When someone is being brought up on criminal charges, they will have to
stand trial in the courtroom in the county the crime is said to have occurred.
However, there may be some instances where this courtroom will prohibit
the defendant from receiving the fairest trial. Since a fair trial is
the cornerstone of the criminal justice system, a suspect's legal
team can petition to have the location of the trial moved to another county
to provide the trial that the accused deserves according to the laws of
the United States.
What can cause a change of location a criminal case?
Just because a person has been charged with a crime does not mean they
give up their rights. One of the most significant rights available to
alleged criminals is the right to a fair trial. This does not mean that
the defendant is able to make changes to the courtroom procedure, but
it does mean that if something occurs that causes the jurors to be less
than impartial, the trial can be moved to a place where a fair trial is
more likely to occur.
The defense must show that the following prevents a fair trial:
- Negative pretrial publicity that caused prejudice in the pool of juror's minds
- Witnesses or other parties need a more accessible and convenient location
- Judge in the case is prejudiced against the defendant
- Jury pool that is strongly for or against offering the death penalty
It is important to recognize that there will likely be some publicity before
a trial. This does not mean that the trial will be automatically moved.
The amount of coverage of the events must be so severe that finding an
impartial jury in the area is nearly impossible.
If any of the above reasons apply, the defendant and their legal representation
must file a written motion and include affidavits explaining why the accused
will not be able to stand a fair trial in the area they are located in.
Should the judge agree that a fair trial will not be possible, the location
will be changed and the criminal case will proceed as usual.