Suspended Oregon judge requests change of venue for trial
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon judge who was suspended after allegations that he had refused to marry gay couples and had broken gun laws has requested to move criminal court proceedings out of the county where he presided.
Attorneys for Vance Day filed a motion Friday to move the trial out of Marion County, claiming the news coverage has prejudiced the case, the Statesman Journal reported .
In arguments before Judge Julie Frantz on Wednesday, defense attorney Michael De Muniz said the reporting by news outlets in Oregon could influence potential jurors.
“The media coverage was pervasive and blatantly prejudicial,” De Muniz said.
De Muniz asked that the trial, which is scheduled to begin next week, be moved to another county where Day can be treated fairly and impartially.
The suspended circuit court judge was indicted on two felony gun violations and two counts of first-degree official misconduct in November 2016, stemming from allegations that he twice gave a gun to a felon who was on probation through a special court for veterans where Day presided.
The Oregon Supreme Court last month suspended Day for three years after an ethics commission had recommended that he be removed from office.
In response to the motion to change the venue, special prosecutor Stephanie Tuttle argued that Day had contributed to the news coverage. Tuttle cited the multiple interviews he had given and the appearance he made on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s talk show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
After reviewing the news articles and broadcast transcripts, Frantz did not deny or grant the motion. While the coverage could cause prejudice, the judge said there was no evidence on how many people read and were swayed by the news.
Frantz said the attorneys could wait for jury selection to determine how the news coverage affected people.
Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com