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A Florida jury starts deliberations on another 'Stand Your Ground' case

Michael Dunn / Jordan Davis
Michael Dunn / Jordan Davis
Aljazeera America

Deliberations started today in Jacksonville, FL on the fate of Michael Dunn for the killing of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. The case spurred international attention because the infamous "Stand Your Ground" law was used as a defense in the case. The case is being deliberated by a jury of 8 whites, 2 blacks, one Asian and one Hispanic.

The state of Florida charged Dunn with first-degree murder in the November 2012 shooting death of Jordan Davis which implies that the defendant acted upon a premeditated motive. Dunn also faces three charges of attempted murder for firing 10 shots at four teens in the SUV parked in a Jacksonville gas station.

Defense attorney Cory Strolla argued in closing statements that the state of Florida had failed to prove its case. He read the entire "Stand Your Ground" law to the jury and said, "You might not like the law but you must follow the law." He stressed the portion of the law which stated that a person only has to have a reasonable suspicion that there is eminent danger to their life, and that the law does not require them to retreat.

The defense tried relentlessly to portray Davis and his friends as gangsters and thugs which makes it questionable how Dunn could come to such a conclusion of someone whom he had never met.

The portion of the law that seemingly will give Dunn many years in prison is the portion which states that you can meet the force against you with equal force. Even though his defense contends that Davis and the other youth sitting in the SUV playing loud music was a threat to their client's life, no evidence was entered in the case that would validate such an assertion.

The case took a dramatic twist on yesterday when Dunn's fiance' took the stand and stated that Dunn never mentioned to her that he thought the youth in the SUV had a gun. She also stated the as they left the scene of the shooting and went back to their hotel, he never mentioned the youth having a gun. She stated the they order a pizza, sat and ate it, Dunn tried to convince her that the shooting was justified, but he never mentioned the youth having a gun.

This case immediately caught the attention of opponents of the "Stand Your Ground" law because of its similarities to the trial involving George Zimmerman for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, FL. Zimmerman was acquitted in that case and caused a nation outcry against laws that would allow a person to kill another person just because they thought they were in some sort of danger.

The coverage of this trial has not focused on the racial aspect of those involved even though it's a central theme in the trial. To favor an acquittal in this case you must conclude that a middle-aged white man would immediately feel that his life is in danger if he is shunned by a SUV full of black youth who refused to turn down their music even though you said "Please turn down your music." You would also have to conclude that a black youth who disrespects a middle-age white man by not turning down his music deserves an immediate death sentence.

These cases only magnify the face that millions of Americans are leaving home everyday fully conscience of where they stand in regards to these "Stand Your Ground" laws. We have citizens ready, willing and able to become judge, jury and executioner at a moments notice to protect grounds that are as public as a convenience store parking lot or a street in an apartment complex.

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