Fox News Host: Pot Could've Made Trayvon Martin "Violent"
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Fox News host Gregg Jarrett claimed today that marijuana could have made Trayvon Martin "irrational" and "violent” prior to his murder at the hand of George Zimmerman. Zimmerman, 29, is currently on trial and charged with second-degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Martin in the chest; he is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense. During a live Internet broadcast of the Zimmerman trial jury selection, now in its second week, Jarrett told viewers that all evidence relating to Martin's history, including marijuana use, will not be made available to jurors. At a pre-trial hearing, Judge Debra Nelson ruled that jurors would not have access to details of Martin's past during opening statements. But former federal prosecutor Doug Burns noted today that the judge may allow evidence that Martin had pot in his system on the day of his murder, stating, “That’s a fact that the jury is entitled to know.” If toxicology results show that the 17-year-old was "high" at the time Zimmerman shot him, Jarrett said: "he may have acted irrationally and may have been violent.” Burns stated that the prosecution could put “the reverse spin" on this situation, "which is the effect of marijuana making you more mellow.…It can cut both ways. You could call an expert to say that marijuana doesn’t make you violent.” Zimmerman's attorney said at the hearing that Martin's prior drug use could be crucial to the self-defense argument, claiming that weed "could have affected [Martin's] behavior." But as The Fix's Maia Szalavitz pointed out last year: "Research finds no evidence that marijuana provokes violence. Quite the contrary: most studies on the issue either show no effect or a clear reduction in aggression."