Federal court authorities plan to move the trial of alleged Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner to San Diego due to the extensive publicity following the Jan. 8 shooting that killed six and critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz). Among those killed was the state’s chief federal judge, John M. Roll. Rep. Giffords was holding a rally at a shopping center when the shootings took place, according to a reporter.
Larry A. Burns, a federal judge based in San Diego, has been appointed to hear the case due to Arizona judges recusing themselves from hearing the trial. It is expected that Lougher’s legal team will request the change of venue. It is anticipated that prosecutors will vehemently oppose any attempts to have the trial moved out of the state of Arizona a source stated.
If moved, the trial will most likely be moved to San Diego, first because the Burns is based there and secondly because San Diego is the closest federal district. Although change of venues for trials are not granted on a regular basis, high-profile cases are generally given special consideration. For example, the trials for Timothy J. McVeigh and Terry L. Nichols were moved from Oklahoma City to Denver due to the publicity after the Oklahoma City bombing, offers a person close to the case.
Loughner is charged with murder and attempted murder and is being held at the medium security Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix. For his own protection, he is housed in solitary confinement and allowed an hour a day for showers and exercise.
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