Judge declares a mistrial in Vanderbilt rape case
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Judge in the case against two Vanderbilt football players convicted of raping a female student declared a mistrial Tuesday afternoon according to reports.
The hearing for a mistrial came after the attorneys for Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey claimed the pair didn’t get a fair trial because a member of the jury didn’t reveal that he had been the victim of statutory rape.
The prosecutor, however, said the juror didn’t consider himself a victim, nor did he try to persuade the jury’s opinion.
The juror in question was jury foreman Todd Easter.
Easter failed to tell the court when he was just 16-year-old he had been in a relationship with a 23-year-old man.
That man was later charged with statutory rape, technically making Easter a victim.
The judge in the case released the following statement:
“Voir dire is an old French term meaning “to speak the truth,” the Court finds that Juror #9 failed to do just that. The defendants have a right to a fair and impartial trial, a right that was violated by Juror # 9’s misconduct. By failing to disclose the named victim in a twenty-three count statutory indictment, the presumption of jury bias was met. A reasonable person asked the questions as asked to the other jurors and Juror # 9 himself, were obligated to give this information. Juror # 9’s credibility has been tainted and brought a presumption of bias to the jury. Considering all of the circumstances outlined herein, actual bias has been clearly shown. Our system of justice cannot tolerate a trial with a tainted juror regardless of the strength of the evidence against the defendant. Faulkner, 154 S.W.3d at 215. Applying the above legal standard and looking at the totality of the circumstances, the Court finds that the proof and arguments presented at the hearing provides enough evidence that granting a new trial is necessary and appropriate in order to promote a fair determination of the defendants’ guilt or innocence. Therefor, the defendants’ motion is respectfully GRANTED.”
Vandenburg and Batey could soon be set free.
No word yet on if or when a new trial will be set.