Stacey Barchenger  reported on last Friday’s hearing in the Vanderbilt rape case. One defendant asked for a continuance in order to obtain an expert witness and one defendant requested the jury to be sequestered. Both motions were denied. The case is set for November 3rd ,2014. I watched a little bit of the hearing on Friday waiting on my

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.

Continue Reading Murfreesboro Judge Issues Gag Order In MTSU Murder Trial

Nashville ,Tn. television station WSMV is running gavel to gavel coverage of the trial of Ron Killings this week. Killings is on trial for the homicide of a young girl.It is alleged that Killings was driving his car at twice the legal speed when he struck and killed the young girl.  Killings was on duty as a law enforcement officer in Rutherford County.The District Attorney’s theory was that it was a reckless homicide.A jury was brought in from Chattanooga,Tn to decide the case.Mr. Killings attorney moved for a change of venue due to pretrial publicity.

Rule 21 of The Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure provides for a change of venue under certain conditions.The court may change venue of a criminal case on the defendant’s motion or on it’s own initiative with the defendant’s consent.The court should order a venue change when a fair trial is unlikely because of undue excitement against the defendant in the county where the offense was committed or for  other cause.


Continue Reading A Change of Venue In Murfreesboro Murder Case