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LIVE COVERAGE: “Loud Music” Murder Trial, VERDICT WATCH

LIVE COVERAGE: “Loud Music” Murder Trial, VERDICT WATCH

Jury in deliberations; requests review of market surveillance video; Legal Insurrection maintains real-time Verdict Watch

NOTE: REFRESH SCREEN FOR LATEST UPDATE!

UPDATE (2-15):  GUILTY! Michael Dunn has been found guilty on most counts, but not the murder charge for the shooting of Jordan Davis. On that one count the jury was hung and unable to reach a verdict. The State is free to re-try Dunn on that charge.

However, Dunn was found guilty of three counts of attempted second degree murder and one count of throwing missiles at an occupied vehicle.

For more details see:

GUILTY! Dunn Guilty of Most Charges, But Not Murder

UPDATE (2-15): 652PM JURY VERDICT PENDING ON ALL COUNTS

UPDATE (2-15): 6:15PM Jury question: If we cannot agree on a count, is the entire case mis-tried or just the count? Judge brought jury in, clarifies that’s not the case. No mistrial at all, would just be hung on that last count (which State could re-try at their discretion). Jury still has more to consider, they noted, so back to deliberations.

4:41PM Note from jury. Jury has verdict on four of the five counts–the one they can’t decide is the first charge, the murder charge for death of Jordan Davis.  Healey to read them Allen charge.  Bringing the jurors on in. Healey reads them the Allen charge, sends them back to deliberations.

("Loud music" murder trial "Allen" charge.)

(“Loud music” murder trial “Allen” charge.)

UPDATE (2-15): 9:50AM Jury questions:

(1) Is the defense of self-defense separate for each person in each count? A: “Yes.”

(2) Are we determining if deadly force is justified against each person in each count? A: “Yes.”

(3) Or if we determine deadly force is justified against one person, is it justified against others?  A: “No. Self defense and justifiable use of deadly force applies separately to each count.”

UPDATE (2-15): 9:00AM Court came briefly into session. Jury was starting deliberations only now, or within a few minutes. Court in recess until they hear something from the jury. Keep eyes here for breaking news.

UPDATE (2-15): 8:38AM Can hear audio techs in court room 406, “Test 1, 2.”  No video yet.

UPDATE  (2-15): 8:30AM Judge Healey is expected to pro forma bring the court into session at 9:00AM, but it was anticipated that the jury would already be in deliberations by that time.  We’re here covering the court live, all day.

UPDATE (2-14): 6:50PM Jury requests to be dismissed for the night, saying they have “hit a wall for tonight.”  Judge allows, no objection. He thanks jury, says he’ll let THEM decide what time to start tomorrow. Healey suggests, 9:00, 9:30, and one juror responds, “7:00”. The court room breaks into laughter. Healey decides jury can arrive when they wish, he’ll be there but rest of court need not, at 9:00AM he’ll call court into session and announce what time the jury actually started, just so everyone knows. That’s it for tonight, folks.

UPDATE (2-14): 6:40PM Several of Dunn’s jail house phone recordings–the cause of so much pre-trial litigation over “open records” disputes with the media–have just been released.  These include:

12/3/12, w/ Rhonda Rouer:

12/3/12: Dunn’s call with father about legal options

12/5/12: Dunn’s calls with fiancee & his parents

12/26-27/12: Michael Dunn calls to Rhonda Rouer

UPDATE (2-14): 5:00PM Two questions from the jury. First question involves getting a 30 minute break, Healey of course says yes. Second question more substantive:  Is it permissible for them to agree on several of the charges, but not on other of the charges. Answer is also yes. Verdicts would be rendered on the ones where unanimous agreement, the others would be hung, and State could re-prosecute on any hung charges at their discretion. (As a reminder, there are five indicted charges–Murder 1, three counts of attempted Murder 1, and hurling missiles. Also the jury is free to consider all lesser included charges.)

UPDATE (2-14) 9:00AM Court in session. Discussion in court about simply sending jury straight into deliberations, no formal morning greeting in court. Healey: “This is a working group.”  Also announced that people will no longer be able to sit in the court room during recess while jury deliberations going on.  People have said it might be possible for people in court room to hear talking from jury deliberations, and vice versa. So 5 minutes before reconvene will allow people back into court room. Healey: “Happy Valentines Day to everybody, we’ll see you all when we get some word from the jury.” Court recessed.

UPDATE (2-14): 8:00AM The jury is scheduled to return to deliberations at 9:00AM.  We’ll be covering the events in the court room all day, real-time, right here at this post on Legal Insurrection.

UPDATE (2-13): 6:20PM That’s it for tonight, no jury decision yet, we start again at 9:00AM US EST tomorrow. Legal Insurrection’s live-coverage will be AT THIS PAGE, so bookmark to come back.

UPDATE (2-13): 4:30 Court back in session. Jury asking when letter exhibit #201 written? One of Dunn’s jail house letters. Court looks through transcript, identifies as June 2013. This is the “Black Friday” letter, though obviously not written that date. Jury now retiring back to jury room. Healey tells all four alternates they’ll be held overnight tonight, but tomorrow can be sequestered in hotel room rather than in court house, more comfortable for them.

Update (2-13): 2:25PM Jury reports that one set of jury instructions is missing pages 32-41. (Holy cow, that’s a lot of instructions.) Weighing the evidence, defendant’s statements, rules for deliberations, cautionary instructions, verdict, submitting case to the jury, not substantive discussions. We didn’t change any of these from the model instructions.  Just sending back the missing pages. No objections from State or defense. Jurors also requested a dry easel or large paper, which will be sent back to them. Back in recess.

UPDATE (2-13): 1:45PMJury asks if they can see “Bendie,” the dummy with the trajectory dowels. Normally such demonstrative evidence would not go back to jury.  Healey suggests he’ll allow if the defense has no objection. Strolla doesn’t initially object, but then turns out that the dowels in Bendie were moved around since last seen in court, no longer representative, so objects.  Bendie won’t go back.  Healey writes out explanatory note for bailiff to give to jurors.  Calls jurors into court room, reads them the note, “can’t send dummy back because it was demonstrative exhibit for demonstrative purposes, not entered into evidence.” Sends them back to continue their deliberations.

UPDATE (2-13): 1:20PM Jury asks if they can be provided with the “trajectory-rod dummy.”  Problem is, dummy is demonstrative evidence only, normally would not go back to jury room.  State has no objection. Strolla and Dunn discuss briefly in separate room, return and say they also have no objection.  Healey, in abundance of caution, recesses for 15 minutes so case law can be reviewed, ensure they don’t inadvertently make a move that could result in reversal.

UPDATE (2-13): 11:50AM Defense counsel Cory Strolla speaking to reporters in live feed.

UPDATE (2-13): 9:43AM. Healey speaks with the four alternate jurors. They were held over in sequester last night, both from the public and the other jurors. He tells them he’s not inclined to keep all them overnight again if there’s no verdict again, and is inclined to let one or two of them go home even if no verdict. Seems he’ll decide later in the day.

UPDATE (2-13): 9:39AM. Healey welcomed the jury back. They were not scheduled to start until 10:00AM, but are present and ready to go, so he is not going to hold them up. Last night they requested the gas station market surveillance video, and this morning they have been provided with that video and instructions on how to play it. Court is now in recess until it receives either another jury instruction or a verdict. (As this update was being typed the juror requested an external monitor on which to view the video.)


Today Legal Insurrection is on real-time Verdict Watch in the “loud music” murder trial of Michael Dunn in the shooting death of Jordan Davis.  Dunn is charged with 1st degree murder for the death of Davis, three counts of attempted murder in the first degree for firing at Davis’ three friends with him in the SUV, and one count of firing a missile into a vehicle.  He will also be subject to Florida’s “10-20-Life” statute, as well as all lesser included offenses of the primary charges.  Dunn claims he acted in lawful self-defense.

We will update with breaking news as it happens in real-time.

The jury is will re-start deliberations at 10AM US EST. Before breaking last night they asked to be provided with the surveillance video from the gas station market. The video is 20 minutes long, and consists of 6 distinct camera angles. At 9:30AM the State, defense, and Judge Healey will meet to finalize the protocol for providing the jury the video.

The Florida Model Jury Instructions for all these criminal charges as well as justifiable use of deadly force can be found here:

“Loud Music” Murder Trial: Relevant Florida Jury Instructions

Profiles of the 12 jurors currently in deliberations can be found here:

“Loud Music” Murder Trial: THE 12 FINAL JURORS

Immediately below are three live video feeds from the court room, and below the live video feeds is a live Twitter feed with my live tweets and those of others reporting on the trial.

FOX 35 News Orlando

–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

Hung jury. 8-4. At best 10-2.

Now we wait. Good practice for the impatient. 🙂

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to platypus. | February 13, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Which way?

    Nick405 in reply to platypus. | February 13, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I guarantee he is found guilty of at least the lesser charges.

      Olinser in reply to Nick405. | February 13, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      My gut is telling me at a minimum he’s going to be found guilty of 3 counts of attempted murder.

      Even if they buy his story of shooting Davis in self-defense, firing 3 more shots into the rear of the vehicle as it was running from him is VERY hard to justify from a self-defense perspective.

        tom swift in reply to Olinser. | February 13, 2014 at 3:15 pm

        Actually, in this particular case, if Dunn genuinely thought that he was duking it out with a carload of assailants armed with at least one shotgun, the “keeping their heads down” theory is not tactically unsound. And he had the presence of mind to shoot into the car, rather than the conventional procedure of shooting at or over their heads, as doing that would have sent some bullets into the downtown area and endangering casual passers-by.

        On the other hand, if the whole shotgun thing was made up later, then the final three shots are as unjustified as the first four.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | February 13, 2014 at 3:32 pm

          Unfortunately, “tactically sound” doesn’t always mean legally permissible. In most of the states I have looked at shooting at a fleeing assailant is usually a no no. Except for Kentucky, where it seems you can shoot someone who is running away with your property, at least if memory serves.

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | February 13, 2014 at 3:53 pm

          @Gremlin,
          “Unfortunately, “tactically sound” doesn’t always mean legally permissible.”

          I was taught that once you are legally in the right to use force, that you are permitted to use force until the threat subsides.

          If he was scared that they would still shoot at him, the threat hadn’t subsided.

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | February 13, 2014 at 4:40 pm

          Oh, certainly. By “tactically sound” I mean that there is a case to be made which doesn’t automatically involve the defendant acting in a depraved manner. How it would shake out legally, well, all I could contribute would be wild guesses.

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | February 13, 2014 at 4:59 pm

          “first four.”

          [grumble, grumble]. First seven, of course.

          I do believe the advantages of an “edit” function have been mentioned on previous occasions.

          Um, no. Firing extra shots at alleged assailants who had yet to fire a single shot at him? While they were in fact leaving the scene at high speed? It would be more “tactically correct” to take cover and let them leave, absent the SUV turning around and coming back.

          This entire incident is a textbook case of how not to use a gun…

Andrew, your twitter feed is a hoot! You are on fire this morning! Keep it up!

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 13, 2014 at 11:51 am

An external monitor?
I can think of only two reasons:
1) Some curmudgeonly geezer type can’t see the monitor provided.
2) They want to look at some small detail. What can it be?

Hmmm. A thought just occured to me. They couldn’t be trying to read lips or see cell phone faces. I think that’s outside what is “allowed” a jury. Of course if they want to do they can, but if it gets out later, it could be cause for appeal.

Andrew, thank you for your coverage

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 13, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Could the judge give the jury a new dummy with new sticks and tell them it’s new? I hope the judge makes sure to emphasis that that demonstration was not to scale.

Phillep Harding | February 13, 2014 at 1:50 pm

My internet access is limited, so I cannot go hunting this info.

All those shots into the metal in the car… Considering how TV shows and movies have bullets being stopped by car doors (and blowing right through glass, no matter how thick, but that’s another dead horse), might Dunn have thought the 9mm bullets were just going to make noise hitting the door and scare those in the car? Any hints in that direction?

Not that it would be any excuse, just clarify something that puzzles me about his apparently rotten aim.

    BrokeGopher in reply to Phillep Harding. | February 13, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    He never made the claim he was shooting to scare.

      tom swift in reply to BrokeGopher. | February 13, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      Not in those words, but that’s exactly what “shooting to keep their heads down” is, even though Guy, during cross, gave no real indication that he understood the theory involved. Dunn claimed that was the reason for his final three shots.

      Phillep Harding in reply to BrokeGopher. | February 13, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      Blasted auto play.

      A hint might influence the jury without rising to something the other lawyer in court could object to. A claim would.

      But, as I said, I’m puzzled by Dunn’s apparent targeting the metal of the car. Could be he just did not want to see a human over his sights.

      None of that would make him look any better.

      Now, had he targetted the speakers or the stereo in the dash, that I could go along with.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Phillep Harding. | February 13, 2014 at 3:41 pm

        Think it was just a simple matter of height difference. He was seated in a VW, i.e. low to the ground, so when he turned to his left his arms were probably at the bottom of where the window would be maybe even resting on the window weather stripping. Now it appears he did aim upward somewhat. Having fired the type of handgun that Dunn used I can tell you that they do rise somewhat as you shoot and pull to the left just a bit, both my 9mm and 40 cal that are basically the same design exhibit the same rise and pull.

        So arms out the window, aiming up slightly from a VW mid-sized car at a full sized SUV, Dunn would still be aiming at the SUV door and just about seat level, which is where the shot hit at an upward angle.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Phillep Harding. | February 13, 2014 at 5:05 pm

        Could he have thought he had hollow points? And that they would not penetrate a second layer of metal?

          Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 13, 2014 at 5:36 pm

          I don’t want to go into speculation as to what his thinking was. However, I tend to be very aware of what ammo I am carrying. My general rule of thumb is to carry whatever the cops are carrying, so I am fairly sure they will at least go through a windshield.

          His bullets were hollow points.

          They would distort badly when hitting anything, like sheet metal. Recall that the forensics investigation people couldn’t find enough undistorted bullet surface to verify that the bullets they examined had been fired from Dunn’s pistol. All they could verify was that the general rifling pattern (number of grooves, RH or LH twist) matched his Taurus. However, the fact that the bullets were Dunn’s wasn’t actually in dispute.

