Dunn's attorney asks for trial to be delayed
Updated On: Jan 17 2014 08:09:56 PM EST
The attorney for Michael Dunn, the man accused of shooting and killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis, has filed a motion to delay the murder trial until April.
The trial is currently set to begin Feb. 3 and is expected to last two to three weeks. A hearing on the motion has been set for noon Tuesday.
DOCUMENT: Michael Dunn motion to delay trial
Dunn's attorney, Cory Strolla, said he's been having to deal with motions filed by news organizations that are trying to get access to evidence and that it's making it harder to prepare his case.
The motion reads: "Based on recent and multiple filings by the Intervener parties, including but not limited to the 1st DCA, said time necessary to properly research and respond to these multiple motions filed by the Intervener parties has greatly diminished the defendant’s, through counsel, time to properly and effectively prepare said cause for jury trial currently scheduled to begin in two weeks."
In the motion, Strolla said he has been in touch with the state attorney's office, which opposes the delay.
"The State Attorney's Office will not try this case in the media and will comment further in the appropriate venue -- the courtroom," spokeswoman Jackelyn Barnard said in a statement Friday.
Media attorney Ed Birk said Strolla should have filed this motion last fall.
"I am sure the judge does not want to deny the motion and then have an appeal that requires a retrial," Birk said. "That is a big waste of time and taxpayer money. My guess is the judge will grant the motion."
Birk said the media should have access to the public records in this case.
"I know some folks like to criticize the media, but we believe it's very important to have the open access to those records. This is how we know what is going on in our government."
Dunn is accused of shooting into an SUV full of teenagers in November 2012 outside a Gate gas station in a dispute over loud music, killing Davis. Dunn claims the shooting was in self-defense.
Among records that have already been released to the media in recent months are letters Dunn wrote from jail and statements he made regarding the case and his feelings toward African-Americans. He wrote he was worried about getting a predominantly black jury and said he believes blacks are calling the shots in the state attorney's office and the media.
Those inflammatory letters are one reason why Judge Russell Healey wanted to review what could be released to the media before the trial, which set off a host of challenges in the courtroom from the media and others.
This case is drawing a lot of media attention. In fact, special procedures are being set up to handle the large number of networks and media from across Florida that plan to converge on Jacksonville to cover the trial.
Special rules have been set up and a lottery will be held to see which members of the public will be allowed into the courtroom to view the trial each day.
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