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Shanice Patrella
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Shanice Patrella   My Press Releases

Trial By Jury: My Experience 1 of 2

Published on 7/14/2013
For additional information  Click Here

Most of the world is writing about the George Zimmerman case and the verdict that he is Not Guilty of 2nd degree murder nor manslaughter. I have followed this case very closely because it was so high profile, but also because I had been a prospective juror for this case when jury selection had began on June 5th. I had made it to the final 25 people where the six jurors and four alternates were to be chosen and I was actually very disappointed by the lawyers and how the individual voir dire had commenced. First, let me take you through the blow by blow and how the process had happened.


The court had pulled a prospective 300-400 people from Seminole County, Florida to partake in jury selection on this day. Some of these prospects were called for the three other murder trials that were taking place that week, but most of us were pulled for the Zimmerman case. At this point we did not know that.


Like in most circumstances, the court deputies round everyone up into the Jury Room and call a roll call where you have been assigned a letter and number so as not to use your own name. Once the roll call had been finished (which took a crazy amount of time, given that people were forgetting their numbers) we watched an educational video (some of us listened because we had to sit behind the TVs) about the amazing US constitution and why it is an amazing experience to serve on a jury. 


Once that was over, they split us into two sections, one pool of prospective jurors on one side of the room, and another on the opposite side. This was to split us up into our prospective case. Then, that's when HE entered! George Zimmerman, his three attorneys, and three FL state attorneys. I can say that we were definitely all a little star-struck. Who knew that it would be ME to be potentially selected for this case! My heart was racing as I surveyed the room to absorb some of the other looks' on the faces of others and I can tell you they were just as surprised as I was. An uncomfortable silence filled the room and after a moment or so, the deputy announced Judge Debra Nelson to the room.


Judge Nelson greeted everyone promptly and addressed my side of the room (at this point I was thrilled to be serving jury duty!) and told us that we were going to be part of the pool from which a jury of 6 with 4 alternates would be selected for the case of George Zimmerman vs. The State of FL in the death of Trayvon Martin. She then started to instruct us about the role of jurors in the court and started to read out the exceptions to which you do not have to serve jury duty. 


There were many listed exemptions and you can find them listed HERE on the Seminole County jury service excusal form. 


Once those people had been excused from service, we were then asked to fill out a confidential survey which would help the lawyers to decide who they would pick for the final jury pool. I will tell you, this was a very tense time. We were finally dismissed at 6PM that day and it was like a race for the media. The jury selection has begun! I had to return to the courthouse for 10 days as they continued to choose jurors and individually question them. Since the voir dire was aired live on TV I will not go into detail to what those questions were like. If you are curious, go to YouTube and find some videos for yourself to watch. CNN.com also has some good videos during jury selection.


As the days continued, it was as if the media frenzy were getting more and more vicious. There was one day as the group was getting smaller and smaller that they had asked us to park across the street at the juvenile justice center so we would be able to be transported by the big white vans (I believe they were prisoner transport vans, but I am not sure). We were taken behind the courthouse through a back entrance through the deputy squad room so not to draw attention to ourselves.


It was like I was living in a movie!



Stay tuned for more information and the continuation of this article!


Hey guys! My name is Shanice Patrella. I am a freelance blogger and I enjoy writing about all types of topics! Contact me by the following:


shanice.patrella@gmail.com

Skype: MsLuckyDuck

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