Criminal Justice: What Does a Change Of Venue Gain?

A grisly crime, irate citizens, torrential press coverage. In that situation, defense lawyers fear jury prejudice and seek a change of venue—moving the trial to some distant town whose citizens are as ignorant about the crime as possible. A sensible remedy, but increasingly dubious when it comes to notorious "national" crimes. In the age of mass magazines, wire services and network TV, how can any living American avoid hearing, seeing and reading every detail, rumor and opinion?

In the case of Jack Ruby, who faced a second murder trial before his death last week, a change of venue seemed almost...

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