Monday, December 23, 2013

Maine v. Superior Court case brief

Maine v. Superior Court case brief summary
438 P.2d 372 (1968)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioners sought a writ of mandamus to compel respondent trial court to grant their motions for a change of venue pursuant to Cal. Penal Code § 207, which were previously denied. Petitioners were accused of murder, kidnapping, forcible rape, and assault with intent to commit murder.

CASE FACTS
Petitioners were accused of murder, kidnapping, rape, and assault with intent to commit murder. Petitioners filed motions for a change of venue pursuant to Cal. Penal Code § 1033. The trial court found that there could be a fair and impartial trial and denied the motions. Petitioners sought a writ of mandamus for review of the trial court's orders and an order that venue be changed.

DISCUSSION

  • The court found that petitioners were strangers in the small community where the crime occurred and the victims were prominent members of that community. 
  • The court further found that there was local, community-wide interest and generosity expressed on behalf of the victims, newspaper publicity that included accounts of a purported confession, and opposing counsel who were also election opponents. 
  • Accordingly, the court held that a change of venue was necessary to assure a fair trial to petitioners. 
  • The court directed the trial court to grant the motions for change of venue, to hold a hearing to determine a place where a fair and impartial trial could be had, and to transfer the cause to that place.

CONCLUSION
The court directed the trial court to grant petitioners' motion for change of venue so that they could have a fair and impartial trial. The court also directed the trial court to hold a hearing to determine where the trial should take place. The court found that the venue should have been changed because petitioners were strangers to the community and the victims were not, and there was publicity that included a purported confession.


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