Mehserle's Venue Decision Could Tip Scales of Justice

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Where the trial of Oscar Grant's killer will be held could dramatically impact the outcome of the case.

    The decision on where the Johannes Mehserle will stand trial for the New Year's killing of Oscar Grant at a BART station could be coming soon.

    But the decision is fraught with controversy about what type of justice each court will hand out. There are also questions about what role race will play in the selection of the venue and the outcome of the case..

    “There's an 800-pound gorilla sitting in the middle of this trial, which is race and police,” John Burris, the attorney for the Grant family said.

    The prosecutor and the defense met in chambers with the judge this afternoon to talk about whether the trial will be held in San Diego or Los Angeles County.

    Grant's family would prefer the trial take place in Los Angeles, a county whose diversity more closely mirrors the Bay Area.

    Jury consultant Will Rountree says a lot is riding on the judge's decision.

    ”I think the location of the trial is extremely important both in the reaction to the community but also in the potential outcome of the case," he said.

    Rountree says he believes the defense wants the case to take place in San Diego because it is known to be law enforcement friendly, which could benefit them.

    ”They tend to want to give law enforcement the benefit of the doubt even though mistakes have been made,” he said.

    Grant’s family says while they want the trial to start soon, they are willing to wait if that means their arguments will be heard in Los Angeles. Burris worries about what type of justice his clients could have if the case is argued in San Diego.

    “If this case goes to San Diego there'll be some justice but the question is whose justice is it,” Burris said. “Is it more likely to be for Mehserle or is it more likely or less likely to be for Oscar Grant's family?”

    The judge has set a date for Nov. 19 for both sides to argue their case. A decision is expected shortly after.