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Zimmerman case was everything Dunn case was not

Zimmerman case was everything Dunn case was not

Independently verifiable justifiable use of deadly force versus an incredible unsupported story.

The Zimmerman and Dunn cases have been lumped together by many commentators, but the cases had almost nothing in common.

Based on the evidence presented in court, the Zimmerman jury got it right. Based on the evidence presented in court, the Dunn jury got the murder count wrong in deadlocking — although until they speak, we can’t know why.

Zimmerman’s explanation for the use of deadly force was consistent with eyewitnesses, medical evidence, ballistics, and the forensic evidence.

Dunn’s explanation for the use of deadly force lacked credibility, had no independent supporting evidence, and was inconsistent with his conduct after the shooting.

The only thing in common was the race of the person shot. It’s unfortunate that some people, like Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic, view the case entirely through a racial lens, not the evidence:

Jordan Davis had a mother and a father. It did not save him. Trayvon Martin had a mother and a father. They could not save him. My son has a father and mother. We cannot protect him from our country, which is our aegis and our assailant. We cannot protect our children because racism in America is not merely a belief system but a heritage, and the inability of black parents to protect their children is an ancient tradition.

That’s their problem, not ours. 

When the choice is racial politics and grievances, or the actual evidence in a case, I’ll take the evidence every time, and so should juries.

In the wake of the Dunn verdict, Zimmerman was interviewed by CNN, an interview that reflected how the media too cannot accept the facts of the Zimmerman case:

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In the on deck circle is:

Arkansas man guns down 15-year-old girl for egging son’s car as a prank
By David Edwards

http://is.gd/wiWpHs

Let’s see how the Lefty Media covers this one..

    what an idiot.

    Awing1 in reply to JP. | February 17, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    I’m guessing they won’t cover it much at all.

      David Yotham in reply to Awing1. | February 17, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Sad, but I must agree with you. The liberals are more focused on exploiting perceptions than supporting right over wrong. The killer of that little girl should be serving his time right next to Mr. Dunn. Killed for egging a car? Insane! The media seems to have no interest in supporting that agenda though – I would love to be proved wrong.

        It’s utterly enraging.

        Her life would have meant more to them if she was killed by a white man. There may be the occasional racist on the conservative side of things, but racism is endemic on the extreme liberal side, it defines them. Adrian’s senseless murder is meaningless to them because of the race of her alleged murderer.

        True conservatives don’t care what race she was, or what race her killer was, only that she died and didn’t deserve to. I can remember being 16 and catching a popular girl and her guy friend taping up my car with duct tape. I was mad at her at first, but found out later it was because she liked me, but didn’t know how to talk to me because we were in different circles. We ended up dating for a little while, it didn’t work out, but the point is, you do stupid, silly stuff at that age. Someone who’s supposed to be an adult murdering someone over that stupid, silly stuff is enraging, regardless of race. I can just imagine that girl, with her young, 15 year old mind, thinking this will get this guy to notice her.

But the Zimmerman case was so much easier to work with. The law, acting as it should to protect those that were clearly just protecting themselves, meant that Zimmerman wasn’t even arrested. It could be played up as the good ole boys club. Dunn was arrested as soon as authorities could find him.

In looking deeper into the history of the common law duty to retreat, I found some interesting parallels to today. The common-law duty to retreat came to us from England, where the Monarchy implemented it to maintain their monopoly on the legitimate use of force, we couldn’t be trusting the commoners with that business, could we? In the mid-1800’s, several states in the US began to reject that view. Makes a lot of sense, belief in the power of independence and self-reliance is what prompted our founders to break free of England in the first place.

And here we sit today, one the one hand, those who reject the wholesale placement of power and responsibility on the sovereign supporting the right to personal defense and deference to independent decision-making in a tough situation, and those who’d rather just hand over everything to the all-wise government.

    Best I can recall from reading history, the monarchy ceased to be a significant factor in domestic British law enforcement long before American independence. Yes, things were done in the name of “the Crown,” but in name only: power was firmly in the hands of Parliament and whichever party ran it at a given time. Of course political accountability didn’t work the same way in the American colonies because Parliament treated them like, well, colonies.

    Also, I don’t think English law ever had a duty to retreat as known in American law. Demonstrating one was acting in self-defense rather than revenge was the key issue. The catch came when Parliament cracked down on carrying weapons to the point of making a lack of a duty to retreat rather meaningless.

      tom swift in reply to JBourque. | February 18, 2014 at 4:29 am

      The catch came when Parliament cracked down on carrying weapons

      As I recall, the restrictions were on Catholics. Perhaps not surprising when one considers the problems Parliament had had with Catholics after the throne passed to the Stuarts after Elizabeth’s death.

