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Denver domestic assault case an opportunity to discuss bias

Early reports have begun surfacing across Colorado, and the nation for that matter, involving the arrest of a young man. This particular incident has caught the attention of the media due to the fact that the man involved is the son of a very public figure.

The son of John Elway, football legend and current general manager of the Denver Broncos, was accused of domestic violence this past weekend and was later taken into custody by Denver police officers.Court documents obtained by The Associated Press detailed the information learned in the initial investigation, but these details are very limited.

The incident allegedly occurred in the early morning hours on Saturday, May 31, while the couple was together in downtown Denver. The girlfriend said that she had been sitting in a vehicle when the young man pulled her from the car. When she tried to get back in, she said that he pushed her to the ground and she suffered some scrapes. The young man then left the scene.

The notoriety of this case is a good segue to discuss something that is vital in these situations. A very important right that defendants hold in criminal courts is the right to a fair trial. Part of this right includes ensuring that no public biases or media coverage find their way into the courtroom.

It isn’t just a person’s status as a public figure that could cause bias. In other cases, it may be widespread media coverage of evidence that hasn’t been tested for admissibility in court or of details that may cause a prospective juror to form an opinion before the case is presented. A defense attorney helps ensure that whether it is during plea agreements, juror selection or at any other point in the trial, no bias makes it into the case.

Source: CBS Denver, “Jack Elway Grabbed Girlfriend By Hair, Pulled Her From Car, Police Say,” June 2, 2014

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