Minnesota Court of Appeals Affirms Chauvin’s State Court Conviction for Killing of George Floyd

On April 17, 2023, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed Derek Chauvin’s state court conviction, after a jury trial, for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.[1]

This blog already has provided extensive information about the actual killing of Mr. Floyd,[2] and Chauvin’s criminal trial,[3]

Minnesota Appellate Court’s Opinion[4]

The appellate decision was set forth in an unanimous 50-page decision authored by Presiding Judge Peter M. Reyes, Jr. that was joined by Appellate Judge Elise L. Larson and Senior Appellate Judge Roger M. Klaphake (serving by appointment as a Senior Judge of that court).

After the first 48 pages providing  great details about the law and facts of this case, the court sets forth the following “DECISION:”

  • “Police officers undoubtedly have a challenging, difficult, and sometimes dangerous job. However, no one is above the law. When they commit a crime, they must be held accountable just as those individuals that they lawfully apprehend. The law only permits police officers to use reasonable force when effecting a lawful arrest. Chauvin crossed that line here when he used unreasonable force on Floyd.”
  • “We hold that, when a criminal defendant moves to change venue, continue trial, or sequester the jury alleging that publicity surrounding the trial created either actual or presumed juror prejudice, a district court does not abuse its discretion by denying the motions if it takes sufficient mitigating steps and verifies that the jurors can set aside their impressions or opinions and deliver a fair and impartial verdict. We also hold that a police officer can be convicted of second-degree unintentional felony murder for causing the death of another by using unreasonable force constituting third-degree assault to effect a lawful arrest. “
  • “In addition, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion by (1) denying Chauvin’s request for a Schwartz hearing; (2) its jury instructions; (3) allowing the state to present seven witnesses on the use-of-force issue; (4) excluding from admission a presentation slide from MPD training materials; (5) denying Chauvin’s new-trial motion based on alleged prosecutorial misconduct; (6) excluding an unavailable witness’s out-ofcourt statement; and (7) departing upward from the presumptive range under the sentencing guidelines. We further conclude that Chauvin is not entitled to a new trial based upon the district court’s failure to ensure that sidebar conferences were transcribed and that any alleged cumulative error did not deny Chauvin a fair trial. Finally, we decline to address Chauvin’s challenge to his third-degree-murder conviction because the district court did not convict Chauvin of or sentence for this offense.”


 Chauvin has the right to petition the Minnesota Supreme Court to review this decision, but the Supreme Court may deny the petition without hearing arguments, and this blogger believes that such a petition should be denied.

In addition,as previously argued in this blog, Chauvin’s guilty plea to related charges in federal court should be another ground for rejecting any Chauvin appeals, but this argument was not mentioned by the Court of Appeals. [5]


[1] Hyatt, Minnesota Court of Appeals rejects Derek Chauvin’s request for new trial in George Floyd killing, StarTribune (April 17, 2023); Bailey, Minnesota appeals court rejects Chauvin’s request for new trial in Floyd killing, Wash. Post (April 17, 2023).

[2]  See posts listed in  “The Killing of George Floyd (May 25, 2020)“ section of List of Posts to dwkcommentaries Topical: George Floyd Killing.

[3] See posts listed in the “Derek Chauvin State Criminal Trial” section of List of Posts to dwkcommentaries Topical: George Floyd Killing.

[4] Minnesota Court of Appeals, Opinion, State v. Chauvin, No. A21-1228 (April 17, 2023);

[5]  Derek Chauvin’s Appeal of State Conviction and Sentencing for Killing George Floyd, dwkcommentaries.com (Jan. 23, 2023).

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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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