Public drawing held for seats at George Zimmerman trial

24 seats available to public in Seminole County courtroom

Published On: Jun 07 2013 05:43:58 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 07 2013 06:14:51 PM EDT
crime-law
SANFORD, Fla. -

Dozens of people started lining up in Seminole County on Friday for their chance to sit in the courtroom during George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.

During the trial about 24 seats are allotted to the public. To be eligible, interested people have to come to the Supervisor of Elections office a day in advance, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and enter their name for a drawing.

The names will then be randomly selected.

"This is one of those trials that I think will have a big impact on the community," said Stephen Beaumont, who is hoping to get a seat in the courtroom. "I employ about 35 employees and I know it's something that affects everyone of the employees as far as the race and the tension and the issues."

Patricia Barnes said she would much rather be there in person, rather than watch the trial online or on TV.

"I wanted to get in here because I have a son and a grandson and they could have been Trayvon Martin," Barnes said.

Below are some frequently asked questions about the lottery drawing for seats at the Zimmerman murder trial, provided by the Seminole County courthouse.

Q. How many ballots can I submit?
A. One

Q. May I enter a ballot for someone else?
A. Yes, but you can only enter one ballot.

Q. If my name is selected, may I give it to someone else?
A. No.

Q. Do I need to provide photo ID to enter the drawing?
A. No. You will need to provide a photo ID to pick up your seating pass the following day.

Q. What time can I expect a call if my ballot is drawn?
A. We expect to complete the drawing no later than 5 p.m. daily. Expect a call between 4:30 and 6 p.m. If you miss the call, you forfeit the seating pass and will need to enter again.

Q. What if my name is drawn, but I miss the phone call?
A. If we get a voicemail, we will leave a message and you will not forfeit your seat. But if we are unable to leave a message because the line is busy, or the mailbox is full, another name will be drawn for the seat.

Q. Is there a dress code in the courtroom?
A. Yes. Members of the public should dress in casual business attire. This means no tank tops, flip flops and caps. Also, any clothing or accessory, including pins, that suggests support or opposition to either party in this case is prohibited. Also, items of clothing with profane language or offensive artwork cannot be worn inside the courtroom.