Lawyers Seek New Trial For Michael Dunn In Jordan Davis Murder

After receiving a fourth extension of time to file initial appeal briefs, attorneys for Michael Dunn finally did so, and asked a panel of three judges at Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals on June 7 to throw out his conviction in the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

Dunn fatally shot the teenager at a Jacksonville gas station on November, 23, 2012 after a confrontation over loud music coming from a vehicle Davis was sitting in with three friends.

Michael Dunn
Michael Dunn (photo credit: Bruce Lipsky, Florida Times-Union)

Dunn was originally convicted on February 15, 2014 of the attempted murders of Davis’ friends, but a jury deadlocked on whether Dunn was guilty of Davis’ murder. A new jury convicted Dunn of first-degree murder on October 1, 2014.

Dunn is serving a life sentence (with no chance of parole) for the shootings at an undisclosed Florida prison. He was not present at the appeal hearing. It could be weeks or even months before the appeals court issues a ruling. Read the full story at jacksonville.com

 

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“3 1/2 Minutes” Advances Toward Oscar Nomination

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its “shortlist” of 2016 Academy Awards nominees for Best Documentary and “3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets” advanced toward a nomination. The critically acclaimed film about the last three and a half minutes in the life of Florida teenager Jordan Davis becomes one of fifteen semi-finalists (out of 124 film entries submitted) in the category. Now, five of the fifteen will ultimately be the final nominees.

Davis was killed after an angry exchange of words on the day after Thanksgiving in 2012, in a case in which his killer, Michael Dunn claimed was self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law. The film, which has made the rounds at several film festivals & screenings, had its television premiere as an HBO documentary on November 23rd, the third anniversary of the incident (WATCH THE TRAILER).

3 1/2 Minutes Official Movie Poster
3 1/2 Minutes Official Movie Poster

Several other film candidates have gained good reviews and widespread support. They include “He Named Me Malala”, a story about the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai (a leading advocate for children’s rights); and “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”, about the 93-day revolutionary protest occupation of Kiev’s central square.

The final nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 14, 2016. The 88th Academy Awards Oscars® will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre®.

Here’s a schedule of “3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets” upcoming air dates/HBO stations for this month:

Thursday, December 3, 10:15PM CT – HBO2 EAST
Friday, December 4, 1:15AM CT – HBO2 WEST
Sunday, December 6, 11:20AM CT – HBO EAST
Sunday, December 6, 11:20AM CT – HBO LATINO EAST
Sunday, December 6, 2:20PM CT – HBO WEST
Sunday, December 6, 2:20PM CT – HBO LATINO WEST
Monday, December 7, 5:20PM CT – HBO SIGNATURE EAST
Monday, December 7, 8:20PM CT – HBO SIGNATURE WEST
Wednesday, December 9, 3:00PM CT – HBO EAST
Wednesday, December 9, 3:00PM CT – HBO LATINO EAST
Wednesday, December 9, 6:00PM CT – HBO WEST
Wednesday, December 9, 6:00PM CT – HBO LATINO WEST
Friday, December 11, 9:50AM CT – HBO SIGNATURE EAST
Friday, December 11, 12:50PM CT – HBO SIGNATURE WEST
Sunday, December 13, 9:45AM CT – HBO2 EAST
Sunday, December 13, 12:45PM CT – HBO2 WEST
Tuesday, December 15, 11:25AM CT – HBO SIGNATURE EAST
Tuesday, December 15, 2:25PM CT – HBO SIGNATURE WEST
Thursday, December 17, 12:15PM CT – HBO EAST
Thursday, December 17, 12:15PM CT – HBO LATINO EAST
Thursday, December 17, 3:15PM CT – HBO WEST
Thursday, December 17, 3:15PM CT – HBO LATINO WEST
Monday, December 21, 11:50PM CT – HBO SIGNATURE EAST
Tuesday, December 22, 2:50AM CT – HBO SIGNATURE WEST

Stand Your Ground Tweet Of The Month

November 23rd 2015 marked the third anniversary of the murder of Jordan Davis, the Florida teenager senselessly killed over “loud music” by a shooter who claimed self-defense under the state’s “stand your ground” laws. In honor of that, HBO chose this date to premiere the documentary “3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets”, a film which dramatizes the last few minutes in the young man’s life.

This tweet, posted within hours of the HBO premiere, generated enough instant interest to safely presume it reminded at least a few viewers to tune in and to qualify as November’s “Stand Your Ground Tweet of the Month”.

