The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, leaving his conviction intact for the killing of George Floyd in May 2020.
In October, Chauvin’s legal team petitioned the Supreme Court to review his case, primarily centered on the denial of his requests for a change of venue and jury sequestration by a Minnesota trial court. Chauvin argued that conducting the trial in Minneapolis compromised his right to a fair trial due to extensive pretrial publicity and the potential for violence and riots if he were acquitted.
Chauvin’s lawyers argued that the jurors who participated in the trial had a vested interest in finding him guilty to avoid further community unrest and the potential threat of harm to themselves and their families.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld Chauvin’s conviction and rejected his request for a new trial in April, following objections by his attorney, who contested the decision by Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill to keep the trial in Minneapolis, among other issues. In July, the state’s supreme court declined to review this decision, thereby maintaining Chauvin’s conviction and his 22 ½-year prison sentence.
Chauvin, a former police officer, was found guilty by a 12-member Hennepin County jury in April 2021 on charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died during an encounter with Minneapolis police officers on May 25, 2020. A bystander’s video captured Chauvin, who is White, pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. Three other police officers involved in the incident were charged and received shorter sentences.
In June 2021, Chauvin was sentenced to 22 ½ years in state prison. He also pleaded guilty in December 2021 to a federal charge of violating George Floyd’s civil rights, resulting in a 21-year federal prison sentence, to be served concurrently with his state sentence.
Chauvin is currently seeking to overturn his federal conviction, contending that he would not have pleaded guilty had he been aware of the theories put forth by a pathologist from Kansas who disputes that Floyd died as a result of Chauvin’s actions.