Will the jury accept his claim of self-defense?
The re-trial of Michael Dunn began today “for real”, with the jury impanelled and the state and defense presenting their opening statements.
Dunn is on trial for the killing of Jordan Davis, a black teenager Dunn fired upon during a confrontation with Davis and three of Davis’ friends, who were sitting in their SUV. Dunn claimed self-defense, arguing that Davis pointed a shotgun-like object at him, threatened to kill him, and began to exit the SUV to attack him. It was only then, Dunn claimed, that he retrieved his handgun from the glove compartment of his car and fired on the SUV.
Complicating Dunn’s defense were the facts that he fled the scene, that he never contacted police, and that nobody observed the purported threatening actions of the people in the SUV except for Dunn.
Dunn was convicted at the first trial of three counts of attempted second degree murder, but the jury hung on the second degree murder count with respect to Jordan Davis, the only one of the SUV passengers injured in the shooting.
There’s been no change in the evidence, so it’s hard to see what the variables are from the first trial except a new defense attorney and a new jury. Both the prosecution team and the trial judge remain the same from the first trial.
The prosecution moved through ten witnesses today, a considerable number considering that witnesses were not called until after opening statements were completed (of course), and opening statements did not even begin until well after noon. At the close of court today Judge Healey informed both parties that tomorrow the trial would run from 9AM to 6PM. I know, to normal people that’s a vacation, but to a typical trial court that’s “full steam ahead.”
For your viewing pleasure, here are the opening statements from the defense (presented by the now familiar Florida Assistant Prosecutor John Guy) and the opening statement from the defense.
Assistant Prosecutor John Guy, Opening Statement
Defense Counsel Waffa Hanania, Opening Statement
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 (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.DONATE
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