Jury selection will be the most important part of the Michael Dunn retrial

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Good afternoon:

Jury selection will be the most important part of the Michael Dunn retrial, which is scheduled to start next Monday. To have any chance to convict Michael Dunn of murdering Jordan Davis, the prosecution must screen for, identify and exclude any prospective juror who believes that it’s reasonable to assume that:

(1) a black 16 to 21-year-old male who likes to listen to loud rap music is an angry thug;

(2) a black 16 to 21-year-old male who lips off at an adult white male who orders him to turn down the volume is an angry thug;

(3) a black 16 to 21-year-old male who cranks up the volume after being ordered to turn it down is an angry thug;

(4) it’s reasonable for an adult white male to assume that an angry black thug who confronts him is armed and intends to kill or seriously hurt him; and

(5) it’s reasonably necessary for an adult white male to use deadly force in self-defense to prevent an angry black thug from killing or seriously injuring him.

The best way to determine if any prospective jurors hold these views is to ask them a series of hypothetical questions to discover if they fear black 16 to 21-year-old males.

For example, if you were walking down a sidewalk by yourself and saw a black 16 to 21-year-old male walking toward you, would you,

(a) continue walking toward him and ignore him;

(b) continue walking toward him and greet him;

(c) cross the street and walk down the other side; or

(d) turn around and walk the other way?

The use of hypothetical questions is the best way to uncover racial prejudice.

Can you think of any other hypothetical questions that you might ask during voir dire?

Finally, if you were a prosecutor, would you rather try this case to a judge according to the procedure followed in South Africa?

Would your answer change, if you were defense counsel?

The most important disputed questions of fact in the case are whether Jordan Davis was armed or had something that looked like a weapon in his hands, and if he was attempting to get out of the back seat of the SUV when Dunn squeezed off multiple shots at him.

FYI: Judge Healey denied a defense motion for a change of venue, preferring to take a wait-and-see approach to see if the extensive publicity about the shooting and the first trial has made it impossible to seat a twelve-person jury that can fairly and impartially decide the case (i.e., jurors have already formed an opinion about what the outcome should be). Once chosen, the jury will be sequestered.

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21 Responses to Jury selection will be the most important part of the Michael Dunn retrial

  1. bettykath says:

    I’m getting ready for another fogen-style prosecution if there happens to be an indictment. What could go wrong with a reluctant prosecutor, lots of cops and a racist country?

    • ay2z says:

      Trial ready to start in 10 mins with opening statements. So far, a few camera foul-ups, people tweeting about a reporter eating his sandwich on camera. (pre-start is already setting the tone– NOT!!)

      John Guy is there. That’s a fogen-style prosecutor. Hope you are SO wrong, bettykath, things need to change.

      One comment about the defense tactic may be a shift from the defendant’s ‘there was a gun’, to ‘thought I saw a gun’. Worked for pistorius, ‘thought he heard an intruder in the toilet’.

  2. Disappointed says:

    CNN has a story up that Officer Darren Wilson testified for about 4 hours in front of grand jury. I am guessing he told 25 percent truth. i hope grand jury voted yes and let’s another jury figure it out.

    • Malisha says:

      If Darren wilson testified for 4 hours to the grand jury, there will be a no-bill. Also, since we know for a fact that the police were keeping him hidden in another state, you can bet that there was enormous cooperation from MANY state agencies in both states to make sure he traveled incognito and protected by police. ALSO this means not only no-bill but every form of cover-up and corruption to resist and distort the federal investigation.

      It is time for us to admit that our democracy is disabled and near dead, that we live in a police state, and that we have lost our civil rights which we were only barely in the process of gaining to start with. It is time for us to admit what America is and we should also probably admit that at present, there is very little that can be done about it because of the arms situation. It would have been perfectly OK — legally — for the police in Ferguson to create a few violent incidents in the crowd and then mowed people down with their military unit — they would have escaped national punishment and the international punishment would have been weak and ineffectual, if even present.

      We should admit where we live.

    • SearchingMind says:

      Thanks for the alert, Disappointed.

      Wilson has already told his story through Josie and also spoken two times with St. Louis County investigators and once with the FBI. Ferguson police claimed that the story as told by Josie is (grosso modo) the same story Wilson told them.

      If the CNN story is true, that would mean that Wilson, yet again, abandoned his 5th Amendment rights and was grilled for roughly 4-hrs – under oath (unless the Prosecutor was babysitting him, feeding him milk and honey and treating him with baby-gloves instead of grilling him!).

      It is unlikely that Wilson’s testimony before the Grand Jury is different from the story he already told county investigators, the FBI and the public (through Josie). Given how very short, simple and straightforward that story is, it is rather perplexing that he spent about 4-hrs answering questions before the Grand Jury (unless you include something like a 3-hour lunch break, etc.). I don’t think this is good for Wilson.

