Friday, October 16, 2009

Change of Venue Allowed For Oscar Grant Murder Trial

San Francisco Chronicle
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson ruled Friday the murder trial of Johannes Mehserle will be moved out of Oakland.

The 27-year-old Mehserle is charged with the shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station on New Year's Day.

Mehserle's attorney, Michael Rains, had argued for a change of venue in the case because of what he described as excessive media coverage and racial tensions.

This is not good news. Anyone who knows the history of this sort of thing knows what the defense team is now going to try and do is find a city more likely to view Oscar Grant as a criminal and more likely to believe Mehserle's testimony (to be blunt; a way more racist city than Oakland). "Racial tensions" as Medserle's attorney calls them basically means "holy fuck they think he's guilty here!"

Hopefully shooting a restrained and unarmed man in the back won't fool anyone into honestly thinking it's an accident, but you know, weirder things have happened in United States courts.

I'm sure the judge justified it to himself by taking into account the violence that erupted in the wake of the shooting, but honestly? Where the trial takes place won't determine that, the verdict will.