LIVE: Chauvin Trial Day 13 – BREAKING – Motion for Judgment of Acquittal Denied, Defense Case Continues
Also, state has dumped >5,000 pieces of evidence on defense during trial
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.
Today, the 13th of this trial, the defense presents the second day of its case in chief to the jury, in its effort to create a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors as to the criminal charges for which Chauvin is being tried. As always, we’ll be LIVE streaming and LIVE blogging the court proceedings below.
At the end of court yesterday, after the jury had been excused for the day, the lawyers and judge did some legal housekeeping on some of the exhibits—the non-testimonial evidence in court such as videos, photographs, graphs, training manuals, and reports—which was, as one might expect, rather boring to watch.
A couple of points were made during those discussions that I thought worth sharing with all of you, however, before today’s proceedings start.
Court to Heart Motion for Judgment of Acquittal This Morning
The first item of interest is that at 8:45am CT this morning the court will be hearing motions (requests from the parties) in this case, and one of those will be a motion of acquittal submitted by the defense.
As some background, when a prosecution rests its case in chief there is a theoretical possibility that even if everything the state said was accepted as true by the jury, that a rational guilty verdict would still be impossible.
One such scenario would be where a charged crime has, say, four distinct elements, each and every one of which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt—but the state completely forgot to present evidence on one of those required elements. Meaning, there is literally zero evidence in court on that element.
Well, the only purpose of the jury is to be the “finder of fact,” to evaluate evidence. If there is literally no evidence on an element of the charge, then there is nothing for the jury to consider. And in that case, there is no rational basis on which the jury could conclude that element of the charge was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
And if that’s the case, as a strictly technical legal matter, no jury could find that the criminal charge as a whole was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
In such a case, it would be appropriate for a trial judge to grant a motion for acquittal submitted by the defense, and end the trial right there with a judge-ordered “not guilty” verdict for the defendant, taking the matter entirely out of the hands of the jury.
We’ll hear that motion for acquittal from the defense in the Chauvin trial this morning.
And Judge Cahill will almost certainly deny that motion, because the prosecution in this case did not commit the blunder that would be required for the granting of such a motion to be appropriate.
We may not like the evidence the state has put forward on the elements of the criminal charges in this case, we may think that evidence weak or self-contradictory or paid for or lies or whatever—but there is evidence to consider, and so long as that’s the case deciding the weight and credibility of that evidence falls within the province of the jury, and they will not be denied the opportunity to carry out their “finder of fact” role in this trial.
Also to be considered if only for practical purposes, of course, is whether any judge presiding over this case would be willing to take the political consequences of having taken the decision from the jury and handing an acquittal to a person that much of the body politic in his jurisdiction believes to be a RACISTPOLICEMURDERER!
That said, there are multiple charges in this case, and it is theoretically possible that the judge could grant a judgment of acquittal on some of those charges and not others. That might diminish some of that political pressure without entirely taking the case out of the hands of the jury.
Personally, I don’t expect that to happen either.
I will also note that the timing of the hearing of this motion is rather odd.
Normally a motion for a judgment of acquittal is heard immediately after the state has rested its case in chief, and before the defense has begun to present its own case in chief. That didn’t happen here. Obviously, the defense began to present its case in chief yesterday, and the motion is only being heard this morning.
Also normally, if the defense doesn’t submit a motion for acquittal before it starts to present its own case in chief, then the window to do so is considered to have closed—the motion will be denied by the court not on consideration of its merits, but simply because the motion is no longer timely. The defense is deemed to have missed the deadline.
In yesterday’s closing meeting with the parties, however, Judge Cahill made clear that he had instructed the defense to dive right into its case in chief in order to make most efficient use of the time of the jury.
At the same time, he’d also given his word that the defense would have the opportunity to have their motion for acquittal heard outside the hearing of the jury later in the proceedings, and without having to be concerned that the motion would be deemed not timely.
And that’s where we are on that matter this morning.
Over 5,000 Discovery Items Dumped On Defense DURING Trial
Another interesting mention in yesterday’s “housekeeping” meeting with Judge Cahill came up in the context of the number of disclosures and exhibits that have been dumped on the defense in this case—a large chunk of which have been dumped on the defense even as the trial was taking place.
As background, there are always materials collected by the parties that ought to be shared with the opposing counsel as part of discovery.
Under Minnesota procedure, each item is labeled with what’s called a Bates stamp, a unique identifying number, and then a bunch of these are collected together and delivered as a “disclosure.”
Ideally, by the time a trial actually starts both sides will have long since received the other’s disclosure items, early enough to have time to consider and research them before the trial begins.
That has not been the process in this trial, particularly with respect of state disclosures to the defense.
When this trial began, the state had already delivered to the defense 41 disclosures consisting of 45,118 Bates stamped items.
If that sound like a lot, that’s because it is.
But the disclosures of the state did not stop there, as one would normally expect. Indeed, not even close.
