Brandon Vandenburg sentencing – here’s why he could get a new trial

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Vandendburg - Brandon steals a look at his family during jury instructionsIn the Brandon Vandenburg, Corey Batey sex crime sentencing hearing today, the disputed juror, Todd Easter, who first appeared both well-meaning, and not terriby smart, is on the hot seat.

I mean, witness stand.  Currently testifying about his time as a juror.  So far, he’s been great for the Defense.


The bingo moment

Todd Easter

Todd Easter got more fame than he bargained for.

Turns out the juror, Todd Easter, was a victim of a sex crime as a child,  (State vs. Matthew Swift) and  Easter stated his mind was made up as to Brandon Vandenburg’s guilt prior to deliberations.Truth

Yep.  He said that.  That was his, right. out. loud, testimony.

Naturally the defense asked him more questions. 🙂

As expected, there have been “Objections” from the DA.

On cross the DA has been doing back-flips trying to provide damage control.  But there is no damage control.  The more Easter talked, the more it was revealed he had an agenda.

Todd Easter’s Big Agenda

Turns out, Todd Easter wanted to be foreman.  Todd Easter wanted to read the verdict.  Todd Easter wanted to see the faces of the accused after the verdict was read.  Todd Easter went on TV.

A lot of TV.

This went on all day.  No word whether victim is in court.  But as an aside, today is Brandon Vandenburg’s twenty-second birthday.  🙂

Corey Batey’s family is in court, but I don’t see a crush of Vandenburgs.  Possibly Shawna, Brandon’s mother, is there.

Judge said they are taking an hour and a half for lunch to review detective’s records, which both sides agreed to stipulate, were accurate.  Court resumed at 1:15p.m. EST.

After lunch

Mr. Robinson, representing Corey Batey, is now stumbling through his “outrage.”  Keeps forgetting the name of the juror.  Robinson is now attempting to smear the juror, but breaks momentum because for the life of him, can’t get the juror’s name right.  The second attorney can’t pronounce “incredulous” although he tries about four times.

Apparently this is what passes for professional in Tennessee.

The almost conclusion

Hearing over.  The judge said he is out on all week, and should have something next week.

My guess:  New trial.

My dream:  That would be Todd Easter charged by the State for costs of the trial, and charged with obstruction of justice.


About bonnie russell

It's not about’s always about people.
This entry was posted in date rape, Government, Law, misogyny, Rape, Vanderbilt University Sex crimes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Brandon Vandenburg sentencing – here’s why he could get a new trial

  1. Njpjm says:

    You are of course correct . I did not describe it correctly . The DA has no legal claim other than a case against the juror , if they choose to pursue it . It is irrelevant to the case against BV and CB. The judge ruled correctly . The 6th Amendment trumps all feelings of disgust for the actions that were revealed at the trial . The longer this goes on the more I see people forgetting about the other two defendants . Banks in particularly is in a serious trouble. Is it arguable that HIS rights have already been violated ? The question I have is based on the fact that BV and CB have been found guilty of one count of Aggravated Rape based on being held criminally reaponsible for the actions of BB, who has not yet had his day in court .


  2. Njpjm says:

    I would like to mention that I meant to say that one of the posters , not Bonnie , was minimizing the issue . the issue is not whether the other jurors were influenced by Juror 9. The issue is whether the defense was deprived of the right to make a fully informed decision relative to his presence on the jury .


    • You are very sweet, and it could have also been my misinterpretation. A friend of mine died recently and I am off my game.


      • Njpjm says:

        Obviously the DA was also deprived of THEIR rights . This juror would have not made it past the questionnaire . I know that at the motion hearing he testified that he had already made his mind up . That raised many red flags . I would like to point out that he said almost exactly the same thing in an interview with two other jurors a day or two after the verdict . I recall no outcry at the time .


      • Disagree. It’s the job of the DA to vet the jurors. Clearly, they failed. The DA failed the victim and the public. There was also room to discover Easter’s duplicity during the trial. Another fail. All that evidence, and still, they failed.


  3. Moms Hugs says:

    #1 – Trial judges HATE to be overturned on appeal… bad for their ego as well as their record.
    #2 – Due to #1, trial judges are VERY lenient on defense counsel during trial and motion hearings.
    #3 – Ordering a new trial on the grounds of ONE juror’s so-called “agenda” is like saying the other 11 jurors are brainless or brain-dead, and most if not all judges are loath to put jurors down like that.
    #4 – Trial judges are very cognizant of the costs associated with criminal cases, especially cases that file a ton of motions outside of the trial that chew up the judge’s resources – both personal and clerical (law clerks & secretarial).
    #5 – Due to #1, judges are required to have great tolerance for attorneys on both sides, but they get tired & cranky because they are human, too, and getting “played” wears thin after all.
    #6 – The judge’s respect for all the other jurors, who were not push-overs for any other juror’s personal agenda, is mighty influential. I sincerely doubt he is going to throw them under the bus by ordering a new trial as if they were influenced by Todd.
    #7 – Bottom line ~ Todd Easter & his personal history is merely a red herring in this case.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a five star analysis. Will likely tweet it. When you become famous I will say I discovered you.
      And demand 10%. 🙂


    • Njpjm says:

      You are minimizing the issue. The right to a fair trial was violated here . They will probably get a new trial . And they will probably be released on bail . And then if they are smart they will accept a plea deal of some kind . They are still going to do a prison sentence . Twelve years is better than twenty .


