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

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“Anybody with heat blood running by means of their veins that witnessed the movie and knew the context close to what transpired understood that it was wrong,” Mr. King explained.

The situation, from the starting, echoed distressing themes in the Deep South. The murder of a Black gentleman by white guys carrying guns, presented to a jury that incorporated just just one Black human being. The relaxation have been white. The jury experienced been put in spot around the protests of Ms. Dunikoski, who experienced tried using unsuccessfully to reduce likely Black jurors from becoming taken out through the choice method by the defense legal professionals. It was also a agonizing minute for Glynn County, a the vast majority-white county that continues to be marked by the legacy of segregation.


Nov. 24, 2021, 9:08 p.m. ET

Its county seat, Brunswick, experienced attained accolades, many years back, for the way its Black and white leaders labored jointly to integrate schools and general public services. But the assortment of this sort of a racially lopsided jury had sparked anger and distrust in a county the place additional than 1 in four people is Black. Neighboring Brunswick are 4 barrier islands regarded as the Golden Isles, a well-known tourism destination that is also home to some of the wealthiest persons in the state.

Before the trial Ms. Dunikoski, who is 54 and declined to be interviewed, experienced put in her profession largely in the Atlanta metropolitan place, establishing a standing as a tough-minded prosecutor heading following murderers, gang associates and sex offenders. By the conclusion of the demo, she had won the trust of the Arbery household so deeply that they came to call her Auntie Linda.

The circumstance took a tortuous route prior to landing in Ms. Dunikowski’s lap. Two neighborhood district attorney’s workplaces handled the circumstance to get started with, but each sooner or later eradicated on their own from it, citing conflicts of curiosity 1 of the previous prosecutors, Jackie Johnson, has been criminally indicted around her handling of the case. It was in the arms of a third D.A.’s office environment just before being passed to the a lot more source-loaded Cobb County, wherever Ms. Dunikoski has labored considering the fact that 2019.

In advance of signing up for the Cobb County place of work, Ms. Dunikoski had invested much more than 17 yrs as a prosecutor in Fulton County, exactly where just one of her greatest-profile scenarios was the trial of a team of Atlanta General public Educational facilities lecturers who were being uncovered responsible in 2015 of racketeering and other charges for altering students’ standardized take a look at scores. Critics explained the prosecutors experienced made available up a team of mainly Black educators as scapegoats for a school district that had significantly deeper systemic challenges.

In 2009, according to The Connected Push, Ms. Dunikoski was jailed by a judge for failing to spend a $100 wonderful after the choose had cited her for contempt. The chief county prosecutor at the time reportedly engaged in a shouting match with the decide, arguing that he experienced unjustly harmed the popularity of an straightforward attorney.