Derek Chauvin’s attorneys filed a complaint on Tuesday seeking to throw out the first verdict and have a new trial, citing a whole host of reasons including jury intimidation and “fear of retribution,” as well as jury misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct and more.
The filing in the Fourth Judicial District Court argues a new trial should be granted “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.”
It goes into greater detail, talking about media coverage in particular, and the court’s curious decision not to change venues.
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 27-CR-20-12646 Filed in District Court State of Minnesota 5/4/2021 3:59 PM2 the trial[.]” Sheppard, supra. Such publicity included post-testimony, but pre-deliberation, 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”).
And intimidation and fear of the mob figured prominently too, because the court didn’t sequester them.
“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,” it says.
A lot of what is brought up here are legitimate problems which were pointed out in advance and during the trial. It was important to get the verdict right, just as it is at any trial. That’s distinct from saying “get the right verdict” which implies knowing better than the jury how to decide.
So they should have cared about this stuff, knowing it could upset the verdict. But they didn’t.
Read the whole thing. You’ll see what I mean.
They should have been smarter about this. Unless they WANTED to drag it out.