On August 4, 2022, Nicole Linton was behind the wheel of her Mercedes, speeding as
fast as 90 miles an hour. She ran a red light and plowed into traffic at the busy intersection of La
Brea and Slauson avenues killed 6 people and hurt others. She was charged with 6 counts of
murder and 5 counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. If convicted, she could
be facing a life sentence in prison.
This tragic event was covered by the local and national press. The trial for Ms. Linton is not
scheduled yet. However, if a jury trial does take place, her defense team will have their plate
full. This is because the extensive news coverage could taint the jury pool. Even potential jurors
who may not have followed the case personally could have been exposed by their family and
In the United States of America, the accused is innocent until proven guilty. That means
the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove a defendant is guilty. The defendant does
not have to prove he/she is innocent. But one can argue that in such a case as Ms. Linton’s the
extensive press coverage inadvertently eases the prosecution’s burden of proof. This is because
potential jurors who have read or watched the news reports may have concluded that the
defendant is guilty before the case goes to trial.
This is the classic example of the court of law versus the court of public opinion.
Therefore, the defense may want to change the venue in such cases to have access to an
untainted jury pool. If successful in changing the venue, the defense will still be facing a
daunting task. No matter the outcome, the horrific events of August 4 are a tragedy for