Chance of hung jury, expensive retrial among arguments for change of venue in Delke trial

Posted at 12:39 PM, Jan 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 15:05:29-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Who will hear it and when? The decision of whether an outside jury will be brought in to hear the murder charges against former Metro police officer Andrew Delke is now in the hands of the Tennessee court of appeals.

Today, we're learning more about the arguments each side is making to that court. NewsChannel 5 obtained copies of Delke's motion which argues, among other things, opinions are so split that there is bound to be a hung jury, resulting in an expensive retrial.

"A Davidson County jury is unlikely to provide the fair trial guaranteed by the Constitution," Raybin said.

The prosecution responded arguing, in part, that the time for appealing an unfair jury is after the trial if there is a conviction, not before the trial even happens. "A change of venue is not warranted. There are fair jurors in Davidson County, Tennessee," Deputy district attorney Roger Moore said at a hearing late last year.

If the state appellate court grants the change of venue it likely means the trial will be delayed from this spring into summer.

The issue is pre-trial publicity and the incredible reach of this video already seen by thousands of potential jurors. "You can't forget what you've seen and heard," David Raybin, Delke's attorney, said at a hearing late last year. That video shows the now-decommissioned Metro police officer shooting 25-year-old Daniel Hambrick as he ran away during a chase in July of 2018.

Delke said he saw Hambrick with a gun. Still, this past January Delke was indicted for first degree murder.

His attorney says he can't get a fair trial. "The hearts and minds of Davidson County residents have solidified into two intractable camps," Raybin said.

Judge Monte Watkins denied a request to bring in an outside jury, but he allowed Delke to challenge that decision in the state appeals court.

Typically, the appellate court rules on these type of challenges in a timely fashion. There could be an answer before the end of the month.