Florida Court of Appeal again orders trial judge to release evidence to public in Michael Dunn case

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Good morning:

Storm clouds brewing in the Michael Dunn case.

Yesterday, the 1st District Court of Appeal in Florida ordered Judge Russell Healey to comply with its earlier order to release discovery to the public and to hold a hearing no later than Wednesday of next week to do it.

On December 19th, I wrote about the earlier order.

Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee reversed Judge Russell Healey’s order that prohibited the release of evidence to the public for a period of 30 days after the prosecution discloses it to the defense. The Court held that Judge Healey’s order violated Florida’s Sunshine Law that requires the prosecution to immediately release the evidence to the public after it releases it to the defense.

Judge Healey issued the order after he experienced a Yikes! moment while watching a local television news report about racist letters that Dunn had written in jail.

I wrote about the letters on October 27th in Let’s play the who-said-this game.

Judge Healey was concerned about the possible impact the letters might have on jury selection and Dunn’s right to a fair and impartial jury. He decided to impose the 30-day delay to give him an opportunity to preview the discovery and decide whether to release it.


Judge Healey’s dilemma was how can we seat a fair and impartial jury now that everyone knows that Michael Dunn, a middle aged white guy, is an unrepentant racist who dares “to not be a victim” of four unarmed black teenagers sitting in a parked SUV with the music turned up. That he’s predisposed to “kill these (expletive) idiots” would appear to lessen the prosecution’s burden to prove premeditation to convict Dunn of murder one or to prove Dunn acted with a depraved mind indifferent to human life to convict him of murder two.

Hence, the Yikes moment.

However, as I also mentioned,

The problem is the jury will get to see them since the letters are relevant and admissible pursuant to Evidence Rule 404(b) to prove Dunn’s intent when he pulled the trigger and that he did not shoot due to a mistake he made about the situation or accidentally shoot at the teenagers. The letters also are admissible under Evidence Rule 801(d)(2) as admissions by a party opponent.

Therefore, there was no good reason for Judge Healey to have created an exception to the Sunshine Law, which requires the simultaneous release of the discovery to the public when it is released to the defense. Expressed another way, the proper publication of the letters pursuant to the law could not serve as a justification to create a new 30-day-review rule.

The news media appealed Judge Healey’s order creating the new exception to the law and the appellate court said, Nyet! Thou shalt follow the law.

Nothing happened, however, so the news media returned to the appellate court and asked it to spank the naughty judge, which it did.

The Florida attorney general’s office, which represents Angela Corey’s office on appeals, has asked to continue the hearing to Friday.

Meanwhile, Dunn’s attorney, Cory Strolla, wants a continuance. He claims he needs more time to get ready for trial. Angela Corey objects to the continuance.

I doubt Judge Healey will grant the continuance because the defense has had more than one year to get ready and it has waited too long to ask for more time. The trial, which is scheduled to start two weeks from Monday, will be a big event. The Florida Times-Union @ Jacksonville.com explains:

The delays mean further burdens on others awaiting some resolution.

Lucia McBath, who lives near Atlanta and is the mother of Jordan Davis, has rented a house in Jacksonville for all of February in anticipation of the trial. Attorney John Phillips, who represents McBath and Jordan’s father, Ron Davis, said they would have no comment on Friday’s events.

Police and media also are well into preparations for a trial that is expected to attract nationwide attention. An area near the courthouse will be set up as a media city, and police will be issuing daily credentials to attend. Courthouse personnel have said they will restrict where the media can conduct interviews.

Dunn will be the first high-profile trial at the new Duval County Courthouse. Unless plea deals are made, he will quickly be followed by Marissa Alexander and Donald James Smith, both also expected to generate national attention.

We certainly will be paying attention.


This is our 857th post in 26 months. We had 422 visitors yesterday and zero donations.


58 Responses to Florida Court of Appeal again orders trial judge to release evidence to public in Michael Dunn case

  1. Felicita Luna says:

    The more Dunn speaks the more he dunn looks like a big fat liar.

  2. Malisha says:

    Just thought of something. Samantha-chicky-girl said, “Take the target off George’s back.”

    I agree. Put it on his CHEST, front center slightly to the left.

  3. paul busby says:

    @betty kath. So true. .

  4. paul busby says:

    @ betty kath. lmao.

  5. pbsilk says:

    @bettykath lmao.

