Dooley and Zimmerman Cases – Same Law, Different Verdicts – Why?
On January 23, 2013, I wrote an article on the significance of the Dooley decision. It is a Florida case where the defendant claimed self-defense. Trevor Dooley was found guilty of manslaughter. His case is currently on appeal.
When I first heard of the Dooley case, I expected that he would prevail on his claim of Stand Your Ground because of testimony that Dooley was walking back to his house when David James came up behind him, knocking him to the ground.
After the verdict and when I wrote the article, it was my position that the jury applied the facts to Florida law from the beginning, finding that if not but for the fact that Trevor Dooley left his garage with a loaded gun and approached David James for mouthing off at him, the two would not have come into physical contact.
Likewise, I said that if not but for the fact that George Zimmerman got out of his car with a loaded gun to follow Trayvon, the two would not have come into physical contact. It was my position that the Zimmerman jury would find him guilty of 2nd degree murder, or manslaughter, by applying the law of initial aggressor to the facts.
I was wrong.
Trevor Dooley was candid after his conviction, saying that had the races in his case been reversed, the jury would not have convicted him. Dooley is Black. David James was White. I didn’t want to believe that. This is America where justice is blind and our courts of law are suppose to apply the facts to the law without regard to race, religion, nor gender. I now know better. That is a dream. It’s an American dream, but America’s juries hand out nightmares when they use unsupported facts to get the result they want.
What is known as Stand Your Ground law in Florida requires that the initial aggressor make efforts to retreat. That would apply to Trevor Dooley, but the jury did not see it that way. Zimmerman, as the initial aggressor by the same standard applied in the Dooley case, made no effort to retreat. According to his story, he turned to face Trayvon Martin, and stood face-to-face with him while searching in his pockets for his cell phone. As the initial aggressor (again, by the same standard applied in the Dooley case), Zimmerman had no right to claim self-defense.
The message sent by the jury in the Dooley case is that unarmed, 41 year old David James, White, who outweighed the 69 year old Dooley by 80 pounds, had the right to fear Trevor Dooley, who is Black, and be entitled to assault Dooley who had turned his back and was walking back home when assaulted by James. Dooley was denied his claim of self-defense and found guilty of manslaughter. Thus, unarmed White men are allowed to be afraid of and attack armed Black men who walk away from them.
The message sent by the jury in the Zimmerman case is that 17 year old, unarmed Trayvon Martin, who was Black, had no right to fear 28 year old George Zimmerman (White Hispanic), who outweighed him by 50 pounds. The decision of the Zimmerman jury is that Zimmerman, who was carrying a gun loaded with hollow point bullets, had the right to follow Trayvon because Trayvon was Black and Zimmerman was entitled to suspect all Black males of criminal activity. Zimmerman was found not guilty for killing Trayvon Martin who he admitted to having pinned before he aimed, and fired a hollow point bullet into the heart of the 17 year old.
Florida juries have made it clear that Whites fearing Blacks are entitled to violate law, whereas Blacks have no rights under the law whatsoever. For Trayvon, Florida denied him rights to walk to the store; to walk back home after sundown; to be outside in the rain; to run from Zimmerman; to talk on his cell phone while outside; to ask Zimmerman “What are you following me for?”
For Trevor Dooley, Florida denied him the right to approach a White man for mouthing off to him; to walk back to his house without there being a physical confrontation; and to use his gun in self-defense when the younger and stronger David James came up behind him, knocking him to the ground.
The original post in January included a chart of comparison. I’ve now updated that chart and provide it below.
Similarities and Comparisons
|Trevor Dooley||George Zimmerman|
|City, State||Valrico, FL||Sanford, FL|
|Community||Twin Lakes||Retreat at Twin Lakes|
|Age of Defendant at time of incident||69||28|
|Age of Victim at time of incident||41||17|
|Race of Defendant||Black||White Latino|
|Race of Victim||White||Black|
|Physical Height and Weight of Defendants||5’ 7”, 160 lbs.||5’7.5’, 208 lbs.|
|Physical Height and Weight of Victims||6’ 1”, 240 lbs.||5’ 11”, 158 lbs|
|Defense||Was assaulted by a younger, stronger man and was in fear for his life.||Was assaulted by a teen and was in fear for his life.|
|Experience||Dooley: Retired School Bus Driver. David James: 20 yrs in the military.||Zimmerman: MMA, grampling, boxing.Trayvon Martin: 17 yr old high school junior.|
|Cause of Death||Gunshot to the heart||Gunshot to the heart|
|Arrested||2 days after killing||About 40 days after killing|
|Allegations:||Victim attacked first (supported by witnesses)||Victim attacked first (No witnesses)|
|Was being choked, could not breathe||Was being smothered, could not breathe|
|Victim saw and went for gun||Victim saw and went for gun|
|Fear that victim would get gun and shoot.||Fear that victim would get gun and shoot.|
|Admitted||Left garage and approached victim||Left vehicle and followed victim|
|Tried to walk away (supported by witnesses)||Shot victim while having victim’s wrist and arm pinned.|
|Shot victim while victim was on top. (Supported by witness testimony)||Witnesses vary as to who was on top, but Zimmerman claims he shot while on his back.|
|Victim rushed him.||Victim ran.|
|Similarities||Left his garage with a loaded gun to approach victim.||Left his vehicle with a loaded gun to follow victim.|
|Jurors||2 women, 4 men, multiracial||6 women, 5 White, 1 Hispanic|
|Trial Decision||Guilty of Manslaughter||Not Guilty|
Posted on 07/30/2013, in Evidence, George and Shellie Zimmerman, Justice For Trayvon, Trials & Cases and tagged current-events, David James, George Zimmerman, initial aggressor, injustice, jury, justice, justice for Trayvon, manslaughter, murder, racism, self defense, Stand Your Ground, Trayvon Martin, Trevor Dooley, verdict. Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.