George Graham

Nameless Jurors are Like Internet Trolls

The judge who presided over George Zimmerman’s trial has decided that the jurors should remain nameless, adding to my dark suspicions about this case. I wonder why Judge Debra Nelson  feels these jurors must be protected? If she believes they acted justly in setting the shooter free, why hide their names?

Surely, if the accused have the right to face their accusers, the judged have the right to know who did the judging?

Did these jurors (all women, five white and one Hispanic) make a decision they would not have dared to make openly? I suspect they did.

I don’t think the jurors would have had the brass to so egregiously defy common sense and common law if they had to explain their reasoning to the public.

But, like those pernicious trolls that infest the Internet, they could use the cloak of anonymity to indulge their prejudices. They knew they would not be held accountable.

The identities of jurors are normally available to the public.Their names are rarely hidden, except in cases involving organized crime figures. This judge must think black Americans are like the Mafia, and would seek vengeance for a verdict that went against one of their own. But Trayvon Martin belonged to no gang. He was just another unarmed teenager walking home from the store with a bag of candy and a can of iced tea. There is no criminal network lurking in the shadows to avenge his death – or the acquittal of his killer.

And, why hide the names of the jurors from the start? Did the judge know in advance what the verdict would be?

There is so much about this case that cries out for clarity.

The admonition by law enforcement figures to “remain calm” in the wake of the scandalous mistrial, for example, what’s that about? And the TV chatter about the “threats” received by Zimmerman?

Doesn’t this sound to you like white American folklore? Doesn’t it fit the profile of black Americans that contributed to Martin’s death?

That’s the way it sounds to me.

This is Florida, where I live, and I get the impression that Florida law assumes non-black folks must be protected from those dangerous black people. Decent, law-abiding (non-black?) citizens need to carry guns and use them to protect themselves when accosted by lawless black marauders as they fully expect to be.

This is one of the states with a Stand Your Ground Law, after all.

I found it revealing that the special prosecutor assigned to investigate the shooting, State Attorney Angela Corey, made a point of declaring – in a TV interview after the trial – that she is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, which is supposed to give Americans the right to own and carry weapons. This case was never about Zimmerman’s right to have and use a gun, she said. And I understand that Zimmerman will get his gun back if he asks for it.

What is Nelson afraid of? The gun lobby? Gun loving voters? Conservatives who insist she was wrong to prosecute Zimmerman? Anti-black rage? All of the above?

Did these fears also contribute to the jury’s deliberations?

It would help to clear my mind if I knew the jurors’ names, and heard what they have to say in defense of their verdict.

Click here for the judge’s decision.

Click here for one view of the case.

Click here for another view.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for