Commentary: Michael Dunn trial as a civics lesson

By Frank Powers, Assignment manager, fpowers@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 17 2014 02:29:25 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 17 2014 02:36:20 PM EST

On Monday, Sept. 22, a jury pool of 300 gathered to begin the process of picking a jury for the retrial of Michael Dunn on the murder charge.  By Wednesday morning the pool was narrowed to 66.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The two-week murder trial of Michael Dunn offered the public a rare opportunity for an inside look at the way the criminal justice system works.

A courtroom is a veritable cauldron of raw human emotion. No one wants to be there,  but at the same time they are drawn there by a common thread — a search for truth.

Whatever the truth is, I think it’s defined by the conflict of these two quotes:

  • Dunn claiming Jordan Davis had a gun, and he fired because, “it was life or death.”

  • Assistant state attorney John Guy telling the jury, “There was no weapon. Jordan Davis had a big mouth and it cost him his life.”


This case isn’t over. The sentencing is yet to come, and if it’s anything like the trial, there are bound to be more twists and turns. There will be intense pressure on Angela Corey to retry Dunn, and there will be an appeal.

The first District Court of Appeals is a stickler for proper jury instructions, and while this jury worked long and hard, it was apparent they were confused by the jury instructions.  

One thing is for sure, there were no winners in this fatal encounter that grew out of the desire for breath mints, a bottle of wine and some blaring rap music. The family of Jordan Davis is still waiting for justice. The family of Michael Dunn is dealing with what it believes is a miscarriage of justice.

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