      The whole “freedom of religion” thing was one of the more radical innovations incorporated in the new US government; a major break with English custom, and a relatively unpopular one with rank-and-file Americans.

        Well, I think this is a case of, first they came for the Catholics. But, my cursory glance at the issue dug up an example where, to use California’s modern term, you needed to show good cause for having had a metal bar on your person when walking the highways. A general fear of highwaymen was not good enough; you needed to have a specific concern at a specific place in time. Lack of a duty to retreat is pretty meaningless when an armed attacker (even if the weapon is merely a sturdy piece of wood) attacks you and you are left with nothing but flesh and bone for defense.

          tphillip in reply to JBourque. | February 18, 2014 at 11:27 am

          So when the person said “I’m going to stab you” that’s still not enough for self defense?

          Pay tell, what is enough? How much blood must be spilled before you can engage in self defense? Frankly, if someone spewed all that at me and then said “I’m going to stab you” I’m going to take them at their word and react accordingly.

          tphillip in reply to JBourque. | February 18, 2014 at 11:28 am

          Wrong place to respond and not edit button. Winning!

        Narniaman in reply to tom swift. | February 19, 2014 at 10:57 pm

        Regarding the English and the “Freedom of Religion” concept. . . . .one of my distant ancestors, Thomas Maxwell IIRC, was a Baptist preacher in Virginia who was tossed in jail in about 1770 by the British for “preaching without a license.” He continued preaching – through the jail windows! There was a local young attorney who pleaded his case and was able to eventually arrange for his release, and quite a friendship was struck, as three individuals from my ancestor’s family married three individuals from the young attorney’s family.

        In 1776 both my ancestor and the young attorney fought the British and both survived. Ten years later, the not so young now attorney was one of the delegates from Virginia who went to Philadelphia for the Constitutional convention.

        Given his interest in the concept of “Freedom of Religion”, it’s not surprising that the attorney was very instrumental in drafting the first amendment to the constitution guaranteeing Freedom of Religion along with our other cherished freedoms.

        Oh yeah. . . . that attorney’s name was Patrick Henry. . . . . . .

        I tear up every time I tell this story!!!

      Awing1 in reply to JBourque. | February 18, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      That’s not how I’ve read the history:

      the right of natural defense did not include attacking the assailant, and, to excuse homicide by a plea of self-defense, “it must appear that the slayer had no other possible means of escaping from his assailant.”

      Sydnor v. State, 365 Md. 205, 212, 776 A.2d 669, 673 (2001)(Quoting William Blackstone, 4 Commentaries on the Laws of England 184 (1769))

Doug Wright Old Grouchy | February 17, 2014 at 11:11 pm

Chris Cuomo: At least he doesn’t slobber when he talks as does his brother, Gov. Andrew, when the Gov. gives a speech.

Still, Chris Cuomo has an agenda, which he doesn’t really want to admit. Zimmerman, in Cuomo’s view, is guilty because, the reason truly has yet to be clearly stated. Still, Zimmerman is guilty and must pay for Cuomo to be happy.

In a way, Zimmerman did the right thing in allowing himself to be interviewed by Cuomo yet he needs to stay low to the extent he can. Pray for Zimmerman’s soul.

    Phillep Harding in reply to Doug Wright Old Grouchy. | February 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I cannot play the video. Rule of thumb: Always have an ally record the encounter. Never rely on the reporters to be accurate.

    Even if the reporter wants to be accurate, there are always others ready to make changes before the article or news interview, or whatever, is released.

    Always have your own copy.

The interesting thing about contemporary American society is that no one — certainly not the mainstream media, the black “leaders,” nor our politicians — wants to have a conversation about the resentment, spite and embittered attitudes harbored by many blacks towards white people, often manifesting itself in violence, of which the “knockout game” is only the lastest manifestation.

I live in a major metro city on the East coast. Tonight, just a few hours ago, I had a disturbing interaction with a black man. I’ve lived in the area for 2.5 years without incident, but, I had predicted that this sort of encounter would eventually, inevitably take place, because I’ve sensed a palpable hostility among many black residents when I walk the streets, manifesting itself in stony gazes and other, tangible, barely veiled hostile vibes. I literally was pondering when something like this would happen, thinking that I was due for this kind of interaction, just a mere two days ago.

