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Chauvin Trial Jury Selection Begins Revealing Hyper-Politicized Pool of Jurors

Chauvin Trial
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(MINNEAPOLIS, MN) – Jury selection began today in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin as potential jurors faced attorneys for the first time in ‘voir dire’ – a pre-trial examination to assess their fitness to serve on the jury.

About 20 potential jurors took the witness stand in the morning and afternoon on Tuesday, and their testimony quickly revealed just how hyper-politicized this case has become in the public. Is anyone surprised to hear this?

The court is looking for 12 jurors and 2 alternate jurors to hear the case. Here’s a taste of the day’s proceedings:

‘Juror #1’ was dismissed at the outset of jury selection for bias. The juror was asked by lead defense attorney Eric Nelson about her ‘unjust death of George Floyd’ comment on the juror questionnaire: “Why did you say that? You made a decision already?”

The defense would soon after use one of their peremptory challenges to strike this juror, who happened to be a hispanic woman.

After Juror #1 was dismissed, Judge Cahill ordered that the COVID plexiglass used in the courtroom was showing the reflection of Juror #1. He said he received ‘ex parte’ a text message that the juror could be faintly recognized on the livestream.

Later in the morning session, state prosecutors told Judge Cahill that Chauvin’s defense attorneys seem to be targeting jurors for dismissal who were ‘people of color.’ Judge Cahill did not agree.

During questioning, ‘Juror #8’ first told Nelson in response a question about how to fix the ‘police problem’ that he would first ‘help George Floyd’s family.’ The juror also told the court that he had a ‘very negative opinion’ of Chauvin when he completed the potential juror questionnaire and also further explained his views of “Black Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter”:

The state then exercised their first challenge on Juror #8 and he was dismissed from the jury.

By the end of day one of jury selection, three jurors had been selected, including juror #2, #9 and later #19:

With the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020” passing the U.S. House of Representatives and now being considered by the Senate, media coverage of police reforms and how it ‘converges’ with the events of the trial has already reached a fever pitch, including in this recent MSNBC report:

“How can we prevent the next George Floyd? Prevent the next Derek Chauvin”

It does not appear that ‘racial tension’ will subside as the dominant narrative pursued by prosecutors for this hyper-politicized jury any time soon. The jury pool has now lived through almost a year of 24/7 media coverage of social justice movements all across America – for many, locked in their homes and sequestered by COVID – and George Floyd’s death remains a big part of this narrative.

The state will have to resist the temptation of giving in to this intense public, political pressure if it wants to faithfully conduct a fair trial.

Otherwise, it risks ‘over-egging’ its case when a jury is selected and arguments and evidence begin to be heard on March 29th.

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