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Chauvin Pre-Trial Day 1: 3d Degree Murder Throws Wrench Into Jury Selection Process

Chauvin Pre-Trial Day 1: 3d Degree Murder Throws Wrench Into Jury Selection Process

Judge indicated jury selection would move forward unless an appeals court told him to stop pending a Minnesota Supreme Court review of the third-degree murder charge.

https://www.courttv.com/title/court-tv-live-stream-web/

Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the Minnesota murder trial of Derek Chauvin, over the in-custody death of George Floyd.  I am Attorney Andrew Branca for Law of Self Defense, providing guest commentary and analysis of this trial for Legal Insurrection.

As a reminder, I am “LIVE Parlering” the trial in real-time over at my Parler account, which you can find using my Parler handle:  @LawofSelfDefense.

Before we dive into the substance of this morning’s proceedings, a brief list of characters in play during the trial, so we can keep track, especially as many of the streaming sources for the trial proceedings do not appear to be using name labels on screen:

The trial is presided over by Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill.  The lead prosecutor is Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, assisted by Special Attorney for the State Neal Katyal.  The lead defense counsel is Attorney Eric Nelson, assisted by co-counsel Attorney Amy Vos.   The defendant is, of course, Derek Chauvin—there is no word yet as to whether Chauvin is expected to testify in his own defense.

Today was planned to be the first day of jury selection for this trial, but instead the day turned into a non-starter.  As I write this the trial court is adjourned until 1:30pm CT, at which point a determination will be made as to what, if anything, the trial court will be free to do in advancing this trial forward.

Until that determination is made, the trial, and jury selection, are effectively paused.  Indeed, the jury pool has been sent home for today, so there will definitely be no jury selection occurring prior to tomorrow, if then.

The key cause of the hold-up is the uncertainty around the third-degree murder charge which the state wants to bring against Derek Chauvin, in addition to the second-degree murder and manslaughter charges on which he is currently charged.

Minnesota labels its various criminal offenses in a rather untraditional manner, so it’s worth looking at the actual criminal charges themselves.

With respect to the second-degree murder charge the relevant statute is § 609.19. Murder in the second degree, which is sub-divided into two major sections.  Subdivision 1 covers intentional murders.  Chauvin is not charged under this section.

Indeed, there is no claim whatever being made that Chauvin intentionally killed Floyd.  I find it remarkable that the public narrative around Floyd’s death is one of purported racist police murder of a black suspect, but not even the prosecutors aggressively pursuing this case are willing to make the legal argument that Chauvin intended to kill Floyd.

Subdivision 2 of § 609.19 covers unintentional murders.  It, too, consists of two parts.  Chauvin is charged under the first of these; the second part applies to circumstances involving restraining orders and is not relevant to this case.

So, the relevant second-degree murder language relevant to Chauvin is found in § 609.19(2)(1), and it reads:

Subdivision 2. Whoever does either of the following is guilty of unintentional murder in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 40 years: (1) causes the death of a human being, without intent to effect the death of any person, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense other than criminal sexual conduct in the first or second degree with force or violence or a drive-by shooting;

So, the second-degree murder charge against Chauvin is premised on an underlying felony, which the state argues is the purported commission of third-degree assault by Chauvin upon Floyd.

Which naturally raises the question of what constitutes third-degree assault under Minnesota law, which we find at § 609.223 Assault in the third degree.  This statute consists of three parts, only the first of which is relevant to Chauvin, and § 609.223(1) reads:

Subdivision 1. Substantial bodily harm. — Whoever assaults another and inflicts substantial bodily harm may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than $ 10,000, or both.

In summary, then, in order to convict Chauvin of second-degree murder under the facts and legal arguments of this case, the state has to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin intentionally inflicted substantial bodily harm upon Floyd and that Floyd died as a result of that substantial bodily harm.

Further, the state would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin committed this conduct without lawful justification, as justification would be a generalized defense against any use-of-force offense, including Chauvin’s use-of-force upon Floyd (e.g., that the use of force by Chauvin upon Floyd was justified as appropriate under the circumstances of making a lawful arrest of Floyd and/or of securing Floyd’s safety from harm, such as death by excited delirium).

