Pubdate: Sat,  2 Oct 2004
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2004 Amarillo Globe-News
Bookmark: (Tulia, Texas)


Coleman Case Creates Unique Situation

Tom Coleman will have to take his act on the road.

Coleman, a former undercover officer and central figure in the
infamous 1999 Tulia drug sting, will have his perjury trial moved to

Visiting Judge David Gleason ruled Wednesday for a change of venue for
Coleman, whose questionable integrity and competency created, and is
ultimately the cause of, the Tulia fiasco.

In a normal situation, change of venue deprives the segment of the
public most related to the alleged crimes of the accused from
rendering justice.

However, when it comes to Coleman, nothing is normal.

It would seem highly improbable to find a jury pool of individuals in
Tulia without either some relation to the sting or without strong
preconceived opinions of Coleman's innocence or guilt.

That is not a knock on Tulia.

It has more to do with Tulia being a small town and the national
notoriety the case - and Coleman - have generated during the past five

By comparison, we strongly opposed a change of venue for former Potter
County Tax Assessor-Collector Danny Messer, who faces charges of the
misuse of taxpayer money.

In the case of Messer, his alleged crimes are not of national
significance, the jury pool is much larger, and there is an ample
supply of potential jurors who are not all familiar with Messer, much
less know who he is.

While it is interesting Coleman's trial was moved to the nearby locale
of Lubbock when more faraway cities such as Corpus Christi, where
Coleman may not be as well-known, would make more sense, a change of
venue to ensure justice is served is necessary.
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