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As He Sentenced Dunn to Life in Prison, Did Florida Judge Go Too Far When He Said ‘System Does Work’?

michael dunnWhile he was sentencing Michael Dunn to life in prison without parole for murdering 17-year-old Jordan Davis in 2012, Florida Judge Russell Healey on Friday made a declaration with which many onlookers may have a hard time agreeing: “This case demonstrates that our justice system does work,” he said.

That was quite a statement in a case that actually took two trials before a jury found Dunn guilty of killing the unarmed teen. Dunn took matters into his hands after he argued with Davis and his friends about the volume of their music, which he called “rap crap.”

After more than 30 hours of deliberation, the first jury found Dunn guilty of three counts of attempted murder for firing into the car where Davis was sitting with three of his friends at a Jacksonville, Florida, gas station. But they could not agree on the murder charge — essentially finding the 47-year-old white man guilty of attempting to kill the teens, but not guilty of succeeding in killing Davis.

The jury verdict became a part of the recent evidence cited by African-Americans — in addition to the acquittal of George Zimmerman for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin — that it is extremely difficult for African-Americans to find justice in America through the court system. Many studies have proven that the criminal justice system is decidedly slanted against African-Americans at every stage, from arrest to conviction to sentencing to imprisonment.

But Duval County Judge Healey apparently was taken with the idea that Dunn’s conviction in the second trial was evidence that the system had somehow corrected itself in the eight months since the first trial.

“Mr. Dunn, your life is effectively over,” Healey told Dunn. “What is sad … is that this case exemplifies that our society seems to have lost its way.”

The judge said Florida’s “stand your ground” law was being misinterpreted.

“We should remember there is nothing wrong with retreating and de-escalating the situation,” the judge said.

That is precisely what Dunn did not do in this case. He claimed he saw the barrel of a gun sticking out of the Durango, so he fired 10 bullets, nine of which struck the SUV. Police found a basketball, basketball shoes, clothing, a camera tripod and cups inside the Durango. But there was no gun.

While he didn’t address Healey’s contention that the verdict is evidence the system works, Davis’ father, Ron Davis, did say the judge had sent a strong message.

“We may have in this state ‘stand your ground’ laws, but that doesn’t allow you as a citizen, when you have a chance to diffuse a situation, for you to be so aggressive,” he told CNN on Friday. “It’s basically saying to people, stop with the shoot first.”

Before the sentencing, Dunn for the first time apologized to Davis’ family.

“I want the Davis family to know I truly regret what happened,” he said. “I’m sorry for their loss. If I could roll back time and do things differently, I would.”

He said he feared for his life.

“I did what I thought I had to do,” Dunn said. “Still, I am mortified I took a life, whether it was justified or not.”

While Davis’ mother, Lucia McBath, said in court that she forgave Dunn, the father said he did not.

“I too must be willing to forgive,” McBath said. “And so I choose to forgive you Mr. Dunn for taking my son’s life. I pray that God has mercy on your soul.”

Afterwards, Davis said Dunn’s apology was “paper thin.”

“You can tell the defense attorney wrote that for him,” he told CNN. “It was not heartfelt. There wasn’t a tear in his eyes, no tremble in his voice. He had no remorse whatsoever.”

“For me to forgive you, you have to have remorse,” he said. “I leave it to God to forgive him. I pray that God does forgive him.”



What people are saying

16 thoughts on “As He Sentenced Dunn to Life in Prison, Did Florida Judge Go Too Far When He Said ‘System Does Work’?

  1. JF Williams says:

    Big surprise.

    Some old white guy who is a criminal court judge…thinks he can judge the whole entire legal/criminal judicial system spanning 50 states, thousands of counties, cities, townships, and municipalities…based on the outcome of one case…which had to be tried TWICE, mind you.

    Yeah, that sounds about right.

    Just another lovely day in 'murica…

  2. that coward racist got just what he deserved, he knew what he did was wrong, he just use that excuse about the loud music to kill the teen.

  3. He was convicted and sentenced, why aren't you happy? What do you want, automatic convictions for any white person accused of a crime against a black person?

  4. Junior Hope Shaw Good luck with that.

  5. It is not that folks aren't happy about the outcome of this case, the problem is the fact that the system is still skewed and then unjust against blacks. Like the previous commenter said, this is just ONE case. Even this case had to be tried twice to get a fair verdict. America's system has been flawed from the beginning of time. What we want I'd equality and fairness. Also, yes, if any white person who UNJUSTLY commits a crime against a black person we DO want him/her convicted. That goes for ANY race. If a crime is committed against another person/persons they should be tried in non-biased court and a jury should give a fair and unbiased verdict based on evidence presented (not based on the complexion of one of the parties).

  6. Jay Contreras says:

    That was a message to us uppity 'nigras'…

  7. Jay Contreras says:

    Yup, same logic as pointing out racism being the equivalent OF racism. These people are mentally deranged. I really don't know why we listen to ANYTHING they say. Zilch credibility.

  8. Michael Dunn's arse is going to feel some real justice come from "Bubba's" 10" rod!

  9. LordHavoc OG says:

    some people never figure it out until the shoe is on the other foot. if a 47 year old black man shot into a car with 3 white teens blasting music what do you think would have been the out come… now add in one teen dead… trust me it would have taken 5 mins to reach a conviction and sentencing….

  10. Shyreeta Allen says:

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! The judge was correct in this one Dunn needs to rot in the bottom of the jail

  11. Mohammed Shakur says:

    Charlie Willock We dont expect whites to get what we feel….

  12. Mohammed Shakur Aren't you special!

  13. but that depends on the jurors, this was just one, and the jury make up is what sometimes decides a case

  14. Ralph Johnson says:

    What you just said it happen in Jacksonville Fl in the early 90's. Coast Guard Chief when three white teen was vandalizing his home after 11pm he shot and killed one teen in the car long story. White teen dead Black Coast Guard Chief life in prison.

  15. LordHavoc OG says:

    Ralph Johnson wow did not know that and i bet many do not realize it…

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