Then there’s the second-degree manslaughter charge against Chauvin, which can be found at § 609.205. Manslaughter in the second degree.  § 609.205 consists of 5 subsections, only the first of which is relevant to this case, and § 609.205 reads:

A person who causes the death of another by any of the following means is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $ 20,000, or both:

(1) by the person’s culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another;

In summary, then, in order to convict Chauvin of second-degree manslaughter under the facts and legal arguments of this case, the state has to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin negligently created an unreasonable risk of causing death or great bodily harm to Floyd, and deliberately disregarded that risk, with Floyd dying as a result (as well as disproving any raised justification defenses beyond a reasonable doubt).

Finally we get to the key issue in the hold-up of today’s proceedings, and that’s the third-degree murder charge the state wishes to bring against Floyd.

Interestingly, when Chauvin was initially charged in this case, those charges consisted of second-degree manslaughter, just discussed, and third-degree murder—Chauvin was not initially charged with second-degree murder at all.  (The original charging instrument citing second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder can be seen at the Law of Self Defense blog post of May 29, 2020: “NEWS: Officer Chauvin Charged with Murder of George Floyd.”)

Third-degree murder under Minnesota law can be found at § 609.195. Murder in the third degree.  This statute consists of two parts, of which only the first is relevant to this case, and § 609.195(1) reads:

(a) Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years.

In summary, then, in order to convict Chauvin of third-degree murder under the facts and legal arguments of this case, the state has to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin committed an act eminently dangerous to others, disregarded that danger with a depraved mind, and that Floyd died as a result (as well as disproving any raised justification defenses beyond a reasonable doubt).

Importantly, the traditional legal interpretation of this statutory provision has limited its application to circumstances in which the alleged danger created is a danger to people generally, and not a danger created to a specific individual.

Under long-standing Minnesota law, if the victim killed by dangerous conduct was specifically targeted then the appropriate murder charge would be second-degree murder, as described above. Imagine, for example, someone fired a shot in the general direction of the victim with the intent of frightening that victim but without intending to actually strike that victim, but the bullet nevertheless struck and killed the victim.  The dangerous conduct was directed at that specific victim, that specific victim died as a result, and the appropriate charge under Minnesota law is second-degree murder.

The crime of third-degree murder under Minnesota law would obviously be entirely duplicitous of second-degree murder if it applied to the same circumstances, a danger created towards a specific individual, and in fact throughout Minnesota legal history it was not believed that third-degree murder was intended to apply to a danger created towards a specific individual.

Rather, third-degree murder was understood to apply when someone created a danger to the public generally, with no particular victim in mind or targeted, and then caused the death of some non-specific individual.  Imagine, for example, someone driving a car on the public roads while extremely intoxicated and running over and killing a pedestrian in a crosswalk.  That driver never intended harm to that particular individual, but their conduct created a deadly danger to the public generally, and results in the death towards that non-specific individual.

Two different sets of circumstances to which the two distinct degrees of murder under Minnesota law were intended to apply.

Indeed, so well-established is this distinction between second-degree and third-degree murder that when the Chauvin defense argued that the third-degree murder charge originally brought against him must be dismissed because there was zero evidence that Chauvin ever presented a danger to the public generally, and therefore third-degree murder was inapplicable as a matter of law, trial court judge Peter Cahill agreed, and hd did in fact dismiss that charge.

The state’s response was to then charge Chauvin with second-degree murder in place of the dismissed third-degree murder.

The lengthy history of legal decisions affirming this distinction between second-degree and third-degree murder under Minnesota law was recently upended, however, by a precedent-breaking decision handed down by the Minnesota Court of Appeals on this issue just past February 1, 2021.  That decision is State v. Noor, 2021 Minn. App. LEXIS 131 (MN Ct. App. 2021).

