Chauvin Pre-trial Day 2: First Three Jurors Selected
Batson challenge to two Hispanic jurors struck by defense rejected by trial court
Welcome 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.
First, my apologies to the Law of Self Defense and Legal Insurrection communities, because I had an unavoidable obligation this morning, and so wasn’t really able to jump onto the jury selection until around lunch time. I did “live Parler” the jury selection process after lunch, and you can find that at my Parler account, linked above.
As a result of having to “catch up” on the four hours or so of morning proceedings, however, I’m afraid that today’s Chauvin trial content is going to be a bit abbreviated.
The most important part of the day is that the first three jurors for the Chauvin trial have now been selected. Rather than do a detailed breakdown of voir dire on those three jurors in text form, I’m going to embed the video of the voir dire process for each of them here, identifying each by their assigned juror number.
It’s also notable that in the voir dire process the state used one of its peremptory strikes (leaving the state with 8 remaining peremptory strikes) and the defense used two of its peremptory strikes (leaving the defense with 13 remaining peremptory strikes).
With respect to the two strikes used by the defense, both were applied to prospective jurors of apparent Hispanic ethnicity. This led the state to make a Batson objection, which is an objection alleging that the defense is striking jurors on the basis of race or ethnicity.
Naturally, the defense argued against this position, and claimed that they had race-neutral grounds for striking both of the relevant jurors (specifically, jurors #1 and #4), and the defense arguments were compelling to Judge Cahill.
For those interested in the Batson arguments, however, I also include the video of that portion of today’s proceedings, as well:
I probably made several hundred Parler “tweets,” or whatever Parler calls posts, today, and it would be time consuming to repeat them all here, so I’ll focus on the macro rather than the micro of today’s proceedings.
Frankly, my sense was that the defense did not do a great job on voir dire.
In the context of the two jurors that the defense used peremptory strikes to exclude, I thought there were reasonable arguments to be made to exclude those jurors for cause, which would have saved those two precious peremptory strikes for later in the jury selection process.
Further, I found one of the accepted jurors, Juror #9, to be completely insincere in her claims that she could be unbiased and impartial in this case. She frankly struck me as someone who was activist in intent, especially given her explicit excitement—almost exuberance—in being chosen for this jury, and precisely the kind of person the defense should most fear being empaneled on the jury.
There were prospective jurors of a similar vibe who attempted to get on the Zimmerman jury, but were exposed by the defense before they could be empaneled. Had those people been on the Zimmerman jury, an acquittal would have been out of the question, as they were committed to Zimmerman’s conviction regardless of law or evidence.
I had a very similar sense from Juror #9—but each of you can listen to her voir dire yourselves, in the videos above, and make your own call.
Before we wrap up this post, there is also good news: Jury selection continues tomorrow, and perhaps for the remainder of this week, given how slowly the process proceeded to seating jurors today.
Once the jurors are selected, however, the trial proper is not scheduled to begin until Monday, March 29, so all of us will get a bit of a break before we dive back into the trial.
Until next time, stay safe!
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.]
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.
I will follow this coverage closely. If they’re publicly identifying jurors, the trial is rigged.
That’s something I’ve pointed out. In an earlier article, Mr. Branca indicated the jurors would be identified by number and not by name. That would be true during the trial, but do we know what will happen after the trial?
Also, we can see their faces and hear their voices with these videos. People have been successfully identified and thoroughly doxxed with less to go on, even without facial recognition software.
watching. Thank you
Could this be a sabotage job? Is his attorney retained by the union?
“Could this be a sabotage job? ..”
Incompetence seems more likely. No lawyer is perfect, perhaps this guy has an inflated view of his appeal to women.
Even the Court TV expert thought the defense asked the wrong questions, gave too much opportunity to rehabilitate, wasted strikes, rejected a potential ally, and let a questionable juror slide in, and that channel is generally gung ho for conviction.
What are the ages, sexes, and races of the jurors?
I only worry about activists, not age sex or race. And they are going to get them.
I would try to get as many latinos, Asians, and “Other” as possible on the jury, and largely avoid both black and white jurors.
Too many blacks are down with bLM, but so are too many blue-state whites, especially “fellow whites “ ( I mean no offense, but you know what I mean).
Latinos are largely immune to white guilt tactics. Asians in MN will likely be Hmong, very different from the model minority J, C, and K Asians, but one of the defendants is one of their own.
floyd’s theft victim is an “other”, likely a descendant of Muslim immigrants, of whatever particular ethnicity. I would emphasize that as much as possible during the trial without losing the thread of the narrative.
Non-black POC will probably be less prone to being targeted and intimidated by the hate-YT crowd, less likely than some demographics to presume guilt by whiteness, and be impartial, or at least not overly sympathetic to the plight of black criminals like floyd.
Uhh… no. I don’t know what you mean.
He probably means Jews.
Whomever he means, let him state it. Thev”you know who” stuff is childish at best, or just cowardice.
I do mean Jews. There’s no reason you should be anti-semitic about it!
This for Char Char: who is being anti-Semitic? My asking who you actually mean rather than stepping arount it with “fellow whites” is hardly anti-Semitic. At least you didn’t use the triple-parens step-around.
