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Michael Dunn Tag

Just when we thought the discovery evidence kerfuffle in Florida's "loud music" murder trial couldn't get any crazier, Circuit Judge Russell Healey has introduced another twist that denies the media access to Michael Dunn's jailhouse phone recordings. Dunn is charged with first degree murder in the shooting death of Jordan Davis, and is claiming he acted in lawful self-defense. For more background on the case, see “Loud Music” Murder Trial: Discovery Held Hostage, or Media Being Stingy? It seemed yesterday that the only remaining impasse to the media accessing the 185 hours of phone recordings was their conceding to pay the State ~$6,300 to cover the costs of redacting them, a process the State expects to take as long as 10 weeks. Dunn's trial, however, is scheduled to begin on February 3, only two working days from today. The mathematics of the dilemma was, of course, already known. Yesterday, however, Judge Healey threw another wrench into the works.  (Dunn's legal counsel has repeatedly asked for delays in the start of the trial, and in fact the trial had originally been scheduled to take place last September.) The new issue? Judge Healey essentially shrugged off responsibility for ruling on the issue at all. Instead, he said, whether the recordings should be released was really an administrative matter that ought to be decided by a civil judge. [caption id="attachment_77154" align="alignnone" width="450"]Circuit Judge Russell Healey, presiding over Florida "loud music" murder trial Circuit Judge Russell Healey, presiding over Florida "loud music" murder trial[/caption] The media intervenors, represented by Attorney Jennifer Mansfield, argued that the various orders of the 1st District Court of Appeals, which oversees Healey's court, compelled him to order the release of the recordings. Healey disagreed, arguing that a careful reading of the DCA's orders required merely that he vacate his own previous orders suppressing the recordings, not that he himself order their release. The precise language of the DCA order is worth considering:
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