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Fine allegations : Judge reserves decision on venue change during hearing Tuesday

first_img Published on February 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13 Comments Onondaga County Supreme Court Justice Brian DeJoseph reserved decision Tuesday on a request by Syracuse University and men’s head basketball coach Jim Boeheim to move the defamation suit against them to a court in Syracuse.The suit was filed in a New York City court Dec. 30 by Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, two former SU ball boys.On Tuesday, lawyers representing SU and Boeheim appeared in Syracuse with an attorney representing both Davis and Lang to trade arguments at a hearing before DeJoseph.DeJoseph said he will likely be prepared to issue a decision by the end of the day Wednesday.Davis and Lang were represented by two attorneys, Mariann Wang and Julie Ehrlich, and Wang spoke on behalf of the plaintiffs. Neither Davis nor Lang appeared in court.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFour attorneys represented SU and Boeheim on Tuesday, with Mary Beth Hogan speaking on behalf of the university. Boeheim also did not appear in court.Boeheim’s lawyer, C. James Zeszutek of Pittsburgh, filed a motion to move the case to Onondaga County on Jan. 17 because none of the parties involved currently live in New York City.Wang argued Tuesday that moving the case to Syracuse would be unfair to her clients. The ability to put together an impartial jury in the city of Syracuse would be difficult given the ‘extensive, deep influence in power that the defendants have in this community.’She explained that Boeheim and the university are so prominent and vital to the Syracuse community that weeding out biases of potential jurors would be exceedingly difficult. The basketball team brings in $19.5 million in revenue for the city, and SU is the second-largest employer in Syracuse, Wang said.Wang said SU acts as an economic engine for the city of Syracuse. And when the basketball team wins, even more revenue is pumped into the community through clothing sales, hotel bookings and boosts in restaurant business.Wang said the voir dire process to select jurors would be long and tedious as a result of this presence because the task of ‘weeding out biases’ would be a difficult one.In her rebuttal, Hogan pointed out that the standard for a change of venue request is a ‘showing of a strong possibility’ that an impartial jury could not be found. She stressed that this means it must be beyond speculation, a belief or a suspicion. And with this in mind, she said she doesn’t see how an impartial jury couldn’t be compiled.She alluded to a similar request in the Pennsylvania State University sex abuse scandal that asked for a change in venue out of State College, Pa. That request was denied.Hogan said Syracuse is a much larger community than State College, Pa., and finding an impartial jury in Onondaga County would not be impossible.Hogan did concede that a former ball boy, basketball player or fanatical fan probably should not sit on the jury, however. But she said the jury questionnaires used during the voir dire process should weed out those biases.She said her and the other three lawyers have every reason to believe the court will be able to find an impartial jury in Onondaga County.Both Wang and Hogan declined to comment after the hearing, which lasted just less than a [email protected] center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more