Jim Boeheim's lawyers want defamation lawsuit to be heard in Syracuse instead of New York City
Tue, 21 Feb 2012 03:39:09 GMT —
Like so many other contests in Jim Boeheim's career, he's hoping his legal case will be decided on his home court. Boeheim has been sued by former ballboys Bobby Davis and Mike Lang. They say that Boeheim defamed them when he called them liars in regard to their allegations that they were abused by former SU assistant coach Bernie Fine. Boeheim later apologized for his remarks and said he didn't have all the information at the time. Now lawyers for Davis and Lang say Boeheim is too popular in the Syracuse area for them to get an impartial jury.
Many people in the Syracuse area said that Jim Boeheim may be well known in the Syracuse area but that doesn't mean a local jury would be impartial.
"I think that there certainly could be a fair trial. We're all very open minded here. We love him on the court," said Sylvia Lewis as she waited for a dinner of on Marshall Street near the SU campus.
Lawyers for Davis and Lang filled the defamation lawsuit in New York City. Around the SU campus, many people felt that Jim Boeheim deserved the chance to defend himself close to home and that travel to New York City would be unnecessary. Beth Lilie also wasn't sure that a jury in Manhattan would be any less likely to know Jim Boeheim than a Central New York jury - especially since Syracuse is known as "New York's College Team."
"I know people in New York City who idolize the Syracuse team so they're going to stick up for him if his trial is there. He's famous everywhere," said Lilie.
"Going to school here, I know that's where a lot of people get employed is down in the city. High population of SU grads down there so it's probably just as better off up here," said her friend Patrick Cooney.
It is extremely rare for a case to be heard hundreds of miles away from where both the plaintiff and defendant live. Syracuse attorney Emil Rossi said Monday night that he believes the case will be heard in Onondaga County and that Davis and Lang would have to prove they couldn't get an fair jury before the case would be heard anywhere else. Rossi also noted that while many people in the Syracuse area are fans of Syracuse basketball - that doesn't mean they couldn't be impartial jurors.
"I think there are some people who like him and some people who don't and from those two groups and from those groups you could get several people who could say - that doesn't for a moment change my ability for a moment to determine if he libeled, slandered or defamed a young man," said Rossi.
Lawyers for both sides will be in Judge Brian DeJoseph's courtroom at the Onondaga County Courthouse on Tuesday morning at 10:00am. The judge could make a decision Tuesday on where the lawsuit will be heard or he could reserve his decision for a later date.