Since the start of the trial—in other words, while the sole defense attorney Nelson has been occupied the entirety of every day in trial on this case—the state has continued to deliver disclosures to the defense, each containing a great many Bates stamped items.
Indeed, since the start of the trial the state has made 12 additional disclosures to the defense, consisting of 5,154 additional Bates stamped items.
Yes, that’s 5,154.
Yesterday was the 12th day of this trial. That works out to the defense having to review newly delivered Bates stamped items at an average of 430 per day.
That’s 430 newly delivered Bates items per day.
That, folks, is not normal.
The defense raised this issue yesterday afternoon in the context of anticipated cross-examination of defense experts by the state today.
Much of the most recently delivered discovery consists of materials that could be, certainly will be, used in an attempt to impeach those defense experts.
Given the delivery of this discovery so late in the course of the trial, and the volume of the material, the defense is asking the court to order the prosecution to disclose in some detail exactly which of those newly disclosed exhibits it actually intends to use to impeach.
The judge asked the prosecution to do so, to the extent they reasonably could, which strikes me as completely ineffectual solution to this real problem for the defense.
I expect the real reason the defense raised this issue on the record was, well, to establish it as an issue on the record for purposes of appeal.
OK, folks, that’s it for early morning content, now I’ll turn to the day’s LIVE streaming of court proceedings, as well as our LIVE blogging throughout the day.
Here’s the LIVE streaming of today’s proceedings here:
And here’s our LIVE blogging of today’s proceedings:
Course Special: Lawful Defense Against Rioters, Looters, and Arsonists
Before I go, in view of the ongoing riots raging presently in Minneapolis, and likely to explode across the nation when this case arrives at a verdict (or mistrial), I’ve also taken the liberty of putting together a special opportunity to access our best-selling course, “Lawful Defense Against Rioters, Looters, and Arsonists,” available in both online streamed and DVD formats. You can learn more about that course, by clicking here.
And thanks, as always, to both Legal Insurrection and CCW Safe for the support that makes my coverage of this case possible.
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. He wrote the first edition of the “Law of Self Defense” in 1997, which you can now order in its current edition for just the price of shipping and handling by clicking here. To know YOUR state’s use-of-force laws in an actionable way that will keep you safer physically and legally, take our state-specific advanced use of force class either streamed online or via a shipped DVD with a 100% no-question- asked money-back guarantee, here: Law of Self Defense State Specific Use-Of-Force Class.
[Featured image is a screen capture from video of today’s court proceedings in MN v. Chauvin.]
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That hand is not on anyone’s neck, that is a hand on a shoulder.
“Breath” is the noun. “BreathE” is the verb.
Thank you. I noticed after submitting, but there’s no edit function.
They He was drugged out of his mind and started feeling the effects.
Why hasn’t Nelson brought up the fact that the officers were gently trying to get him into the car and offered to roll down the windows and turn on the air for him?
This is Chauvin’s trial and would be easily countered by the prosecution by saying that Chauvin couldn’t have known that which could cut both ways with the jurors, imo.
The rate of 24 a minute has always seemed low to someone who is fighting, I am glad someone finally made that point.
Interesting testimony about the paraganglioma. I was wondering if there was any way to test the tumor — after death — to determine if it was secreting adrenaline or not, and apparently there isn’t. And Floyd’s tumor was in the abdomen, which is where the adrenaline-secreting paragangliomas are typically located. So that expert who testified for the state that he was sure that the tumor had absolutely nothing to do with Floyd’s death is full of crap. There is no way he could know whether or not Floyd’s tumor was secreting adrenaline. He just assumed it wasn’t secreting, because that was what he needed to assume in order to make his own opinion (about cause of death) more plausible.
Agree – as I’ve mentioned in prior posts. The paraganglioma very likely was NOT just an incidental finding as both Dr. Tobin and Dr. Rich testified.
At least Fowler is pushing/fighting back now and then. Brodd rolled over for virtually every question.
Blackwell seems to me to be thrashing around to little or no purpose, trying to land a knockout punch, but failing.
Yeah we’ve established that nothing helpful to the defense was found (like a pill in the stomach, or in the car), was found unless the defense found it or specifically asked for it to be searched for.
So he is not a toxicologist, which the state has established, so lets ask him toxicology questions.
Didn’t Baker say that Floyd’s stomach contained “white particles” that “appeared to be bread,” or something to that effect? Were the stomach contents actually analyzed, or just eyeballed?
Just eyeballed. He admitted on direct that he hadn’t sent any of the gastric contents to the lab for chemical analysis…in a homicide investigation involving drugs…which is unbelievable.
I think at that time the toxicology hadn’t been done, the pills hadn’t been found, etc. So he probably had no reason to analyze the stomach contents.
maybe he didn’t take the meth by tablet, already in evidence is a glass pipe that had no plant material found after it was checked, maybe he smoked the meth via the pipe earlier in the day
supposedly found thc residue in the pipe. no evidence of meth though.
