Just two days after acquitting George Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges for killing Trayvon Martin, Juror B37 — one of five white women on the six-woman jury — had signed with Martin Literary Management to write a book. President Sharlene Martin released a statement saying that B37 felt it important that the public understand her experience during the trial.
My hope is that people will read Juror B37’s book, written with her attorney husband, and understand the commitment it takes to serve and be sequestered on a jury in a highly publicized murder trial and how important, despite one’s personal viewpoints, it is to follow the letter of the law. It could open a whole new dialogue about laws that may need to be revised and revamped to suit a 21st century way of life. The reader will also learn why the jurors had no option but to find Zimmerman Not Guilty due to the manner in which he was charged and the content of the jury instructions.
B37 first shared her views with the public when she voted to acquit Zimmerman; as she revealed in an interview with Anderson Cooper Monday night, she was one of three jurors who believed that Zimmerman was not guilty from the beginning of deliberations. (Her appearance on the show was hidden in shadow and identified only by her juror number, allowing her to enjoy both fame and anonymity off the back of a slain black teenager and his family.) B37 believed Zimmerman was alerted by Martin’s behavior, not his skin color, and that race never came into it.
“Anybody would think anybody walking down the road, stopping and turning and looking — if that’s exactly what happened — is suspicious,” she said.
“I think all of us thought race did not play a role,” the juror said. “We never had that discussion.”
She also told Cooper that she felt sorry for Rachel Jeantel because Jeantel obviously didn’t want to be there and appeared to feel “inadequate toward everyone because of her education and her communication skills” (English is Jeantel’s third language); she said Jeantel was difficult to understand because “a lot of the time she was using terms that [B37] had never heard before, and what they meant.”
Hours after the TV interview, however, and the release of B37’s voir dire before she was empaneled, Martin released a statement saying that B37 wouldn’t be writing a book after all and that she realized that “isolation [during sequestration] shielded [her] from the depth of pain that exists among the general public over every aspect of this case.”
During that pretrial questioning, soon-to-be-Juror-B37 referred to Martin’s killing as “an unfortunate incident that happened” and made several references to “rioting” in Sanford that she seemed to think took place but actually didn’t. Her colleagues on the jury included a woman who wondered why “a kid” was out alone at night buying candy, and a woman who used the shooting as a cautionary to teach her kids to dress and behave in a way as not to give a “false impression.”
Update: In fact, Juror B37 didn’t decide anything. (In hindsight does seem optimistic to think she’d have even that basic level of social awareness.) Credit for the offer being rescinded goes entirely to Cocky McSwagsalot (@MoreAndAgain), who tracked down Martin’s contact information; led followers to flood her with calls, tweets, and e-mails; and launched a Change.org petition demanding that she drop B37 as a client. In a matter of hours, the petition garnered more than 1,000 signatures; Martin released a statement saying, in part, “After careful consideration regarding the proposed book project with Zimmerman Juror B37, I have decided to rescind my offer of representation in the exploration of a book based upon this case.” So Martin backed off before B37 did, and now Trayvon Martin’s family and supporters will be spared a world in which that book exists, and that’s thanks to McSwagsalot. (And thanks to commenter number9 for pointing it out.)