Mohrman wrote that the publicity and the riots, the city’s $27 million settlement with Floyd’s family announced during jury selection, the unrest over a police killing in a Minneapolis suburb during jury selection, and the sealing off of the courthouse, were just some of the factors prejudicing Chauvin’s chance of a fair trial.
Much of the questioning Wednesday centered on one juror who participated in a civil rights event commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington a few months after Floyd’s death. Only after the trial did the juror reveal that he had been there.
He was questioned during jury selection about whether he had participated in any demonstrations or marches “in Minneapolis” against police brutality after Floyd’s death. But Chauvin’s original attorney, Eric Nelson, did not ask whether he had participated in any marches elsewhere.
Mohrman argued that Cahill should have held a hearing after the revelation to determine whether the juror’s nondisclosure constituted misconduct. He said the appeals court should send the case back to Cahill for a hearing on that issue — a request that Cahill had denied.
Reyes said judges have “fairly broad discretion” in conducting trials, and that Nelson questioned the juror and could have struck him but did not. Reyes said case law puts the burden for asking the right questions on the defense.
Katyal told the judges that the juror accurately answered the questions and insisted repeatedly that he could render an impartial verdict. He said the defense didn’t use three of its peremptory strikes, which he called an indication of satisfaction with the jury.
READ MORE: Derek Chauvin to be arraigned for alleged civil rights violation
In their brief, prosecutors said pretrial publicity had blanketed the state making a change of venue for the trial pointless. They also said Cahill took sufficient steps to shield the jurors from outside influences so there was no need to sequester them before deliberations.
Other disputes in the appeal include whether it was legally permissible to convict Chauvin of third-degree murder, and whether Cahill was justified in exceeding the 12 1/2 years recommended under the state’s sentencing guidelines.