During the trial where Zimmerman stands accused of second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman’s lawyer asked Officer Chris Serino if he thought the defendant’s testimony was truthful and Serino answered.
In his latest op-ed on “Huffington Post,” Professor Gershman says the question should not have been asked and expecting the jury to ignore the answer is unrealistic.
“Are juries capable or willing to follow such instructions? Or, to be more precise, will the Zimmerman jury follow the judge’s instruction to disregard Serino’s testimony that he believed Zimmerman was telling the truth? Apart from our intuition, psychological studies of jury decision-making suggest that jurors are not successful at ignoring information they have been given, even when a judge instructs them to disregard the information,” writes Gershman.