Jury selection on hold in Dunn case as media fights order excluding them from courtroom

Monday, February 3, 2014

Good morning:

Michael Dunn’s trial is off to a slow start with the media protesting the court’s decision to exclude them from the courtroom during jury selection. Judge Healey said they could listen to an audio feed in an overflow courtroom, but would be prohibited from observing the proceedings.

The Florida Times-Union at Jacksonville.com is reporting:

George Gabel, attorney for both news organizations argued Monday morning that under the law the media must be allowed into the courtroom during jury selection. The current plan for the trial has the media in an overflow courtroom getting an audio feed that allows them to hear, but not see, jury selection.

Gabel said an audio feed was not sufficient because the media cannot watch the interaction among the lawyers, facial expressions of people and other things that require sight.

The prosecution and defense want the media excluded.

If Judge Healey refuses to allow them in the courtroom, an emergency appeal is likely.

Meanwhile jury selection is on hold.

Stay tuned.

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74 Responses to Jury selection on hold in Dunn case as media fights order excluding them from courtroom

  1. Malisha says:

    Think of it: If the prosecution AND the defense together exclude all non-whites from the jury, and if the public and the press have no way of finding out that this occurred, then of course they are free to disqualify all non-whites “on other grounds” and neither the defense nor the prosecution will object, appeal or reveal the crime!

  2. WOKV-TV reports:

    Judge Russell Healey ruled that spectators will not be allowed to wear any items that support either Jordan Davis or Michael Dunn…he also denied a motion to allow the jury to inspect the crime scene, which is the Gate gas station at Southside and Baymeadows.

    Judge Healey granded a third motion to allow Jordan’s dad, Ron Davis, to be present in the courtroom during the trial despite the fact that he will be called as a witness.

  3. colin black says:

    A close shave for jurour with non refundable Brazillian trip planned

  4. Here’s an article that I wrote a little over a year ago about the Trayvon Martin trial that is relevant today:

    How to Nullify Jury Nullification and Obtain Justice for Trayvon Martin

  5. That’s it for today.

    Court will resume at 9 am EDT.

  6. J85 claims hardship because she goes to night school, but says she can give undivided attention to the evidence presented and set aside school issues.

    She was told to return tomorrow.

  7. J79 is a self-supporting full-time student with a part-time job.

    Excused for cause.

  8. J78 is excused for cause. She knows a homicide detective and has work and transportation issues.

  9. J71 has a nonrefundable ticket to Brazil. Excused.

  10. J52 and J61 are excused for hardship related to work.

  11. J44 is dismissed due to wife’s medical issues.

  12. J31 is dismissed for hardship. She works for Police Athletic League and they are installing a new software system.

  13. colin black says:

    Oberved Floridas Sunshine laws for five or six years now.
    And have had to pick my jaw off the floor more than once at the accessabilty of evidence available to the public.

    This was dureing the MURDER of CAYLEE an the ultimate aquitall of her egg doner trunkmomswamphag.!

    Seemed that anything an every thing was open to scrutinty.
    So why does Angela Corey think sh can state thet the public have no right to know off the evidence in a upcomeing criminal prosecution.

    She Is manuvreing herself like a big ole storn cloud to block out the sunshineing on this case.

    Even claiming evidence from Dunns own hands an or mouth via tapes.

    Will not be available until after the trial?

    Because of issues around redaction an keeping I D safe.

    There was no problem redacting names in any previous cases Ive observed in Florida.

    I don’t even suspect Dunns going to walk I know he is its already in motion .

  14. J28 dismissed for hardship. Has a work deadline.

  15. Voir dire has resumed with J27.

  16. The public and the press have been banned from the courtroom without cause until opening statements.

    • You all have thoughtful comments says:

      “Times-Union argues for courtroom access for jury selection in Michael Dunn trial; jury to be sequestered”

      http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2014-02-03/story/times-union-argues-courtroom-access-jury-selection-michael-dunn-trial

      The Florida Times-Union and First Coast News are asking the judge in the Michael Dunn case to allow the media into the courtroom for jury selection in Dunn’s murder trial in the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

      George Gabel, attorney for both news organizations argued Monday morning that under the law the media must be allowed into the courtroom during jury selection. The current plan for the trial has the media in an overflow courtroom getting an audio feed that allows them to hear, but not see, jury selection.

      If Healey refuses to allow the media in, the issue could be appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee.