      • No minimizing. Also, my hope is the bail is so high Brandon’s parent can’t make it. Also, as I previously reported, Brandon was declared indigent…so he won’t be declared indigent. Not sure about Corey.


      • John Doe says:

        The idiot filmed himself shot calling and having players rape this girl, lest we forget. If anyone honestly thinks in the face of such damning evidence, that the verdict would different… I must say wow.

        This jurist is a red herring, and as much as I hate to agree… I will that he should get “a retrial” just so the defense does not have any excuse of “injustice” being the oppressing party. This secondly should not result in the defendants (I guess no longer being criminals for the time being) getting a lighter sentence than before. This has got me peeved.


      • Exactly. It’s also why I would prefer to see Todd Easter charged with perjury.


  4. Moms Hugs says:

    Sitting in my robes as a “retired judge” this morning, I took this case up for review. Let’s see now…
    Todd Easter, at age 16, had a sexual relationship with a 23 yr. old guy, and Todd’s parents called the police over Todd’s objections, resulting in a statutory rape conviction. Now 15 years later that guy retaliates by going to the media with that story when Todd was interviewed as Foreman of the Jury in a case of violent gang rape of a young woman. In that interview Todd said, “What bothered me the most about the case was they pled not guilty in the face of such incriminating evidence.”

    So, the real issue here is NOT that Todd was involved in a willing sexual relationship when he was a teen, but whether Todd KNEW so much about this case from local media coverage that he could not have been objective when asked that most basic potential juror query. If that is true for the jury’s foreman, was it true for the entire jury? That is the more obvious question at the heart of these defense motions – whether media coverage was so intense, largely due to defense tactics over a year’s time I might add, that rendered a fair trial impossible. Now the defense wants to reap the rewards of their tactics & have the court deem the trial unfair altogether. Hmmm…

    In today’s world of intense media coverage – on TV, radio, Internet or in print – that is the question in every criminal case that is so egregious to society that it draws a crowd. There are no venues in any state to try such cases where potential jurors can honestly say with a straight face that they have heard absolutely nothing about it or don’t have an opinion about it, one way or another. In the great state of Tennessee, the county did it’s best to round up potential jurors who could serve. Defense counsel had an opportunity to voir dire those folks and rejected those they deemed unworthy to serve. They now want the court to believe they did a lousy job of it by allowing one… ONE… man to slip by their piercing questions.

    So, let me bottom line this for the good folks of Tennessee. The courts DO NOT & NEVER WILL allow a “do-over” just so defense counsel can rectify its many mistakes… beginning with trying the case in public media by trying to manipulate the courts with pretrial motions and failing to reject ONE juror through REASONABLE voir dire just so they can later claim a mistrial upon conviction of their clients and possibly force the District Attorney into cutting a deal afterward. Defense has the right to appeal to higher courts. Motion denied.

    [Sorry for the long comment, Bonnie. Just couldn’t help myself… ]


    • I confess to looking forward to your comments, so no apology is ever needed! 🙂

      My original thought was Todd Easter, being both gay and stuck smack in the middle of Baptist Country, suffered from a lack of parental approval and likely, begrudging semi-acceptance.

      As such, with Todd Easter being on the jury and bonus points; Foreman (!) it’s been easy for me to think Todd could have entertained the idea of using the trial as a vehicle for him to partially redeem himself in the eyes of his parents. (Separately was Todd Easter took to the media spotlight faster than a teenager being handed the keys to a brand new Ferrari.)

      Having watched the sentencing hearing I can report Todd did not testify well. While I wouldn’t go with “shady” Todd definitely came across as having an agenda.

      Separately, the defense attorneys had trouble remembering Todd’s name; and stumbled over basic Engish. This was as troubling as it was distracting. Also, returning to the “alcohol made me do it” theme pushed by defense, am not surprised to now watch the defense frothing over the idea of a way out, having botched a case where the Defendants should have pleaded out in the first place.

      Am thinking the younger Vandenburg now regrets trusting his father’s blustering over-confidence.

      My guess is a new trial will be ordered, and the defendants will plead out beforehand.

      But my hope is the trial court thinks like you. 😃


  5. Njpjm says:

    If new trials are ordered the defense has to accept the reality of a prison term and accept a plea deal . Let ‘s say the state offers 10 to 15 years max. They have to take it . Another trial and conviction would mean closer to 22 years hard time in my opinion . I assume that a plea deal for these two is even better for McKenzie and Banks , especially McKenzie .


  6. Unbelievable. No sentencing and likely a new trial. I know I’m not the first to say it but today’s events further drive home the point that the American jury system is broken.


    • I believe the jury system works….and that Easter went out of his way to manipulate the system. Seems he did so effectively.


    • John Doe says:

      This Vandenburg does not deserve a retrial. Should see the smirk on his face, knowing he is going to be released until the next trial, a few more months or so. Honestly I would put an ankle brace on this guy.

      Having gone to school with him I would not be surprised if this guy tries to escape to Mexico. Seriously.


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