Eddie Ray Routh is GUILTY; Receives a Life Sentence

Will media attention cause a reversal?

The jury has rejected Eddie Ray Routh’s defense that he was legally insane at the time of the murder. We have extensively discussed and analyzed the insanity defense in this case on Fox News and the BLG Legal Blog before the verdict. No surprises here. As predicted, the jury got it right, as the facts to support such a defense were sorely lacking from a legal standpoint. Today on Fox and Friends, we analyzed the verdict.

Some have opinioned that the verdict will be reversed as the defendant was prejudiced due to pre-trial publicity, especially with the trial coinciding with the release and popularity of the movie, American Sniper, and that honors Chris Kyle’s service to our Country.

The success of a reversal of this guilty verdict on appeal is not going to happen. I have tried many high profile murder cases as both a New Jersey Prosecutor and New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney. We were always able to pick a fair and impartial jury that put aside what they learned in the media and only followed the evidence.

Here, each jury member was interviewed by the Judge who found that each could be fair, regardless of the publicity. And, the speed of the verdict in about 2 hours, combined with the mountain of evidence against the defendant, would cause any appellate court to later rule that the evidence was “overwhelming” and any speculative taint as a result of the media does not warrant reversal. So, unless there is more than mere speculation that the movie had an impact upon a juror, this issue is closed.