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 13, 2014 at 9:17 pm

          I thought that one of the points of all hollow points was that they mostly stop after the the first object they hit? Like hitting the “bad guy”, but not passing through to hit the “good guy” in back.

          Why did they penetrate a second layer of sheet metal?

          I thought that one of the points of all hollow points was that they mostly stop after the the first object they hit?

          Hollow points and soft points are intended to change shape, expanding from small diameter to large diameter once inside the target. The function of a bullet is to use its kinetic energy to damage somatic tissues. If it retains too much kinetic energy, penetrates the target, and flies off downrange, that’s wasted energy. An expanding bullet is one way to convert energy to damage. A disadvantage is that it may expend its energy too quickly to cause the tissue damage needed to do the job. An example is defensive rounds in country with both wildcats and bears. An expanding bullet ideal for wildcats will expend its energy too quickly to be good for a much larger target like a bear. A bear shot with such a bullet will suffer a relatively shallow wound, very painful but most likely not immediately fatal, making him very dangerous until he eventually dies. But a bullet ideal for bear will fly right through a wildcat. The wound inflicted is less likely to be immediately fatal, again making him very dangerous until his actual demise.

          An engineer would call it an impedance matching problem. It’s one reason why there are so many different bullets.

          There are other bullets, distinct from hollow points, which will break up on impact. The Glaser Safety Slug is probably the best known. It does tend to break up before it reaches the target if one has to shoot through something like glass, which reduces its defensive capabilities somewhat.

          Why did they penetrate a second layer of sheet metal?

          What second layer? A car door typically has a steel outer layer (very thin on modern cars to reduce weight and boost the CAFE numbers), a sheet of tempered glass (if the window is rolled down), and an inner layer of cardboardish-like stuff with a vinyl or fabric cover.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 15, 2014 at 4:29 pm

          @MouseTheLuckyDog

          “I thought that one of the points of all hollow points was that they mostly stop after the the first object they hit?”

          They do make rounds that do exactly what you are describing they are called “Direct Kinetic Transfer Rounds” the most famous of which is the Glaser Safety Slugs. They are made specifically to dump all or at lest most of their kinetic energy into the first target that they hit. I think Glasers were developed for use on aircraft, could be wrong on that.

          When these rounds hit something they fragment to the point that almost all of their energy is expended. They cause massive soft tissue damage but they won’t go through a car door. I have fired one at an interior door, yes it was outside, from a 44 mag and it blew a horrid hole in the door, but didn’t do much at all to the backstop behind it.

          Now the difference between these rounds an hollow points is that hollow points are made to transfer “more” of their energy, accomplished by expansion, while rounds like Glasers accomplish this through fragmentation of the round itself.

          Disclaimer: I am by no means an ammunition expert so I reserve the right to be completely out in left field and feel just fine about it.

If the entire trial has been recorded, wouldn’t the video of that portion where ‘Bendie’ was utilized suffice (or at least be helpful) for the jury’s purpose?

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Mizzy. | February 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I think they want to play with sticks and body angles and so forth. For that they need the dummy and the sticks.

    Baker in reply to Mizzy. | February 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Well if appears we are in for a bit more time on the Verdict Watch. Depends on how long this Pictionary exercise goes on. Hope they have a couple of good artists.

    tom swift in reply to Mizzy. | February 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    That’s exactly why, on a previous page here at LI covering this trial, I criticized the lack of models (either real scale models or decent digital ones) which would help the jury to visualize places, positions, trajectories, etc. Without the models, it’s all video of an object consisting mainly of amorphous black shadows (Mr Bendy, I’m talking about you) or hand-waving by one lawyer or another. Pretty pitiful, but someday the judiciary may enter the 20th century. After that, it can consider joining us in the 21st.

    BrokeGopher in reply to Mizzy. | February 13, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    One of the attorneys here can verify but I don’t think they get to watch the video of the trial. They get their notes, and the court reporter’s record, and their own memories.

      The jury gets to take evidence into deliberations with them. The video of the trial is not evidence.

      Even “Bendie” is not evidence (merely a demonstrative exhibit), hence his exclusion upon even the mildest objection of the defense.

      For what actually happened in the court room the jurors get to use their memories and their notes. Period.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 13, 2014 at 2:19 pm

BTW was the doll Angie used the same one Guy used in the GZ trial?
Isn’t that unhygenic?

Jury asked for large paper and easel I had this flashback to Win, Lose, or Draw.

Healey seems overcautious. But the danger is obvious; should Bendy become a star or, even worse, a genuine media darling, he might be tempted to write a tell-all memoir. Mannequin Mistrials for Dummies, perhaps. I know I’d buy a copy. Maybe two copies.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | February 13, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Will there be a section on the sex life of Florida States Attorneys? If so I want to read the part that involves Wolfson.
    (Waggles eyebrows up and down. )

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 13, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Seems to me the jury is giving a lot of credence to Strolla.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I am curious as to why you feel that way?

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 13, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      Because of the questions they ask. They make a point to want *all* of the video from all angles. That was his suggestion.

      If they asked for all the video, they want to see what the witnesses and police were doing. They have to be giving credence to his suggestions there.

      If they were blowing off his arguments there are other angles then what the ME says, then they would not want to look at the dummy.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 13, 2014 at 3:59 pm

@Andrew Branca, do you have a link to the Peruta ruling? Did Kozinski contribute to the written ruling?

I just wonder, suppose they did have a shotgun and did dispose of it. How would he be able to prove it to your satisfaction?

    “I just wonder, suppose they did have a shotgun and did dispose of it. How would he be able to prove it to your satisfaction?”

    If he had stayed to report the incident (let’s say ‘from the nearest place he felt safe, if not the store ground’). If he had called 911 ASAP as soon as he was away from the parking lot. These things would have increased his credibility in general.

    If he had told the cops ‘They had a shotgun ! You gotta find it !’ at the time, not an hour later or a day later.

    His 911 call (that he never made) should have read something like ‘Some kids in a red Durango just threatened me with a shotgun and I had to shoot in self defense !’. THEN the cops have a pretty strong suggestion ‘look for a shotgun’.

    IMO, IF he had done that, there was no way a car full of scared young men were going to be so clever as to hide a shotgun in the short time frame, in an area fairly devoid of hiding places, so well that a decent search would fail to find it.

    If anyone else had seen it.

    If it had been fired and the pellets impacted his car.

    If it had been fired and anyone heard it ( don’t give me this ‘squib’ nonsense).

    If even HE were SURE he had seen one, not ‘maybe a stick’. ‘I shot him because I thought I saw 4 inches of a barrel or a stick or something sticking up in the air’ is not grounds for being in fear of your life. ‘I saw a shotgun in his hands and he was bringing it to bear on me’ is different. And not what he claimed. You can’t shoot someone for ‘maybe having a shotgun in their car’ ( which is even legal).

      imfine in reply to pjm. | February 13, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      Now I haven’t been following the case, now I have heard more about the defendent, and nothing about the kids. Were they gangbangers, hoodlums or drug dealers that would indicate they may have had access and disposition to armed crime?

        No.

        BrokeGopher in reply to imfine. | February 13, 2014 at 5:56 pm

        They came across as regular kids, not at all “thuggish”.

        tom swift in reply to imfine. | February 13, 2014 at 7:09 pm

        The driver and owner of the SUV was violating probation while this incident was in progress, but his record wasn’t one of violent assault.

        The dead minor had no record, and no testimony was presented indicating any criminal tendencies. Of course the same is true of Dunn.

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | February 13, 2014 at 10:04 pm

          The driver is a musician of some sort. I don’t know that it is gangster rap, but if it is then in the next fews he would have had a violent past or at least pretending to have a violent past. I would like to see some of his lyrics, but can’t find any.

          OMara on his blog says that the teens testified that Davis has had anger issues before. I hadn’t heard it, but I might have missed it. Could Davis have had a medical condition that caused anger issues, or been on drugs: precription, OTC or illicilt, that could have caused anger problems?

          If the question are the kids so innocent, they could not have ditched a gun? The answer is that kids are very sophisticated today. I’m sure they are hiding things from their parents that would shock their parents. Even the most innocent of kids.

      Rational in reply to pjm. | February 13, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      “If he had told the cops ‘They had a shotgun ! You gotta find it !’ at the time, not an hour later or a day later.”

      Of course! I did wonder about the claim that the police did not make a thorough search for a shotgun. But why would they? They didn’t have any reason to think there was a weapon in the SUV. As you point out that is on Dunn.

      I don’t believe there ever was a shotgun. I also think he retrieved his gun before he lowered the window. He claims Davis was screaming that he wanted to kill him, but he doesn’t reach for his gun. Sure.

      There were a couple of witnesses who saw the SUV when it stopped. They didn’t see anything stashed.

      So Dunn’s whole claim is not supported by any evidence.

      AwkwardSilence in reply to pjm. | February 13, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      You know, this is one of the things that troubles me most about Dunn’s narrative. Believing his story means buying into:

      1) He was terrified, and believed that his life was in imminent danger enough to empty ten rounds in a public parking lot, some into a fleeing vehicle- but not enough to call the police for protection, or, at the very least, to give them a head’s up that a car full of “thugs” was driving around brandishing a shotgun.
      2) At least one of these thugs was armed with a shotgun, but, when attacked, their immediate, rational, and very organized response was to retreat and dispose of their only means of defense, apparently trusting that their assailant could not have followed them, and was content to leave the dispute settled following the initial shooting.

      In Dunn’s world he was in great fear of reprisal attacks all day; these kids felt safe enough to ditch their only alleged defense within three minutes. Sounds legit.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to AwkwardSilence. | February 13, 2014 at 10:22 pm

        You mean the gun that if they had found in the car would have been Sternes second probabtion violation of the night and most certainly gotten his ass tossed in jail?

          Coulda, woulda, shoulda

          No evidence was entered that there was a shotgun. For all you know, they could have had a suitcase atomic bomb.

          AwkwardSilence in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 14, 2014 at 1:44 am

          Oh, where to begin? Let’s just have a blast and lay your “logic” out here: So STORNES (you know, his actual name) was basing their plans *less* on their immediate survival, and more on mitigating the penalty he might have to pay if he miraculously survived the assault by the guy who had just killed his friend and plugged their car with 90% of the shots he fired.

          Obviously, when someone tries to murder you, your first thought is clearly about what survival tactics will best suit you in a hypothetical trial several months down the road- not, you know, living. That sort of tunnel vision is apparently unique to Michael Dunn.

          And what’s more concerning to me about that gun they “might” have found is the Unicorn they might have found. Or the sasquatch. Or… well, you get the point. Dunn is the only person who saw the alleged weapon, and- I hate to say this- but his testimony might just be a tad bit biased. In fact- maybe they had a unicorn which had to pee- from what I hear, that’s an incredibly legitimate excuse for dealing with all sorts of annoying notification issues in a public shooting.

          But since judgement is now being called into question, answer this question for me: Do you think that they guy who *admitted* to having 3-4 drinks at his son’s wedding prior to killing a teen in an altercation, during which his fiance was purchasing more booze, actively avoided the police for more than 24 hours because of what a tox report may have revealed?

          (Hint: any answer than “yes” will sound ignorant/)

          Also, I submit this to the more legally informed than I on this forum: there was more than one 18 year old in that car. An 18 year old is legally allowed to own a long gun or a shot gun in Florida. Does Stornes’ legal status invalidate their right to carry one? Actual question; not snark.

          AwkwardSilence in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 14, 2014 at 1:54 am

          Also, I forgot the most obviously stupid question: This shotgun: If it existed in this car filled with thugs: why didn’t Dunn call the police about it?

        It’s not really unbelievable, even if the kids had a shotgun staying and fighting after the guns went off wold be a perfectly normal reaction for someone used to operating a gun. bring under fire is a terrifiying thing and only the driver really needed to flee, the ret wouldn’t have a choice. I just think it a little bit much to say that not reporting it to the police makes him guilty. He could have been drunk driving and then he had a gun on him. That’s pretty dam incriminating no matter what. He would go to jail regardless if he was innocent or not.

        Would the kids come back? well, they didn’t have the gun anymore and a wcar full of holes they would need to explain, so yeah I and see that happening too. I guess what I am seeing is that there isn’t a motive that makes much sense. Was he just coming back rom a wedding wicked drunk and angry and shot up the first car full of black kids that he saw?

      safehaven2014 in reply to pjm. | February 15, 2014 at 12:30 am

      That is what I have been saying from the beginning. Of course, you worded it better! Thanks.

    tom swift in reply to imfine. | February 13, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    When you come right down to it, does he have to? We do have that pesky notion that the accused is assumed to be innocent, and the prosecution is the party which has to prove things.

    In this case, Dunn’s difficulty is in establishing that this incident was indeed a bona fide case of self defense, and finding a shotgun would go some way (though not all the way) to demonstrating that. But in the end it remains up to the state to prove that it wasn’t a legitimate self defense case. And if the state had managed to do that, the jury wouldn’t still be out (unless they’re still struggling to digest those jury instructions – Healey sounded like he was assaulting them with a couple hundred lines read from a table of logarithms).

      platypus in reply to tom swift. | February 13, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      Healey is the last one to “handle” the jury instructions but they are the product of the prosecution and the defense. If they are overly wordy, I’d blame the attorneys rather than the judge.

        tom swift in reply to platypus. | February 13, 2014 at 11:47 pm

        I’m not blaming the judge, I’m identifying the problem. Does anyone with any involvement in the judicial system really believe that the jury retains more than five percent of that gobbledygook, or even stays awake for more than ten percent? (I don’t mean they’re visibly nodding off, I mean they’ve tuned out, the way we all do when toilet paper commercials appear on TV.) That’s the only good thing about the prosecution’s pernicious attempts to redefine certain terms like “premeditated” into meaninglessness – I seriously doubt that anybody actually takes it in.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 6:51 pm

          I guess that depends on how you feel about your job as a juror, the one time I was on a jury almost 20 years ago, I wrote down anything I felt was important and while they were doing sidebars and what not I reviewed those notes. Now our deliberations basically came down do the Foreperson standing at the head of the table and saying something to the effect of; “So does anyone here think this f***er isn’t guilty as hell?” Literally like less than 10 minutes and we were back with a verdict, we had to wait because the judge had actually left to do something because he expected to have at least an hour, lol. Our jury instructions weren’t that long either because it was just one charge just multiple counts of the same charge.

