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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Margolis: Juries should reflect community



Observers were quick to raise questions when six women, five of whom were white, were impaneled in the recent George Zimmerman trial. 

"It was the first time I’ve ever heard of a jury that all looked the same," state Sen. Gwen Margolis said. "It was disturbing."

In response, the Miami Democrat has filed a proposal that would make future panels less homogeneous.

The bill, SB 94, would require the juries in capital and life felony cases to "reflect the demographics of the county in which the case is to be tried."

"Not that I don’t love women, but there should have been a variety of perspectives up there," Margolis said Wednesday. 

What's more, the bill would require a 12-member panel for life felony cases like Zimmerman's. Under current law, only capital cases are heard by a dozen jurors. The panels for all other criminal cases have half as many members.

"With six people on the jury, one person can dominate, which seemed to be the case in the Zimmerman trial," Margolis said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 12:33pm]


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