Resetting State Criminal Trial Date for Kueng and Thao for Killing of George Floyd

On June 6, Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill, in a well-reasoned opinion, postponed the date for the criminal cases against J. Peter Kueng and Tao Thao  to January 5, 2023.[1]

On June 21, Judge Cahill heard arguments on two motions for changing the date for the start of the trial.

Prosecution’s Motion[2]

The prosecution’s one-page letter merely stated, “On behalf of the family of George Floyd, the state requests a speedy trial as provided in the Victim’s Rights Act, Minn. Stat. sec. 611A.033(a), and Minn. R. Crim. P. 11.09(b).”

Kueng’s Motion[3]

Kueng’s motion requested a continuance to a date after April 3, 2023. For background, his motion stated, “On June 17, 2022 the State entered a speedy trial demand. . . . The State’s demand for a speedy trial followed a teleconference . . . [on June 27] wherein the instant continuance request was discussed [and] Counsel for Mr. Thao has informed the Court that he has no objection to this continuance request.” In addition, “On March 9, 2022 and May 27, 2022 the Court conducted chambers conferences with the parties to discuss plea negotiations, trial scheduling and other matters. During each of those meetings Counsel for Mr. Kueng informed the Court and parties that he was unavailable for trial from January through March 2023. Counsel’s unavailability is due a scheduling conflict of a personal nature.”

The Court’s Decision[4]

After hearing from the attorneys, Judge Cahill apologized to Thomas Plunkett, the attorney for Kueng, that he had forgotten that the attorney previously had told the Judge that he had a personal commitment ‘etched in stone’ in January and that he’d rather give up his law license than miss it. Judge Cahill then announced that he was changing the date for commencement of the trial to October 24, 2022 although he was still weighing the need for publicity from the federal trial and former officer Thomas Lane’s May guilty plea to aiding and abetting manslaughter to die down.

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[1] State Criminal Trial for Thao and Kueng Postponed to January 2023, dwkcommentaries.com (June. 6, 2022); Walsh, State requests speedier start for state trial of ex-officers Thao and Kueng in George Floyd killing, StarTribune (June 20, 2022).

[2] Letter, Frank (Assist. Att. Gen.) to Judge Cahill, June 17, 2022).

[3] Defendant Kueng’s Notice and Motion for Continuance, State v. Kueng, Henn. Cty. Dist. Ct. File No. 27-CR-20-12953 (June 19, 2022).

[4] Olson, Judge agrees to move trial of two former Minneapolis officers to October in George Floyd’s death, StarTribune (June 21, 2022).

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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.

One thought on “Resetting State Criminal Trial Date for Kueng and Thao for Killing of George Floyd”

  1. District Court Order Regarding New Trial Date

    On June 22, Judge Peter Cahill entered an Order reagarding the new trial date of Ocotber 24, 2022 with the following additional details:

    • Motions in limine will be heard October 6 and 7;
    • Each defendant will have five preemptory strikes and the State will have a total of six premptory
    strikes.
    • Jury selection will be by individual selection as required by Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.02 subd.4(2)(b).
    • Questionnaires shall be sent out to a new panel of jurors on or about July 25, 2022.
    • Opening statements and presentation of evidence will begin November 7, 2022, at 9:15 a.m.
    • The court will be in recess on November 11 (Veterans’ Day) and November 23-25, 2022
    (Thanksgiving).
    • Trial will be finished , and deliberations will begin on or before December 16, 2022.

    Order, State v. Thao & Kueng, Henn. Cty. Dist. Ct. Court Files Nos. 27-CR-20-12949 and 27-CR-20-12953. (June 22, 2022), https://www.mncourts.gov/mncourtsgov/media/High-Profile-Cases/27-CR-20-12953-JAK/JK-OrderGrantingMotion.pdf

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