BLACKFOOT — Attorneys for two former Blackfoot High School athletes facing misdemeanor charges have filed motions for change of venue, but will have to wait until next week to have their motions heard before the court. Both cases are scheduled to be tried in Bingham County in March.
Bingham County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Randy Smith said he objected to hearing the motion during a hearing Tuesday afternoon before Magistrate Judge Charles Roos because he has not had time to review the motion. The motions were filed late Monday afternoon by attorneys representing Nathan Walker and Logan Chidester, both 19.
Walker's attorney, Steve Blaser, said he wants a change of venue because extensive media coverage of the case and rumors circulating throughout the community have tainted the jury pool.
"The publicity through the media; the rumors have run so heavy and rampant," Blaser said.
But Smith feels there are enough people in Bingham County, outside Blackfoot, who are not familiar with the case who can serve as impartial jurors. A hearing to consider the motion has been scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 15.
Pending the outcome of that hearing, jury selection is scheduled to begin in Walker's case Wednesday, Feb. 16, with a jury trial scheduled for March 8. Jury forms have already been sent out to 100 potential jurors in each case. Roos said he would like to have at least 30 jurors passed for cause in each case. Just six jurors are needed in each case.
"We're not picking a jury at this point for this trial," Roos said. "If we get 40 passed for cause all 40 are coming back."
Those who are passed for cause will be called back for the trial to be narrowed down to the six jurors needed in each case.
Jury selection for Chidester's case will begin March. 1, with a trial scheduled for March. 22.
Walker and Chidester both face various misdemeanor charges stemming from incidents that occurred during the 2009-2010 basketball season at Blackfoot High School.