  6. MDH says:

    Link to the Ricardo Sanes killing:


    Factors that could convict Smith:

    His race and hair style {that seems to have a big impact in Florida}

    He, unlike Zimmerman, admitted that he tried to detain Sanes {in Florida, lying sets you free and the truth is ignored or held in contempt}

    Factor that could find Smith not guilty:

    The racists could use the fact that Sanes is not one of the “good people” to make Smith their “black friend”

    They did find a gun in Sane’s trousers

    Personally, based on the article, Smith should be found guilty.

    • bettykath says:

      Stand your ground and self-defense don’t apply to Black men. He will be convicted.

      • MDH says:

        And I forgot the two for the price of one racist rule.

        IMO, Smith’s truthful account is probably very close to what really happened with Zimmerman.

        I think Zimmerman grabbed Trayvon by his hoodie in an attempt to detain his suspect and Trayvon naturally tried to break free any way he could.

        Sadly, Sane did have a lethal weapon and Trayvon had skittles and ice tea.

        Also sad, is that a white man who commits the exact same acts as Smith would be found not guilty based on Sane being black and having a gun.

        What a shithole country we live in that need not be this way.

        • towerflower says:

          While we all feel that Z tried to detain Trayvon, I do wonder what the outcome of the case would have been if it could have been proven or if Z admitted to it like Smith did.

        • ladystclaire says:

          I agree with your description of this country because, it is a shit hole country and that’s a fact. there is no need for anyone of us to try and sugar coat this country because, it is what it is so we might as well face the truth and tell it like it is! there is no way that this can be the greatest country in the world, while there is more gun violence here than in any other country in the world. also, the cards have always been stacked against minorities in this country as far as the law is concerned as well. WE ARE A NATION OF LAWS BUT, WHEN IT COMES TO BLACKS, LATINOS AND OTHER RACES, THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A DIFFERENT SET OF LAWS RESERVED ONLY FOR THEM. YOU CAN’T LIVE IN THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, WHEN EVERYONE IS NOT TREATED EQUALLY!

          • MDH says:

            It is also a same level of legitimacy and respect.

            My father lived alone as a white widower in Detroit in a neighborhood that was/is 90% African American. Anyhow, he loved to buy sweet potato pies at a bakery on Lahser Road called Sweet Potato Sensations. When some of his white relations found out that this joint was owned and operated by African Americans, they opined about how unhealthy sweet potato pies were due to the fat content. These same relations have no problem scarfing down bacon, hot dogs and all sorts of junk food.

            What gives?

            Is anything associated with African Americans automatically inferior, bad, unhealthy?

            BTW, those pies were bumpin’ to the max 🙂

            And another time, I witnessed one of my lighter skinned African American friends asked if he was Hawaiian by a white man because he was so articulate.

            And my father did encounter a black teen in a back alley who was wearing a hoodie. He got help for my father who had tripped and broke his wrist on a stub of a cut down sign.

            In a way, I am glad be passed away before the TM trial. He would have got very, very enraged at some of my relatives who thought that Trayvon was a thug.

            You see thugs in Detroit and know that actions, not appearances, speak louder than words.

      • towerflower says:

        The Stand your Ground law will not apply to Mr. Smith. He was safe within his home and while the victim was at one time on his property he had not committed any crime. Smith left the home armed with a gun and chased after the victim, even jumping the same fence that went into an apartment complex so he could confront and detain the victim. SYG laws will not protect him and if he does ask for it I can just about bet it will be denied.

        It is the same reason why Z couldn’t ask for a SYG hearing and why MOM said that the facts of the case didn’t support SYG.

        • gblock says:

          Unfortunately, O’Mara claimed that traditional self-defense did apply, and the jury instructions implied that it did, even though it shouldn’t have, since GZ initiated the confrontation by running after Trayvon.

  7. acemayo says:

    Another ‘stand your ground’ case? MetroWest shooting suspect claims he was attacked
    Ricardo Sanes, 21, was killed Thursday at a west Orlando apartment complex. ……………………………………..
    According to police, Smith admitted jumping the fence into the apartment complex, armed with a .45-caliber handgun, where he said he saw Sanes “looking into windows of apartments as he walked past them.”……………………………………………………….
    Smith admitted pulling his gun and confronting Sanes, and when Sanes tried to walk away, Smith said he grabbed Sanes’ hooded sweatshirt and tried to force Sanes back to his house “so the police could be called.”
    Further complicating Smith’s case, according to the affidavit: He “could not provide a reasonable explanation” for fleeing the scene after the shooting, or for discarding his handgun.
    He also claimed to have surveillance video he said “would prove this was the second time [Sanes] had tried to break into his house” in 10 days. But when police arrived, the video recorder was gone.

