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

Defense Attorney Eric Nelson introduces potential jurors into Derek Chauvin through the voir dire procedure.
The four-page motion, filed Tuesday afternoon, asks in part to get a”hearing to impeach the verdict” — an attempt to force jurors to explain, with some limits, what occurred during deliberations. Additionally, it alleges a litany of different deficiencies by the judge as well as to a lesser extent, by prosecutors in the high profile, highly watched proceeding.
Concerning the petition to”impeach the verdict,” Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, clarified in the motion he believes”the jury dedicated misconduct, felt threatened or intimidated, sensed race-based pressure through the proceedings, and/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 about the procedure at such a”hearing to impeach the verdict” It reads:
Upon an inquiry into the validity of a verdict or indictment, a juror may not testify as to any matter or statement occurring during the course of the jury’s deliberations or to the effect of anything upon that or any other juror’s mind or emotions as influencing the juror to assent to or dissent from the verdict or indictment or concerning the juror’s mental processes in connection therewith, except that a juror may testify on the question whether extraneous prejudicial information was improperly brought to the jury’s attention or whether any outside influence was improperly brought to bear upon any juror, or as to any threats of violence or violent acts caused bear on jurors, from whatever source, to reach a verdict, or as to whether a juror gave false responses on voir dire that hidden bias or prejudice toward one of the parties, or so as to correct an error made in entering the verdict about the verdict form. Nor may a juror’s affidavit or evidence of any statement by the juror concerning a matter about which the juror would be precluded from testifying be received for those purposes.
The majority of the motion is premised on a Minnesota Rule of Criminal Procedure which allows defense attorneys to ask forjudges and attorneys to grant,”a new trial on the dilemma of the presence of facts to support an aggravated sentence, or both.” The relevant rule enables seven possibilities for such an arrangement:
1. The interests of justice;
2. 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 produced at the trial;
6. Errors of law at trial, and cried to at that time unless no conscience is required with these principles;
7. A verdict or finding of guilty that is not justified by the proof, or will be contrary to law.
Nelson further alleges that trial judge Peter Cahill abused his discretion multiple times, for example (a) by denying a defense petition for change of place ; (b) by denying a former motion for a new trial based on the consequences of pretrial publicity; and (c) by failing to sequester the jury.
Pausing briefly at a rebuke against the judge,” Nelson said (d) that prosecutors”dedicated fascist, prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct” by”disparaging the Defense; improper vouching; and neglecting to adequately prepare its witnesses”
Then, Nelson returned his focus on the judge by asserting the courtroom (e) must have ordered Floyd’s buddy, Morries Hall, to testify; (f) failed to adequately explain the law to the jury; (grams ) permitted the state to introduce”cumulative proof;” (h) enabled the nation to ask leading questions of witnesses on direct examination; and (I)”failed to order a document be made from the numerous sidebars that occurred during the trial”
“The cumulative impact of these numerous mistakes in these proceedings deprived Mr. Chauvin of a fair trial, in violation of his constitutional rights,” Nelson explained. Then he quoted a Minnesota appeals court case to assert that”if the cumulative impact of numerous errors — even if, independently, the mistakes are benign — represents the denial of a fair trialthat the defendant is entitled to a new trial” (internal punctuation omitted).
The terse motion also asks the court for additional time to fully brief and argue the legal issues raised therein.
Chauvin is awaiting sentencing on responsibility for second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Read the full motion below:
MN v Derek Chauvin – Motion for New Trial (5-4-2021) by Law&Crime on Scribd
[image through the Law&Crime Network]
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