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post #5986 of 6250
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuadowen View Post

Leaving aside the bullshit self-defense claim, charging first-degree murder here always seemed a little overzealous. All the evidence points to an altercation that got way out of hand. Premeditation because the defendant had a few seconds to think as he walked back to his car to get his gun is a stretch.

No, it's not. That scenario is perfectly consistent with the standard legal definition of premeditation.
post #5987 of 6250
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawyerdad View Post


No, it's not. That scenario is perfectly consistent with the standard legal definition of premeditation.

 

There's a legal requirement and then there's an evidentiary burden. The legal definition you are describing is a minimum requirement that allows a jury to find that premeditation existed. It's a very low bar and, yes, is easily met in this case. But, just because a jury is allowed to find premeditation existed doesn't mean the prosecution can easily prove it. In a case like this where conflict escalated quickly, there's just not a lot of evidence of what was going through the defendant's head. That makes it difficult to prove he was acting with premeditation, which in turn makes it hard to prove that this was first degree murder.

 

Was it legally possible that he was acting with premeditation? Sure. Is there any evidence that he was acting with premeditation? Sure, but I don't think it's that strong.

post #5988 of 6250
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuadowen View Post

There's a legal requirement and then there's an evidentiary burden. The legal definition you are describing is a minimum requirement that allows a jury to find that premeditation existed. It's a very low bar and, yes, is easily met in this case. But, just because a jury is allowed to find premeditation existed doesn't mean the prosecution can easily prove it. In a case like this where conflict escalated quickly, there's just not a lot of evidence of what was going through the defendant's head. That makes it difficult to prove he was acting with premeditation, which in turn makes it hard to prove that this was first degree murder.

Was it legally possible that he was acting with premeditation? Sure. Is there any evidence that he was acting with premeditation? Sure, but I don't think it's that strong.

I don't know what the evidence was or wasn't in this case. My comment was just based on what was stated in your post. But assuming the prosecutor believed that the evidence warranted a first degree murder charge, sometimes charging the case in accord with what you believe happened is the right thing to do - even if it might be hard to prove. And I haven't been following the case, but from a tactical standpoint what would be the benefit of foregoing the first degree murder charge in favor of some lesser charge? I understand the prosecutor had the benefit of a number of other charges (on which he apparently prevailed) as his fallback position, so it's not like he was staking everything on the first degree murder charge.
post #5989 of 6250
I really did not follow this case, and I'm certainly not a lawyer, but I think it will come out the jury hung on this count because one or more people refused to budge from first degree to a lesser charge and wanted him re-tried in hopes the next jury would convict on first degree. I say this because two lesser charges were included, 2nd degree and manslaughter. I think that since the jury made sure this guy was going away for 60 years, so his incarceration was a given, that one or more people would not move off 1st degree to a lesser charge.
post #5990 of 6250
Obviously you had one who wouldn't budge from murder.

But the question the jury sent suggested that at least one was holding out for self-defense.
post #5991 of 6250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ataturk View Post

Obviously you had one who wouldn't budge from murder.

But the question the jury sent suggested that at least one was holding out for self-defense.

if someone was holding out for self defense, they must have relented or he wouldn't have been convicted on the attempted murders. At least, I would think so. It would take some pretty convoluted arguments to say he wasn't guilty of the murder but was guilty of the attempted murders.

Anyway, holding out in hopes that he gets convicted on retrial is a bad tack, because there is no guarantee that he will ever get retried. Given the high profile of this case, I'm not sure how he could even get a fair retrial. I realize that the jury might not have known that, but my guess is that someone was just being stubborn.
post #5992 of 6250
munchausen you should go back and look at the questions the jury sent.
Quote:
9:50AM Jury questions:
(1) Is the defense of self-defense separate for each person in each count? A: “Yes.”
(2) Are we determining if deadly force is justified against each person in each count? A: “Yes.”
(3) Or if we determine deadly force is justified against one person, is it justified against others? A: “No. Self defense and justifiable use of deadly force applies separately to each count.”

