Prosecutors oppose change of venue request in Yanez case

Jeronimo Yanez's Attorney Tom Kelly
Jeronimo Yanez's Attorney Tom Kelly leaves the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center shortly after Yanez's first appearance in court in St. Paul, Minnesota on Nov. 18, 2016.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2016

Prosecutors argued in a court filing Monday that the Minnesota Supreme Court should not review a change of venue request in the trial of St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez.

Yanez is charged with second-degree manslaughter for shooting and killing Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights on July 6. The aftermath of the shooting was streamed on Facebook Live by Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was sitting in the passenger seat when the car was stopped.

Ramsey County District Court Judge William Leary III denied Yanez's request to move the trial last month. Yanez's attorneys appealed the decision, but the appeals court sided with Leary. Yanez's attorneys asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the change of venue request last week.

Yanez's attorneys have argued that the trial should be moved because it will be difficult to find unbiased jurors in Ramsey County due to statements by public officials and media attention to the case.

In the earlier district court decision, Leary left open the possibility that the trial could be moved if unbiased jurors can't be found. In Monday's court filing, prosecutors said Yanez has never proven whether he would be harmed by waiting until jury selection. They also said that Yanez's lawyers had never shown that there's been less media attention given to the case outside the Twin Cities.

Yanez is scheduled to go on trial on May 30. In addition to the manslaughter charge, he faces two felonies for dangerous discharge of a firearm.

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