The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday denied former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s request for a new trial, upholding his murder conviction in the death of George Floyd.
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter in April 2021. His attorney argued that the “pervasive pretrial publicity” made it impossible for Chauvin to receive a fair trial in Hennepin County.
“The primary issue on this appeal is whether a criminal defendant can get a fair trial in a courthouse surrounded by concrete block, barbed wire, two armored personnel carriers and a squad of National Guard troops, all of which or whom are there for one purpose — in the event the jury acquits the criminal defendant,” said attorney William Mohrman.
The appeals court wasn’t persuaded by these arguments.
“The law only permits police officers to use reasonable force when effecting a lawful arrest. Chauvin crossed that line here when he used unreasonable force on Floyd,” the court said in its 50-page ruling.
“We hold that, when a criminal defendant moves to change venue, continue trial, or sequester the jury alleging that publicity surrounding the trial created either actual or presumed juror prejudice, a district court does not abuse its discretion by denying the motions if it takes sufficient mitigating steps and verifies that the jurors can set aside their impressions or opinions and deliver a fair and impartial verdict,” the court added.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office prosecuted Chauvin, applauded the ruling.
“I am grateful for the decision of the Court of Appeals, and grateful we have a system where everyone, no matter how egregious their offense, is entitled to due process and fair treatment. The Court’s decision today shows once again no one is above the law — and no one is beneath it,” he said.
Mohrman told Alpha News that he was “disappointed in the opinion” and is looking at bringing the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Chauvin was transferred from Oak Park Heights prison to a federal prison in Tucson, Ariz., in August after pleading guilty to a federal civil rights charge.