The attorneys for St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez have asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to consider moving his trial in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile.
Both a Ramsey County district judge and the Court of Appeals have denied the defense’s request for a change of venue from Ramsey County to Brainerd, Duluth, Hastings or St. Cloud.
In the 12-page petition, attorneys for Yanez argued that public statements about the shooting by Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and Gov. Mark Dayton require a change-of-venue. The Court of Appeals ruled last week that widespread publicity about a case doesn’t require a chance and isn’t prejudicial to the defendant or jury pool.
Yanez, 29, a St. Anthony police officer, was charged Nov. 16 with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm for killing Castile, 32, during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights on July 6. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her then-4-year-old daughter were also in the car.
A day after Castile’s death, Yanez’s attorneys said Dayton was quoted in media reports saying that the shooting had to have been race-based; he did not believe, nor should anyone else in Ramsey County, that the incident would have happened had the driver been white.
Yanez’s attorneys also detailed media comments from Choi, who said during a news conference announcing charges against the officer: “I would submit that no reasonable officer knowing, seeing, and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time would have used deadly force under these circumstances.”
The Supreme Court can deny reviewing or the petition or agree to a hearing. A change of venue is extremely rare.