As brief background, Mohamed Noor was a Minneapolis police officer who, along with his partner in their patrol car, responded to a report of a possible sexual assault occurring in an alley behind the home of Justine Ruszczyk, who had phoned 911 after hearing a ruckus.

When the two officers arrived, with Noor’s partner driving, they rolled through the alley and were apparently about to drive away when they were approached by Ms. Ruszczyk.  As she neared the driver’s side of the patrol car, Noor pointed his pistol across his partner’s body and fired a single fatal shot into her abdomen.

Noor would be criminally charged and convicted of third-degree murder for this killing of Ms. Ruszcyzk. He appealed his conviction to the Minnesota court of appeals on various grounds.  One of those grounds, relevant to our discussion here, is that third-degree murder was inapplicable to the facts of his case because his purportedly dangerous conduct specifically targeted Ms. Ruszcyzk rather than endangering the public generally—in other words, arguing for the traditional and well-established legal understanding of third-degree murder under Minnesota law.

The three-judge panel hearing Noor’s appeal would for the first time under Minnesota law hold that third-degree murder could apply to a case in which the risk created was not to the public generally, but rather was towards a specific individual.

Interestingly, the court of appeals was unanimous in denying Noor’s appeal on every other ground raised but split on this question of whether third-degree murder could apply to a danger created to a specific individual, with two judges voting for this novel “individual-specific” interpretation of Minnesota law, and the third judge (who wrote a lengthy dissent on this point) holding to the traditional and well-established legal understanding that third-degree murder applied to dangers that were generalized to the public and not specific to an individual.

When this novel interpretation of third-degree murder was handed down by this court of appeals decision on February 1, 2021, the prosecution in the Chauvin case saw a new opportunity to argue that Chauvin, too, should be charged with third-degree murder.  After all, the court of appeals said doing so was OK even in the context of a danger created only to an individual and not to the general public, right?

The prosecution then asked the court of appeals to order the trial judge in the Chauvin case, Judge Peter Cahill, to re-impose the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin, on the grounds that the basis for having dismissed that charge earlier—that third-degree murder applied only to generalized dangers—no longer applied given the court of appeals decision in Noor.

The court of appeals didn’t order Judge Cahill to re-impose the third-degree murder charge outright, but it did ask him to re-evaluate whether the third-degree murder charge ought to apply given the Noor decision.  This order occurred just this past Friday, March 5, the last day of court business before jury selection was to begin (today!) in the Chauvin case.

Hold on a minute, Chauvin’s defense team argued in response.  First of all, that court of appeals decision in the Noor case is still subject to review by the Minnesota Supreme Court, and while that window for Supreme Court review is open the court of appeals ruling is not really final law in Minnesota.  So, until the issue is legally finalized, Chauvin ought not be re-charged with third-degree murder.

In response, the prosecution this morning informed the judge that as far as they were concerned, so long as the legal issue of whether third-degree murder should apply to Chauvin was still in play, that meant that the matter was still before the appellate courts (the Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court), and so long as the appellate courts still had jurisdiction of the issue, the trial court itself lacked jurisdiction on the issue.

In fact, the prosecution argued that unless certainty was achieved on the issue of third-degree murder in the Chauvin case, nothing substantive—including jury selection—should move forward, because the state ought to know whether third-degree murder was in play when they were participating in jury selection in the first place.

Judge Cahill appeared rather shocked at the argument that the entire trial be put on hold over this issue, especially given that the jury pool was already sitting at the courthouse waiting to undergo selection.  He argued that the case could proceed on every issue other than third-degree murder, including jury selection.

Judge Cahill also recognized, however, that although that was his decision on the question, the prosecution had the option to appeal that decision back to the court of appeals.  If the court of appeals said the whole trial had to be paused while third-degree murder was played out in the appellate courts—a process which could take weeks or months—then the trial would be paused.

Unless he was told to pause the entire trial, Judge Cahill intended to proceed, and if necessary simply add the charge of third-degree murder to the jury instructions at the close of the trial (lesser-included charges are routinely added late in trials in this manner).