Anyway, I was walking to a friend’s house for a movie night, around 7:30 pm. Residential neighborhood, relatively narrow sidewalks. I was making a right turn from my street onto a cross street. About 30 feet (and a few seconds earlier) prior to making the right turn, I could see that this black guy was walking in the same direction as I would be walking, after the turn, and that I would be turning at the same time as he would be walking straight ahead, and that we would end up being close together at the same time. Anyway, I make the turn, pressed up close to the iron fence on my right, allowing plenty of room for him to walk on the left, and pass me, should be wish.

And, as I’m walking, I sense that this guy is literally walking right on my heels, so, I turn around to see what his deal is; I don’t like being stalked, basically, and I appreciate some personal space. And he’s a big guy, around 6′ 2″ (I’m 5′ 9″) and, as soon as I turn around, he stops, almost steps on my shoes, and starts launching into a diatribe about how I had walked into his “lane,” all sorts of nonsensical, barely intelligible hostile invective. I reasoned from his unhinged manner and tone that talking back to him would be unwise and simply wouldn’t accomplish anything substantive, so, I continued walking, with him continuing to spew venom behind me, including such gems as “I hate you motherf*ckers” (presumably, white people), and, most chillingly, “I’m going to stab you.” Seriously, my adrenaline was flowing by this point and I was fully convinced that this guy was capable and willing to do this. I basically walked at a fast pace to get some distance between us, took off my gloves so that, if we did get in a brawl, my punches might have some affect, and walked to my friend’s apartment without further incident.

But, this incident definitely shook me up. This guy berated me for no reason and threatened my life, all because he was some embittered, insecure, hate-filled black guy harboring enmity toward white people. I had been aware of the phenomenon of pervasive black hostility towards non-blacks in America before tonight, but, this incident has definitely given me some new insight.

I’m already looking into buying a telescoping baton for protection, something that I had considered doing months ago, and put off. I will not be unprepared the next time this happens, and, frankly, I don’t doubt that there will be a next time.

    Valerie in reply to guyjones. | February 17, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Ok, I’m going to tell you what I told my son when I sent him to DC for college: do not walk the streets alone, if you can help it. So very much just doesn’t happen if you have company.

    I almost said this on an earlier thread but I’m glad to say it here instead. This is a great example of how even though someone stalked you, made you feel uncomfortable and threatened, and even entered into a verbal tirade, would not have justified your turning around and beating him half to death in “self defense,” or for that matter, drawing a gun and shooting him multiple times in the chest. I don’t think the simple principles of self-defense are nearly as broken as people make them out to be.

    All the same, I wouldn’t stalk someone myself. Just in case.

    Phillep Harding in reply to guyjones. | February 18, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I believe that sort of weapon is restricted/prohibited in most areas.

    OTOH, it is much easier to conceal than is a firearm.

    pst314 in reply to guyjones. | February 18, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Every now and then, while walking downtown, a young black male approaching from the opposite direction will diagonally cross the sidewalk in order to walk into me if I don’t get out of his way. Sort of a pedestrian version of playing chicken. But if I mention this problem to liberals then they say I am a racist.

CNN is running some talking heads complaining because Dunn “wasn’t convicted.” The crawl line corrected that, but still…..

The man was convicted of attempted murder.

hey guys our ratings are down…call up that broke guy zimmerman and pay him to do a long-winded, meaningless baited interview with voice-overs to emphasize liberal talking points…that’ll get us back in the black!

Richard Aubrey | February 18, 2014 at 6:58 am

It’s hard to reproduce experiments in social issues with the rigor of hard science. But sometimes you come close. See the coverage of Roderick Scott’s killing of Christoper Cervini, and the subsequent acquittal.
BTW. Scott has an alias: (“who?”)
Question: Is it the death of a young punk that gets the media stirred up, or the racial lineup?
Pretty clear.

GuyJones,
Recommend looking at Andrew Branca’s website for up to date information regarding what types of weapons are legal in your locale, a baton may not be.
Also recommend you consider a self defense class. Just the fact that you turned around and faced your follower could have easily have gotten you killed since you had no defense. And could have gotten you labeled as the aggressor in the incident, one in which no one was witness and it was a he said/he said situation. You should have either crossed the street, turned into another location, etc. until the guy was no longer behind you, yet you could still see him and know where he was and what he was doing.
This isn’t meant as a blatant criticism, I’m just pointing out that everyone needs to be as prepared as possible to defend themselves and that includes doing everything possible to avoid a self defense situation. A good self defense class teaches you that, in addition to reviewing what additional weapons one can have that ups the chances of living.

