Derek Chauvin Murder Conviction Appeal Declined by Supreme Court

Former Derek Chauvin has exhausted last appeals in his bid to overturn his conviction for the murder of George Floyd. The United States Supreme Court has rejected Chauvin’s petition to hear his case. In the summer of 2020, Chauvin was filmed pressing his knee to George Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes and 29 seconds. Three other police officers involved were charged and are serving shorter sentences.  

In April 2021, a 12 person jury in Hennepin County found Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for the death of George Floyd. Prior to trial, the City of Minneapolis announced a $27 million settlement with the Floyd estate in the related civil wrongful-death action. The former officer was sentenced to 22 years in prison in June 2021. In December 2021, Chauvin pleaded guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison, which he is serving concurrently with his state sentence.  

In April 2023, a Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed Chauvin’s conviction after Chauvin’s lawyer challenged the trial court’s decision not to move the trial from Minneapolis. The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected the case in July 2023. The United States Supreme Court declined to hear the state case in November 2023, though Chauvin’s appeal of his federal charges is still pending before the high court.  

Chauvin’s appeal asserted that it was incorrect for the trial court to deny a change of venue and argued he had been denied a fair trial due to pretrial publicity. He also sought to overturn his federal conviction, arguing that he would not have pleaded guilty if he had been aware of potential alterative causes of Floyd’s death.  

The Futile Venue Change  

Losing criminal defendants in high-profile cases often claim that a venue change is necessary because a jury pool may be biased against them. While this argument may have been sensible when local newspapers and televisions were more prevalent, it is not a very good argument today. The modern world where videos are uploaded online and shared instantly on social media is one in which news spreads worldwide instantaneously. As the trial judge noted, there was no corner of Minnesota where news about George Floyd hadn’t been posted everywhere.  

Although the argument is futile though, Chauvin’s attorneys are legally obligated to present every viable argument on appeal. Even defendants like Chauvin deserve competent legal representation. While venue change is a losing argument, occasionally even a losing argument may find receptive ears. Segregation and abortion rights were once thought to be permanent but even impossible legal arguments may have a chance of succeeding. However, Chauvin’s case wasn’t the one to overcome the odds.  

Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer? 

If you have been charged with committing a crime, it is in your best interests to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can assist you with asserting a defense which is available in your case and can represent you in court.  

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