On June 9, the Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments about the scope of Minnesota’s third-degree murder statute, which provides as follows:
”Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years.” (Minn. Stat. sec. 609.195 (a).)
These arguments were in the appeal of Mohamed Noor, a former Minneapolis policeman, for his conviction of that crime for the killing in 2017 of Justine Damond in south Minneapolis and sentenced for same to 12.5 years in prison. The central issue of this appeal was whether this statute applied to a defendant whose actions were directed at only one, specific person.
Noor’s attorney, Caitlinrose Fisher, argued that the statute’s language as well as case law “requires that a defendant’s actions must be directed at more than one person” and that this law was meant only for such indiscriminate killings.
The prosecutor for Hennepin County, Jean Burdorf, however, argued that nearly all killings by police officers are directed at a specific person and if this statute is interpreted not to apply to such killings, then there could be no such prosecutions under this statute. Noor’s attorney basically agreed, saying, “’It would be very hard to imagine’ that an officer’s “split-second reaction to a perceived threat” would count as a ‘depraved-mind murder.”
Fisher, however, added that other charges, such as manslaughter, could be appropriate in some such cases and that Noor was not contesting his conviction for second-degree manslaughter and urged the Supreme Court to remand the case to the trial court for resentencing on that count with a likely sentence of four years.
The Supreme Court’s decision in this case is directly on point to Derek Chauvin’s conviction for third-degree murder of George Floyd even though his actions were directed at only one individual, namely George Floyd. 
 Karnowski (AP), Minnesota 3d-degree murder law at issue in ex-cop’s appeal, StarTribune (June 9, 2021); Killing of Justine Damond, Wikipedia.
 Karnowski (AP), EXPlAINER: Noor ruling could have impact for other ex-cops, StarTribune (June 9, 2021).