Most Read
Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

Judge in “Loud Music” Murder Trial Tosses Discovery to Civil Court

Judge in “Loud Music” Murder Trial Tosses Discovery to Civil Court

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.

DONATE

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Comments

MouseTheLuckyDog | January 30, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I’m curious what is the judges rational on this one? Case law?

I do not practice Criminal Law but on the civil side, most other things being the same, I cannot imagine this case going to trial on Monday. I suspect the 1st District would be asked for a stay if the trial court presses ahead. Then again, Healey could continue the trial and ask a civil court to tell him what to do. My goodness.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Tlag Nhoj. | January 30, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Why not the defense and prosecution have had the materials already. Only the press hasn’t.

      Quite right, I’m sure.

      So, what’s going to be introduced into evidence, played in public court?

      The un-redacted audio, containing the protected content exempt from the public records law?

      Or, if it HAS been “bleeped,” what remaining rationale for not releasing those redacted portions?

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

“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.”

Isn’t that the point?

Or is it just something for Healey et al to take advantage of?

MouseTheLuckyDog | January 31, 2014 at 1:37 am

I think I’ve figured it out. A civil court has to decide who pays for redaction, and if the press has to pay for redaction, then can the prosecution (?) withhold the materials until they are paid for.

Font Resize
Contrast Mode
Send this to a friend