Local Expert Offers Insights on Zimmerman Jury

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RENO -- A jury of six women is now hearing testimony in the second degree murder trial of George Zimmerman. The jurors were seated after nine days of questioning by attorneys.

Larry Sage of Sparks trains judges and prosecutors in Afghanistan. He is also a retired judge and former prosecutor. Sage said it is not usual all the jurors are women, as a majority of the jury candidates were women. As a prosecutor, he said there were times he preferred women on the jury. "Anything in finances I preferred women because most of the women do the family finances," he said.

When police officers are going to testify, Sage said he looked for jurors with "no natural bias against law enforcement and maybe has a bias or sympathy toward a victim."

He said in the Zimmerman trial mothers on the jury might tend to side with the prosecution. Sage said racial minorities on the jury might be defense jurors. He said the defense ought to have sought jurors with volunteer experience, as Zimmerman was a volunteer neighborhood watch captain.

"I think you're going to have to emphasize volunteerism," he said.

Sage said consultants might be used to seat a jury in high-profile cases. She said it would not be unusual for attorneys to investigate jurors' backgrounds -- including voting records and driving records.

"Credit ratings were often run on jurors which they did not know about."

Six jurors were seated in the Zimmerman trial instead of 12, which would have been required in Florida if the death penalty were being sought.

Monday the jury heard opening statements and testimony. Zimmerman faces up to life in prison if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty.

In addition to the six jurors, there are four alternates.

The four jurors are all women, one is a racial minority and one said she volunteered at a school. Most of the jurors are married, and several have kids.

The jury will be sequestered for the trial.