  17. This is absolutely not the way to dispel suspicions that the outcome of this trial is being rigged during jury selection.

    • Malisha says:

      They don’t want to dispel suspicions, since we suspicious people have no way to cause trouble for them, no matter what they do. They do not care about their reputations because we can go hang and they have the power. And power concedes nothing. It is as good as legal to kill unarmed Black kids in (at least) Florida.

  18. Judge is going to take a 15-minute recess and attempt to get through another 15 jurors before recessing for the day.

  19. 10 potential jurors interviewed so far: 2 men, 8 women. 4 were excused, 6 told to return tomorrow.

  20. Defense counsel wants to get rid of J26.

  21. J26 also followed the Trayvon Martin case.

  22. J26 follows the case on the Jordan Davis facebook page and has an opinion about the case that she says she can set aside.

  23. Apparently, the audio is working for the potential jurors but not the lawyers asking the questions.

    Kind of like jeopardy where you have to guess the question.

  24. Two sides to a story says:

    Of course we wouldn’t be able to follow cases on a blog without media coverage, but I’m thinking that having cameras in the courtroom is probably not the best for many trials and that allowing only media court artists and a limited bit of reporting is probably also for the best – and then have a release of discovery and full court transcripts afterwards. Let the lawyers deal with appeals if anything goes awry.

    Bwa-ha-ha – I wonder how many stealth jurors in support of either side of Dunn’s dilemma are lying through their teeth about being able to stick to the facts of the case. Florida sures does stir up shizazz with their system.

  25. J17 is dismissed for hardship.

  26. Two potential jurors J4 and J14 have been dismissed for hardship reasons.

    J14 is a doctor on call.

  27. Relying on tweets by reporters listening to an audio feed that isn’t picking up everything said is ridiculous.

    • Malisha says:

      THIS IS NOT a speedy public trial. THIS IS STAR CHAMBER designed to excuse racist murder. And when you excuse bad behavior, expect more of it. Our lesson from the Fogen “trial.” Now all juries who are empaneled to hide judicial and prosecutorial misconduct will be secret juries. I hope somebody takes this shit up to the US Supreme Court on a Constitutional basis but after all, who WILL, when the prosecution wants it and the defense benefits from it?

  28. Apparently, the court is conducting individual voir dire regarding knowledge of the case. Most of the jurors have heard about the case, but say they can put aside personal views and decide the case based on the evidence.

  29. Judge Healey is questioning potential jurors who claim hardship.

    You can follow on twitter

    #dunntrial

  30. Stephanie Brown @NewsandNom reports:

    Judge Russell Healey has also decided to sequester jurors for the duration of the trial. He told the pool of potential jurors that he expects the trial- including jury selection- to last about two weeks. Sequestration will begin when the actual jury is seated. He expects each day of trial to last from about 9 AM to 5 PM, and jurors will be provided lodging, travel, food, etc. for their time being sequestered.

    • Two weeks including jury selection is unrealistic.

      • racerrodig says:

        As soon as that shotgun barrel……or stick is mentioned maybe the jury will go the Fogen route. Hey….this is FL and only God knows will happen.

        I can say with a certainty that God is pissed…..he knows, but I’m betting he’s pissed at the racist garbage and murders going on.

        2 weeks……..unrealistic is an understatement, but maybe the fix is in and this was just a glimpse of what’s to come.

      • dianetrotter says:

        will they have conjugal visits? like B37.

  31. Malisha says:

    The media report that Dunn’s daughter will attend his trial. Not his son, though.

    My guess is that he was enraged when he drove away from his son’s wedding. He had been dissed. Nobody liked him. His son was not glad to see him (having not seen him for five years and, before that, not for another six years). Perhaps the family let him know how little they thought of him, and by the time he got to the convenience store parking lot, he just had to either kick a dog or kill a kid.

    But you can really get in trouble kicking dogs.

    • roderick2012 says:

      I thought he was just drunk when he left his son’s wedding reception, but yeah add in some pent up anger and you can give a better narrative as to why Dunn yelled at complete strangers about the volume of their music in a public place.

      • Malisha says:

        See, I think that was Fogen’s motive too; Shellie had argued with him, probably called him some names that were true, and left to go to her father’s. He was standing there with essentially no rent (a few days before March 1 rolled around), no money, no prospects, no diploma, a limp dick and a rage and a half. He went out to get some “man” on by killing an unarmed kid. Our society is permissive enough (to angry unmanned men) to allow a little rambunctiousness when they really get a bug up their asses.