Not to mention Floyd’s statement that he’d been “hooping”—meaning he’d inserted drugs rectally.
I mean to be fair I find it really hard to believe he meant taking drugs rectally when he said hooping. Just is bizarre that he would admit to taking drugs rectally in response to white stuff on his lips. The cops didn’t register it to mean drug use either.
Keep in mind, GF did time in prison. Law abiding folk probably don’t reference trunking in the same manner people in prison do. Not sure if hoopin is a prison term or a street drug user term. It seemed like an excited utterance to me, so it seemed like something other than referencing basketball.
The partially dissolved pill that had saliva and dna on it contained meth and fentanyl. I imagine it follows the same mechanism of dispersal as chewing an aspirin or holding a nitro pill under your tongue.
The talking heads on the local news feed seem a little deflated after the testimony, sounds like a win for the defense.
Nelson should ask Brodd for a refund… and then give that refund to Fowler. What a difference between “expert witnesses…!
Fowler is brilliant and he has the smugness to match
With much respect to Andrew and Professor Jacobson, lawyers have way too much say in the functioning of our society.
And in Congress, the White House, US SCOTUS, and the lobbyists.
Lawyers should be barred from holding ANY federal elective office. Individual states can bar or not bar them from their elected offices as they see fit.
Don’t hate the player, hate the game. 🙂
Andrew (or anyone with the legal knowledge) —
Is it acceptable for the State to first raise its theory of 2nd degree murder during the Defense’s case-in-chief?
I had been wondering how the State planned to prove 2nd degree, since it seemed to me that the State rested without putting in any evidence of the underlying felony: that Mr. Chauvin intended to cause Mr. Floyd some great bodily injury or permanent disfigurement, loss of use of limb, etc. less than death.
However, it seems that in his cross of Dr. Fowler, Atty. Blackwell was suggesting that the brain damage preceding death is the basis of that underlying felony. I don’t recall the State bringing this up any time prior to the cross of this witness. (Please correct me if I’m wrong–I’ve watched the whole trial, but I’m only human.)
Not a lawyer but they have the whole trial to raise things. The defense Doesn’t have to say anything at all but if they do they run the risk of this types of things. Also closing arguments are meant to recompile all the evidence shown to present the theory they deem necessary to prove their case.
So the state has known since February that Fowler would testify that he believes carbon monoxide from the vehicle may have impaired Floyd’s oxygen uptake, and yet the state didn’t test Floyd’s blood for carbon monoxide content? Interesting. One would think they’d want to be able to refute the CO theory. After all, if Fowler is wrong about that, and the state can whip out the blood test results to prove it, then Fowler could be wrong about other things too. Or did they decide not to test for CO, because their own experts told them the test would likely be positive?
It might have been too late to test the blood for CO. Some tests have to be done in a more timely manner than others, but I am not 100% sure
I believe the police vehicle is still in evidence so would have been super easy for prosecutors to re-create the scene and test CO levels. Having said that Nelson maybe could have done the same thing?
I know Zellner / Steven Avery bought a similar car as Halbach victim to test things.
Maybe Nelson didn’t have the budget, or time?
Should have asked about the respiration rate again.
What neck compression?
Seems like a really good day/witness for the defense.
What was Blackwell’s point in his last two questions?
“Blackwell: Tell us if your view that Floyd’s passing after 9m 29s was coincidental and unrelated to subdual restraint and neck compression.”
objection, sustained. Because Fowler said this morning that it’s undetermined and Blackwell was trying to trap Fowler into saying that Chauvin did indeed murder GF?
Talking heads made the point that he knew they would be objected to but he wanted to ask to get it in to the jurors minds.
Because the answer is obvious that the struggle WITH Chauvin is what triggered the cardiopulmonary arrest. So you can’t honestly say Chauvin’s actions didn’t contribute. But it’s deceptive because there was nothing illegal about attempting to subdue him and load him into the car, and it is unclear when exactly the prone restraint became illegal, but yeah sure Chauvin’s actions contributed but not necessarily in an illegal way.
Well, I’m sure that the 320 officers struggle with GF could’ve triggered the cardiopulmonary arrest. But worse, GF’s drug ingestion with his health problems could also have triggered the cardiopulmonary arrest without any struggle with any of the officers. Another scenario is that if GF was fully compliant with the officers (2 – 5), his drug overdose with health problems can still trigger a cardiopulmonary arrest. Being compliant during an arrest and getting inside the back of the SUV could increase his adrenaline levels.
The state simply cannot point to the exact moment that triggered the cardiopulmonary arrest since the cardiopulmonary arrest could have started when he stepped out of the car to be arrested.
Yes, the struggle was too much for Floyd and his heart apparently gave out. But the struggle was with the police officers so in that technical sense the struggle with the police was the immediate cause of the cardiac arrest.
