert Zimmerman Jr.’s anti-media diatribes, blaming rallies and Black activists for the arrest of George Zimmerman. Certainly, if Juror B37 believes that Zimmerman should not have been charged, and if she could convince the other five jurors of the same, then Zimmerman was never in jeopardy of being tried for murdering Trayvon Martin. She could serve on the jury with lodging, meals, and social events at the State’s expense, then write a book about it reaping a financial benefit.
If not but for the fact that George Zimmerman got out of his car to follow Trayvon, and did follow him, the two would not have come into physical contact. Juror B37 however, believes that Trayvon was responsible for his own death. Juror B37’s interview on AC360 is filled with revelations of her mindset. According to Juror B37, after running from Zimmerman, and Zimmerman getting out of his vehicle and following him, once Trayvon saw Zimmerman following him again, Trayvon was suppose to again, run away. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Juror B37 describes that George Zimmerman was on a “coon hunt” and Trayvon Martin simply did not know he was a coon and thus, deserved to be killed.
Based on Sharlene Martin’s revealing that the jury decided Zimmerman was not guilty due to the manner in which he was charged, I conducted an analysis of Mark O’Mara’s and Don West’s voir dire of potential jurors, moving from theory and then finding evidence to support the theory through analysis.
The theory is simple; Juror B37 was not only a stealth juror for the defense, but she was assigned the duty of convincing the other five jurors that as the wife of an attorney, if she could not understand the jury instructions and the law, then the other five jurors were not capable of understanding either. If it was not against the law for Zimmerman to carry a gun, profile Trayvon, and follow him, then murdering Trayvon was neither against the law IF Trayvon attacked Zimmerman. The defense promoted that Trayvon attacked Zimmerman for no other reason than looking creepy and following him.
Damn the DNA evidence. Damn the straddling demonstration. Damn the fact that the last cry for help was cut short by the gunshot. Dame Rachel Jeantel’s testimony. Damn the trial. Juror B37, along with Mark O’Mara, Don West, Frank Taaffe, and the Zimmerman family, were out to make a social statement. That social statement is that since Blacks organized rallies, and the outcry led to an investigation resulting in George Zimmerman being charged with second-degree murder, that Blacks have too much power. Only a verdict of not guilty would teach Blacks to stay in their place. Only a verdict of not guilty would discourage Black parents in the future from seeking justice when their unarmed sons are profiled, stalked, and murdered. Only a verdict of not guilty would help Whites armed with guns kill Blacks, claim self-defense, and avoid justice.
Juror B37 was assigned the responsibility of convincing the jury that the law and jury instructions are to blame for a not guilty verdict, covering up that she was of the opinion that Zimmerman should have never been charged before she was summoned to appear for jury duty.
Someone approached Mark O’Mara about a person they know who was summoned to appear for jury duty. I suspect that someone was the husband of Juror B37. It could not be via phone neither through electronic media. It had to be in person. O’Mara was provided with her physical description, and information on her personal life. He did not know, neither had he met her previously.
With 500 people summoned for jury duty, O’Mara would need more information about her in order to identify her. This meant she would volunteer information, such as her career; volunteering for animal rescue; and the city where she resides. The stealth juror would know to communicate to O’Mara that her husband was involved.
They needed a plan to make sure she was interviewed within the first three days of voir dire. There was no way of actually guaranteeing this unless jurors were placed in categories. Categories established based on answers in the questionnaires would increase the possibility of her being among the first twenty (20) potential jurors. Judge Nelson approved the separating of questionnaires and establishing categories. The stealth juror would say that she didn’t trust the media and knew very little about the case. That would get her into the first category of potential jurors.
O’Mara could not tell Don West about the stealth juror. Since O’Mara and Don West took turns questioning potential jurors, O’Mara would require that both of them needed to confer with each other before finalizing their questioning of each potential juror. While the goal was to get her on the jury and vote not guilty, there was no guarantee that she could convince the other five jurors. They needed a plan to guide her and that plan was associated with how they planned to proceed in presenting their case.
This analysis is based the voir dire, accompanied by the below video, to support the analysis. I watched the first three days of voir dire from beginning to end, and scanned the other days.
A clear pattern is evidenced by the defense when asking potential jurors about remembering things they heard or read in the media once they reached the jury room for deliberations. Each potential juror was asked how they would handle that; whether they would bring it up during deliberations, or decide based solely on what they heard in the courtroom. They were asked what they would do if another juror introduced things they heard in the media that was not presented in the “courtroom.” I emphasize the word “courtroom.” That is important because there is an additional term used by O’Mara when he questioned Juror B37.
Making Sure O’Mara Identified Her And Understood What He Wanted Her To Do.
