Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Defendant Wants Trial Moved; Lawyers Argue Excessive Publicity Has Tainted Potential Jurors in Murder Case

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Defendant Wants Trial Moved; Lawyers Argue Excessive Publicity Has Tainted Potential Jurors in Murder Case

Article excerpt

Byline: Larry Hannan

A Jacksonville man facing a potential death sentence is asking that his murder trial be moved out of Jacksonville because of the media attention the case generated.

Lawyers for Randall Deviney say their client cannot get a fair trial in Jacksonville because of the attention the case generated from The Florida Times-Union and multiple television stations. Deviney, 25, is accused of slitting the throat of 65-year-old Delores Futrell.

The case has been covered since 2008, when Deviney was arrested. Deviney was previously convicted of Futrell's murder and sentenced to death by Circuit Judge Mallory Cooper, but that conviction and death sentence were thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court.

Justices ruled that police should have stopped questioning Deviney after he repeatedly told them he was done speaking.

Police ignored those comments and kept questioning him, and Deviney eventually confessed to killing Futrell.

That videotaped confession was shown to jurors at trial.

In his motion for a change of venue, defense attorney Jim Hernandez argued that the new jury is not supposed to know about Deviney's previous murder conviction or the fact that he confessed to the crime. But the conviction and confession have been repeatedly reported by Jacksonville media.

"Psychological data concerning the effects of pretrial publicity on juror verdicts strongly suggest that potential jurors exposed to negative pretrial publicity are significantly more likely to judge a defendant guilty compared to jurors exposed to less or no negative pretrial publicity," Hernandez said in his motion to move the trial. "Because of this, defendant fears that he cannot and will not receive a fair trial by state and federal constitutional standards based upon the massive adverse pre-trial publicity this case has, and continues to generate."

Hernandez is also asking Cooper to sequester jurors during the case. If the judge grants that motion, the jury would likely stay in a hotel during the trial and would not be allowed to read any newspapers or watch any television that might expose them to related news reports. …

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