Defense attorneys in the case against six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray filed an 85-page document yesterday asking a Baltimore judge to move the trial outside of city limits, arguing that their clients’ rights to a fair and impartial jury were at stake.
The attorneys said that there hasn’t been enough time between Gray’s death in April, the subsequent unrest in Baltimore and the upcoming trial, which does not have a date yet. Additionally, they feel that it would be difficult to find jurors who don’t already hold a bias against the defendants.
“Based on the relative size and characteristics of Baltimore City, the prejudicial information that has penetrated every form of online, printed and broadcast media and the short time between the alleged crimes and the trial(s), the presumption of prejudice prevents the officers in this case from receiving fair trials,” the document said.
The attorneys went on to compare the Gray trial with other recent high-profile cases, such as the “Boston bomber” trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They pointed out that in the Tsarnaev’s trial, the court sought jurors from surrounding counties rather than just within Boston and that not everyone in the community was affected by the case (whereas in Baltimore, all residents were forced to obey a citywide curfew).
The state’s attorney’s office has not responded to the request.