After a short recess for the prosecution to consider its options, they informed the judge that they had, in fact, filed a motion with the court of appeals to suspend the proceedings pending the resolution of the third-degree murder issue, and were waiting now to hear back from the court of appeals.

And that, folks, is where things sit as I write this.  Later this afternoon the court will come back into session, at which point everybody involved is hoping that the court of appeals will have provided some guidance as to the extent to which the trial court will be permitted to proceed with this trial of Derek Chauvin.

When we learn more, you’ll learn more!

In the meantime, I thought perhaps you might be interested in taking a look at the 14-page questionnaire that all prospective jurors were asked to complete earlier in this process. (pdf.)

The prospective jurors answers to those questions will assist both the prosecution and defense in deciding whether jurors should be excused for cause, as well as whether prospective jurors should be dismissed peremptorily (without cause having to be given).  Incidentally, Judge Cahill has tripled the normal number of peremptory challenges permitted each side in this case, to 15 peremptory strikes for the defense and 9 for the state.

I should also mention that selected jurors will include 12 jurors and 2 alternates, all of whom will be kept under a “soft” sequester during the trial. That is, their identities will be concealed from the public during the trial, and they will be identified only as numbers during the court proceedings, but they will be permitted to return home each evening and then back to court each morning.  During deliberations, however, the jurors are expected to be fully sequestered at the courthouse.

Until next time, stay safe!

–Andrew

Attorney Andrew F. Branca

Law of Self Defense LLC

Attorney Andrew F. Branca’s legal practice has specialized exclusively in use-of-force law for thirty years.  Andrew provides use-of-force legal consultancy services to attorneys across the country, as well as near-daily use-of-force law insight, expertise, and education to lawyers and non-lawyers alike in the form of blog posts, video, and podcasts, through the Law of Self Defense Membership service.  If this kind of content is of interest to you, try out our two-week Membership trial for a mere 99 cents, with a 200% no-question- asked money-back guarantee, here:  Law of Self Defense Membership Trial.

[Featured image is a screen capture from video of today’s court proceedings in MN v. Chauvin.]

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Comments

Crump is back to his usual shenanigans with ridiculous unsupported claims of a modern day lynching. https://twitter.com/AttorneyCrump/status/1369039262688149507

rabid wombat | March 8, 2021 at 4:55 pm

Thank you!

I’m struggling to see the relevance of Noors case here given Noor did deliberately kill his target while in this case the deliberateness of the killing here only exists in the fevered minds of the Democrats trying to kill this policeman.

    Milhouse in reply to mailman. | March 8, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    According to both the prosecution and the jury, let alone the defense, Noor did not deliberately kill his target. He heard a banging on the car, saw a silhouette, and spooked, firing at it without knowing who it was and without intention of killing that person, but with reckless disregard for their life.

      Joe-dallas in reply to Milhouse. | March 8, 2021 at 5:51 pm

      I think the distinquishing factor in the noor case vs the chauvin case is Noor had no idea what he was shooting at ie to the general public vs Chauvin actions applied to a specific individual

      MN 3rd degree murder statute-
      (a) Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years.

        Joe-dallas in reply to Joe-dallas. | March 8, 2021 at 5:53 pm

        So arguably, Noor conviction should be upheld
        whereas the facts to fit the statute for 3rd degree murder in the floyd chauvin case.

        Char Char Binks in reply to Joe-dallas. | March 8, 2021 at 5:55 pm

        We don’t know that Noor had “no idea” what he was shooting at? How long does it take to see a person?

          Milhouse in reply to Char Char Binks. | March 8, 2021 at 7:36 pm

          We don’t know anything. But according to the evidence presented at trial, which is all the jury could consider, that was the case. It’s what he said, and the prosecution didn’t challenge it, let alone present any evidence against it.

          Char Char Binks in reply to Char Char Binks. | March 8, 2021 at 7:53 pm

          It’s what the jury decided, but it’s not reasonable.

