Appellate Rejection of  State’s Appeal of Early Start of Chauvin Trial in George Floyd Criminal Cases   

On February 12 the Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected the State’s appeal of the Hennepin County District Court’s denial of the State’s motion to postpone the start of the  Derek Chauvin trial from March 8 to August 23rd  for joint trial with the other three defendants (Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thau.[1]

The appellate opinion by Presiding Judge Tracy Smith, said the State had not established a basis for our review of the district court’s pretrial orders because it had not shown  that COVID-19 would have a “critical impact” on their ability to prosecute the case and because the Court was “ not persuaded that these discretionary rulings present the type of legal issues that should be reviewed by way of a petition for a writ of prohibition [to delay proceedings], especially in light of the supreme court’s guidance about prosecution pretrial appeals being disfavored and a showing of critical impact being required to obtain appellate review.”

The appellate court also rejected the argument of the defendants/respondents that the State’s appeal was untimely.

The Court of Appeals concluded, “Because we conclude that these appeals must be dismissed, we express no opinion on the merits of the district court’s rulings.”

Prior posts have discussed the battles in the two courts over whether, in light of the Covid-19 Pandemic, there should be one joint trial or two trials and whether the first trial of Chauvin should start on March 8th not on August 23rd.[2]

[1]. Order,  State v. Chauvin, Minnesota Court of Appeals, # A21-0133, A21-0135 (Feb. 12, 2021); Xiong, Court of Appeals won’t intervene in Derek Chauvin trial, StarTribune (Feb. 12, 2021).

[2] See, e.g., Update on Status of Trial Dates in George Floyd Criminal Cases, (Feb. 4, 2021).

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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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