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Black Juror in Dunn Case: Trial about Justice, not Race

Black Juror in Dunn Case: Trial about Justice, not Race

Juror #8, Creshuna Miles: Dunn acted in self-defense until he fired at fleeing SUV

Tonight the Anderson Cooper show on CNN broadcast the interview of a second Dunn trial juror, Juror #8.  Identified elsewhere as Creshuna Miles, she was one of two African Americans on the jury, a woman, and the youngest juror at 21 years of age.  The interview was conducted by CNN’s Alina Machado.

The interview starts with Machado asking the juror what she thought of Dunn, and the response was frankly surprising (note: all quotes are based on quickly taken hand-written notes; they are substantively accurate but may err on some details):

I honestly thought Dunn was a good guy. I didn’t think he was bad guy looking to shoot someone, I just think he made bad decisions.

Then Miles became self-contradictory.  Asked if she though Dunn was guilty of murder, she said:

Not guilty as charged, of first degree murder, but that he was guilty of second degree murder.

Strangely, Miles then goes on to say:

I was convinced, honestly convinced, that he was in self-defense until he chased the car down and started shooting it more.  Even if you initially didn’t have the opportunity to take yourself out of the situation, running behind the car and shooting more, that is where you push your limits.

Of course, under the law if Dunn was acting in lawful self-defense in shooting at Davis, he could be no more guilty of second degree murder than he could of first degree murder.

Asked which witness made the greatest impact, Miles indicated it was Rhonda Rouer, Dunn’s fiancé.

She was nervous, trembling, but she still got up there and told the truth.

Asked to describe the deliberations, Miles said:

The deliberation room was wild, a lot of yelling.

On the initial vote the jury was “all over the place,” but initially on Friday the vote was 2 and 10 (presumably on the murder charge).  They started off Saturday morning with a paryer that each of the jurors would have peace of mind, and that everybody would be open.

Initially when they could not come to agreement on the murder charge they were comfortable in communicating this to Judge Healey.  But when he sent them back to deliberations [after the Allen charge], the jury became nervous about what the consequences of being hung on the murder charge might be.

Would the whole case be thrown out? Would they re-try Dunn? Would Corey be satisfied with a hung jury? Would Jordan get justice?

Asked if she thought the jury had messed up, Miles answered “I don’t feel we messed up, we did what we were supposed to do.”

Machado noted that a lot of people were confused by the mixed verdict, not understanding how the jury could convict on the attempted second degree murder charges, but not come back guilty for Jordan Davis’ death.  “What do you tell those people?”

Juror #8 responded:

I tell them that we just could not agree.  It was one way or the other, and nobody was willing to move.  Hopefully the next group agrees.

By the next group you mean the re-trial?

Yes, I hope they come back with whatever they come back with. Not saying I hope it’s guilty, not saying I hope it’s not guilty, just hope they can agree.

The reason she came forward, Miles explained, was all the public protests arguing race as an issue.

Everybody making this a white and black thing it was not, nobody came up race in the jury.

If not about race, what was it about, for you?

It was about justice.  When I walked into it, I just wanted to bring justice to whoever it was. If Michael Dunn, then to him. If Leland, Kevin, Tommy or Jordan, I wanted to bring justice to them.

What would tell Jordan’s family?

I would tell them I tried, I tried to fight for their son.  Everyone that felt he was guilty, we fought and we fought and we fought.

I saw the look on his Dad’s face when we came to nothing, and I know it hurts.  It’s like thinking you have this wound healed, and somebody slices it open again, because now we have to go through that process all over again.

And that was it for the CNN interview of Creshuna Miles.  Her segment was then followed by an interview by Anderson Cooper of Lucia McBride and Ron Davis, the parents of Jordan Davis.  In that interview, the parents of Davis criticized Miles for not recognizing that race was part of the case.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.

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Comments

In that interview, the parents of Davis criticized Miles for not recognizing that race was part of the case.
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I guess this juror was a LOT smarter than the parents and cared less about skin color.
I had wondered if this was the reason for the final outcome.
I really wish there had been some explanation (proof or whatever) of anything that would explain his initial thought of being in danger. But I never saw anything that (to me) really explained it well.
hes going to prison at least, IMO he belongs there.

    While she may not understand the law, she was remarkably fair in acting as a juror. I give this juror credit for that.

    I would have voted for conviction on first degree murder (I understand the heat of the moment, but you do not flee and not report to the police after the initial danger has passed)–but I was not there at trial. She was.

Wow

Miss Miles is wise beyond her years.

This case demonstrates the very fine line between self defense and an offense through a jury.

JackRussellTerrierist | February 20, 2014 at 11:54 pm

Well, there you go. The parents want it to be about race no matter what a black juror says it was about. They must have gotten a call from Crump & Co..

But, as for Miles, it seems that she wanted to throw the parents a bone because there is no logic to a manslaughter conviction. Either the State proved that Dunn didn’t act in self-defense or it didn’t. If the State didn’t disprove it was an act of self-defense, then how does manslaughter enter into it?

