Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police Officer convicted in the murder of George Floyd, is appealing his case to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Chauvin’s lawyer, William Mohrman, on Wednesday filed a petition for review with the state’s highest court, arguing that the district judge’s decision not to move the proceedings out of the city deprived his client of a fair trial.
The petition comes a month after the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld Chauvin’s conviction for second-degree murder and let his 22-1/2-year sentence remain in place.
Morhman had unsuccessfully asked the appeals court to throw out the ex-officer’s conviction for a long list of reasons, including the massive pretrial publicity. But the three-judge panel sided with prosecutors, who said Chauvin got a fair trial and just sentence.
Chauvin raises several of those arguments again in his latest appeal.
Floyd, who is Black, died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin, who is White, kneeled on Floyd’s neck for 9-1/2 minutes despite his cries of not being able to breathe.
Floyd’s death ignited nationwide protests – some of which turned violent – and forced a national reckoning with police brutality and racism.
Should the Minnesota Supreme Court agree to hear Chauvin’s appeal, it would ask each side for detailed briefs and later set a date for oral arguments.
Morhman said the case presents the state Supreme Court with important questions on “developing and clarifying due process requirements to transfer venue when there is unprecedented pervasive pretrial publicity coupled with community violence.”
He also wrote that it raises issues potential juror misconduct. One juror participated in a civil rights event commemorating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, D.C., a few months after Floyd’s death.
Only after the trial did the juror reveal that he had been there. The Court of Appeals declined to send the case back to the trial judge for a hearing on whether the juror’s nondisclosure constituted misconduct.
Chauvin pleaded guilty to a separate federal civil rights charge and was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison, which he is now serving in Arizona concurrent with his state sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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