So Floyd murdered himself since he was the one that decided to struggle.
Court TV talker invoked the “eggshell skull rule”, as if that applies when Humpty is the one who started the fight.
I am only reading the written report as A Branca types it out
Any un biased thoughts on fowler’s performance?
Very strong in direct, calm and measured in cross, corrected and clarified some of the cross examination questions, very politely and tactfully pointed out that Blackwell was lying to him and the jury explicitly after asking about expert witness ethics.
Overall he gave nothing material for the prosecution to work with, his demeanour, knowledge and references were rather more credible than several prosecution expert witnesses and he provide testimony that directly contradicted them. He answered questions directly and in a transparent manner, no ‘umm’, no ‘maybe’, none of the evasiveness or hostility that several witnesses have shown in cross examination.
He didn’t provide adequate evidence to prove cause of death. He provided several points that cast reasonable doubt that Chauvin’s knee caused death.
One of the biggest things from the direct/cross/re-direct/re-cross was nothing to do with him, it was the way the prosecution completely floundered and came across as willing to mislead the jury and yet even with that couldn’t substantively challenge the testimony.
Objectively? If I was a judge or juror in a trial, I’d want this guy as the expert witness.
Fowler even remembered the exact phrasing that the prosecutor used to mislead people and was able to point it out on redirect.
Another thing he did on direct was clean up some of the things Nelson said and help him get to where he wanted to go.
And it was priceless to watch the prosecutor deflate when Fowler knew the type of car and exactly how many tailpipes it had.
Fowler came across as the most knowledgeable and credible expert either side has put on the stand. Baker did OK as well, but that was mainly because he was able to convey that he was under duress and changed his opinion after meeting with superiors and seeing the tape.
I thought it was strong–very credible, skilled with explanations, and seemed to have a lot of knowledge ready at hand (without sounding like an incredulous Kindergarten teacher).
More than anything, I think his testimony was truthful, and came across that way. “Undetermined” is an instinctively correct determination in this case. I suspect that even jurors who want to (or will) convict, know at a base level that Mr. Floyd’s death was the product of a great many factors, and that agreement (even if subconscious) with Dr. Fowler will likely lead them to view him more favorably overall. He also conceded points to the State when appropriate (though sometimes also when not) and thought critically about qualifiers to many of his answers without being pedantic about it, which also lends credibility.
The Defense (and their witnesses) have to stop letting the State assert as fact the sort of conclusions a jury is supposed to draw from the facts. For instance, we do not know when Mr. Floyd ceased to have a pulse. We know that the Officer stated he was unable to find a pulse. There may have been no pulse, or the Officer might have had the wrong spot, was using the wrong technique, etc. We also do not know what Mr. Chauvin actually heard at any point. We may know what was said, but the “tunneling” from high stress means we can’t know what he heard. Furthermore, we do not know that the hold was causing Mr. Floyd pain, or that the officers interpreted his comments as communicating that assertion. Mr. Floyd said his “stomach hurts” (reasonable person could interpret as a stomach ache–usually my first thought from that phrasing) and that “everything” hurt (reasonable person could interpret this as general musculoskeletal pain he was having totally unrelated to the hold). And many other things.
Several times Dr. Fowler answered questions or agreed to statements premised on the State’s characterization of the facts, and that should not happen.
Unfortunately, since the jury is demonstrably hostile to Mr. Chauvin as a person, the biggest thing Nelson has going for him with this jury is his affable nature, restraint with witnesses, etc. To ask him to object to everything objectionable is unreasonable–it would ruin the goodwill he has with the jury. (If there’s any question about how important this can be, look no further than Ms. Hill yesterday. That is a witness that has every reason to be hostile and rude to Mr. Nelson and helpful to the State, but the behavior and affect of the two attorneys actually inverted this expected attitude.)
I like this judge overall, but a lot of the responsibility for reaching the point we are now falls on his shoulders. I don’t think he has a bias for either side, but rather is extremely naive. His determination (on multiple occasions) that repeated, ongoing, sometimes egregious discovery violations by the State were accidents, or carelessness, or poor time management versus being malicious. His underestimation of the bias of the jury pool in voir dire. Allowing cumulative witnesses from the State, not allowing Mr. Hall take the 5th in front of the jury, etc. I think he truly believes the jury will render a just verdict and won’t be blinded by stunts or outside concerns, but I also think he was correct when he said during voir dire that maybe being a judge has caused him to overestimate laypeople’s compartmentalization skills.
Yikes. Apologies for the length!
“The Defense (and their witnesses) have to stop letting the State assert as fact the sort of conclusions a jury is supposed to draw from the facts.”
Fowler def let many opportunities go, but I think he knew Nelson had his back.
Being professional is always, I think, the best approach.
