Shocking precisely no one that knows the political opportunism of the New York Times, the failing propaganda outlet deceived their readers about the role that “stand your ground” laws played in the murder trial of Michael Dunn:
“This trial is indicative of how much of a problem Stand Your Ground laws really do create,” said Mary Anne Franks, an associate law professor at the University of Miami. “By the time you have an incident like this and ask a jury to look at the facts, it’s difficult to re-create the situation and determine the reasonableness of a defendant’s fear.”
The jury did convict Mr. Dunn, 47, on three counts of second-degree attempted murder, one for each surviving teenager in the car. Jurors agreed that Mr. Dunn was trying to kill the teenagers — not to defend himself — when he got out of his car, crouched and shot several more bullets into the truck as it drove away.
By that point, the teenagers posed no threat and there was no need to continue shooting, the jurors concluded.
For that, Mr. Dunn will serve at least 60 years in prison.
But it was the much thornier accusation of premeditated murder, as well as the lesser charges automatically included in jury instructions, among them second-degree murder and manslaughter, which tripped up a jury that, by all accounts, worked hard to try to resolve its differences.
Until a juror speaks publicly about the deliberations, no one outside the 12 can know precisely what happened in the jury room. But agreeing on what constitutes a “justified” shooting — an ambiguous definition — could have been one problem, legal experts said.
This is why the Davis family and the parents of Trayvon Martin say they are joining forces with lawmakers to continue to fight to change Florida’s so-called Stand Your Ground law. George Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense, was acquitted in July of Mr. Martin’s shooting death. Under Florida self-defense laws, people can use lethal force and do not have to retreat if they “reasonably believe” it is “necessary” to save their lives or avoid great harm. The jury must, in essence, decide what a “reasonable person” would have done under similar circumstances. “The law takes the position that you have to step into the shoes of the defendant,” said Michael Band, a Miami criminal defense lawyer who was a longtime prosecutor in the city.
“Stand your ground” laws played no role whatsoever in the trial of Michael Dunn. Nor did “stand your ground” laws play any role in the trial of George Zimmerman. Both were straight, standard self-defense cases.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Listen to a firearms law expert, Dave Kopel.
Stand Your Ground played zero role in the Michael Dunn “loud music” case.
Because the jury convicted Dunn of three counts of attempted murder, it is certain that the jury determined that Dunn was not acting in lawful self-defense. Stand Your Ground is a rule about one detail of when self-defense is lawful.
Accordingly, the assertion that Stand Your Ground may have been a reason why the jury hung on the first degree murder charge is totally implausible. The three convictions for second-degree murder show that the jury had determined there was no self-defense; ergo, jury confusion about self-defense was not the reason why the jury deadlocked on first-degree murder.
Moreover, Stand Your Ground played no part in the legal theory of the case, as presented by the prosecution or the defense.
In the oft-discussed George Zimmerman case, Zimmerman claimed that Trayvon Martin was on top of Zimmerman and pounding Zimmerman’s head into the concrete. If so, Zimmerman had no ability to retreat. Under the prosecution’s theory, Zimmerman attacked Martin, and thus was not acting in self-defense. Thus, the Stand Your Ground rule was also legally irrelevant to the Zimmerman case.
We’ve singled out the NY Times, but just as easily could have picked one of a dozen other news outlets, includiing wire services and television news, that continue to misrepresent what “Stand Your Ground” laws are and when they are used.
Why do the media—and their “progressive” allies in the Democratic Party—continually associate “stand your ground” laws with high-profile, racially-charged trials where the law has no bearing on the case, such as the Dunn and Zimmerman trials?
Quit simply, anti-gun zealots in the media (and almost exclusively within the left-most wing of the Democratic Party) hate the concept of legally-armed civilians, and legally-armed civilian self-defense. They’ll take every possible opportunity to twist reality to attack laws designed to protect citizens defending their lives, even if it means lying to do it.