‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 6: A sudden change of venue


After three grueling weeks of jury selection, the hot car murder case against Justin Ross Harris has broken down and sputtered out. Episode Six of Season Two of Breakdown takes a deep dive to show just how and why the trial came to a screeching halt.

Judge Mary Staley recently surprised just about everyone in the Cobb County Courthouse by deciding to move the trial to another county outside the metro area. She issued her ruling after Harris’ lawyers said they were convinced there was no way Harris could get a fair trial before an impartial jury in Cobb. She also issued it after prosecutors told her they’d already qualified an acceptable jury of Harris’ peers.

Episode Six explores whether the change of venue could have been avoided altogether. It questions whether a jury could have been seated and whether the trial could be underway right now, with TV tents and broadcast trucks still planted on corner after corner near the Marietta square. Was it necessary to uproot the case from Cobb and move it to some rural outpost where, as Staley suggested, there might be a courthouse with no air-conditioning, or to the Georgia coast more than 300 miles away?