'Stealth Jurors' challenge in George Floyd case raises concerns for Nashville case

Posted at 3:36 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 00:17:23-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A so-called "stealth juror" could cause a mistrial in the high-profile Derek Chauvin trial, and it could be the case in the upcoming trial of decommissioned Metro Nashville Police Officer Andrew Delke, who was charged with murder.

Defense attorneys in Metro are already sounding the alarm concerned about potential "stealth jurors."

So, what is a stealth juror? They are people with a hidden agenda who seek to get on a jury in hopes of influencing the outcome.

The attorney for Derek Chauvin now wants a new trial after a jury convicted his client in the murder of George Floyd. This comes as questions have surfaced over a juror who may or may not have been truthful during the jury selection process.

"Any kind of thing extraneous could be a grounds for a mistrial," said Newschannel5 Legal Analyst Nick Leonardo.

The judge must now decide if the Chauvin verdict was tainted. And the situation Minneapolis has sent ripples of concern through Nashville regarding the case of Andrew Delke who will stand trial in July for the murder of Daniel Hambrick.

The incident three years ago was caught on security video and made public. It shows Delke shooting Hambrick in the back as he ran away. Delke says Hambrick was armed and posed an imminent threat.

Many who have seen the video have already made up their mind on guilt or innocence.

"If you are the prosecution or the defense in the Delke case this is something you are thinking about right now ... today," said Leonardo.

In fact, Delke's attorney David Raybin addressed this very issue in asking for a change of venue, which was denied by the judge. In the motion, Raybin wrote: "Prospective jurors may want to be on a jury and may not express their true beliefs and opinions in a high-profile case..." And, that they might be "... motivated by a hidden agenda in reference to a legal case."

Raybin believes the "potential for a 'stealth juror' is particularly high in a case like this."

Newschannel5's legal analyst Nick Leonardo agrees. "Absolutely, this is a high-profile case. I think you could see potential for stealth jurors on both sides of this issue that would like to be selected for this."

Something like this did happen in Nashville six years ago in the Vanderbilt rape case. A juror chosen failed to disclose he was a statutory rape victim. The Judge, Monte Watkins, declared a mistrial. Judge Watkins will preside over the Delke case.

When stealth jurors are caught they can be charged with contempt and lying under oath. But they are rarely if ever prosecuted. Some argue it is time to start holding those proven to be untruthful criminally responsible.