        Milhouse in reply to Joe-dallas. | March 8, 2021 at 7:20 pm

        I think the distinquishing factor in the noor case vs the chauvin case is Noor had no idea what he was shooting at ie to the general public vs Chauvin actions applied to a specific individual

        Noor didn’t shoot at the general public. He shot at a specific person, but without knowing who that person was, or why they needed to be shot. According to how the law has always been interpreted until his case, that’s not 3rd-degree murder. But for now, until the state supreme court overturns it, it is, so Judge Cahill is bound by it.

          paralegal in reply to Milhouse. | March 8, 2021 at 7:57 pm

          That is incorrect because State Supreme Court precedent supersedes a decision by the intermediate court of appeal.

          gospace in reply to Milhouse. | March 8, 2021 at 8:21 pm

          If you do not know who the person is- or even if there is only one- or why they need to be shot- that is shooting at the general public. One person can be a public. If the shot missed- where would i8t have landed? Through someone’s living room or bedroom window? Across the year into the morning newspaper delivery person?

          We have to get into mind reading to realize what the jury thought- but that would certainly be my way of thinking.

          Christopher B in reply to Milhouse. | March 8, 2021 at 9:45 pm

          gospace makes an argument that I’ve come around to after mulling over the two situations and statutes. Let’s say Noor shoots at the noise outside his patrol car, misses Justine, but kills someone sitting in an adjacent house. Does it really make sense that Noor can be charged with 3rd degree murder in that scenario but only manslaughter if his shot hits Justine? The circumstances surrounding his taking the shot (at night at a noise with no clear target) don’t change depending on who the bullet hits. I think the Noor situation is clearly different in that Chauvin was not acting in a manner that was dangerous to anybody but Floyd while Noor’s shot was a danger to any one within range of the bullet. Though the obvious example of 3rd degree murder is firing into a crowd that’s not a stated requirement.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | March 8, 2021 at 10:29 pm

          The appellate court was aware of that precedent, and still ruled as it did. He is required to presume that it was correct, until the supreme court says it wasn’t.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | March 8, 2021 at 10:35 pm

          If you do not know who the person is- or even if there is only one- or why they need to be shot- that is shooting at the general public. One person can be a public.

          . That is what the appellate court said. But the specific word in the statute is “others”, and that has always been interpreted as meaning “nobody in particular”. Noor shot at a specific person. That he might have missed is irrelevant; anyone can miss.

          et’s say Noor shoots at the noise outside his patrol car, misses Justine, but kills someone sitting in an adjacent house. Does it really make sense that Noor can be charged with 3rd degree murder in that scenario but only manslaughter if his shot hits Justine?

          On the contrary, the appropriate charge when he hit the person he was aiming at is 2nd degree murder, not manslaughter. He had depraved indifference, not to the lives of the general public but to that of the specific person whose shadow he’d glimpsed, and whose identity he didn’t know.

        no idea what he was shooting at
        And that shooting was involved, generally does present a risk to the public at-large, whereas kneeling on an individual does not.

      Char Char Binks in reply to Milhouse. | March 8, 2021 at 5:52 pm

      A Minnesota jury is loath to convict a black man, especially if the victim of the crime is white.

      (Insert “IANAL” disclaimer here.)

      I’m not 100% familiar with the Noor case. Did he claim self-defense as part of his strategy?

      I ask because firing in self-defense is an inherently deliberate act — which would generally undermine the “non-deliberate” argument — and because using a firearm is included in the very definition of “deadly force”. You cannot discharge a firearm toward/at someone and reasonably claim you didn’t know it may kill them.

      In short, firing his handgun in self-defense was a deliberate use of deadly force, by definition.

      Thus, it would seem that such a deliberate act directed toward the “unknown silhouette” would be targeting the specific individual behind it, even if they didn’t know the identity of said individual. Thus, a charge for 2nd Degree Murder would have been much more appropriate than 3rd Degree Murder, just as it is for Derek Chauvin.

      If self-defense was not raised, and they just went with the “Noor ‘spooked’ and fired” argument, then the prosecution could argue that Noor should have never been allowed out on patrol armed, untrained and inexperienced as he apparently was.

