Dunn verdict watch and a discussion of circumstantial evidence

October 1, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Good morning:

Judge Healey has completed reading the jury instructions to the jury in the Michael Dunn retrial and the jury deliberations are underway in the jury room.

As we wait for them to reach a verdict, I recommend readers watch John Guy’s excellent rebuttal argument. For example, he absolutely destroys Michael Knox, the defense forensic expert and dismisses him stating, “That’s what you get for $350 per hour.

While you are listening to him, notice that he uses circumstantial evidence to construct a powerful argument that Dunn lied. For comparison purposes, recall that Judge Masipa in the Pistorius case regarded circumstantial evidence as not very reliable or persuasive.

I think it’s appropriate to instruct juries that evidence may be either direct or circumstantial. One is not necessarily more accurate or reliable than the other and it’s up to the jury to decide how much weight to assign to the evidence admitted in the case.

The instructions direct the jurors to consider first degree murder first and not to consider lesser included offenses like second degree murder or manslaughter unless they cannot unanimously agree on a verdict to first degree murder.

First degree requires proof of premeditation. Premeditation requires proof that the defendant specifically intended to kill Jordan Davis; that he reflected on his decision to kill; and that decided to go ahead and do it.

Premeditation (i.e., specific intent to kill, reflection and affirmation) does not require anything more than a moment in time.

What do you think of John Guy’s rebuttal argument?

Do you believe circumstantial evidence is inherently less accurate and reliable than direct evidence?

Do you believe Michael Dunn acted with premeditation?

Do you believe he acted in self-defense?

What did you think of Michael Knox?

Verdict Watch Michael Dunn Trial Day 4

February 15, 2014

Michael Dunn Trial – Jury Questions #5 and #6

After deliberating for a full day yesterday in the Michael Dunn murder trial, the jury sent two hand-written questions to the court:

Can we take a 30-minute break?

Is it possible to not reach a verdict one one count and reach a verdict on the other counts?

Judge Healey said “yes” to both, the jury took a break that extended into the dinner hour, and then turned in for the night.

Court resumes at 9 AM.

Here is the link to First Coast News Live Stream coverage.

Please join us this morning for verdict watch!


Web extra: Dunn attorney full media briefing

Jail calls of Michael Dunn’s conversations released
Channel 4 obtains phone calls from Michael Dunn’s 1st month in Duval Co. jail

Jury could be hung on Brunson count

February 14, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Good evening:

Follow my reasoning here, because I think Crane and I have figured this out.

According to the note, the jury has reached verdicts on all but one count.

Because self-defense is a defense to all five counts, we believe they would have acquitted Dunn on all counts, if they bought his claim of self-defense.

For example, consider the fifth count, which is basically shooting a gun in a public place. It’s kind of a-canary-in-the-coal-mine instruction regarding self-defense because it’s the simplest charge to prove. If they hang on it, they disagree on self-defense and cannot convict on any count.

Therefore, we think they are arguing about something else.

We also don’t see them convicting on the attempt charges and hanging on the main count because the main count drives this verdict.

For example, his mental state and act were the same every time he fired the gun.

Convict on one, whether murder 1, murder 2, manslaughter or whatever, convict on all. Just insert the selected crime after the word attempt.

However, they could have convicted on the main charge and 2 of the 3 attempt charges, but hung as to Leeland Brunson (who was sitting in the back seat next to Jordan), because Dunn was shooting at Jordan intending to hit Jordan. Not sure he even knew Brunson was in the back seat.

The doctrine of transferred intent removes any difficulty in convicting Dunn for the Brunson shooting, but I don’t know if they gave that instruction.

Transferred Intent:

Assume A intends to shoot B, but not C.

Assume A shoots and misses B, killing C.

Q: Can A be convicted of intending to shoot C?

A: Yes, because his intent transfers to the person he shot.

However, murder 2 and manslaughter do not require proof of intent to kill or premeditation. That is why they are easier to prove

We do not see them disagreeing on any of the attempt charges unless they have found that Dunn acted with premeditation. Without an instruction on transferred intent, they might disagree on Brunson.

There you have it.

The jury will resume deliberations at 9 am EDT tomorrow.


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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.

Verdict Watch Day 3 Michael Dunn Trial

February 14, 2014

posted by Crane-Station

Today at 9 AM in Duval County, Florida, a jury of twelve will enter their third day of deliberations in the Michael Dunn trial. The jury is deliberating on the guilt or innocence of Dunn for first degree murder (Jordan Davis) and three counts of attempted murder (Jordan Davis’s three friends, who occupied the vehicle). A variety of lesser included charges have been submitted for their consideration, if they cannot reach unanimous agreement on some or all of the principle charges.

Please join us for discussion. Fred is back and feeling better after he finally saw a doctor yesterday!

Here is the link to First Coast News and their Live Video coverage of the trial.

So far, the jury has deliberated for about 11 hours.

They sent hand-written questions to the court yesterday on a few occasions:

One juror was missing some pages from the instructions, and those were provided. They wanted large paper, or a dry easel, and that was provided. They wanted a larger external monitor and that was provided. They wanted “the dummy with the sticks” named Bendi, and that was not provided, due in the end to Michael Dunn’s objection, which he is entitled to do, according to Florida case law. Toward the end of the day, they wanted to know the date that a letter the press has been referring to as ‘The Black Friday Letter’ was written.

This video broke yesterday (although it may have been available sooner, not sure):

Michael Dunn’s Neighbor Speaks to Davis Lawyer John Phillips

Michael Dunn’s Letters from Jail

January 30, 2013 – Letter to Son or Daughter
February 2, 2013- Letter to Sibling
February 12, 2013 – Letter to Sibling
February 20, 2013 – Letter to Grandma ______
February 24, 2013- Letter to Grandma
May 7, 2013 – Letter to Grandma
May 15, 2013 – Letter to Grandma
May 15, 2013 – Letter to _______
May 20, 2013 – Letter to Michelle
June 14, 2013 – Letter to Rhonda
June 22, 2013 – Letter to Rhonda
June 23, 2013 – Letter to Rhonda
June 26, 2013 – Letter to Daughter
June 26, 2013 – Letter to ______
June 30, 2013 – Letter to Mom and Dad
July 1, 2013 – Letter to Mom
After July 1st – Letter to _____
July 2, 2013 – Letter to Rhonda
July 3, 2013 – Letter to Cousin
July 4, 2013 – Letter to Rhonda
July 4, 2013 – Letter to Rhonda
July 5, 2013 – Letter to Rhonda
July 7, 2013 – Letter to Rhonda
July 12, 2013 – Letter to Daughter
December 5, 2012 – Letter to Rhonda


Each letter listed has a link.


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Verdict Watch Michael Dunn Trial

February 13, 2014

After both sides presented closing arguments yesterday in the Michael Dunn trial, Judge Healey read instructions to the jury out loud, and the jury began deliberating. They had not reached a decision as of about 7 PM last night. They plan to begin deliberations this morning at 10 AM.

Here is the link to First Coast News and their Live Video coverage of the trial.

From yesterday, here are the closing arguments, as well as the rebuttal from the state:

Michael Dunn Trial. Day 6. Part 2. Prosecution Closing Arguments

Michael Dunn Trial. Day 6. Part 3. Defense Closing Arguments

Michael Dunn Trial. Day 6. Part 4. States Rebuttal

posted by Crane-Station

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