I disagree with prosecutors charging the maximum crime that they can conjure and then including the lesser possible offenses, as though the jury is choosing from a menu. They should charge and prosecute the crime they believe was committed or that they have sufficient evidence to prove instead of this used car salesman version of Let’s Make a Deal: “Jurors, if you won’t buy Murder One, howza ’bout throwin’ in a little manslaughter or at least negligent homicide for me, eh? Ya gotta gimme somethin’!”

I think it’s a psychological game prosecutors play so they don’t walk away empty-handed. They’re too chicken to just roll the dice.

    I absolutely agree that over-charging is a pandemic problem for American justice, but used primarily to coerce plea bargains with outrageous potential sentences.

    I don’t think that was the case here. The premeditation required for 1st degree murder can occur in the matter of a second or two, and Dunn had to get and prepare his gun and open his window – which should have been enough time to realize that the kids were not attacking. So it was properly a choice between 1st, 2nd, and justifiable, not 2nd, manslaughter, and justifable.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Estragon. | February 21, 2014 at 1:17 am

      I understand that the perception of the event as you describe is a possibility of what happened, but it wasn’t proven satisfactorily to this jury. There has to be a reason for that. The advantage that Dunn has over our speculations is that he was there, in the moment, we were not, and he somehow got his belief across to at least some of the jurors.

      tom swift in reply to Estragon. | February 21, 2014 at 1:22 am

      The premeditation required for 1st degree murder can occur in the matter of a second or two

      So the prosecution claimed, but it’s still a dysfunctional perversion of the word “premeditated”.

      Remember, this was a Corey prosecution; we should expect absurdities a-plenty.

        allmenroder in reply to tom swift. | February 21, 2014 at 8:51 am

        Premeditation can occur in the blink of an eye. Suppose you’re driving and approaching a stop light. The light starts changing from yellow to red and you decide to step on the gas and go. In that instant you have committed an act of premeditation: ie in not trying to stop.

        As for firing a weapon each time to pull the trigger you have committed a premeditated act.

        As for overcharging, I agree that is a major problem. I was on first degree attempted murder case in Florida. In the jury instructions we could find guilty from 1st degree attempted murder all the way down to battery/whatever the least charge for touching someone was/is.

        So it’s a Florida law thing that I believe should be changed.

          Immolate in reply to allmenroder. | February 21, 2014 at 10:11 am

          I don’t think you have a well-developed understanding of the concept of premeditation. You cannot premeditate “in the moment”, and to try to twist the meaning to equal “any thought at all” is to render the concept meaningless. We do things “in the moment” that we would never do given the chance to mull it over. So there’s a quality to a mulled over crime that is lacking in a non-premeditated crime – the act of deliberation.

          BrokeGopher in reply to allmenroder. | February 21, 2014 at 10:14 am

          Pretty sure the law doesn’t recognize a mulling duration. Bottom line is if you shoot at someone with the intent to kill them, that’s premeditation. How long before you made the decision and pulled the trigger is irrelevant.

          tom swift in reply to allmenroder. | February 21, 2014 at 10:41 am

          An absurd claim. It means that any shooting, defensive or otherwise, is “premeditated”, unless it’s completely accidental.

          tom swift in reply to allmenroder. | February 21, 2014 at 10:54 am

          Making rapid decisions about how to deal with a transient situation of external origin (that is, caused by someone else) – say, a sudden violent attack – is the opposite of premeditation.

          Immolate in reply to allmenroder. | February 21, 2014 at 12:24 pm

          The law can be, and often is, arbitrary in its definition of terms. In this instance, it should be as plain and rational (no relation) as possible. So while I stipulate your legal definition of premeditation, as it is irrelevant to my argument, I continue to consider the charging of first degree murder in this case to have been prosecutorial overreach.

          There is no man so righteous that the pointy end of the justice system might not someday be pointed at him. If that happens to me, I want the prosecutor to be constrained by a fair and unambiguous set of rules.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to allmenroder. | February 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm

          Well said, Immolate.

          tom swift in reply to allmenroder. | February 21, 2014 at 1:05 pm

          I want the prosecutor to be constrained by a fair and unambiguous set of rules

          And one of those rules should be that the legislature which makes the laws and the prosecutor who abuses them should be using the same language when using the same words. We The People should not tolerate a prosecutor who changes the meanings of words on the fly simply to generate bogus charges.

          tom swift in reply to allmenroder. | February 21, 2014 at 1:06 pm

          Goddamn HTML, too many italic tags in there.

          “Premeditation can occur in the blink of an eye. Suppose you’re driving and approaching a stop light. The light starts changing from yellow to red and you decide to step on the gas and go. In that instant you have committed an act of premeditation: ie in not trying to stop.”

          IANAL, but I disagree. Deciding to run the red light the instant it starts to change from yellow to red is an in-the-moment decision.