A Million Hoodies Call For Music Turned Up For Jordan Davis

The Million Hoodies Movement For Justice is calling for a Day of Action to turn the music up throughout America on February 16, the birthday of Jordan Davis, gunned down after an argument over loud music by Michael Dunn, whose trial began this week.

Jacksonville, Florida Mayor Alvin Brown has proclaimed February 16 as Jordan Russell Davis Day.

The National Day of Action includes turning radios all the way up, mobilizing across the country, and signing a petition calling for Justice for Jordan Davis.

The movement is using the twitter hashtag #MusicUp4JD to promote the Day of Action., and participants can RSVP to the Hoodies.million hoodies logo

Million Hoodies is an award-winning activism movement started in response to the Trayvon Martin shooting. The group reports over 50,000 members, and helped generate global support for the arrest of George Zimmerman after he was not immediately charged in the shooting.

The group is trying to recruit local chapter organizers across the country. For more information go to the Million Hoodies website.

Jordan Davis Family Prepares For Michael Dunn Trial

As the trial of Michael Dunn gets underway on February 3, Lucia Mcbath, the mother of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, is making the rounds of network interviews, preparing for Dunn’s trial and telling the story of her fight to change or end stand your ground laws to anyone who’ll listen.

Jordan was gunned down while sitting in a friend’s SUV at a Jacksonville, Florida gas station in November, 2012 by Dunn after an argument over loud music.

Dunn’s attorney has said he may claim self-defense immunity under stand your ground laws because he said he felt theatened.

Jordan Davis’ family has been ordered not to show any support or emotion at the trial.

Yet, Mcbath and Jordan’s father Ron Davis have been tirelessly and emotionally sharing their story across the country since the tragedy, to gain support and awareness in the struggle for gun control and against stand your ground laws.

Mcbath testified last year at a U.S. Senate hearing on stand your ground, and at a Florida hearing to repeal stand your ground laws held last November. She also became the official national spokesperson for gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action.

Ron Davis has campaigned for changes to the law, and slammed the law and his son’s killer, Michael Dunn, in a radio interview last year.

In an interview with CNN two weeks before the February 3 Michael Dunn trial, Mcbath discusses how the George Zimmerman trial for the shooting of Trayvon Martin may impact this trial.

WATCH THE FULL CNN INTERVIEW WITH LUCIA MCBATH:

Stand Your Ground Movie Opening This Weekend

Over 8,000 seats have been reserved in 19 towns for the opening weekend of the independent film “Cry For Justice: Stand Your Ground”, a courtroom drama based on a true story of faith and a journey experienced by Jackie Carpenter, a Georgia woman, as she fights to free her son, Jason Veitch, from felony murder charges.

The movie is scheduled to open in 19 theaters in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas on Friday.

Veitch was defending his property in 2008 when he shot and killed Gaston Gonzalez, whom he suspected of stealing construction materials. Veitch was later cleared of all charges.

Ironically, Lucia Mcbath, the mother of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, gunned down in Florida in 2012 by 46 year-old Michael Dunn during an argument over loud music, is an actress who has a small role in the film. She plays the fictional Mrs. Reymundo, a grieving mother and the wife of a man named Juan Reymundo.

Mcbath testified at a U.S. Senate hearing and at a Florida hearing on stand your ground laws. Both she and the teen’s dad, Ron Davis, have been advocates for changes to stand your ground law.

The filmmakers have a faceboook page and website hawking the movie. To see locations and reserve tickets go to Seatzy.com.

The film is not yet rated, but its producers claim it is a Dove “Family Approved” film recommended for ages 12 and over, having received The Dove Foundation’s highest rating of Five Doves.


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The Next Case: The REAL Test Case

In a tale of two murders, the victims were very much alike. Both had the same teenage passions that all 17-year-olds have. Both teens were born in February, both were killed (though miles apart) in Florida, and both in the same year.

Both had loving parents who had divorced, leaving a void that only a child’s heart could feel. And both of these 17-year-old teens were black. Yet, one is now a household name. The other, some people may have never heard of – yet.

They now share a common legacy. Each was killed by someone who had the option to invoke Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law. The shooter in each case has never showed or expressed public remorse, and neither shooter claimed stand your ground immunity. At least, in one case – not yet.

Trayvon Martin
Trayvon Martin

Yet, the differences are all too clear. Trayvon Martin, whose name is now a legend, may have even been considered ‘thuggish’ by some standards.

He was alone when he was killed in a quiet apartment complex on a rainy February night in Sanford, Florida two years ago by George Zimmerman, a Peruvian-white man, with no apparent witnesses to the shot being fired. Zimmerman waited for police, was questioned, and released, but wasn’t arrested until months later, after a public outcry.

