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Fair trial fundamentals: Seeking a venue change in Texas

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Not all criminal cases proceed to trial, but defendants should still strive to understand the justice system to prepare for all possibilities. The right to a fair trial is a cornerstone of the American criminal justice system, but many things can interfere with fairness.

Sometimes, the location of a trial can pose problems, potentially leading to an unjust outcome. When the defendant and their representative have reason to believe a local trial could be threatened by a biased jury or other problems, they may request a change of venue.

Here are two times when courts in Texas may approve a request for a different trial location.

Severe prejudice

Sometimes, there is so much local prejudice against the defendant that a fair trial is unattainable. Such impartiality can stem from negative publicity or community bias and could unduly influence the local pool of potential jurors. A venue change can offer a solution for local prejudice, providing a more impartial jury pool.

Dangerous combinations

This cryptic-sounding term refers to situations where individuals or entities collaborate in a way that undermines the fairness of proceedings. For example, a local business leader, with connections to law enforcement and the judiciary, orchestrates a campaign to sway public sentiment. A different venue might help to lower such a risk for the defendant.

Of course, most criminal trials are assigned to the county where the alleged offense took place. However, it is worth discussing with your representative. Bias against criminal defendants can be intense in some locations like Dallas and powerful enough to affect outcomes. If you’re concerned about that, find out what your options are.