          On the other hand, deciding when you leave that you’ll run any lights that turn red while you’re driving, or even if you make that decision while the light is still green, THAT’s a plain-text common-sense definition of premeditation: you’ve made the decision before the relevant situation arose.

          I know this makes it difficult for the prosecution to prove that mindset – deservedly and rightfully so, or else any self-defense shooting would automatically be premeditated (“You must have been planning on shooting someone, or you wouldn’t have had your gun.”) – but it’s not impossible, nor an unreasonable standard.

          Ragspierre in reply to allmenroder. | February 21, 2014 at 4:56 pm

          As a kid watching crime dramas and old movies, I had no question about the meaning of “premeditation”, and why it made a killing a much greater crime.

          It only applied to something that was planned prior to the act, not an act of “hot blood”.

          In most jurisdictions, I hope that is still the common-sense use of the term.

    Phillep Harding in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | February 21, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    I still have not figured out the jury instructions.

If my understanding of the evidence is correct, this woman is confused: Dunn can’t be guilty of any degree of murder if she believed the fatal shots were justifiable. Along with a juror in the Zimmerman trial who was thoroughly confused about the law in that case, I think this shows there’s a serious problem with our trial system.

I remember in discussing how to answer a jury question the judge was loathe to grant Strolla’s request to re-read part of the instructions because he felt it was too confusing. Yeah, we have a problem.

    tom swift in reply to DennisD. | February 21, 2014 at 3:00 am

    Dunn can’t be guilty of any degree of murder if she believed the fatal shots were justifiable.

    Yes, looks like it …

    “I was convinced, honestly convinced, that he was in self-defense until he chased the car down and started shooting it more.”

    Since this statement must refer to the last three shots, the implication is that she believes that the earlier shots were self defense. And since it was the earlier shots which killed Davis, then there’s no unjustified death involved, hence no possibility of 1st or 2nd degree.

    On the other hand, we also see …

    “I would tell them I tried, I tried to fight for their son. Everyone that felt he was guilty, we fought and we fought and we fought.”

    This implies that she wasn’t one of the three holdout jurors, and thought that the shots which killed Davis were not justifiable self defense.

    Confused, indeed.

He seems like a good guy — with bad hair.

If a 21 year old juror can get that it’s about “Justice, not race”, then why can’t Eric Holder?

Juror #8. Wow. (Shaking head)

Let me use her to re-visit my prediction of a reversal of the judgment at the appeal stage. Dunn’s attorney needed to have an expert ‘stress’ witness that would help his theory that the shooting of Davis was lawful self-defense; and the other shots were not a separate series of shots. In other words, once the ‘stressor event’ kicked in, and Dunn’s adrenaline was pumping in overdrive, the shots were all of one act. As #8 said, self-defense for Dunn on the Davis charge; no self-defense on the others. Therefore, a separate legal standard will apply to each series of shots.

The mind is an interesting organ. In a flash of a moment, in the heat of passion, reason flies out the door when the ‘fight or flee’ instinct takes over. It takes a while for your heart rate to return to normal.

So, who is to say that the shots were separate acts? Dunn’s expert, that’s who. And he was not allowed to testify. Reversible error.

(For the record, I disagree with the verdict as it related to Jordan Davis. I would have popped Dunn with Murder 2)

    Me: “So, who is to say that the shots were NOT separate acts? Dunn’s expert, that’s who. And he was not allowed to testify. Reversible error.”

    Not separate acts.

    (Need. More. Coffee)

      BrokeGopher in reply to Redneck Law. | February 21, 2014 at 10:10 am

      I think the expert actually has to be an expert on the subject matter they’re testifying to. It can’t just be some yahoo with and advanced degree and an opinion. Maybe they couldn’t afford a proper expert. That’s Dunn’s problem, not the court’s.

      ConradCA in reply to Redneck Law. | February 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Firing at someone who you think is going to shoot you is reasonable and allowed. Chasing after a car full of people and firing into it is not.

    Rational in reply to Redneck Law. | February 21, 2014 at 10:50 am

    “The mind is an interesting organ. In a flash of a moment, in the heat of passion, reason flies out the door when the ‘fight or flee’ instinct takes over. It takes a while for your heart rate to return to normal.”

    I hope you aren’t making that argument and that you believe that people with minimal training and no vetting of their mental condition should be walking around with guns. Isn’t the argument for carry and concealed carry that people can behave in a reasonable manner?

    Now everyone is welcome to attack me as an anti-gun nut. But would you please stick to what I actually wrote and skip the ad hominem attacks. Remember, I am merely extending the logic of Redneck Law. If in the “heat of passion, reason flies out the door” ……….

      tom swift in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 10:59 am

      Isn’t the argument for carry and concealed carry that people can behave in a reasonable manner?

      No, the fundamental argument is that it’s a basic civil right.

      Arguments that there are possible abuses and dangers are not sufficient to make any basic civil right vanish.

