Wednesday, April 21, 2021


…but worthy of consideration 

by Ralph Bristol, reposted from Facebook - Before Derek Chauvin is sentenced six weeks from now, the defense will likely file a motion to declare a mistrial, based on both the judge’s failure to sequester the jury to shield jurors from prejudicial news coverage and the statements made by President Biden and Rep. Maxine Waters in the final days of the trial. 

There will, without question, be an appeal.  

The judge practically handed the defense an appeal argument when he scolded Waters in the courtroom for urging protestors to “get more confrontational.” He further said he wished all politicians would refrain from commenting on the trial, an admonishment that would include President Biden, who said he was "praying that verdict is the right verdict" and that "I think it's overwhelming, in my view."  

The jury was not sequestered until their deliberations began, and that took practically no time at all. During the trial, they went home and had full access to all news, which included the vandalism of a home thought to be that of one of the defense witnesses. It was smeared with blood and a pig’s head was left as a calling card. The intimidators hit the wrong home, but if they will do that to a witness, what might they do to a juror responsible for the “wrong” verdict. It would not be unreasonable to conclude that the jury was both prejudiced and intimidated by the news to which they had full access until the trial was “all over but the verdict.”  

BUT – JUST BECAUSE IT WASN’T A FAIR TRIAL…. …doesn’t mean the verdict was wrong.  

I was neither intimidated nor prejudiced by the news coverage, and based on the whole of the evidence and testimony, I would have found Chauvin guilty of at least one of the charges.  For the record, Chauvin was convicted of the following: 
  • Second-degree unintentional murder – which means he caused Floyd's death "without intent" while committing or attempting to commit felony third-degree assault, defined as “the intentional infliction of substantial bodily harm.” 
  • Third-degree murder – meaning he caused Floyd's death by "perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and displaying a depraved mind, without regard for human life." • 
  • Second-degree manslaughter – meaning Chauvin caused Floyd's death by "culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm." 
I would have found Chauvin guilty of the last charge. I have some doubt about the other two, but I don’t find it unreasonable that the jury would find otherwise, even without access to a daily diet of prejudicial and intimidating information. 

My guess is that the justice system will not give Derek Chauvin a new trial, in part because the judges will conclude the jury intimidation was not a significant factor in the verdict, that it likely would have been the same without the jury’s access to the prejudicial information and intimidation. 

Since a new trial would likely produce the same result, the judges will not allow a new trial.

Ralph Bristol is a former popular local conservative radio talk show host with Super Talk 99.7 (WTN 99.7) where he worked for 11 years. He is now semi-retired.

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