Judge recuses herself from new trial in Ohio police shooting
Posted November 28
CINCINNATI — A new judge will hear the second trial of a white former University of Cincinnati police officer in the fatal shooting of a black motorist, after the judge who declared a mistrial over a hung jury removed herself Monday.
"Retrial should be conducted with a blank slate on all matters," Hamilton County Judge Megan Shanahan said in court.
The case was assigned to Judge Tom Heekin, who will decide on pending matters including the prosecutor's effort to move the trial to another jurisdiction. Prosecutor Joe Deters said he will retry Ray Tensing on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges in the July 2015 shooting of Sam DuBose during a traffic stop but wants a jury in another county away from intense local attention.
Legal experts say changes of venue are difficult to obtain and it's rare for a prosecutor to seek one. Deters has said jurors were fearful of being identified amid community pressure in the racially charged case.
Shanahan ruled Monday that juror questionnaires sought by news organizations can be released Tuesday after jurors' names and other personal information are blacked out. The Cincinnati Enquirer and other news organizations had sought the questionnaires, but backed off until after the trial ended because of jurors' concerns about possibly being identified.
Before removing herself, Shanahan rejected a defense request to acquit Tensing after the Nov. 12 mistrial. Attorney Stewart Mathews contended post-trial comments showed a large majority of jurors didn't think there was evidence to convict Tensing of murder, and Mathews argued prosecutors didn't produce evidence to support the voluntary manslaughter charge.
Deters has said a most jurors supported a voluntary manslaughter conviction.
Tensing testified he feared for his life when DuBose tried to drive away. Mathews said DuBose tried to use his car as a deadly weapon. Deters repeated last week that he believes the shooting wasn't justified and the evidence contradicts Tensing's story.
The case is among those across the country calling attention to how police deal with blacks. A trial resumed Monday in Charleston, South Carolina, for a since-fired white patrolman, Michael Slager, facing 30 years to life if convicted of murder in the death last year of a black man, Walter Scott, shot while running from a traffic stop.
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