Judge declares mistrial in Vanderbilt rape case due to juror’s ‘misconduct’

Brandon Vandenburg (L) and Cory Batey (R) in court on June 15 (Courtesy of WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins approved a mistrial in the Vanderbilt rape case Tuesday afternoon.

In the court order declaring the mistrial, the court found that jury foreman Todd Easter, or Juror No. 9, “failed” to speak the truth during the selection process in the January trial during which former Vanderbilt University football players Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg were convicted of all charges against them in the June 2013 rape of an unconscious female student.

Brandon Vandenburg (L) and Cory Batey (R) in court on June 15 (Courtesy of WKRN)
Brandon Vandenburg (L) and Cory Batey (R) in court on June 15 (Courtesy of WKRN)

“The defendants have a right to a fair and impartial trial, a right that was violated by Juror No. 9’s misconduct,” the order stated. “By failing to disclose being the named victim in a twenty-three count statutory rape indictment, the presumption of jury bias was met.”

The order goes on to say, “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.”

The defense did not request a new trial, but Tuesday’s court order states the proof and arguments presented for the mistrial “provides enough evidence that granting a new trial is necessary and appropriate in order to a fair determination of the defendants’ guilt or innocence.” Click here to read the full court order.

A bond hearing will be held later this week for both Batey and Vandenburg, who have remained in the Metro jail since their conviction.

Two other former students, Brandon Banks and Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie, are accused in the case. However, their trials have yet to be set.

Click here for full coverage of the Vanderbilt rape case.

Copyright 2015 WKRN. All rights reserved.

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