MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – The defense attorney for a man accused of fatally shooting Young Dolph said Friday that he has asked a judge to remove him from the case based on claim that the judge is not impartial.
Luke Evans, Justin Johnson’s attorney, said he had not been notified of an order issued in November by Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee limited Johnson’s ability to communicate with people outside of prison other than Evans.
Kofe said at the court hearing on Friday that he issued the order after Johnson was accused of making an arrest outside the prison where Johnson is being held. The media reported that a recording of a rap song was made by Johnson and distributed on social media.
Coffee’s order restricts visitation, and does not allow Johnson to contact her by phone or text. anyone outside of prison, but his lawyer including his family. Evans said the recording of the case was done on the jail cell phone, but he questioned whether Johnson actually did the recording.
According to Evans, Johnson did not have a hearing in court to resolve the matter and the order was a punishment.
“The biggest concern for Mr. Johnson is to receive a fair trial before an impartial judge,” Evans told reporters after the hearing. “Our legal system is built on transparency, it’s built on process.”
Coffee said he issued the order for Johnson’s safety and denied allegations that he was impartial. Kofe said he made no judgments about Johnson’s guilt or innocence.
The judge set a hearing for February 2 on the extradition request.
Johnson has pleaded not guilty to charges including first-degree murder in the November 2021 shooting death of Young Dolph at a bakery in Memphis.
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