Andrew, can you address the legal definition of premeditation? In Ohio it is defined as “by prior calculation or design”. Two items I have seen mentioned in the media trouble me.

First, the idea that premeditation “can occur in an instant”. Isn’t the the OPPOSITE of premeditation? Consider this comment from the local (Jacksonville, FL) newspaper;

“Premeditation can happen in an instant. When Dunn reached for his gun and decided to stay and shoot rather than drive away, he made a decision to commit murder. That is premeditation.”

The second, in what I believe to be one of the more insidious new angles of the anti-concealed carry movement, is that mere possession of a firearm – legal or illegal – is proof of intent to use it, and thus, what would otherwise be a 2nd degree “heat of the moment” homicide becomes Murder 1 because of the use of a firearm.

Thank you!

    gxm17 in reply to Eric M. | February 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    I’m guessing the legal definition varies from state to state. But deliberation and premeditation can take seconds, the time it takes to form a conscious intent to kill. Dunn removing his gun from the glove compartment and then loading it and then turning around and aiming at Jordan’s car door is enough time to form intent.

    From what I’ve read, most people seem split between murder 1 and murder 2, so it’s clearly a close call. I’m in the murder 1 camp because I didn’t buy Dunn’s self defense sotry and believe he intended to kill Jordan (out of anger, not fear) from the moment he went to get his gun from the glove box.

I think the premeditation theme is being bandied about because they want to link it to SYG, which all of the anti 2nd amendment want eliminated.
Talking head on CNN last night was yammering on about how Dunn had “stood his ground” and if that statute wasn’t there, he would have left the scene because he would have been obligated to retreat.Her words were that “SYG is an open invitation to shoot young black men whose music you don’t like”.
I kid you not, Mark O’Meara was on this panel and he didn’t respond to that comment.

    tom swift in reply to Uh Huh. | February 18, 2014 at 11:47 am

    the premeditation theme is being bandied about because they want to link it to SYG

    That, or worse; all the more reason to resist this onslaught of “newspeak”. The word “premeditation” means something, something which I suspect the legislature had in mind when they used it, and that meaning ain’t what Corey and her fellow travelers want it to be.

    Mark O’Meara was on this panel and he didn’t respond to that comment

    Despite the occasional hagiography which breaks out here at LI for O’Mara (I’m assume you mean him, and not the golfer O’Meara), he has some very peculiar and unattractive ideas about self defense and 2nd Amendment affairs in general. It’s all showcased on his blog at omaralawblog.com.

Sammy Finkelman | February 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Mark O’Meara’s op-ed piece on the verdict in the Florida Times-Union.

http://members.jacksonville.com/news/crime/2014-02-16/story/mark-omara-jury-did-its-duty-no-verdict-might-have-been-appropriate

“Angela Corey’s team needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Michael Dunn’s testimony was a lie, and defense attorney Cory Strolla needed to convincingly assert that Dunn’s fear was reasonable enough to justify defending himself with deadly force.”

“Self-defense cases have to be the toughest for jurors to deliberate because the difference between murder and self-defense depends on what the defendant felt in his heart. We asked each juror in the Dunn case to determine whether Dunn fired his weapon in anger or in fear when he shot Jordan Davis. Only Michael Dunn himself will ever know for sure. At some levels, we burdened the jury with an impossible task, and they knew if they got it wrong, they’d either be sending an innocent man to jail or letting a murderer go free. In this case, no verdict may very well been the most appropriate decision.”

“The problem is that sometimes a person can have genuine fear but be dead wrong about it. If Dunn truly feared for his life — and I think there were members of his jury who believed he did — then technically he’s not guilty. But the fact that his fear turned out to be unwarranted is deeply troubling because if we let people with unwarranted fears get away with killing, things can spiral out of control quickly.”

I think there’s also the issue is whether the fear is reasonable. There’s a limit to the level of stupidity you’re allowed to have.

Sammy Finkelman | February 18, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Another thought: Stand Your Ground may be completely irrelevant because in those circumstances there was no right to Stand your ground. Michael Dunn could only fire if there was no way out.

Why?

What you have here is that to defend himself against one person, if that was real, he had to be willing to kill 3 other probably or possibly innocent people.

