Proposed Jury Instructions in Derek Chauvin Criminal Trial

On February 8, the parties submitted proposed jury instructions for the start of the Chauvin criminal trial. [1]

To some extent, both sets basically followed the Criminal Jury Instruction Guide: Criminal (CRIMJIG) and to a large extent are identical.  They are listed first. Then there is a list of the State’s proposals that are unique followed by a list of Chauvin’s unique proposals.

Identical  Proposed Instructions

  1. Instructions To Be Considered as a Whole (CRIMJIG 3.07)
  2. Duties of Judge and Jury (CRIMJIG 3.01)
  3. Presumption of Innocence (CRIMJIG 3.02)
  4. Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (CRIMJIG 3.03 & modified)
  5. Direct and Circumstantial Evidence (CRIMJIG 3.05)
  6. Rulings on Objections to Evidence (CRIMJIG 3.06)
  7. Statements of Judge and Attorneys (CRIMJIG 3.11)
  8. Notes Taken by Jurors (CRIM 3.09)
  9. Statements of Judge and Attorneys (CRIMJIG 3.11)
  10. Evaluation of Testimony—Believability of Witnesses (CRIMJIG 3.12)
  11. Expert Testimony (CRIMJIG 3.13)
  12. Impeachment (CRIMJIG 3.15)
  13. Evidence of Other Crimes or Occurrences Involving Defendant (CRIMJIG 3.16)
  14. Definitions of Words
  15. Murder in the Second Degree—While Committing a Felony—Defined (CRIMJIG 11.28)
  16. Murder in the Second Degree—While committing a Felony—Elements (CRIMJIG 11.29)
  17. Manslaughter in the Second Degree—Defined (Minn. Stat. 609.205)
  18. Manslaughter in the Second Degree—Elements (CRIMJIG 11.56 (modified)
  19. Aiding and Abetting Manslaughter in the Second Degree—Elements
  20. Duties of Jurors; Selection of foreperson; Unanimous Verdict;Deliberation; Return of Verdict.

The State’s Unique Proposed Instructions

  1. Defendant’s Right Not to Testify.
  2. Demonstrative Evidence
  3. Multiple Offenses Considered Separately
  4. Aiding and Abetting a Crime—Defined
  5. Aiding and Abetting Murder in the Second Degree —Elements
  6. Murder in the Third Degree—Depraved Mind—Defined
  7. Murder in the Third Degree—Depraved Mind–Elements
  8. Aiding and Abetting Murder in the Third Degree—Elements
  9. Aiding and Abetting Manslaughter in the Second Degree—Elements
  10. Aiding and Abetting Manslaughter in the Second Degree—Elements
  11. Defense of Self or Others
  12. Authorized Use of Force by Police Officer
  13. Defense of Self or Others
  14. Jury Questions During Deliberations

 Chauvin’s Unique Proposed Instructions

  1. Assault in the Third Degree Defined (CRIMJIG 13.15)
  2. Assault in the Third Degree—Elements (CRIMJIG 13.16 (modified); Minn. Stat. 609.02, Subd. 7a, 9(3), 10)
  3. Manslaughter Causation (CRIMJIG 3.31 (modified))
  4. Reasonable Use of Force
  5. Negligence of Mr. Floyd
  6. Additional Forms of Mr. Floyd’s Negligence
  7. Verdict Forms (CRIMJIG 3.04)
  8. Final Instruction: Duty of the Jury

Conclusion

The State submitted several proposed instructions on third-degree murder even though that alleged crime has been dismissed by the District Court followed by an appeal of that order by the State. [2]

In addition, this blogger was surprised by the State’s proposed instructions on aiding and abetting when Chauvin always has been considered, at least in the press, as the main alleged offender with the other defendants, who are not on trial starting March 8 –J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao—being charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin.

=====================================

[1] State’s Proposed Jury Instructions, State v. Chauvin, Hennepin County District Court, Court file No. 27-CR-20-12646 (Feb. 8, 2021); Defendant’s Proposed Jury Instructions, State v. Chauvin, Hennepin County District Court, Court file No. 27-CR-20-12646 (Feb. 8, 2021).  Copies of these documents are available on the District court’s website: https://www.mncourts.gov/media/StateofMinnesotavDerekChauvin. Many of the proposals reference CRIMJIG, which refers to Minnesota Jury Instruction Guide: Criminal, which is published by Thompson West, but is not freely available on the Internet.

[2] Prosecution and Chauvin Dispute Adding Third-Degree Murder Charges in George Floyd Criminal Cases, dwkcommentaries.com (Feb. 10,2021); Court Denies Third-Degree Murder Charges for George Floyd Killing, dwkcommentareis.com (Feb. 12, 2021).

 

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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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