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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Mayor Carl Hutcherson: Should the Trial be Moved?

In an opinion article from The News and Advance they present the argument that the trial of Mayor Carl Hutcherson should not be moved. I disagree.

Here in part is the opinion writer's argument:

"But does that mean the potential jury pool - even jurors who keep themselves informed through the media about city government - cannot render a verdict that’s fair to everyone involved in the case?"

"Of course not. To argue otherwise is to claim that those potential jurors are dishonest and incapable of making a fair decision."

Later he characterizes this decision as balderdash.

The reason why the trial was moved is valid. There are few that do not know the details of the case, and many in the Lynchburg area community know Carl Hutcherson. Some consider him as a friend, and some consider him otherwise. The chances of a jury member to slip by with a private agenda could very well happen. There only has to be one member of the jury that has to be tainted to have an unfair decision rendered.

The decision to move the jury is not an overall indictment, that a fair jury pool cannot be found. It points to the fact people are human, and I would rather see Carl Hutcherson to have an unbiased jury.

The Defence wanted the trial to be held in Lynchburg, perhaps banking on the many who know Carl Hutcherson, would lead to a more favorable chance of Carl Hutcherson being declared innocent. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Bondurant argued that just too many people know Carl Hutcherson. And he is right, they do.

But in the long run, moving the venue of the trial to Roanoke, will help reduce the possibility that a jury member will have a set opinion, either for the Mayor, or against him. And that is what people deserve, a fair trial: Where the merits of the case, rather than the personality of the Mayor will be deliberated.

To read all our posts on Carl Hutcherson go here.


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