Monday, June 10, 2013

Surprising verdict fits into 'unproven' category

Friday’s acquittal of Trevon Dumas in the stabbing of bouncer Lou Ferrin, who lived in Warren, was one of the more surprising verdicts I’ve seen in several years of covering trials.
Even though I didn’t attend much of the trial, I did view the closing arguments and video, and talked to Ferrin’s family and an attorney involved in the case.
Jurors apparently weren’t convinced that Dumas was the man who stabbed Ferrin, 40, in the neck while Ferrin was removing him from the now-closed Pandemonium nightclub in downtown Detroit. Two witnesses who accompanied Dumas said they saw him strike Ferrin in the neck area but didn’t see a knife. Grainy surveillance video shows a man in a plaid shirt, presumably Dumas, swinging at Ferrin. But again, no knife. A circumstantial case.
Dumas’ attorney Cena Colbert White did a good job of raising reasonable doubt, although her conspiracy claims about cops and/or prosecutors manipulating the video seemed outlandish.
The jury could have chosen first- or second-degree murder or manslaughter but instead concluded, “not guilty.”
This outcome falls into the category that criminal defense attorney Jim Thomas calls, “unproven.” Not necessarily innocent, but the prosecution couldn’t prove guilt.
And for those online commentators who have injected race into the case (Ferrin was white; Dumas is black), the Wayne County jury was made up of nine whites and three blacks.


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