Criminal cases that appear to be airtight can actually go either way, in favor of the defendant or against him/her. Often, the key to a strong case is with the lawyer. In the case of Michael Dunn, a suspect for the murder of a teenager, defense attorneys cast enough doubt on the circumstances in the first-degree murder charges to cause the jury to hang.

Lizette Alvarez writes more on the case, for the New York Times:

In court, it is the prosecutor’s burden to prove that a shooting was not self-defense. Also, whether there was a shotgun is not nearly as important under the law as whether Dunn believed he saw one and then reacted out of reasonable fear for his life. In their 30 hours of deliberation, the 12-member panel wrangled with a question that cuts to the heart of all self-defense claims: How does a juror know when using lethal force is justified, where nothing is straightforward, memories are hazy or contradictory and perception counts as much as fact? Even as the jury agreed to convict Dunn of attempted murder, it found no consensus on murder.

The jury’s lack of consensus stems from the arguments made by Dunn’s attorneys regarding the use of justifiable force. Its provisions state that people who believe their lives are in grave danger from another party can use lethal force and are not obliged to retreat. Dunn attorneys argued this law, creating contention in the case.

 

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Dunn testified that he was prompted to open fire at 17-year-old Jordan Davis upon seeing the teen point a shotgun at him, after he asked the victim to turn down the music in his vehicle. He later attested to feeling “threatened” by the victim. The prosecution, meanwhile, argued that there was no shotgun in the victim’s hand or in the victim’s vehicle.

The issues surrounding the murder sparked debate among residents in Fort Lauderdale. At least one of the 66 murders logged in Broward County in 2013 was the result of a dispute that escalated badly. If you find yourself in such a dispute and are later charged with a major offense, consult a Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer like Attorney Richard Della Fera.

An expert defense attorney can look at inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case and use them to your advantage. He or she can give you a realistic assessment of the situation. A reputable Ft. Lauderdale criminal lawyer also ensures that you are treated with dignity and respect. If you get convicted, he or she will appeal the conviction, if the facts warrant.

Self-defense is, at times, a gray area, but lawyers like Attorney Della Fera can argue for the best possible outcome in court.


(Source: Self-Defense Law Hung Over Dunn Jury, The Ledger, 17 February 2014)