  8. kllypyn says:

    Releasing the evidence wont do any good the media will just find dirt on Jordan if there is any and report on that instead.just like They practically ignored the evidence against zimmerman and focused on the minor trouble Trayvon got into.which was just the usually silly stuff teenagers get in trouble for.Nothing major.

    They made a big deal about suspensions and smoking weed.and other insignificant crap,while barely mentioning the evidence which completely.refuted his claims as well as his lack of injuries consistent with his claims. Despite the fact they are the ones who sued to have it released.

    • bettykath says:

      It wasn’t the media doing the digging. The media just reported what was handed to them by MOM who provided it in press conferences or in various court filings for which the only purpose was to feed the media.

      • kllypyn says:

        The are also responsible for the trashing of an innocent 17 year old who did nothing but go buy some snacks and ended up dead. they knew who was screaming but they always made ridiculous statements about not being sure he could be screaming.They knew darn well who was screaming.they chose to ignore the very evidence they sued to have released while reporting on every insignificant mistake Trayvon made.Did they report on the fact trayvon was trying to escape when he was killed? no.did they report on the fact that the autopsy and DNA showed Trayvon never beat him up? no. Some of them even did ridiculous reenactments based solely on Murderman’s statements.Instead of using the evidence against him.But they had no trouble putting Trayvon on trial. Their excuses mean nothing to me. BTW they also know Murderman was not the one screaming.

        • MDH says:

          They conflated “believable” with “actual”. Murderman, the habitual liar, told a tale that was believable. That’s what liars do.

          It was up to the media to compare the tale to actual evidence to reveal scores of inconsistent statements. That is how a liar gets caught.

          IOW, the failure of the media was epic and, IMO, intentional.

          How many chowderheads defending George say “well he was believable”.

          Believable is not enough to be reasonable in a rational argument. It is faith. Of course, faith is the hallmark of the Reich Wing.

          For example, their hero, Hitler, had faith that the Aryan designed wonder weapons would save him from the fact that the Soviets had a 10:1 advantage in force projection. So was his belief reasonable?

          Hell, I could tell you all that my man gun is ten inches long and that could be “believable” until one interviews women who know better 🙂

          George defenders make a mockery out of science and logic.

          Or to paraphrase a great line from the Flight of the Phoenix:

          “They behave as if stupidity were a virtue”

          • kllypyn says:

            There was nothing believeable about his fairy tale.

          • Malisha says:

            To me, the entire story by Fogen was unbelievable in the extreme. “He ran” and “Shit he’s running” and then “He emerged from the darkness” and he said “What’s your fucking problem homie?” [or “no homie”] and “he was slamming my head on the concrete and it was about to explode” and “there was blood all in my eyes and I couldn’t see” and he “assured me that he was going to kill me” and “I pulled out my weapon and fired once” [smirk, shrug].

            Believable? NOT.

          • MDH says:

            There are so many lies when I compare his story to evidence that I lose track.

            The blood in the eyes is 100% impossible.

            There is no blood in Georges eyes or eye sockets in any of the photos.

            You get blood in your eye that blinds you, then it takes quite a bit of work with a towel or cloth to clean the stains out of the socket.

  9. Two sides to a story says:

    I’m so discouraged by all the corruption and confusion and craziness that I don’t know if I can stand to read blogs or listen to news at all, which is inaccurate most of the time anyway. :/

    Grumpy Two Sides

  10. Back on topic to the Michael Dunn case, I am glad the COA did this, and I really don’t see a viable reason for a continuance, all of the sudden, two weeks before trial, in the middle of jury summonsing.

  11. Oh! Here’s an ad:

  12. Well as long as we are exchanging awful stories this day, here are some really really crazy comments from the thread at Global Grind, regarding the story from Florida (screen names deleted):

    • 2 days ago −

    • 2 days ago
    Exactly what I was thinking. I’m sure the police are checking this possibility as well. Praying for the family. No matter how it happened there is only sadness in this story.

    • 2 days ago
    You are a stupid fucking cunt

    • 2 days ago
    Awe. You poor thing. You must not have been a breast fed baby if your talking like that. My heart hurts for you.


    • aussie says:

      Suicidal mothers sometimes kill their LITTLE children. Not teens old enough to look after themselves.

