If A Mistrial Happens On Appeal…. This Is Why

The judge in Minneapolis acknowledges Maxine Waters’ incendiary remarks. (Apr 19, 2021)

(I doubt a mistrial will come, but the above and below will be the reason if this trial is done again.) A couple things… this trial should have not been in the same town/state where the offense happened. And the jurors should have been sequestered. These two facts may provide a mistrial for the defense. LEGAL INSURRECTION notes a juror’s comments as well:

Well before the guilty verdict was announced in the Derek Chauvin trial earlier this week, there were concerns that fears of riots breaking out or jury members being personally targeted if they voted the “wrong way” would play a role in their deliberations, especially after some “news” outlets stupidly revealed previously unknown personal information on some of the jurors in the closing days of the trial.

Lisa Christensen, who was an alternate juror in the trial (but did not know she was an alternate until just before deliberations began), gave an interview to Minneapolis news station KARE 11 on Thursday where she provided the first insight the public is getting into what went through the minds of jurors before and during the trial. Some of the things she said during the interview raised more questions regarding the possibility that some jurors feared voting to acquit would hurt their city – or them.

Christensen, who lives in Brooklyn Center, told reporter Lou Raguse that she had “mixed feelings” about the possibility of being a juror when she filled out the jury questionnaire:

“There was a question on the questionnaire [asking if she wanted to be a juror] and I put I did not know. The reason, at that time, was I did not know what the outcome was going to be, so I felt like either way you are going to disappoint one group or the other. I did not want to go through rioting and destruction again and I was concerned about people coming to my house if they were not happy with the verdict.

[….]

During the interview, Christensen made it clear that she believed Chauvin was guilty and says she would have voted that way had she been a part of deliberations. Her exchange with the KARE reporter as well as other statements she’s made to the media since then give me the feeling she had determined Chauvin’s guilty early on, but that’s just my impression.

This is my personal opinion, of course, but it’s hard to believe that fear of retaliation wasn’t present in the jury room on some level, even if it wasn’t explicitly discussed. If you’ll recall, during the jury selection process, some prospective jurors admitted to fears of being targeted by rioters.

Human emotions are what they are. Though they were partially sequestered throughout the trial, none of the Chauvin jurors could have possibly missed the destruction that happened in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death, if not also the nightly rioting that happened in cities like Portland and Seattle.

Keep in mind, too, that it’s highly unlikely that any juror would openly admit that safety concerns played a role in their decision to convict. It’s not very often you see people who are put in the position of making decisions that impact others admit they voted the way they did because they were fearful of what might happen to them if they didn’t….