The verdict is in – Guilty on four of five counts, but a hung jury mistrial on the fifth and foremost – yet State v. Michael Dunn is far from over. The sentencing phase is still to come, and State’s Attorney Angela Corey has promised a second trial in the death of Jordan Davis.
We’ve now heard from two jurors, both of whom emphatically said race was not an issue in their deliberations. It certainly is to the media, though, and thanks to the media, it’s a huge issue in public opinion.
Pundits are saying that Dunn will spend the rest of his life in prison with multiple twenty-year sentences for attempted murder, including Florida’s mandatory sentencing for crimes committed with guns and shots fired. I won’t be counting those chickens until they’re hatched. That outcome presumes consecutive sentences. The judge, who strikes this writer as having been very fair and impartial throughout the proceeding, has the option of giving the sentences concurrently. By some estimates, that could mean only twenty years total. One pundit expected 80% service of sentence before eligibility for parole: down to sixteen years. Credit for time already served in jail awaiting trial, and Dunn might be down to fifteen years, getting out of prison when he’s still younger than me.
Re-trial? Ms. Corey might want to rethink that. We know now that three people on the jury held out for self-defense in the shooting death of Jordan Davis. 25% of the jury. That smells like reasonable doubt to me. Some of Dunn’s advocates claim the teens were seen removing something from their SUV and hiding it before returning to the shooting scene. I don’t recall any such witness testimony actually going before the jury. However, if such a witness surfaces and proves willing to testify in the second trial, the “phantom shotgun” Dunn claimed Davis wielded is going to be a whole lot more solid, and his story a whole lot more credible, and it could turn into a Not Guilty.
If you haven’t already, go to legalinsurrection.com and read the incisive commentary by Andrew Branca, an attorney and lethal force law expert who sat in the courtroom throughout the Dunn trial, as he did throughout the Zimmerman trial. It’s simply the most bullshit-free analysis of the issues in each case as they unfolded in court. Don’t neglect the extensive reader commentary found with each entry, much of it from seasoned criminal lawyers.