        I figure Dunn more for enraged (at his own inadequacy and his family’s rejection) than really drunk.

        • MDH says:

          Drinking or use of prescribed drugs often leads to not being able to keep a wife/GF happy. That combined with harboring racist views about the sexual prowess of black males creates a very toxic and violent individual.

          Look at Mel Gibson’s {a noted drunkard} tirade about his young GF wearing clothes that would cause her to be raped by black males.

          The sickness in our society is pervasive.

  32. Judge Healey has ruled that 4 alternate jurors will be selected in addition to the 12 jurors.

    Court has been recessed for lunch.

    Court will resume at 1:15 pm EDT

  33. Malisha says:

    I’m seeing a lot of commentary (some of it months back, of course) in the Dunn case saying that first-degree is an “overcharge” because he killed “on the spur of the moment.” Idiotic. He himself describes a verbal confrontation BEFORE he reached for his gun and started shooting. That moment had a pretty long SPUR!

    • Premeditation does not depend on any particular amount of time. Depends on reflecting on the decision to kill and going ahead and doing it.

      That can take as little as a few seconds.

      His decision to reach for the gun, to shoot, and to keep on shooting even after the SUV left is circumstantial evidence of premeditation.

  34. Malisha says:

    Professor, what is the difference between first-degree murder and capital murder? I thought in FL first-degree murder WAS capital murder because there is the possibility of the death sentence. Doesn’t first-degree murder in FL require a 12-person jury? Isn’t Dunn charged with first-degree murder? (I’m sorry to be so ignorant; I keep seeing “first-degree murder” but I’m not sure when there’s a jury of 12.)

    • First degree murder is a premeditated murder.

      Capital murder is a first degree murder with aggravating circumstances.

      No aggravating circumstances have been alleged and she is not seeking the death penalty.

      Dunn is entitled to a 12-person jury since he is charged with first degree murder.

  35. First Coast News has discovery and an interactive map showing relevant locations here.

    • Malisha says:

      An interesting thing about the “confrontation” that Dunn says caused him to fear for his life: He left, rather than calling the police to report that a car full of teen-agers with a gun were driving around threatening to kill people. So he left all the other good [WHITE] people in the area at risk of being murdered, and he never even reported the crime (threatening him with death!) to the police. Hmmmmm….. I wonder if Angela Corey’s team will figure this one out. Gee, do you think I should write her a nice letter like I wrote her before about the Fogen case? D’ya think she’ll read it and appreciate the help and send me a thank-you note for being a good citizen? 😈

  36. racerrodig says:

    This is beyond amazing, but hey, it’s FL……’nuff said.

    • looneydoone says:

      and in other news today
      Man brandishes pistol in the face of 10 year old Girl Scout at his door selling cookies (Riverside County, CA)

      Allen West on a rant about Super Bowl ad with “America the Beautiful” being sung in *mud languages* that ‘murricans can’t understand.

      tRump on a tirade because President Obama was not wearing a tie during Bill O’Reily/foxxsnooze interview

      Looking in from outside, y’all appear to have lost your everlovin minds

  37. Lyn says:

    This trial like every trial needs to see the full light of day and hide nothing. Keeping fighting media. Who does this Judge think he is? Already has had 3 bad decisions go to the 1st District Court of Appeals and overturned. Shouldn’t this be a 3 strikes and the judge is out situation?

    • lurker says:

      Well, hope springs eternal on my part. While the press brings sunshine, the Florida laws are extraordinarily open when it comes to trials and have been shown to result in a circus atmosphere. Particularly in the hands of a ringmaster like O’Mara.

      Back in the days of Dr. Sam Shepherd, a change of venue could work to contradict the notion of a jury pool poisoned by an overzealous press. Today the smallest crumb of “evidence” whether admissible or not can be played up before a global audience. Hence the ability of one side or the other, or completely unrelated parties, to taint a jury pool are nigh on to limitless.

      My take on the judge’s caution is that he is taking an activist stance in opposition to inadequate protections from public lynchings. While the jury selection process specifically may not be imperiled through public knowledge, I do tend to support the judge’s attempt to keep the prison phone calls under wraps until after the trial. Simply means that the rules of evidence have the desired impact.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        You say it better than I do , lurker – rules of evidence don’t have the desired impact under the sunshine law and in the case of high profile trials like Fogen’s and Dunn’s, may tend to turn the victims into thugs and allow the perps to walk free. Way too much tainting of jury pools and it makes you wonder why this was ever allowed in the state of FL – perhaps for this exact purpose, although realistically, it probably has to do with more with media pressure.

