Today marked the first day of the incredibly high-profile and controversial trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. The incident immediately became a heated talking point for all news shows and networks, while it sparked intense protests in Sanford, Florida, where many people believed that Zimmerman, who claimed that he acted in self-defense, targeted Martin because he was black.
Because of the considerable attention that this case has received over the past 15 months, the jury selection process was a bit difficult and time-consuming, as it was hard to find anyone in Florida who hadn’t heard about Zimmerman and possibly even formed an opinion. With that in mind, Zimmerman’s defense attorney, Don West, decided to greet the jury in a very unusual manner.
He told them a knock knock joke.
George Zimmerman, who?
All right, good – you’re on the jury.
West prefaced this strange remark by telling the jury, “I know how that may sound a bit weird in this context and under these circumstances…” and he even asked the jury to not hold the joke against Zimmerman if they didn’t find it appropriate or funny.
Now I’m no fancy, big city lawyer type with my suspenders and basic grasp of literacy, but if you have to say the phrase, “that may sound a bit weird” and/or warn the jury not to hold your potentially inappropriate or unfunny joke against your client, you should probably just skip it. Call me crazy, but that would be my legal strategy.
(H/T to Guyism)