George Zimmerman (R) leaves the courtroom during a recess with his attorney Mark O'Mara in Seminole circuit court on the first day of his trial June 10, 2013 in Sanford, Florida. Jury selection will begin today as Zimmerman is charged with the second-degree murder of an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin. (Photo by Joe Burbank - Pool/Getty Images)
SANFORD, Fla. -- One of the most anticipated trials of the year kicked off on Monday. Jury selection began in The State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman. Defense attorneys for Zimmerman asked Circuit Judge Debra Nelson for more time to prepare, stating that the prosecution delayed handing over evidence. The motion was denied.
More than 500 people have been selected for jury duty, however only 100 have been pooled in groups of 21 for selection. They will be brought into a room where they will be asked questions by the judge, defense attorneys, and the State. The questions, which were not released to the public, were finalized by Judge Nelson on Saturday morning.
The questions are basic questions pertaining to that individual and what they know, if anything, about this case. Both the defense and the prosecution want a jury that they can convince. It is likely that the jury will be a very diverse group of people, including several minorities.
The goal is to gain an impartial jury, which may prove very hard to do in such a high profile case. Each side wants someone who they can convince their side is right. The problem is, many people have heard about this case and may have already formed an opinion. If someone in this case has already made up their mind that Zimmerman is guilty or innocent, they will most likely not be selected because it would not guarantee a "fair trial" for Zimmerman.
Seminole County is a suburb of the Orlando metropolitan area and many in the community are very disturbed by the previous presence of protesters ranging from Black Panthers to White Supremacy groups. Different groups from all forms of agendas have flooded Sanford, Florida (where the shooting happened) and areas all over central Florida.
Famous figures such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are a few celebrities among many who have traveled to this area to voice their opinion. The media circus has caused just about everyone in the area to worry about what is going on and begs the question, "Can George Zimmerman get a fair trial from an impartial jury in Seminole County?" If the defense feels that they cannot find an impartial jury in this area, they may ask the judge for a change of venue to somewhere they can.
The six jurors and alternates who are picked have their work cut out for them. Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder, which if found guilty could land him in prison for a minimum of 25 years.
Timothy Jones is a 26 year old student of the University of North Florida's Pre-Law Program. He is a double major of Criminal Justice and Political Science, as well being a police cadet at North East Florida Criminal Justice Training Center. Before college, Timothy served 5 years in the United States Army.
Timothy Jones, UNF