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Judge in Michael Dunn murder trial recuses herself

10:28 PM, Jul 1, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Judge in Michael Dunn murder trial recuses herself

Michael Dunn is arrested in Brevard County for a Jacksonville warrant on murder and attempted murder charges.
Michael Dunn, Jordan Davis coverage
     More coverage of the Davis/Dunn case

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The judge originally slated to oversee the Michael Dunn murder trial has taken herself off the case.

According to the Duval County Clerk of Court webpage, the recusal order for Judge Mallory Cooper was entered Monday. 

Cooper is the second judge to step aside from the high profile case.

According to Jackelyn Barnard, the public information officer for the State Attorney's Office, no one in the State Attorney's Office asked Cooper to recuse herself.

The site also shows that Judge Russell Healey has been reassigned to take over the case.

There are a number of reasons why judges would recuse themselves, and why an attorney would ask them to be removed, including a conflict of interest and scheduling conflicts. 

Dunn is accused of shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis last November 23 after getting into an argument with Davis and three other teens.

Police say Dunn argued with the boys about the loud music coming from the red SUV they were riding in, and after they refused to turn the music down Dunn went to his car, retrieved his gun and opened fire on the unarmed teens.

Judge Suzanne Bass removed herself on May 23 after Michael Dunn's lawyers raised doubts of a fair trial when she denied Dunn's plea to be declared indigent and be eligible for taxpayer funds for his defense.

So with a third judge assigned to the Michael Dunn trial, we asked former prosecutor Richard Kuritz if the high judge turnover on the case is caused by underlying issues.

"It's not that unusual, most of the time one judge recuses because they said something they shouldn't have said or someone interpreted something incorrectly but for a high profile case to go through one or two judges doesn't surprise me," said Richard Kuritz.

John Phillips, the Davis Family attorney in the civil case said -- "Jordan's parents and I were to surprised to learn about the recusal of Judge Cooper. Judges often have schedule and personal conflicts which cause them to step-down. Judge Healey is a learned trial judge.  We respect and support him and hope he will keep the pace of this case as set by the Judges before him and have a jury decide this matter, as scheduled, in September/October."

Dunn's next pretrial hearing is scheduled for July 8.

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