Update on Status of Trial Dates in George Floyd Criminal Cases 

On  January 11 and 21, 2021, Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill decided that there would be two criminal jury trials for the killing of George Floyd: Derek Chauvin would be tried starting March 8th and the other three defendants—J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao—starting August 23rd.[1]

The merits of those decisions is being challenged by the prosecution on appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The prosecution wants one trial of all four defendants starting August 23rd. One of the four defendants (J. Alexander Kueng) has moved for dismissal of that appeal as untimely. No decision has yet been issued by that court. [2]

In the meantime, on January 21, 2021,  the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, Lurie S. Gildea, issued an order, effective February 1, that provided the following relevant to the Floyd criminal cases:

  • “Judges and court staff shall continue to process cases, in all case types, regardless of whether the judge or employee works at the court facility or remotely. Other than proceedings held in person in a courtroom as authorized by paragraphs 2 through 4 of this order, all proceedings in all case types, including proceedings in treatment courts, shall be held by remote technology that permits the parties and attorneys to appear without being in the courtroom or by review of the parties’ submissions without oral argument. Interpreters shall appear remotely if the technology is available to do so, even if the parties and attorneys appear in person.” (Para. 1 (emphasis added).)
  • No new jury trials will commence before March 15, 2021, except as stated herein. For criminal jury trials, the chief judge in the district where the trial is to be held may grant an exception for a criminal jury trial to be held in person. Exceptions shall be granted for criminal cases where the defendant has made a speedy trial demand, the defendant is in custody, and the defendant is charged with either a felony crime or a non-felony crime against a person, unless the chief judge determines that the trial cannot proceed safely due to local conditions.” (Para. 2 (emphasis added).)

On February 3, Hennepin County District Court Chief Judge Toddrick Barnette issued an order, after consultation with the Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice, that the “Jury Trial [of Derek Chauvin] scheduled for March 8, 2021 may be held in Person.” This order merely assumed that the existing date for commencement of this trial would not be affected by the Court of Appeals. [3]

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[1] Chauvin To Be Tried Separately in George Floyd Criminal Cases, dwkcommentaries.com (Jan. 12, 2021); Comment: Denial of Delay in Chauvin Trial in George Floyd Criminal Cases, dwkcommentaries.com ( Jan. 21, 2021); Prosecution Requests One Trial in August in George Floyd Criminal Cases, dwkcommentaries.com (Jan. 21, 2021).

[2] Prosecution Appeals Trial Dates in George floyd Criminal Cases, dwwkcommentareis.com (Jan. 29, 2021); Prosecution’s Appellate Brief  on Trials in George Floyd Criminal Cases, dwkcomentaries.com (Jan. 30, 2021); Comment: Chauvin Asks Appellate Court To  Dismiss State’s Appeal Over Trial Dates in George Floyd Criminal Cases (Feb. 1, 2021) .

[3] Order re Pandemic In-Person Hearing Request. State v. Chauvin,  Court File No. 27-CR-20-12646 (Feb. 3, 2022)

 

 

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dwkcommentaries

As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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