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | February 15, 2014 at 1:12 pm

          This case is different, with some serious complexities. And that was quite an indigestible pile of instructions. I’m trying to think of some sort of parallel. Suppose I took a dozen freshmen (furthermore, ones who had been specifically selected because they had no knowledge of the topic whatever), gave them a ten minute lecture on practical uses of the Hamiltonian path integral, and told them to go off and use that to calculate the parameters of an orbit around one of the moons of Jupiter. When I asked them about it the next day, would they have managed? No f’n way. I’d consider it a success if any of them remembered that Jupiter was somehow involved. What is being demanded of this jury is less cryptic but far more consequential. Consider that most people on juries are trying to do the right thing (I hope – I could be way off base, I suppose). They realize that this is a serious matter, with one man dead. But they’re oppressed by the thought that a mistake could condemn a (possibly) innocent man to decades locked in a steel cage. And they’re saddled with a lump of instructions that only a compulsive could love.

          It’s one hell of a way to treat a bunch of taxpayers.

      BrokeGopher in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 9:36 am

      You don’t know that they’re deciding between self-defense or not. They could be arguing between Murder 1 and Murder 2. Don’t infer anything from the length of deliberations.

      No shotgun. 10 rounds fired. 3 fired while SUV (allegedly with shotgun in-hand) fleeing. Shooter left scene. Never called the cops.

      This is self-defense in the same way a convenience store owner shot a would-be robber, then re-loaded, and killed the incapacitated assailant. That’s not self-defense, that’s murder.

      We should title this cluster-hump “how NOT to use a firearm responsibly.”

‘Alternates will stay in the hotel instead of the court house’ ??

They stayed in the COURT HOUSE up until now ?

What the hell kind of ‘accomodations’ does the court house have for overnight (non-inmate) guests ?

I can’t imagine proper comfortable beds, private individual bathrooms, showers, room service, TV, etc ?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to pjm. | February 13, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    No they didn’t stay in the courthouse over night they stayed at the hotel. He is just saying he isn’t gonna make them set at the courthouse all day like they have for the past 2 days. Those 4 can just stay at the hotel tomorrow unless they are needed.

    BrokeGopher in reply to pjm. | February 13, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    They were in the hotel overnight and at the courthouse during the day. Tomorrow they get to stay at the hotel all day unless and until they’re needed in court.

    tom swift in reply to pjm. | February 13, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Being sequestered because one is on the jury must be bad enough. But being sequestered because one is not on the jury must be intolerable.

    The American legal system would be transformed overnight if judges were sequestered at the same time, and for the same duration, as juries.

      platypus in reply to tom swift. | February 13, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Equally transformational would be if judges were required to be peers of the jury in IQ. Right now, finding a brilliant intelligent judge is becoming more difficult by the day.

        tom swift in reply to platypus. | February 14, 2014 at 12:24 am

        Well, the judge doesn’t have to be brilliant. He’s the ringmaster in this show, and it’s an important job, but he doesn’t have to be the star acrobat too.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      The thing is jurors sit on one trial. Judges sit on trials all the time.

Just some random questions while we wait:

1. What happened to M. Dunn’s neighbor/friend in federal law enforcement? Why wasn’t he called to testify? Couldn’t he have clarified the nature of their conversation?

2. What compelled M. Dunn, as he claims, to roll down his window and ask, “Are you talking about me? You’re gonna kill me?” Who in their right mind would do that? If they were talking about him, he could have ignored it, backed out of the stall and parked elsewhere, called 911, whatever. But roll down your window and ask them for clarification? Really?

3. Did M. Dunn express any kind of sympathy for the victim? Maybe he did and I missed it.

4. Why did the young men in the Durango return (after 3 minutes) to the scene of the shooting? Isn’t that rather odd? What was their explanation?

5. Had R. Rouer been married to M. Dunn, could she have been compelled to testify?

    Yukio Ngaby in reply to nightowl. | February 13, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    #2 Don’t know. But Dunn had to say something. Other witnesses testified to hearing him say “Are you talking to me” or “about me” or whatever. That sounds like it’s from Taxi Driver and puts Dunn in pretty bad light.

    #4 They say they came back after they saw Dunn drive off to get help for Davis.

    tom swift in reply to nightowl. | February 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    1. The point doesn’t seem to have been pursued adequately. I didn’t even notice that anyone presented phone records showing who called whom, and exactly when.

    2. My first guess when I heard the testimony was that the three (or four) may have been gettin’ into that rap thing. I don’t know what the particular song was about, but violent trash talk is not atypical of the genre. But if that was the case, then whatever they were saying would have had nothing to do with Dunn, so he wouldn’t have had to be concerned. In this scenario, Dunn’s question would have been merely a question, and not an implied challenge. We heard no testimony to imply that Dunn was the type quick to take offense at what others around him said; I don’t find it too weird that he might have sought clarification before flying off the handle.

    3. IF Dunn was telling the truth about believing that he saw a shotgun, AND still thinks that the police failed (for one reason or another) to find it, then he would still regard himself as the victim of a violent aggressor, and would have nothing to be remorseful about, and no good reason to be sympathetic. A long and shaky chain of “ifs”, but not completely out of the question.

    Interestingly enough, the police didn’t report finding any alcohol or drugs in the SUV, either. Maybe things have changed in the years since my contemporaries cruised around in cars (we had no official SUVs then) planning their campaigns to raid the local malls for girls, but there were certainly drinks & drugs in the cars back then. If the police didn’t find them in this investigation, then I’d suspect that maybe something was indeed ditched before they examined the SUV. Alcohol? Probably. Drugs? Maybe. Shotgun? Possibly. (I’m not accusing the four in the SUV of anything, I’m just speculating.)

    4. Apparently it had lights and people, and looked like the best close place to get help. Again, not entirely sound reasoning, but not totally weird, either.

      So you’re saying the absence of of drugs & alcohol proves that there was such, but they ditched the stuff? And since they ditched the (alleged) drugs & alcohol they must have ditched the (theoretical) shotgun. Yeah. Right.

      That’s not theorizing, that’s fantasizing.

    AwkwardSilence in reply to nightowl. | February 14, 2014 at 2:09 am

    4) Obviously, after hiding the shotgun, they came back because their nefarious plans required the authorities to have their legitimate identities. Just driving away for good and throwing their weapon into a lake or river wasn’t nearly as foolproof as remaining near the scene of the crime and returning to give statements.

    I mean, *come on*!- A much better paradigm for demonstrating your innocence is to flee the scene of a crime, and only allow yourself to be taken into custody after a random stranger records your license plate and the cops run its contents and catch up with you after you’ve had more than twenty four hours to contact them.

1. Maybe he wasn’t beneficial to either side.

2. That is problematic for him.

3. He said he puked when he heard the kid had died. That’s all I got.

4. They said it was the closest place to get help. Seems reasonable to me.

5. An attorney would have to answer about FL law but I would guess not.

Hey Andrew, I was just reading your comments from yesterday’s post and I kinda’ wish you’d done the closing. Do you think the State was strong enough in calling out Dunn as a liar or in challenging his fleeing the scene. I thought they could of been stronger and done more.

Thanks for keeping us informed.

ANDREW —–now being interviewed on HLN

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aocMpoAs59o

“Michael Dunn’s Neighbor Speaks to Davis Lawyer John Phillips ”

‘Dunn a racist, considers blacks and hispanics inferior’ etc !

    Rational in reply to pjm. | February 13, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    WOW! Can’t speak to the credibility of this guy, but the sheer amount of comments is amazing. The guy would need to be a novelist to make it all up.

    Andrew said that Dunn didn’t have one friend as a character witness. This is why.

    Thanks for posting this.

    BrokeGopher in reply to pjm. | February 13, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    It’s good to know I wasn’t wrong about my take on Dunn’s character. I kept expecting the defense to call the obligatory “black friend” to testify that he’s not racist. Guess they couldn’t find one.

That’s something that really stood out to me, that Dunn had no long-term friends testify for him. His parents’ friends were his character witnesses. I hope this fact doesn’t escape the jury.

Sorry, but if this “neighbor” doesn’t testify in court subject to cross, I couldn’t give a dump what he has to say. How do any of us know that ANYTHING this guy is saying is true, that it’s not all entirely made up?

In 18 months of investigation, does anybody believe that Corey wouldn’t have found this guy and driven him to testify in court in a limo full of strippers if she’d had to?

Not to suggest that a new network called “HEADLINE NEWS” would do anything sensationalist with the news, you understand.

Not saying this guy’s lying, not saying he’s telling the truth, just saying it’s a total crapshoot one way or the other And given that, what he says is worthless to me.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    The prosecution must have known about him. The video was made by the Davis’ lawyer. I know the defense can call character witnesses. But can the prosecution call anti-character witnesses? Nothing the neighbor said was directly related to the incident. Can the state just call anyone who wants to bad mouth a defendant?

    On the other hand, as an observer, what the neighbor had to say explains a lot. I have wondered how any dispute like this could have escalated to a killing. But if Dunn regularly used his gun for intimidation, a scenario that explains what happened comes into focus.

    Of course it is irrelevant to the trial. But trials don’t always discover the truth.

      “The prosecution must have known about him. ”

      Of course they knew. And once Dunn testified they could bring most any evidence into court to impeach him.

      Yet they didn’t.

      Which tells me the overwhelming likelihood is that there was some reason they didn’t DARE call this guy as a witness.

      Like, for example, you can present him with the name of ANY of his neighbors, and he gives the exact same spiel?

      Who knows.

      We only know he wasn’t unknown, that his purported testimony would be devastating to Dunn, and yet that the State chose not to call him.

      Yeah, this guys sounds AWESOME.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        Edgehopper in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 14, 2014 at 10:50 am

        No, they couldn’t–improper impeachment, improper character evidence.

        The general character evidence rule is that only a criminal defendant can raise evidence of a pertinent trait, and then if the evidence is admitted, the prosecutor may offer evidence to rebut it. (The Federal Rule of Evidence is 404(a)(2)(A), and I’m sure Florida has an equivalent). Here, Dunn offered evidence of peacefulness as a pertinent trait, not tolerance, from what I’ve read of the trial (correct me if I’m wrong, but I doubt Strolla asked a question that would open this door, like “Do you hate black people?”) A witness claiming Dunn is a racist would not be relevant to rebut evidence of peacefulness, or to any other purpose in this case, so he wouldn’t come in.

        As impeachment evidence, he’d have to either be refuting a specific statement, which Dunn presumably didn’t say because Strolla’s not that dumb, or he’d have to present character evidence of untruthfulness (this is Federal Rule 608(a)). Racism is not untruthfulness, so it still doesn’t come in.

    Did you see how old he is ? A limo full of strippers would have killed him.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 14, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    “Limo and Strippers”

    Man I shot coke through my nose, don’t do that stuff man.

O’Mara thinks jury will find Dunn guilty: “I don’t think the jury is going to be able to get past the fact that Dunn did not contact the police right away and that is going to bleed back over into whether or not he was justified in the shooting and they are going to find it was not justified.”

http://tinyurl.com/ot6v5hs First Coast News

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to DennisD. | February 13, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Why didn’t OMara put this on his blog?

    tom swift in reply to DennisD. | February 14, 2014 at 12:09 am

    Strange thing for O’Mara to say. Yes, the failure to contact police is suspicious. Even very suspicious. It casts serious doubt on Dunn’s judgement. And poor judgement may have been why he misinterpreted and overreacted to what really doesn’t seem to have been a life-and-death situation with the occupants of the car next to his. But is that anything close to proof that he fit the definitions necessary for 1st degree? Solid evidence of poor judgment is not the same thing as proof of reckless disregard, depraved state, or whatever is buried somewhere down there on page 215 of the jury instructions.

      tom swift in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 12:15 am

      Damn, I miss an “edit” function.

      Rather:

      Suspicion casts serious doubt on Dunn’s judgement, at minimum. At maximum, it casts crippling doubt on his honesty. If he’s lying, his story is garbage, and conviction would be justified. But is the jury supposed to assume that maximum? I always thought they were supposed to assume the other way. As in, not guilty until proven etc.

      BrokeGopher in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 9:43 am

      I think his failure to contact police afterwards goes a long way to proving it was not self-defense. Rhonda swears he never said it was self-defense, not once but twice on the stand under oath. She remembers getting to the hotel, where they parked, who got the number for the pizza place and who ordered it. Doesn’t remember hearing about a gun. Seems her memory about that time period is just fine.

      Once they establish that it wasn’t self-defense, it’s just a matter of picking which flavor of murder he’s guilty of.

        tom swift in reply to BrokeGopher. | February 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm

        Were I a juror, I suspect I’d not want to put a lot of weight on her memory. She’s a wreck, and I have no great confidence that she recalls more than a small fraction of what happened. If she did remember something specific, I might accord that some weight; but if she didn’t remember something specific, I think I’d discount the significance of that quite a bit.

@MouseTheLuckyDog

Maybe he wrote gansta rap. Maybe be played Bach. Maybe he pretended to have a violent past. Maybe he crooked his pinky when he drank tea.

Maybe “Davis have had a medical condition that caused anger issues, or been on drugs: precription, OTC or illicilt” Maybe he sang in the church choir.

Maybe they were “hiding things from their parents that would shock their parents”. Maybe there was nothing to hide.

The case has gone to the jury. None of your maybees was entered into evidence.

Maybe you are slandering a good kid – not a perfect kid – but a good kid. At his age, he probably was loud and obnoxious. He probably resented authority. But no evidence was entered that he was violent. Davis had no record.

We do know, by his own testimony, that Dunn rolled down his window and confronted the boys. We do, absolutely, know that Dunn had a gun. We do know that Dunn was annoyed. We do know that Dunn said to himself that he wasn’t going to be talked to ‘that way’ – or something along those lines. The actual wording was entered into the record by Dunn.

    tom swift in reply to Rational. | February 14, 2014 at 12:01 am

    I don’t recall that what Dunn said was remotely “along those lines”.

    bulge in reply to Rational. | February 14, 2014 at 7:29 am

    @Rational: “We do know, by his own testimony, that Dunn rolled down his window and confronted the boys.”
    Define “confronted” please. Asking for music to be turned down is hardly “confrontational”.

