February 15, 2014

There is no real other way to interpret the verdict in the Michael Dunn case than how someone put it to me on Twitter: "When you're shooting, don't miss."

A jury on Saturday night convicted a Florida man on four charges related to his shooting into an SUV full of teenagers during an argument over loud music, but could not decide on the most serious charge -- murder.

Michael Dunn was found guilty on four charges, including three for attempted second-degree murder, which could land him behind bars for decades. But they couldn't reach a verdict on the most significant charge: first-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

If they convicted on the attempted murder charges, they rejected the Stand Your Ground defense altogether as far as I can tell, because the instructions under the SYG law would have excused him from shooting at the car Jordan Davis was in, if I'm reading this ThinkProgress excerpt correctly.

During closing arguments, prosecutor John Guy told jurors, “Jordan Davis didn’t have a weapon. He had a big mouth. And that defendant wasn’t gonna stand for it. And it cost Jordan Davis his life.”

Dunn’s lawyer Cory Strolla cited Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in his closing argument, “His honor will further tell you that If Michael Dunn was in a public place where he had a legal right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.” As in the George Zimmerman trial, the Stand Your Ground law was included in the jury instructions.

Alluding to public controversy of the law, Strolla added, “It’s not because I wrote it. It’s not cause I like it. We’re not here to change it and we’re not here to fight it. We’re here to apply it.”

If it didn't apply to the kids that lived through Dunn's fusillade of bullets, how did it apply to Jordan Davis? And if it didn't apply to the kids that lived, what doubt was left about the one who died?

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