Like I said, I don't think the answers are very good. But they help explain why the jury convicted the guy on the other counts.
post #5993 of 6250
That's a pretty bizarre rule of law if that is true. I'm not sure I follow the rationale for a rule like that.

In fact, that might actually be reversible error.
post #5994 of 6250
Don't know about wrong per se, but they are incomplete and misleading. 'Round these parts a court would never try to answer questions like that, just tell the jury to refer to the instructions it already has.

I'm sure that'll be the state's argument on appeal, that the instructions and the answers have to be viewed together and that together they more or less properly instructed the jury.

It seems bizarre to me, IIRC at one point the court was going to (or did) answer factual questions from the jury (like what did X say in her testimony), was going to let them take demonstrative exhibits back into the jury room, etc.
post #5995 of 6250
Quote:
Originally Posted by munchausen View Post


if someone was holding out for self defense, they must have relented or he wouldn't have been convicted on the attempted murders. At least, I would think so. It would take some pretty convoluted arguments to say he wasn't guilty of the murder but was guilty of the attempted murders.

Anyway, holding out in hopes that he gets convicted on retrial is a bad tack, because there is no guarantee that he will ever get retried. Given the high profile of this case, I'm not sure how he could even get a fair retrial. I realize that the jury might not have known that, but my guess is that someone was just being stubborn.

 

I think the issue is that he continued firing even as they drove away. At that point he can't claim self-defense because he's no longer in danger. The attempted murder charges covered those later shots. The actual death resulted from shots fired before the kids started driving away. Technically he could have a viable self-defense claim for the first part of the encounter, but not for the second. 

post #5996 of 6250
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuadowen View Post

I think the issue is that he continued firing even as they drove away. At that point he can't claim self-defense because he's no longer in danger. The attempted murder charges covered those later shots. The actual death resulted from shots fired before the kids started driving away. Technically he could have a viable self-defense claim for the first part of the encounter, but not for the second. 

Got it.

I have to admit I haven't followed this case too closely. I should probably shut up about it.
post #5997 of 6250
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuadowen View Post

I think the issue is that he continued firing even as they drove away. At that point he can't claim self-defense because he's no longer in danger. The attempted murder charges covered those later shots. The actual death resulted from shots fired before the kids started driving away. Technically he could have a viable self-defense claim for the first part of the encounter, but not for the second. 

I don't think you've thought this one through.

Assume Dunn's story is true. At this point all he has seen is that his antagonist jumped into the SUV when he started shooting. Dunn doesn't know the kid is hit or incapacitated. He also doesn't know what their next move is. Did you watch the interrogation video? One of the cops goes on about how if the kids really were going to shoot him with a shotgun, they would have done it from inside their SUV. Also, the posture of the other occupants isn't clear. They were following the kid's instructions (turn the music back up) and didn't seem to try to stop him from attacking Dunn; in fact, they were letting him carry a shotgun in the vehicle. A reasonable person could believe they're acting in concert. If you believe Dunn, self-defense is at least arguable.

Edit: nevermind the second part. The actual offense he was convicted of is "second degree attempted murder" and has weird elements.
Edited by Ataturk - 2/17/14 at 9:45pm
post #5998 of 6250
post #5999 of 6250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ataturk View Post


It seems bizarre to me, IIRC at one point the court was going to (or did) answer factual questions from the jury (like what did X say in her testimony), was going to let them take demonstrative exhibits back into the jury room, etc.

I assume you mean give paraphrased answers rather than just reading back the testimony? That would be a bit weird.

Letting jurors take demonstrative exhibits into the jury room is not that unusual, although I agree with you that it really shouldn't happen (at least I infer that's your view). It happened in a case where I served as a juror. Although I generally tried to avoid getting into the position of explaining the law to the other jurors, I had to argue vigorously with one moronic woman who basically believed (or at least argued) that because the prosecution's demonstrative showed a little blue stick figure policeman doing X, and a little red stick figure bad guy doing Y, we had to accept that as evidence of what actually happened.
post #6000 of 6250
Lol, I have been struck as a preemptory as a juror 7 times. Seems they don't wasn't a defense attorney in the jury box.
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