Former prosecutor: An appeal for Chauvin not slam dunk

Friday, April 23, 2021
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

gavel with U.S. flagAttorneys for ex-police officer Derek Chauvin are expected to appeal his three-count conviction but a former prosecutor advises that is not a simple process despite news coverage and the headline-making rant of a congresswoman.

"The appellate attorney for Derek Chauvin will have to prove the jury was influenced by it," Abraham Hamilton III, a former assistant district attorney, explained on AFR this week after the trial concluded. "It's not one of those things where they say, Well, they said that so we know that this affected them."

Many people have suggested that riot-defending comments from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) may have influenced jurors' opinions, when she recommended protestors get more confrontational, and the trial judge acknowledged to defense attorneys her comments may help them with an appeal.

According to Hamilton, however, Chauvin’s attorneys must prove in an appeal that the jury was influenced by the congresswoman’s comments.

During the trial, when Chauvin’s attorneys asked for a mistrial due to Waters’ comments, Judge Peter Cahill said the lawmaker was out of line but pointed out jurors had been instructed to avoid the news.  

"You have to show that," Hamilton told the "Today's Issues" radio program. “You can't just make that assertion and make that conclusion."

Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday of second degree and third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter in the 2020 death of George Floyd. Prosecutors said Chauvin caused Floyd's death by kneeling on his neck and cutting off his air while the suspect was handcuffed.

The defense attorneys argued that Floyd's death came from his own drug use and underlying health conditions.

Hamilton

If the case is appealed, Hamilton said Chauvin’s attorneys will be allowed to ask jurors if they violated the judge’s order and watched news of the trial, including the congresswoman’s words to the group of protesters.  

"In my experience,” Hamilton said, “most of the times when those things are offered, the litigants are not able to show that the jury actually was persuaded by that in coming to their conclusion.”

Hamilton, who is general counsel for the Mississippi-based American Family Association, prosecuted criminals as an assistant district attorney in New Orleans and in Houston, Texas.

In a separate appearance on the same radio show, Minnesota resident Jan Markell told the program her state has endured a year of "tension, tormoil and strife" after the death of George Floyd.

"We have three more officers involved in the George Floyd incident," she pointed out. "Their trial begins in August, and I just encourage the AFR audience to be earnestly praying for stablity in our country." 

The three officers are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. 


Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.

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