    “We do know that Dunn said to himself that he wasn’t going to be talked to ‘that way’– or something along those lines.”
    We do?? Maybe you can supply the ACTUAL language, instead of your made up version.

    “The actual wording was entered into the record by Dunn.”
    Yes, it was, and it was nowhere near what you have claimed.

    bulge in reply to Rational. | February 14, 2014 at 7:31 am

    @Rational:

    “We do know, by his own testimony, that Dunn rolled down his window and confronted the boys.”
    Define “confronted” please. Asking for music to be turned down is hardly “confrontational”.

    “We do know that Dunn said to himself that he wasn’t going to be talked to ‘that way’– or something along those lines.”
    We do?? Maybe you can supply the ACTUAL language, instead of your made up version.

    “The actual wording was entered into the record by Dunn.”
    Yes, it was, and it was nowhere near what you have claimed.

      Rational in reply to bulge. | February 14, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      Gee, Dunn testified that “he wasn’t going to ask for more favors” according to Andrew. That seems awfully close to my paraphrase. I wasn’t trying to twist anything. I just didn’t feel like looking it up because I knew I had the sense of it. So I got called on my bit of laziness and I looked it up.

      Now, what exactly would you think if some one said he wasn’t going to ask for more favors? That sounds just like what John Wayne would say in a movie before he shot the bad guy. What do you think, Pilgrim?

        Laser Beam in reply to Rational. | February 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

        Are you serious? You have completely misunderstood what Dunn was talking about.

        He was saying “When they turned it back up I realized they weren’t as receptive to my request as I’d thought, and I certainly wasn’t about to risk asking them a second time.”

        As in, he was going to let the matter be because he realized at that point there was no use asking again.

          vivibee601 in reply to Laser Beam. | February 14, 2014 at 2:38 pm

          and then he shot into an SUV full of teenagers NINE TIMES

          Rational in reply to Laser Beam. | February 14, 2014 at 6:32 pm

          Very food spin! You should be in PR.

          “When they turned it back up I realized they weren’t as receptive to my request as I’d thought, and I certainly wasn’t about to risk asking them a second time.” Are you kidding. That is rational and reasonable. But he testified that what he said or what he was thinking was “not gonna ask for any more favors”. That is hostile. Similar thoughts, but entirely different attitude.

          So he then rolled down the window and asked were they talking about him? That was sure to deescalate the situation (sarcasm intended).

      Rational in reply to bulge. | February 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      “Asking for music to be turned down is hardly “confrontational” Are you sure about that? After the kids turned it back up, it was bound to be confrontational. Yes, the kids started it, but I wouldn’t have come back at them. Well maybe I would if I had a gun in my hand and I wasn’t going to ask for anymore favors.

      If he wasn’t going to ask for anymore favors, why ask them to turn it down again? Isn’t that a favor? If not, what favor was Dunn not going to ask for? I guess Dunn could have gotten the manager or he could have called 911. But he didn’t. He seethed. Then he saw the slightest movement and he shot and shot and shot.

        vivibee601 in reply to Rational. | February 14, 2014 at 12:59 pm

        I don’t understand why you are saying “the kids started it”. How? Had Dunn not approached them none of this would’ve occurred.

        The average person does not demand that loud kids (be it with music, mufflers, roughhousing, et) conform to their demands in a convenience store parking lot. Most people would shake their heads and say “kids today, I tell ya” and keep it moving OR call law enforcement and report a disturbance.

        Dunn started this.

          Rational in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 6:48 pm

          Well, they did turn the music back up. That wasn’t necessary. It was hostile. It also seems likely that Davis was mouthing off and gesticulating. But that doesn’t justify the death penalty.

          You can think Dunn is guilty without claiming the kids were angels.

        Laser Beam in reply to Rational. | February 14, 2014 at 2:28 pm

        He didn’t ask them to turn it down again…

        Are you watching the trial or just riffing off your own imagination?

          Rational in reply to Laser Beam. | February 14, 2014 at 6:41 pm

          You are right. He didn’t ask them to turn it down twice. The second time he asked if they were talking about him. If he really didn’t want to escalate he wouldn’t have talked to them again. Period.

          What could he possibly have learned by asking if the were talking about him? If they were just reciting rap lyrics, his intrusion would have been resented. If they were mouthing off, the response might have been: Yeah, F you.

      Rational in reply to bulge. | February 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      Didn’t he also ask the kids if the were talking about him? That is eerily like Taxi Driver.

      Maybe he could have asked them if they felt lucky. He sure acted like Dirty Harry.

      You can say that those references were all in the movies. In the movies, they a fun. But he acted it out for real.

        Laser Beam in reply to Rational. | February 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm

        According to Dunn he didn’t say it like Taxi Driver, as a provocation or a challenge. He asked if they were talking ABOUT him, to try to ascertain if what he was hearing really were in fact threats directed at him, and if they were he was going to try to talk them down by pointing out that he had thanked them for turning the music down, in case they hadn’t heard that.

        I find it amazing that a group of people on a site which is pro self-defense are coming down so hard, and on so few facts, against someone who defended his life against common street thugs.

          vivibee601 in reply to Laser Beam. | February 14, 2014 at 2:40 pm

          What about these middle class teenagers could be mistaken for “common street thugs”???

          vivibee601 in reply to Laser Beam. | February 14, 2014 at 2:44 pm

          This man was drinking. The teens were not. This man shot into a vehicle full of high school kids NINE TIMES. The teens did not have a weapon. This man fled the scene. The teens left to escape fire and returned to the scene for help. This man(Dunn) never contacted law enforcement. The teenagers requested help.

          Who is the common street thug???

          DUNN

          BrokeGopher in reply to Laser Beam. | February 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm

          We will always come down hard on people claiming self defense without any basis for it. He made up the story about seeing a gun. Nobody heard that story until he was in custody. His story doesn’t hold water.

          Rational in reply to Laser Beam. | February 14, 2014 at 6:56 pm

          Of course he claims he didn’t say it like Taxi Driver. That would pretty much be an admission of guilt. He does have a lawyer. He did have months to hone his testimony.

          Why is he trying to talk them down. Is he a Social Worker? He endures it 2 more minutes and he is on his way.

          Maybe it’s because we’re very serious about self-defense, and carrying a weapon on a daily basis. That’s a lot of responsibility.

          Then again, given that you call the four boys “thugs” it’s pretty obvious where your bias trends.

          Can’t let one of them uppity colored boys talk back to a white man, can we?

          Laser Beam in reply to Laser Beam. | February 15, 2014 at 6:55 am

          I have nothing whatsoever against young black men. I have an issue with people who cultivate their entire persona with intimidating the normal members of society around them in mind. Who want to be perceived as a threat and enjoy seeing the “crackas” avert their eyes and look nervous when they’re around. And make no mistake, the decision to blast rap at ear-shattering volume with maximum bass in a public space is not primarily because they enjoy it that way. It’s about getting off on knowing everyone around is annoyed by it and enjoying forcing your presence to be noticed, and the thrill of knowing you are intimidating.

          There are PLENTY of young black men who don’t engage in this “culture” – some of them were my dear friends when I served in the military. There is nothing REQUIRING young black men to do this stuff.

          It is not my fault that a CRAP LOAD of them do it, and it does not magically make me a racist for disliking odious behavior just because a certain percentage of a certain group has embraced it.

          Rational in reply to Laser Beam. | February 15, 2014 at 11:07 am

          @ Laser Beam

          Some of your best friends are black. Where have I heard that before.? I guess you socialized with them, ate dinner at each others houses, lived in the same neighborhoods and went to church together.

          But some “cultivate their entire persona with intimidating the normal members of society” Are you a sociologist? You know why they do it? I can think of much less nefarious reasons why.

          “It is not my fault that a CRAP LOAD of them do it, and it does not magically make me a racist for disliking odious behavior just because a certain percentage of a certain group has embraced it.” No your attitude has nothing to do with magic. If we had magic, we could magically erase the residue of 400 years. But we can’t even erase the fact that if those 4 kids are in a predominantly white neighborhood, they are already assumed to be up to no good. Maybe they blast their music to make a statement; or to insulate themselves. Maybe. I don’t like it either. But I can endure it for a couple of minutes. There are plenty of other things, done by white people, that annoy me.

          But that is all irrelevant. The unproven assertion is that Davis got out of the SUV and pointed a shotgun at Dunn. There was a time when Dunn could have have shot the kids for being ‘uppity’ and claimed they had a gun; without anyone questioning him. That is why this case pushes so many buttons.

      gxm17 in reply to bulge. | February 14, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      IIRC, it was the witness who parked farther away from the Durango who testified that Dunn something about not letting anyone talk to him that way. I forget the exact words, or even the witness’s name, but (IIRC) it should be on record.

        tom swift in reply to gxm17. | February 14, 2014 at 3:53 pm

        Yes, it was Smith, the general contractor, who testified on Day 1. He remembers the words used as ”YOU’RE NOT GOING TO TALK TO ME THAT WAY!”, which does indeed sound pretty damn belligerent. And for him to have heard them at all over the music, they were probably spoken loudly.

I think the defendant felt empowered to confront these young men more so than an average citizen would do. Why? Because he had a gun and probably felt he didn’t have to retreat as most of us would have done. He chose not to “let it go” and move his vehicle to a different parking spot. If he had done that, maybe nothing would have come of it. His failure to do so, plus his possession of a semi-auto weapon ensured his culpability in this situation. I’m thinking the jury is deciding between 1st and 2nd degree murder.

    pjm in reply to jvan. | February 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

    “felt empowered to confront these young men”

    Exactly. And that is one of the dangers of carrying a gun (for some people).

    Personally, when I’m carrying mine, it’s always in my mind ‘I’m going to make DOUBLE damn sure I avoid any kind of confrontation’, etc. MORE SO than when unarmed. Because of a self-awareness that I am capable of getting into certain kinds of trouble (being accused of wrongful shooting) that I would not need to worry about if not armed.

    It becomes DOUBLY important to avoid issues, arguments, etc, that might lead to needing the gun.

    ‘Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six’ is all well and good, I believe in it, but ‘better to have avoided both of those’ is even better. Much mo better.

    tom swift in reply to jvan. | February 14, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    That’s a theory. An obvious one, the sort of thing some people jump to almost automatically. It may even be correct.

    But it’s what the prosecution has to prove, not theorize about.

    Do you think it has proven it?

    profshadow in reply to jvan. | February 14, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Those I know that carry go out of their way to avoid confrontation, precisely because they carry.

    It isn’t the gun, but the person. As to Dunn, I’m unsure. Lots of stupid things to NOT do, but being stupid doesn’t keep you from being not guilty.

    It could be his nature, firearm or no.

    Though I don’t get why he even approached them to turn the music down. They wouldn’t, nor would he, be there for long. Be annoyed, but get gas and go or just go to another station. Complain to the store manager. Whatever.

    There are so many holes in Dunn’s story.

    We’ll have to see.

      tom swift in reply to profshadow. | February 14, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      Well, once the GF went inside to get the groceries, Dunn was pretty much stuck there until she returned. And after he’d perceived (rightly or wrongly) that the situation was dire, it’s not clear that he’d have had time or opportunity to move the car.

        Rational in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 7:09 pm

        There was no proof that the situation was dire. Others testified that they observed the scene and 1 said he heard the verbal exchanges. No one except Dunn claimed it was dire.

        The kids were obnoxious, but Dunn made it dire.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | February 15, 2014 at 12:37 pm

        @tom swift
        let me correct you a bit.
        The prosecution must prove that Dunn did not believe that.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to profshadow. | February 14, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      Andrew actually has a great quote, at least I think it was Andrew, but anyway it goes; “Carrying a gun doesn’t mean that you don’t have to take crap from anyone, it means you have to take crap from almost everyone.”

        Yeah, that’s me. 🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 15, 2014 at 2:58 pm

          Love that quote, use it with anyone who is thinking about getting a permit.

          Hey, Andrew did you see the article Mass wrote for Combat Handguns, ‘Title Stand Your Ground Legalities’

          No, Gremlin, didn’t see it. Don’t have to, to know it’ll be good stuff. Mas and I rarely come to different conclusions on the same facts. At worst, we sometimes differ in our emphasis on particular facets of a case, but that just reflects our different backgrounds (his law enforcement, and mine practicing law).

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

I’m an unabashed card-carrying Liberal who was looking for additional commentary about this trial. Legal Insurrection popped up in my search results. I’ve been following the comments for a few days. With that said Hello to all and

I’m curious about why the prosecution in this trial and the prosecution in the Zimmerman trial didn’t take time to paint the picture of who this child was for the jury. I’ve seen video clips and interviews of Jordan’s parents. This was very much a loved and wanted child, not a “thug”. His parents are educated and middle class. He didn’t have a record. It feels like the jury doesn’t know this was an average, middle class, decent kid…not a thug.

Heck even the children of Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Eminem and Lil Wayne are upper class neighborhood dwelling, private-school educated kids.

Dunn’s perception of this kid as a “thug” with a shotgun is wayyyyyyy off base.

I just feel that the prosecution might’ve done more to illuminate who Jordan was and the heinous nature of Dunn’s decision to waste his life.

    platypus in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Lib or not, you’ve zeroed in on a salient point.

    At the outset, let me point out all the trials of sick psycho killers whose mothers show up and talk about how sweet their little boys are. Rare is the mother that admits her little precious turned out to be a monster.

    Back to your point. Trayvon was most certainly NOT a wonderful child, and the testimony on that subject proved it. Plenty more evidence of his sociopathic and/or antisocial personality was NOT admitted but known to both sides. In this case, the dead child had no such evidence (as far as we know). Therefore, I completely fail to see how you can link these two situations as if they harmonize.

      vivibee601 in reply to platypus. | February 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      Fail to see how mothers of psycho killers are relevant here since Jordan is the victim and ostensibly Trayvon was the victim since he was committing no crime when self-appointed neighborhood watch followed him in the dark without identifying himself and eventually shot the child to death.

      Zimmerman was seen on police video admitting that he never identified himself to Trayvon the entire time he stalked him.

      Further if you say Trayvon was “most certainly NOT a wonderful child” it is incumbent upon you to explain that.
      Trayvon was yet another middleclass child with working parents. IIRC, the mother’s father had been a police officer in Miami. Trayvon had been on skiing trips and aerospace camp like many other middle class teens do. Trayvon postured and posed like many other teens do on social media. Trayvon smoked marijuana and got into trouble at school like 50% of American high school students do. How does that make him any different than your son? Your nephew? Your cousin?

