Government may prosecute other officers before retrying Brett Hankison

A judge has set a mid December hearing to learn whether the government intends to prosecute Hankison again
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 5:36 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Former LMPD detective Brett Hankison will likely learn a month from now whether the government plans to proceed with a new trial after a jury deadlocked on both counts against him Thursday.

Mistrials are relatively rare, but experts believe it’s getting harder to convince juries to reach an agreement.

Breonna Taylor’s family lawyer told WAVE last night the government plans to retry its case against Brett Hankison.

A third case would have his testimony from two trials. But whether another jury could be convinced to reach an agreement is anybody’s guess.

“Getting 12 people to agree on anything these days is more difficult than it used to be and this case is very emotional,” WAVE News Legal Analyst Leland Hulbert said.

Hulbert believes the government will wait until it sees the outcome of its cases against former officers Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany before taking another definitive step in Hankison’s case. Jaynes and Meany are connected to the faulty warrant authorizing the raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment.

“The warrant cases involve different evidence on those. If they get a guilty verdict, that may change their decision on retrying Brett Hankison,” Hulbert said.

The government already has a win with those cases, securing a guilty plea from Kelly Hanna Goodlett.

“My guess is they’re going to say they’re going to keep the case alive and intend to try it. Whether or not they actually do that remains to be seen,” Hulbert said.

A key question we don’t have answered is how the jury was split. Clearly, the government convinced some of the jurors. A source suggested more than one juror voted to acquit. But two juries have now heard cases against Hankison. Neither have convicted him.

“If it’s a slam dunk case, there’s much more likely to be a verdict, a guilty verdict,” Hulbert said.

The Justice Department did not return WAVE’s request for an interview.

The next hearing in Hankison’s case is set for a month from now.