What is an example of a media case where venue was changed due to extrudting circumstances, and why was the venue changed?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most famous court cases which was granted a motion for a change of venue was California vs. Scott Peterson, in 2003.

The case was a media apotheosis because it involved the cruel murder of a young woman named Laci Peterson who, at the time, was pregnant and almost due. At first Laci's family and her husband reported her missing after she apparently went out to walk her dog and never came back. However, suspicious activity from Scott Peterson, including his attempt to flee to Mexico with an altered appearance and with cash money, unveiled that he had been living a double life.

The case attracted enormous media attention because the Petersons were an attractive and evidently happy couple; to make matters more media-friendly, the bodies of Laci and her unborn son washed up in the California coast during the holiday season of 2003, creating an outrage that only got worse after Scott Peterson's former mistress, Amber Frey, came forward with pictures showing how Scott also deceived her by asking her to marry him, and leading her to believe that he was a widower, that his wife was "gone", and that he wanted to "start life over". The anger of the public, the slamming of the media, and the leaked pictures of Laci's autopsy literally added salt to the social wound.

For this reason, on Dec. 15, 2003 defense attorney Mark Gregaros made a motion for a request of change of venue citing a "lynch mob atmosphere" against his defendant, Scott Peterson. The motion was granted in January 8, 2004 and the case was moved from Stanislaus County where Modesto, CA is located, to  San Mateo County south of San Francisco.