1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Dunn Jury Still Deliberating

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Steerpike, Feb 14, 2014.

    I'm guessing it's not a good sign for the State. Does anyone know if the jury was instructed on lesser charges. It seems to me Second Degree Murder would be well-supported. Maybe the jury is hung up on premeditation? Sheer speculation. I thought they'd come back sooner.
     
  2. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    One expert I heard said the first degree murder charge was rather ludicrous (not his words) and could cost the state a conviction.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, I was concerned about that. Unlike the Zimmerman case, where I just didn't think the evidence was there to convict (despite thinking it fully possible that Zimmerman committed the charged crimes) in this particular case I think you've got 2nd degree murder shown pretty easily. Prosecutors get big eyes at high-profile cases, and it would be ashamed to see them blow a case because they over-charged it.

    For 1st degree, they have to show premeditation, and given the facts there is a very small window of time for them to establish that. Not saying they couldn't still get a conviction, but I guess we'll find out soon enough.
     
  4. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Yeah, their thinking is that because he went to his car, into his glove compartment, cocked and pointed, it was too many actions to not be premeditated, but that's not the case. Tempers can last a while.

    I think the prosecution messed up here.
     
  5. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    There is going to have to be new descriptions written in the Stand Your Ground Laws. If he could have time to walk to his car like that, then he could have just got in his car and drive off, or called the police.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    @Steerpike, I'd be interested in your explanation of the difference between getting mad and taking out your gun and shooting when it is first degree and when it is second degree.

    Seems to me from the evidence Dunn got pissed off, pulled his gun and started pulling the trigger.

    I do believe the state proved the case he didn't see a gun or weapon. His own fiancé supported the prosecution and his jail letter to his brother proved he shot as the victims were trying to get away. A neutrally involved witness heard Dunn threaten the kids and the music as loud as it was makes Dunn's claim of hearing the conversation inside the SUV ludicrous.

    If people don't agree that's their business, I don't want to argue and the jury will decide what they decide regardless of what I think the evidence showed.

    But I'm interested in the finer point of 1st and 2nd degree in a situation like this one.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I agree that the idea he saw a weapon didn't hold up. In fact, I don't buy much of his story at all. Shooting at those boys was in no way justified.

    Someone who does criminal law may correct me, and how the standards apply state to state may differ, but the main difference in how Florida defines the two is "premeditation." First degree murder requires it, second degree does not (it just requires an imminent lawless action indicating a depraved mind without regard for human life, according to site I just looked at).

    So it boils down to premeditation. There has to be some degree of conscious decision to kill.

    So if I get into an spontaneous altercation and in the heat of anger or whatever I pull out a gun and shoot, that's not premeditated. If I sit in my basement with pictures of a victim, then follow them around until they're alone and shoot them, that clearly premeditated.

    The question here seems to be whether Dunn's acts are sufficient to show that he contemplated the decision to get his gun and kill at least one of the teens, and then consciously made the choice to do so. Or did he just react in the heat of the moment without giving it that level of contemplation.

    From what I understand, in Florida there can be premeditation even over the course of a few seconds, but since it is an element of the crime the prosecution has to prove premeditation. The defendant doesn't have to prove that it was not premeditated.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    He shot 3-4 times, stopped then began shooting again as the SUV pulled away. He said on the stand that he said to the boys, "you aren't going to kill me" but the witness said he heard, "you're not going to talk to me like that".

    I guess I'm trying to pinpoint (in my mind) the difference between losing control in anger and shooting, and deciding to shoot at someone because you are angry. I can see the jury going either way on that one. I don't think first degree was a bad call. It gives the jury the choice of the two verdicts, it's not all or none.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, there's no bright line on this. The jury ultimately gets to decide and they could go either way, though I think in general the longer it takes them to decide the better it looks for the defendant.

    You're right - I just looked and saw that the Judge instructed the jury on a number of lesser charges, including second degree murder and below. Given that, I don't suppose there is any harm in going for the first degree charge. Maybe the jury is considering the lesser degree charges. I haven't paid that close attention to this and didn't realize the Judge had instructed the jury on lesser charges (and I don't know in Florida whether they can come back with findings on lesser charges without being instructed).

