Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Judge to Decide if Mehserle Case Is Moved

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 10:56 AM

An Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson will decide whether to move the murder trial of ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle who fatally shot Oscar Grant last New Year's. Mehserle's attorney Michael Rains claims that his client can't get a fair trial in the East Bay because of publicity. Rains believes that jurors will be afraid to acquit Mehserle because of fears of rioting. He also thinks that African-American jurors will be biased against Mehserle because he's a white cop who shot a black, unarmed man.

But prosecutors argue that there is no way to determine whether jurors can be fair until they're questioned. In addition, a poll commissioned by Mehserle's lawyers showed that only 45 percent of Alameda County residents think he is guilty. As such, his request to move the trial appears to be premature. Typically, such requests aren't granted until potential jurors are questioned and the judge determines that the jury pool is hopelessly tainted.

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