Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of the murder of George Floyd last month, filed a motion for a new trial on Tuesday.
The motion for a new trial alleges that the court abused its discretion in a number of instances. According to the motion, Chauvin challenges the court’s denial of a request for a change of venue, its denial of an earlier motion for a new trial, its failure to sequester the jury, and the prejudicial mistakes made by the prosecution. The motion also calls for an impeachment of the verdict on the grounds of jury misconduct.
The earlier motion for a new trial was made on the grounds that the trial’s publicity threatened its fairness, but was ultimately denied by the court. In that motion, Chauvin alleged that the publicity intimidated his expert witnesses, and argued that it had the potential to hinder the ability of defendants in other high profile cases to get expert witnesses too. Furthermore, the publicity allegedly “… amounted to a structural defect in the proceedings.”
It is uncertain whether or not any aspect of the new motion will be granted. Impeachments of jury decisions and discussions are incredibly rare, and permissible only on a very limited number of grounds. As judges have articulated before, defendants have a right to a fair trial, but not a perfect one.