I wrote an article on my Jacksonville Criminal Lawyer Blog called Jacksonville Criminal Lawyer Compares Florida Self Defense with Dunn and Zimmerman. This references the article that I wrote yesterday entitled Southside Jacksonville Florida Shooting Murder Charges. I am not saying that Michael Dunn’s shooting is the same as George Zimmerman’s case. I am not saying that Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis were in the same situation. I am merely pointing out that the cases will be compared. Here are just a few reasons why:
1. Self Defense: Both parties will defend themselves using the Florida Stand Your Ground Statute. There will be many factors that come into play when making this argument. A Florida self defense with a firearm argument will depend on the credibility of corroborating witnesses, physical evidence, autopsy reports, and the credibility of the criminal defendant. At this time, there are many reasons that I believe that Zimmerman is better off than Dunn with the self defense argument. That may change as we see more evidence evolve. I believe that the most damning fact is that he fled the scene. Who would open fire at a gas station and run? We need more evidence, but this will be difficult to argue against. The Duval County State Attorney will argue that Dunn fled and this shows consciousness of guilt. The Florida criminal lawyer on Dunn’s case has stated that Dunn “didn’t think he had harmed anybody and he just thought he had scared them off and he wanted to report it, but he didn’t want to go in a sense, throw himself to the wolves in a strange city without representation.” There is also the fact that Dunn fired at the Jacksonville teens approximately 8 times. This is something the defense will need to explain.
2. Florida guns and firearms: Both Dunn and Zimmerman have alleged that they believe the victims were armed. They claimed that they shot the victims due to this fact. However, neither victim was armed. Under Florida’s self defense law, you can attack force with force. In Jacksonville, deadly force can be used if the person reasonably believes that it is needed to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another person. In the Zimmerman case, “When police arrived on the scene, Zimmerman told them that Martin had attacked him and that he had shot Martin in self-defense. Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and from two vertical lacerations on the back of his head.” Martin did not have a firearm. Dunn’s Florida attorney, Robin Lemonidis “has made several public comments about how her client reacted to feeling threatened by the teenagers in the car. ‘You can confirm that Mr. Dunn’s defense is that he did see a shotgun in the car?’ asked First Coast News’ Michelle Quesada. ’Absolutely,’ said Lemonidis.” Police did not find a gun and are arguing that Davis was unarmed.
3. Victims were the same age: Both victims were teenagers and the shooters are adults. Dunn is 45 years old and Davis was 17 years old. Zimmerman is 28 years old and Martin was 17.
4. Duval County State Attorney’s Office prosecutes both cases: Dunn’s case is being prosecuted in Jacksonville, Florida. This is because the incident occurred in Duval County. He was arrested in Brevard County, but transferred to Duval County to face the murder and attempted murder charges here. Duval County has jurisdiction over the crime, so he will be prosecuted here. Zimmerman is also being prosecuted by the Duval County State Attorneys Office. Duval County State Attorney, Angela Corey, was appointed by Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, to prosecute Zimmerman. The Martin murder case is outside of Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit, but the Jacksonville’s State Attorney’s Office will serve as the prosecution. (read Jacksonville State Attorney Office to Prosecute Florida Self-Defense Case for more information).
5. Race: Yes. I said the “R” word. I do not believe the color of our skins should have anything to do with anything, but it is a factor. Google this Florida firearm case. Search for George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Race is on the tip of so many tongues and being blurted out left and right. The victim is black, and the defendant is not. I hate saying it, but race will play into both of these Florida murder cases. Think about the OJ Simpson murder trial. A black, successful football player is accused of murdering a white woman. What do you think the defense attorneys were thinking when they picked a jury for this case? Yes. Race did come into play. Is it supposed to? No, but it did. I cannot help but think that something similar will happen during the jury selection of Dunn’s Jacksonville criminal trial and Zimmerman’s trial. I am not saying that Martin or Davis were shot, because they were black. I am saying that you cannot ignore people’s feelings when it comes to race. Jurors have feelings. Even though they are required to put them aside when making a decision, this is not always the case.