      So my point, which I consider valid, is that the prosecution failed to connect the jury in this case and in the Zimmerman case with the HUMANITY and “regular kid-ness” of these 2 dead kids.

        BrokeGopher in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 1:18 pm

        Oh God, you’re one of THOSE.

          vivibee601 in reply to BrokeGopher. | February 14, 2014 at 1:32 pm

          Yep! Thanks!

          BrokeGopher in reply to BrokeGopher. | February 14, 2014 at 1:35 pm

          If you’re really interested in some in-depth analysis of the Zimmerman verdict, this is the place to be. See all the pertinent blogs at https://legalinsurrection.com/tag/george-zimmerman-trial/

          Bottom line is that regardless of the media’s fantasy narrative of some depraved racist who “stalked” and murdered an innocent teen, at the time the shot was fired, that teen was on top of Zimmerman beating his brains in. Open and shut case of self-defense. Read the articles above if you want to learn something about the law.

          vivibee601 in reply to BrokeGopher. | February 14, 2014 at 1:38 pm

          Well since dead kids tell no tales…all we have to go on is what the murderer/Zimmerman said. Zimmerman interpreted Trayvon in a particular way which lead to his actions which ultimately deprived Trayvon of his life liberty and pursuit of happiness.

          platypus in reply to BrokeGopher. | February 14, 2014 at 9:24 pm

          Thanks for taking care of my light work! 🙂

        moonmoth in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 3:55 pm

        @vivibee601, , when you said, “we have to go on is what the murderer/Zimmerman said,” you weren’t serious, were you? Zimmerman was the alleged murderer, and there was a great deal of physical evidence to back up his version of events. As others have already told you, you’re just here promoting the “angry white men are killing innocent black children” meme.

        And as you’ve also been told, if you’re really interested in some in-depth analysis of the Zimmerman verdict, see all the pertinent blogs at https://legalinsurrection.com/tag/george-zimmerman-trial/ .

          vivibee601 in reply to moonmoth. | February 14, 2014 at 4:12 pm

          At no time have I mentioned race. I’m not sure why it’s being attributed to me. In nearly every post it’s highly visible that my concerns have been:

          The age of the victims
          The “regular joe” middle-class aspect of the victims
          The perception of the high school student victims.

          These could be anybody’s kids. Why are you so hung up on race?

          moonmoth in reply to moonmoth. | February 14, 2014 at 4:46 pm

          @vivibee601, you ignore all of your own obvious biases, snap judgments, and grossly inaccurate statements to quibble over whether you actually used the specific word “race”. If you didn’t use that specific word, then that’s the only media meme that you didn’t parrot.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to platypus. | February 14, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      You also have to remember that anything the prosecution brings forward the defense has the legal right to impeach. That is why it wasn’t done in the Zimmerman trial, because of Martin’s history of alleged theft and fighting. So you paint them as an angel and then the defense gets a chance to dirty their wings, basically.

    BrokeGopher in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I’m going to say probably because it’s inadmissible as irrelevant to whether Dunn committed the crimes he is accused of. Davis’s background would have probably helped the state, and Martin’s would have helped the defense. Both are immaterial.

      vivibee601 in reply to BrokeGopher. | February 14, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      I’m not a legal eagle, but it seems it would be relevant re: how Dunn perceived a threat from a high school boy sitting in a vehicle listening to music. This isn’t a boy from the inner city or the projects of Chicago. He is just like your sister’s kid. He was NO threat.

        BrokeGopher in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm

        I’m not a lawyer either but I’m pretty sure that Davis’ background has zero bearing on what he did or didn’t do that night. Is Dunn’s history of never having shot anyone before evidence of his innocence? See, works both ways. The trial is about what happened that night, not what sort of people were involved.

        My sister never had any black kids.

        And I believe THAT fact was huge factor to Dunn.

        And that factor is not permissible, is not an excuse, and does not justify his actions.

        Edgehopper in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 4:58 pm

        Inadmissible under Fla. Stat. 90.404 – The prosecution can only raise character evidence of the victim in a self defense case to show peacefulness, not any other character trait. Except here even that’s not relevant, because no one claims Jordan was the aggressor, the claim is that the kid in the back seat was the aggressor and Dunn accidentally hit Jordan.

        That he’s a good, middle class kid is entirely inadmissible.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 5:47 pm

        “how Dunn perceived a threat from a high school boy sitting in a vehicle listening to music. This isn’t a boy from the inner city or the projects of Chicago. He is just like your sister’s kid.”

        And how was Dunn supposed to know this? Do you believe he is psychic?

        “He was NO threat.”

        In your opinion and with the gift of hindsight, which is always 20/20, but you weren’t there sitting in that drivers seat.

        It might interest you to know that the “threat” doesn’t actually have to be real, it just as to be perceived in such a way that a “reasonable person” would feel threatened.

          Rational in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 14, 2014 at 7:25 pm

          You are right. Dunn had no way to know they were middle class and peaceable. But he did form an opinion based on their playing ‘thug’ music. He doesn’t have to be a card carrying racist to form a picture of 3 black thugs that might be violent. All he needs to do is buy into the stereotype.

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm

          #Rational, I think the guy shouting obscenities at him in anger had something to do with it.

    tom swift in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Probably the reason that neither the prosecution nor the defense chose to wallow in the “sob-sister” stuff is that it has nothing at all to do with the trial. The fundamental question here is whether or not this was a legitimate self-defense situation. Davis’s virtues are irrelevant to that question.

    Davis could have been a great up-and-coming philanthropist and humanitarian, beloved by millions, adored by the masses, but if he was threatening Dunn with imminent deadly harm, the shooting was self-defense, and Dunn should be acquitted.

    Consider the flip side. Suppose Davis was a nasty S.O.B., a lifelong petty criminal, a guy who habitually spit on sidewalks, stole change from the Jimmy Fund, and kicked dogs when he thought nobody was looking. That wouldn’t matter at all – if the situation didn’t involve self-defense, Dunn can’t legally use force against him.

      vivibee601 in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Only…these things matter all the time. If we know what type of kid Jordan was (a good kid by all accounts) and we have the writings of Dunn from jail indicating he has animus toward people who are similar to Jordan…it matters.

      It mattered in the Zimmerman trial as well. People were able to paint Trayvon not as a child walking back to his dad’s gf’s house after going to the store…but as a thug who had it coming.

      So. Don’t tell me these things are not relevant. They shouldn’t be. But they are.

        BrokeGopher in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm

        If someone is accused of robbing a liquor store, it might matter to you that he’s robbed fifteen other liquor stores, but under the law that fact is inadmissible. Those fifteen robberies have nothing to do with whether he robbed THIS liquor store. Let’s stick to the facts and leave your feelings out of it.

        tom swift in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 4:12 pm

        but as a thug who had it coming

        Nonsense.

        Zimmerman was acquitted. The testimony showed that an assailant was trying to crack his head open on the sidewalk. Whether or not the assailant was a “thug who had it coming” was not developed during the trial, and properly so, as it has no relevance whatsoever to the case. Zimmerman fired because he was getting his head battered. Whether the assailant was a thug or not – irrelevant. Whether the assailant “had it coming” or not – irrelevant.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 5:40 pm

        Your argument seems to ignore the fact that even “good kids”, through peer pressure, trying to look tough, and or any other number of reasons, can sometimes make bone headed decisions that lead to negative consequences. I am not saying that is what happened here, but don’t ignore that fact, it happens all the time.

        Your second argument is one that I have always found a bit naive. You imply that Zimmerman should have known that Martin was only a 17 y/o kid and that Dunn should have known the same just by looking at Davis. I have been a Nurse for almost 20 years and I can’t tell someones age just by looking at them, must less what kind of life they have lead just by looking at them. Sure both Martin and Davis turned out to be in their mid to late teens. But especially in Martin’s case he also could have been as old as 25.

        So saying the “kid was just average middle class” isn’t a really relevant argument, that is why the courts tend to keep focused on the events just in that few critical seconds or minutes. Or are you arguing that you should take the time to get to know your assailant before you defend yourself?

          Gremlin, I really enjoy reading your posts. Your experience as a nurse is quite helpful, particularly in trying to analyze Dunn. There is something about him that is sad and perplexing, a highly intelligent man who has difficulty in interacting in social situations. Often times, this shows a mental issue and a self-medicating by the use of drugs or alcohol.

          Don’t be stranger here when this is over.

          Rational in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 15, 2014 at 10:10 am

          “Your argument seems to ignore the fact that even “good kids”, through peer pressure, trying to look tough, and or any other number of reasons, can sometimes make bone headed decisions that lead to negative consequences. I am not saying that is what happened here, but don’t ignore that fact, it happens all the time.”

          Your logic:

          Some kids might succumb to peer pressure and act tough.
          These kids didn’t necessarily do that.
          But it happens all the time.

          So, therefore, even though these kids didn’t necessarily do that, it should be assumed that they did?

          I have read your comment a few times and something bugged me about it. It indicts the kids while denying that you are indicting them.

          Let’s try that on Dunn.

          Some gun owners will abuse the possession of a gun and use it for intimidation or false bravado.
          I am not saying that Dunn did that.
          But we cannot ignore the fact that some do. It happens.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm

          @Rational

          My intent was not to indite the kid/kids/young men. My intent was to point out just as you did in your last post that just because someone is “add adjective here” doesn’t mean they always act a certain way.

          I suggest to go back and read some of the earlier posts where folks seem to be trying to absolve the kid/kids/young men because they were middle class and had no criminal history.

          I was never guilty of speeding until I actually went faster than the posted speed limit the first time. So saying stuff like that is like saying since I was never guilty of speeding before I must not be speeding that time either.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 5:54 pm

        Frankly they aren’t relevant, because there is no way to know them at the time of the incident.

        Also, the defense of “they were a good kid so they wouldn’t do something that this”, which is what you seem to be implying is naive at best, kids do bone headed stuff all the time.

        Also, you want to use a simple argument that age determines whether someone is a child or not. While you may be correct for some legal aspects you are wholly off base when it comes to visual perception, which is what this really boils down to. Especially in kids this day and age, there is very little visual difference between a 17 year old male and a 25 year old male, and the same for females. That is where your argument falls through.

      vivibee601 in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      If the prosecution wants the jury to convict…they have to give them the full story. A child’s life was taken from him due to the faulty perceptions of a drunken trigger happy thug. The jury needs to feel that.

        tom swift in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 2:59 pm

        The jury needs to feel that

        No, the jury doesn’t need feelings, the jury needs proof.

          vivibee601 in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 3:21 pm

          and yet when jurors are interviewed post trial 99% start their rationales for voting the way they did with “I FELT blah blah blah”.

          Amazing how people try to justify any and everything Dunn did with “what if this? what if that? what if yada yada yada?” but want to be totally robotic regarding the child, Jordan Davis.

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm

          Amazing how people try to justify any and everything Dunn did with “what if this? what if that? what if yada yada yada?”

          You genuinely can’t grasp the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”, can you?

        moonmoth in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm

        So, the jury (who have been present for the sworn testimony) needs to feel what you(who have not heard that testimony) have concluded?

        Gremlin1974 in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 5:57 pm

        Actually the prosecution offered no evidence that Dunn was drunk at the time of the shooting, and the testimony that seems to back up that he really didn’t drink enough to get drunk.

    “Dunn’s perception of this kid as a “thug” with a shotgun is wayyyyyyy off base. ”

    true, but it doesn’t matter if the kid was ‘a thug’. What matters is did Dunn HAVE to shoot, that day, that moment, to defend himself.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to pjm. | February 14, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      Actually, it would be more correct to say; Did Dunn ‘Believe’ that he had to shoot that day and was that belief reasonable.

I just feel that the prosecution might’ve done more to illuminate who Jordan was and the heinous nature of Dunn’s decision to waste his life.

Really? Dunn is guilty of heinous decisions? Quick, somebody tell the jury, and save them a raft of work.

    vivibee601 in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    an innocent child is dead due to how Dunn’s very biased perceptions. That’s heinous all day in my book.

      I do not call a 17 year old young man a ‘child’, but else wise I agree.

      Neither Davis, nor the others, should have been shot (at) that day, for anything they (did not) do that day, that moment, that situation.

      And it’s not up to Dunn to make any judgements about anything else about them.

        tom swift in reply to pjm. | February 14, 2014 at 2:48 pm

        Dunn’s judgement about whether we was about to suffer a deadly attack was very much up to him. And he had to make that judgement immediately, without benefit of testimonials as to Mr Davis’s character.

        This is totally independent of whether or not he ultimately made a sound judgement.

          vivibee601 in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 3:07 pm

          RE: Dunn’s judgment – going up to an SUV with tinted windows and blaring music, which you believe to be filled with “common street thugs” and further asking them “You talking about me?”

          Dunn’s judgment is at best faulty and unreliable.

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | February 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm

          Dunn’s judgement was poor, in many ways. That’s not really in dispute.

          But the charge is not Poor Judgement in the First Degree.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | February 15, 2014 at 3:14 pm

          @vivibee601 | February 14, 2014 at 3:07 pm

          “Dunn’s judgment is at best faulty and unreliable.”

          We seem to keep having to bring you back to this point so I will ask again. Based on what evidence? Because that is what you have to go on, not your perceptions based on hind sight.

      tom swift in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      Self defense is never despicable.

      It’s up to the jury to decide is this was or was not a case of self defense.

    Yes, he is. According to me.

    However, no one but me cares about what I think. 12 other people are now considering the only decision that matters.

Anyone find it problematic that the State is given no time to “discover” a defendant’s testimony if he chooses to take the stand? Isn’t the testimony of every other witness in a trial essentially known to both sides before they take the stand?

BTW, in America, a 17 yr old cannot vote, cannot register for selective service, cannot enter into a contract and cannot marry without permission from his parents.

A 17 yr old female is not a woman.

A 17 yr old male is not a man.

    creeper in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Numbers. Empty numbers. A seventeen-year-old male who is six feet tall is not physically a child. A seventeen-year-old female is fully capable of reproducing. She is not a child, either.

    Nor are all “children” innocent, which takes us to your trollish comments casting Trayvon Martin as a “victim”.

