WASHINGTON, Nov 20 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s appeal of his conviction for the 2020 slaying of George Floyd during an arrest, which sparked widespread protests against police brutality. and racism.
Justices rejected Chauvin’s appeal, which he filed after a Minnesota appeals court upheld his 2021 murder conviction and denied his request for a new trial. Chauvin argued that juror bias and certain rulings by the presiding judge deprived him of his right to a fair trial under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Chauvin, who is white, is serving a 22-1/2-year prison sentence for killing Floyd, who is black, by kneeling on Floyd’s neck in handcuffs for more than nine minutes during an arrest.
Floyd’s killing sparked protests in many cities in the United States and other countries and focused attention on the issue of racial justice.
Chauvin, now 47, was found guilty by a 12-member jury in April 2021 of three counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter after a three-week trial that included testimony from 45 witnesses, including bystanders. police officers and medical experts.
The conviction marked a milestone in the United States’ troubled racial history and a rebuke of law enforcement’s treatment of black Americans.
In a May 25, 2020, confrontation captured on video by onlookers, Chauvin drove his knee into the neck of Floyd, 46, as Chauvin and three fellow officers tried to arrest Floyd, who was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a grocery store.
On appeal in 2022, Chauvin’s attorney, William Morman, argued that Hennepin County Circuit Judge Peter Cahill made numerous errors.
Because of extensive pretrial publicity, the judge had to agree to Chauvin’s proposals to move the trial out of Minneapolis and sequester the jury, Morman argued.
The judge, Chauvin’s lawyers and prosecutors spent about two weeks interviewing potential jurors before seating the 12-member panel.
Chauvin’s lawyer urged the Supreme Court to grant the appeal to consider whether the jury was prejudiced by a desire to avoid “the threat of harm to the community if a conviction is not reached.” His attorney also said one juror may have concealed possible bias by not disclosing during the jury selection process that he had attended a “George Floyd anti-police rally.”
Minnesota attorneys did not respond to Chauvin’s petition asking the Supreme Court to hear his appeal.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals in April rejected Chauvin’s appeal, upholding his conviction and denying his request for a new trial. The Minnesota Supreme Court in July denied Chauvin’s request to rehear the case, prompting his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Separately, in December 2021, Chauvin pleaded guilty in federal court to charges that he violated Floyd’s civil rights. On Nov. 13, Chauvin filed a motion to overturn that conviction based on what he claims is new evidence showing Floyd’s death was the result of an underlying medical condition.
Reporting by John Kruzel; Editing by Will Dunham
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