Dunn verdict shows there is still work to do
Reginald J. Clyne | 2/20/2014, 9 a.m.
As a trial attorney with 25 years experience in the civil arena, I can say one thing about juries - one never knows what the outcome will be. I have lost trials that I should have won and won trials that I should have lost. I have seen huge verdicts for minimal injuries and small verdicts for catastrophic injuries. In the civil arena, the jury is making a decision about money. In a criminal trial, the stakes
are higher, the jury is sending someone to prison. They have to look at person like Dunn, who was an upstanding citizen, look at his family and decide to send him to jail for a long time.
In my opinion, the jury decision of attempted second-degree murder is a fair decision, and will result in Dunn going to jail for some estimate 60 to 70 years. Everyone is a Monday Morning quarterback (trial attorney) in big, T.V. trials, but the reality is unless you watched the entire trial and saw all the evidence, you really cannot in good conscience state unequivocally what the outcome should be. However, in light of the fact that no gun was found, that his girlfriend did not collaborate key points of his testimony, and he did not immediately report the shooting —seems to be strong evidence against Dunn.
For the Black community still traumatized by Trayvon Martin, the verdict leaves some unsatisfied, some relieved that he will serve at least some time, and some angry that he did not receive a first-degree murder conviction. I am personally satisfied that he will serve some time.
Gun violence is out of control in this country and in this State. A man is killed in a movie theater after texting the babysitter to make sure the kids are alright. He was killed by a retired police officer who should have known better. However, because of the stand your ground Laws, some people think any slight, including throwing popcorn, is grounds for a shooting. Likewise, a battered woman faces two decades in prison for shooting in the direction of her husband who was not hit.
We have a client, Eric Johnson, a pastor’s son, who is in prison for 25 years, because he shot, but did not kill a man who was beating him to death. The man followed him to a convenience store, when Mr. Johnson had departed to another area to avoid escalating the confrontation. I am not sure how or why Mr. Johnson ended up in jail under these circumstances and we are hoping the Third District Court of Appeals will reverse the jury verdict so that Mr. Johnson can return home to his sons. Why should Zimmerman be free and Mr. Johnson serve time?
When you speak to someone from England or Canada, where guns are not so prevalent, they attribute our current killing crisis to an overabundance of guns. I believe in many cases, the old method of simply getting in a fist fight would be preferable to someone pulling out an automatic weapon and killing someone.