This week the jury in the Michael Dunn case gave the liberal media a double victory. It convicted him of three counts of attempted murder, and also ended up being hung in the first degree murder charge. Dunn goes to jail for the rest of his life, and bloggers can still bitch that the system is racist. Basically, HuffPo commenters can have their gluten free cake and eat it too.
The basic facts surrounding the case are that Dunn and the victim got into an argument over loud music, Dunn allegedly thought the victim grabbed a shotgun and started firing. As the victim’s car drove away trying to avoid the bullets, Dunn continued to fire.
It would seem the attempted murder charges stem from when Dunn continued to fire at the victim’s car (and the three friends inside it) as it backed away. Even Yosemite Sam would probably agree this shooting at the car was careless and unnecessary.
The disagreement in the jury verdict was for the murder charge resulting from when Dunn shot the victim who he thought had pulled a shotgun. Now there are two possibilities about what jury could have been disagreeing over. The first is that Dunn was justified to use deadly force. It should be noted this is not a stand your ground case. The basic rule here is that if Dunn reasonably believed that the victim was pulling out a shotgun, he is not guilty of murder.
But given that police did not find a shotgun, it’s hard to say that a reasonable person would have believed deadly force was necessary. The second, more likely cause of the hung jury, stems from the fact that prosecutors overcharged Dunn with first degree murder. In Florida first degree murder requires “a premeditated design to effect the death of the person killed or any human being.” Given the facts, that appears to be a clear overreach on the charges.
While prosecutors may have hoped to get a lesser include offense in bringing the high charge of first degree murder, it’s hard to feel sorry for them if they confused the jury by overcharging. As ridiculous as it seems to say Dunn was reasonable in using deadly force, it is equally ridiculous to say that Dunn premeditated the killing of a person he didn’t know over an argument about music. He’s an angry idiot, not Dexter. And unfortunately for prosecutors, first degree murder isn’t really angry idiot murder.
Knowing all this, it’s no wonder the jury simply threw their hands up and convicted him of the three attempted murder charges. It’s a crime we seemingly can all agree Dunn committed. Each count comes with a mandatory 20 year minimum sentence to be served consecutively, which means its 60 years and more than long enough for a 47 year old man. It was a fine compromise, until Florida State Attorney and all around buffoon Angela Corey stepped in and announced she would be retrying Dunn:
“When you’re seeking justice for four different victims, and you get a verdict that speaks to justice for three of those victims, it makes you more determined to seek justice again for that fourth victim,” Corey said.
Corey is the poster child for why State Attorney’s should not be elected. She graduated from the 46th ranked law school and botched the Zimmerman trial among others. As Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz points out, not only did Corey overcharge Dunn, if she retries him she may lose everything:
“I think she may also lose her appeal on the attempted murder case,” he continued. “She could lose everything and, if she overcharges again and gets a 12-person jury, she may lose again.”
More importantly, even if Corey is successful in getting a conviction on the murder charge, the cost to tax payers will likely be millions. All so Dunn can…still die in jail? If Florida prosecutors have that much money to burn, they should start doing pro bono work to help the community. There has to be dozens of Floridians searching for legal recourse after being injured by runaway golf carts, nefarious henna tattoo artists, and that murderous Sea World whale.
But Corey isn’t seeking justice for her constituents, she’s seeking publicity for reelection and charging it on the public’s tab. Just because the media pretends something is important in order to drive traffic doesn’t mean we should allow our elected officials to exploit taxpayer money for their fame. Dunn is going to jail for the rest of his life. That’s enough. Stay out of our wallets.