    You didn’t really come here to learn. You came to promote the “angry white men are killing innocent black children” meme. I would suggest you do that on a blog where the level of critical thinking skills is much lower than that here.

      vivibee601 in reply to creeper. | February 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Point out where I mentioned race anywhere at all, if you can.

        moonmoth in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm

        Again, you stoop to quibbling over whether you actually referred to race, in order to avoid addressing the point of the post to which you’re replying. The word “child” is used in connection with Trayvon in order to evoke sympathy and imply that he was incapable of posing a danger against which an adult might need to use legal force to defend himself.

        I’m starting to believe that you really are incapable of understanding that.

      MarkS in reply to creeper. | February 14, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Well said!

    allmenroder in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    17 year olds can be tried as adults in criminal cases. Happens every day.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    17 year olds can kill with guns
    17 year olds can join the military
    Some 17 year olds have multiple baby-mommas.

      Jordan did not have a gun.

      Jordan did have plans to join the military (air force) and was a member of JROTC because he admired his cousin who was a marine.

      Jordan did not have any “baby mamas”

      Your point is moot

    Gremlin1974 in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Actually you can “register for selective service” a the age of 17 with parents permission, if you are joining the military at age 17, which also takes parents permission. I know because I did.

      vivibee601 in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 14, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      Right, you needed your parents PERMISSION because in the eyes of the law you were a minor or IOW a child. Minor is the legal description of a child.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 7:05 pm

        You are absolutely correct in the eyes of the law, but its not the eyes of the law that matter on a dark rainy night. You can’t tell someone’s age just by looking at them, which is what you are trying to imply.

    Phillep Harding in reply to vivibee601. | February 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    “Child” is a biological term. “Minor” is a legal term.

Logic is neither effective or desired by trolls.

Ignore the troll and the troll will go away.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 14, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Hmm. seems like guilty, but can’t decide if murder one.
That is the only possibility i can think of.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 14, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Actually I can think of one other. They decide the last three shots are not justified, but he’s not guilty of murder or attempted murder on those three shots. They can’t decide if he’s guilty of firing missles.

    Should have thought of that one at once because it’s a variation of OMara’s scenario that I first brought up here.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 14, 2014 at 5:00 pm

So the judge would let them read a verdict without giving them an Allen charge?

    Not an attorney but I think he alluded to additional steps when he was discussing this prior to the jurors coming back. Not sure if Florida has this option/requirement but if it does it is my understanding that the judge can only refer to it one time and therefore he would avoid mentioning it in the answer he gave to the jurors question. Once the jurors return with a verdict (or no verdict) I think the judge asks them if they have reached a verdict. They would answer yes or no and then he could give them the Allen charge if he deemed it appropriate/required and have them retire once more.

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It could be they can’t agree on self-defense for the murder charge, but agree that shooting at the fleeing vehicle is clearly not self-defense. They convict on the attempteds and shooting into vehicle, and hang on murder vs. self-defense for Davis.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to BrokeGopher. | February 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    I think this is a very probable outcome. I am a huge proponent of self defense, but I really just can’t feel right about firing 3 more shots at a fleeing vehicle after a 6 second delay in which Dunn came out of cover took a kneeling stance and then fired. That is on top of the “Certified Boneheaded” decision not to call the cops and just head home.

      BrokeGopher in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 14, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Yeah if it were a hang up between Murder 1 and Murder 2, the Murder 1 camp would eventually give in and go for Murder 2 so they can go home. They wouldn’t hang on that issue. They could hang on self-defense.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to BrokeGopher. | February 14, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I can’t see how they decide that the last three shots are bad, and rest good and convict on attempted murder ( “firing missles” yes ).
    Attempted murder means that you ttried to actually kill someone and failed. It’s hard to argue those shots were intended to kill. The crimes isn’t do something that might result in death.

      BrokeGopher in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 14, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      How can shooting into an occupied vehicle not be attempted murder? Shooting to disfigure? Shooting to maim? It’s deadly force employed not in self-defense.

      Further, they said they were hung up on one charge. It’s not likely that the one charge they can’t decide on is shooting into vehicle or one of the attempteds. If he’s guilty on shooting into vehicle, he’s guilty on the attempteds. All of that can be based on the last three shots.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to BrokeGopher. | February 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm

        How can shooting into the back of a fleeing SUV be attempted murder. Well in less there is a passenger in the back coprtment. The technical term is attempted murder in the 1st degree. There is no such thing as attempted murder in the second degree. There has to be some form of premeditation. I agree that firing into the back of a SUV is depraved indifference, but depraved indifference is not enough for attempted murder.

          BrokeGopher in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 14, 2014 at 7:55 pm

          Yeah, there is attempted 2nd degree murder – it’s a lesser included charge on attempted first degree. Shooting into a vehicle certainly implies you don’t care if you kill someone in the car.

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 14, 2014 at 9:22 pm

          @BrokeGopher, oh yeah there is.
          I’m confusing premeditation and intent.
          But 2nd degree still requires intent.

          From the jury instructions:

          1. (Defendant) intentionally committed an act which would have
          resulted in the death of (victim) except that someone prevented (defendant) from killing (victim) or [he] [she] failed to do so.

          You can argue about the first two vollys that he did intend to kill, but missed. That’s hard to do for the last three.

If you’re a juror and think 1st degree was committed, don’t you also think by statutory language 2nd was committed as well. If that’s the case, how would the jury be deadlocked on the degree of murder? Can a juror who thinks 1st say I won’t vote for 2nd cause I want 1st?

Thanks.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to DennisD. | February 14, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Yes, each member of the Jury gets to vote they way they want regardless of the other jurors. I have read stories of Jury discussions becoming very heated and even coming to blows at times.

    Now what I don’t know is does it take all 12 to convict him of 2nd degree. I know it takes 12 for 1st degree, but if 6 of them agree on 2nd does that lead to conviction? Personally, I really don’t like Florida’s 6 juror system, let me be judged by 12.

    “Can a juror who thinks 1st say I won’t vote for 2nd cause I want 1st?”

    The jurors are instructed to find guilty on the highest level of guilt for which the State has proven every element beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Strictly speaking that would mean that if the State’s convinced you of Murder 1 that you SHOULD NOT agree to Murder 2.

    In reality, people get tired of being sequestered day-after-day.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 14, 2014 at 5:58 pm

If the judr votes not guilty on murder and attempted murder but dealocks on firing missles, would Angela Corey refile or try to work out some sort of plea deal? What do you think she should do?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 14, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    With the “Dragon Lady” who knows, but it would seem a huge waste of resources to refile just for the firing missiles charge and any plea deal would probably be dropped immediately to a misdemeanor.

    Now the more interesting question is if he does take a deal on the firing missiles charge and pleads guilty to a lesser charge or is convicted of that charge does that open him back up to civil liability even though a not guilty on the other charges would cover him.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 14, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      There is the 10-20 that would probably go on top.

      As for civil liability, he still gets immunity on the first shots.
      I don’t think there is any suit the Davis’s can file because Davis was dead on “beyond hope at the time”. Maybe for the damages to the SUV but that’s “people court” stuff.

      (1) Re: the missile charge

      The missile charge is normally a second degree felony. Having used a gun, and under “10-20-Life” it’s bumped up to a 1st degree felony. That’s good for 20 years in Florida. Given that the State has never offered Dunn any kind of plea deal, why would they do so here? If they can nail him for 20, they will.

      (2) Re: the statutory immunity. Being acquitted at trial has nothing to do with self-defense immunity, under Florida’s rules. Self-defense immunity is awarded if it’s more likely than not that your use of force was in lawful self-defense. That is NOT the standard applied to get acquittal at trial. At trial one need merely make sure there’s at least a reasonable doubt that you used force in self-defense. So long as the State cannot disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, you win. They could get within inches of beyond a reasonable doubt, and vastly further than 51%, a you’d win at trial but lose for purposes of self-defense immunity.

      Even Zimmerman, if he wanted to secure self-defense immunity, would need to request a court hearing, have the facts heard, and have the judge make a ruling that it was more likely than not that he acted in lawful self-defense. Of course, in his instance the evidence is so overwhelmingly in his favor, he was all but certain to win. Can’t say the same for Dunn, at all.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        A further thought–one could be acquitted in a “self-defense” case for reasons have NOTHING to do with self-defense. For example, the jury could decide that the State has simply failed to prove each element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. In that case the defendant would be acquitted without the jury even having considered the issue of self-defense. Of course the jury does not explain its rationale for acquittal when it returns a non-guilty verdict. Clearly, self-defense immunity cannot flow merely from an acquittal in a “self-defense” case.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 14, 2014 at 8:27 pm

          What does the jury form look like? In a civil case the verdict would be broken up into parts. ( I’m thinking of something Apple Vs Samsung, where they had to rule on (design ) patent infringements for different phones. There were questions for each phone. ) I think somethings here could be dealt with blank yes or no, but you have to distinguish shots for some charges.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 14, 2014 at 8:07 pm

        Actually on the civil side, the point is moot. What are the going to sue Dunn for? The dog that is no longer a puppy?

        On the criminal side, wouldn’t it be a more difficult trial in many ways. Wouldn’t the jury be told that because of the first trial they must assume that there is ( oh god how to phrase this clearly ) reasonable doubt that there is no weapon in the SUV? I don’t see how they could avoid mentioning Davis’s death, but wouldn’t the state be preculded from mentioning it?

        On top of which the defense would have to focus on generating reasonable doubt on one charge. Given that can you imagine a defense attorney showing jurors pictures of children killed by backfire?

        Also, this would open a big can of worms, but if they did not offer Dunn a deal when it could be shown that they offered deals to others facing the same level of charges and proof, could Dunn argue a denial of equal protection?

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 14, 2014 at 8:39 pm

          On Andrew’s further thought, this gets more complicated. I think the defense can argue that the elements were met for 2nd degree on the first three shots and for attempted murder on the second three shots, and that therefore the only possible way a reasonable jury could find not guilty is if they found the shots were justified.

          What a headache for the next judge and the appellate court.

          Better for Corey to drop the first seven shots and focus on the last three, but then she gets back into my original scenario.

I will say this, I do not envy this jury its job in this case. I think this one is so much more complicated than the Zimmerman case, the media’s attempts to paint them as the same aside. I just don’t envy them at all.

To me, this one is way less complicated that the Zimmerman case

That just means that all the complicated stuff flew over your head.

I think the only problem here is some juror or jurors who want to be able to allow this bigot his fear of black rap thugs

Yep. Way over.

Will someone please tell me where this trial stands? This morning there was another post on this blog, I think by Andrew Branca, stating that Dunn had been found guilty on all charges. That post ended abruptly in the middle of a sentence and has since disappeared. Very confusing.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to creeper. | February 14, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Never saw that post. Might be that Andrew is preparing posts for both eventualities and it got posted by accident some how then removed.

    The trial stands at; “The jury is still out and the court is recessed for the day.”

    The jury stated that they had “Hit a wall for the day.” and wanted to be excused.

    The way this one is going, I think if I were on this jury I would be requesting Scotch by now.

    Gremlin’s got it right–we had posts pre-prepped for either jury outcome, and due to a technical glitch–meaning, I managed to hit the wrong button, twice–they both momentarily went live. Fortunately, I realized what happened quickly, and managed to cut off some of the spread.

    But, yeah. I goofed. My bad. (In my defense, the “save draft” button and the “go live” button are about 1/2″ apart, and there’s no “are you sure?” second push required to go live, as there is to delete something. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. 🙂 )

    Bottom line, jury is still in deliberations, no verdict yet.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 14, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      “and there’s no “are you sure?” second push required to go live”
      Well there’s one more button that this site needs along with that “edit” button for posts.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 15, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      This is why we are glad Microsoft doesn’t make guns. Because they would ask “Are you Sure” and require a second trigger pull, lol.

Is it possible the jury is deadlocked on self-defense vs murder but agree on the lessors because the self-defense jurors don’t think the last volley of shots apply?

I am not understanding where the commenters see the jury is stuck on one charge. This is from the post:
Is it permissible for them to agree on several of the charges, but not on other of the charges. Answer is also yes. Verdicts would be rendered on the ones where unanimous agreement, the others would be hung,…

Should “on” be read as “one” or am I missing something?

Thanks.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to willow. | February 14, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    I’m not going by what I heard the judge say, but by what the reporters are telling …

    OK that was a rather stupid thing to do.

I am seeing conflicting information. Here is one version:
The jury has asked for a 30-minute break. Judge Russell Healey has ordered dinner for the jurors.

Jurors also asked if they can find the defendant guilty on some charges and remain deadlocked on others.
http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2014/2/14/michael_dunn_trial.html

I watched a video from another source where the headline stated they were deadlocked on more than one charge, but the newscaster stated they were locked on one charge.

Hmm

    The media is often confused because they approach a trial with a pack-mentality conclusion. For example, any journalist who harps on this case as SYG or Castle Doctrine is not likely to understand or interpret the jury’s question to the trial judge.

      Although I have been aware of this trial, I haven’t actually been following it and don’t have an understanding of the details enough to comment. However, I can tell you that I inadvertently landed the remote channel last night on Nancy Grace and after a couple minutes of exposure, found myself laughing hysterically at this “lawyers” expertise, commentary, and delivery regarding this trial. The main takeaway from that brief, unfortunate exposure is that once again, an evil white guy gunned down an innocent unarmed black teen, tried to shoot as many other unarmed teens in the car, and had, GASP, nunchucks in his car, along with a 9mm and a belt holster with an ammo strip. She kept screeching “why would anyone need these kinds of weapons in their car? Why would he need nunchucks?”

        Phillep Harding in reply to Uh Huh. | February 15, 2014 at 3:22 pm

        I don’t know about the grain threshing flail, but I use a kama to clear weeds. Oooo, terrifying, no doubt.

The question they asked was: Is it possible to not reach a verdict on one count and reach a verdict on other counts?

Here: http://tinyurl.com/lmfc5kd at 7:26

I’m curious — did Dunn’s drinking cocktails or beers at the wedding (not sure which) prior to the shooting come into play at all during the trial? It would seem that, if he had had a few drinks, his judgment and senses would likely have been affected in some way. How could his ingestion of alcohol not have affected A) his behavior; B) his perception/senses; and, C)his decision-making/judgment? The picture painted at trial was of a lonely man who has had near-nonexistent contact with his son over the past fifteen years, and has no real friends to speak of, as indicated by the character witnesses being friends of his father. In sum, this is a guy with some serious emotional and social interaction issues. He choked up on the stand about his puppy, but, didn’t really show any substantive contrition or remorse for the fact that he killed a person under circumstances that are, at best, highly questionable.