        Milhouse in reply to Archer. | March 8, 2021 at 7:37 pm

        You cannot discharge a firearm toward/at someone and reasonably claim you didn’t know it may kill them.

        But you can do so without intending to kill them. That’s what “reckless indifference” means.

        Milhouse in reply to Archer. | March 8, 2021 at 7:42 pm

        Thus, it would seem that such a deliberate act directed toward the “unknown silhouette” would be targeting the specific individual behind it, even if they didn’t know the identity of said individual. Thus, a charge for 2nd Degree Murder would have been much more appropriate than 3rd Degree Murder, just as it is for Derek Chauvin.

        That’s what Noor’s appeal argues, and what Judge Cahill says. But the appellate court disagreed, so right now it’s not the law. Once the supreme court gets around to it, it will probably once again be the law.

        If self-defense was not raised, and they just went with the “Noor ‘spooked’ and fired” argument, then the prosecution could argue that Noor should have never been allowed out on patrol armed, untrained and inexperienced as he apparently was.

        Whether he should have been allowed out was irrelevant to his trial. It’s a question for his superiors, not for him.

        randian in reply to Archer. | March 9, 2021 at 12:32 am

        It looks to me like the prosecutor in Noor’s case wanted the PR of a conviction, and also wanted Noor to have grounds for appeal, hence the bizarre 3rd-degree murder charge. Noor would have no grounds for appeal if the more reasonable 2nd-degree murder charge had been pursued.

      mailman in reply to Milhouse. | March 9, 2021 at 1:23 am

      He deliberately pulled his firearm and discharged it inside his patrol car across his partner at the person he killed.

      There is literally no similarity between Noor and this case in my esteemed opinion ??

      For this to be similar to Noor Chauvin would had to have pulled his fun on Floyd and shot him then claim he had no idea what he was shooting at.

stevewhitemd | March 8, 2021 at 5:00 pm

Andrew, thank you for a thorough and literate review of the Minnesota statutes. I now understand.

Interesting that it’s the prosecution that wanted the delay while waiting for the supreme court, not the judge or the defense.

    Paul in reply to Milhouse. | March 8, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    They don’t want to get to a verdict while the weather is still cool outside.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Milhouse. | March 8, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    Yea that one is kind of a head scratcher for me as well. It seems more like the tactic of the defense rather than the prosecution.

    Now, to clarify for me are they wanting to go back to the original charge or add the 3rd degree to the existing charges?

      Milhouse in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 8, 2021 at 10:41 pm

      As I understand it the prosecution wants both 2nd and 3rd degree murder in there, as well as 2nd degree manslaughter. The reason it wants the lighter charge included is in case the jury thinks 2nd degree murder is too much, it should still have a murder option available to it, and maybe it will compromise on that.

        Edward in reply to Milhouse. | March 9, 2021 at 10:52 am

        Shooting for giving the Jury lots of options for “consensus” is the norm for prosecutions where the prosecution isn’t sure of their case. In this case I would have thought that the threat to the Jurors from the crowd would ensure conviction. The intimidation factor of the “fencing” (almost worthy of protection for a military encampment, but without the machine gun posts at the corners) might suffice to remind the Jurors of what they will face if the acquit. The drama of referring to Jurors by number will work until the Jury is chosen and the first pictures of the Jurors entering or leaving the courthouse are taken. I doubt the Sheriff’s Deputies (an assumption on who is providing Court Security) will dress them all in the same outfit and put sacks over their heads for entry and exit. And that would still leave the Court to prohibit artists rendering of the Jury, which would immediately be appealed.

        I wish I were absolutely wrong, but the probability is that Chauvin’s goose is well and truly cooked at the trial court level. At best there is a very slim possibility that he might have one Juror who doesn’t give a …. and holds up the proceedings with a hung Jury. I know of one Jury where two were holding out for acquittal. The Court Security Officers (CSOs) informed us that the remaining Jurors (all male) simply threatened to beat the crap out of the two holdouts. The CSOs said they were about to go in and retrieve the two, thus ending the trial with a mistrial when the two caved and agreed to acquit. Of course officially the CSOs knew absolutely nothing of this as they aren’t supposed to know what goes on in the Jury Deliberations. But they said they could hear the shouting through the closed door.

