How good a day was Thursday for the defense team in the George Zimmerman trial?
TV's legal analysts were applauding defense attorney Mark O'Mara before and after the jury was selected.
"It was a really good day for Mark O’Mara," WOFL-Channel 35 legal analyst Diana Tennis said. "He got a lot of good information from the jurors today during the conversation. They gave him lot of input rather than him giving them a lot of input, which means he learned a lot more about them." She theorized that he kept some people he liked most.
Randy McClean, another WOFL analyst, said the all-woman jury would be "very favorable" to the defense. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
WESH-Channel 2 legal analyst Richard Hornsby agreed that the jury makeup favored the defense.
"With female jurors, in my experience, is they tend to pick an attorney they like," Hornsby said. "What attorneys are these jurors gravitating toward? Whose personalities are they enjoying? [Prosecutor] Bernie [de la Rionda] is a very bombastic attorney. I think he may grate on them after a while. … O'Mara and [defense attorney Don] West are kind of endearing. That may be a bigger impact overall in the long term.”
But WESH analyst Alisia Adamson said the jury makeup seemed to favor the state. "The thought of a mother losing a child is so detrimental, so horrific," she said. But later, she added, that having no African-Americans on the jury would be a benefit to the defense.
Diversity was another major focus for the analysts.
WESH analyst Jeff Deen theorized that the lack of diversity will be on jurors' minds and predicted they would go out of their way to follow the judge's instructions.
Tennis stressed that she had has many trials where the jury didn't mirror a client's sex or ethnicity. "That is part of the process," she said. "We take the groups [juries] as we get them. I don't think there was anything nefarious about it, and hopefully, the care and attention put into this two-week jury selection will make everybody have faith in the system."
Yet Hornsby warned that having an African-American on the jury would have given any verdict more legitimacy. "No matter what verdict is ultimately returned, the lack of a minority on there" would raise questions of fairness, he said. "That's going to follow this case a long time."
Earlier in the day, the defense was getting more praise for O'Mara's questioning of potential jurors. Mark NeJame, an analyst for Central Florida News 13, said O'Mara made "an excellent presentation" and brought home the high burden the state faces. The jurors' laughter suggested they were comfortable with O'Mara's presentation, NeJame said.
WESH's Adamson said O'Mara did "a really good job" in getting the potential jurors to participate in a conversation. "You don't want it to be where the lawyer is up there kind of preaching," she added.
WFTV-Channel 9's Bill Sheaffer said that O'Mara asked the tough questions and gained answers that would give "great insight" into jurors' views. And O'Mara used levity to connect with jurors and establish relationships, Sheaffer added.
On the 6 p.m. news, WKMG-Channel 6's Tony Pipitone said O'Mara did "very thoughtful, probing" questioning of jurors while de la Rionda had "a mechanical, direct style you see from prosecutors often."
WKMG legal analyst Luis Calderon agreed that the prosecution's questioning was generic and not too deep while O'Mara got "into their feelings, their impressions of the case."
What did you think?