Attorneys for the 17 police officers who have been indicted in the six month-long ticket-fixing sting are asking the judge for a change of venue out of the Bronx, a move that Bronx DA Robert Johnson is vowing to stop. Sources tell the Post that the defense is also planning on leaking the Bronx grand jury's votes and "facial expressions" in hopes to proving to the judge that the entire venue is biased. Maybe if the judge's parking citations disappeared he'd be more sympathetic?
The defense's motions boil down to the so-called "Bronx effect," which some jurists say guarantee an Bronx jury's unfavorable opinion towards police no matter what the facts of the case are. Some believe that's why Dominique Strauss-Kahn's accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, filed a civil suit against Strauss-Kahn in the Bronx. Last year the Bronx DA's office had a 53% conviction rate of felony jury trials, compared to 66% for the entire city.
Perhaps of more import is the effect that releasing the names of the 17 police officers might have on ongoing criminal cases. "I'm telling everyone now: 'Lets go slow on your case and see what pops up,'" defense attorney Kyle Watters tells the WSJ. Watters won an acquittal earlier this year for a defendant accused of attempted murder because the officer involved had admitted to fixing tickets. "If the cop [testifying] is going to be one of the ones who get in trouble, it's only going to be good for our case."