          Edward in reply to Edward. | March 9, 2021 at 1:28 pm

          Hadn’t considered the County Courthouse might have basement parking so the Jurors could be driven in a van to the basement and not be out on the street for pictures to be taken. But I wouldn’t be surprised if some enterprising MSM toady worked to get them. Would be par for the course for a group which is totally uninterested in so much else, like Quid Pro Joe’s senility.

        artichoke in reply to Milhouse. | March 9, 2021 at 8:29 pm

        This should be forbidden, because you’re not supposed to convict on any charge unless the proof for that particular charge is beyond a reasonable doubt. The presence of another worse charge that you’re also not sure about should not taint the matter.

        It’s a slimy, dirty trick and prosecutors love doing it. It’s not uncommon that if the case isn’t proved, it’s not proved with respect to any charge. In that case the jury should comfortably acquit on everything. If the could also punish the prosecution somehow for this tactic, that would be better.

    artichoke in reply to Milhouse. | March 9, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    Seems like the appeals court is doing what it can to help the prosecution here. The prosecution wants all the help it can get, because basically it’s trying to charge a cop with state-of-mind things that no cop would normally be charged for, and that would put cops off the “enforcement” part of their job if they lead to convictions.

    Now I see why there’s a trial when we already know all the facts I would normally want to know (i.e. factfinding by a jury wouldn’t be needed). What a mess this could be.

JusticeDelivered | March 8, 2021 at 5:05 pm

I am really tired of honest, hardworking peoples’ lives being destroyed over the likes of drug dealing Floyd. This is more like a persecution than a prosecution.

I’ve been following Viva and Barnes too, and as a layman, I’m just starting to understand why Third Degree Murder has to be differentiable from Second Degree Manslaughter. The prosecution seems to be caught between the two with neither really fitting the case without a great deal of hammering to knock the corners off.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoRFmrgf90c

    Char Char Binks in reply to georgfelis. | March 8, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    They want the highest possible compromise conviction they can convince the jury to go along with.

      Subotai Bahadur in reply to Char Char Binks. | March 8, 2021 at 8:55 pm

      They want the highest possible compromise conviction they can convince the jury to go along with.

      Or they may be going for the lowest murder/homicide charge that they can be sure of getting an acquittal for, thus guaranteeing riots.

      Subotai Bahadur

        Char Char Binks in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | March 8, 2021 at 9:15 pm

        Either way, they win. That’s why bLM picks these cases. They don’t want anything like JUSTICE.

        artichoke in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | March 9, 2021 at 7:22 pm

        The bad outcome is a conviction on a major charge, on the basis of vague wording and things you wouldn’t have charged a cop for before.

        Rather than one-time riots, you’d have an end to enforcement in Hennepin County. No cop would be willing to use force.

Just curious how they are holding a trial in Minneapolis with the Waltz covid restrictions

This is going to be interesting, thanks for the explanation in Minnesota law

Thank you for the clear explanation of the applicable laws.

I suspect that the government will handle this case much like the cops who beat up Rodney King. If the state court fails to convict, they will try him again in federal court. If the federal court fails to convict, they will try him again in municipal court. And so it goes until they get a conviction.

There will be enormous pressure on the jurors for a conviction. The jurors know that if they vote “not guilty,” they will be branded as racists and likely see BLM and Antifa vandalizing their homes in the middle of the night.

    “There will be enormous pressure on the jurors for a conviction. The jurors know that if they vote “not guilty,” they will be branded as racists and likely see BLM and Antifa vandalizing their homes in the middle of the night.”

    Spot on. Exactly why BLM is having their rally right now outside the court, and why they’ll keep hammering it endlessly until the verdict, at which point they will do the following depending on:
    Guilty – Riot
    Not Guilty – Riot with extra attention paid to any jury member they can find, and they won’t restrict themselves to the night.

