US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal of Derek Chauvin

The former Minneapolis police officer was convicted in the death of George Floyd, an event that sparked riots.
US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal of Derek Chauvin
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis on July 21, 2022. (Court TV via AP)
Matthew Vadum

The Supreme Court refused to take up the appeal of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.

The Court did not explain why it declined to grant the petition for certiorari, or review, in the case. No justices dissented from the unsigned order issued on Nov. 20. At least four of the nine justices must vote to grant the petition for it to move forward to the oral argument stage.

The Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed Mr. Chauvin’s petition in a one-sentence order on July 18 without explaining why. This means his conviction and 22-and-a-half-year sentence under state law will remain in effect.

Mr. Chauvin had asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to take up his case in May after the Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected his claim that he did not receive a fair trial the month before.

Mr. Chauvin, a white man who was a member of the Minneapolis police department at the time of the incident in March 2020, knelt on the neck of Mr. Floyd, a black man, for approximately nine minutes while he was handcuffed in a prone position after being detained on suspicion of passing a counterfeit 20-dollar bill at a convenience store.

A passer-by captured video footage of Mr. Floyd complaining while detained that he couldn’t breathe, and the video went viral, leading to protests in the United States and around the world.

The death of Mr. Floyd led to widespread public backlash and a violent nationwide reaction against police that continues to affect the nation’s politics, criminal justice system, and culture, as well as riots across the country that resulted in billions of dollars in damage.

Five doctors testified at the trial that Mr. Floyd died of positional asphyxia.

The local medical examiner, Dr. Andrew Baker, who carried out the autopsy, said the use of force was the primary cause of death but also identified the deceased man’s arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl intoxication, and use of methamphetamines as significant factors in his death.

Another medical expert, Dr. David Fowler, Maryland’s former chief medical examiner, testified that Mr. Floyd’s heart issues were mainly to blame for his death.

Use-of-force expert Barry Brodd, a former police officer, testified that Mr. Chauvin’s actions were reasonable and complied with the police department’s policies, a claim that was denied by Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo.

Mr. Chauvin was convicted on April 21, 2021, of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter after jurors deliberated for two days.

In December 2021, Mr. Chauvin also pleaded guilty in federal court to violating federal laws on two separate occasions.

He was sentenced in July 2022 to 252 months in prison—or 21 years—with credit for time served for depriving Mr. Floyd and an unidentified 14-year-old child of their constitutional rights.

In the Supreme Court petition, Mr. Chauvin’s attorney, William Mohrman of Mohrman and Kaardal in Minneapolis, argued his client was prejudiced by the tremendous amount of pretrial publicity in an environment filled with race rioting and anti-police violence by protesters.

Mr. Mohrman asked the Court to decide if the “catastrophic-widespread community harm and threat of harm” created a situation “so inherently prejudicial” that jury bias should be presumed because “jurors have a vested interest in the outcome of the case.”

The Court should consider if a change of venue, which was denied, should have been granted to guarantee his client would receive a fair trial, in accordance with the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, he said in the petition.

He also asked the Court to decide if the evidence of juror prejudice and misconduct that was discovered after trial “indicates a juror stereotyped, prejudged, or carried an undisclosed animus against the criminal defendant,” and led to a denial of his client’s Sixth Amendment rights.

The Epoch Times reached out for comment to Mr. Mohrman but had not received a reply as of press time.

Mr. Mohrman told The Epoch Times in July that the tremendous amount of pretrial publicity generated in the case prejudiced his client.

“More concerning are the riots which occurred after George Floyd’s death [that] led the jurors to all express concerns for their safety in the event they acquitted Mr. Chauvin—safety concerns which were fully evidenced by surrounding the courthouse in barbed wire and National Guard troops during the trial and deploying the National Guard throughout Minneapolis prior to jury deliberations.”

On Oct. 27, Minnesota waived its right to respond to Mr. Chauvin’s petition. The state did not explain why.

The Epoch Times asked the attorney for Minnesota, Neal Katyal of Hogel Lovells in Washington, to comment but no reply had been received by the time of publication.

Christopher Madel of Minneapolis, attorney for the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, which also participated in the Supreme Court appeal, declined to comment.

The case is Chauvin v. Minnesota (court file 23-416).