Also, Dunn’s comment to his girlfriend, “I hate the rap crap” or, “I hate that thug music,” appears to indicate that he was already in an agitated state prior to the shooting. I think that this statement goes to his state of mind. Maybe not a fully formulated premeditated idea that “I’m going to kill these guys,” but, there’s hostility already simmering there, anger about something that most people would not get that worked up about.

    tom swift in reply to guyjones. | February 15, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Your suspicions are overwrought, even bizarre. You sound like the type who’d believe that an old lady who lived alone with a bunch of cats is almost certainly a witch.

      guyjones in reply to tom swift. | February 15, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Really? They’re “bizarre?” Posing a question about a defendant’s alcohol intake, social history and emotional state is “bizarre?” Please, spare me your hyperbolic and simplistic reductions.

      And, frankly, your response is utterly infantile. You seem to me to be the type of person who, when he comes into contact with a viewpoint that is at variance with his own, stoops to silly personal insults.

      I posed some reasonable food for thought, and my personal opinions. If you disagree with them, you might formulate a civil response that makes reasoned arguments in support of your position, rather than the intellectually lazy and vapid response which you composed.

      Spot on analysis!

      @ Tom Swift:

      Spot on analysis!

    Gremlin1974 in reply to guyjones. | February 15, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    The question of Dunn’s alcohol consumption has a easy answer. According to testimony he didn’t actually drink that much and even that was spread out over time. So simple factors come into play, given his size and probable tissue absorption the alcohol was most likely not a factor.

    Also, I would say that someone who was stopping to buy “Wine and chips” is probably someone who drinks frequently, maybe not to excess, but more than me anyway, therefore he would have a fairly high tolerance. Now this is pure speculation on my part, but it seems to fit the testimony and what I have seen.

Wow. If the jury wants to know if they can have to apply the law of SD for each and every count. Also, they want to know if use of deadly force standard is the same for every count. Judge Healey says they must consider each count separately for use of force and self-defense.

I think this means the jury is weighing a conviction of use of deadly force differently for the four victims. In other words, they appear to be leaning toward a conviction of unreasonable use of deadly force against all of the kids except for the Davis kid. (Murder 1/2; Attempted M1/2)

Andrew: “Transferred Intent”? If I mean to kill Victim A and miss, and I kill Victim B instead, won’t my “intent to kill” transfer from Victim A to Victim B, even though I had no intent to kill Victim B? What about SD? If I have the right to used deadly force in self defense and shoot at A and kill B, won’t my SD right transfer?

Is this inconsistent if the jury holds that Dunn is justified in shooting Davis, but not justified in shooting at the other three? (Possible verdict: Not guilty Murder 1 or 2 in shooting Davis; guilty of Attempted Murder 1 or 2 against the other three occupants?

    tom swift in reply to Redneck Law. | February 15, 2014 at 10:35 am

    The way the prosecution has tried to define the concept of “premeditated” with the flashcard (or whatever those blue things are called) during close, just about anything except accident would be “premeditated”. If so, if Dunn intended to, and tried to, shoot Person A but instead shot Person B, “premeditated” would seem to be out. Of course in this case no Person B was shot, although one could claim that three were shot at.

    The three final shots at the car were into the corner where Davis was located. However Dunn didn’t testify that it was his intent to continue shooting at Davis (the only one whom he claimed, or fantasized, was a deadly threat) as the SUV retreated; I only recall him mentioning the “keep their heads down” theory.

    “Andrew: “Transferred Intent”? If I mean to kill Victim A and miss, and I kill Victim B instead, won’t my “intent to kill” transfer from Victim A to Victim B, even though I had no intent to kill Victim B? What about SD? If I have the right to used deadly force in self defense and shoot at A and kill B, won’t my SD right transfer?”

    Is this inconsistent if the jury holds that Dunn is justified in shooting Davis, but not justified in shooting at the other three? (Possible verdict: Not guilty Murder 1 or 2 in shooting Davis; guilty of Attempted Murder 1 or 2 against the other three occupants?”

    Yes, that’s how transferred intent would work,but that’s not what happened here, at least in terms of how jury appears to be analyzing the action.

    Seems clear they are viewing as three distinct acts:

    First burst, three shots, killed Jordan Davis–maybe accept SD there?.

    Second burst, four shots, three hits, into door of Kevin Thompson–maybe convict on attempt on KT, but not on Brunson Leland and Kevin Storns? Or apply SD to this burst, as well?

    Third burst, three shots hitting fleeing SUV to (as Dunn claimed) “keep their head” down–maybe convict on throwing missile charge, decline to apply SD there?

    Keep in mind that even just a conviction on the throwing missile charge can be sentenced to 20 years.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      “Keep in mind that even just a conviction on the throwing missile charge can be sentenced to 20 years.”

      Add to that the caveat that he cannot be sentenced on the beefs he beat. If the judge jacks up the sentence (assuming he beats the other charges) because of any aspect of the other charges, it will be reversed.

Jury Questions and response (Sat 2/15 10 AM:

(1) Is the defense of self-defense separate for each person in each count? A: “Yes.”

(2) Are we determining if deadly force is justified against each person in each count? A: “Yes.”

(3) Or if we determine deadly force is justified against one person, is it justified against others? A: “No. Self defense and justifiable use of deadly force applies separately to each count.”

Could be grounds for appeal.

IMHO, If one person in the vehicle created a situation in which the defendant was justified in the use of deadly force as a means of self-defense, the defendant’s use of that force cannot be seen as an attempt to injure/kill others in the vehicle.

    TheBK: that is what I meant in raising transferred intent. There was no instruction asked or given regarding transferred intent. IF the shooting was seen as one act, rather than 3 separate acts, then Dunn’s state of mind should be treated as the same for all ten shots. Thus, reasonable to shoot at Davis, reasonable for the other seven shots.
    I’m not saying this is what I believe, just raising a point. I think defense counsel missed a huge opportunity to convince jury it was one response to a perceived threat.

Remember the shooting in New York a couple of years ago? The cops ended up shooting innocent people while shooting at the bad guy. The cops (as far as I know) where not charged, criminally.

    “Transferred intent” simply means the intent of the shooter is transferred from the person he intended to shoot to the person he actually shot.

    If the intent to shoot the first person was criminal in nature, that criminal intent transfers over to having shot the second person.

    But if the intent to shoot the first person was lawful in nature, then it’s that LAWFUL intent that transfers over to having shot the second person. (I’m putting aside issues of criminal negligence, which would be a totally separate charge specific to the second person struck.)

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    For the NYPD, they actually get marksmanship commendations if they at least hit SOMEONE.

    MarkS in reply to TheBK. | February 15, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    There was an incident in NYC when the cops missed the perp and wounded two by-standers and the bad guy was charged with the woundings as if he had fired the gun. Of course a discussion of the NYPD’s marksmanship abilities would fill the page.

FYI, I’ve added to this post video of Judge Healey answering the jurors most recent questions re: applying SD to different individuals, charges.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

IANAL, but as I understand it

1) ‘shooting to keep their heads down’ is not a legally accepted reason. Tactical opinions not withstanding.

2) When a person is fleeing you, you have no ‘self defense’ basis to shoot him.

3) This would then have to apply to a vehicle full of people fleeing you.

4) Thusly, at a minimum, assuming MD had no basis to know at that time that Davis or anyone else was dead or dying, he is guilty of 4 counts of attempted murder, one for each person shot at, for the last three shots.

    tom swift in reply to pjm. | February 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    #2 is an oversimplification.

    You can only use force against someone to stop an attack which threatens imminent death or grievous bodily harm.

    In general, an attacker who changes his mind and runs away from you presents no such threat.

    In such an event, your use of force is not justified.

    However, an attacker can be moving in a direction away from you and still persist in his attack, thanks to the miracle of projectile weapons.

    That condition would be satisfied by the shotgun. If it existed. If it didn’t exist, well, that’s why we have trials.

    #1 is an oversimplification, for the same reason. The pertinent question remains – was the particular use of force intended to stop a deadly attack.

      “#2 is an oversimplification.”

      Yes, they CAN. However, your belief in that must be that of ‘a reasonable person’.

      If I KNOW for a fact someone has not shot at me at all, in fact I only THINK I caught a BRIEF GLIMPSE of 4 inches of something that ‘MIGHT be a gun – or a STICK, I’m not sure’ (MD said this to the police, which statement is in evidence), then it becomes a matter for the jury as to whether my claimed belief that ‘they would turn around and shoot for the first time as they run away’ was a ‘reasonable basis’ for shooting as they run.

      “#1 is an oversimplification, for the same reason. The pertinent question remains – was the particular use of force intended to stop a deadly attack.”

      As above.

        tom swift in reply to pjm. | February 15, 2014 at 1:25 pm

        It is indeed up to the jury to decided what the “reasonable man” would find reasonable. Which is why your postulates #1 and #2 are oversimplifcations; they are attempts to reduce jury deliberations to arbitrary rules which simply don’t apply.

          No, I merely say that the points I raised are points for the jury to consider. And that they are supposed to be guided by the law as given in their instructions (not their own beliefs or other understandings) in doing so.

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | February 15, 2014 at 1:48 pm

          And I merely said that your points are oversimplified. I see no value in the jury considering oversimplified points; I expect the defense would agree.

It seems to me that at this time, Judge Healey has been running a fair trial, regardlesss of various doubts about him expressed here. True ?

    tom swift in reply to pjm. | February 15, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    I’d say excruciatingly fair, but glacially slow. He can kill more time talking about when the jurors should have lunch than it probably takes some of them to actually eat it.

      A man may go to jail for the rest of his life. Or he may be set free.

      There should be no hurry in figuring out which.

        tom swift in reply to pjm. | February 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm

        Leisurely deliberation is certainly appropriate for the jury. But you were opining about the judge.

          No, I was opining about the entire trial process. And the judge is a rather important part of that. He should not be in a hurry, IMO.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | February 15, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      In the Judges defense, he usually doesn’t handle this kind of trial at all, then throw in the fact that its a trial that has grabbed national media attention, and all the bizzarness of it before he was given the case, he was kind of thrown into the deep end of the pool, but he seems to be treading water pretty well now.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | February 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      I much prefer this guy to “whats her name” from the Zimmerman trial. He seems to be a pretty likable and approachable guy. Frankly, I like that he shares anecdotes and what not, like that horrid door buzzer.

        Healey’s done fine. Of course, it hasn’t really been a case that required much judgement, and he hasn’t had to deal with the issue (or choose not deal with it, as the case may be) of the State hiding exculpatory evidence in discovery.

        Which is a good thing. When judgment calls had to be made, in the pre-trial setting, he’s seemed indecisive. Given that’s been avoided mostly during trial, he’s done fine.

        His decision to deny the defense’s request to have their dopey “acute stress response” expert is going to come back to haunt him, I fear–and I fear it more with every hour the jury is out deliberating.

        Were it my decision, I would have let the expert take the stand, then have Corey eviscerate him on cross. But that would have taken another half day, I guess.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

If Dunn is found not guilty for the murder of Jordan, then any bullets fired for the intent of killing him in self-defense could not lead to a guilty of the throwing a missile charge for those bullets fired?

    tom swift in reply to willow. | February 15, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    As I understand it, correct. The shots fired in justifiable self defense are just that, justifiable. It’s the shots determined to be not fired in justifiable self defense which would lead to the missile charge.

    With a known ten shots fired, there are certainly plenty to go around.

    The jury is free to consider each burst of fire–even each individual round–distinctly for determining whether it was the justifiable use of deadly force in self-defense.

    They could easily decided that the three shots into Jordan Davis were lawfully justified in self-defense, but the following bullets were NOT justified.

    Factual issue, up to the jury’s discretion.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    “..any bullets fired for the intent of killing him ..”

    Any bullets fired for the intent of killing him are Murder 1.

    Bullets fired for the intent of DEFENDING YOURSELF OR ANOTHER are ‘self defense’. ‘Reasonable’ self defense or not is for the jury to decide.

    In self defense , you shoot (or take other actions) with the intent to PROTECT, the intent to STOP an assault, NEVER ‘the intent to kill’.

to a guilty verdict

the answers the judge gave them seem as though they are going to put the jury into a corner ..

how can you find him justified in shooting in self defense and also find him guilty of attempted murder .. there’s no attempted murder if he’s found justified in shooting .. should be attempted manslaughter ..

do they have the option of convicting him for attempted manslaughter on the other passengers ?

    Just out of curiosity, how does one define “attempted manslaughter”?

    An unlawful killing with the intent to kill is murder.

    An attempt to commit an unlawful killing with the intent to kill is attempted murder.

    An unlawful killing absent the intent to kill is manslaughter. (There was merely an intent to injure, not kill.)

    An attempt to commit an unlawful killing absent the intent to kill (with merely an intent to injure) is . . . what, exactly? Presumably the victim is still alive, or we’d be looking at simply manslaughter.

    Seems to me that if you injure/contact the victim in that process you’ve committed a battery or aggravated battery, or perhaps an attempted battery/aggravated battery.

    Further, would seem that if you merely frighten the victim in that process you’ve committed an assault or aggravated assault, or perhaps an attempted assault/aggravated assault.

    I’m not claiming there’s no such thing as attempted manslaughter on any state’s books, but sitting here waiting for the verdict to come in it occurs to me that the elements of such a charge are not immediately obvious.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      BrokeGopher in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 15, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      From what I saw on FL senate’s site, the equivalent of “attempted manslaughter” is “aggravated assault”. It’s a lesser included charge in attempted murder 1.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Those questions sound like they decided he was justified in shooting Jordan Davis, but not the other “yoots”.

    Why do you assume that the question is coming from all 12?

    I have served on only 2 juries. But neither one reached the deliberation stage. So I have no idea what the mechanism is for asking a question. Do they all need to agree on a question?

    I could think of a scenario where 1 or more are leaning in the direction you suggest, but nothing is settled. It is even possible that that person(s) could hang on the other charges. Perhaps they are close to agreement on the Attempt charges but not close on the others.