      I see your point. Training is essential in order to condition your mind how to properly react to a stressor situation.

      I’m a Constitutionalist and lean Libertarian. Training should be voluntary and gun ownership to all save the seriously mentally ill should be unrestricted.

      Ragspierre in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Odd that your same straw mannish formulation does not also apply to LEOs.

      For all of their vaunted training, civilian gun owners/carriers often perform much better than do police in all areas of gun handling and use.

      And they are not vetted for mental health much at all.

        Rational in reply to Ragspierre. | February 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm

        I was just following the logic of Redneck’s argument. Period.

          Yukio Ngaby in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 12:36 pm

          No you weren’t.

          You were taking a line from Redneck Law’s comment about the defense being allowed to put an expert on the stand, and then twisting it to bring up concealed carry laws.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 11:58 am

      So, can we conclude that you believe that only those who are well-trained police officers, soldiers, etc., are qualified to enjoy their Second Amendment right? Everyone else should just suck eggs and hope for the best when their lives are threatened by others?

        I just believe, as do our laws and our courts, that there can be reasonable restrictions. If you accept what people can lose their reason in the heat of the moment, you should be troubled. That is all I am saying.

        I understand that ultimately the right to own guns is a binary question. But that doesn’t mean that all the issues related to guns do not have gradations.

        If you reflexively react to every gun question with a recitation of your rights, you do yourself a disservice; and you strain your credibility.

        One of the 10 commandments simply says ‘Thou shall not kill’. There are no exceptions. How many people can live by that? Please don’t engage me in a theological discussion. I conceded in advance that I am not a theologian. I bring that up strictly as an example of an absolute that we carve into monuments, but don’t follow to the letter.

          Yukio Ngaby in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

          “One of the 10 commandments simply says ‘Thou shall not kill’. There are no exceptions.”

          LOL.

          Invoking a rule from a religion that you hate and despise? You did write: ““Many of you [Christians implied but apparently any religious person] are irrational, murderous h8trs.” and “I find all organized religion equally abhorrent. Hindus and even Buddhists kill in the name of their religion. A pox on all your houses.”

          https://legalinsurrection.com/2014/02/its-time-to-speak-out-against-the-global-persecution-of-christians/#comments

          Good one.

          Ragspierre in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm

          Again, it is odd your are so selective.

          Most adult Americans own an immensely dangerous weapon in the car or truck they drive. Why not kvetch over their loss of reason when using that item?

          Why not knives? Chain saws? Rope? Flammable liquids. And etc.?

          See? It does seem strangely selective.

          Yukio Ngaby in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 1:10 pm

          Darn it. My message got split again.

          I have seen no one here advocating for unrestricted gun ownership for everybody, and I would love for you to find an example of it.

          No one here has said that a convicted murderer should be able to own a gun. Nor has anyone said that a deranged lunatic should be allowed to own a gun.

          Your efforts to portray everyone who is pro-gun rights as absolutists is based on your own misperceptions of your opponents.

          You probably do this because it is easy to argue against absolutists by bringing up hypotheticals and the occasional far-flung example that challenges the absolutist viewpoints. That’s the usual m.o. of advocates of gun restriction– portray a false narrative of the other side to make them look foolish and then argue against that.

          tom swift in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 1:16 pm

          I just believe, as do our laws and our courts, that there can be reasonable restrictions.

          No, our laws do not allow “reasonable restriction”. The phrase, “shall not be infringed”, means among other things that you are not privileged to define “reasonable” for the rest of us.

          Ragspierre in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm

          “If you reflexively react to every gun question with a recitation of your rights…”

          You start any discussion about gun rights from a WONDERFUL predicate.

          AND you smoke out people who disagree that self defense is a civil right early on in any debate.

          ALLLLLLL good…!!!

          Rational in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 1:34 pm

          @Yukio Ngaby I was not invoking it as a commandment. I was pointing out that it is an absolute that even those who believe in the bible do not follow.

          My comment was about absolutes. Get it?

          Yes, nobody is claiming an absolute for guns. But, further down in this thread Tom Swift says there are no exceptions because the 2nd Amendment doesn’t make any. So I wish you guys would stop picking on that. It you don’t advocate for ‘unrestricted’ what do you want to call it. I don’t care. I will use whatever term most of you like.

          Please don’t tell me you are not a group. OK, you are individuals that think differently. But when I try to make a point I get nit-picking.

          What difference does it make whether I believe in the 10 Commandments? I brought it up as an example of an absolute that most people, here, profess to accept. But they carve out exceptions.

          Rational in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 1:53 pm

          @tom swift Sorry, but there are restrictions. So your argument isn’t with me. It is with the legislatures and the courts.

          JoAnne in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm

          Many scholars believe “Thou shall not kill” is a misunderstanding, that the original text said “Thou shall not murder.”

