Given the large amount of pretrial publicity, the challenge is to find a fair jury among a pool of residents likely to have already formed distinct, if subconscious, opinions about what happened in those murky moments when Zimmerman and Trayvon fought, and where someone emitted a shriek before a single bullet felled Trayvon.
The defense, jury experts say, is probably jockeying for a paradoxical kind of juror: an older, white person with a strong bent toward “law and order” – the same kind of person that, in another case, might look skeptically upon a man who fires a gun at an unarmed teenager. Florida's Seminole County is 66 percent white and 12 percent black.
Given broad concern in the black community about Trayvon’s death and the local police department’s initial failure to charge Zimmerman, prosecutors are likely to push for at least one or two African-American jurors, though jurors cannot be excused or retained solely on the basis of their race or ethnicity.
As the selection process continues, attorneys on both sides are trying to analyze potential jurors’ attitudes toward government, guns, and self-defense, while probing about how and where jury candidates get their news.