    Do they have to go from top count down? If they have to go from top to bottom you are probably right. But someone else needs to clarify that.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Rational. | February 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Juries can organize anyway they want, but they have to submit questions to the judge through the foreman. I don’t think the foreman is going to submit any question to the judge that is not relevant to the discussions.

        I wouldn’t have offered the scenario if I didn’t think that one or more jurors might find the question relevant. If I was a juror leaning towards guilty on the Attempted charges, but not the Murder I would want to know if that was an allowable verdict.

        But I don’t see how one could conclude that they had already decided on the Murder charges unless they had to start from the top.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 15, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Darn you MTLD, now I gotta pull out my copy of “My cousin Vinny”, lol.

(1) Is the defense of self-defense separate for each person in each count? A: “Yes.”
(2) Are we determining if deadly force is justified against each person in each count? A: “Yes.”
(3) Or if we determine deadly force is justified against one person, is it justified against others? A: “No. Self defense and justifiable use of deadly force applies separately to each count.”

I am not sure I understand this can some one please explain this. If one person is threatening me with a gun and I shoot him, just because there are other people with him I can be convicted of attempted murder if they didn’t threaten me, doesn’t guilty by association come into play here. If some one is sitting outside of a bank while a passenger goes inside and robs the bank aren’t they both guilty? I mean I can understand if the person in the car has no idea of the intent of the person in the bank, but in the bank situation wouldn’t it require that the person in the car offer some kind of proof that they were unknowing of the intent of the person in the bank.

    tom swift in reply to starride. | February 15, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    If one person is threatening me with a gun and I shoot him, just because there are other people with him I can be convicted of attempted murder if they didn’t threaten me

    If you shoot them too even if they aren’t attacking you, that’s correct, you’re in trouble. You can use force to defend yourself, but if you aren’t being attacked by someone, you have no justification for using force against him.

    If some one is sitting outside of a bank while a passenger goes inside and robs the bank aren’t they both guilty?

    Guilty of robbing the bank, yes. Guilty of attacking you, no. The state can prosecute the robber and his accomplice for robbing the bank. But you can’t shoot either one for robbing the bank. And you can’t shoot either one in self-defense unless he was attacking you.

      tom swift in reply to tom swift. | February 15, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Another way to put it: in a defensive situation, you are not determining anyone’s guilt or innocence, you are protecting your own safety. That’s all.

Just FYI, for those not hanging out at their computer or glued to Twitter on such a lovely weekend, our (NE Florida) local news station is going to send a text out when there’s a verdict announced (and there’ll be 30-45 minutes before the verdict is actually read).

Text “ALERT” to 70123 and WOKV will send you breaking news announcements, including on the verdict in this trial. You can then text “STOP” to the same number once you no longer wish to receive local Jacksonville news alerts.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm

If they hang on the last three bullets, will the judge grant Dunn bail?

‘(1) Is the defense of self-defense separate for each person in each count? A: “Yes.”’

This question is very confusing unless it only applies to the missile charge, because as I understand it he is charged with murder of Davis, then 3 counts of attempted murder for each of the other folks in the SUV. The missile charge is the only one that actually applies to all 4, right?

So maybe what they are asking if if we go for self defense on Davis can we still convict on the missile charge for the other 3.

Not that I disagree, but I wonder what the petition outside the courthouse that Angela Corey step down as State Attorney is about?

Is it because she doesn’t get the convictions they want, or is it because she deserves it?

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    It’s because they are starting to get
    worried that Dunn will get off.

      I would worry about Dunn getting off completely when absolutely no evidence corroborating his story was presented during trial. I am not talking about things that were discussed on this board or elsewhere. I am talking about evidence presented to the jury.

      Dunn claims Davis was exiting the car. Where is the evidence? Where is the witness? Where is the expert witness that the door was open when the shots were fired.

      Dunn claims Davis pointed a shotgun. Where is the shotgun?

      If Dunn can get off on that, I am free to shoot any black man; as long as there are no witnesses. If I am caught, I simply say the ‘thug’ I shot had an accomplice and they were attempting to rob me. I shot one, but I missed his accomplice. The accomplice got away with the gun. I ran because I was worried the accomplice would come back.

        tom swift in reply to Rational. | February 15, 2014 at 5:29 pm

        He doesn’t need evidence corroborating his story. The prosecution needs proof that his story is false, and the crime and his guilt are real. Not suspicion, even very well-grounded suspicion (and there’s plenty of that here), and not the sort of vapid sloganeering (like “Dunn silenced Davis, but he cannot silence the truth”) we saw from the prosecution during close.

        Proof. There’s nothing else quite like it.

          Rational in reply to tom swift. | February 15, 2014 at 5:43 pm

          I was suggesting that their is reasonable doubt that he acted in SD. Where is the evidence to corroborate SD? According to the legal experts on this Board, reasonable doubt that it was self defense invalidates the defense story.

          As I already pointed out, there is no evidence, other than Dunn’s uncorroborated testimony, that it was SD. None was offered. The cross of the state’s experts could suffice. But I believe Andrew did not think the defense had dented them.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | February 15, 2014 at 5:56 pm

          @Rational

          Andrew please help me out if I am off on any of this.

          First of all remember he is Innocent until proven guilty, BEYOND a reasonable doubt. That means the prosecution has to remove the reasonable doubt through evidence and testimony.

          When a persona says they used deadly force to defend themselves they have to meet a production standard, which means they have to produce enough evidence to have Self Defense considered, which can be just your own testimony.

          Once that claim is made you have pretty much admitted that you shot and killed the person, but that it was necessary to defend your own life. At that point the prosecution has an additional job, in that they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that is wasn’t self defense.

          Basically, you are wrong on the point that Dunn has to prove it was self defense, its the prosecution that has to prove that it wasn’t self defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

          That means that if there is a feeling that it could have been self defense then it should be ruled self defense.

The judge told the jury that self-defense and justifiable force applies separately to each count, that self-defense to one doesn’t carry over to the others. Seems to me that the jury was asking about transferred intent and the judge essentially told them it doesn’t apply which is why Dunn objected. Am I off here? Just strikes me that a juror could walk away from the judge’s answers thinking Dunn was acting in self-defense with the last volley and still convict him of attempted murder of the the other passengers.

Thanks.

    What would be the issue of transferred intent in this case? I don’t see it.

    Three separate sets of shots.

    First: three rounds–Jordan Davis, either SD or murder.

    Second: four round (three hits)–either again murder of Jordan Davis was target (as Dunn claims, not very credibly given pause from first burst), maybe covered by SD, or attempted murder of Kevin Thompson was target, maybe covered by SD.

    Third: three rounds–Dunn says “to keep their heads down”, either SD, or throwing missiles, or that AND the attempted murder of the other three in car.

    In each case a separate decision can be made for SD justification.

    None of them involves transferred intent.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Let me just add, if I heard it correctly, that before the judge replied to the jury he initially proposed telling them “not necessarily” and spoke about them possibly determining that the last volley was not self-defense in which case there would be no blanket.

      Then my understanding of transferred intent is wrong. I thought, generally, if you shoot to defend yourself against one person you can’t be guilty against others who may be around because self-defense blankets you. As such, if a juror feels Dunn was justified in shooting at Davis then he can’t be guilty of attempted murder against the others with those shots. However, the judge seemed to say that’s not the case, that there is no blanket, that self-defense can’t carry over from Davis to the others.

What is count 1? Murder 1? If so, it looks like Dunn’s goose is cooked.

Then my understanding of transferred intent is wrong. I thought, generally, if you shoot to defend yourself against one person you can’t be guilty against others who may be around because self-defense blankets you. As such, if a juror feels Dunn was justified in shooting at Davis then he can’t be guilty of attempted murder against the others with those shots. However, the judge seemed to say that’s not the case, that there is no blanket, that self-defense can’t carry over from Davis to the others.

    Your understanding of transferred intent is not off, but you’re misapplying it to these facts.

    The jury is looking at each burt of fire separately.

    If they believed Dunn was justified in his first burst of fire, and he’d accidentally hit someone other than Davis with one of those shots, his transferred (good) intent would follow that errant round for criminal liability purposes.

    But they could equally believe that his second set of shots was an independent use of force, independent decision to use force, from the first bunch, and perhaps NOT justified as self-defense. If so, his “intent” from the first burst doesn’t carry over to the second (or, for that matter, the third) burst. They are wholly separate.

    Frankly, it makes sense given the considerable pause between each round of fire.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      “The jury is looking at each burst of fire separately.”

      How do you know that ? Or are you assuming it ? Could they not be (some or all of them) thinking in terms of ‘this was all one 15 or 20 second act’ regardless of a few seconds pause between volleys ?

        I’m assuming, based on the disparate outcomes for each of the charges. If applied SD to all, would all be not guilty, and if discarded SD for all, would all be guilty. I expect.

        But just an educated guess.

        I’m predicting guilty on the “thrown missiles” charge, on some variation of each of the three attempt charges (maybe a lesser for each), and a hung jury on the M1 (Jordan Davis) charge.

        If so, I fully expect State will re-try him on the M1, if only for political reasons.

        Also, if so, Dunn’s looking at minimum 20 years (if sentences concurrent, as would be the norm), and up to 60-80 if Healey decides to use his discretion to set aside the default of 921.16 (http://is.gd/6nksxO) and sentence him consecutively. (But in that case I fully expect Dunn would appeal, as it’s certainly not the norm to do so.)

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Okay, thanks. It just seems to me that the judge may’ve allowed the jury to believe that transferred intent does not apply even with those self-defense volleys and I’d be concerned if I was defending Dunn.

Humm, I like that version of the “Allen Charge”, give the weaknesses of your own position.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 15, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Hmmm. Now it sounds like guilty on the lessers.
Or maybe some kind of verdict on the missles.

MouseTheLuckyDog | February 15, 2014 at 5:06 pm

I’m tired of trying to read tea leaves. Could be they decided the attempted murder charges are bogus ( that his rage was focused on Dunn ). They can’t decide on whether the shots were justified.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Sorry I meant his rage was focused on Davis.
    Now I’m going to make coffe and chuck the grounds without looking at them.

      Dunn testified that he didn’t have any rage. He was de-escaling. If he was enraged, he could have mistaken anything for a gun.

        tom swift in reply to Rational. | February 15, 2014 at 6:07 pm

        Fear could lead to the same delusion.

        We do have one bit of testimony which at least hints at rage. That was from the first witness (? I think), the general contractor, Mr Smith, parked several spaces to the right. But I think he’s the only one.

    BrokeGopher in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | February 15, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    If they go guilty on the missiles, they almost have to go guilty on the attempteds, probably 2nd degree. Nobody would take the position that he shot into a vehicle but did not try to kill any of the occupants. My guess is there’s one holdout who has reasonable doubt as to Self-Defense on the murder charge.

Andrew, is it just be or does their seem to be a “lack” of “expert testimony” in this case, especially for a Murder 1 case?

    Seems Dunn has long since run out of money. Explains the goofy “acute stress response” expert they brought in at end at the last minute–that guy probably willing to work for free on the chance he gets his first “expert testimony in court” appearance.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Andrew – could they in fact be hung over 1st degree vs 2nd degree (vs any other included lessers in the 1st count charge) ?

If unable to agree, could they in fact have a mistrial on that count, even though they all agree he’s guilty of SOMETHING on that count ?

    “Andrew – could they in fact be hung over 1st degree vs 2nd degree (vs any other included lessers in the 1st count charge) ?”

    Yes, but I doubt it. If that was the case I’d expect a compromise verdict after four days of deliberations. If this firmly apart, usually very different perspectives, not slight variations like M1 v. M2.

    “If unable to agree, could they in fact have a mistrial on that count, even though they all agree he’s guilty of SOMETHING on that count ?”

    There’s no mistrial here–a mistrial is where the entire proceeding is tossed because of some misconduct or other catastrophe. Nothing like that here. Worst case, they’re hung on the M1 charge, State free to re-try (and will).

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Yes, I would think in my hypothetical, if 1 or more is holding out for 1st degree, and the others for 2nd or manslaughter, at some point in time the ones holding out for 1st would say ‘OK, OK, I’ll go along with 2nd or manslaughter rather than see him walk / ‘we hang’ on it’.

      re ‘mistrial’ – OK, I was misunderstanding that vs ‘hung’. Tks.

For what it’s worth I think due to their language one could presume the jury is deadlocked on degree of murder not self-defense. They worded their note to the judge that they couldn’t come to a verdict on count one or all the other lessors included. Why add “lessors included” if they hadn’t dismissed the self-defense claim? Then again, I’ve found the language used by this jury in their questions to be awkward.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to DennisD. | February 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Or it could be that 3 think it was self defense 8 think it was 2nd degree, and 1 thinks first degree, trying to predict the way they are thinking from a note is just silly.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to DennisD. | February 15, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Who knows? I’ve run out of tea leaves, and thrown out my coffee grounds. SO it isn’t me.

Where’s Jack Klugman when you really need him ?

Dunn has the right to a defense. With the negative facts against Dunn, how else could his attorney have properly defended him?

So guilty on all 4, with the ‘gun enhancement’ on the three ‘attempted 2nd degree’.

Andrew – how to the sentences add up, min and max ? Is the ‘firearm discharge’ sequential on each ?

I notice Dunn is remanded until sentencing, no ‘bail out until other charge decided’.

    Each of the convictions for attempted M2 carries a mandatory minimum of 20 years, due in part to Florida’s “10-20-Life” law.

    The throwing missiles conviction carries an up to 15 year sentence.

    NORMALLY these would all run concurrently, having occurred in a single event and covered in a single indictment. That would yield a max sentence of 20 years.

    But Florida law does allow the sentencing judge to make them run concurrently. In which case Dunn is looking at a minimum of 60 years, and potential of 75 years. Effectively a life sentence for a 40+ year old.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Well that’s that, for now.

Great coverage and discussion of the trial and the deliberation period, Mr Branca and Prof Jacobson. Much appreciated!

News conference waiting to start at (take the spaces ou t

below)

news4jax . com /news/watch-michael-dunn-trial/-/475880/23432654/-/1chosjz/-/index.html

BTW, Andrew – i suggest you start a new blog entry for ‘the verdict is in’ or such. This one is getting WAY too long.

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