George Zimmerman in court Saturday night at his murder trial. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel / July 13, 2013)
As the George Zimmerman jury worked into Saturday night, analysts speculated what it all meant.
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin said juries tend to work late when they’re close to a decision. They’re staying this late because they think they can get it done Saturday, Toobin said.
There was a flurry of speculation about the jury’s request for clarification on the manslaughter charge. Several analysts suggested that the question meant the jury apparently moved away from the second-degree murder charge.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
A manslaughter question was not a good sign for the defense, WFTV-Channel 9 legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said. The jury instructions favor the defense, Sheaffer said, and the defense needed to be concerned that the jury was considering manslaughter.
WESH-Channel 2’s Richard Hornsby speculated that the jury’s question suggested they were far apart in deliberations and that a hung jury could be possible.
WOFL-Channel 35’s Diana Tennis acknowledged that the analysts couldn’t assume six women jurors would feel one way about the issues. But she felt one way about the jury question. “There are very few criminal statutes that are more simple than the one they’re wanting clarification of,” Tennis said. “I think that means one or two jurors are stuck on manslaughter.”
CNN’s Mark NeJame thought there was a real debate going among the jurors because they represented a microcosm of society.
The jury question prompted another query: Why not simplify the law? A lot of lawyers would be out of work, NeJame said.