Zimmerman Trial: Jury Asks for Clarification on Manslaughter

The Zimmerman trial jury paused their deliberations at around 6:00PM EST to present Judge Nelson with a question:

“May we please have clarification on instructions regarding manslaughter?”

Nelson announced the question to the parties in open court, and has now recessed court 30 minutes to address the issue with the jury.

The implications of this question can only be addressed speculatively.  It does, however, strongly suggest that murder 2 has been discarded from the jury’s consideration.  All six jurors may be seriously considering manslaughter, or it may be a situation in which 5 jurors believe manslaughter does not apply (presumably because the State has failed to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt) but find they are having trouble convincing the 6th jury of the same.

Update: The Court took a brief recess to allow the parties to gather case law on the issue of providing jury clarification. Parties agree it is acceptable to clarify on a specific question, if that is what the jury is struggling with, but not to provide a general overview of manslaughter. The parties are now co-drafting a question to the jury to ask whether what they seek is, in fact, clarification on a specific issue. Judge Nelson will then deliver this question to the jury.

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–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

About the Author

Andrew Branca
Andrew F. Branca, Esq. is currently in his third decade of practicing law, and is an internationally-recognized expert on the law of self-defense of the United States. Andrew is a Guest Lecturer at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy, a former Guest Instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy, an NRA Life-Benefactor Member, and an NRA Certified Instructor. He also teaches lawyers how to argue self-defense cases as a certified instructor with the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) system in numerous states around the country. Andrew is also a host on the Outdoor Channel’s TV show “The Best Defense” and contributor to the National Review Online. Andrew has been quoted as a SME (subject-matter expert) on use-of-force law by the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and many other mainstream media, including nationally syndicated broadcast media. Recently, Andrew won the UC Berkeley Law School debate on “Stand-Your-Ground,” and spoke at the NRA Annual Meeting Law Symposium on self-defense law. He is also a founding member of USCCA’s Legal Advisory Board. In addition to being a lawyer, Andrew is also a competitive handgun shooter, an IDPA Charter/Life member (IDPA #13), and a Master-class competitor in multiple IDPA divisions.

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