Appeals court reverses judge's decision to review evidence released to media in Dunn case

Author: Christopher Yazbec, News editor, News4Jax.com, cyazbec@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 18 2013 04:54:44 PM EST
Michael Dunn in court
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

An appeals court has vacated the order Judge Russell Healey issued in the Michael Dunn case saying all and any evidence released to the media in the case would have to be cleared by him.

He has been directed to hold a hearing to revisit the issues raised by the media. If Healey should issue a similar order, he is required to show how it would be "warranted by law," according to the ruling.

Earlier this year, prosecutors released letters Dunn wrote from jail while awaiting trial in the killing of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

The judge said he didn't know the letters were being released and was worried they could taint the potential jury pool.

He then said he would review all evidence after that point.

Channel 4 and other media outlets filed a motion to fight that decision. The judge denied that motion and said the steps he will take to ensure a fair trial are in keeping with the U.S. Constitution.

The judge said he based part of his decision on the fact that social media and blogs make it easy to spread potentially irrelevant and inadmissible evidence, which could taint potential jurors.

The appeals court issued its ruling Wednesday reversing that decision.

Dunn's trial is set to begin Feb. 3.