Back in January, two former Vanderbilt football players, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, were convicted on multiple counts in connection to a July 2013 rape on the university’s campus. Five months later, a judge has declared a mistrial in the case.
“The defendants have a right to a fair and impartial trial, a right that was violated by juror #9’s conduct,” the judge wrote in an order released Tuesday, The Tennessean reported.
The newspaper went on to write that “[h]is order did not address how the case will proceed going forward, and whether a new trial date would be set.” As for the reason behind a mistrial being declared, the paper explained it thusly:
After trial, defense attorneys discovered one juror was a victim in a statutory rape case 15 years ago. They argued on June 15 that the judge should declare a mistrial because that juror could not have been impartial based on his own personal experience. They said the juror intentionally did not disclose that past experience because he wanted to get on the jury.
Prosecutors responded by arguing the juror did not attempt to sway other jurors during deliberations. Called to testify, the juror said he did not even think of the past case until after the trial had ended.
Vandenburg, Batey and two other former Vandy football players, Brandon Banks and Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenzie, were initially charged Aug. 9, 2013, with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery each after a police investigation determined that the four had raped an unconscious woman. The first two had been convicted of multiple counts of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery, while the other two are still awaiting trial.
On June 28 of 2013, Vanderbilt announced that four unnamed players had been indefinitely suspended amid reports that the players were connected to an alleged sex crimes case. The next day, Vandy officials further clarified the players’ statuses, releasing a statement announcing the dismissals of the four. That release further added that none of the four will be permitted to return to campus without permission from the office of student conduct and academic integrity.