Dunn Trial: Angela Corey's team faces a much stronger defense this time

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Opinion

The first time Michael Dunn stood trial for the shooting of Jordan Davis, Dunn’s lawyer, Cory Strolla, mounted a scattered, shotgun approach to the defense and it came across, at times, disorganized. A defense attorney runs the risk of desensitizing a jury to what’s important if every point is argued. It’s better to acknowledge that which is either easily provable, or not particularly relevant to the defense, that you want them to focus on. Dunn’s new legal team, led by veteran trial attorney Waffa Hanania, demonstrated a much more focused and coordinated approach.

This much is clear: State Attorney Angela Corey’s team faces a much stronger defense. If the state cannot significantly improve their argument or offer some compelling new testimony, then it seems unlikely they’ll fare any better than they did last time.

'Django Unchained' actress was out of line

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Opinion

I'm frustrated by the story of "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts' claim of racism after being detained by a police officer.

I think it is true that police officers, in general, are more likely to be suspicious of black people than white people in specific circumstances, and I know the phenomenon of "driving while black" happens. I have clients who have been pulled over, questioned and detained without any obvious probable cause.

It reminds me of an incident a few weeks ago in which Hollywood producer Charles Belk was detained by police officers for six hours until cops realized they had the wrong "tall, bald-headed black male." Such an event is demoralizing and humiliating, and it is evidence of how ingrained cultural biases affect law-abiding citizens. It's the kind of action that gives black people reason to be distrustful of cops.

Time to reconsider cops' 'deadly force'?

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Opinion

Several recent high-profile cases involving cops who have shot civilians have acquainted us with the nuances of self-defense, deadly force and the standard of "reasonable fear of imminent great bodily harm or death."

This is the threshold for justifiable homicide for civilians, and so far it has also been the focus of the inquiry into whether Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson acted appropriately in firing his gun in the direction of Michael Brown and killing him.

However, for law enforcement officers -- the men and women we count on to stop crime and apprehend criminals -- the threshold for use of force, including deadly force, is much broader than for civilians.

The question is: Are cops allowed to shoot people who are resisting or fleeing felony arrest? The answer is "maybe."

Confederacy of Amnesia

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Opinion

I joined Anderson Cooper and Jeffrey Toobin to discuss the acquittal of a father accused of killing the drunk driver who caused the death of his children. I voiced a concern that there may have been a confederacy of amnesia in this case, where the sympathies of witnesses and investigators left holes in the case that enabled the jury to reach an easy acquittal.