My Fearless Prediction For The Michael Dunn Trial
1: I haven’t been following the Dunn trial, and since I actually have things I need to get done, I won’t be logging into the trial feed, or following blogs devoted to recaps of the proceedings.
2: As a review of the archives on the “We are desperate for donations. Please donate today.” Law Blog will attest (yes, that’s a direct quote), I was quite wrong in my prediction of how the Zimmerman trial would turn out. I thought Rick Scott and Angela Corey couldn’t afford a loss on such a politically charged case, and Corey would go all out to secure a conviction. Oh, how mistaken I was…
But I still think the politics matters, and having dropped the ball on GZ, it’s now REALLY important for these folks to win one. Corey’s actions in the Marissa Alexander case matter here as well. If both Dunn and GZ are walking free while Alexander remains under lock and key, that’s what the pundits would call “really bad optics.” Add in that, AFAIK, Dunn has not become the sort of Treeper/Freeper/Fox News/wing-nut cause celebre GZ became, so I doubt there’d be much political downside for putting Dunn away.
In addition to my hunch that the prosecutors will actually TRY this time, there’s the facts of the case itself. Unlike Trayvon’s killing, there were numerous eye-witnesses to the events immediately surrounding the David shooting. It should be clear from the testimony that Dunn had ample opportunity to retreat, that he initiated the confrontation by walking up to the car to accost the youths for their loud music, and that he continued to fire at the car well after it pulled out and he was no longer in any conceivable danger.
So his defense would seem to come down to “I really thought they had a gun!” Florida’s self-defense statutes may be insane enough that such a declaration could conceivably form grounds for an acquittal. And after the Z case, who knows what kind of instructions the judge might issue? But I just don’t see the external pressure to double-down on the Zimmerman rulings with an even more extreme case, and I have to imagine that judge and jury will be more likely to want to show the rest of the country “We’re not totally bat-shit crazy ALL the time!”
So I’m predicting a conviction, for murder one. Since Florida has lesser included charges available automatically, it’s possible the jury could drop to murder two, but as we learned during the Z trial, with the required extenuating circumstances that’s a very long minimum sentence as well.
We shall see, of course. Share your thoughts, if you have them, and if you’d like to post comments on the progress of the trial, feel free.