Juror B37 has decided she’s had enough publicity after all (with @MoreAndAgain update)

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.)

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45 Responses to Juror B37 has decided she’s had enough publicity after all (with @MoreAndAgain update)

  1. Tim says:

    So much for that Don’t Blame the Jury meme that started going around, probably within seconds of the verdict.

  2. ChariD says:

    So glad this wasn’t about race; I mean, considering the entire jury was racist and all. Geez.

    • Annie says:

      How do you figure the entire jury was racist?

      • Tim says:

        It’s possible that one, or even more than one, was not racist and were just worn down by the ones that were. The more who were not racist there were, the less plausible that becomes. If only B37 was racist and the others weren’t, then she would have had to wear down the other five or have such amazing and articulate persuasive powers that they just couldn’t resist her logic. I think we can rule out the latter pretty easily, and it just doesn’t seem like the deliberations went on long enough for the former.

      • amblingalong says:

        There were three jurors in favor of conviction (one on murder, two on manslaughter) and three in favor a not guilty ruling.

        Also, for whatever reason this post really conflicts with my impressions of the juror in question based on what I read elsewhere; she was quoted as saying that she felt that the technicalities Florida self-defense laws meant that “the system of justice produced a result at odds with the spirit of justice,” which I think is a pretty defensible position.

      • S.H. says:

        And apparently I missed one of the worst quotes:

        when asked about testimony that Trayvon Martin used the phrase “creepy ass cracker” to describe Zimmerman, she said:

        “I don’t think it’s really racial. I think it’s just the everyday life, the type of life that they live, and how they’re living, in the environment that they’re living in”.

        There is nothing fucking defensible about this woman. At all.

      • trees says:

        Yeah, that’s probably my favorite quote too. [shaking my head] Me thinks she watches too many of the hippy hop rap documentary videos. I need to go sit down somewhere.

      • Mike says:

        Well, I do agree that the word “cracker” is not especially unusual to hear in teenage lingo, but I’m not sure how anyone can say it is not a racial comment. More to the point, why the @$#% were Trayvon Martin’s racial feelings put on trial instead of George Zimmerman’s?

    • S.H. says:

      Amblingalong the more this juror talks the more indefensible her position becomes. According to her, Zimmerman is just as sympathetic as Martin, Zimmerman should continue to serve as neighborhood watchman (because he totes learned his lesson!), and that the verdict did in fact hinge on the stand your ground law. And this was just the first half of the interview, I have a feeling it’s only going to get worse. “This post” contains her words, nobody is twisting her words, the more she opens her mouth the more racist crap comes spewing out of it.

      • amblingalong says:

        If my original point wasn’t clear, sorry- I don’t think this post is twisting her words at all, I’m just shocked at how sympathetic the mainstream coverage of her comments made her look, vs. the quotes that are coming to light here.

  3. number9 says:

    Looks like Twitter user @MoreAndAgain deserves all the credit here. She started a petition that resulted in Sharlene Martin first emailing her personally and then releasing the statement that her agency will not represent the book. Is there a way to give credit to @MoreAndAgain here? It’s a great example of effective activism and I do think that without her work the book still would be in the works.

    Part of me is hoping that B37 does end up getting doxed. The racism is sickening. And am I the only one thinking that she was pretty motivated to get on this jury? No one could possibly be that ignorant of all media and news.

    • And am I the only one thinking that she was pretty motivated to get on this jury? No one could possibly be that ignorant of all media and news.

      If the reports are true, a big IF mind you, then juror B37 is the wife of a well-known, at least in the Orlando area, attorney.

  4. xenu01 says:

    I have jury duty in my city in a week, and never have I been so motivated to do my civic duty (and I’m a big nerd about these things). I always let my liberal flag fly high (guess that’s why I never get selected), but I’m considering whether it would be unethical to keep it under wraps so that I have a better chance of being selected. *Sigh* Probably.

    • trees says:

      I’ve done jury duty once. I was happy about doing my duty and all, but it was just depressing. I saw first hand the logic-fails of some of my fellow citizens, and how prejudices can remain unaffected by evidence and arguments. I hope you have a better experience. I’m hoping to soon be called for jury duty in the federal system.

      • (BFing) Sarah says:

        Ugh. I am seeing that right now on FB, trees. Its so infuriating. If I had a penny for every “But Zimmerman is not white” as a “rebuttal” to the shooting being about race…I’d be doing pretty well. I had to let it all out when I had a friend make a status message in which she said “she didn’t UNDERSTAND HOW this verdict had anything to do with race.” [mouth agape] You don’t understand? Are you living in a hole? Or…are you just living in an all white area with all white people with your head up your all white ass?

    • Henry says:

      it’s not unethical to keep your political opinions to yourself. go for it.

      We need people to use common sense and not give far out benefits of the doubt to people like Zimmerman and Casey Anthony. Doubt should be just about out of benefits to dole out to the clearly guilty, esp. in Florida.

  5. NickN says:

    How exactly do you give a “false impression” by walking home in a hoodie holding skittles and ice tea? But it’s nice to know this was a teachable moment for her and her children. For the rest of us who are of color its just reinforcement; wear light colors, check your language, check your tone, keep your hands visible, don’t reach for anything without permission, be passive, be polite and hope every self-edit you do is enough to overcome the natural scariness of your skin.

    • (BFing) Sarah says:

      Exactly. What a great way of putting it. HOPE that its enough. Lord knows that having to talk a person out of seeing you as a criminal seems to be an experience that lots of white people just can’t fathom and don’t even believe when they are told. It makes me want to smack someone. Its like, “HEY. There is a person RIGHT HERE, who is TELLING YOU BASED ON LIVED EXPERIENCE that people are assumed to be criminals based on their skin color and you want to sit here and tell me ‘Nope. Doesn’t happen.’ F you very much.”

