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Appeals Court Denies Derek Chauvin’s Request For New Trial, Says Former Cop ‘Crossed A Line’

Minneapolis, MN – The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday denied former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s request for a new trial and said the convicted former law enforcement officer had “crossed a line.”

The court announced its ruling on Chauvin’s appeal of his second-degree murder conviction at about 10 a.m. on April 17, KMSP reported.

Defense attorney William Mohrman went before the state appeals court in Minnesota in January to argue that the man convicted of George Floyd’s murder hadn’t received a fair trial in Hennepin County, FOX News reported.

Mohrman told the court that the pre-trial publicity ahead of Chauvin’s jury trial was more extensive than that of any case before in the history of the state’s court system.

He argued that Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill made the wrong call when he failed to grant the change of venue to another jurisdiction, FOX News reported.

Cahill also failed to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial and jurors were subjected to non-stop noise about it, Mohrman said.

Chauvin’s attorneys has argued the media circus, which included an announcements about a record-breaking $27 million pre-trial settlement for Floyd’s family, could not be completely avoided by the jury and may have influenced their verdict, FOX News reported.

The attorney said the unprecedented courthouse security surrounding the trial may have also influenced the jury who were bussed in and out from a secure location in different blacked-out vehicles daily.

Mohrman told the Minnesota Court of Appeals that the judge had improperly excluded evidence that could have been favorable to Chauvin and also accused the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and the Hennepin County District Attorney’s Offices of misconduct.

Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank and Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general during President Barak Obama’s administration, countered in their response to the appeal that Chauvin’s rights were not prejudiced, FOX News reported.

Prosecutors said that a change of venue would have been “pointless’’ because the publicity about Floyd’s death and the video of it had blanketed the entire state of Minnesota.

Frank and Katyal argued to the appeals court that Cahill had taken sufficient steps to shield jurors from the media and the public so there was no need for sequestration, FOX News reported.

But legal experts said Chauvin’s state appeal was moot because his federal sentence would still be in effect and keep him in prison, likely longer than he would be on the state charges.

Minnesota’s highest appeals court denied Chauvin’s request for a new trial on April 17, KMSP reported.

“Police officers undoubtedly have a challenging, difficult, and sometimes dangerous job. However, no one is above the law,” the court wrote in its decision.

“When they commit a crime, they must be held accountable just as those individuals that they lawfully apprehend. The law only permits police officers to use reasonable force when effecting a lawful arrest,” the decision read.

“Chauvin crossed that line here when he used unreasonable force on Floyd,” the judges wrote.

The state appeals court said that Cahill didn’t abuse his authority by denying the change of venues because he took sufficient mitigating steps to protect the sanctity of the jury, KMSP reported.

“We further conclude that Chauvin is not entitled to a new trial based upon the district court’s failure to ensure that sidebar conferences were transcribed and that any alleged cumulative error did not deny Chauvin a fair trial,” the appeals court ruled.

“Finally, we decline to address Chauvin’s challenge to his third-degree-murder conviction because the district court did not convict Chauvin of or sentence him for this offense,” the decision read.

Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22-and-a-half years behind bars in June of last year after he was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death.

Chauvin pleaded guilty to federal charges in December of 2021 for violating George Floyd’s civil rights when he used excessive force.

Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police after officers responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that he had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.

Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.

The complaint used to charge Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.

Cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.

The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.

Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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