Thursday, September 11, 2013
Judge Healey denied Michael Dunn’s motion for a change of venue this morning saying he wants to start jury selection as scheduled on September 22nd and see how it goes.
He will grant the motion if they can’t select a fair and impartial jury. If that happens, he probably will bus in jurors from a nearby county and restart jury selection.
Needless to say, judges prefer having the jurors travel to the courthouse compared to the courthouse traveling to the jurors.
He granted the defense motion to prohibit the prosecution and witnesses from referring to Jordan Davis as the “victim,” but he denied the defense motion to prohibit the prosecution from introducing photos of Dunn’s writings on the wall of his cell.
This latter ruling is an important win for the prosecution because Dunn’s writings show he is a racist.
The denial of the motion for a change of venue as premature has become a standard response and reflects a wait-and-see approach that most judges favor.
The ruling that prohibits referring to Jordan Davis as the “victim” is a legally sound decision because the word implies that his death was unjustified thereby eroding the presumption that Dunn is innocent in that the killing was a justifiable use of deadly force in self-defense.
This problem can be cured by referring to him as the “deceased,” eliminating this issue as a potential basis for a successful appeal, if Dunn were convicted. This is why the judge’s decision is a smart strategic ruling.