On October 13, Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill entered an Amended Trial Management Order for the upcoming trial of J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, former Minneapolis police officers, who face charges of aiding and abetting two crimes: (a) second-degree murder and (b) manslaughter of George Floyd.
Latest Trial Management Order
This Order provided great details on the following:
- Trial Courtroom (No. 1856), the largest trial courtroom with maximal flexibility, in the Hennepin County Government Center (para. 1);
- the Media Overflow Courtroom (No. C-2350) (para. 2);
- the General Public Overflow Courtroom (No. 1659) (para. 3);
- Court Administration discretion to combine overflow (para. 4);
- Parties’ Work Rooms (para. 5);
- Jury Anonymity (para. 6);
- Clothing/Logos (para. 7), which bans all persons in attendance from “wearing any mask or article of clothing that contains any outwardly-visible image, logo, or letters, or is otherwise dressed in a coordinated fashion with other attending observers in any manner which . . . is designed to send a message to the jury hearing this trial;”
- “All earlier administrative and trial management and decorum orders addressing other trial logistics and management-related matters . . . remain in effect, except as and only to the extent expressly superseded by this Order (para. 8); and
- “All other rules of decorum found in Minn. Gen. R. Prac.2 will be followed unless specifically modified by this order or other orders of the presiding judge. The HCSO and court staff are authorized to enforce the rules of decorum” (Para. 9).
The trial is scheduled to start on October 24 with jury selection followed by opening statements on November 7. The trial testimony and closing arguments are expected to end by December 16th, when the jury is anticipated to commence its deliberations.
Judge Cahill, however, has not yet released his rulings on the defendants’ 170 pretrial motions that were argued before the court on October 6 and 7.
 Amended Trial Management Order, State v. Thao & Kueng, (Oct. 13, 2022).
 Hyatt, Litany of motions heard ahead of ex-MPD officers’ trial this month for George Floyd’s killing, StarTribune (Oct. 7, 2022); Forliti, State, cops seek to bar evidence in trial over Floyd killing, AP News (Oct. 5, 2022)..
4 thoughts on “Preparations for State Criminal Trial of Kueng and Thao Over Killing of George Floyd ”
Comment: Defendant Kueng’s Objections to Court’s Amended Scheduling Order
On October 14, Defendant J. Alexander Kueng filed an Objection to the Court’s [Amended] Scheduling Order of October 13th.
Kueng objected to its paragraph 1a regarding access to the trial courtroom as allegedly constituting “a partial closure of the courtroom and violates Mr. Kueng’s right to an open trial under U.S. Const. amend. VI; Minn. Const. art. I, § 6. Spectators must be allowed to attend anonymously if they so choose as any restriction of this right is impermisable.”
Kueng also objected to its paragraph 6 calling for an anonymous jury. That provision allegedly is “not supported by the facts and circumstances surrounding this case. Being anonymous suggests to jurors that the defendant is dangerous or that the jury is in jeopardy themselves. At this point the Court has not made a showing that a serious, or for that matter any threat to jurors exists. An anonymous jury is also beyond scrutiny by the public, another form of closure. The prejudice to Mr. Kueng is significant as anonymous juries show a higher rate of conviction (70%) than nonanonymous juries (40%) when the evidence against the defendant was strong. . . .The effects of an anonymous jury prejudice Mr. Kueng and no grounds exist to support empaneling an anonymous jury.”
Defendant’s Objection to the Scheduling Order, State v. Kueng, Case File No. 27-CR-20-12953 (Oct. 14, 2022), https://www.mncourts.gov/mncourtsgov/media/High-Profile-Cases/27-CR-20-12953-JAK/JK-ObjCourtSchedOrder.pdf.
Comment: Court’s Special Juror Questionnaire for Kueng and Thao Trial
On October 18, 2022, Judge Peter Cahill filed the court’s 17-page Special Juror Questionnaire for the upcoming trial of J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao over the killing of George Floyd. It has the following sections:
• Part I. Knowledge of the Case (16 questions)
• Part II. Media Habits (8 questions)
• Part III. Police Contacts (14 questions (one has 12 subparts))
• Part IV. Personal Background (18 questions with 15 subparts)
• Part V. Opinions Regarding Justice System (7 questions)
• Part VI. Trial Length and Ability To Serve (11 questions)
Special Juror Questionnaire, State v. Thao and Kueng, Hennepin County District Court, Court File Nos. 27-CR-20-12949 and 27-CR-20-12953 (Oct. 18, 2022), https://www.mncourts.gov/mncourtsgov/media/High-Profile-Cases/27-CR-20-12953-JAK/Order-Other_1.pdf
Comment: Second Amended Trial Management Order
On October 21 Judge Peter Cahill issued Second Amended Trial Management Court Order. It follows the same outline as the one released on October 13, and analysis of the changes will be left to others.
Second Amended Trial Management Order, State v. Thao, Kueng, Hennepin County District Court (Oct. 21, 2022), https://www.mncourts.gov/mncourtsgov/media/High-Profile-Cases/27-CR-20-12953-JAK/JK-2ndAmendedTrialOrder.pdf