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State responds to trial relocation request

POLSON — Lake County Attorney Steven Eschenbacher entered a state’s response to Harry Lozeau’s attorney’s request for a change of venue for his trial, currently set for Sept. 14.

Lozeau was charged with deliberate homicide in the June 2014 shooting death of his brother, and admitted committing the offense Jan. 21 in a change of plea. Lozeau then backed out of his plea and requested a jury trial with change of venue because he feels he cannot have a fair, unbiased jury due to extensive media coverage.

Lozeau is entitled to a change of venue when it appears that there are reasonable grounds to believe alleged prejudice exists, and because of that prejudice, there is reasonable apprehension that Lozeau would not receive a fair and impartial trial, according to the court document. 

Eschenbacher stated that without opinion polls or some material factual basis, that the proper method to determine if pre-trial publicity would prevent a fair trail is to conduct a vigorous voir dire — a preliminary examination of a juror by a judge or counsel. Eschenbacher suggested to go ahead with jury selection in Lake County and ask the panel of potential jurors if they have heard of the case, and then just select those for individual voir dire, “a simple enough solution to a complex problem,” Eschenbacher wrote.

The response stated that at the end of the examination of jurors, if there are not enough qualified jurors, then the argument of Lozeau’s attorney would be proved for a change of venue.

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