In February, a Florida jury found Michael Dunn guilty on four of five charges in a case in which Dunn shot ten times at a car full of teenagers over a dispute that started about loud music. However, the 12 person jury could not come to a unanimous decision on the charge of the murder of Jordan Davis and a mistrial was declared on that count alone. A retrial of that count is scheduled for September 22. Dunn faces a minimum of 60 years for the other convictions. Sentencing has been delayed until after trial has concluded. Read the Rolling Stone Story here and see their appearance on Katie Couric here.
I have the honor of representing Jordan Davis’ family. A story was written about how meeting them changed me. You can find that here.
There was a pre-trial hearing on Monday, September 8, 2014. In advance of that date, motions were filed. Many of these motions are not exactly new to the case. These Motions will be heard Thursday, September 11, at 10 am.
Dunn seeks to change venue and claims a fair trial in Duval County is essentially an impossibility. It attaches affidavits from Dunn and two lawyers in town who signed off on the claim. The case has had national coverage, not just local. Unless a jury cannot be picked here, after an attempt to do so fails, the judge may consider this motion. However, we suspect this motion will be denied and trial will begin in Jacksonville. If, then, a jury cannot be picked, options to find a “foreign” jury will likely be considered.
Several Motions were filed to avoid prejudice against Michael Dunn and sympathy for Jordan Davis. Despite the Motions, we’d hope the jury gets to see and hear more of the overall picture of Michael Dunn and Jordan Davis. The problem in our society is the weighing of the “benefit of the doubt.” It is all too often that we tip the scales based on the way someone looks, what music they listen to, their race or job. If Michael Dunn and Jordan Davis crossed the street in front of you at a stop light, would everyone react the same way? Often not. The black teen is all too often falsely perceived as more of a threat than a white, middle aged software designer. The jury needs to be able to offset this scale of benefit of the doubt with more knowledge about each, as Jordan did nothing to warrant his death that night.
Who Dunn is, what he wrote on the walls of his jail cell and the things he has said and written are important to understand why he killed Jordan. Jordan was his victim and the photos of the damage Dunn did to him are relevant. This jury must get an adequate understanding of Jordan Davis and Michael Dunn and they must NOT be unfairly stereotyped.
Finally, we ask everyone to wear their #WalkWithJordan wristbands at home. Get them FREE here. Just like last time, the family will agree to leave buttons and items of support at home when they go to court. The fact that they re-filed this motion after it had already been heard and respected is a little offensive.