Derek Chauvin Asks Judge For New Trial On Grounds Of Juror Misconduct
Derek Chauvin has asked for a new trial in the murder of George Floyd, with his lawyer citing prosecutorial and jury misconduct.
The former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on April 20, following Floyd’s killing in May last year. He could face up to 40 years in prison.
New motions filed by Chauvin’s defence attorney Eric Nelson have taken aim at the conduct of the prosecution, jury and Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, asking for a new trial just two weeks after his guilty verdict.
As reported by NBC News, Nelson argues the publicity surrounding the court proceedings affected Chauvin’s right to a fair trial, with the court allegedly failing to sequester the jurors or ‘admonish them to avoid all media’ according to the filing. In addition to the constant news coverage, he said the jurors were also subjected to ‘jury intimidation or potential fear of retribution.’
The motion also takes issue with the judge denying Nelson’s request to change the venue of the trial, due to the heightened pretrial publicity, which was ‘so pervasive and so prejudicial’ that it had a ‘structural defect in the proceedings.’
Minnesota state prosecutors have also been accused of committing ‘pervasive, prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct’ in its push for a conviction of Chauvin, totalling eight abuses of discretion.
Furthermore, the filing asks to ‘impeach the verdict’ on ‘the grounds that the jury committed misconduct, felt threatened or intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings, and/or failed to adhere to instructions during deliberations.’
John Stiles, deputy chief of staff for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, said in a statement: ‘The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them.’
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney representing the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, recently said an appeal was likely to be unsuccessful following a juror’s interview with Gayle King on CBS News.
When asked if there was any pressure ‘because [he] knew the world was watching’, Brandon Mitchell said: ‘Not at all. And I don’t think any of us felt like that. I for sure did not. I for sure did not feel like that. The pressure more so came from just being in the room and being under stress. But it wasn’t pressure to come to a guilty verdict.’
He added: ‘We were just stressed about just the simple fact that every day we had to come in and watch a Black man die. That alone is stressful. Coming in each and every day and having to watch somebody die is stressful enough by itself.’
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