Dershowitz: Prosecutor Could Lose in 'Loud Music' Retrial

Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 02:49 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said Florida prosecutor Angela Corey could lose a retrial against Michael Dunn for murder in the death of teenager Jordan Davis.

"She acknowledged that she may lose the entire case, that the entire conviction may be reversed, even on the attempted murder charges," Dershowitz told CNN's "Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield" on Thursday.

Dunn, who is white, was found guilty Saturday of four counts of attempted murder when he shot at a car carrying black teenagers, killing Davis, in an incident known as the loud music killing. Jurors were deadlocked on a charge of murder, causing the judge to declare a mistrial on that count.

Corey pledged to retry Dunn on the first-degree murder charge. She said if the attempted murder charges were not upheld on a retrial, a murder charge would give the prosecution another charge against Dunn.

"We would have that extra count on which to rely to make sure Michael Dunn never gets out of jail," Corey told CNN's "New Day" on Thursday.

Dershowitz said he thought there was a possibility the attempted murder charges against Dunn would not hold up when the case was retried. He said attempted murder, in which a person was not killed, must involve premeditation.

"I think there is some chance that will be reversed, because [of] the jury instruction, and the charge of attempted murder may not fit," he said.

A problem with Corey's strategy, Dershowitz said, was that she "always overcharges." Corey should have charged Dunn with second-degree murder in Davis' death, Dershowitz said.

Corey also should have charged Dunn with assault with a deadly weapon rather than attempted murder, Dershowitz said. The attempted murder charge would be "a hard verdict to sustain on appeal," he said.

Corey's penchant for overcharging caused juries to mistrust her, Dershowitz said.

"She's wrong when she says she doesn't lose credibility when she overcharges for first-degree murder. Jurors say, 'Hey, we don't trust the prosecutor.' This wasn't a first-degree murder case. This was a second-degree murder case," he said.

Dershowitz said it would be "[Corey's] fault, and her fault alone," should Dunn be found not guilty on all counts in a retrial. 

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