Updated 02/21/2012 05:11 PM
Question of venue for SU/Boeheim lawsuit remains unresolved
The question of where the trial of Syracuse University and men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim will take place remains unresolved. No decision was made following a change of venue hearing in Onondaga County Supreme Court Tuesday. Our Kat De Maria explains.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y.--It was one of about 16 motions on the calendar of Onondaga County Supreme Court Judge Brian DeJoseph Tuesday. But it was the one many people in and around Syracuse were anxiously waiting to hear. And that might be part of the problem.
Lawyers for Bobby Davis and Michael Lang, who are accusing former associate basketball coach Bernie Fine of sexual abuse, and Syracuse University and head coach Jim Boeheim of defamation related to their handling of the Fine allegations, appeared before DeJoseph to defend their decision to file the lawsuit in New York City.
"We would submit to your honor that even the most conscientious juror, even the jurors who like to try to be fair and do right are influenced by the overwhelming economic and emotional presence both defendants have in this community," said Attorney Mariann Wang.
Davis and Lang's lawyers, including Gloria Allred, who did not make the trip to Syracuse, had attempted to tie the case to downstate by involving Fine's wife, Laurie Fine, who they claim had relationships with former basketball players, who might live in New York City. That motion failed. So SU and Boeheim's motion is up to the discretion of the judge. And YNN'S legal expert says the road to New York City is a tough one.
"They have to try to make that established through some type of proof...But it's rare to get that type of a motion granted without very strong evidence. And I think the trend in the law is it's very hard to change that type of venue," said Legal Expert Paul DerOhannesian.
Lawyers for SU and Boeheim say economic and emotional influence alone don't preclude impartial jurors from appearing somewhere in Onondaga County.
"It may be that a former Syracuse ball boy or basketball player or crazy fanatical fan should not sit on the jury, and that's exactly the role the jury questionnaire and voir dire serves," said Mary Beth Hogan, representing Syracuse University.
Boeheim and the university's team of lawyers said nothing as they left DeJoseph's court.
As for Davis and Lang's:
"I'm going to rely on what we said in court and the papers. I think he's very thoughtful and will give a lot of thought to the decision," Wang said.
DeJoseph is expected to rule on the change of venue motion by the end of the day Wednesday.