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Minnesota’s High Court Denies Derek Chauvin’s Request For Public Defender

St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a request from former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin to have a public defender assigned to represent him as he appeals his conviction and sentence for the murder of George Floyd.

Chauvin filed documents with the state of Minnesota in September that said he intended to appeal his conviction and sentence on 14 grounds, the Associated Press reported.

Among other things, the former police officer told the court that he intended to appeal on the grounds that Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill should have changed the venue to outside of Hennepin County for his trial.

Chauvin also plans to argue that the jury should have been sequestered for the duration of the trial, the Associated Press reported.

He filed an affidavit with the court that said he did not have an attorney to represent him during the appeals process.

His attorney for the trial, Eric Nelson, was paid for by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association’s legal defense fund, the Associated Press reported.

However, the police union has said it will not being picking up the tab for Chauvin’s appeals.

“I have been informed that their obligation to pay for my representation terminated upon my conviction and sentencing,” the former police officer wrote in his request for the appointment of a public defender, according to the Associated Press.

Chauvin has said that the only money he has is his prison wages.

But when he initially asked the Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender directly to provide representation for his appeal, his request was denied because that office said he wasn’t eligible, FOX News reported.

Then the former police officer filed an appeal on his own behalf and asked the court for a delay until he could get a public defender, and also appealed the decision of the public defender’s office.

The Minnesota Supreme Court justices reviewed Chauvin’s debts and assets on Oct. 6, FOX News reported.

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea wrote in the ruling that denied Chauvin’s appeal that the former police officer had not established that he was entitled to have a public defender.

However, Gildea said that Chauvin could seek a public defender again in the future if he was unable to pay for his own attorney, FOX News reported.

The jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter on April 20 after less than 12 hours of deliberations.

He was sentenced to 22-and-a-half years in prison after the judge approved “upward sentencing” because of the aggravated nature of his crimes.

The incident occurred officers had responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that Floyd had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli on May 25, 2020.

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.

Viral 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.

Three other former Minneapolis police officers are facing charges for aiding and abetting Floyd’s murder.

All four men are also facing federal civil rights charges in connection with Floyd’s death.

On May 6, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that a federal grand jury had charged Chauvin, and former Minneapolis Police Officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng each with two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, NBC News reported.

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas K. Lane was charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law.

The indictment said that Chauvin “willfully deprived George Floyd of the right, secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, to be free from an unreasonable force by a police officer,” NBC News reported.

Thao and Kueng were charged with failing to intervene in Chauvin’s unreasonable use of force, CNN reported.

All four former police officers were federally charged for failing to render medical aid to Floyd.

The grand jury also handed down two counts against Chauvin related to a 2017 arrest he made of a 14-year-old boy who had been attacking his family members.

“Chauvin, without legal justification, held the teenager by the throat and struck the teenager multiple times in the head with a flashlight,” federal prosecutors said in a statement, according to NBC News.

The statement said that Chauvin “held his knee on the neck and the upper back of the teenager even after the teenager was lying prone, handcuffed, and unresisting, also resulting in bodily injury.”

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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