Dunn back in court before new judge

Motions Dunn's attorney originally filed can be heard again

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The man charged with killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis appeared in court Tuesday morning in front of a new judge.

Judge Suzanne Bass recused herself last month and Judge Mallory Cooper is taking over the case.

That means all the motions Dunn's attorney originally filed can be heard again under the new judge. His defense will likely ask for bond and to rule Dunn indigent, meaning he's broke and can no longer pay for his representation.

The hearing lasted less than five minutes, with Cooper setting the next pretrial for July 8. The trial is still scheduled to start Sept. 23, with a final pretrial on Sept. 19.

Cooper is no stranger to high-profile cases. She also took over the case of 13-year-old Cristian Fernandez, who became the youngest person to face a murder charge in Jacksonville's history.

The recusal came after Dunn's attorney said Bass showed prejudice and bias on April 29 during a motion on indigence and costs.

"She was right in the middle of saying, 'Don't hold your breath,' that these are going to get granted. And I think, at that point, she even understood that she overstepped her judicial bounds and what she did was improper," said Cory C. Stolla, Dunn's attorney.


The motion goes on to say at the same hearing, Bass refused to allow a justice administrative commission attorney to testify in court, a witness Dunn's attorney says supported his argument.

Instead, Strolla says Bass contacted the witness before the hearing.

"The conversation she had with him I don't know, but she didn't disclose that she didn't have ex parte communications either," Strolla said. "It was my conversation with Mr. Lake when he informed me that the judge called him from, I believe her cellphone."

Bass signed off on the motion, finding the allegations legally sufficient for recusal, but she but made no comment on their truthfulness. The attorney for Jordan Davis' family said a change in judge will not have a significant impact on the case and they're being patient on this changing path to justice.

Jordan Davis

"Obviously we want justice to be as quick as possible and for it to be done right so we don't have to do it all over again later down the road," said John Phillips, the Davis' attorney.

Dunn is charged with killing Davis (pictured, right) in an argument over loud music at a Baymeadows gas station the day after Thanksgiving.