How a Prosecutor Addressed a Largely White Jury and Gained a Conviction within the Arbery Case

How a Prosecutor Addressed a Mostly White Jury and Won a Conviction in the Arbery Case

2021-11-26 03:42:04

“Anyone with heat blood operating by way of their veins that witnessed the video and knew the context round what transpired knew that it was incorrect,” Mr. King mentioned.

The case, from the start, echoed painful themes within the Deep South. The homicide of a Black man by white males carrying weapons, introduced to a jury that included only one Black particular person. The remainder have been white. The jury had been put in place over the protests of Ms. Dunikoski, who had tried unsuccessfully to forestall potential Black jurors from being eliminated in the course of the choice course of by the protection legal professionals. It was additionally a painful second for Glynn County, a majority-white county that voted largely for Donald Trump in 2020 and stays marked by the legacy of segregation.

Its county seat, Brunswick, had earned accolades, many years in the past, for the best way its Black and white leaders labored collectively to combine colleges and public services. However the number of such a racially lopsided jury had sparked anger and distrust in a county the place a couple of in 4 residents is Black. Neighboring Brunswick are 4 barrier islands often called the Golden Isles, a well-liked tourism vacation spot that can also be dwelling to a few of the wealthiest folks within the nation.

Earlier than the trial Ms. Dunikoski, who’s 54 and declined to be interviewed, had spent her profession largely within the Atlanta metropolitan space, establishing a repute as a tough-minded prosecutor going after murderers, gang members and intercourse offenders. By the tip of the trial, she had gained the belief of the Arbery household so deeply that they got here to name her Auntie Linda.

The case took a tortuous route earlier than touchdown in Ms. Dunikowski’s lap. Two native district legal professional’s places of work dealt with the case to start with, however each ultimately eliminated themselves from it, citing conflicts of curiosity; one of many former prosecutors, Jackie Johnson, has been criminally indicted over her dealing with of the case. It was within the arms of a 3rd D.A.’s workplace earlier than being handed to the extra resource-rich Cobb County, the place Ms. Dunikoski has labored since 2019.

Earlier than becoming a member of the Cobb County workplace, Ms. Dunikoski had spent greater than 17 years as a prosecutor in Fulton County, the place considered one of her highest-profile circumstances was the trial of a gaggle of Atlanta Public Colleges lecturers who have been discovered responsible in 2015 of racketeering and different prices for altering college students’ standardized check scores. Critics mentioned the prosecutors had supplied up a gaggle of largely Black educators as scapegoats for a college district that had a lot deeper systemic issues.

In 2009, in accordance with The Related Press, Ms. Dunikoski was jailed by a decide for failing to pay a $100 nice after the decide had cited her for contempt. The chief county prosecutor on the time reportedly engaged in a shouting match with the decide, arguing that he had unjustly harmed the repute of an sincere lawyer.

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