” Mr. Floyd said his “stomach hurts” (reasonable person could interpret as a stomach ache–usually my first thought from that phrasing) and that “everything” hurt ”
Correct! AND his girlfriend testified the George had the same symptoms and complaints when he had taken the same pills two months earlier, when she had to rush him to the hospital.
I agree with most of that and was thinking much the same thing. Both sides kept referring to EELV “measurements” when no such measurements were ever made. What they were talking about were estimates. And if you estimated everything then Floyd’s heart would be 100g lighter and his arteries unblocked. Nelson kind of pointed to this when he asked if someone was there to take EELV measurements at the time (an absurdity which was good for him to point out) but then he reverted to calling them measurements later instead of guesses. The word “killed” has been used a lot too and Nelson should have stopped that early on since the jury is there to make a determination if anyone was killed.
There was a LOT of opportunity here to score some points. When they were trying to beat Fowler up about not knowing how much carbon monoxide Floyd was breathing the proper answer would be that we have as precise an idea of that as we do how much force Chauvin was putting on Floyd — which is to say just a general range at the very best. No measurements were taken of either.
As far as the judge goes, he is the type who makes sure things go the way he wants. His actions are at odds with his pronouncements (as we saw with the cumulative issue) which just means he is dishonest, and not naive’ at all. You see this with liberals a lot. They will concede every point, and then not change their behavior or conclusions at all. He is not the worst judge in some ways, which ironically enough might make him the worst judge in the only way which matters — which is whether he makes an error that can be successfully appealed.
The prosecution was just lost on cross. EELV is irrelevant in the context we are talking about so it was bad strategy that the prosecution was apparently going to try to key on it. And just what the hell were they doing by hammering at the pill issue as if it is something that is in contention? Floyd took the drugs and he spit some out in the squad car. It just insults everyone’s intelligence to try to argue otherwise when there is DNA evidence, a matching toxicology report, and effort by the defense to hide the evidence, and a pattern of behavior showing that was Floyd’s goto move.
And finally, it was a helluva bad move to lead with accusing a witness of misleading people and then proceeding to mislead everyone in very obvious ways. They really screwed up in their choice of which lawyer would cross which defense witness.
Wonder if Nelson will call a pulmonologist tomorrow? Recall Baker?
So Tobin’s findings are theoretical?
Wow…Blackwell blundered at least twice…the book and the “choke” inside the car AND connection between GF’s “I cannot breathe” and the fake “choke”.
By the end of the day, Fowler did very well for the defense team. IMHO.
Another blunder -> study for longer than 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Burking based on weight, for example.
Blackwell kept trying to hit home runs but instead ended up striking out. Plus the showing screenshots and trying to attribute the “I can’t breathe” to Chauvin’s “choke” and then also subtly insinuating the drugs were planted again like Schleicher did in a previous testimony. Prosecution has played it dirty. Nelson has gotten some sneaky moves in but all in all has been more honest.
Agreed. He missed a couple of subtle mischaracterizations by Blackwell – “sandwiched” and “neck compression” – but otherwise was very precise (if lengthy) in his responses. The only downsides were that he sometimes may have confused/bored the jury with extraneous detail and that his expression occasionally appeared haughty (to my eye).
prosecution are such COCKSUCKERS with that fake choke video. Nelson’s response on that was very good, especially asking “don’t mislead the jury right?” beforehand.
They’re going to hell.
If I was the defense, I would stop after Fowler. It’s not going to get better than him, and it’s a great last impression. He had Mr. Blackwell going in circles.
I think the next witness should be a certified pulmonologist.
My rationale is that Fowler discredited Tobin’s testimony. The state can recall any of its witnesses so Nelson needs to clip the bud early with a highly respected and certified pulmonologist.
A significant number of State witnesses have already launched GoFundMe campaigns,
One of the prosecution’s witnesses, Donald W. Williams II, has a GoFundMe asking for $500,000 to “get his life back on track” and start a community center for young African American boys.
The son of another witness, Charles Mcmillian, started a campaign to raise $5,000 for his father to visit his own mother’s burial in Mississippi and get therapy after watching George Floyd die.
A GoFundMe for Darnella Frazier, the teenager who broadcast George Floyd’s death from her cellphone, is receiving donations again after Frazier took the stand last week in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murder and manslaughter for kneeling on Floyd’s neck.
“Darnella, you are a strong and brave woman. You did such a good job protecting your little cousin,” wrote Lynn Angelini on GoFundMe this week after donating $10 to the campaign which has already raised more than $530,000.
With the world’s attention back on Minneapolis for Chauvin’s trial, the bystanders taking the stand are being widely valorized and pitied for bearing witness to Floyd’s last breaths.
This is sick.
guess GF’s death was worth even more than $27 million to the tangentially involved parties.
That’s disgusting – trying to cash in on this.
Why not? As we’ve seen recently from the reports on that woman who started BLM, race-baiting scamming pays, and pays big. She now has four multi-million-dollar homes, including one with a private runway. So long as idiot corporations and politicians (like the despicable deBlasio in NYC) continue to pander to these crooked race hucksters and fill their coffers with millions of dollars, they’ll keep raking in the dough and living large, all while screaming their “victim” status at the top of their lungs.
