Judge allows release of documents and jail calls in Michael Dunn case

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A protracted battle for public records moved ahead today – just slightly – when Duval County Judge Russell Healey issued an order in the case.

The judge denied a January motion to keep records sealed in the case, theoretically allowing documents -- including witness information and jail calls -- to be made public to local media. But according to lawyers for local media, including First Coast News, it could take as long as 9 weeks and cost as much as $6,000 to obtain those records.

Dunn is accused of first degree murder in the November 2012 death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. While awaiting trial at the Duval County Jail, Dunn wrote controversial letters -- some of which have gone viral. That prompted Healey to clamp down on future discovery-related releases, saying he would not release documents or video without reviewing them first.

RELATED: FCN asks judge to undo motions in Dunn case

First Coast News and our news partner The Florida Times-Union filed motions to un-seal and un-redact some documents related to the trial. Other local media joined the effort.

On December 18, Florida's 1st District Court of Appeals unanimously granted a request by Jacksonville media outlets and overturned Healey's decision to delay the release of those public records in Dunn's trial.

Jury selection for Dunn's second-degree murder trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 3. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.


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