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Judge refuses to order release of Dunn phone calls from jail

Posted: January 29, 2014 - 7:40pm  |  Updated: January 30, 2014 - 12:12am
  The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey
The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey

A judge is refusing a media request to immediately release 185 hours of phone calls a Brevard County man made from jail while awaiting trial in the death of a Jacksonville teenager.

In a ruling released Wednesday, Judge Russell Healey told The Florida Times-Union, First Coast News and WJXT TV-4 that they needed to sue the State Attorney’s Office in civil court if they wanted to get the phone calls made by Michael Dunn from jail. Dunn, 47, killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis in a dispute over loud music, telling police he felt threatened and thought he saw a gun.

Healey said the related cases he’s examined treated the public records issue as a civil matter separate from the criminal trial.

Attorneys for the media have previously said that the time it would take to sue would guarantee the tapes would not be released until Dunn’s trial is over. Jury selection in the case is scheduled to begin Monday.

George Gabel, attorney for the Times-Union and First Coast News, said Healey’s ruling will go to the 1st District Court of Appeal and the media will ask for an expedited ruling this week.

The judge previously imposed an order prohibiting all materials in the case from being released until 30 days after it was shared between the prosecution and defense when it became public record. But that order was thrown out by the 1st District Court of Appeal, which instructed Healey to have an evidentiary hearing and release anything to the public that the state didn’t claim was protected under Florida law.

Healey said he’d done that, and the calls were now public record. But State Attorney Angela Corey has said she will not release the calls until her staff spends about 180 hours redacting them and media organizations pay $6,000 for their time. That is expected to take nine to 10 weeks, according to Corey.

The media organizations argue that the phone calls have already been reviewed by Corey’s office for the trial. They also argue that the cost and time it will take to review the calls is excessive.

 

Larry Hannan: (904) 359-4470

Comments (5)

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sl4thpi
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sl4thpi 01/29/14 - 08:35 pm
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Premium Member

...

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ToTellTheTruth
1214
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ToTellTheTruth 01/29/14 - 10:26 pm
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The media needs to let this

The media needs to let this one go. I hope the community sees that Ms. Corey is not only prosecuting this case but she is also fighting like a pit bull to keep this case in the courtroom and not the media. The most important issue here is for the defendant to get a fair trial. I know it sounds backwards but that is what a highly ethical prosecutor is supposed to do. In doing so, it ultimately saves the tax payers money by not having to move the trial or the case coming back on appeal. The media feels like they are the losers in this issue but if they would only report the facts that are admissible in court everyone would understand the jury's verdict. Thank you Ms. Corey for fighting for justice and fighting to save the tax payer's money.

PhDBlack
8303
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PhDBlack 01/30/14 - 10:59 am
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Premium Member

The media needs to back

The media needs to back off....let the trial begin...

lilrio
4999
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lilrio 01/30/14 - 05:55 pm
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Premium Member

Go media -get the public

Go media -get the public records. Let the sunshine begin.

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