You had to figure something was coming for Darnella when her publicist was the one caught taking the picture with her phone during one of the early days of the trial. The woman that was caught was just there to “protect her from the press”. All the girl ever wanted was to live peacefully and be left alone, that and a lucrative gofundme.
I wonder if this is a novel phenomena due to the magnitude of this particular trial. Or, if this is something that has been going on since the advent of crowd-funding. Either way, it seems to me that this creates ALL SORTS of not insignificant ethical dilemmas. Congress, state legislatures and the judiciary should get a handle on this before it really becomes a thing.
The scope is fairly novel, but the general behavior is not. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Benjamin Crump, and the like are well-worn, but still accurate, examples. If racism isn’t the answer, they don’t get paid for asking the question. Racism is despicable, and having a financial stake in ongoing racism–that is, building personal empires predicated on the premise that racism is both systemic and thoroughly intractable–is absolutely heinous.
“There’s a sucker born every minute” – P. T. Barnum,
I have not seen all of Dr Fowler’s testimony but it did seem to establish a strong basis for the defense’s main argument. Of course, some jurors may not have been listening or simply refused to comprehend the import of what the witness was saying – which appeared to me to be – there is no way to directly attribute the death of George Floyd to the actions of Officer Chauvin.
At the end, Blackwell seemed to give up on trying to undermine Fowler’s testimony while Nelson clearly and pretty dramatically demonstrated that Blackwell’s questions were based on deliberately twisting the facts.
If I’m on the jury- this deliberate twisting only happens if you don’t have a case and are trying to make one out of ingredients that just aren’t there.
I like how Nelson started spiking the ball on Blackwell “we wouldn’t want to CONFUSE the jury” and “we don’t want to cherry pick evidence” Granted I was only reading but it could not have been more obvious if he had looked at the jury and rolled his eyes while saying that.
The prosecution is worried. Dr. Fowler is smart, composed, and impressive. Cool as a cucumber.
Dr. Fowler appears to be be a pro. He has the right credentials, experience and demeanor to serve as an expert witness. This area of medicine seems to be messy and confusing, and he was able to get across (IMO) a lot of the nuances that are present in this case.
He obviously has experience in testifying in trials and delivered exactly what the defense needed. I suppose that is why he works for the Forensic Panel team. Huge win today for the defense.
How this affects the jury and outcome of the trial – who knows? My hunch: 1. Hung jury 2. Manslaughter 3.Not guilty
Any of those verdicts will lead to riots, looting, arson, etc all across the country.
Thoughts based on 35+ years of practice:
1) Denial of the acquittal motion guarantees it goes to the jury which will either convict or hang. Not surprised as this judge would not grant the requested change of venue. He’s not going to take the risk the jurors are going to have to.; and
2) Allowing the prosecution to continue production throughout the trial should be reversible error, particularly if the judge allows usage during the defense case.
“reversible error” meaning a basis for appeal if there is a conviction?
Generally, it’s an error so obvious and having such a significant impact on the defendant’s due process rights that it alone is grounds for the appellate court to reverse and remand. (The appellate court is allowed to assume that the error fundamentally affected the fair trial rights of the defendant–you don’t have to prove anything else to get there.)
Could the continued production be purposeful in the way of trying to just get the conviction and kicking the can down the road to be dealt with on appeal? Get the win initially, let things cool down a bit, and then he gets released on appeal pending a new trial. Is it possible that the judge and the state are thinking the same thing, maybe not colluding but maybe a wink and a nod sort of thing? It would be a good outcome for all parties involved, with the exception of Chauvin of course, Would a defense attorney ever purposely be ineffectual as counsel in order to provide grounds for appeal? Nelson has to know Chauvin isn’t getting a fair trial and could help him out. Maybe he misses an objection or a motion here or there to open things up to that. All of this is coming form someone with zero legal experience but just thoughts I have had during the trial and in reading things here.
Trying to look at it objectively, I’d say there are a couple of reasons that rule out “strategy” as an excuse for the State’s behavior:
1) The county attorneys who first had this case had to be recused because of their improper conduct regarding Dr. Baker (persuading him to alter his conclusion so that Mr. Chauvin could be charged).
2) The MN OAG replaced the county attorneys. The OAG is headed by Keith Ellison, who is certainly not looking for Mr. Chauvin to see the light of day either now or in the future.
3) A great deal of the other attorneys working on the case are private attorneys from other jurisdictions admitted into this case pro hoc vice, and I can’t imagine AG Ellison would go to the trouble of bringing in (and vouching for) counsel from other states who did not agree with his…creative approach to justice.
