Many folks are pondering how Michael Dunn, who was found guilty of several charges, is being retried for the most serious criminal charge – the murder of Jordan Davis. As you will recall, Dunn opened fire on a vehicle including Mr. Davis, Mr. Davis was ultimately killed. The other three individuals in the car were also fired on and not injured. Dunn was ultimately charged with first degree murder with regards to Davis and attempted second degree murder as to the other three (3) individuals. The case gained national attention, as so many Florida criminal cases, because the initial argument or incident began over the loud music allegedly coming from Davis’s vehicle. Additionally, Michael Dunn attempted to apparently rely on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” defense attempting to gain immunity from prosecution. For more information concerning Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Defense, please check out our Tampa criminal defense attorney blog further, we have extensive experience writing on and litigating the issue.
Many television commentators and internet commentators have raised issues about double jeopardy. Florida law permits an individual to be retried, when a jury comes back without reaching a verdict. It happens daily throughout Florida courts on charges ranging from driving under the influence to murder. There are some significant advantages and disadvantages to a case being retried for a defendant. Obviously, they know have additional transcripts for witnesses to assist in preparing for examinations and to impeach them with their potential inconsistencies. Both parties are also able to more streamline and efficiently try their case – cutting out unnecessary witnesses and exhibits, better prepare their witnesses, refine their opening and closing arguments, etc.
Additionally anyone watching the trial heard mention of the “dynamite instruction”, it is a standard instruction approved by the Florida Supreme Court giving jurors instructions on how to proceed forward with the apparent deadlock as to the verdict.
As we have discussed elsewhere on our Tampa criminal defense attorney blog, we believe Dunn was not found guilty on the murder charge because of the inherent culpability issue with charging different victims with different degrees of murder. For example, the charging of first and second degree murder regarding victims in the exact same situation, like in this case, creates major mental hurdles for jurors. In our extensive experience, jurors do not like finding different levels of culpability to victim sin the same situation because it defies common sense. Simply put, jurors struggle to determine how one act towards one victim was “premeditated” while other acts towards people literally inches away were not “premeditated”. I have nearly no doubt that if the State Attorney’s Office had simply charged Michael Dunn with second degree murder as to all the victims, they would have quickly gotten convictions on all counts.
If you or someone you know has questions concerning the Michael Dunn trial, contact the Tampa trial defense attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. If you would like to contact one of our Tampa criminal defense attorneys immediately, please use the “contact us now” tab in the upper right hand corner of our website. We have handled thousands of criminal cases throughout the Tampa Bay Area including a wide variety of cases ranging from driving under the influence to murder. Thanks for taking the time to check out our Tampa criminal defense attorney blog and we look forward to working with you.