The Potluck

Judge denies motion to sequester Chauvin jury

By: - April 12, 2021 12:58 pm

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin (right) and his lawyer Eric Nelson (left) on March 11.

The defense of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, on trial for the murder of George Floyd, asked the judge to sequester the jury Monday.

Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, tried to get Judge Peter Cahill to immediately sequester the jury in the wake of the Brooklyn Center police shooting on Sunday, which sparked protests and looting in the suburb and Twin Cities.

Nelson said this high-profile, emotional case is putting a lot of pressure on jurors to find Chauvin guilty. During jury selection, many prospective jurors expressed concern about the ramifications of the verdict, he noted, and the Brooklyn Center incident highlights the potential consequences of the verdict.

At a minimum, he argued, the judge should question the jurors about whether they heard about the police shooting and whether it would influence their decision-making.

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher opposed Nelson’s motion, saying world events are going to happen, and the jurors already said during voir dire they could render a verdict without regard to the possible ramifications.

Cahill denied the motion, saying this is a different case, and sequestering the jury now would only aggravate the situation. The jurors were all concerned about their safety due to last year’s unrest, he said, so that hasn’t changed.

He said the jurors would be sequestered once closing arguments are made, which is expected to happen Monday, April 19.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.