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Supreme Court declines appeal from Derek Chauvin in murder of George Floyd

What's changed since George Floyd's death
What's changed since George Floyd's death three years ago 04:57

Washington — The Supreme Court on Monday turned away an appeal by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, leaving in place his conviction for the killing of George Floyd in May 2020.

Lawyers for Chauvin had asked the Supreme Court in October to take up his legal battle, which centered around a Minnesota trial court's denial of his requests for a change of venue and to sequester the jury. Chauvin argued that the decision to keep the proceedings in Minneapolis deprived him of his right to a fair trial because of pretrial publicity and the threat of violence and riots in the event he was acquitted.

"Mr. Chauvin's case shows the profound difficulties trial courts have to ensure a criminal defendant's right to an impartial jury consistently when extreme cases arise," his lawyers told the court in a filing, adding that the jurors who heard the case "had a vested interest in finding Mr. Chauvin guilty in order to avoid further rioting in the community in which they lived and the possible threat of physical harm to them or their families."

The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed Chauvin's conviction and rejected his request for a new trial in April after his lawyer challenged the decision by Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill not to move the trial from Minneapolis, among other issues. The state supreme court declined to review that decision in July, leaving in place Chauvin's conviction and 22 ½-year sentence.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin addresses his sentencing hearing and the judge as he awaits his sentence after being convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 25, 2021 in a still image from video.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin addresses his sentencing hearing and the judge as he awaits his sentence after being convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 25, 2021 in a still image from video. Pool/Getty Images

A 12-member Hennepin County jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in April 2021 for the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man whose killing led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Video taken by a bystander of Floyd's fatal encounter with Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020, showed Chauvin, who is White, pressing his knee to Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes. Three other police officers involved in the episode were charged and are serving shorter sentences.

Chauvin was sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison in June 2021. He also pleaded guilty in December 2021 to a federal charge of violating Floyd's civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison, which he is serving concurrently with his state sentence.

Chauvin is now seeking to overturn his conviction on the federal charge, arguing in a filing last week that he wouldn't have pleaded guilty had he been aware of the theories of a Kansas-based pathologist who does not believe Floyd died as a result of Chauvin's actions.

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