Judge Russell Healey, presiding over the murder trial of Michael Dunn in the shooting death of Jordan Davis, promised the parties a decision Wednesday on releasing to the media the jail house telephone recordings of Dunn.

Oddly, this was a decision all sides had thought he’d made just this past Friday, when Healy ordered the recordings released.  Yesterday, however, he suggested that perhaps he wasn’t the right judge to make that call, and it should instead be made by a civil court judge previously uninvolved in this criminal prosecution (for more of our coverage on this, see: Yet Another Discovery Twist in the “Loud Music” Murder Trial).

Wednesday evening Healey decided that was exactly what he ought to do.  In a ruling reported by the Florida Sun-Times, Healey said that based on the case law he’s reviewed the release of the discovery was a matter to be decided in civil court.

Counsel for the media intervenors seeking the recordings stated that he would immediately refer the matter to Healey’s bosses at the 1st District Court of Appeals.  The 1st DCA has already vacated several of Healey’s orders vis a vis discovery, and in their last ruling had extended an explicit invitation for rapid review to any of the parties objecting to Healey’s future rulings on discovery.

At present, the trial is scheduled to begin this coming Monday, February 3, which would seem to leave inadequate time for any of the parties to process the ~185 hours of recordings prior to trial, regardless of any court’s rulings on the matter.

Keep your eyes right here for more, as events develop.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.