(As for the judge, I think Judge Cahill is, as he admitted in voir dire, perhaps a little overconfident in the average juror’s ability to follow the legal standards, burdens of proof, etc., and ignore the outside noise. Mr Nelson seems to be doing the best he can, under the circumstances, and trying to cover all bases–presenting the best case possible at trial, as well as leaving open and/or preserving avenues for appeal.)
P.S. These two affidavits certainly suggest discovery issues designed to be genuinely detrimental/vexatious to the Defense:
Affidavit of Eric J Nelson (14 Dec 2020)
Affidavit of Eric J Nelson (26 Jan 2021)
Who are you, coming upon this enlightened dale, claiming objectivity to be the objective?
Judge Cahill “perhaps a little overconfident in the average juror’s ability to follow the legal standards, burdens of proof, etc., and ignore the outside noise.”
It’s a bit off topic, but Maybe someone can explain why validating with a vote assumes every action by government proves the action is just.
I think I read that in Ancient Greece, lawyers were not just dispensable, the were downright nonexistent, a chap had to argue his own case, the jury perhaps consisting of some 500 individuals who voted up or down. No arcane jury instructions to the masses. Just straight up democracy.
Where are the small democrats?
Is it just me, or is Dr. Fowler taking (the unhappy) Mr. Blackwell to school?
Yes, he definitely was. Blackwell came across as frustrated, angry, and hostile whereas Dr. Fowler answered all of his questions factually and respectfully. If the jury is listening, this is an acquittal.
Not only that, but all of Fowler’s answers were reasonable. Blackwell routinely would ask him “could you please read these 5 words?” and when Fowler tried to elaborate Blackwell cut him off. Made it look like they were trying to hide something. From the very beginning you could tell Blackwell was shocked when Fowler knew how many mufflers the squad had.
I don’t have an exact time / quote, but did anyone catch the last witness on cross, asked something about what should be done if the heart or breathing stops? Witnesses answered something to the effect CPR (or maybe first aid?) should be given as soon as possible, the sooner the better. It was an honest answer, and doesn’t get into any of the nuances of the scene, but I still think it doesn’t look good to have your witness say that aide should have been given at that moment, and obviously it wasn’t.
Fowler said, “As a physician, I would.” Twice. Blackwell quickly moved on. But Nelson did not ask Fowler to explain it. Maybe it was not necessary because several state witnesses already stated a “Load and Go” condition and prioritized what is the most important thing to do.
Dude has had conservative nominees to the supreme court accuse him of being a racist. At a certain point, I don’t think that looking good is the top priority. Besides that, the jury has common sense. Of course CPR should be performed as early as is feasible. It’s the job of police/use of force experts to discuss any tactical considerations regarding whether or not giving CPR is feasible at any given point.
Yup. EMS will NOT show up until the place is safe. The police would not call for the EMS until the place is safe. EMS decided that the place was not safe so they decided to get the dodge out. EMT got lost and they caused time lost to GF. The police is not a physician. The EMS was trained on certain steps but the EMT is not a physician. There were only two EMS in the ambulance and one of them had to drive away. Chauvin told Lane to get inside the ambulance to help Derek Smith (or Scott). Lane began chest compressions while Derek was preparing to put GF under LUCAS. Derek needed the EMT ASAP. EMT was late by a few minutes, maybe 10 minutes. Once EMT finally got to the ambulance 3 blocks away, Lane was relieved.
wonder how much the judge knew about the slow roll of the evidence
this kinda tomfoolery doesn’t happen n a vacuum
the judge in this trial has redefined “bias”
Apparently you are unaware of the massive liberal bias of Hennepin County Court. It is likely the most corrupt court in the country.
I keep wondering why people still want to live and work in Minneapolis and especially the whites.
Hence the odds are low for Chauvin’s acquittal.
If it were up to me, I’d never live and work in this town. Not even to visit.
I’m curious why Nelson didn’t see fit to follow this line of reasoning:
“What is the therapeutic effect most commonly sought from fentanyl?”
“And just to refresh the jury’s memory, prosecution experts dismissed the possibility of the paraganglioma expressing adrenaline for what reason?”
“The lack of pain, that is to say he did not complain of a headache”
Questions about subjects commonly complaining about pain while being arrested “The handcuffs are too tight” would have also been relevant for police, but I can see how that could be twisted to imply that any pain that officers were inflicting to Mr. Floyd were all the more severe.
GF complained of pain, just not the right type of pain. No pain in the head from the tumor and no pain in the chest from a heart attack. Fowler did good today in drawing attention to the fact that at one point GF said everything hurt and stating that GF had maybe said he had a headache at one point.
I think it’s clear that the State will be calling a rebuttal witness once the Defense’s case in chief is complete. Blackwell’s cross was not very effective, it did not eliminate Dr. Fowler’s conclusions, all it did was re-emphasize the State’s theories, which in my opinion have not been definitively proven.
