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Federal court sees pre-trial drama

Every now and then a case is brought to trial that has all the components necessary to serve up some serious courtroom drama. The media and public feed on the spectacle of such compelling and often high profile cases. Though, the added attention seldom serves in the pursuit of justice for either side. That is why steps are typically taken early on in federal criminal defense cases to eliminate any potential for biased and/or unfair treatment of information or people relevant to the trial. A great example of a legal team in action anticipating threats to their client's defense can be seen in a recent case making national headlines.

The high profile case in question isn't anticipated to go to trial until this summer, but the defendant's team is already at work to ensure he receives a fair trial. The defendant is being tried for his alleged connection to 19 murders, among other crimes. The case spans almost two decades, where at one point the defendant is accused of having worked with the FBI as an informant.

Whatever role the defendant played in conjunction with FBI activity raised concerns with his defense team since the judge originally assigned to the trial worked as a federal prosecutor during the same time. As a result, they issued a successful bid with the U.S. Court of Appeals to have the judge removed from the case.

In order for any criminal trial to be fair and just for both the alleged victim and defendant, court proceedings must be ruled over by an impartial judge. If there is doubt that a judge can be completely objective, the defense has the right and duty to raise concern.

Source: Norwich Bulletin, "Court removes judge from Bulger's trial," Denise Lavoie, March 14, 2013

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