Change of venue motion filed in Michael Dunn case
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The defense attorney for Michael Dunn has filed a change of venue motion, less than three weeks before the start of his retrial on a murder charge in the shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.
Attorney Waffa Hanania said the case has generated "a tremendous amount of pretrial publicity ... some of which has been erroneous and misleading, and all of which has been extremely prejudicial to the defendant."
Hanania said Davis' parents have appeared on local TV stations and national networks about 16 times.
"It is apparent that the defendant has been tried and convicted by the media outlets which serve this county ... and convicted in the court of public opinion," Hanania said.
The motion contains an affidavit signed by Dunn and two by other lawyers in support of moving the retrial out of Duval County.
"That's a case phrase, 'We don't try this case in the media,' but that's not the legal standard," attorney Ed Birk said. "The legal standard is, is it impossible to seat an impartial jury? Can the defendant get a fair and impartial trial here in Duval County. And it's not whether there's been a lot of coverage or a little coverage, it's whether people who are picked as potential jurors can set aside what they know about the case and decide on only what they hear in court."
The State Attorney's office wouldn't weigh in Friday, sending this statement: "The SAO will comment in the appropriate venue - the courtroom."
Ron Davis, Jordan Davis' father, said he is not surprised or concerned by the motion. He said in his view, it's a mere formality.
Dunn is accused of killing Davis in a dispute over loud music at a Southside gas station in November 2012.
Jurors deadlocked in February on whether Dunn was guilty of killing Davis. He was convicted on three counts of attempted murder for shooting at three others in the SUV with Davis.
Witnesses said Dunn complained that the music coming from the teens' vehicle was too loud, sparking an argument. Dunn claimed self-defense and said he fired into the vehicle because he feared Davis had a weapon.
Dunn is scheduled to appear in court Monday for a motions hearing. Jury selection for his trial is scheduled for Sept. 22.
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