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

“Anybody with warm blood running through their veins that witnessed the video and knew the context around what transpired knew that it was wrong,” Mr. King stated.

The case, from the start, echoed painful themes within the Deep South. The homicide of a Black man by white males carrying weapons, offered to a jury that included only one Black individual. The relaxation 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 continues to be marked by the legacy of segregation.

Its county seat, Brunswick, had earned accolades, a long time in the past, for the best way its Black and white leaders labored collectively to combine colleges and public amenities. But the collection of such a racially lopsided jury had sparked anger and distrust in a county the place multiple in 4 residents is Black. Neighboring Brunswick are 4 barrier islands often known as the Golden Isles, a preferred tourism vacation spot that can also be dwelling to among the wealthiest individuals within the nation.

Before the trial Ms. Dunikoski, who’s 54 and declined to be interviewed, had spent her profession largely within the Atlanta metropolitan space, establishing a status as a tough-minded prosecutor going after murderers, gang members and intercourse offenders. By the top of the trial, she had received 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 finally 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 fingers 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.

Before becoming a member of the Cobb County workplace, Ms. Dunikoski had spent greater than 17 years as a prosecutor in Fulton County, the place one among her highest-profile circumstances was the trial of a bunch of Atlanta Public Schools lecturers who have been discovered responsible in 2015 of racketeering and different costs for altering college students’ standardized take a look at scores. Critics stated the prosecutors had supplied up a bunch of largely Black educators as scapegoats for a faculty district that had a lot deeper systemic issues.

In 2009, in accordance with The Associated Press, Ms. Dunikoski was jailed by a decide for failing to pay a $100 high-quality 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 status of an sincere lawyer.

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