Change of Venue in criminal cases – good luck

There was an article by the Associated Press published in the Charleston Gazette yesterday titled, “Venue change sought in state trooper injury case,” declaring that a change of venue is being sought for a man accused of hitting a West Virginia state trooper with his vehicle.  The defendant is also asking for the county prosecutor to be disqualified from the case.  Good luck.  The world of criminal defense is comprised of making motions, then losing them, and then trying the case and convincing at least one out of twelve jurors to hang the case.  Many people do not realize that it takes a unanimous twelve jurors to find a defendant not guilty.

In criminal defense, you always ask the judge for things, and you never get it.  You never do.  All you can do is make a record for appeal in case you lose the jury.  These motions for change of venue are always losers.  I have never received one.  I have made this motion in a small town murder trial.  I have tried this motion when representing the alleged infamous Hinton arsonist – which garnered even national media.  I can’t think of a more fitting case for a change of venue than that situation, where members of the community were demanding blood.  I can’t think of any possible situation where a fair jury would be more improbable.  But I didn’t even get it in that case.  I can’t even think of a case where they would grant one of these – unless of course you had a police officer, prosecutor or judge on trial.  That might get one.

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