What makes a good juror in the Zimmerman trial?


George Zimmerman (R) enters into the courtroom of Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester on April 20, 2012, in Sanford, Florida.


Allison Joyce

Jury selection at the murder trial of George Zimmerman continued for a second day Tuesday. 

Zimmerman is accused of shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin at close range in Sanford, Fla. in February of last year.

The former neighborhood watch volunteer has pleaded not guilty and maintains he acted in self defense after Martin attacked him.

The first part of the trial is dedicated to choosing from a pool of 500 potential jurors from Seminole County who received summons in the case. Attorneys need to find six jurors and four alternates before the trial can begin.

More from GlobalPost: Will jurors ever hear 911 calls from the night Trayvon Martin died? 

On Monday, Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda and Zimmerman's lawyers, Mark O'Mara and Don West, quizzed four of the potential jurors — three women and one man — about their knowledge of the case to determine whether they had formed opinions and could give Zimmerman a fair trial.

Judge Debra Nelson has said she will keep the identities of the selected jurors anonymous. So far, they've been known only by number.

One potential juror questioned on Tuesday told the Orlando Sentinel that attorneys should be looking for fair jurors, not those who haven't heard about Zimmerman, whose case has been widely publicized and debated in the media since last year.

It's unlikely anyone in Seminole County doesn't know about the case, "unless [they've] been living under a rock," she told the newspaper. 

More from GlobalPost: Zimmerman's defense releases potentially damaging Trayvon texts 

GlobalPost spoke to Richard Gabriel, President of Decision Analysis, Inc., a national trial consulting company, about the difficulty of choosing a jury in a high profile case.

"These trials turn the 6th amendment on its head. When everybody in your local community has heard about the case and seen a lot of the evidence and may even know the parties involved in the case, impartiality is thrown out the window," Gabriel said.

"Jury selection is really about jury de-selection. You're winnowing away people who have bias, knowledge or belief that will make them unable to be impartial."

Lawyers have the option of dismissing any potential juror who shows too much knowledge about the case, or a formed opinion regarding innocence or guilt. However, the prosecution will be looking for a totally different juror profile than the defense, Gabriel pointed out. "The prosecutor is going to want what we call a 'presumed guilty juror,'" he said.

"They want someone who has already formed an opinion about the case. They also want jurors who understand what it's like to be profiled. That may mean minorities. They could also be interested in a 'motive juror' who is interested in the story behind the act."

Defense lawyers, on the other hand, would likely hope for jurors who are highly interested in security, especially since Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer, Gabriel said.

"Crime victims would be potentially very interesting for the defense. Gun owners and those who support 2nd amendment rights would also be good for the defense," he added.

Jury selection is expected to last several weeks.