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 is a Massachusetts lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 3rd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense website (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), and many other re-sellers. Andrew just launched his latest product, the LOSD Instructor Program, designed for gun safety, marksmanship and tactical strategy instructors. Be an elite member of the self defense community, understanding your state's self defense laws to a depth even lawyers rarely achieve. Check it out here.   Andrew also gives live, in-person, ~5 hour-long state-specific Law of Self Defense Seminars all over the country. Click here to find a live seminar covering your state's self-defense laws.   Andrew also produces many 4-5 hour online, on-demand state-specific Law of Self Defense training courses. These online classes are enriched versions of the live, in-person state-specific Law of Self Defense Class Andrew gives all around the country. Click here to find an online course for your state. These online classes are priced at $249/HOUSEHOLD. You can learn more details and view the first section of the training class for free (about 30 minutes worth of self-defense law training) by clicking here.

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