File photo shows accused killer Michael Dunn's first court appearance.
JACKSONVILLE, Florida (WTLV) -- Jury selection in the Michael Dunn murder trial
is now open to the media with two media representatives -- both reporters from our sister station WTLV First Coast News -- allowed in the courtroom on Tuesday.
Dunn is accused in the fatal November 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.
Russell Healey, following a lengthy discussion with media attorneys
agreed to change the rules, allowing reporters in the courtroom and
permitting a video feed from inside the courtroom to be broadcast.
said he'd read case law presented by attorneys for local media "in his
spare time." That case law included two U.S. Supreme Court decisions
that found that criminal cases must be open to the public, a guarantee
that includes the jury selection process.
to the ruling from the bench, audio of jury selection was transmitted
to a nearby courtroom for the media to listen to without the benefit of
any video from the courtroom.
First Coast News, joined by other local media organizations, challenged the court's actions that had excluded media from the courtroom where prospective jurors were being questioned.
Tuesday afternoon, the two FCN reporters were allowed into Duval County
Courthouse Courtroom 406, but were prohibited from taking courtroom
pictures or recording proceedings. On Wednesday, there will be four
seats reserved for local media and 16 seats for family members, eight
each for the families of the victim and the defendant.
Tuesday development was the judge's decision to allow the overflow
courtroom room to receive a video feed, giving members of the media a
glimpse of Dunn in something other than an orange jumpsuit. He wore a
dark suit, a red and blue striped tie and a white shirt. He attentively
sat through the proceedings and even laughed at lighter moments during
The goal is to have 12 jurors and four alternates in place by Thursday. Those jurors would be sequestered during the trial.
there are 62 jurors in the pool, which is about one-third nonwhite and
mostly female with 15 men. Court resumes at 9 a.m. Wednesday.