Surveys and Change of Venue
The Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution guarantee criminal defendants the right to be tried by an “impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.” The Seventh Amendment extends the right to jury trial to most civil litigants. Normally, impartial juries are readily available in the districts in which the alleged crime or civil wrong has been committed. In rare instances, however, pretrial prejudice in the community may make it unlikely that an impartial jury can be impaneled. In such cases, the defense may move for a change of venue. If the court agrees with the defense, it has three options: if it considers the impediment temporary, it may postpone the trial to a time when community emotions are expected to have calmed down; it may import jurors from another, untarnished district; it may order a change of venue, causing the case to be tried elsewhere.1
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