“jury committed misconduct, felt threatened or intimidated, felt race based pressure during the proceedings, and/or failed to adhere to instructions during deliberations, in violation of Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial.”
It’s not a surprise that Derek Chauvin has filed a Motion for a New Trial and to Impeach the Verdict (pdf.). If MN is like other states, that’s a requirement to preserve issues for appeal.
What does surprise me is that the motion does not explicitly mention that one of the jurors may have lied on the jury questionnaire, as issue we explored earlier today, Chauvin Juror Admits Participating In Pre-Trial Protest, Photographed In “Knee Off Our Necks” T-Shirt. Some of the language, quoted below, likely is broad enough to cover that juror.First, the Motion for a New Trial (emphasis added):
1. For an order granting a new trial, pursuant to Minn. R. 26.04, subd. 1, on the following grounds: the interests of justice; abuse of discretion that deprived the Defendant of a fair trial; prosecutorial and jury misconduct; errors of law at trial; and a verdict that is contrary to law. The specific bases for this motion include, but are not limited to:
a. The Court abused its discretion when it denied Defendant’s motion for a change of venue, pursuant to Minn. R. Crim. P. 24,03, subd. 1, and 25.02, subd. 3, in violation of Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to a due process and a fair trial. See Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333, 363 (1966).
b. The Court abused its discretion when it denied Defendant’s motion for a new trial on the grounds that “publicity during the proceedings threaten[ed] the fairness of the trial[.]” Sheppard, supra. Such publicity included post-testimony, but predeliberation, intimidation of the defense’s expert witnesses, from which the jury was not insulated. Not only did such acts escalate the potential for prejudice in these proceedings, they may result in a far-reaching chilling effect on defendants’ ability to procure expert witness—especially in high-profile cases, such as those of Mr. Chauvin’s codefendants—to testify on their behalf. The publicity here was so pervasive and so prejudicial before and during this trial that it amounted to a structural defect in the proceedings. See United States v. Hasting, 461 U.S. 499, 508-09 (1983) (certain errors involve “rights so basic to a fair trial that their infraction can never be treated as a harmless error”).
c. The Court abused its discretion when it failed to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial, or in the least, admonish them to avoid all media, which resulted in jury exposure to prejudicial publicity regarding the trial during the proceedings, as well as jury intimidation and potential fear of retribution among jurors, which violated Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and to a fair trial. Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.03, subd. 5.
d. The State committed pervasive, prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct, which deprived Mr. Chauvin of his constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial, including but not limited to: disparaging the Defense; improper vouching; and failing to adequately prepare its witnesses.
e. The Court abused its discretion and violated Mr. Chauvin’s rights under the Confrontation Clause when it failed to order Morries Hall to testify, or in the alternative, to admit into evidence Mr. Hall’s statements to law enforcement regarding his interactions with George Floyd and presence at the May 25, 2020 incident. U.S. Const., amend. VI.
f. The Court abused its discretion when it submitted instructions to the jury that failed to accurately reflect the law with respect to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and authorized use of force.
g. The Court abused its discretion, in violation of Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial, when it permitted the State to present cumulative evidence with respect to use of force.
h. The Court abused its discretion, in violation of Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial, when it ordered the State to lead witnesses on direct examination.
i. The Court abused its discretion, in violation of Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial, when it failed to order that a record be made of the numerous sidebars that occurred during the trial.
j. The cumulative effect of the multiple errors in these proceedings deprived Mr. Chauvin of a fair trial, in violation of his constitutional rights. See State v. Duncan, 608 N.W.2d 551, 551-58 (Minn. App. 2000), review denied (Minn. May 16, 2000) (“when the cumulative effect of numerous errors”—even if, alone, the errors are harmless—“constitutes the denial of a fair trial, the defendant is entitled to a new trial”).
The only shock above is that the Judge didn’t create a record of sidebars. That’s unfathomable, and leaves many rulings incapable of being contested on appeal, or at least a lot harder.
Next, the Motion to Impeach the Verdict (emphasis added):
2. An order for a hearing to impeach the verdict, pursuant to Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.03, subd. 20(6) and Schwartz v. Minneapolis Suburban Bus Co., 104 N.W.2d 301 (Minn. 1960), on the grounds that the jury committed misconduct, felt threatened or intimidated, felt race based pressure during the proceedings, and/or failed to adhere to instructions during deliberations, in violation of Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial. State v. Larson, 281 N.W.2d 481, 484 (Minn. 1979); State v. Kelley, 517 N.W.2d 905 (Minn. 1994); State v. Bowles, 530 N.W.2d 521 (Minn. 1995).
Last, a request for more time to fully brief the issues:
3. For an order granting the Defense additional time to thoroughly brief the above issues, in light of the time that was required for preparation of partial transcripts of the proceedings
Seems to me the Judge could start with alleged jury misconduct, particularly Brendan Mitchell. If the Judge finds juror misconduct, the rest of the substantive issues are moot, and a new trial must be granted.
If there was no juror misconduct, then the Judge can address the substantive grounds, though I expect him to give them short shrift, figuring it’s an issue for appeal, particularly as to his own alleged abuse of discretion.DONATE
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