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Dotson able to receive fair trial in local courts

Sept. 5, 2003

Staff editorial

On the cusp of the Bill Cosby performance meant to boost the morale at Baylor, this summer's news still lingers. Thursday afternoon, the same day Cosby performed at Floyd Casey Stadium, Maryland authorities set Sept. 18 as the date of Carlton Dotson's extradition hearing.

Dotson, a former BU basketball player indicted in McLennan County in the murder of teammate Patrick Dennehy, will have the opportunity to tell authorities why he opposes his extradition to Texas, according to the Associated Press. McLennan County District Attorney John Segrest has said he expects to have 'no problems,' in getting Dotson returned to Waco.

It is likely that if Dotson is indeed extradited to McLennan County, he and his attorneys will seek a change of venue for his murder indictment trial. Their reasons for such a request may focus on the fact that McLennan County's court system is based in downtown Waco, just minutes away from Baylor's campus, where Dotson and Dennehy lived, attended school and played basketball.

However, even with the close proximity of Baylor to the courthouse, the Lariat believes that Dotson does have ample opportunities to receive a fair trial in McLennan County.

For starters, the county is made up of several other cities and communities than just Waco, and combined with Waco, these communities make up a racially and socio-economically diverse pool of potential jurors, ensuring that Dotson does indeed have a chance to receive a jury of his peers.

Secondly, although much of the national media's focus has centered on Baylor and Waco, it has not been limited to these areas. It is going to be a struggle to find jurors in any area, especially any Texas county, who have not seen, heard and in some cases, inundated, by the news of Dennehy's death, the alleged NCAA violations and Dotson's indictment.

Now, it's simply a waiting game to see what the Maryland courts decide on Sept. 18.