Over the last several months, I’ve noticed that the web comments to the Virginian-Pilot’s coverage of the Ryan Frederick case have gone from almost universal calls for Frederick’s head on a plate in the days following the raid to, lately, a healthy majority expressing skepticism toward the Chesapeake Police Department, and a pretty strong showing of support for Frederick.
It looks like Special Prosecutor Paul Ebert has noticed, too.
The special prosecutor in the case against Ryan Frederick, the Chesapeake man accused of killing a city detective, wants the murder trial moved out of the Hampton Roads area.
The commonwealth has urged the court for a change of venue from Chesapeake to a court elsewhere in the state. Frederick is to stand trial Jan. 20 in Chesapeake Circuit Court on charges of capital murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana.
Paul Ebert, the commonwealth’s attorney from Prince William County appointed to the case, said the trial must be moved because pretrial publicity has made it impossible for the commonwealth to get a fair trial.
Frederick’s attorney, James Broccoletti, said he opposes any move, arguing that the citizens of Chesapeake have not only an obligation but a right to sit in judgment in a case of this magnitude.
Actually, what Ebert wants is a knee-jerk jury that will convict upon hearing “marijuana” and “shot a cop,” with no further deliberation.
Maybe the stellar legal minds who read this blog can help me out here: Is there even the slightest possibility that the judge could grant Ebert’s request? I was under the impression that a defendant always has the right to be tried in the jurisdiction where the alleged crime was committed. He can ask for a change of venue, but prosecutors generally can’t. Am I wrong?