Live @ 6:30 PM EST
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: People look at Zimmerman, they look at Dunn, the outcome in those two trials, and they say young black men aren’t be protected by the law. You disagree.
ANGELA COREY, PROSECUTOR IN MICHAEL DUNN CASE: I completely disagree. The focus needs to be on all violence against all races, all ages, and it doesn’t matter who’s on either side of that gun. It’s all a violation of Florida law if the facts are supported by what the law says is illegal.
CUOMO: The speculation is Trayvon Martin shoots George Zimmerman in the same situation Jordan Davis shoots Michael Dunn in the same situation, they wind up getting thrown into jail and the key is somewhere else. But when you flip the races the way they are now, people walk.
COREY: That’s completely false. That’s not what our cases show. And until the media focuses on all cases or a sampling of all cases, the public will never understand that that’s simply is not true.
Trayvon Martin’s death was a tragedy. Jordan Davis’ death was a tragedy. All victims who die at the hands of illegal actions are tragedies. And we need to put the focus on all of them, not just isolated cases.
CUOMO: But can you understand why when you hear about a case like Trayvon Martin, where the kid’s doing nothing wrong, he gets followed, we don’t know what happens, but they wind up getting into a fight. The kid winds up winning a fist fight, basically, being in control of it, and he gets shot and killed. And yet, there’s no punishment. You can understand why that outrages people.
COREY: Oh, absolutely. I can understand that. I do. But what people have to understand is we have a high burden of proof, proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Self-defense is a tough law for us to overcome. It’s an affirmative defense that we have a huge uphill battle overcoming, especially where there’s injury to someone. We fought so hard for that conviction, and the jury simply could not find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Why would the prosecution ever, ever take a hit for that?
CUOMO: Because people feel it’s a pretty obvious situation in that, whether it was the law or how the case was argued, a man who killed somebody when he didn’t need to is walking around free and a young man is gone.
COREY: I understand that, Chris. I do understand their sentiment, and we were hurt by that as well. But what they have to understand is that had nothing to do with race. It has to do with the laws of justifiable use of deadly force.
CUOMO: A lot of criticism about all this stuff we’ve heard of coming out of prison about Michael Dunn, the letters he wrote, the phone calls that seem to show such obvious character assumptions that he held, you say, “We didn’t put those in trial because we couldn’t put those in trial.” Explain.
COREY: There was a motion in limine filed by the defense on the numerous jail phone calls and letters. The judge granted it in part and denied it in part. So to all the people out there, again who are saying that we should have put in all of the phone calls and letters, they might want to read the Florida rules of evidence.
CUOMO: You’re going to retry the case. I mean, many of us, including me, thought that this was an easy case for the state to win. I was shocked by the verdict.
COREY: This is our system. This jury got a lot of time to deliberate, and we believe they did the best they could considering Florida affirmative defense of justifiable use of deadly force.
CUOMO: Does the law need to change?
COREY: You know, Chris, I believe prosecutors and the sheriff’s association are in favor of the former laws that we had on justifiable use of deadly force. And we do believe that before someone should engage in a physical altercation, or especially an altercation where deadly force is used, we do believe there should be a duty to retreat.
CUOMO: Who’s keeping the law from changing? We had Sheriff Judd on who was saying “Stand Your Ground” works just fine because before you decide to use your weapon, realize if you’re wrong, you’re going to jail.
No, that’s not true. That’s what the Michael Dunn case just showed. He was wrong. He used his weapon, and he’s not going to jail. Who’s stopping this law from being changed to reflect what most of the states have, which is, you have to think before you kill somebody? You have to think about getting out of a situation before you think about taking lethal action.
COREY: Chris, Michael Dunn is going to jail. He’s still in jail. He went back to jail —
COREY: — where he’s been. And he’s still in jail, and he’s going to be sentenced. Mr. Dunn is looking at 90 years in Florida state prison with 60 years of minimum mandatory.
How anyone could be unhappy with these verdicts, knowing we intend to retry count one, is beyond me. But we’re going to keep going into the courtroom and fighting for justice for our victims without regard to what people are saying, even though what they’re saying is completely uninformed and ill informed.
Published with permission