Posted on April 19, 2023

Minnesota Court of Appeals Rejects Derek Chauvin’s Request for New Trial in George Floyd Killing

Kim Hyatt, Star Tribune, April 17, 2023

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday rejected former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s appeal for a new trial outside Hennepin County.

The decision comes nearly three years since George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, when Chauvin knelt on the Black man’s neck for more than nine minutes. Chauvin’s appellate attorney William Mohrman argued that pretrial publicity — the global unrest, media coverage and calls for police reform — made a fair trial impossible.

But a three-judge panel issued a unanimous 50-page decision stating that Chauvin failed to show prejudice among jurors or in the publicity surrounding his trial. Presiding Judge Peter Reyes wrote the decision considered by him and Judges Elise Larson and Roger Klaphake.

“Police officers undoubtedly have a challenging, difficult, and sometimes dangerous job,” Reyes wrote. “However, no one is above the law. When they commit a crime, they must be held accountable just as those individuals that they lawfully apprehend. The law only permits police officers to use reasonable force when effecting a lawful arrest. Chauvin crossed that line here when he used unreasonable force on Floyd.”

Mohrman said in an interview Monday that he is disappointed in the decision.

“We’re obviously going to consult with Mr. Chauvin and see what options can be pursued here,” he said. “We certainly have the option to ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the case and probably will.”


Mohrman told the panel in January that the main remedy for Chauvin would be a new trial outside of the Hennepin County Government Center because the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis was “surrounded by concrete block, barbed wire, two armored personnel carriers and a squad of National Guard troops” all there with one purpose: “in the event that the jury acquits the defendant.” Leading up to Chauvin’s verdict, he said, the city braced for more riots in the event of an acquittal.


Mohrman argued that the jury was tainted because the killing and trial all played out in Minneapolis. “The jurors that sat on this jury had a stake in the outcome of the case because they lived here where the riots occurred,” he said.