Two former Vanderbilt University football players found guilty of raping an unconscious student learned yesterday, two years to the day after the rape, they could get a new trial, the Tennessean reports. Nashville Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins declared a mistrial in the case against Brandon Vandenburg, 22, and Cory Batey, 21. The ex-players have been in custody since a jury found them guilty Jan. 27 of aggravated rape, attempted aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery charges.
Watkins granted defense mistrial motions, saying one juror who heard the case was biased. The juror did not disclose that he was a past victim of a sexual assault. “Our system of justice cannot tolerate a trial with a tainted juror regardless of the strength of the evidence against the defendant,” Watkins said. Defense attorneys will ask that Vandenburg and Batey be released from jail pending a new trial. The defense calls the mistrial a win for the justice system, but victims advocates say it could be a step back. The case and trial occurred amid growing national attention on sexual assaults on college campuses. Some advocates said publicity of the Vanderbilt case encouraged victims to come forward.