While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
Your criminal trial doesn't have to occur at the same venue where it begins. You can request the court to move your case to a different venue. Below are the reasons you can use for such a request.
A criminal trial's venue is the court where the criminal hearing occurs. The venue is usually a court in the county where the crime occurred. For crimes that occur in multiple locations, the venue can be any criminal court within the relevant counties. Venue choice ensures the county has a connection to the crime.
Thus, you can request a venue change if the court currently hearing your criminal trial has no connection to the crime. Say the alleged crime occurred in county A, but the prosecution has scheduled your hearing in county B. You can petition the court to move the case to county A.
Pretrial publicity can affect people so much that they deem you guilty even before the trial. In such a case, you can petition the court to move your case to a different location where the public is still neutral in your case. That way, you can get a fair trial from an impartial jury.
Pretrial publicity isn't an automatic reason to grant a change of venue request. You must prove that the publicity is negative, frequent, current and has affected a significant part of the local population.
Pre-Biased Jury Pool
Some areas have existing biases or prejudices that affect criminal cases, particularly in jury trials. For example, some communities have racial tensions likely to affect cases involving race undertones. In such a case, crimes that touch on race might not get a fair jury trial.
In addition, some communities overwhelmingly favor the death penalty. If your case involves the death penalty, you might not get a fair trial in such a community. In such cases, you may get a venue change if you prove that the potential jurors are biased against you even before your trial.
Lastly, you may request a change of venue if the change would be more convenient for your case. Consider a case where most of your eyewitnesses live far from the court but have an alternative court near them that can also handle your case. You can petition for a change of venue to reduce witness accommodation costs, travel costs, and travel time.
Judges have a lot of leeway when deciding change of venue requests. A criminal lawyer can help you make a watertight petition and increase your chances of getting a positive response from the court.
Contact a criminal defense law firm like the Law Offices of Jonathan Steele for more info.