Curious- can they NOT charge negligence when also charging for murder?

Negligence:
-Had a duty to act
-Failed to act
-The failure to act caused damage

He did have a duty to render aid to someone having a medical emergency. Speaking from a pragmatic level, this charge could and ought to be applied to these cases rather than murder.

Where-as the murder charges are little more than theatre for the mob, with high rate of failure and resulting in inevitable riots when acquitted; the negligence speaks to the correct care of an individual in your custody. It would/should be a career ender AND give the families the ability to pursue financial compensation, which in turn is a good motivator for departments to clean up their acts on SOPs. Really a lot of this is solved by sticking an O2 tank in patrol cars and letting them suck O2 until EMTs arrive.

    Joe-dallas in reply to Andy. | March 8, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    Andy – your raise a good point – failure to act, etc.

    I am of the opinion that Floyd killed himself via drug overdose, and first aid could not save him because the drug overdose was so large.
    Under those circumstances, there is no way a murder charge or conviction is appropriate or applicable. For most of the time of the encounter chauvin’s actions were appropriate and proper. Up to the 2-4 minute mark of the knee, chauvin behaved properly. After that point Chauvins behavior became that of a jerk. So I think the murder charge is completely wrong, there should be some appropriate charge (not sure what it would be under MN Statutes).

    As an analogy, you cant convict someone of bank robbery when the crime committed was auto theft, just because the sentence for bank robbery is longer than the sentence for auto theft.

    artichoke in reply to Andy. | March 9, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    So what care do you give to a guy high on Fentanyl, who has shown unusual strength and also sneakiness sliding thru that cruiser and out the other side, while waiting for the EMT?

healthguyfsu | March 8, 2021 at 6:42 pm

Convenient how the false equivalence fallacies (using the contrast of a white cop on black criminal vs a black cop on white bystander) seem to write themselves don’t they?

You offered up some articles you wrote about this case previous and took the paywall off these articles except for the last one. Can you please take the pay wall off the one about how the media may be slowly realizing this isn’t murder?

Richard Aubrey | March 9, 2021 at 8:09 am

Andy. According to reports, the cops called for medical assistance immediately. So the question becomes what did they have in their training and equipment that they could do for the guy before the ambulance arrived that they did not do–which would have helped.

NARCAN has been mentioned. Did they have the stuff and is it indicated (according to their training) for such circumstances?

Is “excited delirium” serious enough that such restraint is reasonable? At what point should Chauvin have relaxed his hold? And the biggy: What difference would it have made considering the quantity of drugs Floyd had ingested.

    fogflyer in reply to Richard Aubrey. | March 11, 2021 at 11:16 am

    Yep, there is just no way I am not going to have reasonable doubt that anything Chauvin or the other officers could have done would have definitely save Floyd’s life when he had 11ng/l of Fentanyl in his system, combined with Meth, high blood pressure, severe artery blockage and unknown Covid issues.

Two problems here. Reasonable doubt – Floyd’s fentanyl abuse at the time. No mention of jury nullification of bad law or misuse of a law.

    artichoke in reply to charlesw04. | March 9, 2021 at 7:26 pm

    I expect the prosecution will try to root out people who might think that way, as maybe the main thrust of their voir dire.

Clown 1396 XL | March 9, 2021 at 2:40 pm

I think one of the interesting questions on the questionnaire is what media you listen to. A prospective juror might not be able to be asked if he is a conservative, but if he says that he listens to Rush Limbaugh, that pretty much gives it away. I had this experience sometime back in a juror pool, and I was not chosen. I probably would have found for the [illegal alien] defendant anyway. Why? Because conservatives may not like illegal immigration, but we also don’t like government overreach, which was also part of the trial. The bottom line is that attorneys don’t fully understand conservatism, to their detriment.

Page 7, question 9-h of the jury questionnaire…
“The criminal JUST system is…”

I sure hope this error didn’t make it into the final draft, but it probably did.
I should have picked a career in editing 😉

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