I thought it was rich when Blackwell kept saying he wanted to avoid confusing the jury, but that claim rang hollow. Dr. Fowler was perfectly able to explain or elaborate on any of his answers, yet Blackwell wanted to put him in a box. If anyone appeared confused or uncomfortable with the questioning, it was Blackwell himself.
The State will rely on a truckload of emotion to fill in the evidentiary gaps in their case. They started with emotion and that is where they plan to finish. That may pass for a trial in today’s political environment but it certainly cannot be viewed as justice.
After the third time Atty Blackwell said, “let’s not confuse the jury…” (which frankly, as a juror, I would find condescending), I wanted to scream at the screen: “Just because you’re confused doesn’t mean the jury is!”
Exactly, I too would have been offended as a juror. Blackwell appeared to be following a script, but I got the strong impression that the script was not his own, hence his confusion in walking through it.
If anyone was causing possible confusion in the jury, it was the State with their six medical expert witnesses to the Defense’s one (at this point in the trial). The State’s witnesses may have appeared confident in their own conclusions, but the evidence they brought forth was no more convincing than what Dr. Fowler produced. And once Nelson finished his re-direct questioning, Blackwell’s staged setup was clear to all.
The underhanded manner in which the State released required documents is exactly what I would expect from Keith-X (couldn’t he have invented a new, non-slave first name)?
This whole trial is a farce considering the atmosphere created by the rioters initially and the recent reminder of the consequences of a fair verdict.
If any Appeals Court sanctions this, look forward to more racial rioting on a daily basis ((we’re subsidizing them through our tax dollars, after all).
Looks to me as if the prosecution are seeking to win not on the basis of evidence, but solely by leveraging their 12 (or is it 15) lawyers versus the defence’s 1 plus a whole lot of dirty tricks. If they can overload Nelson then any critical exculpatory evidence can be buried by the irrelevant.
Hmm come to think of it, isn’t this what corporations often do against lawsuits by small individuals or lawyers? Is this a Big Corporations + Big Government lawsuit against an approved target?
Court TV talkers keep saying that if Chauvin is found to be responsible for Floyd’s death AT ALL, he can be convicted of something, “forgetting” that even if he were the sole cause of death, he would not be criminally culpable unless his actions were a crime. I fear this is probably the attitude of many on the jury, regardless of instructions.
Also, raising the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning could be a loser, because it’s not provable. Reasonable doubt is usually the defendants friend, but not in this case. Look at how the prosecution is simply, and repeatedly, raising doubt about Chauvin’s innocence, moving from one theory of cause of death to another. The jury can simply pick and choose from the smorgasbord of choices offered by prosecution to justify a conviction. If they don’t like one prosecution expert’s testimony, they have plenty of others to draw from, on the same issue, or others.
This jury will will demand proof of innocence, or would if it were even open to the possibility of not convicting.
Next up, Dr Gary Kunsman. Chief Toxicologist for Broward County.
After a quick search, he looks like he might be a good expert for the Defense.
The two possible attacks on credibility that I saw in my search both actually make Dr. Kunsman look quite good:
1) A tech in his office at Broward County was sloppy with the clerical aspects surrounding testing–but Dr. Kunsman was the one who fired her for it and spoke strongly about why it was so important to fire her.
2) A DUI case out of Bexar County, TX, where his testimony was not accepted as admissible, but both the trial and appellate courts found that he was a great witness. His explanations were clear and they praised his willingness to assert that he could only speak to a topic generally (that is, absent more information, he couldn’t opine with respect to the particular defendant), which allowed the court to make an informed judgement as to the admissibility of the testimony.
After Dr Kunsman we have:
1. Forensic Psychiatry: Dr. Michael Welner.
2. Emergency Medicine: Dr. Kai Sturmann.
Where did you get this list? Also, I doubt they’re going to call that many more witnesses. They ended very strong yesterday, not sure what calling a half dozen more doctors could do. Anyone with a brain could tell the prosecti0n’s doctors were quacks (sorry I am not good with names, cant remember them)
Bexar County…one of the few rare liberal counties in Texas. Not surprising. Joe Strauss and the Bonnens come from there.
Chauvin Trial Day 13 Wrap-Up: Solid Day for Defense With Forensic Expert Witness
Blackwell: “nobody is contending that Floyd was manually strangled” [pay no attention to that state witness behind the curtain!]
Also Blackwell: “let’s talk about what happens when you apply pressure on someone’s neck and squeeze until the person becomes unresponsive and experiences irreversible brain damage”
Also Blackwell: “Do you recall the decedent saying he couldn’t breathe in this picture of his [allegedly] being strangled by the defendant?”
Blackwell really is kind of a clown, and an obnoxious one at that.
Nelson is the most likeable one in the bunch, which counts for a lot.
Streitcher(sp?) comes across as a used care salesman, Blackwell comes across as a street hustler. Not a good look for the prosecution.
Does the leftist jury care though? I can see them thinking “MY PEOPLE!!’