      • bettykath says:

        The jail house calls can be submitted as evidence so keeping them under wraps until after the trial isn’t possible unless the prosecution throws this case, too.

        How still don’t understand why we have a good idea of what was said on those calls. Must be they were leaked?

    • Two sides to a story says:

      “This trial like every trial needs to see the full light of day and hide nothing.”

      I totally disagree – respectfully. Florida’s sunshine laws are unique in the US and from what I observed during Fogen’s pre-trial and trial processes, full public disclosure of discovery leads to major abuses by the media and by the public. Full knowledge of evidence definitely leads to abuses at the level of jury selection because of too much public knowledge of high-profile cases.

      I followed Fogen’s case daily in the press including reading all discovery and watching every single minute of jury selection and all the court sessions, and although I wouldn’t have been able to do that without Florida’s sunshine laws, it was clear that this scenario creates problems and doesn’t support due process or the unbiased dispensation of justice from unbiased juries.

      I’m of the opinion now that any weaknesses in the more hidden court process are smaller than in the “sunshine” system. I think Fogen would have had a better chance of being convicted in a state that doesn’t allow full public disclosure of discovery. That system allowed turning the victim into a thug by the defense attorneys and Fogen’s supporters, whereas in other states, they would not be able to address or manipulate the press so freely, nor be involved in social media in the way that OM was on Facebook and indirectly with the Outhouse.

      I think Florida needs to seriously rethink that law and go back to revealing only limited information about evidence until the trial is completed, and then release the discovery dumps. It appears that there is good reason why this has been a tried and true tradition not only in the US, but in English common law from which our justice system developed.

      • MDH says:

        I agree.

        The trial by media was more about whether or not the tall tale told by George could possibly be true. There was no effort made to compare his tale with forensics.

        The former created a George is being railroaded by the system mentality that was leveraged to get a jury that completely ignored forensics.

        If the latter had been as one-sidedly applied as the former, George would have face a jury pre-disposed to thinking he is a liar.

        So, arguably, the best thing would have been to keep trial by media to a minimum.

        The fact that none of the media {the whitestream one} made an objective comparison of the forensics to George’s story {fairy tale} is what led me to this site. I said tp myself, that the country can not be that stupid and started doing a google search with key words about discrepancies.

        And why did the whitestream media not do their job?

        One answer is racism, of course.

        Another is that they are afraid to take sides with black americans for fear of offending whites. I suppose that is also racism.

        Look at how MSNBC let go a worker who twittered an opinion that some whites would be offended by the Cherios commercial. Apparently, even hinting that whites can harbor racist views can strike fear in the heart of our “objective” media.

        So the media went overboard in giving credence to the story told by George to show how “objective” they are. IMO, objective should mean chicken shit.

        I am proud to be an American and feel that behaving like stupidity is a virtue debases that.

        • bettykath says:

          Being able to see nearly all the discovery material made it possible for us to understand what a p…poor job was done at trial by the prosecution, the defense, and the judge. Without that material, all we would have seen was what they wanted us to see.

      • lurker says:

        Overall agree. I would just add, however, that O’Mara was pretty blatant in his manipulation of the press (including the blogosphere) and public opinion. Recall that he oversaw the release of numerous items he wouldn’t have a prayer of bringing into court (phone pix, etc.). But he could be reasonably certain they were seen by most of the jurors. I would support the right of the public to know as the trial unfolds–with full disclosure after the fact.

        • roderick2012 says:

          I ask this question again.When the defense and State agreed to seal Piglet’s text messages and journal entries why didn’t the State insist that everything found on Trayvon’s cell phone and social media be sealed?

          The hearing to determine if the IT was wrongly terminated was a formal setting to disiminate the contents of Trayvon’s phone because all of the potential jurors had already received their summons.

          Remember to that to this day Judge Nelson hasn’t made a ruling on the case? Why?

          • roderick2012 says:

            Opps, that was the sanctions hearing about whether the State had withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense in the form of the contents of Trayvon’s cell.

            I still stand by the rest of my post.

  38. shyloh says:

    We’ll it doesn’t surprise me any!

  39. bettykath says:

    This is looking more like another fogen trial.

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