Change of Venue in Texas

Extensive prejudicial pretrial publicity can can create tremendous problems for a defendant. One tool the courts use to assure a fair trial in these situations is a change of venue. In determining whether a defendant is entitled to a change of venue when in there is prejudicial pretrial publicity the trial court decides whether the defendant can receive a trial by an impartial jury free from outside influences or whether there is a likelihood that the pretrial publicity would prevent a fair trial.

There are seven factors courts consider when ascertaining whether outside influences affecting the publicity will favor a ruling for a change of venue.

  1. The nature of pretrial publicity and the particular degree to which it has circulated in the community
  2. The connection of government officials with the release of publicity
  3. The length of time between the dissemination of publicity and the trial
  4. The severity and notoriety of the offense
  5. The area from which the jury is to be drawn
  6. Other events occurring in the community which either affect or reflect the attitude of the community or individual jurors toward the defendant
  7. Any factors likely to affect the candor and veracity of prospective jurors on voir dire

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