Sunday, July 28, 2013

Juror B29 on Zimmerman Trial Says She Believed Zimmerman was Guilty

Last week one of the jurors on the George Zimmerman trial, Juror B29 who identified herself as Maddy, told Robin Roberts on ABC’s Good Morning America that she believed Zimmerman got away with murder. The first vote she cast during deliberations was “guilty of second degree murder”. 

“A lot of us wanted to find something bad, something that we could connect to the law. For myself,” she paused then continued with absolute conviction, “he’s guilty. The evidence shows he’s guilty.” She spoke of her deep sadness for Trayvon and his family and said she felt immense pain for having had to vote the way she did, but she believed that the law gave her no other option.

Her interview was moving, and markedly different to that of Juror B37 who kept her identity a secret and was the first to speak out after the trial. Anderson Cooper interviewed her. He clearly had little respect for her and she clearly didn’t see that. She identified with Zimmerman and showed no empathy for Trayvon Martin or sadness at the loss of his life. She intimated that it was his fault that he was killed, as he should have walked away from Zimmerman. 

She firmly believed Zimmerman had the right to kill Trayvon. It was quite horrifying to listen to her. Stupefying to realize that this was one of the people who served up ‘justice’.

At the same time as the interview, she released a video of her voir dire as part of a PR campaign for a book she’d written. She said later that she had changed her mind about the book – possibly because of all the negative reactions she got to the interview.  

The voir dire exposed a lot about her personality. She showed herself to be unsocialized and kind of proud of it, obsessed beyond balance with her many pets. She clearly enjoyed being in the spotlight and obviously desperately wanted to be on that jury. She said at one point that she didn’t know anything about national news – trying to prove that she wouldn’t be influenced as a juror by media – yet a couple of sentences later admitted that she watched national news on the TV.

It’s hard to say why the prosecution didn’t eliminate a woman inclined to manipulate fact to paint herself in a good light, prone to ludicrous contradictions with no awareness of them, and most interested in being center stage. Perhaps they just didn’t see her as a threat. 

What’s clear now is that the Zimmerman case was never about justice for her. It was an opportunity. Well illustrated by the fact that she was the first juror to speak out. Four of the other jurors, B51, B76, E6 and E40, immediately released a statement to the press saying “The opinions of Juror B37, expressed on the Anderson Cooper show were her own, and not in any way representative of the jurors listed below." Maddy wasn’t part of that group, but her interview with Robin Roberts clearly shows which side of the fence she was on.

What happened behind those closed doors? Juror B37 was the only juror who positively believed and had absolutely no doubt from the start that Zimmerman was guilt free.  

Maddy wasn't alone in initially believing him to be guilty. But she said that in reviewing the law, they all came to realize that there wasn’t any hard evidence to prove Zimmerman acted unlawfully. She added that it was incredibly hard for her to let Zimmerman off but she believed she was doing what a juror is supposed to do – assess a case according to the law.

I suspect that two things happened: one, there was an alpha dog, a bully, in deliberations – Juror B37 – and the jurors didn’t understand that evidence didn’t need to be hard evidence to be acceptable. Maddy said “…as the law was read to me, if you have no proof he killed him intentionally, you can’t say he’s guilty.” But how did she and the others who believed he was guilty, interpret that word proof? And did Juror B37 have anything to do with them changing their minds?

There was plenty of proof that Zimmerman lied, that he had it in for African Americans; that he profiled Trayvon and picked an unnecessary fight. It just wasn’t CSI-type evidence and the prosecution didn’t present it in such a way that the jurors could understand its importance. 

I wonder if in the coming weeks any of the jurors will speak out and say they were misled about the law, or just didn't really understand it, or were bullied during deliberations. I wonder if that would be grounds for a re-trial. I think it’s time for Christianne Amanpour to interview Maddy; to present the evidence and ask her why she didn’t think it was valid. And what really happened during the deliberations.