          Yukio Ngaby in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm

          @ the ironically named Rational

          Let me get this straight…

          So your invocation of the 10 Commandments was a totally innocent remark voicing your ignorant belief (after all you did say that you were no theologian– and that would mean you have zero info about the millenia of debate of the nature, translation, etc. of those 10 Commandments, and therefore your belief is ignorant) that religous people are absolute hypocrites (“I was pointing out that it is an absolute that even those who believe in the bible do not follow.”) and thus there are no actual guarantees in the Constitution.

          Which is completely germane to this post about a Black juror saying that race wasn’t an issue in the jury room, which you then twisted into a thread about whether or not people should be able allowed to carry guns– by cherry-picking a line from Redneck Law out of context.

          Got it.

          “Please don’t tell me you are not a group. OK, you are individuals that think differently. But when I try to make a point I get nit-picking.”

          Nit-picking of your unpopular (both here and in the US in general) viewpoint = group(think)?

          Rational in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 2:32 pm

          @Ragspierre

          “You start any discussion about gun rights from a WONDERFUL predicate.”

          I was trying to see if we could stipulate to certain differences and then find some common ground. Why is that such a foreign concept?

          Maybe because there isn’t any. But this country was built on compromise. The constitution is full of compromises. They even compromised on slavery. I think that compromise was a stain on our heritage. But the point is that there was compromise.

          The number of households owning guns is down sharply; while the number of people carrying is up sharply. Sooner or later that will come to a head. You may think that compromise is bad because it will lead to more compromise. You may think that you will win because, well, you have the guns. You may think you will win because some sheriffs have said they won’t enforce new laws like those in Colorado. Maybe you are right. But maybe you are over-playing your hand. You wouldn’t be the first to do that.

          OK, there is no compromise to be found here. I will drop it. There is nothing sacrosanct about this site. This country is just about split down the middle. You can claim that the other side is ignorant, hypocritical, stupid, venal, greedy, illogical, etc. I am sure you can find examples to ‘prove’ your point. What I have attempted to do in my visits is to show that I can match you outrage for outrage. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Away from the Sharptons & Breitbarts there are people of good-will who have different experiences and have reached different conclusions. If you want to dismiss them all. be my guest. I obviously can’t stop you. But I don’t think that is good strategy.

          tom swift in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 2:51 pm

          Sorry, but there are restrictions. So your argument isn’t with me. It is with the legislatures and the courts.

          No, it is determined by the Constitution, which trumps legislatures. Marbury v. Madison

          Phillep Harding in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 3:39 pm

          “Reasonable”? Hey, I think a blanket repeal of all gun laws is reasonable.

          But, if you want to talk about what was passed to restrict firearms since 1968, all those “reasonable” laws did not reduce “gun crime”.

          Rational in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 3:40 pm

          @JoAnne I like that ‘many scholars’. How many?

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm

          Rational, I’ve seen atheist libtards argue that “Thou Shall Not Kill” means we are all supposed to be vegetarians.

          tom swift in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 3:51 pm

          I like that ‘many scholars’. How many?

          That’s a teenage argument. Fourteen-year-olds consider it decisive. Adults will tell you that if you’re that ignorant, do your own goddamn research.

          actually it read thou shall not murder not thou shall not kill but over the years the translations (for whatever reason) used the word kill.
          huge difference between murder and kill.

          Rational in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 4:53 pm

          @Yukio Ngaby No, rational is not ironic and you aren’t very original.

          I didn’t say the remark was an innocent. Premises don’t have a degree of guilt.

          I went to religious school and performed the rites of my religion. I am just not a theologian. Get it?

          “Which is completely germane to this post about a Black juror” It is germane to what Redneck thought an expert could say. You argument is with Redneck, not me. He wrote what I quoted. I could have quoted the whole paragraph. It would have been the same. I just thought I would save the space. But you can go read it.

          The juror said that race was not an issue in the case. So what? She did say that it wasn’t mentioned in the jury room. So what? ‘Thug music’ was mentioned in the jury room. Dunn changed it to ‘rap crap’ in his testimony. Why do you think he did that? Perhaps it was because if race was introduced it would have provided motive. Other than that, the jury was correct to not mention race because no evidence on race was entered. They were limited to the evidence presented. They couldn’t speculate.

          But a rational person might wonder if Dunn would have felt as threatened by 4 whites in a car. Race could cut either way. It could buttress Dunn’s claim of heightened fear or it could be a sign of animus by Dunn.

          “Nit-picking of your unpopular (both here and in the US in general) viewpoint = group(think)?” Unpopular doesn’t mean wrong. Plenty of group(think) on the right. Ever heard of ditto-heads? The problem with nit-picking in general (and you are a master of it) is that it avoids the argument and tries to discredit by picking some little thing which is not relevant to the argument. Sort of like: “Ha, it was dark pink and you said it was red. Gotcha”.

          Yukio Ngaby in reply to Rational. | February 21, 2014 at 8:25 pm

          @ the super-duper totally not at all irRational who has gifted us all with his boundless wisdom

          “I didn’t say the remark was an innocent. Premises don’t have a degree of guilt.”

