A free man could face prison time and the end of a career in law before it even begins.
According to a staff report at phillylacrosse.com, Assistant District Attorney Jan McDermott stated “it was his [Mr. Ung] duty to retreat or possibly call 9-1-1 if he was threatened.” This is a misrepresentation of the law regarding use of force in Pennsylvania. The law states that one has the duty to retreat only if it may be accomplished in complete safety. That means you only have a duty to retreat if there is NO chance further harm could come to you by doing so. Could Mr. Ung and his two companions have crossed the street at that time of the morning in complete safety? Without risk of harm either from Mr. DiDonato or vehicles traveling down Market St.? If you aren’t familiar with traffic in that area at that time of night, I can tell you it would not have been possible to cross the street mid-block in complete safety without the pursuit of those wishing to cause you harm. Suggesting that he had the duty to call 911 is preposterous. Law Enforcement Officers have no duty to protect us so it is not legally viable to suggest we are legally bound to seek their assistance.
Her misrepresentation of the law is one of two things, either it is intentionally done with full knowledge of the falsehood in an effort to mislead the jury as to the actual justification for the use of deadly force, or it is due to ignorance of the law. The former would be gross misconduct and the latter negligence considering she should know the law upon which she is trying a man. In either case it is unconscionable that she be allowed to continue practicing law.
Her bumbling continues ADA McDermott attempts to suggest that having one’s hands in their pocket (where any manner of objects are kept) indicates Mr. Ung’s predetermined action of shooting one of Mr. DiDonato. She seems to suggest that without having been physically assaulted by a man with a weapon there is no justification for deadly force by going through the surveillance video frame by frame asking if Mr. Ung had been attacked or if he at any time saw a weapon in Mr. DiDonato’s possession. Nothing but court room theatrics better suited for a crime drama than the Halls of Justice in Philadelphia.
And for me the clincher was this dud of a question from Ms. McDermott, ““You never fired a warning shot or shot at his arms or legs just at his chest and abdomen?” I find it impossible to believe that Ms. McDermott is so ignorant of the law that she does not know a warning shot is not legal nor is use of deadly force in a situation where one is not threatened enough to employ deadly force (shooting an attacker to wound rather than kill). Had Mr. Ung followed either of the courses of action she suggests I would be calling him a bumbling idiot that made an ill advised decision in a tense situation and would hope his lawyer could convince a rational jury that in the moment he fired he was aiming for center mass and just missed. Shooting to wound is not a legitimate justifiable use of deadly force ever. The ADA knows this. She also knows that most jurors will not be so well informed on the use of deadly as those who have decided to take the safety of themselves and those around them into their own hands and legally carry a tool for that purpose.