MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The defense attorney for the man charged in the fatal shooting of Young Dolph said Friday that he asked a judge to remove him from the case based on allegations that the judge is impartial.
Luke Evans, Justin Johnson’s attorney, said he was not notified of an order issued in November by Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee to limit Johnson’s contact with the outside world. The prison is different from Evans.
Kofe said during the trial on Friday that he issued the order after Johnson was accused of making a recording that was heard 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 limits his visitation opportunities, and Johnson is not allowed to communicate by phone or text. and anyone else outside of prison, but his lawyer includes 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 trial to resolve the case 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.”
Kofe 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 the date of February 2 to hear the appeal.
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.