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    Consciousness of Guilt — the flaw in Michael Dunn’s self-defense narrative

    Consciousness of Guilt — the flaw in Michael Dunn’s self-defense narrative

    Dunn’s actions in fleeing the scene and failing to contact police all pointed to a “guilty mind”

    Monday afternoon I was a guest on KOGO (AM600) radio in San Diego at the kind invitation of Victoria Taft, to talk about the Michael Dunn “loud music” murder trial.

    This broadcast took place prior to last night’s Nightline interview of Juror #4 (identified only as “Valerie”).

    In the interview, she explained that by the end of deliberations fully 25% of the jurors had concluded that the State had failed to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt with respect to the gun shots that killed Jordan Davis.

    I mention this because in the KOGO appearance I speculate that a single juror with this position may have been all that hung the murder charges against Michael Dunn.  We now know, courtesy of Juror #4, that it was three jurors, not just a single hold-out, who foiled Corey’s efforts for a murder conviction against Dunn.

    If not for Dunn’s actions betraying a consciousness of guilt — such as fleeing the scene and not calling police even when in a safe place — who knows whether Dunn could have sold his story to the jury.

    If you missed the live broadcast, or even if you merely must have more of my dulcet tones, here you go:

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.


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    BannedbytheGuardian | February 20, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    This man should have taken to Yoga On A Paddleboard as soon as classes turned up in the bay.

    Now he can contemplate the ying & yang of every pea on his plate & ponder the macrobiotic principles of food combinations in prison. No tomatoes , no eggplant & no potatoes .

    Andrew, you mentioned in you interview that the decision to “stand your ground” does not abrogate the necessity of one’s subsequent actions being reasonable in the circumstances. Thus I wonder if it really necessary to use SYG language in the law. Suppose the following phrases were excised from Florida law, what would be the practical effect?

    776.012 and does not have a duty to retreat if
    776.013 (3) has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground
    776.031 A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

    It seems some people have claimed these phrases mean that if someone faces the choice of safely retreating or opening fire, he or she can chose the latter with impunity.

    Saying he had a guilty mind is not really enough. Any sane person if they were drunk & driving and at the scene of a shootout, they would flee. Does not mean he is guilty of attempted murder. Its hard to say, the motivation they give isn’t very compelling. this is not a guy who goes around being a gang banger, or doing much of anything illegal, so basically he snapped for some reason and tried to kill some black kids. I just don’t understand it, unless they were wielding guns of their own.

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