Rutherford County Tennessee Circuit Judge Don Ash issued two key rulings in the murder trial of Shanterrica Madden . First , the court issued a gag order . The Government moved the court for the gag order which would prohibit the attorneys from publicly discussing the case. The state asked for the gag order to "ensure the jury pool is not tainted " . It is unusual for a court to issue a gag order in most criminal cases.
The court had already granted a motion for a change of venue . A request for a change in venue is a written motion seeking to have the jury pool made up of folks from another county . It is most common in high profile capital murder cases where there has been intense pretrial publicity. Rule 21 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure sets out the procedure. The court may change venue on the defendant’s motion or on its own initiative with the defendant’s consent. The key point that the court must consider when deciding the motion for a change of venue is when a fair trial is unlikely because of undue excitement against the defendant in the county where the offense was committed.
The Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals has adopted several factors the court can consider when granting a motion for a change of venue ;
1. The nature, extent, and timing of pretrial publicity.
2. The nature of publicity as fair or inflammatory.
3. The particular content of the publicity.
4. The degree to which the publicity complained of has permeated the area
from which the venire is drawn.
5. The degree to which the publicity circulated outside the area from
which the venire is drawn.
6. The time elapsed from the release of the publicity until the trial.
7. The participation by police or by prosecution in the release of publicity.
8. The severity of the offense charged.
9. The absence or presence of threats, demonstrations, or other hostility
against the defendant.
10. Size of the area from which the venire is drawn.
11. Affidavits, hearsay or opinion testimony of witnesses.
So where will judge Ash get the jurors. The rule provides the court shall change the venue to the nearest county where the same cause for a change of venue does not exist. Stay tuned as to where Judge Ash selects the jury pool from.