Will Tensing trial be moved out of Hamilton County? Possibility not off the table

Posted at 12:54 PM, Jun 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-02 19:43:47-04

CINCINNATI -- Attorneys asked again on Friday to move the retrial of Ray Tensing out of Hamilton County.

Tensing's attorney Stew Mathews filed the motion for a change of venue before juror selection started.

"There has been a resurrection of the shuttered Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus -- and because of the effect that's had on these proceedings, there's no way my client can get a fair trial," Mathews said.

The prosecution and defense have each filed for a change of venue previously. On Friday, Assistant Prosecutor Seth Tieger agreed with Mathews and said the trial should be moved.

Judge Leslie Ghiz said she would "take (the request) under advisement" and begin questioning jurors Friday in an attempt to seat a fair and impartial jury.

RELATED: Judge admonishes media, threatens to kick them out of court 

Mathews first filed for a change of venue in August 2015, a month after his client shot and killed Sam DuBose. The motion was denied by Judge Megan Shanahan, who said she would attempt to seat a jury in Hamilton County before moving the trial.

Several weeks after Tensing's first trial ended with a hung jury, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters decided to retry Tensing and filed a motion to move the trial out of Hamilton County. Deters said he's not aware of any instance that a trial was moved out of Hamilton County.

Shanahan recused herself from the retrial. When the case was handed to Ghiz, she said she would also attempt to seat a jury in Hamilton County.

In fact, Ghiz said seating a jury in Hamilton County was a matter of public interest.

"What’s of interest to this public is that this trial is seen through in this county and that the defendant gets a fair trial," Ghiz said Friday during a hearing in which she bashed the media.

Cincinnati's news organizations filed a lawsuit against Ghiz, and said her restrictions on coverage, technology bans and not releasing juror questionnaires violated state and federal law. An appeals court said Ghiz made the restrictions illegally -- without holding a hearing first -- and the restrictions were temporarily barred.

The news organizations filed another lawsuit against Ghiz Friday afternoon.

Tensing, a former University of Cincinnati police officer, is charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter in the 2015 shooting death of DuBose, a black motorist. DuBose did not have a gun in his car. Tensing has claimed he shot DuBose in self-defense, alleging DuBose tried to speed off from the stop.

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