Friday, November 20, 2009

Judge Sends BART Cop Murder Trial to Downtown LA

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 11:56 AM

In a victory for prosecutors and the family of Oscar Grant, a judge has sent the murder trial of ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle to downtown Los Angeles, according to the Trib and the Chron. Mehserles defense team had wanted the case moved to conservative San Diego County, where the jury pool likely would have been more sympathetic to police officers.

Judge Morris Jacobson appeared to select Los Angeles, which is more closely allied demographically to Alameda County, because it would be cheaper. Although San Diego County officials said they could be ready for a trial sooner, they said they would need extra funds from Alameda County to pay for extra security and they needed an East Bay judge to come to San Diego to try the case. Los Angeles officials said they dont have those problems, although they said they wont be ready for trial until later next year.

Jacobson ruled earlier this fall that Mehserle couldnt get a fair trial in the East Bay because of extensive pretrial publicity. Prosecutors and Grant's family had been concerned that moving the trial to conservative San Diego County would have more likely resulted in Mehserle's acquital.

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