Derek Chauvin has filed an appeal for his 2021 conviction for the murder of George Floyd.
The 87-page court of appeals filing asks for either a retrial, reversal of conviction, or resentencing, citing a biased jury and unfair trial.
Last April, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd. He was sentenced to 22½ years in prison, 10 years more than the presumptive sentence.
William Mohrman, Chauvin’s current attorney, argues that the venue for Chauvin’s trial should have been changed. This was a point of contention during jury selection, but ultimately Judge Peter Cahill rejected motions to move or delay the trial.
Floyd’s family reached a $27 million settlement with the city of Minneapolis during jury selection, one reason Chauvin’s defense counsel Eric Nelson motioned to have the trial moved and a reason Mohrman now cites in the appeal.
This combined with riots following Chauvin’s arrest, the death of Daunte Wright during the trial, and excessive pre-trial publicity were all reasons for moving the trial out of Hennepin County, according to Mohrman.
Additionally, the court selected a biased jury, Mohrman says, and should have sequestered the jury for the duration of the trial. Some jurors said they feared public acrimony and riots if Chauvin were let off.
“The overwhelming media coverage exposed the jurors — literally every day — to news demonizing Chauvin and glorifying Floyd which was more than sufficient to presume prejudice,” the appeal states. “However, the real problem is the jurors expressed concern for (i) they and their families’ personal safety and (ii) riots breaking out in the event they acquitted Chauvin.”
Mohrman also argues that the state committed prosecutorial misconduct by failing to disclose all discovery materials by the agreed-upon date, inadequately preparing witnesses, and belittling the defense in closing arguments.
Additionally, the court moved forward with the trial when it should have been delayed, the filing says.
“Finally, the Supreme Court had suspended in-person jury trials until March 15, 2021 — except this one — due to Covid-19,” the appeal states.
The state has 45 days to respond to the appeal.
Chauvin was convicted one year ago, almost a year after Floyd died. The entire trial, other than attorney sidebars, was televised from Hennepin County.