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After more than 30 hours of deliberation, the jurors decided on Saturday that Michael Dunn was guilty of attempted murder and shooting his firearm into a vehicle, but deadlocked on the murder charge in the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. If you haven’t heard about this case yet, you can read more about it HERE.
The verdict was pretty shocking, and doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to a lot of people. How could a jury decide that Dunn was intending to murder the three passengers in the vehicle, but couldn’t say for sure that he intended to murder the person he did kill? Were the jury instructions on that charge too confusing?
The New York Times has a good article up about how the Stand Your Ground law surely complicated the jury’s job in this trial.
From the article:
“This trial is indicative of how much of a problem Stand Your Ground laws really do create,” said Mary Anne Franks, an associate law professor at the University of Miami. “By the time you have an incident like this and ask a jury to look at the facts, it’s difficult to re-create the situation and determine the reasonableness of a defendant’s fear.”
After someone irresponsibly fires their gun, the Stand Your Ground law makes it easy for them to claim self-defense and say that they were in fear of their lives. It’s difficult to disprove.
The charges for which Dunn was convicted will most likely land him in prison for the rest of his life. It’s bittersweet, however, because although this will keep Dunn off the streets, he hasn’t yet paid the price for taking Jordan Davis’ life. There is still no justice for Jordan.
Jordan’s family held a press conference after the verdict, and it was nothing short of absolute class. One of the first things Jordan’s mom said was that she would pray for Michael Dunn and his family.
State Attorney Angela Corey also held a press conference Saturday night, saying that she will talk to the Davis family and then they will try Dunn again on the murder charge.
That trial could happen later this year. But if the language in the law doesn’t change by then, will there be another mistrial?
UPDATE: 2/19/14 11:06 AM
One of the jurors spoke with ABC News and gave her account of how the jury came to their decision.
ABC Entertainment News|ABC Business News
According to Valerie (she doesn’t want her last name used), the jury ended their deliberations on the murder charge with 9 jurors voting for murder, and 3 believing in Dunn’s self-defense claim.
Valerie said she felt like Dunn had “other options” and didn’t have to kill Jordan Davis.
UPDATE: 3/16/14 9:27 AM
Michael Dunn’s retrial for the murder of Jordan Davis has been set for May 5, 2014.
Dunn was scheduled to be sentenced for the attempted murder convictions on March 24, but his attorneys were granted a delay until after the retrial on the first-degree murder charge.
Dunn’s attorney, Cory Strolla, has also stepped down as his attorney. Dunn will be appointed public defenders.
UPDATE: 4/27/14 7:10 AM
Dunn’s May 5 retrial date has been pushed back. A judge ordered last week that a pretrial hearing will be held on June 9, 2014, and an official trial date will be set then.
Dunn now has a new attorney, Waffa Hanania, who has requested more time in the case.