Thoughts On The Outcome Of The Vanderbilt University Rape Trial

By now, one would be hard pressed to find someone not just in the greater Nashville area or Tennessee but also around the country who isn’t at least somewhat familiar with the Vanderbilt rape trialUniversity rape case. A jury of Brandon Vandenburg and Corey Batey’s peers found both former Vandy football players guilty of all charges. Much has been said by television pundits or simply people around the water-cooler at work as to these defendants’ actions and how one should go about defending the indefensible.

A criminal defendant’s right to legal representation is found in the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which requires the assistance of counsel for the accused in all criminal prosecutions. This means that a defendant has an inherent, constitutional right to be soundly represented by a capable attorney during trial. As such, this means Vandenburg and Batey had a right to good legal representation.

One of the first pieces of questionable counsel in this case is the fact that a key defense attorney representing Brandon Vandenburg was suspended from practicing law for failure to communicate with another client for 10 months and failure to file an appeal on that client’s behalf.

Then there is the question of why did this case even go to trial?  Did the defense attorneys exhaust all efforts to explain to their clients prior to trial that, with video and audio of the alleged crimes, it was probably in Vandenburg and Batey’s best interest to throw themselves at the mercy of the Court?

Next, after deciding to go to trial, many in the legal community remain perplexed at the ‘it’s the university culture of wild parties and binge drinking’ defense.

But the most telling look into the defense team’s questionable style happened after the convictions. Vandenburg’s attorney requested Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk’s office, and anyone who came into contact with the video of the crime that was leaked to the media (including the defense attorneys for Brandon Banks and JaBorian McKenzie), all make themselves available for a polygraph test.

Additionally post conviction, the decision to allow Corey Batey to sit down with Dr. Phil for a one-on-one interview without his attorney present on camera with him, was a profoundly perplexing decision. When someone who has been convicted but not yet sentenced agrees to such an interview, little to no real benefit is realized for the criminally charged. And, as expected, the Dr. Phil interview with Cory Batey turned out to be a calamity.

The allure of  allowing the media access in such a high profile case is understandably tempting for a criminal defense attorney but, in my opinion, ill advised. As a defendant or a person charged in a serious criminal offense, it’s imperative your attorney has uppermost in his or her actions the obligation to defend you above all else. Any and all outside influences should be minimized or not allowed at all.

If you have been charged with a serious criminal offense, you too have the right to an attorney at trial. However, in some instances, finding sound representation can be tricky. Donna Wagner has over a decade of experience as a criminal defense attorney and takes pride in her reputation of providing personalized, quality legal counsel to every client. Contact Donna today for a free consultation.




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