Watch: Judge Reinstates 3rd-Degree Murder Charge in Chauvin Trial
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – The trial judge ruled the third-degree murder charge will be reinstated in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is charged with the death of George Floyd.
Court proceedings started at 8 a.m. Thursday with a hearing on preliminary motions, before moving on to jury selection at 9 a.m.
Five jurors have been seated so far. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will continue to question and challenge potential jurors until they can seat a 12-person jury, with two alternates.
3rd-degree murder charge reinstated
Following arguments Thursday morning, trial judge Peter Cahill ruled the third-degree murder charge will be reinstated in Chauvin’s case.
In a ruling Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied the petition filed by Chauvin’s team, meaning the decision to add the charge was to be determined by Judge Cahill.
The push to reinstate the charge came after the Court of Appeals ruled in February a third-degree murder charge was appropriate in the case of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, who was convicted in a deadly 2017 shooting.
During arguments Thursday morning, Neal Katyal, co-counsel for the state, said the Minnesota Supreme Court’s order meant Cahill was duty bound to reinstate the charge.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson, however, argued that Cahill was not duty bound by precedence if the cases are “factually distinguishable,” pointing out that in Noor’s case he put others in danger by firing a gun.
Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder, but Cahill dismissed the charge last October, saying it did not apply to this case. The state hoped the appeals court would overrule that decision.
Chauvin is now charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for his role in Floyd’s death last May.
Where jury selection currently stands
- Five jurors seated–four men, one woman. A total of 14 jurors (12 jurors and two alternates) are needed to start trial.
- Defense dismissed five jurors. They have 10 peremptory challenges remaining.
- Prosecutors dismissed three jurors. They have six peremptory challenges remaining.
- Judge dismissed three jurors for cause on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, seven jurors were questioned, with two seated and five dismissed. Nine jurors were questioned on Tuesday, with three seated and six others dismissed.
Judge Peter Cahill told the selected jurors to go home and not to do any reading or research about the case in the coming weeks. He told them to report back to the courthouse on March 29 at 9 a.m., saying he is confident the trial will begin at that time.
Each prospective juror was assigned a randomized number when they filled out the 14-page questionnaire, which asked them about their knowledge of the case, police connections and attitudes towards the justice system as well as their media habits. Both sides agreed to dismiss 16 of the first 50 prospective jurors for cause on Monday based on their answers to the questionnaire.