After the Michael Dunn Jacksonville Florida Murder Trial

After Jacksonville criminal attorneys tried a high-profile murder case, there appears to be somewhat of a resolution.  People are still protesting for justice for Jordan, but there is some closure for the other victims.  Dunn was found guilty of felony charges that could hold him in prison for the rest of his life.  If you have not been following this Jacksonville murder case, Michael Dunn shot and killed Jordan Davis in a gas station parking lot after they engaged in an “argument over loud music playing in the teen’s car.”  Dunn argued that he acted in self defense in Jacksonville Florida.  Last Saturday, a Duval County jury found him “guilty on three counts of second-degree attempted murder.”  This jury appeared to be very thorough with the evidence presented by the Duval County State Attorney and Dunn’s attorney.  The jury deliberated for four days and even continued deliberations on a Saturday.  Still, they “could not reach a decision on the murder charge, and a mistrial was declared on that final count.”

One of the reasons that this case grasped national attention was due to the racial undertones surrounding the murder.  Michael Dunn is a 47-year-old Caucasian male.  Dunn “opened fire on an SUV containing Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old African-American high school senior, and three of his friends in Jacksonville, Florida on November 23rd, 2012.”  This happened after “an argument had erupted between Dunn and the teens after Dunn asked them to turn down the music they were listening to.”  Dunn claimed that he acted in self-defense, as he feared for his life.  He told police that “Davis had threatened him, and that he saw what he believed was the barrel of a shotgun sticking out from the teens’ car.”  Dunn fire several bullets in to the SUV containing the teenagers.   Immediately after this, he left the scene without calling the police.  Police did not find the gun or anything resembling a firearm in Jordan’s vehicle.

Dunn’s defense lawyer told the media “this is a Stand Your Ground case, based on the law in Florida.”  This was based on the fact that Dunn believed his life was being threatened.  Dunn stated that he “acted because of words said by Jordan Davis. He screamed, ‘Fuck you, motherfucker, I’m gonna kill you,’ and was trying to open his door to get out.”  It was up to the jury to decide whether or not Dunn acted properly under Florida’s self defense laws.  “The jurors were ultimately unable to decide whether Dunn had acted in self-defense or was guilty of murder.”

While the jury may have been unable to decide on the murder count, Dunn was convicted of the other felonies.  He was convicted of attempted second-degree murder of the other passengers in the vehicle.  “Each of the three attempted second-degree murder convictions…. carries a minimum sentence of at least 20 years.  Dunn may face an additional 15 years for the conviction on firing a gun into a car.”  (Rolling Stone)

While many people are upset with the verdict and were seeking a murder conviction, it is important to realize that Dunn is not getting out of jail and/or prison any time soon.  As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I would look at this as a partial win for Dunn’s attorney, but it is still a loss for Dunn himself.  He is 47-years-old.  Now, he is facing up to 75 years in prison.  Judge Healey will decide Dunn’s sentence after a sentencing hearing is conducted.  Duval State Attorney Angela Corey “said that she plans to retry Dunn on the first-degree murder charge.”  Dunn could be found not guilty or convicted of murder or a lesser-included offense, such as second-degree murder or manslaughter.  The state attorney and Florida defense lawyer may work out a plea negotiation, but I doubt it.  Dunn will likely appeal his attempted murder convictions.  If he pleads guilty to the murder charge and is sentenced, he will not be getting out of prison if he wins the appeal.

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