Jury selection for the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case began this week as Sanford, Fla. attempts to find six objective residents to serve on a jury (Florida only requires 12 jurors in capital cases). That might prove to be tricky in one of the biggest and most-publicized cases of 2012. The defense wanted to sequester an entire jury pool of 500 for the case, but that request was denied by a judge. The selection is expected to last at least one week.
The trial was taking place in the Orlando suburb of Sanford, Fla., the scene of massive protests last year by people who were angered that police waited 44 days before charging Zimmerman. Other demonstrations were held around the country, and the case drew worldwide attention as it fanned a debate about race, equal justice under the law and gun control.
Martin's father, Tracy Martin, expressed relief that the trial was starting.
"We seek a fair and impartial trial," he told reporters Monday. "We ask that the community continue to stay peaceful as we place our faith in the justice system."
Zimmerman's brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., said his family was confident that prosecutors wouldn't meet the burden of proving the neighborhood watch volunteer was guilty of murder. He called the charge "improper" and said charges were filed for political reasons.
"You don't charge in this country simply to assuage the concerns of masses," said Robert Zimmerman Jr. "Unfortunately, a political calculation was made centered around the politics of race and the law was defiled."