Friday, January 27, 2006

Jensen Cites 'Prejudicial' Coverage in New Request for Change of Venue

Stephen Meyer, the attorney for former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, has filed a motion asking Dane County Judge Steven Ebert to reconsider his earlier denial of a change of venue motion in the case against Jensen. He argues that unfair media coverage will taint the jury pool for the trial and prejudice jurors against Jensen. The former speaker is charged with three felony charges of misconduct in office and one misdemeanor charge for ethics violations by a public official.

The filing argues that in Dane County, the "prejudicial nature of the stories have magnified" in the wake of plea deals by Brian Burke, Chuck Chvala, Bonie Ladwig and Steve Foti.

From the filing:

Few, if any, potential Dane County jurors can be assumed to be free from the prejudicial stories. Few observers could deny that the media is trying to be prejudicial by the choice of words used in the stories. For example, radio, television and newspapers all use the word "scandal" when referring to the charges. By any definition, "scandal" evokes a strong negative picture. Then, add or modify this word with "widespread" and "corruption" to heighten the affect. The result in a news story versus an editorial is dynamic and unfair. ...

Rarely in Dane County has the atmosphere been so charged that the statement by one of the characters in Alice In Wonderland becomes so apt: "Sentence first, verdict afterwards."

Meyer also filed a motion asking prosecutors to turn over statements made to investigators by former GOP Reps. Steve Foti and Bonnie Ladwig. Both Foti and Ladwig entered pleas to avoid trial.

See that motion

A motion hearing in the case is set for Feb. 3 at 1:30 p.m.

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