Legal News

Derek Chauvin’s Attorney Demands New Trial, Arguing Jury’Felt Race-Based Stress’ to Convict

Defense Attorney Eric Nelson introduces potential jurors to Derek Chauvin during the voir dire process.
The attorney representing Derek Chauvin, that ” the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd, Jr., has asked the judge overseeing the matter to order a new trial. The four-page motion, filed Tuesday day, asks in a part to get a”hearing to impeach the verdict” — an effort to force jurors to spell out, with some constraints, what occurred during deliberations. Additionally, it revealed a litany of different deficiencies from the judge and, to a lesser degree, by prosecutors in the high profile, exceptionally viewed proceeding.
Regarding the petition to”impeach the verdict,” Chauvin’s attorney, Eric J. Nelson, clarified in the motion that he considers”the jury dedicated misconduct, felt threatened or intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings, or failed to adhere to instructions during deliberations, in violation of Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial.”
An underlying Minnesota Rule of Criminal Procedure states that”[a]t an impeachment hearing, jurors have to be analyzed under oath and their testimony listed” pursuant to the Rules of Evidence. The requisite Rule of Evidence provides more detail concerning the process at such a”hearing to impeach the verdict.” It reads:

The bulk of the motion is premised on a Minnesota Rule of Criminal Procedure allowing defense attorneys to ask for, and judges to grant,”a new trial on the problem of the existence of data to support an aggravated sentence, or both.” The relevant rule allows seven chances for such an arrangement:
1. The interests of justice
2. Irregularity in the proceedings, or any order or abuse of discretion that deprived the defendant of a fair trial;
3. Prosecutorial or jury misconduct;
4. Accident or surprise that couldn’t have been prevented by ordinary prudence;
5. Newly discovered material evidence, which with reasonable diligence couldn’t have been found and made at the trial;
6. Errors of law at trial, also objected to at that time unless no objection is called for with these principles;
7. A verdict or finding of guilty that is not justified by the proof, or is contrary to legislation.
Nelson further alleges that trial judge Peter Cahill abused his discretion multiple times, including (a) by denying a defense petition for change of place ; (b) by denying a preceding motion for a new trial based on the consequences of pretrial publicity; also (c) by failing to sequester the jury.
Pausing briefly at a rebuke against the judge,” Nelson stated (d) that prosecutors”committed pervasive, prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct” by”disparaging the Defense; improper vouching; and neglecting to adequately prepare its witnesses.”
Afterward, Nelson returned his focus on the judge by arguing that the court (e) must have ordered Floyd’s buddy, Morries Hall, to testify; (f) failed to satisfactorily explain the legislation to the jury; (grams ) allowed the state to present”cumulative proof;” (h) enabled the state to ask important questions of witnesses on direct examination; also (I)”failed to order that a record be made from the numerous sidebars that occurred during the trial.”
“The cumulative effect of these numerous errors in such proceedings deprived Mr. Chauvin of a fair trial, in violation of his constitutional rights,” Nelson stated. Then he quoted a Minnesota appeals court case to argue that”when the cumulative effect of numerous errors — even though, independently, the errors are harmless — represents the denial of a fair trial, the defendant is entitled to a new trial” (internal punctuation omitted).
The terse motion also asks the court for further time to fully brief and maintain the legal issues raised therein.
Chauvin is awaiting sentencing on convictions for second-degree murder, third-degree murder, also second-degree manslaughter.
Read the Entire motion below:
MN v Derek Chauvin – Motion for New Trial (5-4-2021) by Law&Crime on Scribd
[image via the Law&Crime Network]
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