Thursday, May 05, 2016

Lawyers for national wildlife refuge occupiers worry jury won’t be impartial

Lawyers for those who occupied a national wildlife refuge in Oregon earlier this year are concerned a jury composed of people from liberal Portland won’t be impartial. Andrew Kohlmetz, who represents defendant Jason Patrick, suggested a change of venue for the September trial, and asked a federal judge Wednesday to approve funding for an analysis of the media attention the case received and, possibly, a survey of community attitudes. The two requests would total nearly $130,000. Kohlmetz said the “almost constant” media coverage of the 41-day protest was far different from a typical case, when the alleged crime happens out of the public eye. “For 41 days — and even before — there was live-streamed media coverage that I expect the government sees as amounting to an immediate and ongoing confession,” he said. U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown seemed inclined to reject the funding unless the need was apparent after a thorough jury selection process. She seemed more agreeable to a request from lawyers and defendant Ryan Bundy, who’s representing himself, that the jury includes people from throughout Oregon. Brown, however, said it’s “totally speculative” to suggest a jury from the Portland district would be too liberal. The district includes Oregon’s entire northwest quadrant, and is a “far more conservative crowd” than the city of Portland...more

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