When questioned by Bernie de la Rionda, Juror B37 volunteered that she worked for a chiropractor. As Mark O’Mara questioned her, she volunteered the city where she resides. She volunteered her activity as a volunteer for animal rescue groups. Answering that she had not discussed the case with her husband, Juror B37 volunteered information including that after she received summons for jury duty, her husband told her she could not watch the news. Without knowing whether she would be selected to serve on the jury, nor that the jury was being sequestered, Juror B37 stated (under the subject of taking care of her many animals), that her husband had already told her that “he will do it all.”
O’Mara has now identified her as his stealth juror. He simply needed to give her instructions on what to do in the jury room. It was not enough that he had a juror who would vote not guilty. She had to also convince other jurors to do the same. Subtlety, he had to accomplish that by incorporating instructions into his questions.
The following is how Mark O’Mara gave instructions to Juror B37.
Mark O’Mara: “You know how the process works? Take evidence. You listen to the judge and find out what the law is then you’ll go back and decide what happens. Oh, I’m sorry. Decide the verdict. Uh, in that context, what if another juror talks to you and says well, I heard about something else that I didn’t hear in the courtroom. I remember I saw this on TV, or read it on the radio, read on the newspaper or heard it on the radio and I think this happened, even though it never came from a witness here. How would you react to that?”
Juror B37: “I would say its media hype. You can’t prove anything that you heard prior to this case …”
O’Mara interrupts her and continues (emphasis added);
Mark O’Mara: “One of the instructions that you’re going to be told by the judge is that you have to decide only on the facts that you hear, competent evidence from this courtroom …we can’t let you bring outside evidence or knowledge or information inside. So will you be able to advise her that if it doesn’t come from the witness stand it doesn’t get considered?”
Other potential jurors were asked if they would only rely on what they hear in the “courtroom.” With Juror B37, O’Mara’s questions went beyond asking her if she could leave what she heard in the media or through friends outside of the jury room. It also went beyond asking Juror B37 how she would respond to other jurors who mentioned what they heard or read outside of the courtroom. O’Mara subtlety included instructions for Juror B37 to “advise” other jurors to disregard all evidence presented in the courtroom, limiting it to what was presented from the “witness stand.” That played into O’Mara’s defense strategy.
O’Mara knew that he was not going to allow Zimmerman to take the witness stand. (As a side note: Zimmerman stated under oath that not testifying was a decision he made of his own free will. In a press conference, O’Mara stated that Zimmerman wanted to take the stand.) O’Mara knew certain evidence that the prosecution was entering, but their witnesses were there to authenticate the evidence rather that testify to it, such as Zimmerman’s recorded and video statements; the Sean Hannity interview, clubhouse videos; phone records. O’Mara’s instructions to Juror B37 was to convince the rest of the jury that unless it came from the witness stand, it should not be considered.
O’Mara instructed Juror B37 to “take evidence,” listen to the judge then go into the jury room and decide what happens. He did not say consider evidence and I suspect that his use of the word “take” was the same as saying “remove” or make it impotent, of little to no effect, in order to decide how to make a not guilty verdict happen.
We hear that is exactly what Juror B37 conveys in her AC360 interview. Anderson Cooper asked Juror B37 how important were the video tapes to her and she answered that she didn’t really know. The video tapes did not come from the witness stand. When asked about Zimmerman’s claim that Trayvon reached for his gun, Juror B37 gave no consideration to the straddling demonstration – it didn’t come from the witness stand. In fact, Juror B37 stated that whether or not Trayvon reached for the gun made no difference. That means she also disregarded Zimmerman’s statements that he pinned Trayvon’s arm and held it while unholstering his gun, aiming, and firing the hollow point bullet into the unarmed teenager’s heart. Zimmerman’s admittance of having Trayvon pinned when shooting him came by video – not the witness stand.
During her voir dire, Juror B37 also stated that her husband controls how she gets news. (Possibly a code that whatever evidence was presented that O’Mara wanted her to convince the rest of the jury to disregard could be communicated to her through her husband.) Her husband could not take the chance of being discovered communicating to O’Mara, so they needed a third party. Her husband would only communicate with her and the third party. Frank Taaffe would communicate Juror B37’s success or lack thereof to O’Mara through his media appearances. For instance, after the question to clarify manslaughter was presented to the judge, Taaffe said to Nancy Grace and on Fox News that he had “insight” that there would be an acquittal because there was only one hold-out juror. In her AC360 interview, Juror B37 confirmed that when that question was presented to the judge, five jurors had voted not guilty with one holding out.
I would like to point out that Juror E40 was another person whom Mark O’Mara asked how she would handle that juror who tried to bring in something “that was not talked about from the witness box.” Juror E40’s answer to that question was that they should ask for transcripts. Since we didn’t see the potential jurors, it could be that Juror E40 and Juror B37 might have similar physical appearance. Nevertheless, Juror E40’s answer to the question was not what O’Mara anticipated from the stealth juror.
When it was announced that a verdict was reached, O’Mara was still nervous, not knowing if it was a hung jury or verdict of not guilty, but he could be sure that it was either.