Reporter's Notebook: Body language expert on Rachel Jeantel's testimony

Nationally-recognized body language expert Susan Constantine

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter

Rachel Jeantel was memorable, but is she credible? That all depends on what the jury of six women believe. Jeantel revealed during her testimony she never thought she would be a "serious witness". At times she could be sassy, rolling her eyes or sighing in frustration during the defense's hours-long cross examination. It was also often difficult for the jurors to understand her. Even the court reporter would have to stop her testimony to clarify her statements. Juror E6 at one point shook her head, raised her hand and blurted out to Jeantel that she's sorry but, "I can't hear you". 

Nationally-recognized body language expert Susan Constantine was in the courtroom for both days Jeantel was on the stand. I asked her about how she thinks the jurors responded to her testimony.

Constantine said this jury panel of six women, five of which have children, "are going to be a little empathetic towards here." 

She noted how the jurors were actively jotting down notes and physically leaning toward the witness, "The reason why they are over-leaning is because they are trying to listen. A parent would tend to do that too, that's a really strong active listener."

Here's what she had to say about Jeantel's demeanor on the stand, "she's just not into this. Usually people who are the prime witnesses, the key witnesses, they understand the severity of the case, understand the importance of their accuracy" 

"She doens't want to be there, she doesn't like to be there, she doesn't like being in the limelight, this is a very sensitive issue for her, she does not like this and she wants to get out." 

Constantine does think Jeantel's testimony will be a major point of contention during jury deliberations, "So we may have an issue bucking heads of how different people in the jury pool perceive her demeanor on the stand." 

"We tend to judge people by the company they keep so the fear that I have is they may pre-judge Trayvon Martin, is she a bad person absolutely not, but it shows you the kind of people he does hang out with. The rolling eyes, the defiance, the disdain that she has, the lack of respect in the courtroom certainly says a lot about how you might feel about law enforcement."

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