  6. Kamau says:

    Is it me or are there others who raised an eyebrow when it was revealed that there would be an all white jury? What would have been the reaction if it were an all Black jury with maybe one white? Would it be then that race was a factor?

    • Dreidel says:

      The jury wasn’t all white, unless Hispanics are only considered people of color when they take a position that liberals approve.

      • Norm says:

        Or cons say they are not white to prove their point. Goes both ways

      • Tim says:

        yeah, I mean it’s not like White Hispanic is even a Thing.

      • xenu01 says:

        I hope that this comment is not serious.

      • Tim says:

        @ xenu01, not sure what you’re getting at, but it was sarcasm, and it was meant in response to Dreidel’s comment, not Norm’s.

        Can’t always tell the way the comments on here nest (or don’t), but it appears definitely that was to mine.

      • Dreidel says:

        Sarcasm, Tim?

        Sure, “white” is a racial and “Hispanic”/ “Latin@” are ethnic labels, but have you EVER seen publications refer to, say, Eva Longoria and Sofia Vergara as “white Latinas,” or to Cesar Chavez as a “brown Hispanic”?

        The distinction was never made for specific individuals in news or magazine articles until the NY Times applied the term to Zimmerman.

      • Tony says:

        For what it’s worth, I can’t even remember the number of times I’ve heard it argued that Hispanics are white because the Census Bureau classifies them that way or because of Cameron Diaz, etc. long before Trayvon Martin’s death. I wish that we had more clarity on that term, so people could use one term for ethnically mixed “mestizo” people who are visibly descended from both Iberians and pre-Colombian natives, and those who are of predominantly European extraction but merely have a Spanish or Portugese surname.

      • Tim says:

        I don’t know about publications or magazine articles using the term for those specific individuals or any others, but in everyday use I hear people all the time saying things that amount to or imply “Hispanic = person/people of color.” That is at best an oversimplification and it tends to disappear white Hispanics. My comment probably wasn’t all that relevant to yours, so I guess I should not have made that exact comment at that point.

  7. yes says:

    “We never had that discussion.”

    Some words just jump out with magical stupidity.

  8. Tim says:

    … she was quoted as saying that she felt that the technicalities Florida self-defense laws meant that “the system of justice produced a result at odds with the spirit of justice,” which I think is a pretty defensible position.

    @amblingalong: technicalities, schmecnicalities. That statement sounds to me like she was able to memorize a sentence full of enough big words to make a (barely) plausible, bullshit rationalization. Sorry, but in a jury trial, the buck stops with the jury (unless the judge goes for a directed acquittal). OK, maybe they don’t deserve all the blame — there’s a lot to go around in this case — but they deserve a big share.

    • Mike says:

      I don’t know….I can definitely respect the jury’s decision to follow the letter of the law even if they felt that Zimmerman had done something very wrong. It is a very dangerous precedent to say that a jury should have convicted based on a broader question of race relations, or worse, on simply feeling that Zimmerman was bad.
      What separates a trial by jury from a trial by mob is that a jury receives very specific instructions about the letter of the law and what the state must prove. I would have a serious problem with any situation in which someone could be sent to jail even if they had technically done nothing wrong as long as the jury intensely disliked them. I think that such a precedent would quickly find itself being used against people with unpopular social/political views, minorities, etc.

  9. BroadBlogs says:

    “I think all of us thought race did not play a role,” the juror said. “We never had that discussion.”

    They so needed that discussion!

    I saw an interesting post today on the racial prejudice of the police. So you get racial prejudice going three ways: Zimmerman, the police, the jury. Here’s the post:


    • samanthab says:

      For sure. That’s why, while obviously the jury was a key cog in the system, I think the don’t blame the jury argument has some merit. More accurately, I would specify “don’t isolate blame” on the jury. There was a system at work here, and, as disgusting as this woman’s rationalizations are, she didn’t put the system in place. She just wasn’t willing to stop it.

  10. BabyRaptor says:

    Zimmerman was alerted by Martin’s behavior?

    Was it the walking, or the Skittles?

    • PrettyAmiable says:

      Existing, I think.

    • samanthab says:

      He turned around to see who was stalking him. He’s supposed to take his stalking unquestioningly or it’s “suspicious.” It’s also suspicious of him to have been out too late at night. Clearly it was the time of night when only white people are allowed to leave their homes.

      • (BFing) Sarah says:

        Yes, he should have known it was White o’clock and just stayed in! Everyone knows that being outside after dark is a privilege that has to be earned (by being born with white skin)!

  11. EG says:

    Someone on my twitter list just linked me to this, in case any white person here was under the impression that this was an isolated case: unarmed thirteen-year-old Darius Simmons shot to death iin front of his mother by white neighbor. The police responded by interrogating his mother in a squad car for two hours while her child’s body lay on the ground outside, searching her home, and arresting her older son on a year-old truancy ticket while family came and went from the killer’s house undisturbed. Although the county’s population is 30% black, only one black person made it onto the jury.

    Happy Wednesday.

  12. Fat Steve says:

    I was about to scream at everyone for missing the most horrible aspect of this post, until I just went back and re-read the post and realized that I completely glossed over the bit which explained who Sharlene Martin was. You can imagine how totally perplexed I was as to why a member of the victims family was working on a book with the juror excusing his killer.

    • samanthab says:

      Well, personally it’s hard for me to single out the most horrible aspect of this case. And I find it hard to process intellectually, so I’m sure I myself could easily miss many obvious points. My birthday was the day after the verdict. I read the verdict, and it made me so ill and fuzzy headed that I *completely* forgot that it was my big day until my mom called hours later.

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