      I wonder if the woman and/or the kids had life insurance???

      • towerflower says:

        The father is not under suspicion, the mother sent text messages to him and a cousin of hers saying that she was going to do something.

        It was a very nasty divorce from what they have said on the news and he had stopped paying the mortgage on the home and it sent her into a tailspin and she resorted to selling family heirlooms to try and keep the home. One friend said when she was forced to sell her father’s watch she became depressed. It sounds like it was one final act to get even with her soon to be ex….”see what you made me do…..” when he had cut off financial support. Truly a sad situation, since the kids should never be used to “get even” with an ex.

        Last year the Tampa area had another mother who killed her two teenage children and herself while her husband was deployed. They were saying that one was caused by the mental illness of the mother.

  13. Malisha says:

    It is suspicious to me that the prosecutor is not asking this judge to recuse, now that he has refused to comply with the DCA’s instructions. He’s making his own law and that’s not impartial.

    Could it be that there’s another very compliant prosecution stage being set?

    Remember, we got to see all of Trayvon’s phone stuff but we never did get to see fogen’s phone stuff or messages. My my my my here we go again…

    • I don’t believe that either side will ask him to recuse himself because I think they supported his policy of the less publicity, the better.

      The news media challenged the policy and won.

      Whether “there’s another very compliant prosecution stage being set” is a different question and I don’t have the answer.

      I wouldn’t be surprised.

      Appeasing the right wing hate machine in hopes of getting reelected seems to be the order of the day.

      • roderick2012 says:

        Appeasing the right wing hate machine in hopes of getting reelected seems to be the order of the day.

        The last (only) poll I have seen has Teabagging Gov. Rick Scott at 40% and Charlie Crist at 47% so you may be correct, but I believe if Dunn is acquitted Jacksonville will burn.

        I don’t want to see that happen, but considering the other cases of overt racism in the FL judicial system ove the past few years it wouldn’t surprise me.

      • towerflower says:

        This is correct, the evidence is something that both the prosecutor and the defense wanted sealed until the trial.

        The Sunshine Law was designed to prevent secret meetings and records. But the way it was written it also includes courts/trials. I know it is the law of the state but I do wish that with a high profile case that the judge could have the power to wait until a trial starts before information is released just for the protection of the jury pool.

      • ladystclaire says:

        I wonder why the media didn’t do the very same thing in Fogan’s case because, they certainly did it during the Casey Anthony trial. IMO the media was on the side of the devil from the very beginning and, their actions of being against Trayvon is what helped his murderer walk. smdh

        • gblock says:

          It is likely that the fact that Fogen’s fictitious version of events, plus to some extent a general trashing of Trayvon’s character, had been repeatedly broadcast over the media for over a year before the trial, and the evidence contradicting it hadn’t received nearly the same amount of play, played a real part in the outcome of the trial. The jurors said that they hadn’t heard it, but I suspect that at some level, they had an awareness of it.

    • roderick2012 says:

      Of course Angela Corey pushed her way onto this case and replaced John Guy as the lead prosecutor.

      One angle that I should research is if Michael Dunn a big campaign contributor to sitting FL Gov Rick Scott.

      BTW did any one hear that those assault charges against Adam Pollock were dropped?

      I guess his perjuring himself for Piglet was a quid pro quo deal.

      • gblock says:

        After John Guy’s closing arguments in the George Zimmerman shooting of Trayvon Martin case, I have little faith in Guy as a prosecutor.

        • roderick2012 says:

          I became suspicious during Guy’s opening statement.

          He seemed to try too hard to discredit himself and make himself dis-likable by the overt use of vulgarity and his statement acquiesced with the defense that a fight had occurred even though the forensic evidence refuted that theory clinched it for me.

      • Malisha says:

        Yeah. And the main reason I became so confident of the prosecution team in Fogen’s case was that they discovered the MMA training that Fogen had been doing for years. To me, that was the clincher, and he HAD to be convicted since their idiotic allegation that he couldn’t handle the 17-year-old bruiser (who became a bruiser by WATCHING some MMA tape once and by being Black) without a bullet to the heart was so easily disproven. But there they were, allowing someone to climb up on the stand and spout bullshit that could NOT be true, without even effectively cross-examining him OR putting on rebuttals.

    • Malisha says:

      It appears that there should be a serious investigation into the circumstances in that mom-double-murder case. Debt can be solved with bankruptcy. Other things cannot be solved. The sea change in this mother’s appearance was probably a sign of a sea change in her sanity.

