Racism is an insane delusion about people of color

February 16, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Good morning:

Although I am pleased with the three guilty verdicts of attempted second degree murder and the guilty verdict for shooting into a car that will keep Michael Dunn locked up for the rest of his life, I am disappointed with the jury’s failure to reach a verdict on count 1, which charged him with first degree murder for the death of Jordan Davis.

Ironically, without the presence of the three boys in the Durango and the guilty verdicts to diminish our disappointment, we would be in a much different emotional state today.

I support Angela Corey’s decision to retry him, but she is going to have to change her strategy to obtain a different result.

I am going to focus on Jordan Davis today, which is his birthday, and explain what she must do to obtain justice for Jordan.

The time has come to stop white-washing racially motivated crimes. By that, I mean ignoring the elephant in the living room, racism.

Although motive is not an element of most crimes and therefore irrelevant, it may be relevant (i.e., probative) to prove intent.

The importance of introducing evidence of racial motivation comes into sharp focus when the victim, like Jordan, was black unarmed, and the defendant, like Dunn, is white and claims he saw a weapon or a portion of a weapon and killed the victim in self-defense.

Such a killing would be justifiable homicide in self-defense, if the defendant reasonably believed himself to be in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.

As our United States Supreme Court has often said, reasonableness depends on the “totality of the circumstances.”

We know from Dunn’s letters that he regarded the four boys as dangerous thugs and gangsters listening to “thug” music.

That is a racist assumption unsupported by any evidence.

Sometimes people see what they expect to see or want to see and that certainly applies to racists who are substantially more likely to assume that an unarmed black male teenager is an armed thug than an unprejudiced person.

Like it or not, that mindset is part of the totality of the circumstances that a jury should have a right to consider in deciding whether a defendant like Dunn gave a truthful account of his actions and acted reasonably.

Our legal system needs to acknowledge the existence of racism and call it what it is, an insane delusion.

A claim of self-defense must be evaluated according to whether a reasonable person in the same situation as the defendant would have believed himself to be in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury such that the use of deadly force in self-defense was reasonably necessary.

There is no such thing as a reasonable insane delusion and we do justice to no one by excusing a violent act committed by a person pursuant to an insane delusion and ignoring the consequences of that act.

I do not mean to suggest or imply that Dunn actually saw a weapon or believed that he did. I believe he lied about that to avoid arrest and prosecution.

Evidence of a racial motivation to kill makes comprehensible the otherwise incomprehensible crime.

For example, let’s assume that a defendant in a murder case, who shot and killed an unarmed teenage girl whom he did not know, testifies and says,

“Why would I have killed her unless I believed she had a gun and was going to rob and kill me?”

A racist is more likely to believe that she had a gun or lie about it than a person who is not racist.

White washing racist defendants by concealing or withholding evidence of their racial motivation from a jury will produce injustice, not justice.

It is not a coincidence that my hypothetical resembles the Renisha McBride case in Detroit, which is coming up for trial in June.

I do not know if Theodore Wafer is a racist, but I certainly would be looking for such evidence with the intent of introducing it at trial, if I were the prosecutor.

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This is our 901st post and we passed 2 million all-time views for the blog last night, despite being in existence only a little over two years.

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Fred


Saturday night review of the Dunn trial 2/15/2014

February 15, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Good evening:

The Good News

A semblance of order has been restored to the universe. After deliberating for 33 hours, the jury in the Michael Dunn case convicted of him of 3 counts of attempted murder in the second degree involving Tommy Stornes, Tevin Thompson and Leeland Brunson. Each crime was committed with a firearm. It also convicted him of discharging a firearm into a vehicle.

Dunn must be sentenced to a minimum of 75 years and could be sentenced up to a maximum of 105 years.

Since he is 47-years-old, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

There do not appear to be any issues for appeal that are likely to result in reversal of his conviction.

The Bad News

The jury was unable to reach a verdict as to count 1, which charged him with the premeditated murder of Jordan Davis. We do not know what the split was about or the vote because the jurors declined to talk to the press.

State Attorney Angela Corey announced that her office will retry Dunn on count 1.

Dunn remains in custody and is scheduled to be sentence the week of March 24th.

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We went over 2 million views for the site tonight in just a little over 2 years. Thank you to all of our readers.

Fred and Crane.


What is an Allen charge in Florida?

February 15, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2914

Good afternoon:

The jury has reached a verdict on 4 of the 5 counts. It is hung on count 1, which charges Dunn with first degree murder for the death of Jordan Davis.

We do not know if those verdicts are guilty, not guilty or some combination of the two.

When a jury advises the court that it cannot reach a verdict, the court will give an Allen charge, which is an order to return to the jury room and do the following: each juror has to identify the weaknesses in his position without comment by the others. Then they deliberate again and if they cannot agree, the foreperson is to so advise the court and the court will declare a mistrial as to that count.


Dunn Trial: What happens if there is a hung jury?

February 14, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Good afternoon:

People have been asking questions regarding what happens if the jury cannot unanimously agree on guilt or innocence (i.e, hung jury)? The analysis goes count by count.

(1) A verdict requires unanimous agreement. A verdict on a count is a final determination of guilt or innocence as to that count, regardless of what happens on the other counts. For example, the jury could reach a verdict on some counts, but not others.

(2) The jury cannot consider lesser-included instructions regarding a particular count or charge, unless it has failed to reach a verdict on that count or charge.

(3) If the jury cannot reach a verdict on a count, even after serially considering each of the lesser-included instructions, the foreperson will so advise the court.

(4) The court may order the jury to continue deliberating or send them the following question:

Do each of you unanimously agree that further deliberations as to count (fill in the blank) would not produce a verdict?

If the answer is “No,” he will order them to continue deliberating on that count.

If the answer is “Yes,” he will declare the jury hung on that count.

(5) At no time may the court ask or the foreperson reveal the status of the vote or describe the disagreement.

(6) Federal courts and some state courts have what is called an “Allen charge” in which the court tells the jury that a lot of time, effort and expense went into trying this case and it should accordingly make every reasonable effort to reach a verdict. Don’t know if Florida follows this practice.

(7) The prosecution can, but is not required, to retry a count where the jury could not reach a verdict.


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