          Your weak joke aside (def. of innocent– not involving evil intent or MOTIVE), it doesn’t matter beacuse your argument is also weak– people don’t abide by the Bible so people shouldn’t have guns or Constitutional rights. Good one. Write that up as a NYT editorial. If you had a marquee name, I bet they’d probably publish it.

          “It is germane to what Redneck thought an expert could say. You argument is with Redneck, not me. He wrote what I quoted. I could have quoted the whole paragraph.”

          B.S. Redneck Law was talking about an expert being allowed to testify for the defense in the Dunn case and whether he could be used to look at each series of shots as a single event rather than separate events. Nowhere in his comment was there any reference toward carry/concealed carry. None. You, oh rational one, twisted that point into a talking point about gun control. That was never Redneck Law’s intention, so wrong– my argument is with you.

          In regards to race, go argue that race was a factor in this shooting with someone more interested. I have no care as to exactly finding out why Dunn tried to kill those people and whether he was a racist or not. JackRusellTerrierist constantly says racist crap… go take up that argument with her. I’ll get the popcorn for that one.

          “Unpopular doesn’t mean wrong.”

          It does when you’re trying to pass laws on gun control and get re-elected. Be convinced in your “Truth” while eveyone else outvotes you.

          Oh, and I’m so sorry that you’re being held to what you wrote. A “rational” person would just agree with you because of your demonstrated wisdom and access to the “Truth”… oh, and because of how you named yourself of course.

          BTW I thought you were leaving never to come back after that “There is nothing sacrosanct about this site” and we are the rising majority, Breitbart equals Al Sharpton stuff– not that you were angry or outraged or anything. But you’ve continued to hang out, to strive for that hallowed “match outrage for outrage” goal– as though that proves or accomplishes anything. Well, kudos.

          Anyway my weekend’s beginning, so goodbye oh rational one, wherever you are…

          platypus in reply to Rational. | February 22, 2014 at 1:45 am

          Actually, the proper translation is “You shall not murder”

          It would be absurd for God to order His people to go into a land and kill all the inhabitants, including the cattle and livestock if he had commanded them not to kill.

          It’s crap translations that mislead Christians into letting themselves be killed by bad guys when it is unnecessary for them to die.

          Rational in reply to Rational. | February 22, 2014 at 1:13 pm

          @platypus You better get that word out. I don’t think the pope knows that; nor the people going around demanding the the commandments get posted in public places.

          I do give you guys points. You have a revised version for everything. If I stay here long enough I will probably learn the Hitler was a liberal. Oh, wait. I have heard that one.

          Ragspierre in reply to Rational. | February 22, 2014 at 1:21 pm

          No, stupid liar.

          What you have heard is the historically correct fact that Hitler was a socialist.

          Just like Mussolini.

          All just Collectivists, like their Communist cousins.

          I don’t think you are organically stupid. I think it is evident you are effectively stupid.

          Milhouse in reply to Rational. | February 22, 2014 at 10:21 pm

          One of the 10 commandments simply says ‘Thou shall not kill’. There are no exceptions.

          Wrong. What it says is לא תרצח, “do not murder”. Killing in legitimate self-defense is not murder. Nor is lawfully executing a convicted criminal, or killing an enemy in war. And guess what, the same document explicitly endorses all three of these.

          Milhouse in reply to Rational. | February 22, 2014 at 10:34 pm

          JoAnne: Many scholars believe “Thou shall not kill” is a misunderstanding, that the original text said “Thou shall not murder.”

          There is no need for “scholarship”. It’s not as if the original text has been lost. We have the original text, exactly as God said it at Mt Sinai, and it says לא תרצח. Stop any Hebrew speaker on the street and ask them to define רצח and הרג, and you’ll get the same answer. רצח means murder, and הרג means killing. There is simply nothing to discuss or to study.

          “Rational”, “how many”? All of them.

          Milhouse in reply to Rational. | February 22, 2014 at 11:05 pm

          @platypus You better get that word out. I don’t think the pope knows that; nor the people going around demanding the the commandments get posted in public places.

          Of course they do. Anyone who’s read the Bible knows it.

          I do give you guys points. You have a revised version for everything.

          This is not a revised version, it’s the original unaltered text. You’re the one quoting an imperfect translation. traduttore, traditore, you know.

          If I stay here long enough I will probably learn the Hitler was a liberal. Oh, wait. I have heard that one.

          Hitler was a socialist. In his day “liberal” still meant more or less what “conservative” means today.

        “I was trying to see if we could stipulate to certain differences and then find some common ground. Why is that such a foreign concept?”

        Why didn’t you stipulate to them clearly? Why is that such a foreign concept?

        “The number of households owning guns is down sharply; while the number of people carrying is up sharply. Sooner or later that will come to a head.”

        I dunno where you got that, and I doubt it is true. You’re aware that the fastest growing single demographic in Texas seeking CCL permits is black females, right?

