November 22, 2023
The U.S. Supreme Court denies Derek Chauvin’s appeal for the George Floyd murder case
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider Derek Chauvin’s appeal. He was convicted for George Floyd’s murder during an arrest in 2020, which set off massive demonstrations against racism and police violence. Chauvin filed an appeal after a Minnesota appellate court maintained his 2021 murder conviction, but Chauvin’s plea for a new trial was dismissed. Chauvin had claimed that the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution denied him the right to a fair trial due to juror bias and specific decisions made by the presiding judge.
“Mr. Chauvin’s case shows the profound difficulties trial courts have to ensure a criminal defendant’s right to an impartial jury consistently when extreme cases arise,” his attorney wrote to the A.P. In addition, Chauvin requested that the justices reconsider his conviction and decide whether the trial judge had to convene a hearing to address claims of juror misconduct that came to light after the verdict was rendered. As the city awaited the judgment, Chauvin mentioned concerns about riots in Minneapolis. He contended that the jurors had a personal stake in finding Chauvin guilty to prevent threats of violence against their families and the town.
Chauvin, a white police officer, was incarcerated for 22 and a half years after killing Floyd, a Black man, by kneeling on his handcuffed neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest. Floyd’s murder brought attention to the problem of racial injustice and sparked protests in other American and international locations. Chauvin, was found guilty in April 2021 by a 12-member jury on three counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter after a three-week trial during which 45 witnesses—including eyewitnesses, police officers, and medical professionals—gave testimony.
The guilty decision was a strike to law enforcement’s treatment of African Americans and a turning point in the contentious history of race relations in the United States. Onlookers caught the altercation on camera on May 25, 2020, when Chauvin, now 47, and three other police officers were trying to apprehend Floyd, 46, for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 money to purchase cigarettes at a grocery store. After a struggle, Chauvin put his knee into Floyd’s neck.
Without legal representation, Chauvin submitted the request for a new autopsy whilst incarcerated at a federal prison in Arizona. He claims that Topeka, Kansas-based physician William Schaetzel has informed him that he believes Floyd’s death was not due to hypoxia from Chauvin’s actions but rather to complications from a rare tumor known as a paraganglioma, which can result in a lethal adrenaline rush. The pathologist looked over the autopsy reports but did not inspect Floyd’s body.
“I can’t go to my grave with what I know,” Schaetzel told The Associated Press on Monday, explaining why he reached out to Chauvin. He went on to say, “I just want the truth.”
Chauvin further claims that Schaetzel contacted Eric Nelson, his trial lawyer, in 2021 regarding the state-court murder trial, the judge, and the prosecution. Still, Nelson withheld information about the pathologist and his concepts from Chauvin. Additionally, he claims Nelson did not contest the federal charge’s constitutionality.
Nelson declined to comment on Monday. However, Chauvin argues in his motion that, had the jury heard the pathologist’s testimony, they would not have found him guilty.
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