MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Nearly two years after the deadly shooting of rapper Young Dolph, the man accused of orchestrating the murder was back in court Thursday morning where he faced a new judge.
Hernandez Govan was in a different courtroom after an order issued last week stated Judge Lee Coffee would no longer conduct any further proceedings pertaining to the case.
For the first time, Govan spoke briefly with Judge Jennifer Mitchell, who was just recently chosen to preside over the case.
“The case was randomly reassigned to Criminal Court Division 10. This is, like I said, the first defendant, the first court date we’ve had in Division 10,” said Shelby County Assistant District Attorney Paul Hagerman. “We did not see any reason for the recusal, but of course, the Court of Criminal Appeals disagreed, and we follow the law.”
Prosecutor Paul Hagerman is hopeful the latest change will not cause a backup as the case moves forward. That goes for Cornelius Smith and Justin Johnson, the two defendants in custody awaiting trial.
In just under a month, Johnson and Smith will face Judge Mitchell for the first time.
Govan, who has had different attorneys and now a different judge, remains free on bond.
A fourth man charged, Jermarcus Johnson, isn’t set to appear until weeks later on Dec. 14, the same day Govan was ordered back to court.