For the record: I stepped away from the religion decades ago, but, am Jewish by heritage.
Frankly, my sense was that the defense did not do a great job on voir dire.
Not leaving me all warm and fuzzy, but ty…
BTW on Parler,,, one Parleys. A play on the French word, I suppose.. As in parlez vous Francais? But you knew that.
Acquittal in spite of an obvious activist juror would be good, if he can pull it off.
That would be good, but how is it possible? If a juror is determined to vote for conviction no matter what, and is willing to resist pressure from the other jurors because of a fanatical commitment to the cause, then acquittal becomes impossible. (Of course the same applies in spades to someone determined to vote for acquittal no matter what, but I don’t think that’s an issue here. The most pro-defense juror would still be willing to convict, if the prosecution made its case.)
Testing a second-level reply
So, of course, some sch-muck downvoted you.
WTF! She’s “excited” that she might be on this jury. She thinks the protesting / riots were mostly “positive” for the community. She has a “somewhat negative” opinion of Chauvin already. She admits she’s continued to read about the case but explains it as “its mostly just been rehashed”. She agrees African Americans are not treated fairly by the Justice System or Police. She believes she’s a “mediator” for her friends and likes to hear them out. She thinks body language will help her learn someone’s character (gee, how will that impact her watching the video?). She thinks its “awesome” she’s on the jury. I cannot believe the defense didn’t find reasons to reject her.
When she’s the vote to convict, he’ll be kicking himself.
Not sure how this works. Is there a strategy of leaving a land mine, so to speak, on the jury in order to facilitate an appeal, or does the defense’s acquiescence mean they think she’s good enough and no further complaints will be considered?
How are they going to keep the juror information private to prevent doxing/harassment…
I think a hung jury is about the best the defense can hope for in this highly charged political environment. Drug overdoses are terrible things, but not the fault of the policeman. I just hope the coroner is honest, and not intimidated into misrepresenting the cause of death by the media and politicians. I have a suspicion the coroner won’t be honest and tell the truth.
You win, lose, or mistrial on jury selection in a high stakes, high profile case like this, and the defense is already losing.
Could a prejudiced jury (assuming more activists get selected) be grounds for a mistrial? If not would it be an argument for appeal?
“Could a prejudiced jury (assuming more activists get selected) be grounds for a mistrial? If not would it be an argument for appeal?”
IANAL but my understanding is that it is generally very difficult to get a verdict over turned because of any form of juror misconduct. Maybe if it could be shown that the juror out right lied about material facts during voir dire. But that isn’t what is being claimed here.
What happens if, by chance, a majority of the minority (POC) prospective jurors come up early in the jury selection process? Imagine that eight of the first twelve jurors in the process are POCs, and the defense or prosecution wants to remove three or four of them? Won’t that give the impression that they’re being removed because they’re POCs? What if during the balance of the jury selection white jurors are removed proportionately? How can a judge tell if jurors are being removed from the pool according to race before the entire process is finished? Must a potential juror be eliminated on the spot during voir dire, or can the attorneys go back and eliminate jurors after all have been screened (for a better-informed use of their strikes, and to use a maximum number of them as needed, rather than have unused – and possibly wasted – strikes at the end of the process)?
The lawyers take the prospective jurors in the sequence in which they are presented by the pool, and accept or object to each in turn They cannot re-review the jurors later. So, whatever decision a lawyer makes on a prospective juror, they have no idea if the next prospective juror would be more or less favorable, and that later prospective juror’s characteristics don’t change the decision that was made with respect to the earlier prospective juror.
Thank you, Andrew.
So that leaves open the possibility that, by chance, a disproportionate number of the pool’s POCs will come up early, giving strikes against those people the appearance of being race-based. If the judge had knowledge of the racial/ethnic composition of the pool (something I’m fairly sure he does not have), he would be able to determine, even early in the process, if a statistically disproportionate number of POCs were being removed. But I am probably expecting too much!
“The lawyers take the prospective jurors in the sequence in which they are presented by the pool, and accept or object to each in turn ..”
Is that the way it is always done or just the case here? Who has to declare first, the defense or the prosecution?
“… So, whatever decision a lawyer makes on a prospective juror, they have no idea if the next prospective juror would be more or less favorable, ..”
Don’t they have some information from the replies to the written questions for this group of 50?
I thought the same about wasting the preemptive strikes! Not good at all. That was such an obvious one. It will be hard for me to see the lawyer as anything but an idiot.
Is this a kind of case you would take on, Andrew? It is a tough one. It is hard to get past the video if you are not an objective person.
Just as a thought. It seems highly likely that guilty or innocent, Chauvin is going to be convicted. I would not be surprised if he did not survive incarceration. From the autopsy evidence cited, and from the reported training of Minneapolis police, it seems that he followed the procedures taught by Minneapolis PD.
How many Minneapolis cops are waiting for the verdict to decide whether to leave the force and/or the field?
How many possible recruits are watching and waiting the same way?
How many urban cops nationwide are watching and waiting too?
He will likely be convicted because the jury will hear from “a little birdie” that acquittal will result in the city, and other cities, burning to the ground.
My prediction: if he IS convicted, there will be riots and fires and cars jumped up and down upon in celebration.