Is it possible for Andrew Delke to get a fair trial in Nashville? Lawyers ask for change of venue

Posted at 12:51 PM, Oct 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 21:54:25-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Can a Metro police officer charged with first degree murder get a fair trial?

Some polling shows Nashvillians have already made up their mind on Andrew Delke's guilt or innocence. And now it looks more and more like a change in venue will be granted for his high-profile trial.

Video of the officer-involved-shooting has been shown literally thousands of times.

It's a difficult case ... and many who have seen the video already have already made up their minds.

It was July of last year. Metro officer Andrew Delke -- now decommissioned -- is accused of chasing and fatally shooting Daniel Hambrick after a traffic stop. Delke is charged with first degree murder.

"It is polarizing ... an all or nothing case ... I don't see a plea coming out of this," said legal analyst Nick Leonardo.

So, a trial seems inevitable.

But can Delke get a fair jury?

His attorneys have filed a lengthy motion asking for a change of venue. Included in that motion: A public opinion survey which found -- among other things -- that 82 percent of those questioned in the city have already developed an opinion on guilt or innocence. And there is a huge racial divide. Eighty three percent of African Americans believe Delke is guilty, compared to 31 percent of caucasions.

Those statistics alone increase the possibility of a hung jury.

"I think it was a good move on the part of the defense to do some polling," said Leonardo who added -- if the survey results are accurate -- they highlight the problem of finding an impartial jury.

What's interesting is that there's no public record yet of the District Attorney attorney challenging the motion for change of venue. "Yeah, I think it's a bit odd if nothing's been filed or responded to by the state," said Leonardo.

Judge Monte Watkins will issue a decision next month. But Leonardo and others close to the case said it now appears the judge will have no choice but to grant the change of venue -- bringing a jury in from another city ... possibly Chattanooga or Knoxville.

It's worth noting, if a change of venue is denied under these circumstances and Delke is convicted -- two big if's -- then if could be part of the argument on appeal.

Delke's trial will be scheduled at a hearing next month. Most expect it to happen early next year.

Delke is currently free on bond.