FACTBOX-The task before the jury deciding the case against Derek Chauvin
The 12 members of the jury that will render a verdict on the charges leveled against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd began their deliberations late on Monday afternoon.Reuters | Updated: 20-04-2021 07:33 IST | Created: 20-04-2021 07:33 IST
The 12 members of the jury that will render a verdict on the charges leveled against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd began their deliberations late on Monday afternoon. Chauvin, a white man charged in the death of Floyd, a Black man, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges filed against him. Following is a guide to the jury's task and how it will conduct its deliberations:
THE SCHEDULE FOR DELIBERATIONS The jury - four white women, two white men, three Black men, one Black woman and two multiracial women - began deliberations at 4 p.m. CDT (2100 GMT) on Monday and adjourned for the day at 8 p.m. Jurors will be sequestered throughout the deliberations.
The Hennepin County District Court, where the case is being heard, said it could not provide a schedule for the hours of deliberation. "It is up to Judge (Peter) Cahill, along with the jurors, to determine a deliberation schedule," Spenser Bickett, a spokesman for the court, wrote in an email. THE CHARGES
Chauvin has been charged on three different counts: murder in the second degree; murder in the third degree; manslaughter in the second degree. The jury is to consider each charge separately, and may find the defendant guilty or not guilty "of any or all of the offenses charged," according to the judge's instructions.
THE CHARGES EXPLAINED A guilty finding on each count requires determining the following, per the judge's instructions:
Murder in the second degree: the defendant caused Floyd's death; the defendant at the time of Floyd's death "was committing or attempting to commit a felony offense in the third degree." It does not have to be proved that the defendant had an intent to kill Floyd, but it must be proved that the defendant "committed or attempted to commit the underlying felony of assault in the third degree." Assault is described as "intentional infliction of bodily harm ... or the attempt to inflict bodily harm."
Murder in the third degree: Death was caused by "an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard to human life, but without intent to cause the death of any person." "Eminently dangerous" is an "act highly likely to cause death to other persons." Acting with a mental state of "reckless disregard for human life" does not mean that an act was "specifically intended to cause death," but "must have been committed with a conscious indifference to the loss of life." Manslaughter in the second degree: Death was caused by "culpable negligence," involving "an unreasonable risk" in which the defendant consciously took a chance of causing death or great bodily harm. "Culpable negligence" is "intentional conduct," even if not intended to be harmful, but which "an ordinary and reasonably prudent person would recognize as involving a strong probability of injury to others."
DELIBERATIONS AND THE VERDICT No transcript of the trial will be available to the jury. The jury is to "rely on its collective memory," according to the jury instructions. Jurors may ask questions about the testimony or ask legal questions; questions must be made in writing and given to the sheriff's deputy, who will give them to the judge.
The verdict on each count must be unanimous. There is a separate verdict form for each of the three counts. The jury foreperson is to mark the verdict for each count with an "X," date and sign each form. The forms are to be placed in the envelope provided and sealed, then given to the deputy.
Sources: Reuters, Hennepin County Court jury instruction document (https://mncourts.gov/mncourtsgov/media/High-Profile-Cases/27-CR-20-12646/JuryInstructions04192021.pdf)
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