    I've spent most of the last week and a half trying to convince a client that after their food production facility tested positive for Listeria in an FDA inspection, and they got a warning letter and then hired the cheapest contractor around to do repairs and unsurprisingly also failed the second inspection when the FDA saw how shoddy the work was, they would have been better off fixing it right the first time and it is a bad idea to rehire the same shoddy contractor to do more cut rate work. Not sure they're going to listen, so I'm left shaking my head.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    Unfortunately I too think it means at least one juror is taking the defense attorney's words to mean the state has to prove what was in Dunn's mind and said juror(s) think that means they have to take Dunn's word for what he thought. I think that's the mentality anyway, of course we don't know yet.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    How can Dunn have attempted to murder the people he didn't kill, but not have murdered the one he did kill?
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    Because he stopped shooting, then shot again at the fleeing vehicle.

    In my opinion, he lied about fearing for his life so I assume you were asking how the jury could have come to that conclusion.
     
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  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Ah...ok. I'm on my phone and just saw a tweet about it. They didn't elaborate. Just struck me as odd at first.
     
  14. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    How is this possible? Wouldn't it be double jeopardy?

    http://news.yahoo.com/fla-man-guilty-lesser-counts-music-shooting-001256445.html
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    I've always assumed that "premeditated" meant that the person had time to calm down, consider their actions, and decide, "This is just crazy; never mind." And that they chose, instead to say, "He deserves it. I'm still going to kill him."

    Whereas not-premeditated would be killing in the original rage, without that opportunity for a cooling-down period to happen.

    But I Am Not A Lawyer.
     
  16. Steerpike
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  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think that is accurate enough, though in Florida apparently a few seconds has been found to be enough for premeditation. But the jury here was also instructed on second degree murder, which doesn't require premeditation, and it seems like that would have been a no-brainer here.
     
  18. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    But they reached a verdict in the same case on a lesser charge. I've always seen that once they make a charge stick in the court case it takes all the other charges off the desk.
     
  19. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    No, I think they reached a verdict on a separate crime. One crime - attempting to kill the boys who lived. Another crime relating to the actual dead kid. They were hung on the decision relating to the dead kid.

    *I have not followed this case closely at all, so I'm guessing.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    Having looked into this further, I think if one has to open the glove box and get the gun out, a certain amount of premeditation goes into that which is more than shooting a gun that is already in your hand as things escalate.

    Take a person who has to get the gun out of the trunk, or drives home, gets the gun and returns, at each level of the continuum you still have passion and anger of the moment. So where does the first degree line break on that continuum? If you open a glove box? Open the trunk? Load the gun? Lots of steps there which can be seen as crossing the 1st degree line, or not.
     
  21. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I wonder whether if first degree murder hadn't been on the table at all, they would have reached a verdict. Having that charge out there can influence perception from the start.
     
  22. GingerCoffee
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    I'm still going to wager they were hung because one or more jurors insisted the state did not disprove self defense.

    Some people see 4 black teens in a car and believe feeling threatened is a given.

    Obviously until we hear more one cannot say for sure. But if you think about it, why would someone hold to 1st degree over compromising with the rest of the jurors on a lesser charge?


    That said, many news commentators are saying this prosecution was barely better than in the Zimmerman case, i.e. incompetent.
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know if they would consciously. But when that charge is brought, that's what the prosecution focuses on in their presentation of evidence, and I always wonder whether that has an subconscious effect on the jury, who are also focused on that during the trial and then don't think the state quite got there.
     
  24. Lewdog
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    I still don't see how it is fair that the state can fail in a trial, then go ask the jurors what they were missing in their case, and then retry it.

    It's like the state is having a mulligan.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  25. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Since it all stems from the same underlying events, I think it should be prohibited from being tried again. But I'd have to look into that area of law to see how it would play out here.
     

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