Jury Instructions Play Key Role in Zimmerman's Verdict

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

HARRISONBURG, Va.--Before the jury reached the verdict on George Zimmerman's trial, it had to follow a series of instructions to make its decision.

The prosecution and the defense drafted a 27-page set of guidelines for the jury to follow. The form states clearly that they jury has to consider only the evidence and from the testimony of the witnesses. It cannot base any decisions on emotion.

Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew Graves said the six women had to follow rules before deciding someone's fate.

"You can compare the facts and you can see how limited the jury's decision had to be to acquit to find them guilty of manslaughter or find him guilty of second degree murder," said Graves.

To convict Zimmerman of any of these charges, the six women had to consider the motive highlighted in the jury for that charge.

"Was it done with premeditation, was it done with any sort of malice, was it done with heat of passion," said Graves.

For instance, for the jury to convict Zimmerman on second degree murder, the prosecution had to prove these three elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

1. Trayvon Martin is dead.

2. The death was caused by the criminal act of George Zimmerman

3. There was an unlawful killing of Trayvon Martin by an act of imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved without regard for human life.

" I don't think there is enough evidence to say, the only evidence they had so the only evidence they had was their injuries to Zimmerman and the fact that Martin was killed during the scuffle," said Graves.

Moving forward after the trial, Trayvon Martin's family can file a civil lawsuit in which Zimmerman would have to pay for damages. The federal government can file a civil rights suit in which it would have to prove that Zimmerman violated Martin's civil rights.

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