There are numerous legal defenses available when you are accused of a crime. In the case of a violent offense like murder or assault, “self-defense” is one of those. But, we often see people claiming self-defense under questionable circumstances. The shooting death of another teenager in Florida is a prime example.
Seventeen-year old Jordan Davis was shot and killed by 45-year old Michael Dunn—that is not in question; Mr. Dunn admits to shooting into the vehicle Davis was in. However, why the shooting happened is under serious scrutiny.
Mr. Dunn claims that he was in the Jacksonville convenience store parking lot when a car load of teenagers were disturbing him with their loud music. According to him, he asked the children to lower their music. According to him, someone pulled a shotgun. In return, he says in “self-defense” he pulled his own weapon and fired eight rounds into the vehicle. Two of those rounds hit Davis, killing the high school junior.
No shotgun was ever recovered from the vehicle in which Davis was a passenger.
But, Mr. Dunn acted in self-defense, according to his attorney. He believed his life was in danger. He believed a car load of teens had a shotgun and were going to kill him for asking them to lower their music. Again, no shotgun has been recovered.
Following the confrontation, Dunn left the parking lot with his fiancé. He went home. He didn’t report the incident. It wasn’t until the next day, after police tracked him down through witness accounts of his license plate, that he spoke to anyone of the incident.
In many states, you have a legal duty to try and retreat before using deadly force. In Florida, this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s become known as the Stand-Your-Ground law and was invoked in the Trayvon Martin case too—another unarmed black teen shot and killed in “self-defense”.
But, were Dunn’s actions that of someone who acted lawfully? If he was scared for his life, why didn’t he contact police? Why did he continue to shoot as the car of teens tried to leave the parking lot?
Understandably, people are outraged about this case, as they were about Trayvon Martin. But, Dunn’s attorney says there are few similarities to the Martin case.
There are viable legal defenses to crimes—excuses, if you will. Reasons that a crime was committed that would negate their legal penalties. But these sort of defenses—including entrapment, insanity, and self-defense—are difficult to prove, particularly when the facts of the case paint another picture.
If you’re accused of a crime you didn’t commit, or if you admit to committing a crime but believe you were somehow justified, you may benefit from the assistance of a local criminal defense lawyer. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and how we might be able to help.