Here's the conundrum: jurors are required to follow the letter of the law as the judge instructs. Oftentimes a question in jury selection will be " Can you follow the law as the judge instructs you or are your beliefs such that you would not?" Jury instructions, in addition to being poorly written for the layperson to interpret because they are drafted by.......lawyers, are also meant to be followed as written. And as the judge has read. Usually the jury will get all the instructions in the jury room but they can be like hieroglyphics to decipher. However, that is the point of a jury by peers: the community gets to figure it out.
Yes, a small jury is a more difficult jury. Give me "12 Angry Men" any day. The numbers give more room for argument.
The 3rd point is that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty; and that is the job of the prosecution. If they fail, as they have done so notably before, then the jury has no way out except to vote "not guilty." When I was in law school and then again trying criminal defense cases, I learned that most often the defendant is guilty and the defense lawyer knows the defendant is guilty. The job of the defense is to keep the State from fulfilling its promise to the jury: prove the case. That was done here. If the charges as filed and the jury instructions said X and if the State did not prove X, then the jury has to go with Y. Even though following the spirit of the law might have rendered a different verdict.
I am still nauseated by the interview given by the defense trial consultant who said they selected women who would relate to Zimmerman's fear when Martin was beating him. I wonder what these same women would have felt walking alone in the nighttime in an unfamiliar neighborhood to be followed by a stranger in a car, who then left the car, chased them........do you think they would fight for their life?
At the same time I still cannot fathom how this jury reconciled that someone can put into motion all these events and stand behind a law designed to protect someone in Martin's shoes. But I wasn't there. Who am I to say?
At the end of the day no one really knows.
Still and all, this verdict is a reflection of the collective conscience and consciousness of the community: we allow racial bias, we allow gun-toting, we allow vigilantes, we allow angry, violent, cruel behaviors toward each other, in the media, toward animals, toward the environment. It is our collective consciousness that designs our world. It's no wonder we have become what we allow.
Florida's own Emmett Till.