Attorneys for former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin have filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal to the contentious and highly-publicized case concerning the death of George Floyd. The Minnesota state Supreme Court this past summer declined to hear the case.
Chauvin was sentenced by Judge Peter Cahill back in 2021 to 22.5 years –270 months — after a jury found the former officer guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
One of Chauvin’s attorneys, William Mohrman, told Alpha News the appeal is of “nationwide significance,” noting several reasons why he believes his client was not given a fair trial.
“Specifically, we argued the Minnesota Courts violated Mr. Chauvin’s right to a fair trial under the Sixth Amendment by refusing to transfer his trial to a location in Minnesota which was not affected by the George Floyd riots,” Mohrman said.
Black Lives Matter protests and riots broke out nationwide in 2020, with damages costing insurance companies up to an estimated $2 Billion — the most expensive incident in insurance history.
“If the jurors acquitted Mr. Chauvin, they would have been bracing for a resumption of riots in their own community and possible threats to their own personal safety — which virtually all the jurors expressed when questioned by the attorneys prior to trial,” Mohrman explained.
“Supreme Court precedent provides that such cases should presumptively be transferred without any finding of actual juror bias — in the other words, the bias is presumed.”
Mohrman also argued that the apparent wrongful conviction of Chauvin has made it nearly impossible for police departments to maintain or recruit good officers.
“Finally, the Sixth Amendment issue is now of nationwide significance as police departments are either losing officers or are unable to recruit new officers because of those officers’ fears that they could become caught up in a criminal trial in front of a jury which would likewise be reluctant to fairly decide the case because of the threat of riots in the event of an acquittal,” he said.
During the trial, Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson argued that Floyd’s drug use and bad heart were crucial factors in his death and that Chauvin used reasonable force through an authorized prone hold.
The Hennepin County medical examiner revealed that Floyd’s autopsy showed the deceased had potentially lethal levels of drugs in his system.