      (Without mentioning physical/forensic evidence in this case) at least 6-EYEwitnesses have been interviewed by both Louis County investigators and the FBI. All of these eyewitnesses do not know each other, their testimonies are each internally consistent, consistent with one-another and contradict Wilson’s story. There, right there – is the probable cause to charge Wilson with 1st degree murder – regardless of Wilson’s claims (and Wilson may claim whatever he wants!). The only way Wilson escapes indictment is if (a) the Grand Jury does not hear the testimony of (all of) the eyewitnesses or hears them but (b) throws them out of the window and believes Wilson. This is unlikely. If Wilson truly thought that Mike was bull-rushing him and he feared for his life, he should tell that tale to a Jury of his peers in a public trial. His self-serving claims may not stand in the way of indictment – plain and simple.

      St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch has promised “thoroughness” and not to do anything “in any haphazard manner” in this case. I have no valid reason to believe that he won’t be faithful and loyal to his Profession. I hope he does not prove me wrong.

      • If Wilson truly thought that Mike was bull-rushing him and he feared for his life, he should tell that tale to a Jury of his peers in a public trial. His self-serving claims may not stand in the way of indictment – plain and simple.

        I agree. This is why he should take the Fifth and decline to testify before the grand jury. The testimony of all of the eyewitnesses establishes probable cause to believe he murdered Michael Brown, regardless what he might say.

  3. MKX says:

    I think it is very sad that a veteran stained the honor of men who died fighting for what they were told was freedom by using those sad events to defend a coward who was depriving an American of his rights here at home.

    When I was a boy, I was told that, in the USA, we were allowed to walk anywhere we wanted without being asked “what we were doing” or for ID, unlike those Commie countries.

    So “Uncle” was watching Commissar George’s back.

    Makes me wonder if Uncle-Tough-Soldier-Vietnam lived in one of those base tents that proudly displayed the Stars and Bars.

    • Malisha says:

      You can be sure, with a person like that, that most of their self-aggrandizing hero talk is really massive projection. They are bullies and they defend bullies and they lie profusely at every opportunity to cover up their cowardice and their glaring inadequacies. I’m sure that is the story going back many generations in Fogen’s Family. A stench.

  4. Malisha says:

    You know, for some reason I have been thinking tonight about the “stolen screams” magic of how to get away with murder. Fogen played scaredy-pants white boy (“I thought my head was going to explode”) and Uncle-Tough-Soldier-Vietnam testified that the death screams were his nephew’s and poof what do you know? Screamer cannot be guilty. Oscar Pist-is-pants heard a noise in the bathroom and instead of calling out “honey, is that you?” he grabbed his gun and screamed his bloody head off (“Get the fuck out of my house!”) because he was so terrified — and the national hero screamed like a woman — and poof what do you know? Screamer cannot be guilty. AND those who thought the screamer might be a woman getting shot four times rather than a scaredy-girly-boy fearing the bathroom raider were not even credible witnesses!

    Screamer cannot be guilty.

    Yet when the victim fails to scream, somebody may go down for murder.

    What does this mean? If you are murdered by a crazed cowardly gun net, ferkrissake STFU or they will be acquitted!

  5. Michelleo says:

    Unfortunately, I know Jacksonville, and Jacksonville is KKK and Uncle Tom Land Supreme. Hopefully the family of the deceased young man will get some justice in this case. The Bushes loved the backward area so much, that they sent their grandchildren to private school there. Zimmerman hid there undetected. It’s a mess. A horror story.

  6. Malisha says:

    Oh, one more question:

    Knock Knock.

  7. Malisha says:

    Questions for prospective jurors:

    1. Did you agree with the George Zimmerman verdict?

    2. If you had a gun and you saw a car full of thugs, would you shit bricks?

    3. Ever read the Leatherman blog?

  8. Do you have a son or grandson, etc., between the ages of 16 to 21? A judge only is an idea that could work.

    • Yes, that is a good question.

      Both sides have a right to a jury trial.

      Since a defendant has a right to be tried in the county where the offense was alleged to have been committed, venue (i.e., location of the trial) cannot be changed without Dunn’s consent. By asking for a change of venue, he has consented to be tried in another judicial district or tried by a jury from another judicial district.

    • Malisha says:

      In view of Masipa’s decision, maybe not…

  9. Two sides to a story says:

    I think we’ve seen enough of FL juries to know that this case would be better tried to a judge. However, there’s always hope that jury selection is more balanced and that the defense manipulation of the case is more repugnant to the jurors this time around.

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