Ex-Minneapolis policeman Chauvin asks judge for new trial

Eloise Marshall
May 5, 2021

Ted Sampsell-Jones, a professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, said the photograph of Mr Mitchell at the march last August was "evidence that Chauvin can point to in order to establish that his right to an impartial jury was denied".

In the photo, which was posted by a relative, Mitchell is seen wearing a shirt with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the front, along with the words, "Get Your Knee Off Our Necks" and "BLM".

Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in Floyd's death, an incident that sparked worldwide protests against police brutality.

Chauvin lawyer Eric Nelson asserts in the filing that Judge Peter Cahill "abused" his discretion in numerous ways, such as denying Chauvin a change of venue, denying an earlier request for a new trial "on the grounds that 'publicity during the proceedings threaten [ed] the fairness of the trial, '" and for failing to sequester the jury in the high-profile case.

Derek Chauvin, the white ex-policeman convicted of murdering African-American man George Floyd, has asked for a new trial on claims of jury and prosecution misconduct.

Legal experts had said Chauvin's defence attorney could potentially use the photo of juror Brandon Mitchell as grounds to appeal the verdict, though the matter was not mentioned in Tuesday's pleading.

Mitchell is one of only two jurors who have publicly identified themselves.

"It was for voter turnout for being a part of that - for being able to attend the same location that Martin Luther King gave his speech, the historic moment", Mitchell said.

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Chauvin, who was captured on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, was convicted of murder and manslaughter last month by a 12-member jury.

Mitchell said he had not and could serve impartially.

Chauvin, who is being held in solitary confinement at a Minnesota prison while awaiting his June 25 sentencing, faces as much as 40 years under enhanced sentencing guidelines requested by the state.

The brief did not mention recent reports that one of the jurors participated in an August 28 march in Washington, D.C., to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

The motion also listed juror misconduct and comes on the heels of speculation surrounding juror Brandon Mitchell, one of four Black jurors. "I just don't know how this jury can really be said to be that they are free from the taint of this", Nelson told the judge before the verdict was reached. Nelson also asked for a new trial.

During the jury selection process, each prospective juror is required to answer a questionnaire that includes questions about participation in demonstrations and protests.

A request for a new trial is routine following a guilty verdict and often mirrors issues that will be raised on appeal, said Mike Brandt, a Minneapolis defense attorney who has been closely following the case.

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