        Having people with the means to defend themselves from armed aggressors has already “come to a head”. Violent crime is down, especially where people are armed.

        …and then you simply slip the surely bonds of sanity…

        And back to the Breitbart = Sharpton BS.

        Dude. Really. Get some counseling.

          Rational in reply to Ragspierre. | February 21, 2014 at 5:03 pm

          “I dunno where you got that, and I doubt it is true.” Well as long as you doubt that.

          “Having people with the means to defend themselves from armed aggressors has already “come to a head”. Violent crime is down, especially where people are armed.” You have statistics to back that up – the part about it being especially down where people carry?

          How come it is down in NYC? There is probably no harder place in the country to get a carry permit.

          …and then you simply slip the surely bonds of sanity…

          Breitbart = Sharpton

          Dude. Really. Get some counseling. That you cannot see that Breitbart was a provocateur and a fraudster discredits you entirely.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | February 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm

          First paragraph: any support?

          Second paragraph: look up “John Lott”. Tease the thread and you will find a lot more.

          As to NYC: stop, TALK, and (MAYBE) frisk, according to sources on both the left and right. Conversely…CHICAGO.

          Breitbart: You promised to illuminate your bullshit claim. Still waiting. Odd. I don’t feel like I’M the one discredited… Tick-tock.

          Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | February 22, 2014 at 11:17 pm

          Dude. Really. Get some counseling. That you cannot see that Breitbart was a provocateur and a fraudster discredits you entirely.

          Just the opposite. That you claim it discredits you. He was a provocateur, yes, and proud of it, but never a fraudster.

    tom swift in reply to Redneck Law. | February 21, 2014 at 11:12 am

    reason flies out the door when the ‘fight or flee’ instinct takes over. It takes a while for your heart rate to return to normal.

    You have a fundamental right to self defense.

    It doesn’t follow that you have a right to be out of control while exercising it.

Maybe it’s because my area is definitely not criminal law, but I can see the young lady’s point about second degree murder, if second degree murder is an intentional killing based on a genuine but mistaken (or even unreasonable) belief the action was justified.

It’s also abundantly clear that the jury carefully considered its instructions.

    Yukio Ngaby in reply to Valerie. | February 21, 2014 at 11:56 am

    That does seem to be what the jury was arguing about. Whether or not Dunn was genuinely in fear for his life, and whether that fear was reasonable or not.

    tom swift in reply to Valerie. | February 21, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    No, that’s not what second degree murder is.

    And if the jury as a whole thought so, then no matter how carefully they considered their instructions, they didn’t understand them adequately.

I have read a great many comments about this trial and I have read a lot of commentaries by journalists. The overwhelming idea is that this trial demonstrated racism because Dunn was not found to be guilty. This is far from reality. Dunn was found guilty on 4 counts that will result in him receiving around 60 years as a minimum. Where people get mad, however, is the fact that the jury was hung on the murder charge. So? A hung jury does not mean it was an innocent finding, rather it means the jury could not come to a consensus. When the prosecutor stated that they were going to retry the case, the hung jury issue simply became an intermission in the trial. We cannot complain or rejoice over the results of the murder charge because they have yet to be determined. When people get angry over Dunn not being found guilty and yell “Racist” it is they who are the true racists. They see a black person dead and a white man holding a gun so they want a verdict and they want it now. Who cares about the process (which is working as it was designed to in this case) or any evidence, they just want a guilty verdict and anything that slows this process down is unacceptable. Being that these people want a guilty plea, they want it now and they cannot accept any delay indicates a level of hate and the presence of racism on their part. This is nothing more than a continuation of the Trayvon Martin case where there was no evidence available to suggest George Zimmerman’s guilt, but the black community did not care – they wanted revenge and, because Zimmerman was “white Hispanic”, their demands for justice became even louder. In cases like these, the racists become self evident and it is not who many think they are.

“Of course, under the law if Dunn was acting in lawful self-defense in shooting at Davis, he could be no more guilty of second degree murder than he could of first degree murder.”

Andrew, this is true, with respect to Davis. But of course the second-degree charges were with respect to the other people in the car, those who haven’t even been accused of threatening Dunn. So no self-defense argument would apply to shooting toward them.

Or do you think this is analogous somehow to felony-murder?

    tom swift in reply to fche. | February 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    But of course the second-degree charges were with respect to the other people in the car

    The charges directly related to Davis’s death included second degree, as well as first.

    There were no other deaths, so there were no other murder charges.

    Phillep Harding in reply to fche. | February 21, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    This is where my brain keeps spinning it’s wheels.

    If Davis actually posed a threat to Dunn justifying self-defense, then Davis was committing a felony and the other three were accomplices to that felony. How did Dunn end up being convicted for shooting at the other three?

    Note the “if”.

    About all I can think of is that the jurors did not really think this was self defense, but the state failed to prove that it was not and three jurors went with the instructions to decide if the state did or did not prove that point.

      and the other three were accomplices to that felony.