The trial lasted a month, and Zimmerman was acquitted on July 13, 2013, leading to protests, marches, petitions, boycott threats, demonstrations, a fear of riots across America, and a nationwide call from media, civil rights groups, and others to end stand your ground laws.

Jordan Davis, in comparison, could possibly be considered a ‘choirboy’ in comparison. The family attorney, John Philips, has said Davis was an “all-American kid”.

Nine months after Martin was killed, Davis sat in the back seat next to a friend in an SUV, with another friend in the front passenger seat, waiting for the driver who had gone inside the store at a bustling, lit-up Jacksonville gas station the night after Thanksgiving, on November 23, 2012.

A Volkswagen Jetta pulled into a parking spot next to the SUV booming Chief Keef’s rap music. The driver, a 47-year-old white guy named Michael Dunn, waited as his girlfriend went inside the store to buy wine. Dunn later told police he “ordered them to turn the music down”.

Jordan Davis
Jordan Davis

According to Rolling Stone, the friend in the front passenger seat turned the sound down, but Davis reached over the console and cranked it back up. He and Dunn threw f-bombs at each other as the SUV driver got back into the driver’s seat.

Dunn said, “You’re not gonna talk to me like that”, reached into his glove compartment for a 9mm gun, and began firing, killing Davis in the back seat. Dunn was arrested the next day, after police traced his license plate, and has been in jail awaiting trial ever since.

While Dunn has not yet claimed stand your ground immunity. He has claimed he felt threatened and claims he saw the barrel of a gun in the SUV, but no gun was ever found.

A real test case for stand-your-ground is coming early next year. Dunn’s trial, originally scheduled to start September 23, was rescheduled to February 3, 2014 at the behest of his attorneys.

Maybe this will be America’s real wake up call, so that many people who still think stand-your-ground law is all good will see the loopholes, see how it actually jeopardizes society, realize it is in fact a very dangerous, flawed law, and take action by starting over to change it.


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Jordan Davis Family Can’t Show Support At Michael Dunn Trial

At a pretrial hearing in a Jacksonville court today, 45-year-old Michael Dunn – who killed Jordan Davis, 17, at a Florida gas station last year – appeared in shackles wearing an orange jump suit as Judge Russell Healey acted on three defense motions that impact the upcoming trial.

file booking photo of Michael Dunn
File: booking photo of Michael Dunn

The defense wanted to let the trial jury next year visit the gas station; to only let Jordan Davis’ parents or witnesses inside the courtroom when they testify; and to keep any Davis memorabilia out of court during the trial.

Judge Healy, due to “logistical concerns” for the safety of the jury, denied the motion by Dunn’s defense team, led by attorney Cory Strolla, to allow the jury to visit the scene of the crime, and denied a defense motion to only allow Davis’ family in court while they testify. However, he granted a motion that supporters not be allowed to wear Jordan Davis t-shirts, bracelets, ribbons or memorabilia in court.

stand your ground victim Jordan Davis
Jordan Davis

The judge ruled that Davis’ family members would indeed be allowed at all times inside the courtroom that holds 100 people, yet they will not be allowed to show any emotion during the trial.

After the hearing Lucia Mcbath, Davis’ mother, told FirstCoastNews, “We want to do what’s best for the trial. We want to do what’s best for Jordan and we want to do what’s best for justice, so we will abide by those things.” The teenager was gunned down on November 23 last year after an argument with Dunn over loud rap music booming from an SUV.

Dunn has been in jail since he was arrested the next day, and faces charges on first degree murder and three counts of attempted murder. His next court appearance is January 13, 2014. The trial, expected to last two weeks, is scheduled to start February 3.


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Jordan Davis Remembered, One Year Later

It would be easy for someone who wasn’t affected by the murder of Jordan Davis one year ago to ignore the legacy his death is destined to leave behind. But on this one year anniversary of the night the young African-American teenager was gunned down, many people are still grieving and waiting for justice.

Today in Jacksonville, Florida, loud music blared across Latham Plaza in remembrance as family, friends, and others gathered for a vigil to celebrate the life of a young man gone too soon.

Florida 'stand-your-ground" victim Jordan Davis
Jordan Davis

On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving last year, the 17 year old was gunned down as he sat in an SUV with friends at a Jacksonville gas station. The shooter, Michael Dunn, claimed he felt threatened after getting into an argument over loud music pumping from the SUV. He is expected to invoke stand your ground immunity.

Jordan Davis’ mother, Lucia Mcbath, and father, Ron Davis, have been on a non-stop crusade to bring about a repeal or changes to stand your ground laws, as they look forward to Michael Dunn’s trial, set for February 3 next year.

