Zimmerman: Is There a Verdict?

The media has been moved to the first floor of the courthouse. The jury is finished with dinner. Why would the court have the media wait around if they didn't ask a follow-up question to their first question about manslaughter? Did they resolve it without needing more guidance?

Why would the jury still be working at 9:00 pm with the court, lawyers and media in the courtroom if a verdict weren't about to be announced? The judge previously said she'd only give the media 15 minutes notice of a verdict. So I think a verdict may be imminent. What would that be and what would that mean? [More...]

Some speculation: It may depend on whether the jurors are following the instructions as a whole, or literally as written. Only if not following literally, would they have have reached the justifiable use of force instruction which is on page 12, after the murder and manslaughter charges.

The instructions state at the beginning that self-defense is a defense to both charges. So if the jury decided self-defense first, and found Zimmerman was justified in shooting Martin, they would never get to manslaughter to have a question about it.

If they hadn't yet determined self defense before getting to manslaughter, then they rejected Murder 2 on the state of mind element. If that's what happened, it seems unlikely they would decide the self-defense issue in an hour between dinner and now.

If there's a verdict now, and it's guilty of manslaughter, I think it's a rejection of Zimmerman's self-defense claim in its entirety.

Without self-defense, there's really no way to avoid a manslaughter conviction. All that it requires is that Martin be dead, and Zimmerman intended to commit the act (shooting him) that resulted in his death (which is not the same thing as intending to kill him.)

Zimmerman has never argued he didn't intend to shoot Martin. He's argued it was self-defense and he had no other means of protecting himself.

Put another way: The jury can reject murder 2 for one of two reasons: Either the state failed to prove one or more of the elements (such as ill will, hatred) or it found the shooting justified and not unlawful due to self-defense.)

If they reject murder 2 for the state of mind element, they are told to move on to manslaughter. If they reject murder 2 because they find self-defense, there is no need to move to manslaughter because self-defense is a defense to both.

So a guilty verdict on manslaughter means they didn't believe self-defense. It will be little comfort to Zimmerman that they also rejected the state's theory that he acted with ill will, hatred or spite for Murder 2.

But keep in mind this doesn't rule out a not guilty verdict. As one analyst just said, it's possible that four or five want to acquit and they only asked the manslaughter question to satisfy them. Maybe during or after dinner, they convinced the uncertain jurors. But again, had they agreed self-defense applied, what question about manslaughter would they have when the instruction states:

George Zimmerman cannot be guilty of manslaughter by committing a merely negligent act or if the killing was either justifiable or excusable homicide
And the justifiable use of force instruction clearly states:
It is a defense to the crime of Second Degree Murder, and the lesser included offense of Manslaughter, if the death of Trayvon Martin resulted from the justifiable use of deadly force

Surely they would have read the instructions all the way through, even if deciding the counts in order.

As to the theory this may go to 3:00 am because the judge has kept jurors that late before: Really silly, because while the judge might let the jurors go that late, she wouldn't have the lawyers and media hanging around the courthouse unless a court session was imminently expected. That the jury might have another question is no reason to keep the media around at 9:30 on a Saturday night.

My best guess: The jury will finish tonight. Tomorrow is Sunday, and they would most likely take the day off. If they are really close, why put it off until Monday when a few more hours would finish it tonight.

I'm not making any predictions on what their verdict might be if they return one tonight.

< Zimmerman Jury Has Question on Manslaughter | Zimmerman: Can the Jury Hear the Protesters? >
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  • Display: Sort:
    If a verdict is imminent shortly after manslaughte (none / 0) (#1)
    by Darby on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:24:23 PM EST
    Question it could also mean 5 wanted to acquit and 1 holdout with a question....  Let's hope

    ... or the photo negative equivalent of that. (none / 0) (#4)
    by magster on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:27:59 PM EST
    Can you imagine being GZ, TM's parents, GZ's parents right now? Sheez.

    I am confident it is not hung jury (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:32:32 PM EST
    Yes. Could be NG. (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:24:35 PM EST

    Agree with Jeralyn's analysis (none / 0) (#6)
    by bmaz on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:34:36 PM EST
    There is no way to know with a jury, but that is the logical progression and analysis on it.

    Does th judge have some insight (none / 0) (#7)
    by Darby on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:40:26 PM EST
    How does she know to keep media around or move o first floor etc?

    comment deleted which (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:42:03 PM EST
    included a three line url not in html format and was not about the verdict watch.

    I'm sure there's a thread discussing Angela Corey's firing of the former IT director. If not, please find one and post it there. Keep this thread to verdict related matters. (And make sure you either put the url in html format so it doesn't skew the site or get a short one from tinyurl.com. Thanks.

    is there a live streaming site (none / 0) (#9)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:45:23 PM EST
    on line?  I can't get the sig other to put CNN back on.

    I've been using .... (none / 0) (#12)
    by magster on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:51:53 PM EST

    For some reason for my computer, it doesn't "buffer" too much and isn't choppy.


    Thank you (none / 0) (#15)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 09:21:36 PM EST
    luckily I was able to get CNN back on the TV just as the verdict came in.

    yes, but... (none / 0) (#10)
    by scooterdoo on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:47:35 PM EST
    It's entirely possible that the jurors are blissfully unaware that the defendant, the attorneys, and the prosecution team, are standing-by in agony awaiting a decision. Could be the jury is happily eating pepperoni-and-pineapple pizza and chatting amongst themselves until they get bored and retire for the night. I expect chatting with others about one's most recent vacation to Italy or how boring the trial was would be preferable to retiring for the night at a hotel where one is sequestered. Not making any conjectures on whether there will be a decision tonight, just saying we have no idea what's happening in the jury deliberation room.

    They have a verdict (none / 0) (#11)
    by ruffian on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:50:08 PM EST

    Yes. Zimmerman already in court (none / 0) (#13)
    by Towanda on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:52:08 PM EST
    and judge and jury on the way.

    found (none / 0) (#14)
    by scooterdoo on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 09:05:36 PM EST
    Not guilty.