      Were the accomplices presenting an immediate deadly threat to Dunn? Or did he at least have some reason to believe that they were?

      If not, he wouldn’t be justified in using force against them, no matter what they were – accomplices, criminal masterminds, whatever.

        Tom’s got it, in both his 3:56PM and 3:44PM comments.

        Nothing to add. 🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        Phillep Harding in reply to tom swift. | February 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm

        Okay, I think I see that. But if the four were bank robbers and only one was armed, and someone died during that robbery?

        Does it take the other three actually be committing a felony for them to be guilty of murder?

        That is assuming Davis had a firearm, which I doubt.

          JMO, but I don’t think the jurors bought the shotgun aspect of the story. Three apparently believed that Dunn was afraid of Jordan. But the other teens did not mouth off to Dunn so, I’m guessing, the jury felt the other teens were not “accomplices” in the shouting match between Dunn and Jordan. Of course, this only applies to the three who did not vote to convict Dunn of murder. The other nine who felt self defense was not an issue, and Dunn was guilty of murdering Jordan, naturally voted to convict him of attempted murder as well.

          Also, your robbery analogy is backwards since none of the teens had broken the law and they were not on trial. Dunn is the person who broke the law and was on trial. Yes, the defense tried to twist things around and put the teens on trial but that was just Strolla’s deceptive defense strategy. Fortunately, that ploy didn’t work on the majority of the jury.

          gxm17 writes: “Dunn is the person who broke the law and was on trial.”

          I’m pretty sure you have that backwards.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          All four would be guilty of murder, because all four would have committed a felony that led to someone’s death. In the old days all four would have been hanged. But even in the old days anyone who decided to shoot them for it would be a murderer, and would also have been hanged, unless he reasonably believed shooting them was the only way to prevent them from killing him. Self-defense is not capital punishment.

      That has three distinct and major fallacies.

      1. Being in the same car as someone committing a felony doesn’t make you his accomplice. Supposing Davis suddenly pointed a shotgun at Dunn, and attempted to murder him, what were the other three supposed to do about it? Unless there was a prior agreement between them that they would go cruising for old farts, piss them off with loud music, and then shoot them when they protested, the other three would not be accomplices to Davis’s felony.

      2. The whole felony angle is irrelevant. The right of self-defense has nothing to do with whether the other person is committing a crime. You have no right to shoot someone just because they’re committing a crime, no matter what it is. Even if it’s a capital crime, you are not an official executioner carrying out a death sentence handed down by a legitimate court after a fair trial. And on the other hand you do have the right to shoot someone who is not committing any crime at all, if it is necessary to prevent him from (e.g. accidentally) killing you or someone else. So even if they had been felons, the only relevant question would still have been whether they were about to kill Dunn.

      3. It’s not necessary for Davis to have actually had a shotgun, or to have actually tried to kill Dunn, for Dunn to have killed him in self-defense. If Dunn reasonably thought Davis was about to kill him, then it wouldn’t matter if he was mistaken. That’s why, when the police told Dunn they didn’t find a shotgun in the car, he asked about a stick. If Davis had pointed a stick and Dunn thought it was a shotgun, and the jury decided that any reasonable person in his situation would have made the same mistake, then he’d be in the clear, despite Davis and all three of his friends being completely innocent.

        Phillep Harding in reply to Milhouse. | February 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

        Sort of obvious I’m not a lawyer, and I appreciate your taking the time and effort to clear this up for me.

        My thanks to Andrew Branca as well.

        Instead of “felony” I should have specified “assault with a deadly weapon” (I doubt very much that there was one).

          You are trying to make it all much more complicated than it really is by working in concepts like “accomplice” which are irrelevant.

          According to Dunn’s testimony, he believed that he was the victim of a deadly attack.

          This belief was based on overtly hostile actions and words by Davis. Dunn also believed (rightly or wrongly) that he saw a deadly weapon in Davis’s hands.

          The other three in the SUV evinced no hostility toward Dunn either in word or action. Dunn had no good justification for defending himself against a deadly attack which wasn’t going to happen.

          So re the shots at Davis, Dunn’s claim of self defense would have to clear a couple of hurdles. The jury would have to decide if he really did fear imminent deadly attack – was his claim maybe true, or was it most likely a lie fabricated afterwards? That’s where Dunn’s flight from the scene, his failure to contact law enforcement, and lack of corroborating testimony from witnesses probably influenced the jury.

          Even if the jury believed Dunn’s claims, it also had to decided whether a “reasonable man” in Dunn’s position would have believed the same.

          Re the shots at the other three, Dunn made no serious attempt to explain why a reasonable man would fire at them, and he was duly convicted of those charges.

I just don’t understand how if its a crime of black committing on white its never raciest. Its like how could anyone ever think that way. But every time a white commits a crime on blacks its raciest every time. Because all whites hate blacks is what they lead you to believe. Racism is in ALL races like it or not.

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