      • Hold up. I agree on your first point, but where did you see the change in the appearance?

        • bettykath says:

          Crane-Station, At the bottom of the story:

          Neighbors were shocked to hear the news. Others said they had seen a noticeable change in the mother’s appearance.

          “A couple of days ago, she was different,” neighbor Marian Sklodowsk told CNN affiliate WSVN. “You could see it in her face, there was something missing, something disturbed in her mind. The conversation, the language, the eyes … something was missing.”

          • Oh okay, thank you, I missed that. This story is so heartbreaking and unimaginable. I have not read/studied much at all on mothers or parents who kill their children. I could never understand it at all, but here in the past few days are three stories in three states, one in Florida, one in Utah, and then the one in Maryland as well, where the mother (I think?) is in custody. Pretty shocking, because we are talking about, let’s see…six children killed by parents in just a couple of days, in three different incidents. There could be more, but those are three stories I came across.

    • racerrodig says:

      “What is going on?”

      I believe Satan is perching himself on the shoulders of weak willed / immoral / screwball people and messing with them. For some reason I believe it may be the beginning of the Apocalypse.

      For whatever reason gun toting morons seem to be taking over our rights to even walk down the street, go to the movie, stop at a convenience store or drive down the highway without having to be wiped out for NO FUCKING REASON WHATSOEVER. (pardon my French)

      Why ?? As a practicing Christian, I ask how can this happen everyday ?? Then we all have to listen to the gun nutZZ tell us more guns are the answer…..Huhhhhhh??

      That makes as much sense as saying smoking more reduces the anxiety and chance of getting lung cancer…..Gee….If I’m relaxed..it won’t happen.

      If the school Principal was armed….he’d have killed that student with the pistol before he could kill MORE kids. Right…….let me tell you all about this bridge I have for sale.

  14. Shoot. Sorry you guys, I have not been able to be here as much as I would like, but I hope to be back more frequently, soon. Anyhow off-topic, two sad stories back to back. I will leave these in two comments so I don’t get hung in the penalty box:



    • Malisha says:

      I believe carrying a gun around with you all the time predisposes you to think more about killing people than you would if you did NOT carry a gun around with you. “Off hip, off menu,” if you will.

      Today I went to the post office. The postal employees were in a tizz. A guy had just come in, demanded that they open up a post office box for him to use, but that they put it into someone else’s name. He showed an expired I.D., and then pulled out a “power of attorney” that had the notary’s signature crossed out so it couldn’t be read. He then started to remonstrate that they had to hurry up and open the box for him because the person he was opening it for was “completely decapitated.” The postal employee did not want to open the PO Box for him and then he pulled out his trump card: a concealed-carry-weapon license. He said he was “getting really pissed off” and he said he did not want to have to wait for a supervisor; his rant was getting more and more disjointed (he insisted he had to get to the bank for his decapitated friend) and he shouted, “You aren’t going to help me? You’re gonna stand there and refuse?” and the postal employee went ahead and opened the box for him. So he left. Then she said, “He left his original power of attorney here; I’m turning this whole thing over to the supervisor and the postal inspector; I wasn’t going to get in his face while he was waving that CCW around.” Several other employees began to query what the guy meant by saying his friend was “totally decapitated,” and I suggested that he might have meant “totally incapacitated,” and they laughed with relief. But the real moral of the story was that EVERYONE was aware that there was some kind of criminal act going on that could easily disintegrate into a mass shooting. I think the more armed-up we get, the more competent wackos will feel and the more public bullying we are going to have to tolerate, for fear of death.

      • That whole thing is almost too fucked up to laugh about, but here’s my take: I mean, Mr. Ring-a-Ding-Ding in the post office is a little too nut farm to be harmful. The ones who are out there slaughtering their families are always…you know. The neighbors say, “Oh well he/she was a Model Citizen.” – A Neighborhood Watch Captain, in fact.

  15. @Professor:

    Thank you Professor and Happy New Year to you! This was very informative. Unfortunately, I won’t be paying to much attention to this case, though I will be checking in every now and then. I do not have much faith in the system these days. Why doesn’t Michael Dunn’s attorney’s seat the same women that sat on Fogen’s jury? He will be sure to be acquitted. I am sure he would be very happy with that!

  16. bettykath says:

    Thanks for the update. “Spank the naughty judge”. I like that.

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