Mcbath, now the national spokesperson for Moms Demand Action, recently testified before the U.S. Senate and both parents spoke to Florida’s House of Representatives at hearings on stand your ground laws.

Mcbath says she wants his legacy to be that “everyone has a right to live freely, without fear”. You can honor the life of Jordan Davis by signing the petition to repeal stand your ground laws.
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Florida Lawmakers Kill Stand Your Ground Repeal Bill At Hearing

At a hearing on last Thursday, Florida lawmakers gave some young people a slap in the face, voting 11-2 against a bill calling for a full repeal of the state’s stand your ground law.

The Florida House of Representatives also gave some attendees the impression they had come into the hearing with their minds already made up that they would shoot down SB 4003, a bill introduced by State Representative Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee).

Florida stand your ground repeal hearing Nov. 7 2013
Stand Your Ground Hearing at Florida Capitol (photo by EasyG for endstandyourground)

The lawmakers questioned Williams at length during the five-hour hearing, with much grilling coming from Chairman Matt Gaetz, who sometimes appeared to try to ridicule Williams’ attempts to sell the bill. Gaetz has been infamously quoted as saying he will not change “one damn comma” of Florida’s stand your ground law.

Williams insisted that his bill would simply cause the state’s current self-defense law to revert to its original form, what he called “common law” that existed before the 2005 legislation which enacted stand your ground law.

Gaetz used the opportunity draw an analogy between stand your ground with Williams’ common law, referring to the two as “buckets of laws”, one with more self-defense rights (stand your ground), and the other with less rights. He questioned which would be more preferable to someone who had the urgency to defend themselves.

The Webster Room in Florida’s Capitol was almost filled to capacity with about an equal amount of polarized HB 4003 proponents like the Dream Defenders, and opponents like NRA members occupying opposite sides of the room.

“Remember November” were the words used by Dream Defenders leader Philip Agnew as he spoke at the hearing. He was referring to next year’s state elections, when legislators seeking re-election face this new young breed of voters. Teenagers as young as 14 years-old spoke in favor of a repeal.

The lawmakers also heard from Lucia Mcbath, mother of stand your ground victim Jordan Davis, as she made another impassioned plea calling for changes in the law. She had appeared days earlier at a U.S. Senate hearing on stand your ground.

Ron Davis, the teenager’s father, also called for changes, and the House heard from attorney Daryl Parks, representing Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin, parents of Trayvon Martin, who were not at the hearing.

Gun advocate Marion Hammer, a past president of the NRA,  made a short statement, purporting that “stand your ground is a good law”, and many other gun advocates spoke out against the repeal bill, or waived their chance to speak in opposition.

Before the lawmakers even voted on Williams’ bill, several in the proponent camp appeared to believe that the House would vote against the repeal. Agnew, the Dream Defenders leader, said, “It’s not over. We’ll just regroup and come back stronger next time.”

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Victims of ‘stand your ground’ laws plentiful in U.S.

Anyone thought it was just Florida? Florida’s “stand your ground” law has reportedly been invoked 200 times since the state passed the statute in 2005, but it’s most infamously associated with Trayvon Martin’s 2012 slaying as he walked to his father’s house in a gated community on a rainy February evening.

U.S. Senate Sets New Date For Stand Your Ground Hearing

UPDATE (OCTOBER 28, 2013): The hearing location has been moved from Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building to Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building.

(UPDATED) The U.S. Senate has rescheduled the hearing on stand your ground laws, which was originally scheduled for September 17 in Washington, D.C., but postponed due to shootings the day before at a nearby Navy Yard. The new hearing date will be nine days before a hearing in Florida on a bill to repeal that state’s stand your ground law.

US_Senate_Seal
US_Senate_Seal

The hearing in Washington, on “Stand Your Ground Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force”, by the Senate Judiciary Committee‘s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights,  will be held on Tuesday, October 29, at 10:00 a.m. The location in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building was changed to Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building.

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, and Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis were listed on the original panel, and attorneys for both women have confirmed with this website that they are still scheduled for the hearing. A bipartisan cross-section of proponents and opponents of stand your ground laws are also expected to testify on the panel.

Majority members on the subcommittee are Dick Durbin (R-Illinois), Al Franken (D-Minnesota), Christopher Coons (D-Delaware), Rick Blumenthal  (D-Connecticut), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii); minority members are Ted Cruz  (R-Texas), Ranking Member Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

If you can’t attend the hearing in person you can WATCH THE LIVE WEBCAST HERE ON OCTOBER 29th: http://www.senate.gov/isvp/?comm=judiciary&type=live&filename=judiciary102913

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