This is, in effect, a hostage situation. When someone is holding hostages, it seems to me you would a duty to retreat in spite of any stand your ground law, because not doing so is depraved indifference t human life in most cases.

Even with the SYG law, there was no right for Michael Dunn to stand his ground, if he could safely retreat.

    Phillep Harding in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | February 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    How can there be a right to stand your ground and yet a duty to retreat?

    BTW, if SYG is wiped out, it means people have no right to travel through areas claimed by violent gangs. (“Oh, he should have known better than to try to walk through that neighborhood.”) This leads to the Balkanization of American cities and increases gang wars.

Sammy Finkelman | February 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Mark O’Meara sounds confused:

“When someone, by his actions and without justification, causes another to die, it’s called manslaughter. When someone kills another because he had a real fear that turned out to be unwarranted, it’s essentially an imperfect self-defense case. Without malice and intent, it’s certainly not first-degree murder — and without a depraved mind, it’s not second-degree murder. That means when an act of self-defense turns out not to be justified, it’s a type of manslaughter.”

    Where’s the confusion? That seems moderately straightforward. In a particular situation forcible self defense may not be justified by “reasonable man” standards, but that means that Dunn made a mistake, not necessarily that premeditation or depravity were involved.

Sammy Finkelman | February 18, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I said: “When someone is holding hostages, it seems to me you would have a duty to retreat in spite of any stand your ground law, because not doing so is depraved indifference to human life in most cases.”

That may actually explain the mixed verdict on the part of those jurors who were not certain Dunn was a big liar.

Sammy Finkelman | February 18, 2014 at 12:59 pm

If Dunn’s testimony was true, it would be depraved indifference to fire at the others in the car, but not at Jordan Davis.

    From the model jury instructions for attempted murder:

    The attempted killing of a human being is excusable and therefore lawful under any one of the three following circumstances:

    1. When the attempted killing is committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without any unlawful intent, or

    2. When the attempted killing occurs by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or

    3. When the attempted killing is committed by accident and misfortune resulting from a sudden combat, if a dangerous weapon is not used and the attempted killing is not done in a cruel and unusual manner.

    I haven’t followed the trial, but I imagine Dunn claimed that by acting in lawful self defense then he followed under #1 or #2 above and his attempted (inadvertent) killing of Davis companions was therefore excusable. Apparently the jury did not agree. I think we can all agree that the above excuse is reasonable under some circumstances.

    There was a series of 3 questions the jury had regarding Dunn’s claimed self defense actions against Davis and the relation to the attempted murder charges. I don’t think the Judge answered this correctly in light of the above. We’ll see if anything comes of it during the inevitable appeal.

For a shoestring effort, it doesn’t seem the Dunn defense went so poorly.

Let’s be clear–he was not convicted of killing the kid, he was convicted of dumping the rest of the magazine into the occupied vehicle.

If he’d not acted strangely afterward, even that might have been mitigated.

Zimm fired only one shot. If Dunn had fired only one, or only the initial burst of three, he’d probably have been acquitted too.

The bottom line was–the kids started it.

Am I missing something?

Sammy Finkelman | February 19, 2014 at 10:15 am

The question is, what did the kid start?

Everyone agrees that Dunn pulled up to the other car. And that the car radio was playing loud music, which was very annoying to Dunn. And that he asked or demanded that the music be turned down. And that it was. And that, then, Jordan Davis told the other kid to put the music back on, or that he did it himself, and that he let Dunn know that he wasn’t going to give them orders.

I’m not clear on this, but I think Dunn approached the car.

He claims – now, but he didn’t then – that Jordan Davis pulled out a shotgun, which nobody else ever saw or knew about. He claimed, at the time, to his girlfriend, that Jordan approached him (advanced upon him) and, presumably, that he was afraid of something.

But that could reasonably not have been the full truth, too.

Davis’ anti-social loud music aggression is what he started.

The loud music thing is a black passive aggressive ploy that has been legally proscribed in communities everywhere.

The black racist punk reacted to a reasonable, pro-social directive from a white many years his senior with the same aggressive intent that set the whole ball rolling.

It stripped the pretense of victimhood from him and made Dunn’s assertion of self defense plausible enough to inhere reasonable doubt.

Also, wasn’t one of Davis’ homies a convicted felon?

Does Dunn have any previous record?

Bottom line: he was not convicted of murder for wacking an anti-social black racist thuglette.

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